Vanilla Overnight Oats

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We’ve all heard that. However, very often, its one of the most rushed through or even ignored meal of the day. A lot of times, this happens because of our crazy busy schedules or we fall into a rut and breakfast gets boring. I mean, as much as I like toast, I really can’t eat it every single day. Moreover, I don’t think toast by itself is doing me any good.

In our house, we tend to eat oats for breakfast very often. Sometimes, this can prove difficult, because we’re running late or its summertime and I can’t bear the thought of turning the gas on to make us porridge. Not to mention, eating hot porridge on a hot day, only makes things hotter. So once I tried refrigerated overnight oats, I was really happy. If you’ve never tried overnight oats, you really should. Oats are healthy and when combined with some chia seeds, fresh fruit and nuts, it is a really healthy breakfast. The best part is, this is a make ahead recipe and requires no cooking. Which can be a blessing during hot summers. This is a versatile recipe and you can add your favorite fruit and nuts to top it off. So I hope you try this out as a breakfast option and let me know what you think.

Vanilla Overnight Oats
(Makes 1 portion)

1/3 cup rolled oats
1 tsp chia seeds
1/4 – 1/2 vanilla extract
Maple syrup, to taste
2/3 cup almond milk (you can use soy milk or any other milk of your choice)
Fresh fruit and nuts of your choice (I used some strawberries, grapes and slivered almonds)

In a mason jar, add all the ingredients except the fresh fruit and nuts that you’re using to top off the oatmeal with.

Cover the jar and refrigerate overnight. (You can make a larger batch and use it through the week)

In the morning, add the fresh fruit and nuts of your choice. Serve up.

Enjoy!

Chana Masala

Chickpeas! If you’ve been around this space a bit, you’ll know that I love my beans and lentils. Chickpeas happen to be right on top of that list. The best part is, they are so easy to work with. And No! I’m definitely not talking about using the canned stuff. While you can use canned chickpeas in most recipes that call for chickpeas, and I have too (when I didn’t have access to my pressure cooker), there is nothing like cooking your chickpeas or any other beans for that matter, from scratch. I haven’t bought the canned stuff for years now. I buy dry beans and lentils by the kilo.

To cook the beans, simply wash and soak them for 6-8 hours, drain and refresh the water. I use a pressure cooker to cook my beans in my stovetop pressure cooker with water, salt and a couple of whole Kashmiri chillies. It takes me just 5 minutes of cooking time after the pressure has built up to cook my beans through. However, each pressure cooker is different. Please refer to the user guide for your cooker, to see how long you need to cook the beans.  If you done have a pressure cooker, cook it in a pot with sufficient water till tender. 
Once, you’ve boiled your chickpeas, you can use them in so many different ways. I have shared a recipe for Chole on the website previously. That is still a great recipe but I have since tweaked it a little and I’m going to share that new version of the recipe today. I will call it Chana Masala to avoid any confusion. You can also use the boiled chickpeas in a simple chickpea salad, make some Hummus or use the kala chana (a darker version of the chickpeas) to make this amazing stir fry called Black Chana Fugad. They are all delicious. 

Chana Masala 

1 cup dry chickpeas (Wash, soak for 6-8 hours and cook till tender. Reserve the boiling liquid.)
1 bay leaf
2 inches of cinnamon
5-6 cloves
8-10 peppercorns
2 green cardamom pods
1 black cardamom pods
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
2 green/red chillies, split lengthways
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilly powder
1 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1 cup tomato puree / passata
1 tbsp oil
Salt, to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
Fresh coriander leaves and stalks, finely chopped, to garnish
Heat the oil in a large vessel.
Add the bayleaf, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns and cardamom pods. 
When the spices turn aromatic, add the cumin seeds and stir. 
Immediately add the chillies and onion. Saute till the onions have softened and have starting getting a little brown around the edges. 
Add the ginger and garlic paste and stir through. Saute for another minute.
Add the turmeric powder, chilly powder and garam masala powder and stir well.
Add a couple of tablespoons of the stock from cooking the chickpeas to deglaze the pan and prevent the spices from burning. Stir through thoroughly.
Now add the tomato puree and cook for 3-4 minutes stirring every once in a while. 
Add some more stock to bring the curry to the desired consistency. Please note, the curry will thicken a little as it cooks. 
Bring it to a boil. Cover the pot and simmer for 5 minutes. 
After 5 minutes, stir and check for seasoning. Add more stock if needed. Add more salt, if needed. Add 1/2 tsp of sugar. (Depending on the tomatoes you’re using, you may need to add a little more sugar. Add to taste.) Stir through. Cover and simmer for another 5-7 minutes. 
At this stage your curry should be cooked. Lastly add in the boiled chickpeas. Cook for another couple of minutes till the chickpeas have heated through. 
Garnish with chopped, fresh coriander and serve hot. 
Enjoy!!!

Tava Style Aloo Bhindi – Indian Potato and Okra Stir Fry

This recipe takes me way back to when I’d first enjoyed some Tava vegetables. It was at a party that had a huge buffet offering, both non-vegetarian and vegetarian. While the non-vegetarian spread was really impressive, I was intrigued by a live stall happening over on the veggie side of the table. There was a massive tava (cast iron griddle) and it had a variety of vegetables on it. The aroma was deliciously intoxicating and I knew I had to try some. I helped myself to a small assortment, some salads and took some naan bread to go along with it. Little did I know that this dish would have me hooked for a long time to come. This was about 7 years ago, I think. To this day, the thought of those tava vegetables has me yearning for some.

After a lot of searching, high and low, I found a recipe, that I tweaked to try and replicate the flavors I so vividly remember. Since I cook for just my husband and I, this recipe is scaled down. I also just use my favorite veggies from that day – okra (bhindi) and potatoes (aloo). I found that these are also some of the easy ones to work with. I don’t make this recipe very often, because the veggies start off by getting deep fried and are then tossed with a spice mix (tava masala), and the deep frying tips this to the slightly indulgent side.

The spice mix, or my version of the tava masala is hot a very hot mix. The spices used are warm and flavorful. The chaat masala is an integral part of this recipe. If you haven’t tried it before, it is a blend of a few spices like cumin, pepper and a few others with some powdered mango. So it has a unique flavor profile, you get a slight hit of salt, tang from the mango and delicious flavor from the blend of other spices. You can easily find this at any Indian grocery store. (This chaat masala also works well with other chaat recipes you find on my blog.)

So try this easy stir fry recipe. This is best enjoyed served hot with some chapatis, rotis, naan or other flatbread of your choice. It would also work well as a side dish to some hearty Dal & Rice.

Tava Style Aloo Bhindi


3 medium potatoes
20-25 okra
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 – 1 tsp Kashmiri chilly powder (or any other mild chilly powder)
1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp chaat masala
Salt, to taste
1 1/2 – 2 tbsp oil, plus oil for deep frying

Place a pan with the oil for deep frying on medium high heat.

Wash and peel the potatoes and cut into evenly sized fries / chips.

Wash the okra and pat dry. Chop the stalks off the okra and discard. Try and use okra that is similar in size, if not, cut them down to about the same size as the potato pieces.

By now, the oil should be hot. Carefully, and in batches, add the potatoes to the oil. Don’t overcrowd the pan or the oil will froth over and spill.

Deep fry the potatoes on medium heat till they’ve cooked through. Drain using a slotted spoon and set aside on some kitchen paper to get rid of any excess oil.

Deep fry the okra on medium heat till they have start getting a little darker in color and have started crisping up.

Drain using a slotted spoon and set aside on some kitchen paper to get rid of any excess oil, like you did the potatoes.

Take the oil for deep frying off the heat.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan on medium heat. When the oil is warm, NOT hot, add in the turmeric powder first and then add the rest of the spice powders.

Stir that through for about 20-30 seconds or  till the spices get aromatic.

Add the okra to the pan and toss well. Lastly add the potatoes and toss to coat the veggies with the spices evenly.

Check for seasoning and add salt, to taste. Toss well.

Serve hot.

You can watch the video recipe here –

Aloo Bhaji

UPDATE: Over the years, I’ve made one little addition to this recipe, that I think makes this recipe even more delicious. After the mustard seeds sputter, add 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and let it release its aroma, should take a few seconds. Then continue with the recipe. Nothing else changes. Keep a close eye on the cumin seeds and don’t let it burn.
Also, I have come to realise that there is a difference in the size of sour limes found in India and other countries. You need just a few drops, maybe a teaspoon of it for a mild change in flavours.

I’ve been having such crazy days of late, I just don’t know where all the 24 hours off the day go. Things such seem to be happening at such a frenzied pace, and that too for no reason in particular. I wonder what brought this on. Since I haven’t been able to devote much time to this space, I decided I was going to make up for it by posting one of my all time favorites – the humble aloo bhaji (A mildly spiced potato stir fry.) I do love my fries and mashed potatoes, but sometimes I find myself longing for a portion of this stir fry.

Making this stir fry can be super quick, not to mention easy, if you have a few boiled potatoes at hand. Make sure that when you’re boiling potatoes for this stir fry, you don’t overcook them, else they will not hold their shape and get all mushy. It’ll still taste great, but just won’t be as much of a visual treat. I usually wash the potatoes and pressure cook them with some water and salt for about 10 minutes after the first whistle. Remember to turn your gas to low after the whistle. If you don’t want to use a pressure cooker, peel and cube the potatoes and cover them in water, add a little salt and boil them on the stovetop till tender.
This stir fry is a versatile side dish. In India, every region tweaks it a little and uses it in loads of different ways.  It can be served with some hot chapatis (Whole wheat flat bread), pooris (savory deep fried flat bread), used as stuffing for masala dosas (savory crispy crepes filled with this potato mix) and so on. I’m going to try to post each of these in the future. Oh! and by the way, this potato mix makes for a lovely topping on a slice of toasted bread or can also be used as a filling for a grilled sandwich. How about that!

Watch the video here –

Aloo Bhaji
(Serves 4)
3-4 large potatoes, boiled, peeled and cubed (about 1/2 kg)
1 large onion, chopped
2 birdseye / green chillies, sliced (or to taste)
8-10 curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp (scant) turmeric powder
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt, to taste
1/2 tsp sugar

Heat the oil in a pan. 
On a medium flame, add the mustard seeds and let them sputter.

Add the curry leaves and the chopped chilly. Let it fry for a few seconds.

Add the cumin seeds and immediately after tip in the chopped onions and saute it for a few minutes till the onions have softened and turned a light brown.

Add the turmeric powder and stir well. Let it cook for about a minute. Stir to make sure it doesn’t stick to the pan and burn.

Tip in the potatoes and stir well till the potatoes are well coated with the spice mix. 
Add the lime juice and salt to taste and stir well. 

Add the sugar and stir well.

Check for seasoning and adjust, if needed.

Once the potatoes have heated through, sprinkle the chopped coriander leaves and toss lightly. Take the pan off the heat.
Serve hot.


This recipe is linked to –
Savory Sunday
Mangia Mondays
My Meatless Mondays
Just Another Meatless Monday
Hearth and Soul

Coconut Coriander Chutney – Savory Sandwich Spread

A coconut coriander chutney is probably one of the humblest of all sandwich fillings. It has so many wonderful flavors that mingle to form one well balanced spread. There is absolutely no cooking involved, which is a welcome relief in these sweltering conditions. I’ve jotted down the quantities and the ingredients that I use for the chutney in this post, but you can play around with them to get the flavors you prefer. In India, theres probably hundreds if not thousands of recipes for this chutney. This is one my grandmother and mother used, but my husband tweaked and I’d dare say perfected it. Its not too spicy so even children can enjoy this, and believe me they do.

This chutney keeps very well. So you can make it ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to a week and use it as and when you need to.

Here’s a few options on what you can do with this spread –
1) Chutney sandwich – Spread it over some buttered slices of bread. I think it goes well with slightly toasted slices as well.

2) Chutney Cheese sandwich – Butter a slice of bread and spread some of the chutney over it. Top with a slice of cheese or grated cheese, whatever you have at hand. Cover this with another slice of bread.

3) Veggie Delight sandwich – Butter a slice of bread and spread some of the chutney over it. Place some slices of tomato and cucumber on it. Cover this with another slice of bread.

These are just a few sandwich combos to get you started. I’m sure you’ll come up with many more and I’d love to hear about them. And oh yes, how can I forget –

4) With rice – On days of fasting, my mum used to serve us this chutney with a small portion of warm, plain rice to get us through the day.

Check out how I make my Coconut & Coriander Chutney here –

Coconut Coriander Chutney


1 cup freshly grated coconut
1 large bunch of fresh coriander, leaves and tender stalks (About 1 tightly packed cup)
6 small cloves of garlic or 2 large cloves of garlic
3/4″ ginger
1 green/red chilly
1 tbsp sugar
1 walnut sized ball of tamarind, soaked in 1/4 cup water
Salt to taste

Tip all the ingredients except the coconut into a blender or food processor. Blitz to form a puree.

Add the coconut and blitz again. You can leave this spread as coarse or grind it as finely as you like. I like it ground fine but not too fine. You may need to add a dash of water to help the ingredients grind well.

Taste and adjust the flavors, if needed.

Store in a container, refrigerate for up to a week and use as and when needed.

This recipe is linked to –
Mouthwatering Mondays
A Little Birdie Told Me
Tuesdays At the Table
Tuesday Night Supper Club
Delectable Tuesday
Let’s Do Brunch