Sunday, December 14, 2014

Green Peppers Masala

This recipe has a unique taste because of the poppy seed and coconut mixture. A mix of green and red peppers makes the dish look attractive.

Green Pepper Masala from Vidya's kitchen.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Ginger Kuzhambu (broth)

Ginger is quite a common ingredient in our southern Indian dishes. We use them in soups, rasams, the several side dishes that go with the Indian breads, vegetable dishes and many of our home made ayurvedic remedies. The best known use is for digestion. I use them in green juices almost all the time. The spicy, juicy kick that you experience from chewing a raw piece of ginger is heavenly.

Here's a delicious ginger Kuzhambu recipe. Perfect when you have a cold or a sore throat. Test it from

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Scalloped Potatoes with Quattro Formaggio - great side dish for Thanksgiving

Try this happy dish for Thanksgiving this year. Will be a sumptuous addition. Something new, something cheesy.

Thanksgiving dinners are very traditional but a new addition will always get extra attention.This was a heat and serve dish promoted by Trader Joe's and I have given you the recipe to make it at home.  Quite easy using the never-can-go-wrong ingredients such as potatoes, butter, cheese...!  Find it on Vidya's Kitchen site.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Roasted Potatoes with fresh Fenugreek

This recipe originated from northern India; you will not find them in Indian restaurants though. Despite having potatoes in this recipe, it is quite healthy due to the ingredient, fenugreek. Fenugreek leaves, seeds and sprouted seeds are used in various Indian recipes. They are also used to treat several ailments.

An interesting fact is that many of the overpowering, spiced up oily foods that list Indian restaurant menus taste quite different when prepared at home, especially the healthy southern Indian dishes.

Try this potato with fresh fenugreek recipe from vidyaswamy's kitchen

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Make canned soup healthier, tastier

We all reach out for that quick food soup for an easy, filling meal especially when we are out of ideas, or need that satisfying something to keep the day going.

Here's a recipe I think you'll love. Need not be made from scratch and hardly takes any time. Prep times is about 7 minutes, stove to table is about 20 minutes. Now that's hard to beat!  Check out this recipe from vidyaswamy's

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A yummy bengali dessert called Chum Chum

One of the best Indian desserts I've had. It is made of milk and light sugar syrup. Try this recipe from Vidya's kitchen.

Bengalis have a way with their desserts and somehow they never taste as good if people from other parts of India make it. I would say mine comes close.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Try this nutritious vegetarian recipe called Bisi Bela Bhath

The origin of this Kannada dish is Karnataka. It has unique, likable taste. The main spice ingredients are coriander, cumin, red chilies and cinnamon. What makes it nutritious are the vegetables and lentils.

Try this recipe from Vidya's kitchen.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Lightly-spiced toasted pumpkin fillets

The spiced pumpkin fillets are perfect as appetizers or as an extra side dish at the dinner table.

Extremely easy to make. Try them from Vidya's kitchen.

Roasted Eggplant with Tahini sauce

The recipe sounds lovely and the photograph is appetizing. I'm sure it tastes great too! -

Buckwheat pancakes. Mmm Yum.

Photo courtesy from 'The Internet'

I am becoming a big fan of buckwheat pancakes. Several people I know are staying from gluten. What better way to start off the day than with buckwheat pancakes. It is filled with nutrition, some carbs, protein, vitamins plus a lot of taste. Extremely satisfying.

Start off making your pancakes just with the flour. You can then enhance the taste even more with fruits, nuts, cinnamon, etc.

Here is the nutrition fact I picked off Wiki.

  1. Nutrition Facts
    Amount Per 1 cup (170 g)
    Calories 583
  2. % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 6 g9%
    Saturated fat 1.3 g6%
    Polyunsaturated fat 1.8 g
    Monounsaturated fat 1.8 g
    Cholesterol 0 mg0%
    Sodium 2 mg0%
    Potassium 782 mg22%
    Total Carbohydrate 122 g40%
    Dietary fiber 17 g68%
    Protein 23 g46%
    Vitamin A0%Vitamin C0%
    Vitamin D0%Vitamin B-620%
    Vitamin B-120%Magnesium98%

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Crockpot Lasagna

If you want rich taste and a satisfactory palette, then this Crockpot lasagna does complete justice.

Absolutely delicious, try it from Vidya's kitchen.

Mayuri - Looks like they are back

Today being a special day I decided to give Mayuri, the Indian restaurant in the suburbs of St. Louis one more chance. After the last experience months ago, we had decided never to eat at Mayuri again. However, there aren't places around that are any better either.

We were pleasantly surprised right from the start. First of all, the display of the buffet tables were better with more space to move around. Secondly, the place looked cleaner. Thirdly, the vegetarian dishes were quite delicious. The spread consisted of pakoras, vadai, pongal, idli, sambaar, a few different types of chutneys, pulav, a variety of southern indian curries, some northern indian specialities, the usual salad, pickles, condiments, non-tart plain yogurt and desserts.

I was not sure if the chef or the ownership had changed. Nobody we spoke to had a clear answer. I went there with low expectations but came back quite happy.

Would give this place 4 **** stars.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Exotic cluster beans sabji - side dish

There aren't too many dishes you can prepare with cluster beans. I usually make the traditional south Indian ones such as usili, plain curry with or without coconut, puli kootu (my mom's special recipe), or add them in aviyal. Of course there is the cluster bean vatthal that my mom use to make at home. But, that's for another day.

This is a northern Indian preparation with a bit of garlic, cumin and red chillies. I have not added onions, you may test it with or without onions. I use the same recipe to make okra sabji as well.

Try this one from Vidya's kitchen and post your comments.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Cucumber Raita from Vidya's Kitchen

A simple Raita is all that is needed to go with any Indian bread or dry main dish like biryani, pulav or a spicy rice dish.  

Try this Cucumber Raita from Vidya's kitchen.  Just a few ingredients suggested in this recipe in a bowl of non-tart yogurt will make the cucumber raita absolutely tasty. Some people add Greek yogurt which might make the dish tart. In fact, I tried it yesterday to make it more healthy but it did not taste good. So go with fresh bland yogurt.  Check it out from Vidya Swamy's kitchen.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Shredded Brussel Sprouts in Olive Oil with a hint of Parmesano/Reggiano cheese

Shredded Brussel Sprouts in Olive Oil with a hint of Parmesano/ Reggiano cheese
If you think you don't like Brussel Sprouts, abandon the thought right away.  Try this recipe first. 
Besides, here's a list of nutritional benefits that Brussel Sprouts provide - Vitamins K, A, and C, fiber that can lower cholesterol, helps heart health, lowers blood sugar, lowers inflammation, offers antioxidants and mineral such as manganese. Furthermore, it has flavonoid antioxidants like isorhamnetin, quercitin, and kaempferol to protect against oxidative stress on the body's cells.
Visit Vidya's kitchen site for other scrumptious recipes.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sprouted Bean Dish

This is a repeat posting.  A friend had requested it again.  So, here it is again.

Sprouted bean dry or with gravy from Vidya's kitchen.

Lunch at restaurant Paradise, Biryani Point in Ballwin, MO

Today being Father's day, my husband and I were eagerly looking forward to lunch at this new place Paradise, Biryani Pointe.  I am talking good lunch, not great.  It is hard to come by great Indian cuisines, unless you are in the city of Chicago or New York. Sadly though, it fell short of even our minimum expectations.

Dark walls with big framed photographs too high on the walls didn't do much to the ambiance.  It was clear that there was no interior designer involved in this exercise. We decided to overlook this. We were there to eat not critique the decor.

What about the food?
It was a decent buffet spread.  Being a vegetarian, I decided to concentrate on the right side of the buffet table. I started off with an idli, chutney and sambaar.  Plus a few onion rings. The onions rings dripped in oil but tasted decent.  The other 3 items were tart and over salted.  Bhindi (okra) tasted good but then again too much salt.  After a bite of the idli and dip of the sambaar and chutney, I decided to abandon the plate.  By now the place was packed, people waiting in line outside the entrance. I guess everybody had the same expectations as we did being a Sunday, Father's day, and the newest restaurant in that strip mall.

Took another plate and decided to taste the naan, vege biryani, channa masala and dhal.  Biryani was good. The rest were high in salt.  Had a few bites of the naan and some yogurt that was supposed to be raita. It had a few slices of onions and nothing more. Took another few spoons of biyani and moved on to the dessert.  Dessert was carrot halwa which was decent.

I wasn't too happy, so turned to my husband to get a feedback on the meat items.  He had a plate filled with items as you see above - chicken biryani, tandoori chicken, naan and a few crunchies. He rated the food as a 4 over 10, 10 being the highest.

I don't think I will be going to this place for anything else other than their biryani.  Quite disappointing.  Not sure if the owners will read this review.  However, they can turn everything around by being watchful of a few ingredients such as salt for one.  I wish them well and hope they succeed.  With a few adjustments they can.  Standards need not be as high as in India but poor tasting food will just not survive.

Good luck to the owners.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Lentil crepes or Adai, as known in southern India

Adai in itself is a wholesome meal and a great balance of vitamins and proteins without the gluten.  In most southern Indian homes Adai is a lunch, late afternon or dinner time food.  Chutney or Sambaar are the usual side condiments for Adai.  A small chunk of raw brown sugar is another option if you don't have time to prepare the side condiments. Some taste enhancers are onions, green chillies, spinach which can be mixed directly with the batter.  Try this delicious, hearty, nutritious food from Vidya's kitchen.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Here is a great vegan recipe.  It's a perfect side dish for Indian breads and plain white rice.

Green Tomato Curry is unique in taste.  Find the recipe in Vidyaswamy's Kitchen.

Health benefits are mainly in its high Vitamin C and fiber content. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Goan Vegetable Curry

Spicy Goan vegetable curry is a delicious accompaniment to Indian parathas and basmati rice.

The recipe here is a mild version.  By adding additional red chillie powder or green chillies, you can easily adjust the heat.  Try it from

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Easy Salad Dressing

Try an easy salad dressing recipe this week.  Simple ingredients, quick fixing.  In just 8 minutes you'll have a healthy dressing.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Iyer Tomato Rasam

My mom and her sisters are some of the best cooks I have come across. My mom ranks number one in that list. Several recipes have been passed down generations. Having known good food all my growing years, I cannot eat food that will just pass as tolerable.  It has to taste good.  And, good food has to be served at the right temperature.

Being a food fanatic, I crave for the best tasting Indian cooking when I go back to visit India and my extended family there.  I get invited to homes where they hire someone to cook a meal.  The food might be decent but almost always they serve cold food.  So, I generally eat at home before I leave for the lunch or dinner.  Rasam is one of those dishes that has to be served hot.  It may be one of the hottest days of summer outside, regardless rasam has to be served hot.  Here is an Iyer Tomato rasam recipe from Vidyaswamy's kitchen inspired and perfected by my mother, then passed on to me.  You'll like it as well.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Roasted Potatoes Pesto

This week's recipe is 'Roasted Potatoes in Pesto'.  This is a great side dish with any type of pasta in red sauce.

Prep time is about 15 mins. max. which includes washing, cutting potatoes and grinding the ingredients for the pesto.
Check it out at

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Broccoli Rabe in garlic and olive oil

This is an authentic Italian recipe. Cooking broccoli Rabe is not exactly a complicated science experiment, however as in any other preparation, the Rabe has to be absolutely fresh and tender; and the olive oil extra virgin. The blanching has to be for exactly 8 minutes, no more, no less. Try this recipe from

If you live in the north east area of the United States, you are in luck.  You will find Broccoli Rabe in every market, every grocery store.  If you are in the midwest, never utter the name.  People have no clue as to what it is unless you are in the Italian part of the city. However, not every restaurant carries Broccoli Rabe.  

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Garlic, garlic, garlic - Spicy Garlic Gravy (called Kozhambu in Tamil)

If you love garlic and spicy hot food as much as I do, then this is a recipe you will thoroughly enjoy.

It is extremely simple to make except for a bit of grinding which shouldn't take long.  Tastes great with basmati or regular jasmine rice.  Try it from vidyaswamyskitchen.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mushrooms filled with breadcrumbs and cream cheese

Mushroom fans will never get tired of them which ever way they are made.  I used to not be a lover of mushrooms; that slowly changed when I learned about the nutrition in them.

I make a whole bunch and finish up the entire set in one sitting.  That's pretty much my dinner meal.  The garlic, bread crumbs and cream cheese mix, make this a delectable addition to any meal.  Check it out at

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Foods for the season. What do you like?


It is no revelation that our brains and taste buds yearn for a certain kind of taste depending on the season or the weather outside.  In winter months, I for one like hot soups and rich, filling tastes.  It could be fried and fatty, sweet and sensational, or rich and creamy.  The only requisite is, it has to be satisfying.

I am a proponent of healthy foods but here I am contradicting myself.  However, what I have above is not for every meal or every day, but for an off and on change in my diet without the guilt attached.

What is the food/foods that you crave for?  It can be for any season.  Let me know and we can carry on a discussion.  If you'd like to share a recipe, please do so.  It will be posted under your name.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Egg curry in coconut milk from Vidya Swamy's kitchen

Egg curry in coconut milk is a tasty side dish prepared for breakfast in the state of Kerala, India. The perfect combination to this is either plain rice, biryani or any of the Indian breads.

Here is just one variation of this recipe from

Sunday, February 2, 2014

For lazy winter days - asparagus soup in 30 minutes

This is one of my favorite soups to make for a lazy Sunday evening. You can create this literally in about 30 minutes.  It's extremely healthy and a couple bowls with some hearty bread make a complete meal. Check out the recipe here.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Recipe of the week - Peppers in Dhal

This is a quick and tasty way of making dhal on a day when you need to avoid garlic or onion in your food. Some religious days require this practice of avoiding garlic and onion to be adhered to. This dhal would be a nutritious side to rice or Indian breads.

I prepared this last week when I didn't have to avoid garlic or onion because there was no religious reason to do that. There is no garam masala in it either.  But the dhal tasted great.  Just with some sautéd  green chillies, tomatoes and a mix of peppers can do the trick.

Test it out for yourself.  Peppers in dhal from vidyaswamy's kitchen.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Garlic, ginger spiced okra

There are several ways to cook okra.  This is one of my favorite.  Use only fresh okra for this recipe.  Since adding tomatoes make okra mushy and sticky, I avoid it in this recipe.  With the onion and garlic, this has the right taste and aroma.  And, with the ginger and cayenne pepper, the right kick.  This dish is a perfect match with any Indian bread.  Check it out at Vidya Swamy's kitchen.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Gluten-free Indian flat bread made with ragi (millet)

At least 70% of the recipes are gluten-free on my site Vidya's Kitchen. I forget to mention that often enough.

This week I thought of the breads available in super markets.  It is hard to come across breads that are wheat free. At the most in nutrition stores you will find breads made with rice flour and quinoa, which are good replacements.  However, I have tried them and feel they are too soft and pasty.  So, decided to try this at home and post it for your benefit as well.

I have read extensively about staying gluten-free and discovered that they are not only good for people who cannot tolerate wheat based foods but also those seeking to stay away from estrogen producing foods.  Try this bread.  It is very easy to make and quite satisfying.  Nutritionally, it is high in fiber with reasonable amounts of protein, no gluten of course, and enough carbs to keep you satisfied.  Lastly, millet breads taste great.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Aromatic Spanish Rice from Vidya's Kitchen

Sometimes or maybe most times, thinking of what to make for lunch or dinner depends on our mood, what is available in the refrigerator, the weather outside, and so on.

It is freezing 2° F.  Sumptuous, tasty, carby (starchy) were the images that came to my mind.  How about aromatic Spanish rice?  Sounds easy enough.  Making it tasty is not really a problem.

So, here it goes.  Aromatic Spanish Rice from Vidya's kitchen.  Preparation time is about 10 minutes. Cooking time, as it is rice we are talking about would take at least 15 minutes.  That is a good plate of tasty meal in about 30 minutes.  Not too bad!