Pav Bhaji Sandwich

Pav Bhaji Sandwich

This is one of my oldest and best experiments so far. Right from my college days, this was (and still is) my go to dish whenever there was turai or brinjal for lunch at home. White or whole wheat bread filled with vegetables filling flavored with pav bhaji masala makes these sandwiches a complete and quick meal without any guilt. My siblings and I have always relished these quick and flavorful sandwiches.

Pav Bhaji Sandwich

You can add finely chopped garlic along with onions if you like. You can also add vegetables like beans or sweetcorn. Do not overcook the veggies or they will lose the crunch. Cheese is optional. You can add a slice of cheese to the filling just before you grill it. I use olive oil to grill the sandwiches, you can use butter too. I grill my sandwiches on a tava; Sandwich maker should give the same results too.

You can prepare the filling in advance and grill the sandwiches just before eating. I pack these sandwiches for lunch sometimes and they taste good but I would still prefer them fresh and hot.

Pav Bhaji Sandwich


Makes 10-12 sandwiches (depending on the size of the bread)

  • ½ cup onions
  • 1 cup carrot
  • ½ cup capsicum
  • ¼ cup green peas
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp pav bhaji masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 20-22 slices of bread
  • Butter/olive oil as required


Heat oil in a kadhai or non stick pan. Add onions and sauté for 1-2 minutes till they are translucent. Add capsicum and sauté for a minute. Add carrot and green peas and sauté for another minute. Add pav bhaji masala and salt. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes mixing in between. Transfer the filling to a bowl and let it cool slightly. Fill between two slices of bread and grill on tava or a sandwich maker using butter or olive oil. You can add cheese slice to the sandwich before grilling. Serve hot with ketchup.

Raw Mango Rice (Kairi Ke Chawal)

Raw Mango Rice

Raw mango rice is the summer version of tamarind rice or lemon rice. Cooked rice is mixed with a paste made of raw mango, urad dal, chana dal and ground nuts.

Summers in Hyderabad can get super hot and my mom’s way to avoid getting into the kitchen is to cook dishes that can be made ahead and need very less time in kitchen before serving them. One of such dishes is the raw mango rice. It can not only be prepared ahead but is also good to beat the heat.


You can replace groundnuts with cashew nuts if you like. Some people also add heeng and grated coconut to the tadka. Green chilli is the only source of spice in this dish. You can add more or less green chillies based on taste and the spice level of the chillies you are using.


The quantity of raw mango depends on the sourness of the mangoes. Mix few table spoons of mixture at a time and keep tasting while mixing to get the desired taste.

You can prepare the mango paste in advance and store it in fridge for six to eight weeks. This is an excellent dish to transform leftover rice to a tangy treat.

Kairi ke Chawal


serves 2-3

  • 1.5 cup cooked rice
  • 4-5 tbsp oil
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 10-15 curry leaves
  • 4-5 green chillies
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 2 tsp chana dal
  • 2 tbsp groundnut
  • 3 dry red chillies
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cup grated raw mango
  • Salt to taste


Heat oil in a kadhai or thick bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add curry leaves and green chillies. Saute and add urad dal and chana dal. Sauté and cook for 1 min or till the dals are lightly browned. Add ground nuts and dried red chillies. Cook for one more minute. Make sure the dals or groundnuts are not burned. Add the grated raw mango, turmeric powder, and salt. Mix well and cook for two minutes mixing in between. Switch off the gas and mix and let the mixture cool for 2-3 minutes. Mix few tablespoons of raw mango mixture at a time in the cooked rice until you get the desired tanginess. You can store any leftover mixture in the fridge for 1-2 months.

Mangalore Rasam (South Indian Lentil Soup)


Rasam is a south Indian soup which can be served as a part of meals or as an appetizer. This thin consistency lentil soup is usually tamarind based and the seasoning differs from region to region or rather home to home. There are dozens of types of Rasam. This is the Mangalore rasam which is one of the best recipes of my sister-in-law.  A very simple and flavorful companion for our sambar rice lunches on Sundays.

Rasam Ingredients

The base of this rasam is not tamarind. You can use tamarind too if you like. Fresher the ingredients, better the flavor of rasam. Especially fresh curry leaves and coriander add to the freshness of this lentil soup. Crush or tear the curry leaves before adding to the tadka.

Rasam is usually a part of south Indian meal and is served along with sambar and curd. Rasam can be prepared ahead of time and tastes best piping hot with rice and ghee.

Mangalore Rasam


Serves 4

  • ½ cup toor dal (split pigeon peas) cooked and mashed
  • 2 cups water
  • 2tbsp rasam powder
  • Lime juice to taste (I used 3 tbsp)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves chopped

For Tempering

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ¼ tsp urad dal
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • ¼ tsp asafetida (heeng)
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 2 inch piece of ginger (grated)
  • 2 green chillies slit
  • 1 tomato chopped


Heat oil in a kadhai or thick bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds, urad dal and asafetida. Add curry leaves, green chillies, and ginger. Sauté for few seconds. Add chopped tomatoes, little salt and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add rasam powder and mix well. Add little water (around 2-3 tbsp) and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the cooked dal, 2 cups of water, lime juice, and salt. Mix well and cook for 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add chopped coriander and serve hot with rice and ghee.

Nutella Truffles

Nutella Truffles

I am a big hazelnut fan and for me Nutella is THE best hazelnut spreads. It adds the delicious nutty taste to any dessert. I have made cake icing, milkshakes, chocolate mousse and many more desserts with Nutella. Nutella truffle is one of the quickest recipes I know. This is a real quick recipe with very few ingredients.

I have tried using various biscuits as a base for these truffles but Marie works the best for me. You can try using digestive biscuits too but they don’t bind too well. Marie biscuits are easier to crush and bind. You can crush them using a rolling pin. I used a blender to make it quicker and easier.

You can coat these truffles with anything you like; toasted nuts, icing sugar, cocoa powder, sprinkles, melted chocolate. I like the toasted nuts and coconut coating for my truffles. Only tough thing in the recipe is to wait for the truffles to set. If you can resist that, you have amazingly quick and delicious truffles ready in minutes.


Makes 14-16 Truffles

  • 12 Marie biscuits
  • 7-8 tbsp Nutella

For Coating

You can use any of these or all of these or any other coating of your choice.

  • ¼ cup roasted and coarsely ground almonds
  • 7-8 tbsp dry desiccated coconut
  • 3-4 tbsp cocoa powder


Put the biscuits in a zip lock bag and crush them using a rolling pin. Or simply put them in a blender and crush them finely. Put the crushed biscuits in a bowl. Add one tbsp Nutella at a time and make a moldable mix. Make small balls and roll them lightly in the coating of your choice.

Refrigerate for 2-3 hours. The truffles are ready to eat.

Tamarind Rice (Khatte Chawal)

Mom’s indeed are the best cooks in the world. Not because they cook gourmet food but they make normal food taste like gourmet food and that too in minutes. Khatte chawal (this is what my family calls it), known as pulihora/puliodare/puliyogare in south India is tamarind flavored rice with a tempering of nuts, lentils, and spices. This tangy rice is a common prasad at most of the south Indian temples.

This is not an authentic pulihora recipe but this is one of the best I have eaten apart from the ones at temples of course.

The taste and color of this dish depends a lot on the quality of tamarind. To get the best results, clean and soak the tamarind in water for 2-3 hours. It will be easier to get the pulp out. You can also add cashewnuts, urad dal, and grated coconut too. My favorites in this dish are the fresh curry leaves, asafoetida, and just a hint of jaggery.

My mom prepares the tamarind mix in advance and then it is just a matter of minutes to turn plain white rice to tangy and yummy south Indian delicacy. You can store the tamarind mix in fridge for up to a month.

This is a great travel food too. It tastes equally good when it is cold. Try to mix the rice couple of hours in advance before eating.


Serves 2

  • 2 cups cooked plain rice
  • 3-4 tbsp oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp asafoetida (heeng)
  • 3-4 green chillies slit
  • 4-5 dry red chillies broken
  • 15-20 curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp chana dal
  • 2 tbsp groundnuts
  • ¼ cup tamarind
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp jaggery
  • Salt to taste


Soak tamarind in ½ cup water for 1-2 hours. Mash the tamarind thoroughly using fingers and pass this paste through a sieve. Keep aside. This recipe requires a thick pulp so add as less water as possible.

Heat oil in a non stick pan or a kadhai. Add mustard seeds. Once the seeds pop, add curry leaves, green chillies, dry red chillies. Let them cook for around a minute. Add the chana dal, ground nuts, and asafoetida. Sauté and cook for 1-2 minutes till the dal and ground nuts are lightly browned. Be careful not the burn the dal and the nuts or they will taste bitter. Add the tamarind pulp, salt, red chilli powder, and turmeric powder. Mix well and let this cook on low flame till the oil floats on top (around 6-8 minutes). Keep mixing in between. Let it cool down a little.

Mix few spoons of the tamarind mix at a time in plain rice. You can add more or less mix in the rice based on your taste. If you like the rice sour add more mix. You can store the left over tamarind mix in fridge for upto a month.




Spicy Pizza Sandwich

Spicy Pizza Sandwich

Sandwich is one of the most versatile snacks. You can fill it with anything you like and the Spicy Pizza sandwich is my version of one of the most loved food on the planet. This very easy, quick, and spicy recipe can be changed as per individual tastes by adding the toppings(or fillings) of one’s choice. If you love pizza, you will surely enjoy this sandwich version of pizza.

Just think of the toppings you like on your pizza and add them to this filling. You can make it healthier by reducing the amount of cheese, using whole wheat bread instead of white bread and by adding more vegetables. I use a mix of cheddar and mozzarella cheese but just cheddar or just mozzarella works fine too.

Coming to spice, I like my snacks spicier. I add very finely chopped ginger to the filling. It adds both spice and flavor to the filling. You can add or reduce the quantity of ginger and chilli flakes as per taste. You can also add other fresh or dried herbs like basil, thyme, or pizza seasoning.

You can prepare the filling in advance and refrigerate it for up to a week. This is a quick snack for evening or even a light dinner when you are too tired to cook.  Serve the sandwiches hot with ketchup or a dip of your choice.

Spicy Pizza Sandwich


Makes 4 sandwiches

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp ginger finely chopped
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp onion chopped
  • 3 tbsp corn boiled
  • 3 tbsp mixed bell peppers chopped or julienned
  • 1 tbsp olives
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • ¼ tsp black pepper powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Cheese to taste
  • 8 slices of bread
  • Olive oil/butter to grill the sandwich


Heat oil in a non stick pan. Add oregano and ginger. Sauté and cook on low flame for 30-40 seconds. Add chilli flakes and onions. Cook till onions are translucent but still crisp (30-40 seconds). Add the bell peppers, corn, and olive. Cook for a minute on high heat. Add tomato paste, salt, and black pepper. Mix well and cook for a minute. Switch off the heat and let the filling cool down a little.

Divide the filling into four portions. Spread one portion on a piece of bread. Top it with the cheese of your choice and put another piece of bread on the top. Spray olive oil or spread butter and grill the sandwich till brown on both sides. You can grill it on a tava too (griddle). Serve hot with ketchup or dip of your choice.

Quick Bisi Bele Bath

Quick Bisi Bele Bath

Bisibele bath is a dish from Karnataka but also popular in Hyderabad. It’s a spicy and sour mix of rice and lentils.  My mom uses left over rice and dal to make excellent instant bisi bele bath. It’s a quick makeover to the left over dal rice. Just add some mixed vegetables, spices and you have an interesting and delicious breakfast/lunch dish ready.

Hyderabad has numerous restaurants which serve a dish called sambar rice with veggies. This recipe of my mom comes closest to it. My mom uses the khatti dal that we prepare at home. You can use any toor (split pigeon pea) based dal. I haven’t tried this dish with other lentils yet. If you are using a dal which is not sour, add tamarind water while cooking.

You can use any vegetables you like for this dish but I prefer carrots, beans and peas. The main ingredients for this dish are sambar powder and the karampodi. They take this simple dal rice mix to another level. You can add or reduce the karampodi as per your preference of spice in food.  Bisibele bath can be served a breakfast or lunch. It tastes best when it is hot.

Quick Bisi Bele Bath


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 4-5 dry red chillies
  • ¼ tsp asafetida
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • ¼ cup mixed vegetables chopped (carrot, beans, peas)
  • 1 small tomato chopped
  • ½ tbsp sambar powder
  • 1 tbsp karam podi (gun powder served with idlis or south Indian meals)
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup dal (I used the khatti dal my mom prepares at home)
  • 1 tbsp tamarind water (optional)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp coriander
  • Salt to taste


Heat oil in a pressure cooker.  Add mustard and cumin seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add dry red chillies, asafetida, and curry leaves.

Add onions and vegetables and sauté for 1-2 mins. Add tomatoes and cook for 30-40 seconds. Add sambar powder, karam podi, red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala, and salt. Mix well. Add dal and 1 cup water.  Close the cooker and cook till the pressure is released once (one whistle). Switch off the gas after one whistle. Once the cooker is cooled, open and add rice and mix well. Close the cooker again and cook on slow flame till you get two more whistles. Open the cooker once it is cooled completely. Add chopped coriander and serve hot with papad and lime pickle.

Pita Pockets with Stir-fried Vegetables

Pita Pockets with Stir-fried Vegetables

Pita pockets filled with stir fried veggies. This is one of my experiments gone right and my favourite food for make ahead meals. This healthy meals is an excellent combo of multi grain pita pockets filled with fresh stir fried vegetables with a hint of pesto. These pita pockets are quite filling and can be had as a meal itself.

I put all my favourite veggies in this one. You can choose the ones you like. It helps to steam the carrots, beans, and broccoli ahead. Cook the filling on high heat throughout and it will be a good mix of crunchy bell peppers and soft steamed veggies. You can also experiment with the sauce. I like the pesto flavour for this one but the Chinese flavour (chilli, soya, and vinegar) works great too. This filling works well with a wrap or bread too.

Pita pockets are a part of Lebanese food but they are very versatile and can be enjoyed with variety of fillings. I prefer the multigrain pita pockets but you can go for the whole wheat or plain pita pockets too. You can toast the pita bread ahead and warm them up just before eating.

This is one of my best bets for healthy make ahead meals and can be had as dinner combined with a dip and may be some hot soup.

Pita Pockets with Stir-fried Vegetables


Makes 10 Pita Pockets

  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger finely chopped
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp basil chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic chopped
  • ¼ cup onion cut lengthwise
  • 1 cup bell peppers julienned
  • 2/3 cup broccoli steamed
  • ½ cup green beans cut lengthwise and steamed
  • ½ cup carrots cut lengthwise and steamed
  • ½ tsp white pepper powder
  • 1 ½ – 2 slices of cheese
  • Salt to taste
  • 5 pita breads


Grind the basil and garlic coarsely with 1 tsp olive oil. Keep it aside. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a non-stick pan. Add ginger and sauté for 1 minute. Add oregano, chilli flakes, and onions and sauté. Add bell peppers and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add green beans, carrots, and broccoli and sauté. Add the salt, pepper, and the basil garlic paste. Mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the cheese slices and switch off the gas. Once the cheese melts, mix the filling well and keep aside.

Heat a tava or griddle and lightly toast the pita breads on both sides. Once the bread is lightly toasted from both sides, cut the pita bread into two. You should have two pita pockets now. Divide the filling into 10 portions. Fill one portion in each pita pocket and serve warm. You can serve it with tomato ketchup or a honey mustard dip too.

Baigan ka Bharta (Ringna no Orro)

Baigan ka Bharta (Ringna no Orro)

Ringna no Orro or Baigan ka bharta gujju style. This is my mom in law’s world famous recipe. Everyone who has eaten this version of the bharta is a fan of her cooking. This is a very common recipe in Gujarat and people relish this with hot rotla (bajra ki roti). This is an almost no cook dish.

All you need is a big and beautiful looking Brinjal/Aubergine/Eggplant. Only cooking you will need for this dish is roasting the Brinjal on open flame. You can also grill it if you like.

Though Brinjal tops the list of vegetables I hate, I loved the smell of this one. Finely chopped onions and green chillies mixed with freshly roasted Brinjals never smelled so good to me. This cooks pretty fast and packs in lots of nutrition with very less fat.

My in laws and most of the bharta lovers enjoy this one with hot bajra roti (called Rotlo in gujarati), garlic chutney, and pieces of Jaggery. You can try this with normal whole wheat rotis too.

Baigan ka Bharta (Ringna no Orro)


Serves 2

  • 1 big Brinjal (Aubergine/Eggplant, Baigan, Ringana)
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli finely chopped
  • 2 tbp fresh coriander finely chopped
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp + ¼ tsp oil
  • Salt to taste


Brush the aubergine with ¼ tsp oil and make a vertical slit. Roast on cooktop, or grill in oven grill or barbeque grill. Keep turning it periodically till the Brinjal is charred on all side. Let it cool completely and then peel off and discard the charred skin and the green top. Chop the Brinjal as finely as possible. You can even mash it if you prefer.

In a bowl, combine the chopped Brinjal with rest of the ingredients and mix well. Serve with hot Bajra roti, Garlic chutney and some pieces of Jaggery.

Onion Curry (Pyaaz ki Sabji)

Onion Curry (Pyaaz ki Sabji)

Statutory Warning: If you live in India and buy onion with your yearly bonus these days, wait for the prices to come down before you try this curry.

Once upon a time onions were banned in my grandmother’s kitchen. They slowly made a guest appearance when my mom took over the kitchen. It was a once in a while affair then. Weekend snacks, or special occasions or whenever my aunt visited us from Solapur. As with any other thing that you are not supposed to eat or which is not cooked regularly, onion too was my favorite especially the pyaaz ki pakodi (onion fritters). Things slowly changed, and onion is a permanent resident in our kitchen now. Though used sparingly, the ban is not there anymore.

One of my aunts lives in Solapur. Whenever she used to visit us during vacations, it would be a treat for us as she would prepare all the new recipes she learnt at her in laws place. Most of the dishes she prepared included onions. One such curry was this quick and easy onion curry. Only thing she insisted always (and still does) is to have the hara masala (fresh coriander, curry leaves, ginger and green chillies) for cooking. These fresh ingredients add that special flavor to the curry.

This curry makes a perfect yummy meal for the times when you don’t want to spend lot of time in kitchen and still want yummy food. The coarsely ground groundnuts add crunch to the curry. This curry, tastes best with hot rice. You can eat it with roti too.

Onion Curry (Pyaaz ki Sabji)


Serves 2-3

  • 3 onions chopped (preferably juliennes)
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds (Jeera)
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds (rai)
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 2 green chillies slit
  • 2 inch piece of ginger grated
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida (heeng)
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
  • 2 tsp coriander powder (dhaniya powder)
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • 3 tbsp groundnuts roasted and coarsely ground
  • 1 ½ tsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander (chopped)
  • ¼ cup water
  • Salt to taste


Heat oil in a kadhai or a thick bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add grated ginger, green chillies, and curry leaves. Tear and crush the curry leaves a little to get more flavor.

Add half of the chopped coriander and sauté. Add chopped onions and salt. Mix well and cook for 2-3 mins or till the onions are translucent. Add, turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder, asafoetida, groundnuts, and garam masala. Add little water (approximately 1/4th cup) and mix well. Cook on low flame for 5-6 minutes.

Add lime juice and chopped coriander. Mix well and serve with hot rice.