February 25, 2016

Microwave Masala Peanuts


I am a part of an online Fitness group on Facebook. It is a great place for fitness enthusiasts where fellow members provide much needed motivation. And, there has to be discussions about DIET or healthy eating as you may call it. 

A couple of days ago, there was a discussion, on how to tackle the 5 PM hunger pangs. While, I love eating fruits, I don't like to make it my 5 PM snack & it certainly does not go well with Chai or Coffee. Fortunately, I was not the only one who felt that way. The best way to stop oneself from attacking the pantry when hunger strikes, is to preplan our meals on time, including the in between snacks.

I have a great recipe for you to tackle the 5 PM hunger pangs - A low calorie, Microwave Masala Peanuts. All you need is 10 minutes from start to finish. You can actually make this in-between your favourite TV Show or in-between chores. 


You Will Need:

  • 1 cup Raw Peanuts
  • 3 tbsp Besan/Gram Flour
  • 2 tbsp Rice Flour
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • A pinch of Hing
  • Salt as per taste
  • 1 tbsp oil

In a large bowl,Add Gram Flour, Rice Flour, Red Chilli Powder, Hing & salt. Combine well with hands. Add Peanuts, Oil & water & mix well with your hands. 

You will get a soggy lump kind of mixture. Grease a Microwave safe bowl or a plate with a tsp of cooking oil. Spread the peanuts evenly on the bowl/plate. Breakdown any clusters to ensure even cooking.

Microwave for a minute. Take out the dish & give it a toss & microwave for another minute. Repeat the process 3 more times.

The Power of the microwave varies from one brand to another. Mine took about 5 minutes. So do a test before making the entire batch at once. 

The peanuts will feel slightly raw once the are out of the microwave but will get crispy once they cool down completely.

Transfer into an airtight jar & enjoy your gulit free snack

I actually prefer this version to the deep fried ones. It is a great accompaniment with Chai/Coffee. It goes well with a mug of chilled Beer too :)


I did not make this spicy on purpose as my little one loves munching on this as well. Increase Red Chiili Powder to 1 tsp to make it more spicy. 

It should take anywhere between 4-6 minutes for the peanuts to be done, depending on your microwave. Always do a test batch, if you are trying this for the first time.

They should stay nice & crisp for about 3-4 days. Mine lasted of 3 days & it was as crisp on the 3rd day too. Provided, you store them properly in an air tight jar

February 15, 2016

Chinese Bhel -- Indo Chinese Love

Chinese Bhel 

For the longest time, I thought that the Chinese food that we ate here in India is actually authentic. I loved the Manchurian, those spicy noodles, & American Choupsey. Though as a kid,  I always wondered as to why a Chinese dish had an American name. Nevertheless, those crispy noodles in a spicy broth was one yummy dish. 

There was a tiny eat out in Mumbai, close to where I lived & they served really good Indo Chinese food. And Chinese Bhel was one of my favourites. If you believe that Indo Chinese cuisine is the best thing ever, you are going to love this version of Bhel or Chinese Bhel like its called

It is nothing but deep fried crisp noodles tossed with shredded vegetables & seasoned with Soy Sauce, Tomato & a few other spices.

Chinese Bhel Ingredients


Cook Noodles as per package instructions. I used Ching's Hakka Noodles. Drain & set aside. Allow it to cool completely. 

Heat Oil in a pan, once hot, deep fry the noodles until crisp. remove with a slotted spoon & drain on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Break them into pieces

Finely chop the onion & bell pepper. Shred the carrots & cabbage.

In a wide bowl, Add all the vegetables. Add the soy sauce, tomato sauce, tabasco sauce, vinegar & honey. Mix well.

Just before serving, Add the fried noodles & mix well. check if you need salt. you may not need any of it. Garnish with chopped coriander & serve

Chinese Bhel


Make sure you toss in the noodles just before serving else they get soggy

This is a great after school snack option & is always a hit with the kids (Adults too)
You can deep fry the Noodles beforehand & store it in air tight jar & use it as & when needed. If stored appropriately, the noodles stay  crisp for about a week. 

Whenever I fry noodles to make this, I always fry excess & store them. I use them to make my salads more interesting. I love the extra crunch they add to salads.

Usually I do not add extra salt as the Sauces already have salt in them. 

February 5, 2016

Raw Tamarind Thokku | Hunase Thokku

Those in the South, especially from the Karnataka & Andhra region will know what Thokku is & how dear it is to them. Thokku is a semi dry chutney made with various seasonal produce like raw mangoes, Tamarind, Tomatoes, Gooseberry. They are usually made in huge batches & is meant to be stored for a long time. If stored well,  a  Thokku can stay good for a couple of years. 

Tamarind Thokku

Now that it is Tamarind season in Namma Bengalooru, I bought some nice & tender tamarind to add it to Gooseberry Pickle & the rest was used up to make this amazing Thokku. 

Raw Tamarind

You Will Need:

  • 250 grams of tender Raw Tamarind
  • 12-15 Green Chilies or Ripe Red Chilies - I used Green Chilies
  • 1 tsp Fenugreek seeds/Methi seeds
  • Salt as per taste - Usually about 4-5 Tablespoons
  • A big pinch of Turmeric Powder
  • 4 tbsp Oil - I used Groundnut Oil
How To:

Wash & Clean Tamarind. Spread it on a kitchen towel & pat them dry. While buying tamarind, choose the ones that are tender as they can be chopped easily & will have less fibre to discard. 

Chop tamarind into tiny pieces & discard the rough outer skin. Pound the tamarind with a pestle to remove any seeds.

Heat the oil along with a pinch of turmeric & set aside to cool

In a blender, grind green chilies & fenugreek seeds into a fine paste. Add salt & chopped tamarind & grind into a slightly coarse paste. Mix well with a spatula & add oil & whizz for a couple of times.

Store in a clean & dry, air tight jar & consume as needed. I usually refrigerate the those & it stays well for almost a year


The best way to eat Thokku is to mix it with hot steamed rice & a little bit of groundnut oil. 

Unlike Chutney, this those is slightly on the spicier side & will not go well with Idli/Dosa as it. You can take a couple of spoonfuls of those & grind it with grated coconut & a little bit of water to get a chutney like consnitency. Add mustard seeds tempering & use it to go along with idli/dosa

These gorgeous planks that I have used in these photographs are given to me by Mallika. She writes a beautiful food blog called  Veg Bowl & It's always a pleasure when fellow bloggers turn into friends. She was also generous enough to send me a few other props. Only a fellow blogger will understand how thrilled I was :) Thank you Mallika. I will treasure them  

February 2, 2016

Broccoli Pesto & A Simple Pesto Pasta

Broccoli Pesto

A lot of people seem to dislike Broccoli but I am on the other side. I just love that green coloured Vegetable. I can probably eat it everyday & in the most simple manner, steamed -- with a dash of salt & pepper.

I am always on the lookout for new ways of using broccoli. Broccoli Parathas taste excellent & so does Aloo Broccoli ..  Oh and Tandoori Broccoli is divine by the way, try it 

I made a nice pesto with Broccoli & I think it is a great way to sneak in this healthy vegetable if your kids are picky eaters.


You Will Need:
  • 1 large heaf of Broccoli
  • A big handful of Almonds
  • A couple of stems of Mint
  • 2 tsp chopped Garlic
  • juice of half a lime
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
  • Salt as per taste

How To:

Cut Broccoli into florets. Steam them for 3-4 minutes & strain. Set aside.

In a food processor, add all the ingredients & whizz for a couple of minutes till it reaches a pesto like consistency.  If you find the pesto very thick & dry, add a little EVOO
Store it in an air tight jar. Keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Use this pesto in your pasta, As a Dip, in Marinades  as a salad dressing, on toast or you could eat it by the spoonfuls. Its quite yummy that way too


For the Pesto Pasta, You Will Need:

  • 1 cup cooked Pasta
  • Half a cup of Broccoli Pesto
  • A handful of cherry Tomatoes
  • Sliced Black olives
  • Fresh Basil for Garnish
  • A dash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • Salt if needed

How To:

Choose any pasta of your choice, I used Macaroni because it is the child's current favourite :) Cook according to package instructions. Drain & set aside.

In a wide bowl, Add the pasta, Pesto, Halved cherry tomatoes, olives  chopped Basil & EVOO .  Give it a good mix. Check if you need some salt & Add if necessary. Gently mix again. If you find the pasta too dry, add some more pesto. I love a Pesto heavy pasta

Let it stand for 10-15 minutes before serving for the flavours to infuse


I didn't find the need to toast the almonds. You could, if you wish to. 
You can try replacing Almonds with other nuts like Pine nuts, melon seeds, Walnuts or Pecans