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!
Easy Vegan Quinoa Chickpea Salad
There are certain times when after indulgent bouts of spicy masala rich dishes, that one craves for light refreshing salads. This Quinoa Chickpea salad was introduced to me by a committee member during a gathering at my house in December last year to thank them for their hardwork throughout the year. It appealed to me instantly and surprisingly it paired quite well with the Indian dishes I had laid out. Its filling, loaded with protein and the necessary vegetables for fibre, taste and colour! The whole salad can be ready in half an hour and it has become a cult favourite at home.
Ingrdients (for 2 as a main meal and for 4 as a side dish)
1 cup quinoa
3 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1 or 2 spring onion stalks, chopped small
1 or 2 coriander leaves stalks, chopped small
Red Capsicum, chopped small roughly 2 tbsps
Yellow Capsicum, chopped small roughly 2 tbsps
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Pepper per your preference
1/3 cup Lemon juice
1) Boil the quinoa till all the water has evaporated and set aside in a salad bowl.
2) Assemble all the vegetables and chickpeas on top of the boiled quinoa. Mix gently.
3) Season with pepper and lemon juice. Check for salt and add more if required.
4) Serve warm.
Tempeh or tempe is a traditional Javanese soy product that is made from fermented soy beans. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds the soy beans into a cake form (see pic below).
Because tempeh is packed into a cake, it offers more protein than other meat alternatives like tofu. It is also very high in fibre and probiotics and hosts a whole array of minerals and vitamins, which I'm not going to bore you with here. Tempeh has a subtle nutty flavour and absorbs any ingredient flavour it is cooked with, much like its cousin, tofu.
Here, I''m sharing a simple baby spinach and tempeh stir fry which is healthy, vegan and easy to whip up in minutes! It can be a snack, a side dish or even a wholesome breakfast dish! I love it for breakfast with baked beans because its a good protein packed start to the day to keep me full longer. Its a relatively simple dish to prepare so there is no requirement for step by step instructions here.
Ingredients (serves 1-2)
Vegan Potato Omelette
I found this recipe below for Vegan Potato Omelette online and I tweaked it to add yellow onion and baby spinach to add flavor and nutrition. Its a very versatile dish and you can add sliced olives, capsicum or or even boiled kidney beans for added protein. And its gluten free too since we are using chickpea flour.
Ingredients (To serve 6-8 wedges)
2 tbsp vegan butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, sliced thinly
2 cups baby spinach
2 tsps garlic herb salt
1 tsp chilli flakes
2-3 large potatoes, steamed, skin removed and cut into small cubes
2 cups chickpea flour
1 cup (+/-) water
1) First mix the chickpea flour, salt and water to form a thick batter. Pour this over the steamed cubed potatoes and mix well.
2) Next take a saucepan or a skillet and melt the vegan butter with the olive oil. Then add in the yellow onion and fry on medium heat.
3) Next, add in the washed baby spinach.
4) This will be followed by the garlic herb salt and chilli flakes. Check for salt. Then add in the chickpea potato mix. Press it down flat with a metal spoon. Add some vegan butter on the sides and on top so that it will cook golden brown when we flip it over.
5) Loosen the sides with a spatula or a flipper. Put a flat large plate over the pan and do a quick turn. Slide the omelette back into the pan and cook the other side.
6) Enjoy this delicious omelette with baked beans and a cup of hot steaming tea.
Baby Eggplants in Tangy Tomato Gravy was a hit in my Diwali gatherings in Oct and Nov last year. It is my mom's quintessential dish and I must say it is quite a flavourful one After receiving several requests for her recipe, I decided to post it here. I have tried to make it numerous times but without success. Today's version, however, seemed close to what my mom churns out for us whenever we request for our gatherings and celebrations. Choose baby eggplants as they can be fried whole and they present well but other types of eggplants can also be used as well. If you are using other types of eggplants, please note that they should be cut into 2 inches. I have used coconut milk to give the gravy its thickness and also to keep it vegan but you can substitute with cooking cream.
Ingredients (serves 4 as a side dish)
500gm baby eggplants
2bsp canola oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 large tomato, cut into medium sized chunks
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tsp chilli powder
Tamarind Tomato Mix
1 tsp tamarind paste dissolved in 2 cups of water
1 tsp coriander powder
3/4 (three quarters ) tsp cumin powder
1/2 (half) tsp black pepper powder
1/2 (half) tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp salt (or to your preference)
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsps coconut milk
coriander leaves for garnishing
1) Wash and cut the eggplants but not all the way through so it still remains intact at the stem. Soak in salted water for 10 mins. Then, drain away and rinse twice in plain water. This is to remove any bitterness present in the eggplants.
2) Prepare the tamarind tomato mix while the egglants are soaking. Dissolve 1 tsp of tamarind paste in 2 cups of water. Throw away any seeds and skin residue and only keep the tamarind solution. In this solution, add all the masala powders, tomato chunks, salt and sugar.
3) Deep fry the eggplants. This is not very healthy but I'm posting a very authentic recipe to show how it was orginally done. Please do try shallow frying or airfrying. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.
4) Take a skillet or a flat pan and heat 2 tbsp canola oil. Fry the onion and curry leaves for 2-3 minutes. Add in 1 tsp chilli powder and be careful it doesn't burn.
5) At this point, add in the tamarind tomato mix and let the mix boil for 5- 10mins till the liquid is half in quantity.
6) Once the liquid has reduced in quantity, add in 2 tbsps coconut milk and stir. Followed by the fried eggplants. Its important you don't stir the eggplants too much as we are keeping them whole. Stirring them too much will dissolve them into the gravy.
7) Serve warm garnished with coriander leaves. Goes particularly well with Vegetable Korma and plain basmati rice.
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.