Hot and sour noodle soup with mushroom and tofu

Hot and sour soup

Hot and sour soup

It ‘s soup weather!

Be it that chill in the air or that annoying cough and cold that’s bothering you, this is one hearty soup that will comfort your senses. Inherently low in calories, it can be the perfect 11 am snack! Plus you can toss in any ingredients of your choice from chicken, noodles to mushroom and veggies. Here is what I made.

Ingredients: Serves 4

Vegetable stock – 32 oz ( 1 medium carton)

Soy sauce – 1 tbsp

Tamarind pulp – 1 tbsp

Hot sauce ( Sriracha) 1 tbsp

Brown sugar – A pinch

Salt to taste

Tofu and shiitake mushrooms – cut into small cubes and sautéed in olive oil

Egg noodles –1 small cup cooked

Cilantroe – Finely chopped 2 tbsp

Fresh ginger shredded– 1 tbsp

In a large pan, bring the vegetable stock to a simmer. Do not let it boil. Add the soy sauce, chili sauce and tamarind paste, sugar and salt to taste.  In a separate pan, sautee the tofu and mushrooms with salt and olive oil. Add this and the cooked noodles to individual bowls just before serving or the mushroom/tofu will become too soggy. Garnish with cilantroe and fresh shredded ginger.

Thai basil fried rice with tofu

This is by no means an authentic thai recipe.. I tried a couple of thai basil fried recipes from the internet and then came up with this one with a few modifications to suit my taste. I made this on a weekday night and packed it for lunch the next day but my recommendation is to eat this steaming hot off the stove! There are lot more things you can add like scrambled eggs, fried tofu instead of baked tofu. You can use white jasmine rice instead of brown rice. This also probably tastes better with fish sauce or oyster sauce but since my family is vegetarian, I didn’t add those. All right then,  lets get straight to the recipe.


Ingredients : Serves 2-3

1 and half cups long grain basmati brown rice.

half a head of broccoli

1 cup assorted bell peppers cut into strips

1/2 cup green beans cut into 1″ pieces

3/4 cup baked tofu. I bought mine from trader joes

1/2 a big onion chopped

2-3 garlic cloves minced

3 tablespoons of olive oil/peanut oil

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

1-2 tablespoon sriracha sauce

2-3 thai cillies or serrano (regular Indian variety)  cut into 1/2″ pieces

1 tablespoon peanut butter (optional)

1/2 teaspoon sugar

10-12 basil leaves finely chopped

A few pieces of lemon wedge while serving

Roasted and crushed peanut powder for serving

Soak the brown basmati rice for atleast 2 hours and then cook it with 1 and half cups of water and let it cool. This can be made the previous day as day old rice tastes even better. If using any other kind of rice, follow instructions on the pack for cooking.

In a large pan or wok, under medium high flame, heat the oil. I use a cast iron skillet as I have an electric coil stove and it is difficult to achieve that amount of heat for stir frying. Also using any other metal makes the onion sweat and go soggy and you want the veggies to be crisp for the fried rice. Add garlic, chillies and onion and fry them till the onion turns translucent. Add the rest of the veggies and tofu and stir fry them for a couple of minutes till they are slightly tender but still retain their crunchiness.  Optionally for better taste, you can buy regular tofu, drain all the water on a paper towel cut into 1/2″ pieces and deep fry them. Add the tofu at the end, when mixing the rest of the ingredients.

In a small mixing bowl, mix the sauces, sugar and peanut butter until you get a smooth mixture.

Add the rice, the sauce mixture to the pan and salt and mix well. Turn off the heat and add the basil leaves and mix. Serve piping hot with a wedge of lemon and roasted and crushed peanut on the side.

What’s for lunch?

What’s for lunch? The hardest question to answer for every working mom with kids! It’s sometimes a challenge to make food that is quick and easy to make, healthy and flavorful at the same time. Here is a simple sandwich recipe that will satisfy the taste buds of kids and adults alike. With the gooey goodness of provolone cheese, tangy taste of red pepper roasted hummus and the crunchy balance of sprouts (aka a great balance of fat, carbs and protein) this is one filling sandwich that will keep you from experiencing those late after noon hunger pangs!



2 slices of bread ( I use the 12 grain or Oatnut bread from Oroweat)

1 slice of provolone cheese

1 tbsp roasted red pepper Hummus

1 tbsp green sprouts

½ tsp fresh ground pepper

½ tsp garlic – herb or any salad seasoning

Smear the hummus onto one slice and sprinkle the sprouts on top.  Place the cheese on the other slice and the dash of seasoning on top of it. In a mini oven or toaster, toast till the cheese melts. Enjoy it with a cup of fresh fruit or fruit juice!Image

BaaLekaayi palya/Raw Plantain stir fry

Raw plantain is a cousin to the everyday banana and used often in south Indian households. They are mostly used for making banana chips but other popular dishes include this palya and baLekaayi bajji. Without further ado, here is the recipe for baaLekayi palya. This pairs well as a side dish with rasam and rice.


Ingredients : Serves 2-3

Raw plantains – 4 small, diced into 1″ pieces

3 tablespoons oil

1 tablespoon rasam powder

1/2 tablespoon tamarind extract

1 sprig curry leaves

1/2 teaspoon mustard

1/2 teaspoon chana dal

1/2 teaspoon urad dal

A pinch of turmeric

Coconut 2 tablespoons (optional)

Heat the oil in frying pan and add mustard. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add chana dal and urad dal and fry till golden brown. Next add rasam powder, turmeric, curry leaves and the plantain and cover it and let it cook on low heat for about 10-15 mins.

The plantains need a little more oil then other vegetables because they tend to stick to the pan because of their high starch content. So if you feel the plantain is sticking to the sides of the pan, add a drizzle of oil.

Once the plantain pieces are cooked, add the tamarind pulp and toss gently. Once cooked, they tend to break if mixed vigorously.

Garnish with grated coconut and serve with rice and rasam.