Monday, August 31, 2009

Gujarati Toor Dal

I am Gujarati, Gujarat is the western most state of India. Gujarati's love to add some sweetness to their savory food, it is our signature. Gujarati Toor Dal is known for its distinct sweetness which comes from jaggery(brown sugar). I loveToor Dal, it a part of a typical Gujarati meal.

Finally, I have come as close as I ever have to getting my Guju Dal to taste like my mother's. Thanks to my aunt, I was able to figure out the missing ingredient that gave the flavor some body (tamarind).

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Kazakh Cuisine

Gutap - Kazakh Herb Phyllo Pastries

The first cuisine that I will start with is Kazakh cuisine. Kazahstan is situated in Central Asia/Eastern Europe, it borders Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Historically, Kazakhstanis were nomadic people. Kazakh cuisine is not vegetarian friendly it mainly consists of meat and dairy.

After a lot of research I did come across many baked goods that are a part of Kazakh cuisine. A custom called dastarkhan (a feast for visiting guests and special occasions) includes a dish called Gutap. Gutap is a fried herb fritter that is served with a delicious dip that taste just like a french onion dip. I have found a recipe online, here is a link Gutap. I am modifying the recipe slightly. I am using phyllo pastry in order to make a healthier version.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Italian style baked beans

This is a great savory breakfast/brunch that we love on Sunday's at our household so I decided to enter it in the WYF Breakfast event contest. These baked beans are quick, easy to make, healthy and full of protein.

Approx. 2-3 servings (1 can)

1 can Heinz vegetarian baked beans
1 garlic clove
1/2 small red onion
crushed red pepper flakes (or green chili is optional substitute)
1 tbsp olive oil (Mediterranean or red pepper infused oil preferable)
grated Parmesan-reggiano cheese (optional, add to taste)
wheat or grain sandwich bread
Mozzarella cheese (shredded or preferably fresh)

Replace oregano and cilantro with fresh basil (4 leaves) and parsley (1 tbsp)

Mince garlic, dice onions, chop cilantro leaves and saute in oil with oregano, salt to taste and crushed red pepper flakes on medium heat for about one minute. Add can of Heinz vegetarian beans. Cook for about 5 minutes on medium to low heat.

Toast the sandwich bread in oven at approx. 350 degrees. Take the toast out of the oven, add layer of baked beans and mozzarella cheese and put it back in the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

192 cuisines in 291 days

I have always wanted to learn recipes/cuisine from all over the world. I hope to learn of new way to combine ingredients that I can apply to my cooking for a fusion creation.

I will randomly select countries during the next 291 days and than pick a vegetarian dish from each country and use it as an inspiration to create a dish. I may modify certain elements to make it healthier or easier to make.

According to different sources there are about 192,194,195 countries in the world. I have decided to include 192 countries in this project.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pear and Cheese "Baklava" Pastries

If you are not a baker this is a great way to make dessert that is easy. I came up with this one day when I was trying to figure out what to do with a can of pears.

This makes about 2-3 small servings.


1 package of Pilsbury Pastry Sheets (recipe only uses 2-3 sheets)
Pepper Jack Cheese (or you can use cheddar)
2 tbsp walnuts
2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1 can pears (no sugar added)
3-4 tbsp light brown sugar (add to taste)

To make the fruit mixture in a pan add a can of pears, nutmeg, cinnamon and brown sugar simmer on low (approx. 20 minutes) . Stir and mash mixture until it becomes close to the texture of apple sauce. Allow it to cool and than add walnuts.

Take out pastry sheets ahead of time and allow them to thaw. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Once the pastry sheets have thawed layer the pear mixture and slices of cheese (I put approx. 4 cubes of pepper jack in between two pastry sheets). You can use 3 pastry sheets rather than 2 if you prefer. Place the pastries on baking sheet or non-stick pan. Brush melted butter on the pastry. Bake 15 minutes.

Vegetarian Singapore Noodles


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red or yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Chili garlic sauce to taste
  • hakka noodles for 4 servings, pre-cooked
  • 3 tbsp curry powder
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce


Sautee bell pepper, onion, garlic and chili garlic sauce in olive oil for a few minutes.

Add pre-cooked noodles and mix well.

Add curry powder and soy sauce.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Summer Pineapple Salsa

A great idea for entertaining that is fast, healthy and has a touch of tropical, salsa! Here's a pineapple salsa recipe that I posted on (vegetarian forum). It goes great with banana chips.

You could also make some fresh plantain chips (refer to plantain chip recipe) and add some salt/pepper.

Pineapple Salsa:


  • 3/4 can diced pineapple, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp spiced olive oil, or, use regular olive oil and add chili powder to taste


Rinse the diced pineapple in a colander and add it the rest of the ingredients. You can dice the pepper, onions and cilantro and use a hand blender just a few times until it becomes a chunky salsa texture. Try to keep in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to soak in.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Plantain chips dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with cinnamon

These delicious sweet and salty chips are easy and great for parties.

Green Plantains
Vegetable oil
semi-sweet Chocolate chips

Cut green plantains into very thin long slices and fry in oil until they brown and look like chips. Place chips on a napkin and sprinkle with some salt.
Melt semi-sweet chocolate or milk chocolate chips in microwave until they start melting and then mix until it becomes a smooth texture. Dip half the chips into the chocolate and place in a dish. Finally sprinkle with cinnamon.

Lavash Bread

Lavash bread makes amazing pizza! I made pizza last week with them
and the crust was so thin and crisp. It was perfect! I def recommend it for people
who love thin crust. I use Toufayan Lavash Bread - White from Shoprite.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Plantain roll


2 green plantains
pinch of cumin seeds
pinch of mustard seeds
1 tsp of asafoetida powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 dried chilli
1 1/2 tsp coriander/cumin powder mixture
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp indian chilli powder (add according to your spice level)
1/2-1 tsp of pure tamarind paste
salt to taste
2 large wheat rotis

Amul cheese slices
Jain tomato sauce
Tomato soup

Boil the plantains until the peel starts turning a brown/black color but before it is entirely black. Check with a fork, it should not be too soft. Cut plantains into cubes. Saute dried chilli pepper, asafoetida powder, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, coriander/cumin powder mixture, turmeric powder until it sizzles. Add plantain cubes and saute till it starts browning. Add salt to taste and tamarind paste. Cook until it starts charring. Put plaintains in the roti and roll. I am going to try adding cheese to see how it tastes. I am going to serve this with Jain tomato sauce and a bowl of tomato soup since the roll may be dry.


I am starting this blog on the second day of my religious week called Paryushan (Jain religion). Due to diet restrictions during the next 7 days I look forward to being even more creative while cooking.

Paryushan is a week to reflect on all the bad deeds one has done over the past year and to ask for forgiveness from all creatures and living beings. During this week in order to control desires, focus energy towards spirituality and cleanse the body our diet is limited to fruits, beans, nuts and dried masala that do not contain any of the following restricted foods: vegetables, roots (onion, garlic, ginger etc.) and breads.


I think it is a lot of fun to cook as a vegetarian, it encourages creativity. Every time I cook I try to find ways to modify and even invent new recipes. It also motivates healthy cooking. I love posting up recipes and I am an active member of the Vegetarian forum at I decided to start a blog where I can post up recipes and I would love your comments and suggestions.