Vegan Mujadarra (Middle Eastern Rice with Brown Lentils)

I’ve been on a sweet/ dessert roll for the past few weeks and realised that I hadn’t posted any savoury recipes. This  Middle Eastern “Mujadarra/ Mujadara” is the perfect food for a quick Autumn week night. Fragrant brown Basmati rice enveloping spicy lentils flavoured with caramelised onions and cumin seeds are the perfect way to keep tummies filled! As we change seasons, my weekends are busy as, I to try to do a pantry + fridge + freezer stock take and use up whatever I find. This “Mujadarra” recipe, came by with my finding some cans of brown lentils and leftover cooked brown Basmati in the fridge. I had everything else in my pantry including the oil and spices, making this one of my quickest recipes, ready under 30 minutes. If using dried lentils, then they need to be cleaned, soaked, rinsed and cooked until al-dente before adding to this recipe. The rice also needs par-cooking before adding to the recipe, increasing the amount of water required along with the time.

Vegan Mujadarra/ Mujadara

Gluten-free, Vegan and full of lentil goodness. A quick recipe ready under half an hour, when using cooked brown Basmati rice and canned lentils.

Priya: Priya@MasalaVegan
  • 2 cups Brown Basmati Rice, cooked
  • 1 can Whole Brown Lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large Brown Onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Oil
  • 2 cups Warm Water
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin Seeds, roasted and powdered
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Greens, chopped (Optional for garnishing)
  1. In a deep pot, add the oil and onions. Cook on slow heat until the onions start to caramelise.  Add a tablespoon of water if the onions start to stick to the bottom of the pan.

  2. Add the cumin seed powder and mix well.

  3. Mix in the lentils and add 1/2 a cup of water. Cook until the mixture starts to thicken.

  4. Toss in the cooked rice on top of the lentils and drizzle water down the side and cover. Cook until the water dries up.

  5. Serve hot garnished with chopped greens, if desired.

If you liked this recipe, please check out my Vegan Fatteh Hoummus recipe here.

Dahi Pohe, Vegan Organic Flattened Rice Flakes & Yogurt

Summer has well and truly set in with the weather yo-yoing between warm to very warm daytime temperatures, a thunderstorm every other afternoon and pleasant evenings. The warmer weather reminds of this dish that my mother used to make when it was too hot to cook. I’ve used soy yogurt with  thick rice flakes from a local brand called Lowan. The thick, dried organic rice flakes are soaked in water for 5 to 10 minutes while, I get the wok going with spices and whisk the yogurt until smooth to make the sauce. Ready under 15 minutes, this is my idea of wholesome fast food!

Dahi Pohe
Yields 2
A quick vegan, glutenfree and nutfree flattened brown rice porridge.
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
15 min
  1. Gluten Free Flattened Brown Rice Flakes - 1 cup
  2. Warm Water - 3/4 - 1 cup
  3. Soy or Coconut Yogurt, whisked until smooth - 1 cup
  4. Oil - 1 tablespoon
  5. Mustard Seeds - 1 teaspoon
  6. Cumin Seeds - 1 teaspoon
  7. Fresh Ginger Root, minced - 1 teaspoon
  8. Green Chili, minced - 1 medium, optional
  9. Curry Leaves, torn roughly - 6 to 8
  10. Fresh Coriander Leaves & Stalks, washed and minced - 2 tablespoons
  11. Tomato, deseeded and diced - 1 medium, optional
  12. Salt, to taste
Add ingredients to shopping list
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
  1. Soak the flattened rice flakes in water, in a bowl and set aside for 10 - 15 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a deep pan and add mustard Seeds. Cook on high heat until they pop.
  3. Toss in the cumin Seeds and cook on medium heat until golden.
  4. Add in the ginger, chili (if using) and curry leaf pieces in.
  5. Tip in the soaked rice flakes without draining and salt.
  6. Take off the heat.
  7. Mix the whisked yogurt in and combine everything.
  8. Sprinkle coriander leaves and tomato pieces.
  9. Serve with more yogurt if desired.
  1. Diced cucumber, carrots and boiled potatoes make great additions too.
Masala Vegan

Turmeric Spiced Brown Basmati Rice

Every now and then, we lapse into cold, windy and dreary weather despite, every marketing catalogue loudly proclaiming spring! This lovely golden hued brown Basmati rice is a steady favourite on nippy evenings with the flavours of Fennel, Mustard, Carom and Cumin Seeds, peeking through in every warm spoonful. Tastes just perfect with a hearty Daal and a quick salad perfect for a weeknight.

Vegan Quinoa 'Not' Fried 'Not' Rice!
Vegan , protein rich with Quinoa and the added goodness of vegetables.
  1. Cooked Quinoa - 2 cups
  2. Sesame Oil - 1 tablespoon
  3. Scallions, Stalks & Greens, sliced finely - 1 cup
  4. Silken Tofu - 2 tablespoons
  5. Garlic Cloves, minced - 4 teaspoons
  6. Ginger Root, minced - 2 teaspoons
  7. Mixed Vegetables, diced - 2 cups (I used a combination of carrots, broccoli, red bell pepper, silverbeet stalks & mushrooms)
  8. Frozen Green Peas - 1 cup
  9. Soy Sauce or Aminos - 2 tablespoons
  10. Hot Chilli Sauce - 1 teaspoon, optional to drizzle on top
Add ingredients to shopping list
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
  1. Heat oil in a skillet over low heat and add the scallion stalks. Reserve green bits for garnish.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until aromatic and golden.
  3. Throw the vegetables in and cook until lightly cooked on medium to high for 6 to 8 minutes. Stir constantly.
  4. Toss in silken tofu and break up. Cook for a couple of minutes.
  5. Mix quinoa and Aminos if using, or Soy Sauce.
  6. Take off the heat, sprinkle with scallion greens and mix through.
  7. Add apple cider vinegar and hot chilli sauce, if desired
  8. Serve immediately, drizzled with Sriracha, if desired.
  1. Quinoa is a great source of protein and makes the perfect meal when combined with vegetables.
Masala Vegan


Lemon Rice (Vegan & Gluten-free)

Lemon Rice is a traditional South Indian dish that can be ready under 10 minutes, if the rice used for the base is already cooked. I tend to make my lemon rice with leftover brown Basmati rice on a busy week night. For an even lazier version, use roasted peanuts that can directly added to the rice as garnishing. I tend to do this as half of my family doesn’t like eating peanuts with their food but, the other half loves peanuts in all its glorious forms! In a cinch by all means use, lime juice as the taste is remarkably similar. I’ve used some apple cider vinegar for its sour goodness and health benefits, replaceable with an equal quantity of lemon juice. 

Tastes best accompanied with some yogurt, fresh salad and pickle.

Lemon Rice
Vegan & Gluten-free. Omit peanuts for nut-free version. Substitute with roasted Pepitas or, Sunflower Seeds.
  1. Cooked Rice - 2 cups
  2. Coconut Oil - 1 tablespoon
  3. Mustard Seeds - 1 teaspoon
  4. Turmeric Powder - 1 teaspoon
  5. Curry Leaves, torn up roughly - 6 to 8
  6. Green Chillies, minced - 2 teaspoons
  7. Roasted Peanuts - 1 to 2 tablespoons, optional
  8. Desiccated Coconut Flakes - 2 tablespoons, for garnishing
  9. Lemon Juice - 1/4 cup
  10. Apple Cider Vinegar - 2 tablespoons
  11. Salt, to taste
Add ingredients to shopping list
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
  1. Heat the coconut oil in a wok or deep pan.
  2. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they pop.
  3. Mix in the turmeric, curry leaves and green chillies.
  4. Toss in the rice and coat in the above mixture. Season with salt.
  5. Mix in the apple cider vinegar and cook for a couple of minutes to let the flavours merge.
  6. Take off the heat and add the lemon juice. Mix well.
  7. Garnish with roasted nuts if using and coconut flakes.
  1. Serve warm with coconut yogurt and some fresh salad.
  2. Happy cooking 😊
Masala Vegan


Jeera Rice Pulao with Kale & Green Peas

Jeera Rice” is an often seen side dish accompanying spicy curries and gravies in Indian restaurants. Cumin seeds are known as Jeera in Hindi. My version adds the goodness of Kale and green peas to make a flavoursome and good-looking Pulao that packs a nutritional punch. 

Jeera Rice Pulao with Kale & Green Peas
Vegan, gluten free and nut free. The Basmati rice used forms the base of this simple but flavoursome dish. So, get the best quality of aged Basmati rice you can.
  1. Long Grain Basmati Rice - 1 cup
  2. Oil - 1 tablespoon
  3. Cumin Seeds - 1 teaspoon
  4. Green Cardamom Pods - 2 to 3
  5. Frozen Green Peas - 1/4 cup
  6. Fresh Kale Leaves - 2 to 3
  7. Water - 2 cups + 2 tablespoons
  8. Salt, to taste
Add ingredients to shopping list
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
  1. Soak the Basmati rice for at least an hour and rinse in fresh water until the water runs clear.
  2. Heat the oil in a thick bottomed deep pan. Add in the cumin seeds and cardamom pods. Cook until golden.
  3. Add the rice to the pan and stir in the frozen peas.
  4. Stir in 2 cups of water and mix in salt to taste.
  5. Cover the sauce pan with a lid and allow to cook until the rice is looks fluffy.
  6. While the rice cooks, remove the Kale from the stem and shred finely.
  7. Add the shredded Kale to the rice and 2 tablespoons of water.
  8. Cover with the lid and cook until all the water dries up.
  9. Take off the heat and mix the Kale gently through the rice with a fork.
  1. Happy cooking 😊
Masala Vegan

Vegan Pad Thai (Gluten, Onion & Garlic Free)

Pad Thai is a well known, much loved street food from the vibrant food carts in Bangkok. It has several variations depending on the cooking process and, the person eating. One of the highlights of Pad Thai is the tangy, spicy and sweet sauce usually made fresh with a recipe passed down in families! The rice noodles used traditionally, make this gluten-free and all other ingredients can be varied to suit your taste. My version has no animal products, or onion and garlic. Avoid peanuts in case of allergies and, substitute with pepitas or sunflower seeds for the crunch.

We need,

  • Dried Rice Noodle Sticks – 1 cup
  • Oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Lemongrass Root, minced – 1 teaspoon
  • Fresh Ginger Root – 1 teaspoon
  • Freshly Chopped Mixed Vegetables (Carrots, Beans, Pak Choi, Snow Peas, Broccoli) – 1 cup
  • Fresh Bean Sprouts – 2 tablespoons
  • Medium Tofu, drained and diced – 1/2 cup
  • Soy Sauce/ Coconut Aminos – 2 tablespoons
  • Tamarind Paste – 1 tablespoon
  • Asafoetida – 1 teaspoon
  • Red Chilli, sliced finely – 1 teaspoon
  • Raw Sugar – 2 teaspoons
  • Red Hot Chilli Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper – 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander Leaves & Stalks, minced finely – 2 teaspoons
For garnishing,
  • Roasted Peanuts Halves/ Roasted Pepitas – 1/4 cup
  • Green Lime, cut into quarters for garnishing


  1. Boil 6 to 8 cups of water in a large saucepan. When the water boils and bubbles up, take off the heat and add the dried noodles. Leave in the hot water for 10 -15 minutes before draining well.
  2. Heat oil in a wok and add the diced tofu until golden. Carefully drain on to a plate.
  3. Season remaining oil in the wok with 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida, salt and black pepper. Add in the lemongrass paste, ginger and sliced red chilli. Stir until fragrant.
  4. Stir in the mixed veggies and cook until wilted (approximately 5 – 6 minutes on high heat).
  5. In a small bowl mix the tamarind paste in water. Add in raw sugar, remaining asafoetida, soy sauce, chilli powder and salt, to taste.
  6. Toss in cooked noodles into the wok. Take off the heat and stir in the coriander and toss well.

Serve garnished with peanut halves, a spoonful of the tangy sauce and a squeeze of fresh lime. Happy Cooking 😊


Mung, Rice & Vegetable Stew A.K.A. Khichari (Vegan & Gluten Free)

This hearty dish featuring basmati rice, split or whole mung beans or red lentils and, vegetables found in the fridge and freezer, is a comforting dish that can either be on the drier side porridge like or, a thick stew that is mopped up with rotis or bread. My mother always made “Khichadi” without onion and garlic as she said it was an Ayurvedic recipe that was supposed to help the body to heal from inside…. I on the other hand am more concerned about the accompaniments to go with this dish, a big pile of “Papad” or, “Poppadums” is a necessity or, potato crisps or chips can be substituted instead and, some cold coconut or soy yogurt to serve. A lemon wedge to sprinkle lemon juice over all and sundry to jazz up the flavours just before digging in is also mandatory!

We need,

  • Split Mung Beans, rinsed and soaked – 1/4 cup
  • Brown or White Long Grain Basmati, rinsed and soaked – 1 cup
  • Coconut Oil – 2 tablespoons
  • Curry Leaves – 6 to 8
  • Tomato, finely chopped – 1 medium
  • Fresh Ginger Root, minced – 1 tablespoon
  • Mixed Vegetables (fresh or frozen) ( I used potato, carrot, beans, peas & broccoli) –  2 cups
  • Mustard Seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin Seeds – 2 teaspoons
  • Green Cardamom Pods – 4
  • Turmeric Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Asafoetida Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Warm Water – 4 to 5 cups spending on consistency
  • Salt, to taste
  • Fresh Coriander Leaves & Stalks, sliced finely – 2 tablespoons for garnishing


  1. Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan (I used my pressure cooker).
  2. Add the mustard seeds into the oil and wait for them to pop.
  3. Mix in the cumin seeds, cardamom pods and turmeric powder.
  4. Stir in the asafoetida, ginger and curry leaves.
  5. Add the tomato and cook until softened.
  6. Mix in the rice and lentils and coat well in the spice mix.
  7. Stir in the vegetables and add salt.
  8. Cover with 4 cups of water and mix well.
  9. Add in more water if required and cover the pan.
  10. If using a saucepan then bring to a boil over high heat and reduce the heat and cook for 20 – 25 minutes.
  11. If using the pressure cooker then, cover and cook on high for 10 – 15 minutes.
  12. Take off the heat and cool. Add another cupful of warm water if required at this stage.

Garnish with coriander and serve hot!



Vegan Apple Walnut Pulao (Gluten, Onion & Garlic Free)

“Pulao”, “Pilaf”, “Pollou”, “Pilau” all refer to a rice dish that is cooked along with spices and vegetables in a big pot. The origins of this dish are shrouded in mystery but, I can certainly attest that this is a quick and easy dish to cook and, delicious and filling to eat. My ongoing saga of not using onion and garlic free continues with this dish being the latest instalment!

We need,

  • White Basmati Long Grain Rice, soaked for 30 minutes – 2 cups
  • Oil – 2 tablespoons
  • Apples (I used 2 small Red Delicous), diced finely – 3/4 cup
  • Fresh Ginger Root, minced – 2 teaspoons
  • Green Chillie, sliced finely – 1 medium
  • Walnut Pieces, broken – 1/4 cup
  • Black Cardamom, whole – 1
  • Cloves – 4 to 6
  • Cinnamon Bark – 1″ piece
  • Bay Leaves, whole – 2
  • Fennel Seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Moxed Vegetables (fresh/ frozen) – 1 cup (I used a mix of broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, green peas & bell pepper)
  • Warm Water – around 2 cups
  • Salt, to taste
  • Roasted Almonds, for garnishing – 10 to 12 (optional)


  1. Rinse the soaked Basmati rice 4 – 5 times until the water runs clear. Drain and keep aside.
  2. Heat oil in a deep pan (I used my pressure pan).
  3. Add the black cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves and fennel seeds to the oil. Cook on low heat until aromatic.
  4. Toss in the ginger and green chillie. Cook until golden.
  5. Mix in the apple pieces and walnuts and roast in the oil.
  6. Add in the vegetables and stir to coat with the spices and oil.
  7. Carefully stir in the drained rice into the above mix.
  8. Add enough water till the rice is covered. Season with salt.
  9. Clip on lid and cook on high for 4 – 5 minutes. Take off the heat and release steam immediately to stop further cooking.
  10. If cooking in an open pan then cook until the water dries up and the grains are fluffy and cooked.
  11. Fluff the grains with a fork and garnish with roasted almonds if using.

This tastes great the next day too, as the spices infuse flavour into the rice, veggies and apples. Happy cooking!

Vegan Baked Savoury Doughnuts A.K.A. 'Masala Vada' (Gluten Free)

Traditionally “Vada” or, “Vadai” as they are called made by fermenting rice and lentil batter, which is then hand shaped into doughnuts and deep fried in hot oil. This recipe was born, given my abhorrence for deep frying and penchant for using up leftovers, namely from the “Ven Pongal” made a few days ago. Any other sticky rice porridge should work equally well. I baked these in my Philips Air Fryer however, an oven on fan forced setting could be used too. A shout out to Arohii at Joie De Vivre for being interested in this recipe!

We need,

  • Ven Pongal – 1 cup
  • Cumin Seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Green Chilli, sliced – 1 small
  • Rice Flour – 1/2 to 3/4 cup
  • Dried Fenugreek Leaves – 2 teaspoons
  • Salt, to taste


  1. If using then, preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius and line a flat tray with baking paper.
  2. Take the leftover rice porridge in a big mixing bowl and add the cumin seeds, green chilies, fenugreek leaves and salt.
  3. Fold in the rice flour by the spoonful to get a thick dough. (I needed a little lesser than 3/4 cup, depends on how watery the porridge is to begin off with).
  4. Shape round patties out of the dough on your palm and poke a little hole in the center to make a doughnut.
  5. Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes. Flip over and cook for another 5 – 8 minutes if needed.

Serve warm with  Desiccated Coconut Chutney or, eat as is. Happy Cooking!


3 Ingredient Brown Basmati (Rice Cooker Recipe)

I have always been a big fan of meal planning and use weekly meal planners to help me shop. Everyone gets fed on time, lunch boxes and tummies stay full with minimal waste…. win, win! Every week I use my rice cooker atleast twice or, thrice to make plain brown basmati rice perfectly, for lunches and dinners throughout the week to eat with curries or, make fried rice at the end of the week.

We need,

  • Brown Basmati Rice – 2 cups
  • Water, double the quantity of rice
  • Oil – 2 teaspoons
  • Rice Cooker



  1. Wash and rinse the rice in fresh water at least thrice and soak in an equal quantity of water for atleast an hour. (I have soaked it upto 8 hours with no side effects!)
  2. Rinse the rice a final time and place in the rice cooker pan.
  3. When switching the rice cooker on, add double the quantity of water.
  4. Add the oil and place on cook setting. The rice is done when the rice all swells up and looks fluffy. Check the rice grains to make sure. I tend to switch off as soon as the rice is cooked and separate the rice grains with a fork.
  5. Transfer and store in a heat proof and  freezer proof  glass container with a tight lid up to 2 days.


Enjoy hot with your favourite curry or stew!