A new wave of vegetarian cooking!

Archive for the category “Side Dish & Comfort Food”

Midnight snack: Grilled Zucchini/Eggplant w/ Pesto

A day in my pregnant daughters life:  

My daughter writes……………..After a magical movie with my family the clock hit 11:24pm. Just in time for a Midnight snack 🙂 Should I go for the chips, cookies, or grill up something healthy. I looked in the fridge saw zucchini/eggplant that were ready to be cooked. Iron Amma has the solution. She grabs the zucchini & eggplant and chops the ends. I am hungry, I am ready to jump on the first thing that’s eatable. Iron Amma cuts long slices- fast, race car fast. Then she pulls out a pan and sprays olive oil evenly on the surface. Finally she grills the long slices of vegetables enough so they brown on the edges. I’m thinking am I just eating grilled veggies!! SURPRISE. Iron Amma has a storage of Kirklands Pesto Sauce from Costco. She plates the grilled zucchini & eggplant and glazes the pesto sauce on top for a delicious midnight snack. I scarf them down, sit in satisfied comfort till I drag my body for a sound night of rest. It’s so nice to have Iron Amma as my MOM! 🙂


Bitter Melon (Karela) Chips on the GO

Bitter melon, karela, is widely appreciated in Asia even with its’ bitter strong taste! Because of its’ healing benefits, health spas serve pure karela juice for those who are diabetic and other health issues.

According to many studies Bitter Melon has properties to control the production of insulin, which may lower blood sugar levels for diabetics.

Karela is cooked in many various ways, here I will make chips.


  • 4 bitter melon – wash, cut thin round slices
  • 2 tbsp natural tamarind pulp
  • 1 tbsp MDH’S Tava Fry Masala
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder (optional)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil


  • In a large bowl mix all the ingredients and keep aside for 15 min.
  • Spread seasoned karela slices on two Pam sprayed baking pan (try not to overlap them)
  • Option 1: Preheat oven 375* and bake in the oven for ~ 40 min.
  • Option 2: Slow fry both sides on a skillet on low heat and then microwave for a min to get a chewy bite.


  • Enjoy the chips on the go or top it on a salad, bhel (chaat), sabjis, yogurt, etc.

Karela is a summertime vegetable. If you are interested in purchasing home made chip packets for the next month (August 2012). <INTERESTED? COMMENT WITH YOUR EMAIL> 

Mango Masala Chaat Pizza


Our friends, Manisha, Lavanya, and Sunil, had scoped out a restaurant called “Pizza and Curry” in Fremont, CA where they ran into a Mango Chaat Pizza. Over the weekend, my daughter went to Bodega Bay with Manisha and she reinvented this Mango Chaat Pizza and it was a supreme hit. 4 pizzas were wiped out clean within minutes. We can salute to this pizza TODAY at the opening night of the London Olympics 2012 (NBC @ 7:30pm – Pacific time).

Ingredients: (1 pizza)

  • 1 Organic wheat pizza crust (can buy at Whole Foods)
  • 1 medium sized onions (sliced into thin long pieces)
  • 1 bell pepper (cut into small cubes)
  • 2.5 mangoes (slightly ripe – hard enough to cut into 1 inch cubes)
  • 1/4 bunch of Cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 packet of shredded Mozarella cheese
  • ~1 cup of Mint Chutney
  • ~1/2 cup of Ketchup (use the bottle)
  • 2 tbsp Chaat Masala (get at store – good brands “MDH”)


  • Preheat Oven to 400 degrees
  • Lay out the Organic pizza crust on kitchen table
  • Spread mint chutney as desired evenly on the pizza crust leaving 1/2 inch off the edge
  • Next, squeeze the Ketchup as desired evenly on the crust (~1/2 cup per pizza)
  • Then place cubes of mango, bell pepper, chopped cilantro and slices of onion on the pizza
  • Lastly, sprinkle shredded Mozarella cheese as desired
  • Put finished pizza either directly in the oven or on top of an aerated pizza pan
  • Cook for 10-12 minutes until top is golden and cheese is bubbling
  • Remove pizza and sprinkle 2 tbsp Chaat Masala evenly on the pizza
  • VOILA – Thanks Manisha for a wonderful Olympic Meal!


Mashed Potatoes with Pachranga Aachar (Stuffed Chili Pickle)

There are so many ways to make potatoes. This one is creamy and hint of pickle spices like fennel or fenugreek in each bite.


4 large Idaho potatoes (pierce and microwave for 15 to 20 min/ boil and grate or mash)

2 to 3 tbsp butter or margarine

4 tbsp sour cream or cream or strained yogurt (optional)

3/4 tsp salt or to taste as the pickle has salt

2 large stuffed chili pickle, Pachranga or Maggie brand cut in 8 pieces.

2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro


Mash the potatoes, then add the butter, cream, and salt on low heat for few minutes.

Fold in the pickle and cilantro.

Serve as a side dish.

Pizza paratha

Pizza! This recipe is the taste of two worlds–India and Italy!

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1  block paneer grated
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan and 1/4 finely grated cheddar
  • 1 medium red onion finely chopped
  • 1 seeded jalapeno finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomato (not immersed in oil) finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chile flakes
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Few fresh basil leaves finely chopped
  • 1/2  tsp salt or salt to taste
  • 1/3 cup tomato soup powder
  • Mix all ingredients and make balls


  • 4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2  tsp garlic salt

Make soft dough and follow instructions of the potato paratha. Your choice to make thin or thick and or crispy or soft.

Garnish with grated fresh mozzarella and basil on the pan or microwave for 3o sec.

Chatpata Aloo Paratha (Potato)

Aloo Paratha is one of the most popular dishes made in North and central India. It is a paratha stuffed with potatoes which is cooked on a hot skillet and smothered with ghee (butter) if you feel like you could use the extra calories (an excellent choice for all the ravenous pregnant women). Ready for a quick hot meal that goes excellent with yogurt and Indian pickles?


4 large Idaho, Russet or Yukon yellow potatoes – pierce and microwave for ~ 20 min or boil in water. Don’t overcook. Grate the potatoes so no lumps are there.

Fresh blend–1 big piece ginger ~ 2″ to 3″, 1 small piece turmeric ~ 1/2″  to 1″, 4 to 5 red and green Thai chile, 1 medium size red onion, 1 bunch cilantro –  coarse chop and place in the food processor except onion until last and use pulse button.


  • 1/2  tsp cayenne powder
  • 1/3 tsp asafoetida
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp MTR garam masala
  • 1 1/2 tsp pomegranate powder or mango powder (aamchur) or both
  • 1 tsp fennel powder
  • 1/2 tsp sambar powder
  • 2 tsp sea salt–salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper powder optional

Preparation for filling:

Add all the masala and fresh blend in the grated potatoes. Mix and make large size balls.

Preparation for dough:

4 cups of whole wheat flour, 1/4 tsp salt,  pinch of asafoetida and 1/8 tsp red pepper powder–make soft dough by adding water little at a time so it is easy to spread. It’s okay to over work the dough. Cover with a towel for 10 minutes before making the parathas.

Oil hands and make a small ball – flatten and roll. Oil it, put potato ball on top, cover and close dough. Use all purpose flour to spread the paratha thin or thick and remove extra flour before shallow frying on both sides. Your choice to make it soft or crispy. My family gives their request a day before.  Enjoy with pickles, mint yogurt, and chutneys or even melted grated Mexican cheese blend.

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