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!
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)
Now that my girls are vegans, I have to replace their favourite egg scramble with an alternative for their breakfast. My younger daughter Riya found a recipe online for tofu scrambled with just turmeric powder and salt. Just turmeric and salt? Wouldn't that be so bland and boring?
So, I added my own ingredients to make it tastier. I must say it did turn out quite delicious. Serve this tofu scramble with baked beans and vegan toast and you have a complete protein packed belly filling start to the day! Now, I make this quite often as it turned out to be a favourite with my family.
Ingredients (For 4)
2 blocks of firm tofu, mashed
2 tbsps of canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped small
1/4 of each red and green bell peppers, sliced thin
1 medium sized tomato, chopped small
1 sprig coriander leaves, chopped
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Chilli powder
1) Heat the canola oil in a large pot and fry the chopped onions for 3 mins on medium heat.
2) Add the sliced bell peppers and fry for another 3 minutes on medium to high heat. Its important the bell peppers are cooked before you add in the tomatoes.
3) Add in the turmeric, chilli powders and salt per your preference.
4) Add in the chopped tomato pieces and cook till it turns pulpy.
5) Finally add in the mashed tofu and mix well.
6) Cook till the mix is well incorporated, roughly 5-10mins on medium to low heat. Watch out for the mix sticking to the pot.
7) Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve warm.
My younger daughter has recently turned vegan. She is all of 14 years and as a mother I was and am still worried about her nutrition and her development.
Riya started her vegan quest a month ago avoiding eggs, claiming that the chickens are packed tighly in cages without any space to move around and they are stacked in levels so that the poo of the chickens above falls on the chickens below. She felt so sad for the chickens being caged this way just so that they can produce eggs for us. Of course that jolted me. Here is my daughter who loves eggs in any form. Without much of a choice, I agreed and persuaded her to go egg free but still have milk products. She was fine with that for a month.
Last week, she read that cows are impregnated purposely with sperms so that they get pregnant to produce milk. The cows are always pregnant! Imagine being always pregnant throughout your childbearing years? That got her all riled up. Her fight for these poor animals who are being managed inhumanely skyrocketed. The many videos and posts in Instagram supporting vegan lifestyle didn't help as it only made her more wilful. She couldn't stand to watch us having milk and eggs and started trying to convince us to go vegan too. She even went on to say that she will not date a guy who eats meat! 'Imagine kissing him after he eats beef or pork? Ew!!' She has stopped all makeup that tests on animals and is now against all leather products as well. She wants to become a vegan activist when she grows up. That's my spirited younger daughter! My thoughts are why wait till you grow up? Why not start a vegan group for teens in Singapore? I hv pitched my ideas to her. Let's see where she takes them.
I was against her veganism at the beginning as I was worried about her development but now after seeing how passionate she was about these poor animals, I only can support her and ensure her growing body's nutritional demands are met in other ways. She has become more conscious of what she is eating and ensuring that there is enough protein through nuts and tofu. I supplement her diet with multi vitamins which she now takes without complaining. Her junk food bingeing has stopped as well because she discovered there is milk in all cookies and snacks.. My chips packets remain untouched and unopened for so long. She claims she has lost all taste for junk food. She is so mature and serious about this whole issue that I'm surprised how could she be only 14?
I have scouted around for special vegan bread for her ( did you know that all baguettes are vegan?!), special vegan ice cream etc. I also found out there are special supplements for vegans. Fish Oil from algae and flax seeds. Thanks to my docent friend and also a vegan advocate Christine Zeng.
But there is always the nagging worry at the back of my mind about her health. Will she recover quickly when she falls ill? What about when she reaches child bearing age? Only time will tell.
My first vegan recipe I'm featuring, after this development at home, is vegan pancakes. They don't taste like the usual with butter and eggs but it passed. Riya appreciated the fact that I'm making special dishes for her to support her vegan diet. Should I ask for more?
Ingredients (6-8 large pancakes)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
2 tbsps fine sugar
3/4 cups canola oil
2 cups unsweetened soy milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup blueberries, rinsed
1. Mix the dry ingredients, followed by all the wet ingredients. Whisk well.
2. If the batter is too thick, add more soy milk to thin it.
3. Add the blueberries.
4. Heat a small frying pan, drop a few drops of canola oil and swirl them around the pan.
5. Once the pan is hot pour enough batter to coat the base of the pan. Drop a few drops of canola oil on top, cover and cook on medium heat till you see the sides cooked with holes all around.
6. Flip and cook the other side, this time uncovered. It should turn golden brown on both sides.
7. Serve warm with maple syrup.
Has anyone missed my recipes? I apologise for my hiatus but I have not had time to blog my recipes for the last 3 months. I didn't have time to even try new recipes with my own twisted version of them. But I made time for this recipe as it simply had to be posted.
My older 16year old girl had just completed her mid-term exams and was bored with too much time in her hands. She decided to venture into the kitchen to try her hand at baking instead of her usual scrambled eggs or spinach banana smoothies. She came across this one bowl easy brownie recipe and turned out fabulous! Never mind my kitchen which looked like a tornado has just passed through. Never mind the cleaning I had to do after. I enjoyed it tremendously. This recipe is really worth sharing here on my blog. Of course, I replaced 1 cup of caster sugar with a mix of 1/2 cup caster and 1/2 cup brown sugar, to avoid that cloyingly sweet aftertaste.
The key to getting really choclatey ooey gooey fudgy brownies? A few points to note :
Yields 18 squares
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tbsp canola/sunflower oil
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract/essence
1/2 cup plain/all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
A few crushed pieces of walnut/cocoa buttons (if you prefer nut-free brownies)
1. Preheat oven to 175deg C. Spray cooking spray onto 10 x 6 inch flat brownie baking tin and line with baking paper. Set aside. Whisk the melted butter, oil and the sugar for 1-2 mins.
2) Add the eggs and vanilla essence and whisk further for another 1-2 mins.
3) Sieve the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Do it over the butter egg mix for a one bowl less clean up baking.
4) Add the sieved flour and cocoa to the butter egg mix. Mix well but do not over mix. You can add walnuts at this point.
5) Pour the batter onto the prepared baking tin.
6) Top with cocoa buttons or more crushed walnuts. Bake at the top shelf for excatly 21 mins. Remove, let it cool for 10 mins and cut into squares. Enjoy for a sweet after dinner treat.
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.