Creamy Brown Chickpeas Curry – Kadala Curry

Brown chickpeas are power packed with nutrition. It’s widely used in so many Indian dishes. This particular curry is a peasant dish which is specially made for breakfast. It is so versatile, easy to make and tastes so hearty and delicious! 

Brown chickpeas are slightly smaller than the white ones, it is fiber rich and nuttier in taste. We consider this as our eggs since it is so high in protein. These dried chickpeas are inexpensive because it needs to be soaked and takes longer time to cook. 

This is a humble dish prepared by farmers with simple ingredients they have in their farm. They start their day with this hearty dish to keep them energized for the hard labor ahead. It is still a preferred breakfast for many of us. We serve them with steamed rice cakes or rice noodles or with bread. 

Brown Chickpeas Curry – Kadala Curry 


Ingredients 

Brown chickpeas ( kala Chana) – 1 cup (cooked) 

 

  1. Soak dried brown chickpeas overnight in lots of water.
  2. Wash, cook and drain.
  3. Do not add salt while its cooking, it takes longer time to cook.
  4. Cook it in a big pot with lots of water or
  5.  you can also pressure cook it to speed up the process. 

Nowadays the pre cooked version is readily available in the frozen section if you don’t want to go through this long process.😀

I cook a big batch, let them cool, pat them dry with a towel, put them in zip lock bags and store them in the freezer. It’s readily available whenever you need them, doesn’t this make your life easy? 

Ingredients for the Red Paste

  • Fennel seeds – 1/2 teaspoon 
  • Cloves – 2
  • Cardamom – 1 pod
  • Cinnamon stick – 1 small piece  
  • Onion – 1/2 (diced) 
  • Tomato – 1 (diced) 
  • Ginger – small piece – (chopped) 
  • Garlic pod – 1 (chopped) 
  • Green chili – 2 (optional) 
  • Chili powder – 2 teaspoons 

  1. Heat oil in a pan, add the spices, toast it nicely.
  2. Just use the exact amount of spices recommended otherwise it will over power the curry 
  3. Add the diced onions and sauté it until it’s soft. 
  4. Now add the chopped tomatoes and sauté them until it’s mushy.
  5. Add, chili powder, chopped garlic, ginger and green chilli, sauté them for a second. 
  6. Once it’s slightly cool, put the mix in a blender and grind it into a smooth paste. 
  7. This is the tangy base we use for all our aromatic curries. 

We like our curry spicy so I added green chilies since the onions and the coconut gives a sweet note and makes it really mild. But it is optional.

Ingredients for the White Paste

  • Coconut – 2 tablespoons 
  • Roasted Cashews – 4 pieces 

This paste is particularly used to thicken the curry. 

* You can also use 2 tablespoons of thick full fat coconut milk or cream. 


  1. Put the coconut and cashews in a blender, add 1/4 cup of warm water and blend it into a smooth paste. 
  2. In the original recipe farmers used only poppy seeds (khas – khas) instead of expensive cashews. 
  3. I used cashews because it gives a unique aroma and a creamy taste.
  4. You can also substitute it with roasted almonds. 
  5. I use freshly sliced coconut or grated coconut, frozen or unsweetened desiccated coconut are good too

Ingredients for the Seasonings 

  • Bay leaves – 2
  • Star anise – 1
  • Oil – 4 teaspoons
  • Salt – 3 teaspoons 
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish 

  1. Heat oil, add the bay leaves and star anise, quickly toast it.
  2. Now add the brown chickpeas and the red paste and mix it nicely. 
  3. Add 2 cups of water, 3 teaspoons of salt
  4. cover it with a lid and let it come to a boil. 
  5. This helps the chickpeas absorb the salt it needs. 

  1. Now add the white paste, mix it well. 
  2. Keep the flame in low and let it simmer for just a couple of minutes.
  3. It’s like adding cream as a finishing touch. This just helps the curry thicken up. 

* Keep in mind, never let it boil after you add the coconut paste, the fat separates from the coconut and completely changes the taste of the curry. 

Now the curry is ready garnish it with a little cilantro. 

Look at this mouthwatering curry!  


Oh my! This is such a creamy, tangy, spicy and aromatic curry! Yum! It is unbelievably delicious. 

We traditionally serve it with idli, puttu ( steamed rice cakes) Or idiappam ( steamed rice noodles) 

Sometimes I like to change things up and eat it with buttery toasted bread! 

Mmm…it tastes so good if you dip the crunchy bread in the creamy curry! It is such a satisfying breakfast, my husband and my kids are a big fan of this dish. 


Since this curry is so versatile, I just use the same curry base and use other types of beans instead of chickpeas. sometimes I even add sprouted beans to make it hearty and healthy. 

This is a one pot wonder which can be used for breakfast, lunch and dinner because it can be served with any type of rice (ghee rice/pilaf) and flatbreads (roti/chapati) too. It tastes great whichever way you like to eat them. Enjoy ! 

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Published by Latha© All rights reserved

Almond Oatmeal Loaf

I love breakfast treats! There is nothing equivalent to starting your day with a hot cup of Joe and a healthy, yummy homemade pastries. If you are a person who likes to eat pound cake and banana bread you are going to be a happy camper! This recipe is made just for you!

I love to experiment a lot when it comes to baking. I take the best of two totally different things and put together in one recipe. Sometimes it comes out great, sometimes it’s a total disaster. But I never give up until I get it right, This recipe is a result of one of those crazy experiments that turned out so good. Hope you all like it as much we do! 

Almond oatmeal Loaf – Eggless/ Gluten Free


Dry ingredients 

  • Almond flour – 1 1/2 cups
  • Quick cook oats (GF)  – 1 1/2 cups
  • GF flour (or) All purpose flour – 1/2 cup 
  • Granulated sugar – 1/4 cup 
  • Baking powder – 1 teaspoon 
  • Baking soda – 1/4 teaspoon 
  • Salt – 1/4 teaspoon 

Wet ingredients 

  • Melted butter – 1/4 cup 
  • Sweetened Condensed milk – 1 can ( 14 ounce) 
  • Milk ( full fat ) – 1/2 cup 
  • Vanilla extract – 2 teaspoons
  • Banana extract – 1/4 teaspoon (optional) 

  1. Take a bowl and mix all the dry ingredients together 
  2. Take a big cup and mix all the wet ingredients together 
  3. Now pour the wet mix to the dry mix and combine it well 
  4. Take a loaf pan, butter the sides put a parchment liner
  5. Pour the batter and smooth it out 
  6. Now cover it with an aluminum foil, this prevents the top of the bread from burning. 
  7. Use a toothpick and make holes it in. 
  8. This helps the steam escape so that the top of the bread doesn’t crack. 
  9. Pre heat the oven for ten minutes. 
  10. Put the loaf pan in the oven and bake it at 350*F for 50 minutes. 

*The very first time I baked it the top got burned so I followed the method below, it came out perfect. 

Quickly open the oven and take off the foil after 30 minutes of baking and let it bake for another 20 minutes without the foil, so that the top gets a nice golden brown color. 

  1. Transfer the pan on to a board or a cooling rack.
  2. Let it stay in the pan until it cools completely. 
  3. The bread needs a lot of resting time so that it won’t fall apart.
  4. Use a sharp serrated knife to cut clean slices. 

Notes

  1. If you have the will power to resist the smell of freshly baked bread, let it rest overnight😜
  2. I made mine with gluten free flour, but you can also make it with all purpose flour. No need to change the recipe. 
  3. I added a tiny bit of banana extract to enhance the flavor, it’s totally optional. You can also use almond extract or any other favors you like. 
  4. I have added very less sugar since it gets the sweetness from the condensed milk, you can completely leave out the sugar or you can also substitute it with light brown sugar.
  5. You can also use coconut milk or almond milk it tastes great too. 

 Oh the sweet smell of freshly baked bread is out of this world! 


Look at that soft and fluffy slices, they are definitely worth the wait! 


It tastes so good as it is, great for quick breakfast on the go. It is mildly sweetened so you can drizzle a little bit of honey or have it with your favorite jam. It tastes scrumptious! 


Store the rest in a airtight bread tin, it keeps well for a week at room temperature. 


You can cut them into small bite size pieces and have them with your hot cup of coffee or tea, it just tastes delicious! 


We all know pound cakes are made with lots of butter, I have used very less butter in this recipe and yet it has the texture of a pound cake and tastes light and airy like a banana bread, what’s not to like? 


Call me crazy, but this is how I like to eat them. 

I slightly toast it or warm it up and spread a tiny bit of salted butter on it. Mmmm…the nutty almonds, the flaky oats with a touch of saltiness is heavenly. 


This is what I woke up to on Mother’s Day! It’s a simple but a very special breakfast! Oh what can I say? My family knows me so well! I love them with all my heart! ❤️ 


Moms are just wonderful souls, they are selfless, caring and loving without expecting anything in return. For them every day is a Mother’s Day as long as their kids are healthy, happy and safe. A simple thoughtful gesture definitely makes them feel special, loved and appreciated. So let’s give a big shout out to all the wonderful Moms and Grandmas out there for their unconditional love and support! 🌷

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Published by Latha©All rights reserved

Cabbage Poriyal – Steamed Cabbage Salad

This is a simple yet a very healthy South Indian side dish. Usually, raw cabbage is used in salads and coleslaw. But this steamed salad studded with colorful veggies, lightly seasoned and garnished with a sprinkling of coconut is such a vegan delight. 

Cabbage has a very distinctive smell, it’s colorless and bland these are the three reasons why people don’t like to eat it. 

This is how I’m going to make this dish likable. 

  • Steam it to get the raw taste out
  • Add crunchy veggies to add texture and color 
  • Season it with green chili, mustard and curry leaves to enhance the taste 
  • Garnish it with freshly grated coconut to make it appetizing 

You can make this salad in three different ways, amazing! right? 

I bet you would never say no to this scrumptious salad!


Let get to the recipe …. 

Ingredients 

  • Cabbage – 1 small head (shredded) 
  • Peas – 1/4 cup  
  • Diced Carrots – 1/4 cup 
  • Corn – 1/4 cup 
  • Green beans – 1/4 cup (thinly sliced)

Seasoning 

  • Salt – 2 teaspoons 
  • Oil – 3 teaspoons
  • Black Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon 
  • Green chili – 2 sliced  (or) Jalapeño – sliced / deseeded 
  • Curry leaves – few (optional) 
  • Grated coconut – 2 tablespoons fresh / frozen or desiccated 

Salad # 1 – Independence salad 



I use fresh veggies, it adds a nice texture. You can use frozen too. 

  1. Wash and drain the cabbage and the veggies
  2. Add salt mix it well
  3. Take a broad skillet and spread the cabbage 
  4. Close it tightly with a lid 
  5. Keep it in a low flame for 5minutes. 
  6. Do not add any water, The salt brings out the natural water and quickly cooks the cabbage and it helps keep the crisp white color. 
  7. Do not leave it unattended, it burns very quickly. 
  8. You can also use a steamer, remember not to over cook. 
  9. It should have a bite to it, it gives a nice texture to the Porial/salad 
  10. If it gets mushy it does not taste good. 

Once it’s cooked, take lid off, switch off the heat, but keep it in the pan so that it stays nice and warm. 


Now let’s season it … 

  1. Heat oil in a small pan
  2. Add the mustard seeds once it pops, switch off the stove. 
  3. Add the slit green chilies and curry leaves, keep a lid close by to avoid splatter. 
  4. Pour this over the cooked cabbage
  5. Add the shredded coconut and mix it well. 
  6. Reserve a little bit of coconut to garnish just before you serve it 

Indian green chilies are spicy. You also can substitute it with jalapeños or any other type of chilies. If you are making it for the kids take the seeds out so that you get the flavor but not the heat. 

The popped mustard seeds, toasted curry leaves and the green chili gives a wonderful aroma to this salad. 


That’s it! your tasty cabbage salad is ready, how easy is that? 

My Grandpa named it “Independence salad” because it has the colors of an Indian flag. 🇮🇳


Salad # 2 – Cabbage corn salad

Just by changing the veggie it gives a whole new taste and texture. 

All you need to do is to cook and season it the same way. 


The soft cabbage with the crunchy sweet corn is an amazing combo ! 


Salad # 3 – Mixed veg salad – Kadhamba Poriyal 

Let’s make one with all the veggies, this time I added sliced green beans for some crunch. 

You can also use cooked red kidney beans, Lima beans,butter beans, soy beans etc, it just makes it so colorful and tasty.


Cook and season it the same way, Tada ! You have a mixed veggie Porial/ salad ! 

You can eat it as it is, we like to have it as a side with rice and curry. 


Doesn’t that look scrumptious ? My kids love it! 


In south India, it is traditional to add turmeric powder or red chilli powder in cabbage dishes. But it totally changes the color of the dish. 

This is the way my Grandma made it and I don’t want to change a thing because it just tastes so delicious! 

If you are a person who does not like cabbage, I’m telling you my friend, this dish is going to surprise you! It is so easy to make, tastes delicious and it’s healthy. Enjoy! 

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Published by Latha© All rights reserved

Bento Box Dinner – Indian Dinner Thali 

I’m making a 3 course bento box style Indian dinner. The star of this meal is Crimson lentil soup, it’s also called red lentils (masoor dhal) because of its signature orangey red color, it cooks so quickly and tastes so good. This is such a hearty dish which keeps you satisfied and energized anytime of the day. Let me show you how easy it is to put together this perfect meal in a matter of minutes. 

Once in awhile to break the monotonous routine we eat dinner watching tv or a movie, It’s a Friday night ritual in my household. Instead of eating at the table I make this bento box style dinner which has a variety of tasty dishes like soup, crackers, flatbread, rice, salad and a dessert all in one plate. It eliminates the hassle of walking back and forth to the dinning table and the living room to serve food. It is really fun to eat this way. 

Bento Box Dinner – Indian Dinner Thali 


First let’s prepare the soup… 

Ingredients 

  • Crimson lentils/ masoor dhal – 1 cup 
  • Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Red chili powder – 2 teaspoon 
  • Gram masala powder – 1 teaspoon 
  • Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon 
  • Tomatoes – 2 chopped 
  • Shallots – 5 or 1/2 onion ( finely diced) 
  • Green chili – 2 (optional) 
  • Ginger – small piece (grated) 
  • Garlic cloves – 2 (grated) 
  • Salt 2 teaspoons 
  • Oil and butter for sautéing 
  • Methi leaves (oregano) – just a pinch (optional)
  • Cilantro (coriander leaves) for garnish. 


Do the prep and get all the ingredients ready. 

I make a paste with the green chili, garlic and ginger. 

You can leave out the green chilies if you don’t want your soup/ dhal to be spicy. Just grate the ginger and garlic to make the process easy. 

I love the flavor of the shallots, it is a cross between onion and garlic which gives a unique taste to this dish. If you don’t have shallots you can use regular onion. 

Wash and cook the red lentils in 4 cups of water. Do not add salt while its cooking. 

I always follow this ratio 1 cup lentils : 4 cups water when I cook lentils. It gives the right consistency to your soup/dhal. Keep in mind cooked lentils thicken as it sits.

If you think your soup is thick and you want to add water later on, always add hot water. Adding cold water completely changes the taste of the soup. 

Whenever we cook lentils we add turmeric powder and a pinch of asafetida which gives a wonderful color and flavor. But it’s optional. 

Red lentils doesn’t keep the red color after it’s cooked, if you really want to preserve the red color then add a teaspoon of paprika (Kashmiri red chili powder). 


Cook until the lentils are soft but not mushy. This actually adds an awesome texture to the soup. 

  1. Heat oil and little bit of butter in a pan, add the cumin seeds 
  2. once it’s toasted add the diced shallots and sauté it until it slightly changes color. 
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and sauté it until it’s mushy
  4. Now add the paste or (grated ginger and garlic) chili powder and Garam masala and mix it well. 
  5. Add a cup of water and salt, let it come to a boil. 
  6. Add the cooked lentils and let it simmer for sometime 

  1. Once the soup thickens up to the right consistency garnish it with dried methi leaves. 
  2. You can also use dried oregano leaves since the aroma is very similar to methi leaves This gives a unique taste to this soup. 
  3. Just before serving garnish it with cilantro. 

The soup is ready, it smells amazing! 

Ghee Roti 

We love to dunk the flatbreads in our soup. 

To make my life easy I bought the ready made Indian flatbread (roti) and toasted it with some ghee to enhance its taste. You can also use butter with your choice of faltbread. 

It’s Friyay guys nobody wants to toil in front of the stove! 

Quick salad 

We serve a small bowl of salad to go with this meal, it is a very simple 4 ingredients salad. 

It could be made with cucumbers, carrots, cabbage, lettuce or chickpeas. I made mine with onions. 

It is flavored with chaat masala (salad spice mix) a tiny squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of finely chopped cilantro. Mix it well and let it sit for sometime for the flavors to meld. How easy is that? 

I would really recommend you to buy this salad spice mix, it acts like a vinaigrette without any added oil. It tastes so good! 

Combo # 1 – Red lentil soup/ dhal, ghee roti and onion salad. 


Fennel Rice

Soup can also be paired with hot steamy rice which makes it really hearty. So I made fennel flavored rice. Let me quickly tell you how to make it.

  1.  wash and drain 1 cup of basmati rice or any rice of your choice except sticky rice.
  2.  Heat oil and butter, add the fennel seeds slightly toast it, add the rice and toast it until it gets pearl white
  3. add 2 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of salt and mix it well, put the lid on and cook it in a medium flame. 
  4. Once it’s cooked fluff it with a fork. 
  5. Keep it warm until you serve it. 

I love the smell of fennel so I have made this a fennel rice, you can also substitute it with cumin seeds and call it cumin rice (jeera rice) it tastes great too. 

If you are not a big fan of rice you can also use quinoa or bulgar (cracked wheat), Tastes delicious if prepared the same way. 

I also fried up some fun, colorful crackers to go with the soup. These 3 make a really good combo. 

Combo # 2 – Fennel rice, crackers and soup. 


Last but not least…

This is a South Indian tradition, we always end our meals with a tiny scoop of yogurt rice to cool our tongue and sooth our tummy after eating a hot spicy meal. It is always served with some kind of pickle, it could be mango, lime, veggie etc, the choice is yours. These pickles are readily available in any Indian grocery stores. 

Yogurt rice

Let me show you how to make it, 

Take a bowl of cooked slightly warm or room temperature rice, left over rice is good too. 

Add a tiny bit of salt, mix it well and slightly mash the rice with a fork. Now add couple of scoops of plain yogurt and combine it nicely. 

Before you add yogurt make sure the yogurt it not too sour. If it is sour there is a way to fix it, just add 2 tablespoons of warm milk with it,  this actually makes it taste very pleasant. 

Now we have to season this.

Take 1 green chili, cut the tip and squeeze all the seeds out and finely cut into tiny rings. 

In a small pan heat oil add 1/4 teaspoon of black mustard seeds, once it pops add finely chopped curry leaves. Take it out of the heat then add the chopped green chilli to the oil. This slightly cooks it and gets the raw smell out.

Now pour the mix to the prepared yogurt rice mix it well and garnish it with finely chopped cilantro. 

It just tastes delicious with pickles. I call this AMIRTHAM (food for the soul) 

If you are not familiar with yogurt rice you can substitute it with a small bowl of chilled pudding, flavored yogurt or fruit salad. 

Combo # 3 – Yogurt rice and mango pickle 


Now let’s assemble the tray. I took a big plate lined up the flat bread in the middle and placed the sides in small bowls in a strategic way so that you could enjoy three totally different meals all in one plate. Amazing! right?


There is nothing more satisfying than serving a delicious, wholesome meal for your family. The best part is, you gave them a full course dinner with very less effort that is definitely a cherry on top! Now plop yourself on the couch put the tray on the coffee table pour yourself a glass of cool water and enjoy the meal, movie and the quality time with your family. Does it get any better than this ?  😀

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Published by Latha © All rights reserved. 

Beginners Guide To Indian Spices

When it comes to Indian cuisine people get overwhelmed by the amount of spices we use in our recipes. If you get to know why we use them and what they are used for, it will be very helpful for all you beginners. 

People often think Indian food is hard to cook at home because of its elaborate cooking techniques. To make you feel at ease, I’m starting a new series called…

Indian food made simple. I have simplified all the recipes and has step by step instructions and pictures which makes it easier for you to follow and it’s made with simple ingredients and basic spices you have in your pantry. This spice post will be a wonderful prelude for the vegetarian recipes I’m going to post in this category. 

I have been blogging for a year now, I still get lots of questions regarding spices. So I  thought of updating and reposting this spice article with added details so that you get a better knowledge about the spices we use everyday. 

Get ready to go on this flavorful spice journey with me … 

Flavorings – Whole and Ground Spices 

Must Have Aromatics 

These are basic spices that makes our food very flavorful. Now I’m going to categorize them so that it’s easy for you to understand.

Indian spices are divided into 5 groups.

  1. Spices that enhance color
  2. Spices that give heat (spiciness) 
  3. Spices that thicken and flavor  
  4. Spices which add a unique aroma 
  5. Spices that give a finishing touch 


    These are the must have Flavorings 

    • Turmeric powder
    • Red chili powder 
    • Kashmiri chili powder (Paprika)
    • Cumin powder
    • Coriander powder

      1. Spices that enhances the color 

      Turmeric powder gives the food a golden yellow color. Since It has the antibacterial qualities we always use them when we cook fresh vegetables. 

      Kashmiri chili powder (paprika) which is very mild and is added in gravies to get the beautiful red color.

      2. Spices that add heat (spiciness) 

      Red chilli powder (cayenne) is very spicy it gives the food that extra kick. Milder version of the chili powder is also available.

      We always use freshly ground Black Pepper which adds an extra depth of flavor in soups, salads and gravies.


      Our Indian green chilies are very spicy we use them to make chutneys and sauces. 

      You can mellow down the spice level by using paprika or milder chili powder and milder green chilies. This way you get the flavor not the heat. 

      3. Spices that thicken and flavor 

      Coriander powder and Cumin powder are very important in our cuisine it has this wonderful aroma and it is added to almost every single dish we make to flavor and thicken it. 

      4. Spices that give that wonderful aroma 

      The best part about Indian food is the Aromatics. These following spices give a unique flavor to our dishes like, Biriyani, Kurma, Curry and masala chai.


      • Fennel seeds
      • Cardamom
      • Star anise 
      • Cinnamon sticks 
      • Cloves
      • Bay leaves

      We make our own aromatic spice blends at home. These are the famous ones – Garam Masala, curry powder and chaat Masala. Each spice mix is made with different ingredients and have a unique taste. 

      Garam Masala 

      The star of all the spice mixes is garam masala which is a dry roasted, powdered blend of cumin, coriander, fennel seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and whole black pepper. 

      Curry Powder 

      We South Indians use curry powder which has the same ingredients as garam masala but instead of pepper we add spicy red chilli and turmeric to give that extra kick and golden color to our curries. Milder versions are also available in stores. 

      Chaat masala 

      This is one amazing spice mix we use to season our salads. In addition to other spices black salt and the dry mango powder are the key ingredients that makes it taste very unique. We use them on both veggies and fruits. 

      These are the must have spice blends in our pantry. They are readily available in stores I really recommend you to buy and keep these at home. They come in very handy when you make dishes like curry, gravy, sauté, stir fry and salad.

      5. Spices that gives the finishing touch 

      Black Mustard seeds and cumin seeds are very important seasonings in our cuisine. It’s popped in hot oil to release its flavor and poured on top of the prepared dish. This gives a finishing touch and adds a unique flavor to our curries. You can taste this on dishes like sambar, dhal and chutney.

      The spices below are very unique to our cuisine. These are the optional spices you might add to your collection. 

      Dried fenugreek leaves (methi leaves)  are used in some dishes like kadai and dhal as garnish. We also use this to flavor flatbreads. It is very similar to dried oregano leaves.

      Toasted Fenugreek seeds/powder is added in South Indian curries at the end of the cooking process to give a finishing touch. It’s a key ingredient in making Indian pickles. 

      When it comes to fenugreek, less is more. Otherwise it will overwhelm the flavors and gives a bitter taste. 


      One particular spice I want to talk about is Asafetida. This has a very pungent odor. We add this whenever we cook lentils and beans since it has a medicinal quality to prevent intestinal gas. It is also a key ingredient in Indian pickles.


      Saffron and Edible Camphor are very potent spices they have a very strong aroma, just a pinch goes a long way. Its used mainly in desserts and festive dishes. Ground nutmeg and cinnamon are also used in Masala chai and dessert recipes. 

      How to store spices ? 

      We Indians have a unique way of storing the spices. This is called a Masala Dabba.

      We keep all the Falvorings – powdered version of the spices in one container because we use them in almost all our dishes and it promotes efficiency when preparing food.

      We prefer storing all the aromatics separately because not all the dishes call for it and it’s kept that way to maintain the very unique aroma of each spice.

      These are the basic and must have spices we have in our spice cabinet. Now you have a clear idea about our spices. I am going to show you how to organize them in your spice drawer or cabinet. 

      Some spices are so strong and potent they infuse other spices with its smell. These Spices have to be stored in seperate containers 

      • Always store whole black Pepper and freshly ground pepper in separate containers 
      • Dried fenugreek leaves come under this category too 
      • So is Asafetida it must be kept in its original air tight container. 

      Always keep your spices in air tight containers, it really keeps them fresh for sometime. 

      When you get spices, buy them in small packs because they lose their potency and aroma if it’s kept for sometime.

      I recommend you to store the spices which you don’t use very often, in the freezer. This keeps them fresh for a long time. 

      Additional Thickeners 

      We use ground Almonds, ground Cashews or Milk powder to thicken our curries and give a nutty and creamy taste to our curries. Chickpea flour is also used to thicken some curries. 

      We South Indians use Ground coconut paste as a thickener in many of our curries and kurmas. We also use coconut milk. 

      Grated or sliced coconut is used in sautés and stir fry and chutneys. It is also used as a garnish in dishes like upma. 

      Garnishes / Herbs


      We garnish all our dishes with fresh Coriander and Curry leaves. Mint leaves are also used as garnish is some dishes.

      Fresh Aromatics


      In addition to all the spices, freshly grated ginger and garlic are the must haves in our curries.

      Gravy Bases

      Most of our gravies are tomato based, We South Indians use tamarind pulp in many of our dishes, it gives the unique tanginess to our curries. It can be substituted with fresh tomato purée or tomato paste. 

      Cooking oils 

      We either use sesame oil or coconut oil for cooking and peanut oil is used for deep frying. 

      We use Iodized salt in cooking since It is the only source of iodine for vegetarians and it helps to maintain good thyroid function. It is advised that you keep this in air tight container otherwise the key ingredient (iodine) evaporates when exposed to air for a long time. 

          

      This is my spice drawer, these are the basic spices you need to make a good Indian meal at home. You don’t need to go and buy a whole lot of spices, I bet most of the spices are already there in your spice cabinet. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get cooking! 

      I’m so happy to know that people from around world love Indian cuisine and want to cook and enjoy them at home. Hope the information I gave was helpful in understanding Indian Spices and  this will inspire you to make and taste Indian food more often.
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      Published by Latha 
       © All rights reserved 

      Ooey Gooey Oatmeal Brownies 

      Here is the brownie recipe I promised in my last post. Brownie recipes are so versatile it could be made the sinfully decadent way or the guilt free healthy way with a simple ingredient we all have in our pantry.

      There are so many variations, you can make it with almond flour,coconut flour, chickpea flour, mashed red beans  etc… instead of the regular all purpose flour. This time, I’m making mine with quick cook oats. 

      This recipe is eggless, nut free and gluten free and yet it’s fudgy and decadent. Hard to believe, right? 

      Here is the recipe….

      Dry ingredients 

      • Quick cook oats – 1 1/2 cups (powdered)
      • Milk powder – 1/2 cup
      • Baking powder – 1 teaspoon 
      • Baking soda – 1/4 teaspoon 
      • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon 
      • Cocoa powder- 1/4 cup 

      Wet ingredients 

      • Condensed milk – 1 can 
      • Butter – 1/4 cup (melted) 
      • Pure vanilla extract – 1 tbspn
      • Milk – 1 1/2 cups (warm) 

      Toppings

      • Semi sweet chocolate chips – 1/2 cup
      • Toffee bites – 1/2 cup 


      Put the oats in the food processor and make into a fine powder. (same texture as the almond flour) 


      Pour it into a bowl, Mix all the dry ingredients with it and keep it aside 

      *since we are sprinkling the top with chocolate chips and toffee bites I didn’t add any extra sugar otherwise the brownies will become too sweet. 


      Combine all the wet ingredients together 

      *Make sure the milk is warm it’s very important, it soaks up the oats nicely so you get really soft brownies. 

      Pour the wet mix to the dry mix and combine it well.

      Prepare the square pan, grease the sides put a parchment paper on the bottom. 

      Pour the batter, smooth it out, tap and shake the pan to make it evenly spread. 

      *Let it sit in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes. It allows the oats to soak up the milk mixture and thickens up nicely. 

      *The consistency of this batter will be like the cake batter. It’s not going to be as thick as the regular brownie batter. 


      Now sprinkle the chocolate chips and the toffee bites to your heart’s content. 

      Meanwhile preheat the oven at 350*F 

      Now put the pan in the oven and bake it for 30 minutes 


      Oh my it’s so chocolaty and smells divine! 

      • Keep in mind the chips take a couple of hours to harden
      • If you try to cut it while the brownie is warm you will smudge the chips and it won’t retain the shape. 

      So I recommend you to let it stay in the pan for sometime. 


      Once it cools nicely , cut it into tiny bites…


      The milk powder gives the creamy and the chewy texture to these brownies. The toffee bites give a nice crunch, the chocolate chips add the perfect amount of sweetness. 

      What can I say, these ooey gooey oatmeal Brownies are sinfully delicious! These are so yummy you never know it’s made with oats. 


      It is ideal for a bake sale and for the kids with allergies. 


      I made a huge batch for the easter party, kids loved it!


      These oatmeal brownies could be a tasty treat for the snack box or a quick breakfast bite or a decadent dessert you can indulge without any guilt. Enjoy !!!

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      Published by Latha© All rights reserved 

      Fun Easter Party Ideas And Easy Spring Crafts For kids

      Spring is here that means, Easter is just around the corner! For all those moms and grandmas who are looking forward to host an Easter party, you have stopped at the right place! I have put together some unique ideas to make your party a big success! 

      A good friend of mine asked me if I could co-host an Easter party with her, I happily said yes! she is taking care of the egg hunt, egg coloring and the food. Here is what I’m in charge of, buying party favors, setting the table scape, kid friendly crafts and some homemade treats, I’m so thrilled to be a part of this fun event. 

      Let me get to work …. 

      The first thing on my list is the party favors! So went in search of some unique treats to fill their candy basket!


       Tada! I hit a big jackpot! Look what I found …. Emoji chocolate coins !!!!! 


      My next pick is Lindt’s Lindor Easter special- Egg Chocolates, look how colorful they are! And they taste amazing! 


      I’m sure the kids are going to love these emoji coins! Seriously, who could resist these luscious Belgian chocolate coins! Look how cute they are! 


      When it comes to treats, I always prefer quality over quantity. These taste far better than the ones from the party supply store. We all know kids indulge on these chocolates so why not buy the best? 


      I put them in a beautiful bowl for the display, Looks amazing! right ? This is going to be my center piece!


      These milk chocolate coin literally melts in your mouth, The egg chocolate comes in assorted flavors. My kids particularly go for the turquoise blue one because it tastes like cookies and cream😀

      The chocolate part is done…Let’s move on to other party favors and table scape.


      I love these thin glitter foam sticker cutouts, it comes in so many shapes and colors. Kids can do so many things with it, so I picked these as one of their favors..

      This is a sample of how I’m going to set the table scape…. Doesn’t this look fun and colorful ? 


      Since it’s a spring theme, I chose these glitter flowers as coasters to rest my chocolate cups.

      Kids love stuffed toys so I bought these beanies instead of a traditional chocolate bunny. Oh so cute ! Look at those eyes, The bunny on the left has that naughty look as if he is just waiting for me to move away from the table so he could quickly grab one chocolate egg and hop away! Adorable !!!! 

      I can’t wait to see the kids reaction when they see these favors. Each kid gets to take home the soft bunny, the glitter flower and the chocolate cup filled with emoji coins and eggs. 

      Let me tell you a little bit more about the glitter foam…

      You can buy them as sheets or as cutouts in so many vibrant colors and it comes with a adhesive back, Even better right! 


      You can also use your cookie cutters to trace the shapes and cut them out..Mickey, Minnie, stars, flowers, hearts, snowflakes, the options are endless . 

      You can also buy them precut in different shapes and colors from any craft supply stores or online.


      Kids can use them in so many different ways 

      They can make really beautiful wall art with glitter cutouts of birds or butterflies in different shapes and colors and stick them on the wall, behind their bed or above their desk in a beautiful group as if they are flying, it makes a stunning wall art, you can use stars and hearts as well. 

      This is how my kids use them, as name tags…

       They stick this on the Folders, on their door, Gift bags, School bag and Lunch tote. 

      They even use this as a mouse pad, coasters and place mats. How fun is that? 


      Believe me kids go crazy for them, it is the best way to bedazzle anything! 

      Now let’s move on to the craft part …. 

      I’m teaching these little kids how to make a fun, spring themed wall art as take home gifts. 

      Me and my girls made some for our home . Let me show you how to make these with gift wrap and appliqués.

      1. Cut the wrapping paper and glue it on the card that comes with the frame or you can cut one using card stock paper. 
      2. Make sure the sides are covered so it has a finished look. 
      3. Use glue or tape to secure it, make sure there is no wrinkles. 
      4. Now stick appliqué flowers or the glitter cutouts. 
      5. Put the insert, the back and secure it. 

      Make each one in a different design and hang them horizontally and vertically, this way you can a make a beautiful collage. 

      You can easily change this to fit any themes, fall, winter, spring, Halloween…. The sky is the limit.

      Look how cute they are…. 


      For older girls, Here is another sample of wrapping paper wall art… let me walk you through the process. 

      1. Cut out a background using card stock paper or poster to fit the frame in any color you want. 
      2. Now cut the wrapping paper a tiny bit smaller than the background so that it shows a thin border. 
      3. Glue it to the background. 
      4. We used craft gems in different colors and shapes to bedazzle and highlight the design. 
      5. Then put this in a frame… Now it’s ready to hang where ever you want. How easy is that? 

      Doesn’t this look awesome! 


      Notes : 

      1. Keep in mind, the gems are not thin. 
      2. If the frame is not deep enough you wont be able to fit the back
      3.  you can either hang it without the plexi glass in the front 
      4. or instead of the clips on the frame just use masking tape to secure the back. 

      We made these personalized wall art at home for the fraction of the cost. I bet these cost a lot if you buy them ready made from any stores. 

      The best part is you can personalize this for your boys, girls, any room or any theme you want, easy to change and very cost effective. 

      Where to get these fun supplies?

      These frames are from Ikea, ($1.50) it comes in so many colors.

      *The best thing is, These are kid friendly if you are planing to hang these in a nursery or the kids bedroom. 

      They are light weight, instead of glass they either has a thin transparent plastic sheet or plexiglass. 

      I found these fun wrapping papers in Target’s ( $1 bin)

      These appliqués and glitter flowers are from Michaels. ($3.00 per pack)

      Alright the craft is done, let me show you a sneak peak of the treats I’m making for them.


      These are kid friendly, healthy and nut free brownie bites topped with chocolate chips and toffee bites. 

      Who doesn’t love these ooey gooey fudgy bites. Yum yum ! 


      The minute I saw these spring themed paper plates, I have to use them in my picture ! Look how beautiful and colorful it is! 


      Aww.….you guys! I know you are all excited but I’m not posting the recipe now, The post is already very long so …

      Stay tuned for the recipe! 😜


      I just finished setting up this small easter themed display at my home, my kids love it! They are so happy they can take one chocolate anytime! 

      Hope I gave some good ideas to throw an awesome Easter party! Don’t forget to show this post to your kids, they will really enjoy seeing all these pictures, My kids had fun helping me with all the preparations. Thank you for stopping by and reading this extra long post! 

      🌷Happy Spring🌷 

      🌾🐣 Happy Easter 🐰🌾


      Easter traditions

      In many cultures egg symbolizes life, fertility and rebirth. As an Easter tradition kids involve in fun egg related activities.

      Egg Hunt

      1. It is a tradition which is followed in so many countries during the time of Easter.
      2.  It is a fun activity specially done for the kids. Churches, local community centers, parks and country farms host these events in every city. 
      3. Kids dress up formally for this event, Girls dress up in pretty dresses and beautiful hats, boys dress up in shirts and bow ties. 
      4. They bring a basket to collect the eggs which are scattered throughout the arena, these colorful plastic eggs are filled with, candy, small toys and trinkets. 

      Egg coloring/ decoration

      Children are given hard boiled eggs and bowls of food coloring,they dye the eggs first by dipping them in their favorite color, then decorate them by painting designs on it. 

      Egg rolling

      Kids roll hard boiled eggs with a long wooden spoon to the finish line. 

      I have taken my daughters for these events and they had a blast! This time we are so excited to throw our own Easter party !

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      Published by Latha© All rights reserved