Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Pathola Maluwa

This is a delicious curry from the island of Sri Lanka. This is a vegan version of the curry, and is made with snake gourd and other simple pantry ingredients. This can be served with rice or ghee rice, or coconut rice.

Sri Lankan cuisine is well known for its spices, herbs, veggies, fish, and rice. Rice and coconut are the star of the cuisine, and are well known for their spicy heat! In my opinion, the heat level is similar to our Tamil Nadu food. In fact, it reminded me of the spicy and hot food I had during my younger days. We have reduced our heat level for the kids and the Sri Lankan meal was taking us back to those days.

This snake gourd curry is very easy to prepare and it is possible to get the flavor of the snake gourd in the coconut milk curry base. Maluwa is a mild curry when compared to other spicy sides from the regions' cuisine. It is a delightful experience when you serve this well balanced and flavorful curry. Though this curry is served with rice, we loved it with pol roti too. Coconut in the shredded form or in the form of milk is used in most of the Sri Lankan dishes. I followed Islandsmile and 196flavors for the Sri Lankan recipes. I adapted this curry from 196 flavors, and instead of coconut cream, I used fresh thick coconut milk and thickened the curry with a little rice flour. I made the curry a little spicier than the version I referred to. Sometimes the green Thai chilies are extra spicy or medium or mild, and this might affect the curry flavor. This was not overwhelming and it was easy to handle this heat, in fact, it tasted the best! Canned coconut milk can also be used if you cannot make fresh coconut milk. If you are using coconut cream, rice flour is not needed. 

When exploring the cuisine, like I do every time, I made a complete weekend vegan brunch from Sri Lanka. Many recipes use dried fish including this curry, and I have omitted that while making the vegan version. Yet, it was very flavorful that we repeated a couple of the dishes again. I made coconut milk rice, Pol Roti, Pol Sambol, Vegan Lunumiris, Sri Lankan Dal, Sri Lankan Devilled Potatoes, and this Pathola Maluwa. 

This month we are exploring Sri Lankan Cuisine in our Shhhh! Cooking Secretly group. Narmadha suggested this theme and in this group, we partner up within the group, and suggest secret ingredients to each other. When we make the recipe, we share the picture to the entire group to guess the secret ingredients. It is totally fun, and is a great opportunity to learn many cultures and also flavor components.

Mayuri Ji is my partner this time and lover her recipe for Whole Roasted Cauliflower. This has been on my list for a longtime and am going to try it. She suggested me snake gourd and rice flour as secret ingredients. I made this delicious curry as a part of the Sri Lankan meal we enjoyed, using the secret ingredients given to me. Mayuri made this delicious Kaju Maluwa, a similar mild curry with cashews with chillies and cloves as secret ingredients. Snake gourd curry is an usual in our home, and the kootu too! This creamy version was quite different from our usual ones and I jumped into making this. We enjoyed it to the last bit. 

Serves 4

Snake gourd - 200g, 1/2-in half moon slices
Oil - 2 tbsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder - 1/4 tsp
Fenugreek - 1/2 tsp
Sri Lankan curry powder - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Pandal leaf/bay leaf - 1
Coconut milk, thick - 1.5 cups
Thai green chili - 1 or 2
Onions - 1 cup, sliced
Garlic - 2 cloves, chopped
Rice flour - 3/4 tsp
Water - 1/4 cup


Heat oil in a pan, add the bay leaf, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, Thai chili, and curry leaves. Fry for 30 seconds.

Add the onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for a minute.

Add the snake gourds, Si Lankan curry powder, turmeric, chili powder, salt, sprinkle quarter cup of water, mix, cover, and cook for 6-7 minutes, until tender. 

Add the salt, coconut milk, and rice flour, cook for 3 minutes.

Serve with rice or roti.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Whole Wheat Fig and Honey Muffins

These are delicious and healthy muffins packed with nutrition and are the perfect breakfast! These eggless muffins are made with whole wheat flour, Greek yogurt, honey, figs, and nuts, providing the complete nutrition to kick start the day.

These muffins can be served as such and are an amazing on the go snack. For a more delicious experience, serve with a drizzle of honey or honey butter. These are my favorite ways to have it. 

Figs are available everywhere and the tree in my backyard is also loaded with fruits. Figs are an excellent source of iron, calcium, potassium, Vitamin, A, Vitamin C, an fiber. Figs help in overall gut health and can also help with sodium-potassium balance, thereby regulating the blood pressure. Therefore, it is a great idea to include them in diet in as many possible ways, or simply as a snack. While snacking on them is amazing, the magical flavor of honey and figs is addictive to me. When I get some honey and figs for snacking, immediately the whole process becomes unstoppable. I can describe the flavor to be irresistibly divine! The combination of figs and honey is ultimate to me just like jackfruit and honey. These two perfect pairs are great in this muffin!

Baking eggless with honey is a little challenging. When it gets baked, all of a sudden, the liquid content increases inside the oven and causes the bake to sink in the middle. After many trials, I have made the batter a little thicker so it balances out while baking and results in a perfect baked product. This is my go to breakfast for the same reason as well as for the fact that it is made with figs and honey!

This recipe uses whole wheat flour. All purpose flour can also be used as per preference. The flaxseed powder works as the binder in this muffin replacing egg and also provides good omega acids enhancing the nutrient profile. The flaxseed powder to milk ratio is high and this gives a better binding in this muffin. Walnuts and almonds are my favorite nuts to use in these muffins, but feel free to try with your favorite nut(s).

#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.

makes 12

Whole wheat flour - 1.5 cups
Flaxseed powder - 2 tbsp
Milk - 1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp
Greek yogurt - 2/3 cup
Butter - 4 tbsp, room temperature
Honey - 1/4 cup
Brown sugar - 1/2 cup, packed
Salt - 1/8 tsp
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
Fresh figs - 1 cup, chopped
Walnuts - 1/2 cup, chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

Add the milk to flaxseed powder and set aside for 10 minutes to gel.

Add the whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a bowl. Mix thoroughly and set aside.

Add the flaxed egg, brown sugar, honey, Greek yogurt, cardamom, and butter to a bowl and whisk. 

Add this to dry ingredients and combine quickly.

Fold in the chopped figs and walnuts.

Scoop the muffin batter into lined muffin pans. Bake at 350 for 19 minutes.

Remove from the oven, cool completely. Serve at room temperature or warm, with a drizzle of honey and/or butter, or honey butter!

August #MuffinMonday Recipe Links:

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Hatch Chile Masala Bhath

This is a tasty, delicious, one-pot meal made with spicy Hatch chili peppers and spicy masala blend. This spicy rice is rich in both spices and heat level, and is vegan too!

Masala bhath is basically a rice cooked with masala or spice powder blend. This particular rice is made with Goda Masala, a popular spice blend from the Maharashtrian region in India. This blend, like many Indian spice mixes, is aromatic, fragrant, and gives tons of flavor. Goda Masala is made with  coriander seeds, cumin, Kashmiri red chilies, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, sesame seeds, bay leaves, star anise, green and black cardamom, poppy seeds, stone flower ( a lichen that is highly aromatic), and coconut. This masala powder is rich in spices as well as heat. I make my own spice mix, but this is available in stores too. With this blend, it is easier to whip up one pot meals often and are usually comforting and packed with flavors!

The star of this rice is Hatch chile! Hatch Chiles are my favorite! This is the specific Chile variety grown in Hatch, New Mexico (and hence the name). They have the Scoville units between 2,500 to 10,000. These peppers can be mild, hot, or  extra extra hot too. I have used the hot variety in this recipe. I usually roast them, chop, and freeze them to use later. These are available in roasted and chopped form in grocery stores and are also a great option when Hatch chile is not in season.

These Hatch chile peppers can be used in dips, sauces, and soups. The spicy peppers and corn are a great combo and this Fire Roasted Hatch Chile Soup is made in our home for every Hatch season.  With pineapples, Hatch chili makes this wonderful pizza! Hatch chili, potatoes, and cheese pair perfectly well to make this ultimate, comforting grilled cheese!

Generally, extra Thai chilies and chile powders are used in masala bhath preparation. In this recipe, only Hatch chilies contribute to the heat . I have used flame roasted Hatch chilies and about a cup of it, roughly four Hatch chiles. When you have this masala bhath, though the heat is not overwhelming, the presence of heat from the chile would be obvious in every bite. But, I can guarantee that it is so perfect that it would make you go for seconds. If you prefer less spicy version, the quantity of the Hatch chile can be reduced, or serve this with regular or plant based yogurt.

Along with chiles, this rice also has corn and potato in it. I love to squeeze more veggies into a meal. Potatoes and corn also balance out the heat from the Hatch chile. Edamame adds to the protein part. Sweet green peas are also a great option. Peas or any canned beans also work in this recipe. Finally, the squirt of lime juice and cilantro makes this rice heavenly, balancing the flavors in and out!

What I love about this rice is that it is packed with flavors and is a one-pot meal! One-pot meals  become the norm when I have a time crunch or when I am lazy. And when it is Hatch Chile season! Check below for some amazing one-pot meals like this masala bhath.

I love spicy food and that flavor kind of dances in your tongue. This Fire Roasted Hatch Chile and Corn Soup and this Fiery Pepper Soup are my favorites. When Christie announced that she is hosting an event "Kicking it up with Spicy Recipes", I decided to share this masala bhath and this is the amazing fit for the theme. 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!

Serves 4

Basmati rice - 1 cup
Salt - 1 tsp
Edamame - 3/4 cup, frozen
Potatoes- 1 cup, cubed
Onion - 1 cup, sliced
Hatch chile - 1 cup, roasted, chopped - 4 count
Corn - 1/2 cup
Goda masala - 3.5 tsp
Lime juice - 1.5 tbsp
Turmeric - 1/8 tsp
Oil - 3 tbsp
Water - 1 and 2/3 cup
Cilantro - 4 tbsp, chopped


Soak the rice for 10 minutes.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan, add the onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes. When it becomes translucent, add the ginger and garlic, and cook for 30 seconds. Add the cubed potatoes and continue to cook for 2 minutes.

Drain the rice completely. Add the rice, corn, edamame, salt, turmeric, and the Goda masala powder. Mix and add the chopped Hatch green chiles followed by water. Mix thoroughly.

Cook for 2-3 minutes and the rice would be gin to absorb all the liquids.

Cover and cook for 6-7 minutes on a lower flame.

Gently fluff, cover and let it rest for another 5 minutes. 

 Add the lime juice, fluff the rice. Garnish with cilantro.

Serve as such, or with chips and/or yogurt.

Kicking it Up with Spicy Recipes

Friday, August 26, 2022

Xacuti Spice Rasam

This is a unique and delicious rasam made with one of a kind spice blend. This aromatic rasam is a pure comfort for sure when served with grains and can be sipped as a soup.

Xacuti rasam is  made with xacuti spice blend instead of  traditional rasam powder and this gives it the most addictive and scintillating flavors. The aroma of the curry and the comfort of the traditional rasam is what you get. Yes! This rasam gives you all the expected flavors of the traditional rasam while it smells like a curry! A perfect fusion! This makes this rasam stand out from any other rasam.

Xacuti is a special curry from Goa, India and is made with a special spice blend. This fresh and aromatic spice blend makes it unique. A rasam spice blend traditionally uses black pepper, cumin, and coriander along with a little dal. But different herbs and spices can be used to add flavor to the rasam. The French Quatre spice blend in this rasam gives a mild note of cloves and the rasam is absolutely divine. Fennel bulbs and seeds are used in this Fennel Rasam giving warm and comforting flavors. Most of the spices used in the xacuti blend may sound similar to curry powder, but when used in mild quantities, results in a very flavorful rasam with lovely hints of all the spices. 

The spices used in this spice blend are coriander, mace, cloves, cumin, cinnamon, fennel, fenugreek, green and black cardamom, bay leaves, nutmeg, poppy seeds, and Kashmiri red chilies. I followed Srivalli and Ellaroy's blog for the spice blend. Srivalli had made curries and dosa with this blend and would love to give a try using this amazing spice powder. So, with this spice blend, whip up this delicious rasam while making curries too!

Just like any traditional rasam, I have used a tamarind base. Grind the xacuti spice blend along with a little coconut and add to the simmering rasam. Xacuti curries have coconut added and hence wanted to give the same flavors  in this rasam. The quantity of coconut should be little as it would give a creamier result. Rasam is usually a thin spiced broth. A mild hint of coconut works great. Garlic is used in this rasam as we love garlic and this rasam tastes a perfect and comforting one with balanced flavors. Garlic can be omitted if you do not prefer it.

Since coconut adds to the flavor of the rasam, tempering in coconut oil is a perfect way to enhance the flavor of this rasam. Coconut perfectly compliments the flavors with the spices in this rasam. This makes this rasam vegan. Ghee or any oil can be used. Ghee, if you prefer, would add another flavor dimension. 

This week is all about rasam and this is the third rasam recipe I am sharing for Blogging Marathon. Vetrilai Rasam and Wheatgrass rasam were the ones I shared earlier this week. For a complete list of rasam recipes I shared for the theme A-Z rasam recipes, check below.


Tamarind - 1 tsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Tomatoes - 1/2 cup
Garlic - 10-12 cloves

To Grind

Coconut - 1 tbsp
Xacuti spice blend - 3/4 tsp
Pepper-cumin powder - 1 tsp (recipe here)
Cilantro - 1/4 cup

To Temper

Coconut oil - 1 tsp
Dried red chili - 1, torn
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin - 1/2 tsp
Asafetida - 1/8 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig


Soak the tamarind in half cup warm water. Extract the juice in another cup of water.

Pressure cook the toor dal in quarter cup of water with a pinch of turmeric.

Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil in a pan, add the garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes.

Add the sautéed garlic, turmeric, and tomatoes to the tamarind water, bring it to a boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes to cook the garlic and tomato completely.

Grind the coconut, xacuti spice blend, pepper cumin powder, and cilantro to a coarse mixture.

Add this coconut-spice mixture, salt, and water to the simmering rasam.

When it begins to boil, remove from the flame.

Heat coconut oil in a pan, add the dried red chilies and mustard seeds. When it splutters add the cumin, curry leaves, and asafetida. Fry for 30 seconds. Pour it onto the rasam.

Garnish with cilantro and serve with cooked grains and veggies.