Saturday, April 30, 2022

Rainbow Salad With Tandoori Dressing

This is a healthy, nutritious, and easy to make rainbow salad made with colorful veggies and with the ultimate tandoori ranch dressing! This healthy and flavor packed salad is a visual and flavor treat! This salad will make every occasion special and is also a crowd pleaser.

Tandoori ranch is an amazing dressing for salads. This can be made using the aromatic and flavorful mix of spices, Tandoori Masala (a spice mix that is used to make veg and non-veg dishes cooked in a clay oven, check the link for an easy homemade recipe). Store bought tandoori masala can also be used. Ginger, garlic, Thai chili, and the masala make the flavors of this ranch outstanding and out of the world! Creamy, spicy, rich in herbs and spices - this ranch is packed with flavors!

Rainbow salad makes any event special! Looking at it may seem like a lot of work, but actually not that much. It is easy and simple. The time taken to make this salad is the veggie prep time. These veggies are not hard to process. Food processor can also be used, if preferred.

To make this salad all you require is color veggies, tandoori masala, garlic, ginger, sour cream, Vegannaise, and buttermilk. Salt and green Thai chilies are also added and they bring out the top notch flavor. Paneer is great to add in salads like this chat style Layered Garbanzo Beans and Paneer Salad (a crowd pleaser too!) and it gives good proteins. Peanuts are easy pantry staple and gives an amazing crunch.

Purple -  Purple colored veggies cabbage and onions
Green - lettuce, cucumbers, and green bell peppers. Ice berg lettuce is used here. Any choice of lettuce can be used.
Yellow - Corn is used and have used canned ones. Frozen or fresh corn can be used after boiling for 2-3 minutes. Yellow bell peppers and sweet peppers can also be used.
Orange - Carrots are perfect. Orange bell pepper and sweet potatoes aka yams can also be used.
Red - Tomatoes are used in this recipe. Red bell pepper also works great and can be added together.

Paneer - adds to the protein and calcium, and gives a meaty texture.
Nuts - Peanuts give amazing crunch as well as proteins. Any nut of your choice can be used. Use roasted nuts for the best flavor.
Tandoori masala - Fragrant mix of spices used with veg and non veg dishes that are cooked in a tandoor oven. These dishes are very popular.
Vegannise - I used vegannaise which is egg free. Mayo can be used. 
Herbs -Cilantro, mint, and chives are used. Do not skimp on them, they add great flavors!

This salad can be a meal as such or as a side for any occasion. This can easily feed a crowd. The colorful layers will attract any one to try this and with the tasty ranch, this will please even the picky eater. The following measurements may be served for 4 to 8 persons, or even a couple more, depending on whether it is served as a main or side. This is a great meal for summer as it doesn't require cooking other than heating two tablespoons of oil. 

The salad and dressing can be made ahead and refrigerated. This makes entertaining easier. When making for a large crowd, other colored veggies like yellow, orange, and red peppers can also be added to help make in bigger quantities. The ranch recipe can also be easily doubled or tripled. The flavors of the tandoori ranch will be so addictive that you'll be tempted to smother it on your salad. YUM!

What can be more special than a rainbow? Rainbows bring happiness and so does MOM! MOM is everything for me and this is the same for everyone. A great, tasty, and delicious meal is necessary to celebrate MOM who is the ultimate of everything! Mom is a rainbow and what to make for her? This salad is the perfect one to bring a smile and happiness! This is healthy and very easy to make. This meal of fresh rainbow veggie salad, fresh juice, ginger cardamom chai, and vadapav ( this can be quickly made with aloo tikkis or patties) in under an hour to celebrate this Mother's Day! 

Mother's Day is around the corner and Christie is hosting an event in our #OurFamilyTable group, to help plan and make a surprising and special meal for Mother's Day brunch. 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!

Salads are healthy and help us maintain health by providing necessary vitamins, minerals, and fiber. If you are a salad lover like us, here are some amazing salads to try.

Serves 4 to 8

Paneer - 1 cup, 1/4 or 1/2 inch cubes
Purple cabbage - 1 cup, thinly sliced
Onions - 1 cup, thinly sliced
Lettuce - 1 cup, thinly sliced
Cucumber - 1 cup, 1/2-in cubes
Green bell pepper - 1 cup, thinly sliced
Corn - 1 cup, canned
Carrots - 1 cup, thick and long shreds
Tomatoes - 1 cup, halved or whole
Cilantro - 2 tbsp, finely chopped
Mint - 2 tbsp, finely chopped
Peanuts - 3/4 cup, roasted

For the Tandoori Ranch

Oil - 2 tbsp
Tandoori masala - 2 tsp (recipe here)
Ginger - 1 tbsp, finely minced
Garlic - 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Green Thai chili - 1 to 4, finely minced
Lime juice - 1.5 tsp
Buttermilk - 1/2 cup
Sour cream - 1/2 cup
Vegannaise - 2 tbsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Cilantro, mint, chives - 1 tsp each, finely chopped


To Make the Tandoori Ranch: Add the finely minced ginger, garlic, and Thai chiles and tandoori masala to a bowl. Heat two tablespoons of oil and when it is hot, pour onto this mixture. It will sizzle. Mix and set aside to cool.

In a couple of minutes, this mixture will cool down, add the herbs (reserve a little to garnish), lemon juice, buttermilk, sour cream, and vegannaise, mix thoroughly.

Transfer to a bowl, garnish with the reserved herbs.

To Layer the salad: To a serving platter, add the paneer cubes in one side.

Add the purple layer with purple cabbage and onions.

Add the green layer with lettuce, cucumber, and green bell peppers.

Add the corn for yellow layer followed by shredded carrots that make the orange layer.

Add the halved tomatoes, followed by roasted peanuts.

Drizzle the tandoori ranch dressing as desired and serve immediately.

Mother's Day Brunch Ideas

Tandoori Masala

This is the perfect spice combination for the ultimate tandoori masala. It is easy to make at home and needs spices that are pantry essentials. This recipe doesn't use artificial food colors. Jazz up your tandoori veggies and paneer with this mighty, aromatic homemade tandoori masala.

Homemade masalas aka spice powders are always fantastic both in flavors and aroma. They are the magic to any flavorful dish. Be it any spice mix, when it is made fresh the flavor power is exponential. Making the powders at home is easy. You'll need a powerful spice grinder to powder. I used my dry grind Vitamix jar. You can use any spice grinder, make sure to make a fine powder.

This recipe uses some spice powders and some whole spices. All whole spices can also be used. Salt is added here but you can add in the recipe marinade too. I have added some garlic powder, but that can be omitted too. A little extra garlic always extends the flavor and the marinade will also have ginger garlic paste. Garlic powder is optional, in case you want a no onion no garlic version. I have tried that too!

To make this aromatic tandoori masala you'll need:

Coriander Seeds
Whole Black Pepper
Whole Black Cardamom
Kasoori methi - dried fenugreek aka methi leaves
Red chili powder
Kashmiri chili powder
Ginger powder
Garlic powder
Amchoor powder - powdered mango with a sour taste
Nutmeg powder

This recipe uses Kashmiri chili powder for mild heat and color. It acts as a natural food colorant. The color of the powder also depends on the chili powder you use. Food color is not added. You may if you prefer. During the pandemic times, I made this masala with spice powders that I had on my hand with whole spices and some powdered spices.  From that time this recipe is the one that is constantly used here. Whole red chilies and Kashmiri red chilies can be roasted and ground and that would enhance the deep red color of this masala. I will do that soon and update the same in the near future. 

This spice powder stores well in the freezer for 3-4 months. When you need to make tandoori paneer or any tandoori masala based food, mix the spice powder with some yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, marinate and grill them. You would be happy to make it again with this fresh homemade masala. This tandoori masala has an immense flavor and aroma that it need not be restricted to just tandoori items. Try this in a dressing like this Tandoori Ranch and this Rainbow Salad in Indian style is lip-smacking, pleasing, and satisfying one!

If you are like me and would love to make homemade spice blends, do try this fiery Kohlapuri Masala Powder. This will give ultimate flavors to vegie or paneer curry, Kohlapuri style! Simple Pepper Cumin Powder is an all purpose handy mix that can add flavor to curries like this broccoli curry or rasam. I always add this to rasam and check here to see different varieties, A-Z rasam varieties I am sharing this year and many more!

For this month's theme, we have 'Spice Powders' as suggested by Jayashree in our Shhhh Cooking Secretly group. suggested that we must make the spice powder that we buy usually in stores. I make most of my spice mixes but at times I will buy from stores too. Some of them I have in stock always for easy weeknight or special weekend preparations. During the pandemic, I tried to make my own tandoori masala as my kids are always behind me requesting the tandoori paneer tikka. 

I wanted to share this masala specifically as most of the time everywhere red food coloring is added to give the characteristic color. This recipe doesn't use any artificial food color and the color is derived from the mild Kashmiri red chilies alone. This masala will give the perfect satisfaction in flavors and you wouldn't miss what you were longing for! This is the perfect share for the fun theme.

In our Shhh Cooking Secretly group, we pair up with a partner and we give two ingredients to each other which remains secret to the rest of the members. Once we make a delicious dish, we share the picture to the group and the members of the group try to guess the secret ingredient. This month, Sasmita is my partner and she suggested me cinnamon and cloves as secret ingredients and I made this tandoori masala with those. 

I am also linking this to Share The Wealth, Sundays on Silverado, Full Plate Thursday, and Happiness is Homemade.


Coriander seeds - 1/2 cup
Cumin - 2 tbsp
Black pepper - 1 tsp
Black cardamom - 2 to 3
Cinnamon - about 3-in piece
Mace - 4
Cloves - 1 tsp
Red chili powder - 2 tbsp
Kashmiri chili powder - 6 to 8 tsp
Ginger powder - 2 tbsp
Amchoor powder - 1 tsp
Garlic powder - 1 tsp (optional)
Nutmeg powder - 2 tsp
Kasoori methi - 2 tbsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp


Dry roast the coriander, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, whole black cardamom, whole black pepper, and mace over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until they turn a light golden color, and the aroma maximizes. Set aside to cool.

Grind these cooled spices to a fine powder in spice grinder.

Add the rest of the spice powders and blend. Sieve if necessary and blend the coarse ones again. Repeat till everything is smooth and fine.

Store in air tight container.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Healthy Vegan Mango Coconut Baked Oats

This baked oats is an easy and healthy meal with mangoes and coconut and can be made in a short time. This vegan recipe is loaded with nutrients to give a boost at the start of the day. This can be any time snack too!

This recipe uses fresh mangoes. Dried mangoes can also be used. This recipe is also an easy one and doesn't require fancy ingredients. Steel cut oats and rolled oats are always a staple in our pantry. Making bars with seasonal fruits gives a healthy meal option. These are great on the go breakfast or snacks too. Oats are my preferred grain for breakfast. I try to include in many other options for lunch and dinner too! This Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal is lip-smacking delicious breakfast and if you are looking for a healthy breakfast cookie or snack, these Dates and Oats Vegan Cookies are the perfect choice. Oatmeal Carrot cookies I used in this icecream sandwich is also an amazing breakfast cookie!.

Mangoes are my favorite foods and I love mangoes in any form. Be it icecream, Kulfi, lassi, drinks like Mango Melon Mint cooler or Mango Pear ginger Carrot Smoothie, they are my favorite. I love to have raw mangoes in this salad with jicama and carrots as well as in this instant pickle. These are my comfort foods! 

This baked oats has fresh fruits and has to be used up quickly. It can be stored in the fridge and warmed before serving. In my home, this is gone within 24 hours!

Mango and oats are my favorite and when Preeti suggested mango as the theme for this fortnight in our Healthy Wellthy Cuisine, what else can be more perfect than this! Mango is the king of fruits and love Preeti's mango pineapple salsa. This baked oats with mango and coconut is an excellent way to start your day with addictive mangoes and heart healthy oats.

Makes 16 squares

Oat flour - 3/4 cup
Rolled oats - 3/4 cup
Almond flour - 3 tbsp
Baking powder - 3/4 tsp
Salt - 1/8 tsp
Coconut nectar - 1/4 cup
Oil - 3 tbsp
Flaxseed powder - 3 tbsp
Coconut milk - 1/2 cup
Almonds - 3 tbsp, sliced
Mangoes - 2/3 cup, chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Add flaxseed powder to coconut milk and set aside to gel.

Add the oat flour, rolled oats, salt, almond flour, and baking powder to a bowl and mix.

Add the flaxseed mixture, coconut nectar, oil, and mix thoroughly.

Fold in the chopped mangoes and sliced almonds.

Transfer this to a greased 8X8-in baking tray and spread it evenly. Top with extra nuts if preferred.

Bake for 25-26 minutes, remove and cool for a few minutes before cutting into squares.

Store in airtight container for a day to two until serving.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Lemongrass Rasam

Lemongrass rasam is a very refreshing and flavorful rasam (aka South Indian spiced broth). This can be served as a comforting soup as well as with cooked grains and veggies for an ultimate meal! 

This rasam has a delightful flavor from lemon grass. The mixture of lemon grass, ginger, garlic, shallots, and spices makes a heavenly combination and gives a hint of Thai/Vietnamese/Cambodian flavors. If you love Vietnamese Pho or Vegan Rasam Pho, then this will be your new favorite! Yellow split moong dal is used in these cuisines too and we wanted to try it in this rasam and we fell in love with it. The masala paste for this rasam has a mild resemblance to the Thai curry paste minus a couple of ingredients. 

Yellow split moong dal is used in this rasam. Most of the traditional rasam use toor dal. Different dal have different flavor profiles and nutritional profiles. Substituting the dal also adds a slightly different flavor to the rasam. I have tried moong dal in different rasams and it is tasty too.

Herbs add a magical touch to any recipe and the aroma of rasam increases multiple times when cilantro is added. Different herbs can be added to rasam and that gives a different but delectable flavors like Dill Rasam, Dill Rasam II, or this Herb and Hemp Seeds Rasam. Lemongrass is no exception and that adds to the flavors of this addictive rasam. Some leaves and the center stem part of lemon grass is used.

This is a vegan rasam and I have used oil in place of ghee for tempering. The tempering is the traditional one used for rasam. Cilantro alone is used for garnish but green onions can also be added. This rasam is so loved in our home, that we have this rasam with millets, quinoa, or rice, or even add sometimes rice noodles too. 

Are you a rasam lover? Then you are in the right place and reading about my successful and delicious rasam experiments in my kitchen. I am sharing yummy rasam recipes from A to Z for Blogging Marathon and this is for the letter 'L'. Here are the links to raving rasams.


Tamarind - 1.5 tsp
Water - 3 and 1/2 cups
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Tomatoes - 2/3 cup, chopped
Cilantro - 1 tsp for garnish

To Roast

Coriander seeds - 3/4 tsp
Cumin - 1/2 tsp
Whole black pepper - 1/4 tsp

To Grind

From " to roast"
Green Thai chili - 2 to 3
Lemongrass leaves - 3 tbsp
Lemon grass - 2 tbsp
Shallots - 1/4 cup, chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves
Ginger - 1-in piece, chopped
Water - 2 tbsp


Oil - 1 tsp
Red chile - 1, torn
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin - 1/2 tsp
Asafetida - 1/8 tsp
Curry leaf - 1 sprig


Pressure cook the dal with quarter cup water and set side.

Soak the tamarind in a cup of water and extract the juice. Set aside.

Dry roast the cumin, coriander , and pepper for 3-4 minutes and set aside to cool.

Add the ingredients listed under "to grind', and grind to a slightly coarse to smooth consistency.

In the meantime add the tomatoes to tamarind water and simmer for 3-4 minutes until tomatoes are cooked. Add salt and turmeric, simmer for a minute.

Add the ground masala and 2 and 1/4 cup water. Simmer for a minute or two. Add the cooked dal and when it begins to boil, remove from the flame.

Heat oil in a pan, add the red chiles and mustards seeds, when it splutters add the cumin followed by asafetida and curry leaves. Fry for 20 seconds and add it to rasam.

Garnish with cilantro. Serve hot with cooked grains, noodles, or as a broth.