Tag Archives: soy free

Fall Colors on My Plate

Quinoa with curried carrot and chard

Quinoa with curried carrot and chard

My focus this Fall has been to create simple, hearty and nourishing meals that I can make in large batches and eat leftovers for at least a couple of meals. I’m noticing a certain pattern emerge when I need to cook this way. There’s a gluten free grain like quinoa, millet or rice that I cook separately. And I sauté whatever vegetables I have in the fridge. A bowl of the grain and sauteed vegetables, usually curried in some way, and a hard boiled egg makes for a very satisfying meal.

The awesome thing about cooking this way is that it gets much easier to accommodate food allergies! This dish is gluten free, soy free, dairy free, and FODMAP friendly for those with fructose malabsorption or fructose intolerance.

And this is absolutely my favorite way of making carrots!

So if you’re getting pampered with spectacular food or just over indulging at holiday parties, here’s a dish that looks stunning, tastes great but is also good for you. I must admit that my problem this holiday season has not been the food so much as the wine! Got any tips for me?

Curried Carrot And Chard Over Quinoa

Serves 4

  • 1.5 cups quinoa
  • 10 oz grated carrot (or 3/4 lb carrots, grated)
  • 1/2 bunch chard, sliced into 1/2 inch shreds
  • 1/2 piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 3 dried red chilis, ends removed and cut into thirds
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 10 fresh curry leaves (optional, I didn’t have any but it adds a lovely earthy aroma and taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala powder
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice (or lemon)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste


Put the quinoa, 2 cups of water  and a big pinch of salt in a pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low, covered for 15 minutes or till the quinoa is cooked.

Heat the oil in a skillet or pan over medium high heat till you see ripples on the surface. If the oil is hot enough, a mustard seed thrown in will sizzle. Sizzle the whole spices for just 15 seconds or till the mustard seeds start to pop.

Add the ginger and garam masala and stir for 10 seconds. Immediately mix in the carrot and chard and cook for 2 minutes while stirring occasionally. Add 1/3 glass of water, and cover the skillet. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes or till the carrot is cooked.

Stir in lime juice and salt to taste.

Form quinoa cakes by pressing some cooked quinoa into a small and flat bowl; ramekins are perfect. Upturn the bowl onto a plate and voila, you have a quinoa cake. Place some of the curried carrot and chard on the quinoa and serve. Or if you are eating by yourself and don’t care about presentation, just mix it all up in a bowl like a quinoa salad.

Quinoa salad fodmap safe and gluten free

Quinoa salad

Sauteed carrot and chard on a bed of quinoa

Sauteed carrot and chard on a bed of quinoa

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Filed under America, India, Recipe

Do You Love Black Eyed Peas Too?

I told someone the other day that I had black-eyed peas for dinner. She gave me a funny look. It took me a few seconds to get why.

But seriously, I love black-eyed peas. The legume.

It was one of those evenings when I didn’t have very much on hand in the crisper. Just an avocado, some butter lettuce, a bit of cilantro and some green chilies. I also wanted something light that wouldn’t take too long to cook. Thankfully, I spied a can of black-eyed peas, just waiting to be opened. And of course, I knew exactly what I was going to make: Indomexican “tacos’ with a South Indian style curried black-eyed peas in corn tortillas or lettuce.

This dish is for those who want something fresh and tasty. And quick.

Oh and this dish happens to be gluten free, dairy free, soy free and is perfect for Meatless Mondays.

south indian tortillas with black eyed peas, coconut chutney, butter lettuce

A South Indian taco

Printer Friendly Recipe


  • 1 can black-eyed peas, rinsed
  • 2 small green chiles, chopped
  • 1 small yellow or white onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 5-10 curry leaves
  • ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • Juice of ½ lime or lemon
  • 3 tablespoons shredded coconut
  • 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Corn tortillas or lettuce (I used butter lettuce, but others will work too)
  • 1 avocado, sliced


Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. When you see ripples on the surface of the oil, drop in a mustard seed. If it sizzles, the oil is hot. Sizzle the mustard seeds and curry leaves for just 10 seconds. Be careful as the oil will splash.

Saute the onion and chiles until the onion is slightly brown, 5-10 minutes.

Add the black-eyed peas and mix well. Turn off heat.

Stir in the coconut, cilantro and lime juice.

Serve with coconut chutney, avocado slices and tortillas or lettuce. Wrap and enjoy.

Note to self: Need more black-eyed peas in my life. 

stone ground corn tortillas with a south indian black eyed peas filling

stone ground corn tortillas with a south indian black-eyed peas filling

lettuce tortillas with south indian black eyed peas filling

Lettuce tortillas with south indian black-eyed peas filling


Filed under India, Mexico, Recipe

Cucumber sandwiches with spicy mint chutney and homemade tomato sauce

mint chutney and homemade ketchup tea sandwiches, backyard mint

graceful wisteria blossoms

It was a sunny evening a few days ago when I was wandering about the backyard that had come alive with colorful flowers. The rhubarb plants seemed to have sprung out of nowhere and the asparagus sprouts had become a bush! The wisteria blossoms hung gracefully from the roof of the garage. Our dining room looks out to the backyard and seeing this lush garden come alive always brings a smile to my face.

In my last post, I shared a recipe for almond breadcrumb fritters dipped in cardamom and vanilla honey syrup. It was divine. It was my sweet tribute to my mom and all moms. And thinking about my mom and food always reminds me of what she would make for my brother and I when we were kids. Sometimes I wonder if those memories glorify the food we ate as kids more so than they deserve. I don’t think so but they do say that memories are always rosier than reality.Every once in a while though, it feels great to relive the memories and cook something from your childhood. A couple of days ago, I did just this.

One of the traditions that Indians picked up from the British is that of afternoon tea. When we came back home from school, my mom would make us chai or bournvita with cookies (or biscuits as cookies are known in India). Every once in a while, she would have cucumber sandwiches as well. We always loved it when these simple treats showed up in our lunch boxes. They were also perfect for picnics, easy to make and carry and minimum mess to clean up. And I think I’m going to make these sandwiches again for brunch this weekend.

With my new found allergies, could I recreate this sandwich treat? And if I could, would they stand up to my childhood memories? I was excited to find that Udi’s makes gluten free, dairy free, and soy free breads. And I was pretty sure that I could make the green mint sauce and tomato ketchup that are essential in the cucumber sandwich.

The sauces were really easy to make. The bread was not too bad. You can’t compare it to wheat bread and you shouldn’t. I did find though that toasting the gluten free bread made it taste and hold up better. Obviously, if you are lucky enough to be able to eat gluten, go with your favorite bread. I will say, however, that these tea sandwiches are usually made with white bread, with the crust cut out.

Here’s the recipe and let’s hope this spell of wonderful weather in Seattle continues for a few months 🙂

cucumber sandwiches with mint chutney and homemade tomato sauce

Mint chutney, homemade tomato chutney, crisp slices of cucumber

Printer friendly recipe for cucumber sandwiches


White bread (how many ever slices you need – 2 slices will make 2 sandwiches)

1/2 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

For the spicy mint chutney

  • 3/4 cup of mint leaves (I harvested these from the mint plants that were all over the backyard!)
  • 1-2 thai green chili, optional
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to your taste)
  • juice of 1/2 a lime (feel free to substitute a lemon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of coarsely ground cumin (I used a mortar and pestle)
  • 3-5 pitted dates (more if you added 1 or more chilis)

For the fresh homemade tomato sauce

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chilli or powder
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons honey


Blend the mint chutney ingredients with the minimum amount of water needed, about 1/2 a cup. Taste and add more salt or lime juice as desired. If the chutney is too runny, add more mint leaves and blend.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a pan. Sizzle the cumin seeds and crushed red chili. Add the tomatoes, salt and honey and stir. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool and blend. Taste and adjust the salt and honey as desired.

Toast the bread if you like. Spread the mint chutney on one side and the tomato chutney on another. Add a single layer of sliced cucumber pieces. I add 4. Cut out the crust if you like. Slice diagonally or in other fun shapes. Enjoy with a cup of tea or a glass of sparkling wine. This is also a great family friendly recipe since you can simply switch out with regular bread for those who can eat it. Also, you can get kids to help assemble the sandwiches!

And were the sandwiches as good as my mom’s? I realized that it almost didn’t matter. What did was the reliving of them. The sauces were yummy and I used them as a dip the next day for corn chips. The bread was really not too bad, especially toasted, but for me didn’t quite replace the taste of wheat bread. I’m pretty sure though that I will make these again.

homemade spicy mint and tomato sauces with gluten dairy and soy free bread

Toasted gluten free bread with cucumber, spicy mint and homemade tomato sauces

beautiful iris


Filed under India, Recipe