Rava Idli, and a Giveaway

Rava Idli An Idli is rather like the Cinderella of south Indian cuisine. Compare her to other stalwart favorites like crispy, flamboyant dosas that spill over your plate, and golden, melt-in-the-mouth vadas, and the Idli comes across as rather humble, even plain. Worse, try eating her by herself and she is, to boot, bland. After all, there’s nothing more to a generic Idli than udad dal, rice, and salt.

But there’s something about an Idli. Sprinkle on some fairy dust and lo and behold, she transforms into the belle of the ball. That porous and fluffy texture is the perfect vehicle to showcase the spicy-sweet-sourness of vegetable sambar and the creaminess of coconut chutney: the accompaniments an Idli is traditionally served with. What’s more, unlike those dosas and vadas, an Idli is fat-free, making her the perfect food for just about anyone.

Rava Idli In our home, Idli is a perennial favorite. Both Desi (my resident Tamilian) and Jay love Idlis, and so does my fluffy sweetheart Opie who waits patiently for those under-the-table handouts. But this time, I had an added incentive to make Idlis– I had these gorgeous idli makers, or Idlitos, from Gitadini, the innovative folks who gave us the Rotito rolling board and Yin Yang spice box.

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Crockpot Sambar

Fat-Free Crockpot Sambar for Two

Do you ever get tired of those leftovers? I know I do. I cook up a big pot of dal or pasta for Desi and I, and then– many cooking experiments later– I am digging it out of the back of the refrigerator. It is covered in fuzzy gray stuff, smells lethal, and I am afraid… 

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Tawa Pulao

Tawa Pulao

When Desi and I lived in Mumbai — or Bombay as those of us who left the city in those days still like to call it — there were nights, after wrapping up the graveyard shift at the newspaper we both worked for, when we would set out with co-workers and friends to scour the city’s streets for… 

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Black Bean Black Rice Veggie Burger

Black Bean and Black Rice Veggie Burger

It’s almost Memorial Day guys, and I don’t know what you have planned for your cookout, but I have the perfect burger to slap on the grill and then sink my teeth into. My Black Bean and Black Rice Burger, aka Black Burger. Memorial Day is always a dramatic day around here in the nation’s capital. Friday,… 

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Chocolate Strawberry Shortbread

Chocolate Strawberry Shortbread Bars

I had a craving for something chocolatey and sweet the other day, and these Chocolate Strawberry Shortbread Bars, I discovered, were exactly what my sweet tooth was asking for. There is a layer of chocolate shortbread in this recipe, and a layer of regular shortbread, and then all of this shortbready goodness is topped off by… 

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Thai Noodles

Thai Noodles in a Spicy Peanut Sauce

So can you stomach meat produced in a lab? Humane meat, meat that did not come at the cost of an animal’s life, meatless meat that tastes like meat but just isn’t? If you’ve been alive in this century, you know that there are efforts afoot to produce meat from lab-cultured stem cells. And although… 

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Chana Jor Garam

Chana Jor Garam

This spicy-tart chickpea snack, which translates from colloquial Hindi to “super-hot chickpeas,” comes straight from the streets of my hometown, Mumbai. Or perhaps it’d be more apt to say it comes straight from the beaches of Mumbai– those  noisy, colorful, crowded stretches of sea and sand that surround this noisy, colorful, crowded city. Life in Mumbai… 

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Sundried Tomato Quiche

Sundried Tomato Quiche

The perennial herbs have sprung back to life in my backyard, and I am having a lot of fun cooking with them. One of the best parts of spring and summer is being able to pick handfuls of herbs from the vegetable garden. Every year, the thyme, sage, mint, chives and garlic greens resurface, sunny and… 

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Mushroom Paratha

Mushroom Paratha

One of my favorite times of the day is opening up emails you send me, and over the weekend I got this message from a reader, Ruth.  “I could eat Indian food every day – both northern and southern,” wrote Ruth who learned to cook from Indian friends. “So please post more Indian recipes.” I looked through the… 

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Pasta Gratin with Cauliflower Chickpea Sauce

Pasta Gratin with a Cauliflower Chickpea Sauce

I think I am in love. Truly, madly, deeply in love. Or at least as much in love as one can be with a pasta. I had been wanting to make a cauliflower sauce for my pasta — isn’t it all the rage? — but I’ll admit that as much as I love cauliflower, I am… 

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Lentil Tacos

Fat-Free Lentil Tacos

Come closer and I’ll tell you a big, fat secret: these are quite possibly the best tacos ever. The filling’s creamy and flavorful, the whole-wheat tortillas are soft and fluffy, and the toppings– roasted red peppers and salsa– take them from simply superb to simply sublime. But here’s the most wonderful part: these tacos are absolutely fat-free…. 

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Avocado Pasta

Pasta Avocado

This is a creamy, dreamy pasta recipe to die for, and I am kicking myself because I didn’t think of it before. My Pasta Avocado — or Avocado Pasta — comes from a combination of my two favorite cuisines — Italian and Mexican. And it’s so simple, you can put it together in minutes, really, with a… 

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Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Sundays in our home can feel rather busy. There are calls to be made to India, a dog to walk, errands to run, a house to clean, and food to cook. Sometimes, when it feels like the time is getting away from me and I cannot handle one more thing to do, I whip up this… 

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Masala Dosa

Quick Masala Dosa

As much as I wish I could spend all day in the kitchen cooking a slow and leisurely meal,  there are times — most times in my case– when time is just not on my side. That’s when I start sniffing around for ideas for new meals, or very often reworking something old into something new,… 

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Italian Wild Rice Asparagus Soup

Italian Wild Rice and Chickpea Soup with Asparagus and Leeks

When you live with a dog, you soon start to see the world through his eyes. A dog’s world is rich–  infinitely richer than our human one. We only appreciate the familiar and we are held back by our inhibitions and all those pesky little things like behaving ourselves in public. A dog, with no such irritants in the… 

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