Garlic Rasam

Garlic Rasam (Poondu Rasam)

Rasam and sambar are two of the most basic dishes cooked in every Tamilian kitchen. They are usually made at the same meal, in fact at almost every meal, and are a wonderful example of the resourceful creativity of the Indian housewife: when cooked, the thick lentils sit at the bottom of the pan while…

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Mutton Curry, meatless

My Dad’s ‘Not-Mutton’ Mushroom Curry

I grew up in a meat-eating household and one of our family’s long-standing traditions was a mutton curry that my dad prepared each Sunday.My dad, who was very handy around the kitchen unlike many men of his generation in India, would do most of the work, right from buying the meat in the morning to…

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Vegetable Moilee

Vegetable Moilee

Lush palms, backwaters that snake eternally, and beautiful people – Kerala has got to be one of the most exquisite places I’ve ever been to, and just writing about it now fills me with a deep longing to return. Growing up in Bombay, I had lots of Malayali friends. I ate like a glutton at…

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Puliyodharai

Puliyodharai

Puliyodharai, or Tamarind Rice, is one of my favorites.Tamil cuisine includes a plethora of “prepared rice” dishes, including lemon rice, tomato rice, coconut rice and brinjal rice. But tamarind rice is quite special. When I first ate it at my in-laws’ home, the irresistibly tangy tamarind, spicy chili and nuttily sweet peanuts burst into an…

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Dosa with Mixed-Vegetable Kuzhambu and Coconut-Coriander Chutney

Dosa with Sambar and Chutney

Being married to a Tamilian, I learned long ago to love Tamilian food. It was not a hard thing to do, by any means: Tamil Nadu cuisine is chock-full of such palate-pleasing delights as sambars, rasams, dosas and idlis. This South Indian state even gave the world the popular Mulligatawny Soup (milagu tanneer, or “pepper…

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Black Bean Hummus

Black Bean Hummus with Olives

I’ve blogged before about my hummus recipe, made with the traditional chickpeas. But today I wanted to introduce you to a different version of hummus that’s just as delicious and extremely healthy: Black Bean Hummus with Olives.If you have visited this blog before, you know that I focus on foods that are healthy as well…

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Tomato-Coconut Curry

Creamy Tomato Coconut Curry

One of the dishes that I cook over and over again is this decadent-tasting but healthy Tomato Coconut Cream Curry.It is an ideal recipe for someone who is new to cooking Indian food — or just new to cooking — because of its sheer simplicity. There’s no grinding, complicated spice mixes and marinating required. Once…

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Venn Pongal

Vegan Venn Pongal with Eggplant-Green-Pepper Gotsu

This week, one half of my family (Desi’s side) celebrated Pongal, the beginning of the new year for people from the state of Tamil Nadu. Like all Indian festivals, this is an occasion to guzzle down plate after plate of lovingly prepared luscious, delicious vegetarian food. There are some very special dishes that are traditionally…

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Karela Pitlai

Bitter Gourd Pitlai

The bitter gourd (karela in Hindi or pagarkai in Tamil) is a veggie that usually inspires people to extreme love or extreme distaste. It is no star looks-wise, with a warty, bumpy green skin and big flat seeds. But it is the taste, evident in the name, that evokes the strongest passions.In India, bitter gourd…

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White Bean Soup

Garlicky White Bean Soup

I love beans- there are more than a dozen different types of beans and lentils in my pantry at all times, and this was true even in my pre-vegan days. I love soaking them, sprouting them, cooking with them- and needless to say, I really love eating them. Apart from the fact that beans are…

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Vegan Palak Paneer

Vegan Palak Paneer | South Indian Lemon Rice

Palak Paneer is a popular North Indian dish that is on the vegetarian menu of just about every Indian restaurant. But for those of us who are vegans, this rich and spicy spinach-based dish comes with a catch – the cubes of deep-fried Paneer, or Indian cheese, puts it on our list of can’t-haves. Enter…

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Masoor Dal

Masoor Dal

Masoor Dal with Toasted Spices, which I’m sharing today, is one of my favorite dishes. For a number of reasons: the lentils taste great and cook easily, making them perfect for busy evenings when you have little time to throw together a meal that’s both nourishing and delicious. What’s more, like all beans and lentils, they…

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Coconut Rice,

South Indian Coconut Rice

Whenever Desi and I would visit Madras, we almost always got swept up by relatives into a tour of various temples, including Sholingar and Thirupathi. Both Desi and I are not temple-goers, and my in-laws, I think, were hoping that those whirlwind tours, packed with as many deities as possible, would make up for all…

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Cabbage Kootu

Cabbage Kootu

My husband, Desi, was born and raised in Madras (or Chennai, although he insists on calling it Madras still) in a very traditional family. But when we got married, his parents and six siblings were more than welcoming to the new daughter-in-law even though she had short hair, didn’t wear saris and didn’t speak a…

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