Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Soybean Curry

I am excited that I finally signed up for Vegan MOFO after a long deliberation. It has been over a year since I turned vegan and participating in this event couldn't be more gratifying. I kept going back and forth about picking a theme. The first one I thought of was desserts but 20+ recipes of sweet treats...don't know if I can handle the sugar rush. Finally, after thinking about quite a few themes, I narrowed it down to Soups. What's not to like about soups? They are healthy and nutritious comfort food packed in a bowl perfect for any season. Watch out for recipes coming soon!!

Back to the recipe, soybean is a type of legume that originates from East Asia and is used in making either non-fermented or fermented food. Some of the non-fermented foods include soy milk and tofu whereas fermented foods are used for soy sauce, tempeh, etc.,

Soybean is known for its significant levels of essential amino acids that is vital to human body and is considered a good source of protein, especially for vegans and vegetarians. Immature soybeans that are still in their green pods are popularly known as 'edamame' which is finding its way in salads, hummus, etc., these days. In most asian cuisine, soybean is more of a staple in some form or the other. In Indian cooking, dry soybean is not used much although it is slowly gaining popularity. Soybean is similar to any other bean variety and it can be easily replaced with any legume of your choice. 

Poppy seeds are considered to be highly nutritious and white poppy seeds are added to give thickness and flavor to any dish. Poppy seeds are hard to grind, so a dry grind followed by wet grind (adding water) gives the desired paste consistency. This simple recipe is a good accompaniment for rotis or rice. 


1 1/2 cups dry soybean, soaked overnight and boiled
1 1/2 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 heaped tsp ginger-garlic paste
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 tsp red chilli powder
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
2-3 tbsp grated coconut, fresh or frozen
8-10 cashewnuts
1 - 1 1/2 cups filtered water
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Lemon juice, to taste
Salt, to taste


Soak the dry soybean in water overnight. Toss out some of the outer shell that remains in the water and rinse again.

Pressure cook the soybeans with enough water for about 5-6 whistles (if you are cooking in a pan, cook until the soybeans is slightly soft which could take up to 20-25 mins or so).

In a pan, heat oil, add cumin seeds and after it starts to splutter, add chopped onions and fry for few minutes (add little salt to cook the onions faster).

Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté until the raw smell is gone. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until slightly pulpy.

Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and salt. Cook for few minutes until the flavors blend well. Add 1 - 1 1/4 cups water and salt, if required, and allow it to boil.

In a blender, dry grind the poppy seeds until they become a fine powder. Add a little water and grind to a paste. Now, add the grated coconut and cashewnuts and grind finely.

Add the ground paste and mix well. Cook for 5-6 mins until the gravy starts boiling. 

Add the chopped cilantro and lemon juice (adjust to taste). Stir well and serve hot with rotis or rice.

Makes 3-4 servings.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Poha Upma

Poha (flattened/beaten rice) is rice that flattened into dry flakes. These flakes are soaked in water and swell up as they absorb all the liquid. In Indian cooking, poha has been used in sweet and savory dishes. There are several versions to the savory can add veggies or skip them, either way they taste good. One of my favorites is the savory poha that mom makes frequently. Mom makes this recipe without potatoes but I like to add them once in a while because it works well with the soaked rice and has a great texture. This version is also known as 'Kanda Poha' (onion poha) which is a popular Mumbai (city in Maharashtra, India)
street food. Coming to think of it, I guess mom used to make it often because of her influence from living in Mumbai until her teens. This recipe is quick and easy and the crunch from the peanuts makes it don't skip it unless you don't like nuts.


2 1/2 cups thick white poha, rinsed and soaked for 20 mins
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3-4 green chillies, cut lengthwise
1 medium potato, boiled, peeled & slightly mashed (or you can cut into small pieces)
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 1/2 tsp urad dhal
2 tsp channa dhal
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Few curry leaves
2/3 cup skinless dry roasted peanuts, crushed (if you don't like too much crunch, reduce to 1/2 cup)


Rinse the thick poha and soak them in filtered water (just enough to soak the poha, roughly about 1 1/4 cup water) for 20-25 minutes.

In a pan, heat oil, add mustard seeds, urad dhal and channa dhal. 

After the mustard seeds start to splutter and urad dhal and channa dhal turn golden brown, add curry leaves, onions and green chillies.

Fry until onions are slightly brown, add turmeric powder and then mashed potato (optional). Mix well. Now, add the soaked poha and mix again until all of it is coated with turmeric.

Add salt and lemon juice and mix well. Add the chopped cilantro and crushed peanuts (make sure you don't crush them too finely) . 

If you like, you can also add fresh grated coconut to the poha. You can also make this recipe using red/brown rice poha. Toss well and serve hot.

Makes 3-4 servings.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Vegan Funfetti Cake

Funfetti cake is popular among kids and adults. Funfetti cake is a simple vanilla cake with sprinkles that melt and make the cake colorful. I can't even keep track of how many funfetti cakes I would have baked over the years. Of course, things are a lot different now, especially, after becoming a vegan and also trying to make healthy choices. Ever since, I turned vegan, I stopped using cake box mixes (always felt guilty using them, so this was a good reason to stop) and have baked my cakes from scratch prior to which I used to only bake cookies and quick breads.

My daughter's b'day was approaching and I wanted to bake a cake for her.  I couldn't think of baking any other cake for a 1 yr old and also this is the first cake she would be tasting as well. The first time I made the cake I followed the recipe and decorated with pink buttercream frosting with pink crystal sprinkles (its a girl's 1st b'day after rulz!!). She was excited to cut the cake and was happy about everyone singing her Happy B'day. Little did she know that we planned a bigger celebration that following weekend. 

I was in a hurry to bake her b'day cake and wanted it to be flawless. The original recipe was super moist and had the melt in your mouth texture.She thoroughly enjoyed her cake and kept coming back for more :) This time, I tweaked the recipe to make a smaller cake, with lot less fat and a tad bit healthy but equally delicious. Now, you don't need a reason to bake a cake, do ya???

Adapted from Girl who bakes


For Funfetti cake:

3/4 cup powdered raw sugar 
1 cup almond milk, unsweetened (I use Almond Breeze)
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup applesauce, unsweetened
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp oil
2 tbsp cornstarch
3 - 3 1/2 tbsp rainbow sprinkles
1 - 2 tbsp confetti sprinkles, for decoration

For vanilla glaze:

1/2 cup powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp almond milk (or water)
1/8 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl, whisk the milk and vinegar. Set aside until the mixture curdles.

Sift the whole wheat pastry flour (sifting the flour makes the cake lighter), cornstarch, salt, baking powder, baking soda. Add sugar (increase to 1 cup, if you like it sweeter) and rainbow sprinkles.

In a mixing bowl, whisk oil and vanilla extract with wet ingredients (milk-vinegar mix and applesauce). 

Note: I actually forgot to add the applesauce to the wet ingredients and the cake turned out slightly moist but adding applesauce makes the cake more moist.

Now, mix the dry ingredients with wet. Grease a bundt cake pan (or any other pan) with cooking spray, pour the cake batter and bake for 35 mins. 

Insert a toothpick to check if its baked all the way through. Allow to cool completely before using a glaze (otherwise the glaze melts away).


The cake on its own was not very sweet but the glaze balances out the sweetness.

Note: If you don't like using vinegar, you can use 1 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice but make sure to add it to the cake batter after adding all ingredients, mix quickly (the batter will slightly foam up) and immediately transfer to the cake pan to bake. 

For glaze:

In a small bowl, add the powdered sugar, salt, almond milk (or water) and vanilla extract. Mix well until the glaze is smooth and slightly thick.

Using a spoon, liberally drizzle the glaze on the cake. Add the confetti sprinkles on top of the glaze so that it sticks well. 

Makes 10-12 servings.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Adai with Peanut Chutney

Adai (mixed dal/pulses) is a variety of dosa (crepe prepared from fermented batter made using rice and broken black gram) found in Southern India. It comprises of various pulses which makes it protein packed and satisfying breakfast/dinner. Every once in a while, I make them especially when I run out of the idli/dosa batter and grow a bit tired of eating the usuals. The use of asafoetida and ginger adds a nice flavor to these crepes as well as aids in digesting the different pulses.  

Adai is generally thicker than the regular dosa and not as crispy. In some places in southern india, it is served with avial (kerala-based dish made with vegetables in a mildly spicy yogurt-coconut gravy). Since, it tends to be a bit dense and flavorful on its own, you really don't need any accompaniment but coconut or peanut chutney works well. This dish brings back memories from my school days...every time mom made them, I used to enjoy them with chill-garlic sauce. No wonder I still like spicy and flavorful food..who doesn't???


For Adai:

1/4 cup split & peeled mung/moong beans (broken green gram/moong dal)
1/4 cup whole mung/moong beans (whole green gram)
1/4 cup urad dal (broken black gram)
1/4 cup toor dal (red gram)
1/4 cup channa dal (bengal gram)
1/4 cup masoor dal (red lentils)
3-4 green chillies
4-5 dry red chillies
Few curry leaves
1/8 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp black  peppercorns
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
Salt, to taste
1/2 inch peeled fresh ginger (optional)

For Peanut Chutney:

2/3 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts
2 green chillies
2-3 tbsp fresh or frozen grated coconut
1/2 tsp tamarind paste (adjust to taste)
Salt, to taste

For tempering:

1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp urad dal
Few Curry leaves


For the Adai:

In a large bowl, soak all the pulses together overnight.

In a blender/mixer, take half the batch of soaked pulses, add 2 green and 2 red chillies,  little asafoetida, curry leaves, 1/4 tsp each of peppercorns and cumin seeds, 1/4 inch ginger and salt. Grind well into a medium coarse paste. 

Repeat the same for the remaining batch of pulses.

Note: Unlike the usual idli/dosa batter, this batter does not require any fermentation and can be used immediately.

On medium-high heat, in a flat pan (or tawa), take a ladle full of the batter and spread evenly into a circle and drizzle some oil on it.

Cook the dosa for few mins until it starts to turn slightly golden brown, flip to the other side and let it cook for 1-2 mins.  Remove from pan. 

Serve hot with peanut/coconut chutney or sambar.

For a variation, you can add chopped cilantro and some chopped red onions (raw or sautéed)  to the batter.

For Peanut Chutney:

In a blender, add the dry roasted peanuts, green chillies, grated coconut, tamarind paste and salt. Dry grind the ingredients and add  little water at a time and grind to a fine paste (might require up to 1/4 cup water..adjust based on the consistency). Add more salt or tamarind paste, if required. Pour the chutney into a serving bowl.

In a small tempering pan, heat oil, add mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves.  After the mustard seeds start to splutter and urad dal turns slightly golden brown, turn it off. Pour the tempering over the chutney. Mix well and serve.

Makes 8-9 dosas.