Sunday, January 31, 2010

Easy Tangy Green Beans Salad with a Crunch

Easy Tangy Green Beans Salad with a Crunch Recipe:
Serves: 4
Prep/Cooking time: 15 mins.


Green beans - (cut in 1 inch long pieces)

Red onion - 1 (cut in thin, long slices)

Green chilli peppers - 2 or 3 (slit in thin, long slices)

Roasted almonds - 4 or 5 crushed into medium-size pieces

Garlic powder - 1tsp

For seasoning and salad dressing: mix together salt(according to taste), black pepper - 1tsp,

lemon juice(or vinegar of your taste) - 2 tbsp, light olive oil (could be subsituted with peanut oil)- 1tbsp


Cook the cut green beans in boiling water for 5 or 6 mins. They taste better in the salad when they still retain the bright green color even after cooking. That way you know they are not over-cooked.

After taking off the heat, drain the boiling water and set aside the beans.

Then, optionally, you could shock the beans in cold water for a minute so that they retain the bright green color and do not overcook.

Then, in a bowl, mix the green beans with the sliced onion, cut green chillies, almonds and garlic powder.

Finally pour the seasoning/salad dressing ingredients on top and toss well together till well-mixed.

You could garnish the salad on top with lemon zest/cilantro. I used yellow boondi(Indian fritters) for garnish.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Small Wonders - Poems from my 9 year old daughter

One favorite way(that I have already mentioned a million times in my young blog...I know :)) I have of getting the best of both worlds is to cook foods that are not just goooood, but also are good for you!

Another way of achieving the best of both worlds(my pet theme in life) is to keep the kids gainfully occupied in three or four gainful interests of their own choice so they are being productive (which makes me feel fulfilled and quite the happy mom!)and then I dont have to hear the constant refrain of  "Amma...I am bored".My 9 year old daughter is very sure of her few interests. My toddler son on the other hand of course, finds too many things that interest him around the house. But that is the topic for another day.

Going back  to my daughter, she is as precocious as most other 9 year olds these of her favorite pastimes is to write poems...right now, she is going thru this phase where she asks us to pick any topic under the sun and she says, she can come up with a poem for that!!!

Now, here is a rhyme (that I obviously like) that she came up with specially for my blog, when she knew that I recently created one:

The title is: My Favorite Food

My favorite food is the kind my mother makes,
Whether she cooks, fries, or puts something in the oven to bake.
I think homemade is better than store-bought,
And at my house you will like it a lot.

Another one that I think is quite cute goes like this:

The title is: Season signs

A summer's day is like winter's paradise,
A winter's night is like night-time ice.
Together you can sniff ,
That they are opposites like jumping off a cliff,
Or falling into a pit.

Spring is not something that an animal would be grieving,
Because the animals' babies are born,
Fall is when the leaves are leaving,
When the leaves start getting worn.

I wonder if I have a major talent  under my roof here???

Traditional Southern Indian Breakfast - Rava Pongal ( Cream of wheat version)

Rava Pongal Recipe:
Prep Time:  5-10 mins.
Cook Time:  15-20 mins.

Serves: 4

Fine Texture Cream of wheat or Rava(aka Sooji) - 2 cups
Water - 4 cups (4 cups work well for a smooth texture. though a little more water may be required if using coarse or medium - texture sooji)
Yellow Moong Dal (lentils) - 1/2 cup...pressure cook the dal for 2 whistles.
Ginger - 1 inch piece cut into tiny slivers
Green chillies - 3 or 4 cut into small pieces
Ghee or clarified butter - 1 to 1.5 tbsps (could substitute with light olive oil or other vegetable oil, if necessary...though the clarified butter is what it gives it a unique what, if I can feel my arteries clogging up as I write is only a tbsp :))
For seasoning: Cummin seeds(jeera) - 2 tsp, crushed black pepper - 2 tsp, curry leaves - handful, turmeric - a pinch, salt to taste

  • Bring the 4 cups of water to a boil in a pan.
  • In a separate non - stick pan, add the ghee and when it starts to bubble, add all the items for seasoning except salt.
  • When the cummin seeds start to crackle, add the cut ginger and green chillies and let it cook for a few minutes.
  • Then, add the rava(cream of wheat) to the pan and stir well.
  • To this, add the boiling water and salt and keep stirring to make sure there are no lumps in the mixture.
  • When the rava starts cooking into a soft mass  and the water has fully evaporated(which takes 6 to 8 mins. on a medium high heat), add the pressure - cooked dal and continue to stir until the mixture starts to come away from the sides of the non - stick pan.
  • You could garnish with cut tomatoes or cilantro(optional)
  • This tastes great with any kind of chutney. In South India, it is however, traditionally served with a split dalia-coconut chutney for which I shall post my recipe here soon.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My mantra - Healthful Decadence!!!

When I needed to start shedding my post-pregnancy pounds, after my son was born, I realised I had to bring some momentous changes to our lifestyle. That, coupled with my husband's foray into running marathons, gave shape to my new mantra of "Healthful Decadence".

What started out as a change in our eating habits, has now taken deep roots in our day-to-day life and in many ways, looks like something I intend to follow for as long as possible.

Here is my post in as a comment on the post - "What is your eating style" by Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan :
My mantra is "Healthful Decadence" and it is working very well alongwith an exercise plan of 5 days a week / 45 mins. a day routine... alternating between aerobic and an-aerobic workouts.

I have lost 9 pounds in the last 9 months and for me that was a big deal...though it is not much in absolute terms. And, my husband actually lost more weight than me!!

Healthfully Decadent - meaning I have substituted whole grain for all the white and refined carbs in our family's diet...we have also virtually eliminated readymade and fast foods from our diet...of course, we continue to indulge in the occasional restaurant fare.

Mainly, I am trying to inject more flavor in place of fat, excessive sodium and refined carbs thru the use of whole spices, heart-healthy cooking oils, more varieties of colorful fruits and veggies and other natural flavor enhancers...being that our diet is predominantly Asian Indian, the use of spices, of course fits in easily. Coupled with the growing publication of the health benefits of various spices like cinnamon, cummin, ginger and turmeric it seems like a win-win situation!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My attempt at emulating an accomplished baker!

My inspiration for Molten Chocolate Lava Cake came from the popular website -

I adapted it to fit the label "healthful decadence" by reducing the quantity of butter and sugar from the original recipe. I can honestly say that chocolatey goodness oozes out, when you cut into it...HEAVEN!!!

This recipe is dedicated to my sister on her birthday since she is doing everything to eat right! And this is eating right to the hilt, ha ha!

I am putting this under the label Healthful Decadence, though it probably falls more under the category Decadent rather than Healthy!

Recipe for Molten Chocolate Lava Cake:


Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate – 4 oz (113g) or 1/2 cup
Butter – 3/4 of a stick
Eggs – 2
Sugar – 1/4 cup
All-purpose Flour – 1/3 cup
Butter – for greasing ramekins

Prep time: 15 to 20 mins.
Cooking time: 10 to 15 mins.


1. In a double boiler, melt chocolate (I would like to emphasize using the best quality chocolate...something like Ghirardelli or Scharrfen-Berger).
2. In a medium mixing bowl, beat Eggs and Sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Once chocolate is melted, remove pan from heat and add in butter. Mix until the butter melts fully.
4. Add chocolate/butter mixture into the eggs, add all-purpose flour and mix until well incorporated.
5. Butter bottom and sides of ramekins (small glass/porcelain bowls) and pour in mixture about 3/4 way full.
6. Place ramekins on a baking tray and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 C) for 10 – 15 minutes. Shorter for gooey (molten) inside, longer for stiff inside.
7. Serve hot with your favorite ice cream.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thiruvathirai Kali with a difference - Cracked Wheat recipe

Thiruvathirai Kali with a difference

Cooking Time : 15-20 mins
Serves : 3-4


Cracked Wheat/Broken wheat(fine) - 1 cup
Moong Dhal - 1/4 cup
Coconut (chopped) - 1/4 Cup(optional)
Jaggery - 1 1/2 Cup
Cardamom Powder - 1 tsp
Ghee - 2 Tbsp
Cashew nuts - 8 to 10
Raisins - handful


Roast cracked wheat for a few minutes in a pan.
Add 1/2 cup water to jaggery and heat it. After it dissolves, remove & strain the mixture.
Heat 1Tbsp ghee, add cashew nuts , raisins & coconut in a pressure pan / shallow pressure

Add the washed Moong Dhal to it.
Also add the roasted cracked wheat, jaggery, Cardamom & remaining 1Tbsp Ghee.
Boil 2 cups of water till it starts simmering.
Add the boiled water to the pressure pan.
Cook for 2 whistles and then switch off.
Alternately, in place of a pressure pan, this could also be cooked directly on the stove

in a pan till well cooked which takes about 7 - 10 mins on a medium-high heat.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010



Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Continuation to the theme Best of Both Worlds!

All thru my life, I have always tried to get the best of both worlds...both modern and traditional...when it comes to is the same...I always try to combine the Healthy with the Decadent wherever possible.

In that same vein, my recipe for Thiruvathirai Kali now has broken wheat in place of the traditional rice flour...will post the recipe soon...everyone loved it even my toddler, who like most toddlers is a fussy eater!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Thiruvathirai 2010

Today was Thiruvathirai at our mother and mil told me last weekend(new year) about it...but my food plans then were consumed by my desire to try out molten chocolate lava we moved our celebration of the festival to this weekend as part of my ongoing effort to get THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS!!!More on this later...

Friday, January 1, 2010


This is my attempt to create an online space of sharing and support for every person of South Indian origin and everyone else who believes in "Healthfully Decadent" living, like I do. I feel we have many trials and tribulations, many unique success stories and a distinct consciousness to share that sets us apart from every one else.
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