Whole wheat banana pancakes

I like changing our breakfast menu often so as not to be bored.  Today I made banana pancakes since I had these bananas that were really ripe. These pancakes are certainly different from regular pancakes. They are slightly more dense than the regular ones, but good nonetheless. These were sweet enough so we could eat them plain – they didn’t need any syrup or whipped cream! We had strawberries and oranges on the side 🙂


2 medium sized bananas

2 eggs

3/4-1 cup whole wheat flour (depending on how much is needed)

sugar – to taste (about 3-4 tbsps., or more if you have a really sweet tooth!)

1/4 tsp baking powder

butter – to grease the pan


Puree the bananas and eggs together with a stick blender until smooth. Add sugar one tablespoon after another making sure that it isn’t too sweet, that will partially depend on what kind of bananas you use. If you would like to eat your pancakes with syrup, you might not want to add the sugar at all.

Add the baking powder and then add flour little by little (starting at 1/2 cup) until the batter has a dropping consistency. The amount of flour needed will depend on the type of flour you use – how fine it is ground, etc.

Do a taste test to make sure that the batter is sweet enough. Be careful though, because if you add too much sugar, you can end up having darker pancakes – the sugar caramelizes and burns faster.

Heat a skillet on medium heat and grease it with some butter. Pour about 1/4 of a cup of batter onto the skillet  and spread it out slowly. After a few minutes turn it over, make sure it is slightly browned and let it cook for another minute or two.

Serve with fruit like blueberries and strawberries and if required, with a dollop of whipped cream.

This recipe makes enough pancakes to serve two – about 5 medium sized pancakes.


Kale chips

Ewwww…that is the reaction I get from the husband. But he is over-reacting! How do I know? Because I don’t remember him putting even put one of these in his mouth 😛 Most people I know don’t like kale. I must admit that I’m not super-fond of it either. However, I do enjoy them in this form.

Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and reasonably rich in calcium. Kale also contains sulforaphane, a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties. Need I say more about it’s nutritional value?

There are some people who claim that these chips are akin to potato chips. they are L-Y-I-N-G! It is sacrilegious to put potato chips and kale chips in the same category. They are both nice in their own ways. Ever since I start low-carbing, I’ve enjoyed kale chips as a snack. The best part is that they are really simple to make. I hope you take the step towards making these 🙂 Also, you must keep in mind that the more fresh the kale, the better tasting the chips will be.


1 bunch kale (I get the triple washed packet from Trader Joe’s)

1 tbsp olive oil

salt, pepper and paprika – to taste


Preheat the oven to 300F.

If you have the washed and chopped variety of kale, it does take less time to put this together. I simply air dry the already chopped kale from the packet for a little bit before continuing with the rest of the recipe.

If you are buying a whole bunch of kale, make sure you remove the ribs, tear them into bite sized pieces, wash and THOROUGHLY dry them. This step is very important, because even if the kale has an iota of water, you will have soggy kale, no chips!

Once the kale is completely dry, put it in a bowl, drizzle it with olive oil and season it with salt, pepper and paprika.

Lay the leaves on a baking or cookie sheet and bake them until crisp, turning about half way through – approximately 10-20 mins. Every oven is different so make sure to keep an eye on it after about 10 mins. they do have a tendency to burn quickly.

You can serve these as snacks or finger foods. You can store these chips in an airtight container for a few weeks. The chips in the pictures are slightly darker because I had to bake them a second time, they got soft because I failed to notice that my airtight container had lost its seal 😛

Broccoli Brie soup

I like the broccoli cheddar soup at Panera. Apart from the side that it has a lot of sodium, it’s pretty tasty. It’s the same with the french onion soup as well. Ever since my IR diagnosis, my tryst with bakeries hasn’t gone too well. There is a lot of bread at Panera (that I am not supposed to eat). So I am almost always stuck with a soup and salad combo. Sigh. I love sandwiches, especially paninis 😦

Anyways, before I go back into sad storytelling mode, I decided to try a twist on the broccoli cheddar soup, substituting brie for cheddar. My friend B from Mongolia recently asked me what I did with broccoli stalks, after using the head of broccoli. Threw in the trash, was my answer. Duh. Well, she said she made soup with it. *Lightbulb moment*

I hope you are brave enough to try it and I also hope you enjoy it as much as the hubby and I did 🙂 This is great for lunch or dinner!


Broccoli stalks – 2 (the thick stalks)

Vegetable stock – 1 cup

Chicken or veggie bouillon cube – 1

Brie cheese – 4-6 ozs (or less, if you are extremely conscious) – save a few pieces for garnish

Salt and pepper- to taste.

Dill and parley – for garnish


Clean and chop the broccoli stalks and pressure cook them in the stock until the stalks are really soft. You can do the same in a stock pot. It will take additional time to cook, that’s all.

Using a hand blender puree the stalks in the remainder of the stock until very smooth.

Add the bouillon cube and bring to boil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Go easy on the salt, bouillon cubes normally contain a lot of salt.

Next add the brie cheese and reduce the heat. Mix until completely combined.

Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with the remaining cubes of brie and a dash of dill and parsley

How simple was that? I will be trying the broccoli cheddar soon (when I have some more broccoli stalks saved ;))

Bon Appetit!


Nutty banana-fig bread

My tryst with low-carb food has been going pretty well. Apart from the occasional spoon of sugar in my tea, I haven’t had the urge to splurge on high carb food. And after losing 12-15 lbs on this diet, I am a pretty happy camper. I recently ordered Kal brand Stevia and my first few experiences were bad. It made everything super-sweet! But then I realized that I needed to know exactly how to use it. For my first baking experience, I tried an almond flour plum bread, which in the end was weirdly sweet and had a pudding consistency. Thankfully it wasn’t so bad that I had to throw it away. For my second baking experiment, I wanted to make a banana bread and this time I was determined to use less stevia. Surprise! It’s so good, just like normal moist banana bread. This banana bread is low-carb and you can’t even tell 😀 I did cheat a little bit with the chocolate chunks. Next time around I will substitute those with homemade sugar free chocolate chunks.


5 small overripe bananas

6 Calimyrna figs (I used the ones available in a container at Trader Joes)

3 eggs

1 tbsp. vanilla essence/extract

1/4 tsp stevia (appx. 1/2 cup sugar equivalent, or more if you like it sweeter)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 cups blanched almond flour (I use Honeyville) (Substitute 1 1/2 cups regular all purpose flour/maida for all of you high-carb people out there!)

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup walnuts, broken into pieces


Preheat the oven to 350F.

Put bananas, figs, eggs, vanilla, stevia and oil in a food processor. Pulse ingredients together until completely mixed.

Add the almond flour, salt and baking soda. Pulse everything again until well blended.

Pour batter into a greased 7.5″x3.5″ bread loaf pan and put the nuts and chocolate chips on the top. Shake the pan to make sure the batter is evenly distributed.

Bake it in the pre-heated oven for appx. 55-60 mins. Keep an eye on it after 40-45 mins and cover it with foil, if you think it’s getting too dark on the top. I baked mine on the middle shelf and I didn’t have to cover it.

Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 -15 mins before  turning it out and cooling it completely, right side up.

Bon Appetit! I have already eaten two slices since I baked it 😀

Tofu-mushroom-bell pepper stir fry

I’m not super fond of tofu (I know it’s healthy and all!), but I try coming up with interesting recipes in the hope that I will like one of them (secretly hoping the husband likes tofu too *fingers crossed*) ! While surfing www.foodgawker.com (officially my fave thing to do!) I found this recipe and I thought it was interesting. Finally after making it, since the husband did not complain while eating, I think I have a winner in the tofu section 🙂


1 pack extra firm tofu, cut into cubes

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 green bell pepper, cut into chunks

10 oyster mushrooms, sliced

4 shiitake mushrooms, stalk removed and sliced

1 tbsp tamari soy sauce (you can also use any other dark soy sauce)

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 cube chicken bouillon (use vegetarian bouillon if you want a completely vegetarian dish)

1 tsp cornstarch

2 tbsp water

Cooking oil (not olive oil, sesame will do. I used canola.)


Stir together soy sauce, oyster sauce, chicken bouillon, cornstarch, and water in a non-reactive bowl.  Set sauce aside.

Remove tofu from package and try and drain as much water out of it as possible. Cut into ¾ inch chunks.

Heat 2 tbsp of cooking oil in a skillet over high heat. When oil is smoking hot, add the tofu. Panfry, stirring occasionally, until tofu is browned on all sides, about 4-5 mins. Remove the tofu and set aside.

In the skillet add another tbsp of oil and reduce heat to medium-high. Stir-fry the mushrooms until they start to soften, and then add the green bell peppers and minced garlic. Toss the mixture around a few times to cook the peppers, but make sure they’re still crisp, between 30 seconds and 1 min. Add the fried tofu and stir-fry carefully, making sure you don’t break the chunks of tofu, just until heated through, about than 1 minute.

Add the sauce, and stir into the mixture until thick, less than 30 sec. If sauce is too thick, add a little more water and stir it in thoroughly.

Serve hot with steamed rice.

Bon Appetit!

Kairi/Mavinakai/kaccha aam aka raw mango

I recently found raw mangoes at the Asian store. In Bombay they call it kairi, in Hindi it’s kaccha aam and in my mother tongue, Kannada, we call it mavinakai. They immediately made me reminisce spring time in India. There would be hawkers selling raw mangoes, tamarind, starfruit, bora berries etc on carts outside school 🙂 I hated fresh bora berries, never found them appealing, but I did somewhat develop a taste for the dried ones, they were tangy and that’s what I liked about them. I’ve found ripe mangoes in the US in almost every season. They are not the best tasting, but I was surprised to see them available year round. In India, ripe mangoes are available only during the summer. Needless to say raw mangoes are available in spring and late winter.  I love mangoes – raw or ripe!! I sorely miss the Alphonso mangoes also known as the king of mangoes. I have begged my parents to bring some, but they never do since the mangoes won’t pass through customs 😦

But anyways, back to my tryst with raw mangoes at the Asian store – my eyes lit up when I saw them and I picked up a few. I was very keen on making panha (sweet raw mango drink). I already made one batch, and the second one is underway. I’ll post the recipe of whichever one tastes better 🙂 The advantage of living in a cosmopolitan city like Bombay was being able to sample food from all over India. Panha is primarily a Maharashtrian drink. I also know of Gujaratis making panha, so maybe it’s a common drink in the West in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

After using up most of the mangoes, I had one left. And I knew exactly what I wanted to do with that one mango. Chop it up, sprinkle it with salt and chili powder and savor it 😀 That’s how the hawkers on the street would offer it. Tamarind, mangoes and starfruit sprinkled with salt and chili powder and probably some other secret ingredient that made those acidic and tangy fruits taste heavenly! I finished eating the pieces just before I started writing this post. My lips are still burning, after all I used the ‘extra-hot’ chili powder that I found in the Indian store. I have a propensity and high tolerance for heat. But I should probably use regular chili powder or cayenne pepper next time. It’s going to take a while for my lips to cool down 😉

Fish pakoda and kumquat salsa

I know, I know….it’s been very long since I posted a recipe. If you have as many deadlines and ‘things-to-do’ lists as I have, you would probably be posting sporadically as well 😛

Jokes apart, I had to post a recipe to get my mind off of everything that is going on. I have been working on too many word documents, and I simply had to work on something else! So here is what I made for dinner today. I knew before I started that I was taking a risk with the combination I was making. However, it turned out really well and both the dishes complimented each other. Even though one of the dishes has Indian flavors and the other one does not, they still go along really well! I had never used or even eaten kumquats before so that was completely new too. Now that I know what they taste like I will be buying them more often! I wish they weren’t as expensive though. For those who are not familiar with the fruit, kumquats are little citrus fruits, almost like oranges, but these can be eaten whole, skin and all.  The kumquat salsa was inspired from this recipe.

I have been waiting to make fish pakodas for a really long time. The one thing that kept hindering me from it was the fact that the pakodas have to be deep fried. While it does not really clash with the low-carb diet I have been following, I still wanted to be cooking low calorie food, for hubby’s sake, if not mine!! But I did give into temptation today and as a result of that here is a posting 😉

Without further ado here is the recipe for fish pakoda (fritters) and kumquat salsa.

Kumquat Salsa


1 cup washed, dried sliced kumquats

1/2 chopped red onion

large fistful of cilantro, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

cayenne pepper – to taste

red chilli flakes –  a sprinkling

1/2 tsp powdered cumin

1/2 tsp coriander powder

kosher salt – to taste


Combine all the ingredients. Adjust spices and salt to taste. Let the salsa sit for a while as you make the pakodas so that the flavors blend.

Fish Pakodas

1 lb meaty fish (I used mahi mahi, you can use tuna, swordfish, or any other fish) – cut into chunks

1 1/2 cup besan (chickpea flour), sifted

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp powdered cumin

1/2 tsp black pepper powder

1 tsp baking powder

a pinch of carom seeds (ajwain)

1 green chilli pepper

1 heaped tsp dried mint

a fistful of cilantro leaves

2 tbspns lemon juice

salt – to taste

water – to make a batter

oil – for deep frying


In a non-reactive mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients and mix well. Crush the carom seeds between the palms of your hands as you put it in.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix again.

Gradually add enough water to make a smooth lump free batter.  The consistency should not be very runny or too thick, it should be of dropping consistency.

Add the fish chunks into the batter and set it aside for 30 mins.

After fish has been sitting for a while, heat oil on medium heat until it is hot, but not smoking. The temperature of the oil is important so that the fish is cooked and yet not burnt. Medium heat is essential, and at the same time it should be hot enough before you drop in the fish.

Slowly add the fish chunks separately, making sure that they don’t overlap.

Turn them once or a few times until they look golden brown.  Remove them onto absorbent paper and serve hot with kumquat salsa and tomato ketchup.

Bon Appetit!

Nan khatai

Happy New Year everyone! I know that I am really behind on updating this blog. I didn’t want to start the year by rushing things, so I thought I’d take it slow. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. We traveled to the Northeast and took in the beauty as we drove up there. It was good to catch up with friends and share the joy of the birth of Christ with them.

Since we weren’t home for Christmas, I didn’t make any traditional “thindi” (snacks) we traditionally make for Christmas. After we got back from our trip, however, I decided to make at least one thing. I decided to try out some nan khatai. They are the Indian version of shortbread cookies. They even taste similar.

Here’s the recipe –


Self-rising flour – 1 cup

Powdered sugar – 1/2 cup

Unsalted butter – 1 stick, room temperature

Nutmeg powder – 1/4 tsp

Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp


Preheat the oven to 300 F.

In a mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until well combined. You can use an electric mixer or you can use your hands.

Add the nutmeg powder and cardamom powder and mix well.

Slowly incorporate the self rising flour, little by little, until the mixture forms a soft dough.

Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and let it rest for 15-20 mins.

Knead the dough once again and divide it into 12 equal portions.

Pat each portion into a smooth circle with no cracks. The circle with be about 1/4 inch thick. Be careful not be make it too large and thin (I made that mistake and the cookies browned a little by the time they were cooked).

Place the cookies on a cookie sheet that is lined. Leave enough space between the cookies because they will expand while baking.

Bake them on the middle rack for about 20-25 mins. Make sure they don’t brown too much, they should maintain the color.

Remove from the oven and let them cool before storing them in an airtight container.

Enjoy! These scrumptious nan khatais were gone in a few days.

Tomato ketchup!

I ran out of tomato ketchup this week. Instead of going to the store and buying a bottle of Heinz I decided to make some at home! The end result wasn’t exactly like Heinz ketchup, but it tasted like ketchup nonetheless. This recipe is definitely worth a try…best part – it’s super simple 🙂 I always contemplate about what I will do to make it better. Next time I might reduce the sugar a tad bit. For those of you who like your ketchup on the sweeter side, these measurements should be perfect.


Tomato puree – 18 oz

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

1/2 cup vinegar

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder


Combine all the ingredients in a medium nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat.

Let the mixture come to a boil and continue stirring it for a minute at the same temperature

Reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 mins, stirring often, until it is half the original quantity.

Remove from heat and let it cool. It will thicken just a little bit more as it cools.

Cover and refrigerate.


Kitchen contraptions :)

So excited to have this 😀

Coastal South Indian food makes use of a lot of coconut. My mom sometimes used 2-3 coconuts a week to cook for our family of four. Here in the US I tend to buy frozen grated coconut from the Indian store. The taste of fresh coconut is still somehow a little different. One can buy whole coconuts at the Mexican store in Texas and in the Asian store here in Virginia. I had no way of breaking those coconuts and grating them so it seemed a waste to buy them! In India we use a large iron sickle to break the coconut and a special serrated iron blade to grate it. A few months ago while visiting a beach in Connecticut I got the idea of using a stone to break open a coconut. The only thing left to complete the set was a serrated blade. The ones we find in India are normally blades that are attached to a little stool that you use to sit close to the ground and grate the coconut. I was looking for something that I could affix to my kitchen platform – simply to make life easier 🙂

My aunt had the very thing I needed and graciously gave it to me on my recent visit to India. I can fix it when needed to the kitchen platform with a clamp and get it off when I am done with it! I was brimming with excitement to use it. This past week we had some North Indian friends over for a meal. They are vegetarian so I decided to cook a traditional South Indian vegetarian meal for them. What better time than that to inaugurate the coconut grater???

Here are a few pictures!

Here’s freshly grated coconut!

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