Deliciously quick & easy vegetarian/
Onion Vadams or Onion Rice Flour Crisps are considered an accompaniment to many South Indian dishes like Sambar (lentil veg curry), Rasam (Tamarind Tomato Soup) and Pulikari (Tamarind Curry) and many more. They are of the same family as Appalams (Pappadams) which are also deep fried but made with white lentils (urad dal) and more commonly with many of the above dishes.
Onion vadams are found in many Indian grocery stores but of course nothing beats the homemade version. Back in my village in Tanjore District, India, these are left to dry on a cloth on the rooftop and because it is delicious even non fried, I have seen my aunts put up scarecrows to scare the birds from swooping in to feast on these crisps!
We don't have the space and time to dry these crisps like in the villages, hence recently my sister and my mom discovered an ingenious way to dry these crisps in a dehydrator which is usually used to dehydrate fruits like orange slices apple slices, bananas etc.
Here's the recipe for a small batch of homemade Onion Vadams - it yields roughly 150 pieces (1cm) or around 750gm. Will keep for weeks if dehydrated well.
1.5cups of rice flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp gingelly (sesame oil)
1/2 large onion - chopped small
1 big green chilli - chopped small
20 medium sized curry leaves - sliced
A small pot for stirring the rice flour mix
1) Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Then add the water and gingelly oil and stir to mix well..
2) Pour the rice flour mix into the small pot and on small to medium heat, stir till you get a thick consistency.
3) After 10 mins approximately, you would notice that the flour is coming together into a big lumpy ball.
4) Here, you add the chopped onion, green chilli and curry leaves. Mix well. Remove from heat and cool down.
5) Using your hands, pinch small mounds of the onion rice flour mix and place it on the dehydrator trays. Leave adequate space between the mounds and fill as many of the trays as possible.
6) Leave it to dehydrate for 24 hours. Store it in an airtight container.
7) Fry and enjoy homemade onion vadam crisps with your South Indian dishes!
5 Minute Salsa
A super easy 5 minute salsa that requires only ingredients to be washed, cut and whizzed in a food processor. They all can be cut into roughly big pieces because they are all going to get chopped up small in the processor. I got the recipe for this delicious preservative free salsa from a fellow docent trainee Jane at National Museum of Singapore just yesterday. I made and served this today at a small gathering of friends and it was a SUPER HIT!
Ingredients (yields 2 cups)
1/2 medium red onion, cut big
2 medium tomatoes, cut into big pieces
1/2 green chilli, sliced
1 cup roughly chopped coriander leaves
A small piece of yellow capsicum, cut into chunks
10 pieces of pickled jalapeno
juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
1) Wash and cut everything big. Place it in a food processor with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
2) Whizz it for 3-5 secs only.
3) Check for seasonings and serve with nacho bowl, chips or dips.
We all love hummus at home. Hummus - the creamy protein-packed paste that is made primarily from mashed chickpeas which can be used as a dip or a spread.
History of the Humble Hummus
According to ancient scriptures, it was first consumed in Egypt around the 13th century but it was very different from what we having today. Early Egyptians omitted tahini and garlic and used pickled lemons, herbs, spices and other nuts instead. It was only during the 16th century that the Mediterraneans started consuming the way we do today. It is so popular all over the world and its not surprising that restaurants have sprung up recently dedicating their menu to this humble but highly nutritious dip/spread - namely Hummus Grill in Philadelphia, Hummus Cafe in Seattle and many more.
Hummus Health Benefits
Hummus, with its protein rich chickpeas, highly wholesome EVOO, raw garlic and calcium rich sesame seeds in its tahini, is packed with many health benefits. It
Basic hummus consists of chickpeas, tahini (which is essentially ground roasrted sesame seeds), olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and salt. I wanted to make a version with cilantro (coriander) to see how it would turn out. I used only 1/2 cup which gave a faint green shade to the hummus and a hint of cilantro flavor. I believe it will be even more delicious with a full cup.
Ingredients (yields 2 cups)
1 can of garbanzo beans (15 oz)
2 tbsp tahini
3/4 cup EVOO
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove
1 cup cilantro leaves and stems, chopped
Salt per preference
3-4 tbsps water
Extra EVOO, cilantro leaves and a dash cayenne pepper for prettying it up
1) Put everything into a food processor and blend. Please don't make the mistake of putting the ingredients into a blender, like I did. It took a long time to blend it to a smooth paste. Only use a food processor.
2) Remove from food processor, pour it into a shallow serving bowl with a coloured interior for that extra impact. Swirl EVOO, add a dash of cayenne and place the coriander leave in the center.
Serve with your fav dip chips or on your wrap as a spread. It's really delicious. You won't regret trying out this super easy recipe.
Hummus is of Egyptian and Levantine in origin. But this simple mix of pureed sesame seeds and chickpeas has been devoured all over North Africa, Middle East and the Mediterranean for centuries. It makes a delicious dip, no doubt. I haven't made Hummus for a long time - I wondered why. It is quite tasty and so easy to prepare. I had it with wholewheat flatbreads called chapathis, and it made quite a nice snack.
I remember having Hummus with baked pita chips in Philadelphia when we had visited one of my husband's colleague Gaurav and his wife in 2014. We drove from Bluebell where we lived to Philadelphia which was just an hour away. Philly is a vibrant happening city, if you look past the dark alleys and certain unappealing areas.
The recipe below is for a basic Simple Hummus. You can also add coriander leaves to get Coriander Hummus or grilled Red pepper to get Red Pepper Hummus.
Ingredients (yields 2 cups )
1 can of chickpeans (15 oz)
1/2 cup of roasted white sesame seeds ( or 2 tbsps Tahini)
1 small clove of garlic
2/3 cup EVOO
2 tbsps lemon juice
1/4 tsp cumin powder
2-4 tbsps water (if needed to make the paste smoother)
2 tbsps olive oil
A dash of paprika
2 olives and a small sprig of coriander leaves
1)First, grind the sesame seeds into a paste.This is essentially the Tahini. This ought to yield 2 tbsps.
2) Then, put all the other ingredients and the tahini into a food processor and process untill the whole mixture forms a light brown thick paste. DO NOT use a blender as it takes forever to grind and you'll find yourself adding more and more EVOO or water to grind to a smooth paste.
3) Serve in a small bowl, garnished with swirls of EVOO and a dash of paprika nd the olives and coriander leaves.
4) Enjoy it as a dip for vegs, pita chips and more!
Spicy Cilantro Dipping Sauce
This is a basic dipping sauce using cilantro and vinegar, among other ingredients and it leaves a sweet, sour spicy taste in your mouth... Great with any fried dishes like Vegetable Spring Rolls or Lentil Patties (Masala Vadais) and many more...
Ingredients (yields 2 cups of dipping sauce)
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar (only 1/2 cup!)
1/4 tbsp salt
3/4 cup to 1 cup sugar (yes, 1 cup!)
1/2 cup sambal oelek
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Dissolve the salt and the sugar in the vinegar using a whisk for 2-4 mins.
Pour into a small pot and bring it to a rolling boil, stirring continuously.
Remove from fire and let it cool.
Pour half of this vinegar syrup into a blender and add in the sambal oelek and cilantro.
Blend for 2 minutes and then pour this mixture back into the pot with the remaining half. Mix well and your Cilantro Dipping Sauce is ready.
Cilantro can also be substituted with Chinese celery leaves.
Hi guys! I'm Nilofar Iyer and I have shared my dishes here for you to cook for your own family and friends with love and most importantly with their long term good health in mind.