Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Modaks- To Keep You Calm During the Ganpati Festival

I was rudely awoken by firecrackers and loud music at 3 am this morning. It's just the first day of Ganesh Chaturthi and the 'festivities' have already started taking a toll on me. BUT. There is one upside to this whole Ganpati thing. The modaks. And I'm planning to eat a lot of them while I can. If you're a fan of this coconutty dessert too then here's how you can make the vegan version at home in a few easy steps:


So modaks are essentially rice flour dumplings filled with coconut and jaggery. To make modaks you need:

1 cup rice flour
1 cup water
2 tsp oil

For the filling you will need:
1 cup grated coconut
1 cup gur (jaggery)
Some cardamom powder


  • Cook the grated coconut and jaggery in a pan till the jaggery melts. Mix well. Add cardamom powder. 
  • Boil the water. Add 1 tsp oil and salt. Reduce the flame and add the rice flour while stirring. Cover and cool for 5 minutes.
  • Knead the warm dough and make small balls. Roll them out into round shapes- less that 4 cm in diameter.
  • Now this is the tricky part. Make folds of the rolled dough about 1 cm apart. Simply pinch the outer line of the rolled dough to make the fold. 
  • Place a spoonful of the filling on the dough.
  • Now bring all the ends together and press together to seal it. 
  • Place the sealed balls in a steamer (on a greased plate)- add water, a tsp of oil and bring to a boil. Steam for 5-8 minutes.
  • Wait for the modaks to turn translucent and then take them out of the steamer and let them cool.
  • Eat whenever the Ganpati induced traffic or noise gets to you. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

No Fail Peanut Butter Magic Bars

by Guest Blogger Ashley Fruno

In addition to the fact that I can’t cook, I also never measure anything. Ever. In all likelihood this is probably why I can’t cook…..but these bars are magic for two reasons 1) no matter how much of each ingredient you use, they always taste great, and 2) no one ever gets tired of them. Since I can’t successfully cook or bake anything else, I have brought these bars to every single potluck, farewell party, birthday, bake sale, and office lunch I have attended in the last five years. I also frequently give them as gifts. They’re always met with rave reviews. I’ll let you in on the secret:

Brown sugar, raw is best – about 1 cup
Some sort of syrup – about 1 cup (these all work well: agave, corn syrup, maple syrup)
Peanut butter, best if unsweetened – about 2 cups (doesn’t matter, chunky or smooth)
Some sort of crispy cereal – maybe 3-4 cups? (corn flakes, rice puffs, whatever is vegan)
Dark chocolate – lots
Soy milk – just a touch 

  • Heat sugar and syrup over low heat. Stir until sugar dissolves and the mixture boils slightly. Be careful not to burn it!! The “no fail” part of the title doesn’t apply to burning.
  • Turn heat off. Mix in peanut butter until melted and combined. Taste. Too sweet? Add some more.
  • Is your cereal big or small? Essentially anything other than rice puffs needs to be crushed a bit. Take a hammer to your bag of corn flakes (only a few whacks) and you’re set.
  • Fold cereal into peanut butter mixture. Once combined, spoon mixture into a pan or plastic container. No need to oil the pan – these babies are fat-laden. They’ll slide right out. Press mixture into pan to form a flat top.
  • Melt chocolate in pan (I always use the dirty one from the peanut butter mixture – no one has ever complained) over low heat. Add a small splash of soy milk to make the chocolate easier to cut once the bars have set.
  • Pour melted chocolate over bars to evenly coat top. Put in the refrigerator until solid. These are best kept cold until ready to serve so they don’t get too gooey.
  • When ready to slice, run knife around the edges of pan or container. Flip pan upside down on cutting board. Voila!

For best gift results: buy disposable plastic containers. Use the container both for forming the bars and gifting them! Let the recipient worry about slicing them up.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Ultimate Vegan Instant Noodles- Maggi!

Maggi is the 'baap' of all vegan instant noodles. The Masala flavour is by far the greatest noodle seasoning :) Eat it with veggies, make it soupy or just add some ketchup. My favourite is to eat it with Maggi Hot & Sweet Tomato Chilli Sauce- also perhaps the greatest chilli sauce known to mankind :)


Sunday Salad and Smoothie!

Starting my Sunday with a smoothie and salad is always a good idea keeps me from dozing off the entire day. And even if you're planning to have an elaborate Sunday brunch, these two healthy sides can give you some much need fiber for the week ahead. This simple smoothie requires just two basic ingredients. Apples and fresh mint. Add a touch of lime and some brown sugar for taste. You could consider keeping this smoothie in the fridge and sip on it the entire day. An organic soba noodle salad or greek salad go really well as part of healthy Sunday brunches. Add fresh sprouts, a squeeze of lemon, cilantro and freshly ground pepper to the salads to give them some extra zing!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"Chinese" Bhel and Aloo Frankie @PVR Juhu

Going for a movie after work can turn into a food hunt pretty quickly. Thankfully all the PVR cinemas in Mumbai are pretty vegan-friendly and I found two AMAZING vegan snacks at the cinema's food court this week. The first is called "Chinese" Bhel- it's an oriental spin on the traditional Mumbai street food- Bhel Puri. Bhel is a spicy, tangy, crunchy street food that will leave you in tears (of joy of course!), and this "Chinese" spin on it does not leave your palate disappointed. PVR's version is actually VERY spicy, so be sure to ask them to tone down the chilli sauce if you can't handle it. 

The Veg Frankie is also a hot carby snack- it's basically spicy mashed potatoes wrapped in flat bread. It's served steaming hot and will satisfy all your after-work food cravings. A couple of frankie rolls and a plate of Chinese Bhel is sure to get you through any film, even if it's a really terrible Bollywood movie that makes you wish you had just stayed home and watched the news.