Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Thattapayar Sundal

Thattapayar Sundal is a mildly sweet sundal which makes it stand out from the rest of the sundals. This is a traditional recipe, a great, healthy snack, and is vegan too!

Thattapayar sundal has a perfect balance in flavor. The kick from red chilies, pungency from asafetida, sweetness from jaggery, fresh coconut, and salt - this is a medley of flavors. The added jaggery makes it special and this is my favorite right from childhood. These beans are rich in proteins. Thattapayar / red beans / adzuki beans is a small dark red beans. We use this to make sundal and in kozhukattais, like in Millet Kozhukattai or in Corn Rava Kozhukattai

This is easy to prepare. It needs soaking, hence plan ahead. Since it cooks quick, can be pressure cooked without soaking. Do quick hot water soak is also an option. But keep in mind, to cook it to tender but not mushy. Sundals need to retain their shape. Mushed adzuki beans are also great to make Dorayaki, traditional Japanese red bean stuffed honey pancakes. The filling in it sounded like very sweet, smashed sundal and we loved it. Once it is soaked, drain, rinse, cook on stovetop for about 11-12 minutes, add salt. Do the tempering, saute, the sundal and coconut, adding jaggery. The recipe is simple and is a crowd pleaser too. Leftovers can be stored in fridge for 1 or 2 days. Just warm and serve.

This sundal is a must during Navratri, though it can be enjoyed any day. Of the nine days, one day we make this as offering to Goddess. Navratri means, it is golu and sundal. That's what it was when we grew up, though we have elaborate meals nowadays. We  make sundal from different beans during this seven days like this Black Eyed Peas Sundal. Peanut/Vaerkadalai Sundal is also a great one to make during the festival. We make chitranna like Lemon Rice, Coconut Rice/ Thengai Sadam, or Instant Curry Leaf Rice for morning neivedhyams and for the evening we make sundals. I am sharing this for Navratra Specials event in Healthy Wellthy Cuisine.

Serves 4

Thattapayar - 1/2 cup
Water - 2 cups, plus for soaking
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Jaggery - 2 tbsp
Coconut - 2 to 3 tbsp

For Tempering

Oil - 1 tbsp
Dried red chili - 2, torn
Mustard seeds - 1/3 tsp
Split urad dal - 1/3 tsp
Asafetoda - 1/8 tsp
Curry leaf - 1 sprig


Wash and soak the beans with 2-3 cups water for 4-5 hours.

Drain the water, rinse the beans, and add two cups water, bring it to a boil on a medium flame. Remove the scum that forms on the surface. When it is almost cooked, add salt, simmer for 2-3 minutes and switch off the flame. This may take about 11-13 minutes. Drain the beans and set aside.

Heat oil in a pan on a medium flame. Add the ingredients under 'For Tempering'. Once the mustard splutters, add urad dhal, asafetida, followed by curry leaves. Fry for 30 seconds.

Add the drained beans. Saute for 2 minutes.

Add jaggery, mix, and saute for 2-3 minutes, till all the jaggery is completely absorbed.

Add the grated coconut, gently mix, and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.

Transfer to a serving bowl.

Pokemon Birthday Party Menu Ideas

Birthday is the only day kids always wait for and an amazing party makes it memorable. We had such an amazing Pokemom themed party and here I amsharing kids and adults finger food, and a desi/Indian food menu with amazing, fun food names in accordance with the theme.

We had an amazing party with friends and family. We made the labels using the Pokemon characters. Kids are crazy with Pokemon cards and they always trade based on the power and value of the character. It is fun playing with them. Since, there were many characters that rhyme well with many foods, my daughter prepared labels that were placed or taped in front of the food trays. We had fun time deciding the alliterating names and food menu!

With the character Serena, we made a snack bar and here are the list of snacks for the party (cookies and mirchi bajji were homemade):

Doduo Donut Holes - Donut Holes

Fennekin Fireballs - Cheese balls

Poliworl Jam Cookies - Jam Pinwheel Cookies

Venesaur's Veggie Straws - store bought veggie straws

Tapu Koko Tater Tots 

Voltorb Veggies and Dip - Veggies with Ranch Dip

Charmander Chip and Dip - Tortilla chips with Salsa


Magnemite Mirchi Bajji - my friend's amazing spicy Mirchi Bajji

For the Party food, we had all time comforting (for both Kids and adults) Indian menu. With planning, I was able to cook for a big party and enjoy it too. Its always fun when you cook for your loved ones! So kept the menu simple, but satisfying!

We had elders visiting us and hence had Idli with sambhar and chutney. There is nothing more comforting than soft, fluffy idlies. We named it Igglybuff Idlies to match the theme.

Chapathi with Paneer curry is all what kids love and we included them in our menu, Pichu's Paneer Masala and Charizard Chapathi. Since, Charizard blows fire, my kids thought to name it as we make phulkas by cooking them in fire.

Biriyani is always loved by everyone and is a crowd pleaser, and hence an item in the menu aptly named as Meloetta Masala Bath and perfectly paired with Raichu's Raita.

I baked and decorated a Eggless Chocolate Cake with whipped cream frosting. The smaller pokeballs have buttercream frosting. Each pokemon has power and individuality. So I added HP 500 and Laser Blaster 200 to denote the power and quality below my son's name (smudged here). We added nine pokeballs on top around the three edges as we celebrated his ninth birthday.

To add to the fun, have a pinata! Pikachu pinata perfectly fits in the theme.

This was an amazing party we enjoyed in the park. It is easy to make a simple party amazing by adding small details. We had the table covers yellow. We made goody bags matching to the theme. We added Pikachu ears or pokeball cutouts to yellow and white bags to make it more extra special. Kids would always love to chip in with all the wonderful ideas and it would be a breeze to do. Also, check here for a quick DIY Spiderman Themed Party and Attack on Titan Themed party Menu Ideas, again here we designed everything according to the anime.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Whole Wheat Apple Butter and Apple Cider Tea Muffin

This is a perfect breakfast for fall! With season's apples, this is a delicious muffin to start the day. The streusel topping adds to the flavors of the muffin. This muffin uses aplle butter and apple cider tea. This can be veganized by relacing butter with oil and milk with plant based milk.

My friends' backyard has three apple tress and they gave amazing yield. I got a good amount of apples. They tasted great. After eating fresh apples, we enjoyed Apple Cinnamon Oats, apple crisp, apple pie. Then also we had so much left and I made Slow Cooker Apple Butter. Apple butter can be used in many ways and adding to muffin gives a wonderful flavor to it.

Along with apple butter, I steeped a couple of Republic of Tea Apple Cider Tea in milk. That enhanced the flavor of the muffins. Apple Cider Milk Tea with Boba and Caramel Apple was a divine, refreshing drink that used Republic of Tea apple cider tea. The entire home smelled of apples and cinnamons when it was baking. In fact, when my daughter came back, she asked whether she could have a slice of apple pie. That amazing aroma. The muffins tasted amazing.

September being #NationalWholeGrainsMonth, I made this muffin using wholewheat flour.Regular all purpose flour makes wonderful muffins too. This is an eggless recipe. We loved the whole wheat version and is an amazing breakfast on the go or a snack. This can be kept at room temperature for 1-2 days, depending upon the season. Or can be refrigerated for more shelf-life. Just pop them in the warm to warm and enjoy a delicious breakfast.

I am sharing this for this month's #MuffinMonday. #MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all of our lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday can be found on our home page.

Muffin Monday

I am linking this to Sundays on Silverado and Happiness is Homemade.

Makes 12

Whole wheat flour - 1.5 cups
Apple butter - 1/4 cup
Republic of Tea Apple cider tea - 2 to 3 bags
Brown sugar - 2/3 cup
Vanilla - 1 tsp
Flaxseed powder - 1 tbsp
Butter - 5 tbsp
Milk - 1 and 1/4 cup plus a tbsp
Salt - 1/8 tsp
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Walnuts - 2 tbsp
Raisins - 3 tbsp
Cinnamon - 1/4 tsp

For Streusel Topping

Oats - 1/3 cup
Whole wheat flour - 2 tbsp
Brown sugar - 3 tbsp
Butter - 1.5 tbsp
Walnuts - 2 tbsp
Cinnamon - 1/8 tsp


To a quarter cup of milk, add the flax seed powder, mix and set it aside to gel. Heat the remaining milk to a boil, put the tea bags and set aside for 5 minutes to steep. Squeeze and discard the teabags.

In the meantime, mix the ingredients for the streusel topping and set aside.

To a bowl, add the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and set aside.

Beat well butter and brown sugar. Add the flaxed egg, tea steeped milk, vanilla, and apple butter. Combine well.

Add this to the dry ingredients, mix quickly. Dust the raisins and walnuts in a little flour, add to the muffin batter, and fold.

Add the batter to the lined muffin pans, to two-thirds the quantity in each cavity.

Divide the streusel topping equally on top of the muffins.

Bake at 350 degrees for 16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Remove from the oven, cool, and serve. The leftovers can be stored in refrigerator for a couple of days. Pop it in the oven to warm, and serve.

Here are the links to muffin recipes for September 2021 #MuffinMonday. Thanks, Stacy and Wendy.

Spiderman Themed Party

Birthdays are full of fun, especially with a party. Friends and families together with good food and laughters, that a celebraton! When everything is DIY, it is all the more fun. One time we did a super quick Spiderman themed party. We did evrything by ourselves and it was fun to do with kids. It just took two days to do this party!

We used red and blue colored crepe papers, which are perfect for Spiderman theme, to make a background. We used colored paper triangles and alphabet stickers to make a banner! Spiderman face was printed out, colored, and cut into the right shaoe. Kids loved doing these and your decorations for the party is also set.

We also made fun food labels. Again , it is just using papers and markers and writing them in the theme colors. We made the label sound fun with the food that we planned and it was a huge hit. With every label, kids were super excited. It is that age that they think even the name will give them extra power to shoot spider webs. You can hear the web from their wrist out:-) That much fun!

I am sharing this simple DIY party idea to do in two days as a part of this week's Blogging Marathon. Check out my earlier post about "Attack on Titans" themed party idea.

Pizza is all-time wanted food for kids and we labeled it as 'Webizza'.

Veggie hakka noodles are another kids favorite! I made it and labeled as 'Energizing Web Power Food'! Kids went nuts over this. Since the noodles looks like the webs, it was an apt name and is kids favorite too!

Next, a party should have some sweet fun elements for the kids. We saw some jelly in stores and used them right away as 'Spidey Treats'.

Cookie cups in Spiderman colors and Jello added fun to the party. These sweet treats were gone in a flash. The cookie cups were made with colored sugar cookie and red colored white chocolate filling! Adults too loved these cookie cups!

Thirst quenchers are essential for a bunch of young kids. After shooting webs as pretend Spiderman, they need some liquid. We had water, blue curaco, and kiwi lemon juice. We gave name to water as 'Liquid Web', blue curaco as Spidey's Refreshing Drink', and Kiwi-lemon juice as 'Goblin Juice'. Again the kids loved the names as well as juice. Because of the name, they had more of these and the end result more power to shoot webs and play:-). I couldn't find the pictures to add here. Once I retrieve thise will add here.

Finally, what is a birthday party without a cake? I baked a vanilla based eggless cake - 2 tiers, the top tier is cut into Spidey face and decorated with buttercream! Total Fun!

We had an amazing celebration and that's the point. It is possible to make everything DIY by keeping things simple and maximizing fun!

Easy One-Pot Mixed Millet and Dal Khichdi

This is healthy, nutritious, and a comforting meal. This is millet based. Millets and dal provide crabs, proteins, and the veggies give essential micro nutrients making this a healthy one. This can be veganized by using oil instead of ghee. This can be served with a dollop of ghee on top, with yogurt, or with pickle/achar.

Khichdi is always comfort meal. And it is also a quick one-pot meal. Whether you do it in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, khichdi is always easy, given the advantage that in Instant Pot pressure can be released quick. This Instant Pot recipe is exactly tasty as the stove top version. With a minimal saute, pressure cook for 7 minutes, do a quick release, mix, and enjoy a bowl of heaven! 

Rice and dal cooked together is called khichdi and can be made with any grain or dal too. The nutritional profile can be enriched by adding more than one grain or dal. Khichdi thickens when cooled, so add a little hot water and mix while serving left overs to get the right consistency.

When I checked my pantry, I saw these wholegrains, and immediately started on this easy, one-pot comfort meal. Though I have used finger millet grits, the whole millet can be used. Any millet can be used and this can be made with single grain too. The same is valid for dal too - use one dal or a mix, the result is always divine.

A dollop of ghee on top of steaming bowl of khichdi is always the most comforting food. This is amde with ghee. Since it is only the animal derived product, this khichdi can easily be veganized by using any oil. Coconut oil would taste amazing but any oil would work.

I have added a little Kohlapuri masala, which has amazing spices and coconut. Coriander powder or garam masala can be used, or it can be skipped too. Add a little cayenne or extra Thai chili according to spice level.

I am sharing this one-pot meal for an event "One Pot Wonders" hosted by Christie. One-pot meals are always amazing. This recipe has wholegrains.This month is #NationalWholegrainsmonth and hence decided on sharing this recipe for the event. We share Recipes From Our Dinner Table! Join our group and share your recipes, too! While you're at it, join our Pinterest board, too!

Rice or grain and dal mixture are always quick to make and more comforting. They are very delicious and satisfying too. Tapioca Pearl Stirfry/Sabudana Khichdi is a grain free dal free recipe which is one of our favorite too. Here are some rice/grain - dal based khichdi recipes from the blog which would taste amazing!

Serves 6 to 8

Barnyard millet - 1/4 cup
Kodo millet - 1/4 cup
Foxtail millet - 1/4 cup
Finger millet grits or millet - 1/4 cup
any millet or millet mix - 1 cup

Yellow split moong dal - 1/4 cup
Toor dal - 1/4 cup
Green split moong dal - 1/4 cup
Orange lentils - 1/4 cup
any dal - 1 cup

Water - 6.5 cup
Onion - 1/2 cup, chopped
Ginger - 1/2 tsp
Cabbage - 1 cup, chopped
Carrots - 1 cup, diced
Peas - 1 cup
Spinach - 2 cups, chopped
Salt - 2 tsp
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Kohlapuri masala - 1/2 tsp (or garam masala)

For Tempering

Ghee 3 to 4 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 3/4 tsp
Cumin - 1 tsp
Asafetida - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaf - 1 sprig
Whole black cardamom -1
Bay leaf - 1 or 2
Cloves - 3
Cinnamon - 1-in piece
Green Thai chili - 3 to 4
Dried red chili -  2 or 3, torn


Switch on the Instant Pot in saute mode. Add the ghee, followed by dried red chilies, mustard seeds, cumin, and asafetida.Add the curry leaves, bay leaves, black cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, green chili, and ginger. Saute for 30 seconds. Add the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the veggies. 

Next add the washed millets and dal, followed by salt, turmeric, and Kohlapuri Masala. Mix, and add water. Switch off the saute mode.

Close the Instant Pot, set in high pressure mode for 7 minutes. Once done, release the pressure.

Add the spinach, mix and adjust to check the taste and consistency.

Serve hot-hot with a dollop of ghee, and/or with yogurt, pickle/achar.

Here are the links to more "One Pot Wonders". Thanks, Christie!