Masala Waffles

Most of the times we think of breakfast when using a waffle iron, but it can be used to make savory dishes as well! If you want to avoid frying and lots of oil, its a healthy way to adapt a lot of recipes.

You can add any vegetables you have, such as green bean, corn, and/or bell pepper, to the zucchini mixture. Feel free to mix up the seasonings as well.

Cilantro or tomato chutney, ketchup or sweet & hot sauce all go well with the waffles as an accompaniment.


1 large egg, beaten

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup oil

2 medium zucchini coarsely grated (approx 2 cups)

1 medium carrot, coarsely grated

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup chickpea flour (besan)

1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

1 long green chili, chopped fine

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Oil for brushing the grids of the waffle iron


Preheat the waffle iron on medium high (4)

Beat the egg, milk and oil in a large bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir till the batter is smooth.

Add about 1/2 -3/4 cup batter to the center of the waffle iron.

Press down and finish cooking for about 4 minutes, until the waffles are brown and crispy.

Remove to a wire rack.

Serve hot with any sauce or chutney that you prefer. They freeze well and can be crisped up in the toaster or oven.


Spicy Zucchini Soup

One of the nice things that has come out of the pandemic is that I’ve been enjoying monthly video calls with my cousins. Since they also enjoy cooking (and eating!) we share a lot of recipes, recently they shared this tasty and simple, zucchini soup recipe.

It’s not only delicious, but nutritious – my husband even enjoyed the soup!


2 large zucchinis, cut into cubes

1 onion, coarsely chopped

1 – 2 garlic cloves, sliced (optional)

1-2 serrano or jalapeno chillies, chopped

1 32-ounce vegetable or chicken stock

1 -2 teaspoons curry powder (or garam masala)

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt, to taste

1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)


Heat oil in a saucepan, add the onions and chillies- fry until the onions are translucent.

Add the zucchini cubes and salt; fry for approximately 3-4 minutes.

Add the stock, cover, and cook on medium heat for 8-10 minutes until the zucchini is soft.

Turn off the heat and blend using an immersion blender (or regular blender), until you have a thick and creamy consistency

Turn the heat back on and add the curry powder or garam masala, and bring it back to a boil.

Add lemon juice if desired. Garnish with cream or yogurt.

Homemade Masala Mac & Cheese

On one of my many trips visiting my daughter in NYC, we went to S’Mac – a restaurant dedicated to mac and cheese! The location in her neighborhood closed down unfortunately but there’s still a location on the LES (Lower East Side). 10+ years later, I still remember the Masala Mac infused with spices- delicious!

Since my daughter moved to Baltimore years ago and I don’t visit NYC as often, I thought I would try to recreate the dish!

Change the spices and flavorings to create your own favorite version … using a combination of taco seasoning, Mexican chili powder, hatch green chili, jalapeño and corn, create a Mexican version of Mac and cheese.. Feel free to experiment with other cheeses like Pepper Jack or Colby Jack.


2 cups elbow macaroni

1 tablespoon oil

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup finely diced red pepper

1 green chillies, chopped

1 teaspoon grated ginger

2 cloves garlic minced

1 Roma tomato, chopped

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon cumin powder

1/4 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, finely chopped, set aside a little for garnish

3 tablespoons butter, separated

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

2 cups warm milk

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs


Boil the macaroni (al dente) according to the directions on the packet. Drain and set aside

Heat oil in a saucepan, add the onion and red pepper, saute for about 2-3 minutes.

Add the green chili, ginger and garlic and stir on low heat for about a minute.

Add the tomato, cumin powder, coriander powder and salt, stir till combined. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes Remove from heat and set aside.

In another saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons butter and when foamy add the flour and keep mixing for about a minute. Gradually add the milk and when the sauce is smooth, stir occasionally until thick and bubbly.

Add the cooked pasta, cheese and the tomato spice mixture; mix until the cheese is melted.

Pour into a greased 8″ x 8″ square glass dish or a 2 quart glass dish.

In a small pan, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter – mix in the dry breadcrumbs.

Add breadcrumb mixture evenly over the Mac and Cheese.

Bake at 400 for 5 mins until the breadcrumbs are brown. Garnish with cilantro.

Baked Chickpeas

Did you know…. chickpeas, or garbanzo beans are one of the top 10 trending food products in 2021? Chickpeas have so many benefits– a low glycemic index (your body absorbs and digests them slowly), high dietary fiber (which can help lower cholesterol), calcium and magnesium.

India produces the most worldwide, though grown in more than 50 countries.

This Ottolenghi recipe my daughter sent me reminded me of the dish Chole- though the traditional recipe takes quite a bit of time to cook. This recipe’s only liquid is oil- cooking the chickpeas and other ingredients in the olive oil makes all of the flavors more concentrated and flavorful. All you need is a casserole dish or large pot with a lid, and in an hour and a half the dish is done.

The recipe calls for canned chickpeas, but if you choose- soak 1 1/2 cups dry chickpeas overnight or for at least 4 hours with a pinch of baking soda. Rinse and add more water, pressure cook them for 5 minutes and they’re done!


2 (14 ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed

10 whole garlic cloves, chopped (if you prefer, thinly slice or leave whole)

1 tablespoon ginger, grated or thinly sliced

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 teaspoons each: cumin seeds and coriander seeds, crushed or blended in a spice grinder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes, optional

2 teaspoons paprika

2 fresh or dry red chilies, optional

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2-3/4 cup olive oil


Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Put all the ingredients in a casserole dish (which has a lid). Stir to combine.

Cover with the dish, place in the oven and cook for about 75 minutes, stirring once halfway.

Serve with Pita bread, Naan using the bread to soak up the flavored oil, or rice.

Curry Leaf Popcorn Chicken

Recently I came across this recipe in Bon Appetit and knew that I had to try it as it had curry leaves in the ingredients. Chicken nuggets + Curry leaves = a winning combination!

Curry leaf plants can grow in tropical places similar to its native region of India. As it gets cold in the Carolinas, I have to bring the plant indoors in the winter.

Curry leaves can be found in Indian grocery stores (and some organic stores like Mom’s).
Storage Tip: After washing and drying the leaves, rub the leaves with a little oil and place them in a jar or zippered bag to freeze.

In most recipes curry leaves are tempered in oil, but in this recipe you simply blend them for the marinade and some chopped leaves are added to the flour coating as well.

The recipe calls for the chicken to be fried, but I made them successfully in my air fryer. They can be reheated in the air fryer or in a toaster oven.


1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds or 1/8 tsp. cardamom powder

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon whole black pepper corns

2 cups buttermilk

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2-3 green chillies, chopped

1 -1″ piece ginger, grated

4-5 cloves garlic, minced

25- 30 fresh curry leaves, divided

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, divided, reserving a little for garnish

2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cubed into about 1″

2 cups all-purpose four

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Oil for frying (or brushing on)

2-3 green chillies, fried for garnish

5-10 curry leaves, fried for garnish


In a small dry skillet, toast the cardamom, coriander, cumin seeds and black peppercorn, stirring until fragrant.

Cool and transfer half of the mixture to a spice mill and blend to a fine powder. Set aside.

Blend the remaining whole spices, buttermilk, lime juice, chillies, ginger, garlic, 15 curry leaves, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon cayenne to a blender until smooth.

Add the chicken to this, mix well and add to a resealable bag or covered bowl. Chill overnight or at least 4-8 hours.

Combine the reserved spice mixture, flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon cayenne in another resealable bag. Chop the remaining 10 curry leaves and add to the flour mixture. Stir to combine well.

Heat about 1 1/2 ” oil in a wok , or pre-heat the air fryer to 400 degrees.

In the mean time, remove the chicken from the marinade and let the excess drip.

Add the chicken in small batches to the flour bag and coat well. Remove and set the coated chicken over a wire rack.

Repeat with the remaining chicken

Fry small batches of the chicken for 6-8 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to wire rack with paper towels below to drain.

If using the air fryer, brush the chicken pieces with oil and add to air fryer (do not crowd) and cook for 5 minutes… Turn the chicken pieces and continue to cook for about 3-4 minutes to a golden brown. Repeat with the remaining chicken nuggets.

Garnish with fried chillies and fried curry leaves

Toor Dal (Split Pigeon Pea Soup)

Dal is a staple in all parts of India, served thick over rice or in a bowl as a soup. There are so many different varieties, all made with somewhat different ingredients. There are many types of lentils (also called dal) – whole lentils, split lentils, and lentils which have the husk or skin removed.

Lentils are a low-calorie source of plant-based protein (they have a protein concentration of approximately 25%). One-half cup serving of cooked lentils provides 9 grams of protein. They also are a good source of iron, fiber and a good source of Vitamin B.

This recipe uses split pigeon peas, or toor lentils – a basic, every day dal. Feel free to adjust the taste to suit your menu – eliminate the tomatoes, add more lemon juice – most of the ingredients are optional.

Soaking the lentils will help cut down the cooking time, though using a pressure cooker makes it even quicker.


1 cup toor dal, (split pigeon peas)

2 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 small onion, chopped

1-2 green chilies, slit or 1 dry red chiili

1- 2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 roma tomatoes, chopped

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt (to taste)

1- 2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon cilantro leaves for garnish


Prepare the lentils: Rinse dal until the water is clear. If you have the time, soak the dal for about 1 hour.

Drain the soaked dal, add 3 cups water and cook the toor dal in a pressure cooker for about 10 minutes (unsoaked for 14 minutes). Or cook in a saucepan with approximately 3 cups water, until soft for about 30 minutes.

If you prefer a smoother consistency, blend with an immersion blender, whisk or potato masher.

Tempering: In a medium saucepan, heat the oil. Add the mustard and cumin seeds- as soon as they start popping, mix in the red or green chilies and onion. Cook for 3- 4 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent and then add in the garlic and tomatoes. Stir for a few minutes- next add in turmeric and salt.

Stir in the cooked dal and about 1-2 cups of water, depending on the consistency you prefer. Simmer for about 10 minutes until the tomato is soft and dal is well combined.

Mix in the lemon juice and garnish with cilantro.

Other variations:

  • Add 1-2 cups chopped fresh spinach (1/2-1 cup frozen spinach, thawed)
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger with the garlic.
  • Add 1 teaspoon sambar powder, with the turmeric

Waffled Falafel with Tzakiki

falfal waffelI discovered this recipe on the Food Network website – it’s now my favorite way to make falafel.  Its an easy kid friendly vegetarian meal… chickpeas are such a great source of protein and fiber.

It can be eaten by itself if you are carb conscious, or with pita bread and salad. You can serve the falafel waffles with a variety of different sauces such as homemade tzaziki.

They also freeze well and are easily reheated in a toaster oven.

Falafel Ingredients

16 ounces cooked chicken peas (1 can drained)

1/3 cup oil (or less if desired)

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons all purpose or whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin powder

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander powder

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

1 small green chile chopped (optional)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 large egg whites (or 1 egg)

Tzakiki Ingredients

1 medium cucumber, seeded and diced (or shredded)

1 cup of yogurt

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

lemon juice to taste

1-2 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped (optional)



Make the Tzakiki first:

Put the cucumber in a colander, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let this sit for 30 minutes, (water is drawn out of the cucumber so the sauce is not so watery) and press gently to remove  the liquid from the cucumber.

Add the cucumber to the remaining ingredients . Season with salt as needed. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Prepare the Falafel:

Preheat a waffle iron (on maximum settings if your waffle maker has settings).

Add the above ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth.

Brush both sides of the grid with oil, and pour about 1/2 cup batter in the middle of the waffle iron.

Falafal waffel

Check the waffle when the light goes out, as you may need to leave the waffle in a few minutes longer until it is crisp about 6- 10 minutes.

Serve with  Tzatziki sauce and harissa sauce,  cilantro chutney or a tomato cucumber relish.


Creamy Corn Pasta with Basil (or Cilantro!)

My tweaked version of the New York Times recipe was a big hit with my family and friends this summer when corn was in season.  The sauce was easy to prepare ahead of time and could be added to the pasta just before serving.


12 ounces of farfalle pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 bunch green onions, chopped, keeping the green and white part of the onion separate

2 cups of corn, cut from fresh corn or frozen corn (reserve 1/4 cup)

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup fresh basil or cilantro, more for garnish

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 green or red chili, cut fine

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

fresh lemon juice , as needed


Cook the pasta according to the directions on the packet, reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.

Heat a saucepan with 1 tablespoon of oil. Saute the white part of the scallions and cook until the onions are soft and then add the corn. Add 1/4 cup water, stir for a few minutes until the corn is tender about 3-5 minutes. Transfer the corn mixture to a blender and blend till a pouring consistency, adding a little water if needed.

Heat the same saucepan with butter, add the reserved 1/4 cup corn and cook till tender about 2 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, green chili, and corn puree. Cook till the puree is heated through.

Add the pasta to the corn puree, adding some of the reserved pasta water to thin the puree if necessary. Heat through and add  Parmesan cheese, green scallions and basil (or cilantro), a squeeze of lemon before serving.








Green Masala Chicken

This dish is one of my regulars – it is quick and easy since you simply  blend the ingredients for the marinade together, and then grill. It incorporates veggies into the sauce so perfect for our family!





1 teaspoon each, garlic paste and ginger paste
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 cup yogurt
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 pound boneless chicken breast, cut in small cubes
1-2 green chillies
1/2  large green bell pepper
2 cups packed spinach leaves
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 medium onion, chopped, fried brown or  1/2  cup package fried onions (from the indian grocery store)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 lime


Marinade chicken with the first 5 ingredients.


Blend the remaining ingredients except the lime, to a smooth paste, in blender or food processor.IMG_2923 (1)

Add this to the chicken and marinade for several hours or overnight.


Skewer the chicken and grill for about 3-4 minutes or each side.

Squeeze the lime over the chicken and serve with slices of onion.


Poha, also called Pohe, is beaten or flattened rice – a popular dish from the state of Maharashtra. Though traditionally eaten for breakfast or a snack, it is a super quick option for any meal.



1 cup Pohe (raw beaten rice) – the medium to thick variety


1 tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

2-3 tablespoon onion, finely chopped

1-2 small green chillies, slit

a few curry leaves (optional)

1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 small potato, boiled and cubed (optional)

1/2- 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed (optional)

1/2 lime

2-3 tablespoon cilantro leaves chopped


Place the raw poha in a sieve and rinse it with water for a minute or two. Set aside.


Heat oil in a saucepan and add the mustard seeds. As the seeds start to pop, add the onion and saute for a few minutes till it becomes light brown. Add the green chillies and curry leaves, and stir for 30 seconds.


Add the turmeric, salt and potatoes and the rinsed poha Stir until combined and add one or two tablespoons of water, if the mixture looks dry.


Cover and cook over low heat for about 3 minutes.  If adding peas, add the peas and continue to cook for another minute. Squeeze the lime  and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.






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