Instant Idli (Steamed Rice Flour Dumplings)

Spring has been lurking around the corner in Sydney recently. This of course jolts me out of my hibernation to cook more food instead of curling up in a corner with a mug of soup! My biggest issue with winter are the short days and not enough daylight hours with rather bad lighting when I try to take photos of my recipes. Of course, I’m not the best photographer to begin off with, and tend to use my iPad to take most of the pictures on my bench top 😳

Now for today’s recipe,

I have previously posted a traditional Idli recipe, as it is one of the most popular South Indian rice dumpling here – How to make your Idli batter & steamed Idli dumplings the traditional way.

This instant rice flour Idli recipe is an old recipe from my mother’s cooking diary. Ready under 1 hour from start to finish, this easy recipe tastes great with Coconut Chutney, “Gunpowder” (interesting name isn’t it, πŸ™‚ I’ll dig my recipe out soon) or Quick “Sambar” Lentil Stew to dunk the Idli in.

 Instant Idli

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Instant "Idli" Rice Flour Dumplings

Vegan, Gluten free, no Oil recipe.

Priya: Priya@MasalaVegan
Ingredients
  • 2 cups White Rice Flour, coarsely ground
  • 2/3 cup Skinned Split Black Lentil Flour, fine
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3 - 3.5 cups Warm Water
  • 3/4 - 1 teaspoon Eno Regular Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Rice Bran Oil, to grease the Idli Mould
Instructions
  1. Dry whisk the flours and salt together until well mixed.

  2. Mix in the warm water until a thick but smooth batter forms. Add in warm water by the spoonful to get a smooth batter. The amount of water needed depends on the coarseness of the rice flour. Set aside in a warm corner.

  3. Get a large steamer/ pot that the Idli moulds fit into and fill with water. Bring the water to a boil on high heat mad then turn the heat down to the lowest setting. (I tend to fill more water as it evaporates while cooking. Important part is to not let the boiling water near the batter while cooking.)

  4. Grease the Idli moulds/ steaming cups with rice bran oil.

  5. Stir in the Eno salt into the resting batter and mix well quickly.

  6. Drop tablespoonfuls of batter into the greased and prepared steaming moulds and set into the steamer pot. Cover the pot and steam at the highest setting for 12 - 15 minutes.

  7. Remove the moulds filled with cooked dumplings from the steamer immediately and cool for 5 - 10 minutes before gently sliding out of the moulds with a soft spatula.

  8. Enjoy hot, with Coconut Chutney or dunked into Lentil Stew.

Recipe Notes

There are different kinds of steamers that everyone uses from makeshift large pots filled with boiling water to special Idli steamers. All kinds are good as long as they hold enough water and have a separate section where the rice flour batter can cook without the water boiling into it. If the batter touches the boiling water, there will be no perfectly steamed dumplings, just a big floury, sticky mess unfortunately! I learnt this the hard way, so hope this helps πŸ™‚

Happy Cooking 😊 If you like this recipe, please check out my other Idli recipes here –  Quinoa Idli  and 

Semolina Idli

Vegan Vada Pao Rolls (Low Fat Version)

Vada Pav/ Pao, growing up in Bombay (now Mumbai) was one of my favourite foods.  This humble Indian burger is made with a soft and fluffy bread roll A.K.A. Pav/ Pao (here’s my recipe) filled with a spicy potato patty and some peanut & red chilli powder often, garnished with little pieces of red onion. Being hawker food, the spicy potato patty is deep-fried and delicious (as I realized on my most recent trip!).

Trying to recreate this at home, my first change was to either Air Fry or oven bake the patty. As I made my favourite dough recipe for the rolls, I had the potatoes boiled and ready with all the spices. The mashed potato mixture was easy to shape into marble sized balls all ready to bake, when I decided to use the dough to enclosing the potato mixture to make stuffed rolls, for faster cooking! Genius, I’m thinking but I’m sure there are other versions of this “Vada Pav” roll out there πŸ™‚ Happy baking!

 

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Vegan Vada Pao Rolls

Vegan, nut-free and low fat recipe.

Priya: Priya@MasalaVegan
Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander Seed Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1 inch Fresh Ginger, minced
  • 2 Green Chillies, minced finely
  • 8 - 10 Curry Leaves, torn roughly
  • 2 medium sized Potatoes, boiled
  • Salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a deep pan, add the mustard seeds and cover.

  2. Cook until the seeds pop and then toss in the cumin seeds, coriander seed powder, ginger, curry leaves, green chillies and turmeric powder. 
  3. Add the potatoes and salt and mix together until well combined. Take off the heat and cool before dividing the potato mixture into 12 golf ball sized round portions. Set aside to cool.
  4. Divide the dough into round balls and flatten to a circle about 5" wide. 
  5. Put the spicy potato mixture in the centre and gently bring the sides up to seal the dough. Use a drop of water to stick the edges of the dough, if required. 
  6. Place the prepared rolls on a baking tray lined with nonstick paper and cover with a clean tea towel. 
  7. Set aside to rise in a warm place for half an hour. 
  8. In the meanwhile heat the oven on a fan forced setting to 200Β°C. 
  9. After 30 minutes, remove the tea towel from the rolls and spray with non stick spray. 
  10. Bake in a hot oven at 180Β°C for 20 - 25 minutes. 
  11. Tastes great warm or, after cooling with a warm drink. Happy baking 😊

 

Quick Indian Lemon Pickle

Lemons have all kinds of goodness and are quite scarce at this time of the year. When I do find some fresh ones, I’m determined to make the most out of them. This quick Lemon Pickle is ready literally in minutes using my trusty pressure cooker  after overnight prep. Indian pickles tend to use mustard seeds, cumin seeds and other spices in oil along with turmeric salt and sugar as a preservative.

Tastes great with plain Rice and Dal or, with some yogurt and flatbread (Roti).

Apologies for the radio silence all this time, I’ve been busy traveling and trying out all kinds of vegan food (good & bad!), shall update with pictures as soon as I can!

Quick Lemon Pickle
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Indian Quick Lemon Pickle

Vegan, gluten-free & nut free.


Cuisine: Indian
Priya: Priya@MasalaVegan
Ingredients
  • 12 Lemons, washed and dried
  • 4 tablespoons Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar
To Make
  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Fennel Seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fenugreek Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
Instructions
Prep For The Lemons
  1. Wash and dry the lemons thoroughly.

  2. Quarter and put into a big glass bowl.

  3. Sprinkle with salt and sugar. Rub into the lemon pieces and cover.

  4. Let the lemon pieces marinate for 8 to 12 hours.

Pickle Making (After 12 hours)
  1. Heat oil in a pressure pan and add the mustard seeds. Cook until they pop.

  2. Stir in the rest of the spices and cook on low heat until aromatic.

  3. Mix in the marinated lemon pieces along with the juice in the glass bowl.

  4. Cover the pressure pan and cook on high for 8 to 10 minutes. Take off the heat immediately and allow to cool naturally.

  5. Spoon the warm pickle into a clean, sterilised glass jar and cap immediately. A vacuum seal should form as the pickle cools down.

  6. I used 2 small jars to store the pickle in as this ensures longevity of the pickle and keeps the freshness intact. 

 

Punjabi Kadhi Pakora (Vegan Yogurt Stew with Fritters)

Kadhi Pakora is a winter staple in North India served with steamed rice and garnished with vegetable fritters. It took me a long time to veganise this recipe only because most of the suggestions on google are to use tofu in some form. Now, I’m not at all against eating tofu in moderation but, now and then if I’ve been slack with grocery shopping, we end up with no tofu! This recipe came about at a time like this, with the family pitching ideas at me and brainstorming about how best to get the Kadhi right (love weekend cooking!). My younger one, of course insisted, that as long as the Pakora (fritters) were good, no one cared about the actual taste or consistency of the Kadhi/ stew! I used this Pakora recipe and this steamed rice recipe. Happy cooking 😊 

Indian Buddha Bowl

 

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Vegan Punjabi Kadhi Pakora

Gluten free, allergy friendly and onion & garlic free.

Priya: Priya@MasalaVegan
Ingredients
To blend together
  • 2.5 cups Non Dairy Milk (Soy, Rice & Coconut work well)
  • 5 tablespoons Chickpea Flour/ Besan, fine
  • 1 inch Fresh Ginger Root, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons Lime Juice
  • Salt, to taste
For the Spice Mix
  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon Asafoetida
  • 7 - 8 Whole Dried Cloves
  • 2 inch Cinnamon Bark, coarsely pounded
  • 1 teaspoon Black Mustard Seeds
  • 8 Fresh Curry Leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Fennel Seeds
  • 1 Green Chilli, minced
Instructions
Blend the chickpea flour and the rest of the ingredients until a smooth and thin batter like mixture forms.
  1. Heat oil in a deep sauce pan and add the mustard seeds. Cover and cook until they pop.

  2. Reduce heat and add all the other spices along with the curry leaves and chilli. Roast until fragrant.

  3. Add contents of the blender to the spices in the deep pan and mix well.

  4. Cook over gentle heat until the mix comes to a rolling boil. Cover and cook for a further 8 - 10 minutes to thicken the stew.

  5. While the stew cooks get the fritters ready. I made mine in the Air Fryer.

  6. If serving with rice, then take this time to get some freshly steamed rice ready.

  7. Assemble for serving by adding rice to a deep dish or bowl first. Pour the cooked Kadhi (stew) over the rice. Finally garnish with crisp Pakoras (fritters).

 

Airfryer Vegetable Pakora & The Veggie Bullet

My Mother’s Day present this year was a “Veggie Bullet“, that can slice, chop, grate, shred and most importantly, “spiralise veggies”! I’ve been wanting a spiraliser for the longest time now, but everytime I got a manual one, something would be wrong, missing screws, broken blades, missing parts and more… Not anymore, so stay tuned for lots of spiraliser recipes, as I start my experiments 😊

Veggie Bullet

For our first trial, after taking a family vote we decided to make Vegetable Pakora, the famous Indian fritters that everyone loves! These are a combination of shredded vegetables I had in the fridge consisting of cabbage, zucchini and white potatoes mixed with dry spices such as, green fennel, cumin, carom and coriander in a thick Besan and rice flour batter to bake in the Air Fryer. These crisp, gluten-free and hot Pakore didn’t last very long, paving the way to break out the Veggie Bullet again. There  are heaps of you tube videos on how to use the Veggie Bullet that I’ve watched before taking the plunge! Now on to the Vegetable Pakora recipe, 

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Veggie Pakora

Vegan, gluten free, onion and garlic free.

Priya: Priya@MasalaVegan
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup Besan/ Chickpea Flour
  • 1/2 cup Rice Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Carom Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Fennel Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Kitchen King/ Garam Masala Powder
  • 1 cup Grated Vegetables (Zucchini, Cabbage & Potato)
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Warm Water
  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • Salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the flours, spices, oil, salt and 1/2 cup of water. Whisk well until smooth.

  2. Fold in the grated veggies into the batter carefully. Add extra spoonfuls of water only if required, as the batter needs to be quite thick and the veggies give out moisture too!

  3. I left my batter quite thick to scoop up by the spoonful and drop into the Airfryer basket to cook for 15 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.

  4. If using an oven, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and bake for 20 to 25 minutes on a fan forced setting.

  5. Serve warm with Tomato Chutney or Ketchup πŸ˜‹

Recipe Notes

Many other veggies can also be used in this versatile baked pakora recipe, as long as the vegetables are grated or, chopped fine. Examples are, sweet potatoes, turnips, daikon, carrots and even onions to make the famous Onion Bhajji!

 

Vegan Baked Jalebi

“Jalebi”, just the name brings up so many memories! This famous Indian pastry like sweet is made with deep-fried flour spirals dunked into steaming hot sugar syrup flavoured with green Cardamom, saffron and/ or rose-water. This is one of the sweets that are made across India with a few regional variations such as, adding in milk solids, or using fermented lentil batter, etc. My main gripe with Jalebi is that, I can never stop after eating just one and the fact, that it is not only deep-fried but, also coated with sugar syrup doubles my problems. I tried looking for baked recipes in old cookbooks and online and couldn’t find any. My Jalebi recipe is not only baked, but also uses Xylitol in place of sugar.

Decorate with flaked nuts and sift powdered xylitol on top, if desired before digging in! They taste great hot and we finished them all off so, have no updates about storing them as of now 😊 Happy baking!

Vegan, low fat, Sugarfree Jalebi
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Baked Jalebi

Vegan, sugar-free and omit nuts for garnishing to make this delicious dessert nut-free.

Priya: Priya
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Unbleached Self Raising Flour
  • 1/2 cup Xylitol
  • 1 tablespoon Nutritional Yeast Flakes
  • 3/4 cup Warm Water
For the Syrup
  • 2 tablespoons Xylitol
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1 tablespoon Rose Water
  • 1 teaspoon Green Cardamom Seeds, powdered
For the Garnish
  • 2 tablespoon Xylitol, powdered
  • Flaked Almonds/ Pistachios, optional
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C and line a large cookie sheet with non stick paper.

  2. In a deep mixing bowl, add the water, flour, nutritional yeast flake and xylitol.
  3. Mix well until there are no lumps. The batter should be thick but smooth.

  4. Fill half a cup of batter into a piping bag fitted with a wide star tip. (Use a strong zip lock bag, if there are no piping bags to be found).
  5. Gently draw spirals on the prepared cookie tray and bake for 15 - 18 minutes until golden brown.
For the Syrup
  1. While the Jalebi bakes, make up the syrup by dissolving the xylitol in water and bringing to a boil. Cook for a few minutes.
  2. Take off the heat and mix on the rose water and cardamom powder. Set aside.
  3. Remove from the baked spirals from the oven and brush with the rose water syrup and allow to cool.
Garnish with powdered Xylitol and/ or flaked nuts, if using. Serve warm.
Recipe Notes

 

Vegan Gram Flour & Coconut Fudge (Besan Burfee, Sugarfree)

The Indian calendar follows the luni- solar cycle and starts and finishes differently as opposed to the standard 31st of December and 1st of January. The “Hindu” new year in 2017 falls on the 29th of March. Houses are cleaned and freshened up with a variety of fresh flowers and leaves. Intricate decorations made of rice flour and/ or colored sand are set on flowers. Growing up, my mother used to install a brass pot atop a stick covered with brightly colored cloth as a symbol of victory of good over evil called “Gudi”, pronounced as goody. Flowers and mango leaves are used to decorate the Gudi And, all kinds of sweet and savoury delicacies are made. Commonly made recipes include Chakli, Puran Poli (flatbread stuffed with sweetened lentils) and delicious fudge bars, called “Burfee”.

Vegan Glutenfree Gramflour Fudge
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Vegan Gram Flour & Coconut Fudge (Besan Burfee)

Gluten-free and Sugar-free, this fudge is full of coconut goodness.

Priya: Priya
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Gram Flour/ Besan
  • 1 cup Desiccated Coconut
  • 2/3 cup Xylitol
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1/3 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Green Cardamom Seeds, powdered
Instructions
  1. Line a flat tray with nonstick paper and set aside.

  2. In a deep saucepan melt the coconut oil and add the Gram flour. Roast until golden and the raw smell disappears. Remove from saucepan and set aside in a plate to cool.
  3. Roast the desiccated coconut next, on low heat until lightly browned. Remove from saucepan and mix with the roasted Gram flour.
  4. Mix the xylitol and water in the saucepan and cook until the syrup looks bubbly and thickens.
  5. Take off the heat and fold in the gram flour - coconut mixture.
  6. Toss in the cardamom powder and mix well. 
  7. Transfer this mixture evenly into the prepared tray. Tap the tray on a sturdy surface to remove any airgaps and smoothen the top.
  8. Score the fudge in diamond shaped pieces after cooling for 10 - 15 minutes.

Beetroot Kurma/ Korma – Onion & Garlic Free

Beetroot Kurma is a recipe my mum would often make as I loved beetroot as a child. The fascinating colour, the sweet flavour were absolutely enticing even back then. Now my children share my love of beetroot including, rubbing it all over their teeth to scare each other! Autumn’s settling in nicely with all the rain and windy weather we have had recently making me crave hot meals again. It does seem that we are back to that time of the year where warm and filling meals are back on the meal plan again. I found the cutest looking baby beetroot the other day and had to get them. This recipe comes together quickly on a weeknight and does not use onion or garlic and is delicious with flatbread or, rice Pulao dishes.

Beetroot Kurma Onion & Garlic Free
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Vegan Beetroot Kurma

Onion and garlic free, gluten-free quick Beetroot curry in a delicious coconut gravy.

Priya: Priya
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Beetroot, steamed and cut into wedges
  • 1/2 cup Desiccated Coconut
  • 1 cup Warm Water
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Black Mustard Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Green Chili, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons Roasted Split Gram Lentils
  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Coriander, minced
  • Salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Soak the desiccated coconut in warm water and set aside.

  2. Steam the beetroot to cook. Cool before peeling and cutting into thin wedges.
  3. Dry grind together the roasted split chickpeas, mustard and cumin seeds to a fine powder.
  4. Add in the coconut mixture and blend to a fine paste.
  5. In a pan, heat oil and add the spice blend.
  6. Mix in the turmeric powder and green chilli.
  7. Add the beetroot wedges and mix well.
  8. Season with salt and take off the heat.
  9. Garnish with coriander if using.

 

 

Malpua (Vegan, Oil Free & Sugar Free)

“Holi”, the Festival of Colours fell over the past weekend. The advantage of having a holiday means being able to make something traditional for my little ones to celebrate and introduce them to the much-loved festival food that I and my better half grew up eating! “Malpua” are pancakes usually made with white flour and semolina and deep-fried before dunking into a thick sugar syrup. These delicious pancakes are made in many different ways often with heaps of dairy and sugar. This lighter take, on the traditional deep-fried “Malpua” full of clarified butter and milk solids eliminates all the oil and dairy while using wholemeal flour. Another good thing, about this recipe is not having to make a sugar syrup to dunk the pancakes and, replacing them with a lighter maple or agave syrup. I ate mine plain but, my little ones aren’t about to let go of the syrup jar any time soon πŸ˜‹

Malpua
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Malpua

Vegan, wholemeal, oil free and sugar free. 

Omit the almonds to make these "Malpua" nut free and garnish with either cranberries or, pepitas.

Priya: Priya
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Self Raising Wholemeal Flour
  • 1/2 cup Semolina
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk
  • 1 cup Warm Water
  • 4 tablespoons Xylitol
  • 3 teaspoons Green Fennel Seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Green Cardamom Seeds, powdered
Garnish
  • 4 tablespoons Flaked Almonds/ Pepitas, lightly roasted
  • Agave Nectar/ Maple Syrup, to pour
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, pour the warm water, coconut milk and Xylitol. Whisk well until mixed.

  2. Add the semolina and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

  3. Mix in the wholemeal flour, Fennel & Cardamom seed powders. Whisk well and set aside. The batter should be slightly thinner that cake batter. Add more water if required.

  4. Heat a non stick pan and ladle batter into little rounds.

  5. Cover and cook on low heat until a crisp golden and then flip to cook the other side lightly.

  6. Take off the pan and pour a teaspoonful of agave nectar/ maple syrup if using and sprinkle, flaked Almonds/ pepitas/ cranberries.

 

Mango & Nectarine Chutney (Onion & Garlic Free)

Summer brings an abundance of ripe mangoes. After a while when the novelty starts to wear off, the mangoes get pushed to the bottom of the fruit tray in favour of the more popular stone fruits. This luscious onion and garlic free Chutney combines the tartness of red nectarines with ripe mangoes to create an absolute explosion of flavours. Mildly spiced with Cardamom seeds, cinnamon and star anise along with fresh turmeric and ginger root, tastes best spread on to a slice of freshly baked bread or, a coconut wrap with some fresh salad. I’ve used fresh turmeric root for the beautiful golden colour and fresh flavour, however a teaspoonful of dried turmeric powder could be substituted as well.

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Mango & Nectarine Chutney

Vegan, gluten free and sugar free fruit chutney.

Priya: Priya
Ingredients
  • 1 Large Mango, ripe Chopped roughly
  • 2 Medium Nectarines Chopped finely
  • 1 Teaspoon Oil
  • 2 Teaspoons Ginger Minced finely
  • 2 Teaspoons Fresh Turmeric Root Minced
  • 1 Teaspoon Asafoetida
  • 1/2 Cup White Vinegar
  • 5 Pods Green Cardamom
  • 1 Stick Cinnamon
  • 1 Star Anise
  • 1/3 Cup Xylitol
  • Salt To taste
  • 1 Teaspoon Chilli Flakes Optional, but recommended
Instructions
  1. In a deep pan dry roast the cardamom, cinnamon and star anise. Pound lightly to crush them once cooked. 

    Add the oil and coat the pan. 

    Toss in the asafoetida, ginger and turmeric root and cook until aromatic.

    Lightly cook the cardamom, cinnamon & star anise until golden.

    Toss in the chopped fruit, salt and xylitol. Mix well.

    Add the vinegar and bring to a boil.

    Season with salt and cook on low heat until the Chutney starts to thicken.

    Mix in the Chilli flakes, if using.

    Take off the heat and pour into sterilised glass jars.

    Store in the refrigerator and use in 10 - 15 days.

Recipe Notes

Peaches can be substituted by peaches or, fresh apricots too.