Vegan Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread

Life’s been busy with work, school holidays, school restarting, relations visiting from overseas, renovations, more renovations, a couple of art and craft projects and everything else that gets in the way of writing my blog! I have however been taking heaps of photos of edible goodies cooked by myself and others. Here’s a quick vegan shortbread recipe with pistachios and cranberries that is great to take to a potluck, or a share a plate party.

This is the first time I’ve used Bio butter which is coconut based but the finished product did not taste coconut flavoured in the least. Usually I use Nuttelex which does have a slightly distinct taste in baked goods. (THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST). Another variation that I think would work well is Almonds with raisins.

For a nut free version substitute the pistachio for roasted sunflower seeds or pepitas.

The dough keeps well in the fridge while tightly wrapped in cling film and I have frozen the dough in the past as it freezes well too as the water content is quite low. If using directly from the freezer remember to store in the shape of logs and increase baking time by 5 – 7 minutes as needed. The shortbread is quite rich and 1 large-ish piece is good to eat with some iced coffee on a hot summer afternoon that February brings quite often.

Vegan Shortbread

Vegan Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread

Contains gluten and nuts.

The Cranberry & Pistachio combination does look very festive and makes great packed gifts.

  • 2 cups Unbleached Self Raising Flour
  • 3/4 cup Icing Sugar
  • 1 cup Vegan Spread (I used Bio Butter which is coconut based)
  • 2 tablespoons Dried Cranberries, chopped
  • 1.5 tablespoons Shelled Pistachio, sliced into slivers
  • 1.5 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  1. Whisk the Bio butter/ vegan spread, vanilla extract and icing sugar until fluffy in a deep mixing bowl.

  2. Stir the cranberries & pistachio pieces through the flour.

  3. Fold the fruit & flour mixture into the mixing bowl gently. Knead until a soft dough forms. 

  4. Roll into logs and refrigerate the dough if not using immediately (I didn’t, I only baked them the next morning).

  5. Preheat oven to 180° Celsius and cover a flat tray with baking paper.

  6. Either cut off 2" thick rounds for round shortbread or, flatten and cut into diamond shapes as I did on the baking tray. (Use any cookie cutter as desired really!)

  7. Bake at 180° Celsius for 18 to 20 minutes on the fan forced setting.

  8. Cool the shortbread properly and store in an airtight jar until ready to serve or, gift 😊

Brown & Wild Rice Sushi (Leftover Recipe)

It has been a busy few weeks, while I have been cooking and taking pictures, it has been one of those times where things just get left by the wayside. With the summer holidays here, my older one who has been learning cooking at school is equally enthusiastic about trying out new recipes.

Sushi is one of our favourite family food choices when eating out. The convenience of this cold, handheld food of Japanese origin is hard to beat on a hot summer day. The vinegar and rice mixture with fillings like avocado, tempura and cucumber are my favourite ones. This recipe comes from a mix of leftover brown and wild rice with some mild apple cider vinegar and filled with cucumber sticks & avocado. Serve cold with a dash of soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi for something extra 😊

Brown & Wild Rice Sushi

Quick recipe to use up leftover rice and requires no cooking.

Vegan; gluten-free and Nut-free.

  • 4 sheets Yaki Nori
  • 1 Leftover Brown Rice
  • 2 tablespoons Wild Rice
  • 2 teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Kelp Flakes
  • 6 - 8 Cucumber Sticks
  • 1 medium Avocado, sliced thinly
  1. Mix the rice, kelp flakes, salt and vinegar together in a mixing bowl.

  2. Spread the Nori on a clean and flat surface. (The sheets I buy have markings on them, with the shiny side on the outside).

  3. Cover the Nori sheet with the rice mixture in a thin and even layer leaving, an inch from all the sides.

  4. Place the sliced fillings in a line all along the rice layer from one end to the other.

  5. Start rolling the nori carefully, (I roll away from myself) while supporting the roll.

  6. Use a drop of water to seal the other edge if required.

  7. Cut into 2 inch pieces with a sharp knife (a blunt knife tears the nori, spilling the fillings out).

  8. Eat fresh or, store covered in the fridge up to a couple of hours.

Vegan MoFo Week 3 – Ingredient Challenges “Turmeric”

Vegan month of food continues into week 3 of October with innovative themes- “Ingredient challenges”. One of my favourite ingredients to use in everyday cooking is Turmeric. The challenge inspired me to make – my – own deconstructucted Turmeric Latte mix which is all the rage in cafes here at the moment. Growing up in an Indian household, milk + Turmeric with a dash of jaggery syrup called “Haldi Doodh” was a warm comforting drink that was always there to clutch in my little hands for a variety of problems from insomnia to the beginning of a cold, or bruises and body aches that came with being a little too clumsy on the day. Talking to my mother while sipping a warm glass of “Haldi Doodh was the panacea to most of my childhood problems 🙂

Carrying the tradition forward, I now make fresh Turmeric root paste with a dash of black pepper, green cardamom, cinnamon, plus coconut sugar to mix into almond milk for a comforting drink for my little ones. The husband & I prefer to leave out the sweetener and whizz warm Almond Milk with my Turmeric Latte blend for a pre-bedtime drink. Grinding fresh Turmeric means covering most work surfaces, as light coloured work surfaces tend to stain a golden-yellow hue!

Turmeric Latte - Ingredient Challenge
Vegan; Gluten-free; Sugar-free.
Priya: Priya
  • 1/3 cup Fresh Turmeric Root, peeled & chopped
  • 4 Black Peppercorn seeds
  • 2 Green Cardamom Pods
  • 1 inch Cinnamon Quill
  • 1 cup Almond Milk, warm
  • 1 teaspoon Sweetener, optional
  1. Lightly roast the black peppercorn, cardamom and cinnamon in a dry pan. Cool.
  2. Grind the spices to a fine powder.
  3. Add fresh turmeric root into the grinder jar and grind to a fine paste.
  4. Store in an air tight glass jar up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
  5. To use, blend 1 heaped teaspoon into 1 cup of warm Almond milk until frothy and golden. Add 1 teaspoon of Xylitol or powdered Coconut sugar, to sweeten if desired.
  6. Best enjoyed warm wrapped up in a rug while curled up on a comfortable couch.

This paste works well blend into some coconut oil to use in savoury recipes or sweet dishes like my

Golden Milk Pudding.




Vegan Cinnamon Fruit Snails

Warm, doughy and buttery snails particularly, the ones filled with jam or fruit fillings are a particular favourite with my little one on cold winter days! There’s this little bakery close by where she wants to stop at regularly, just to get her favourite sweet rolls. I often give in while wondering  if that much sugar and butter is good for such a tiny body…

I have a fair bit of organic dried fruit (mainly raisins, some dried berries & sultanas!) left from my last shop. So, I decided to use my favourite dough recipe and throw in a generous helping of dried fruit with some cinnamon, and a dash of all spice to make my kitchen smell like baking in winter 😋 The little ones loved it and wouldn’t stop eating it fresh out of the oven! The few snail rolls that survived were lightly toasted for morning tea the next morning and requested all over again 😊 This is the perfect Christmas in July recipe to whip up under 2 hours from start to finish. Happy Baking!

Vegan Fruit Snails

Vegan Magic Dough Fruit Snails

Vegan, sugarfree, nut free.

Priya: Priya@MasalaVegan
  • 1 recipe Magic Dough
  • 3/4 cup Dried Fruit (Raisins, Berries, Pawpaw are all good)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Allspice Powder
  • Non Stick Spray
  1. Prepare the dough and roll into a flattish rectangle. Sprinkle the fruit on top of the dough and press in palm down. Next sprinkle in the cinnamon & allspice powder all over. Spread with a flat spoon, if necessary.

  2. Carefully roll up the fruit & dough rectangle from the long end as tightly as possible.

  3. Use a sharp knife or dough cutter to cut into rolls, roughly 1/2" in width.

  4. Spray non stick spray in a round tray or cake pan and, place the snails/rolls at least a couple of centimeters away from each other.

  5. Cover with a damp tea towel and place in a warm spot for 20 - 30 minutes.

  6. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius on the fan forced setting.

  7. Bake the fruit snails/ rolls at 180 degrees Celsius for 25 - 35 minutes, or until a beautiful golden brown and smelling divine!

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 🙂 Happy baking!


Vegan Vada Pao Rolls

Vegan, nut-free and low fat recipe.

Priya: Priya@MasalaVegan
  • 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
  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 200°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 180°C for 20 - 25 minutes. 
  11. Tastes great warm or, after cooling with a warm drink. Happy baking 😊


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


Vegan Punjabi Kadhi Pakora

Gluten free, allergy friendly and onion & garlic free.

Priya: Priya@MasalaVegan
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
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).


2 Ingredients! Activated Almond Milk

I love making almond milk at home for several reasons. The main ones being freshness, taste, far more economical and no additives. I remember my mother soaking Almonds and peeling them for me to eat first thing in the morning during winter time. Now there are studies that prove that, soaking almonds the previous day decreases the levels of enzyme inhibitors and phytates for easier digestion. This simple recipe is just soaking the almonds, peeling and rinsing, before grinding with fresh water. The almond meal leftover after filtering the blended almond milk mixture is excellent in desserts like “Kheer” and savoury dishes such as Vegan Quinoa Meatballs. This versatile almond milk can be poured over cereal, blend into smoothies or, drunk plain.

Almonds, not only have heaps of health benefits but taste great too. I completely adore the sweetish and nutty taste of almond milk in my morning breakfast smoothies and, the children love pouring almond milk all over their cereals and as a drink.

We need,
  • Raw Organic Almonds – 3/4 cup, soaked 12 to 14 hours
  • Water – 4 cups
  1. Rinse the peeled almonds in fresh water before adding to the blender jar.
  2. Add 2 cups of water to the blender jar and run on the highest setting until the almonds  are finely ground. I have a powerful blender that takes 2 minutes to grind the almonds.
  3. Mix in 2 more cups of water for a milky consistency.
  4. Line a large saucepan with a nut milk bag and strain the almond milk through.
  5. Store in a glass jar for 4 – 5 days.

Tastes great with cookies or biscuits or, in hot and cold drinks.

Vegan Rainbow Cake & Sugarfree Icing

 Birthdays were taken very seriously when I was growing up. Every last bit had to be meticulously planned and organized way beforehand (at least a month!). I used to religiously count down days to my birthday and the party. Headache inducing decisions on who was going to be on the guest list, I possibly drove my poor mother to insanity! My mother insisted on baking a cake for me every single year, even the years I was away from home she would wait till I got back and made me one. I now deeply miss the cake, the love, thought and affection that went into making it. Now I make cakes for my little ones, who seem to come up with some unusual requests. This cake was supposed to be a rainbow cake with blue icing roses and also, follow the trend of undressed cakes with a light covering of some vanilla icing! Excellent for three different cakes but the birthday girl loved her cake and insisted on cutting it herself (the magic of seeing the layers I’d say). The basic cake recipe is from my vanilla cake with gel colors and natural fruit flavours mixed in. The icing is made with powdered Xylitol mixed with a dash of corn flour and Nuttelex, a vegetable shortening easily found in the shops here.

Vegan White Icing
Vegan, gluten free, nut free and sugar free. A quick icing recipe great for covering, piping and decorating cakes, cupcakes and cookies.
Priya: Priya@MasalaVegan
  • 4 cups Xylitol
  • 2 tablespoon Corn Flour
  • 2 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste
  • 1/2 cup Nuttelex
  • 2 tablespoons Non Dairy Milk
  1. Powder the Xylitol and corn flour together until fine.

  2. In a large mixing bowl add the powdered mix, shortening, milk and vanilla bean paste.
  3. Start mixing at the lowest speed possible until the mixture comes together.
  4. Once the mixture is well mixed then increase the speed to get smooth and fluffy icing.
Recipe Notes

If the mixture seems to thick (depends on different brands of corn flour) add a bit more milk.
Use rice milk, if wanting a gluten-free, nut Free and sugar-free icing.

If you enjoyed this cake recipe, please check out my Vegan Mud Cake!


Vegan Pad Thai/ Kway Teo Pad Thai

 “Pad Thai” or, “Kway Teo Pad Thai“, a favourite street food from Thailand is one of our favourite meals. Traditionally made with fish sauce, shrimp and often with eggs and meat. My vegan Pad Thai version takes away all the animal products and retains the goodness of vegetables, making this a really healthy and quick meal to make at home with dried rice noodles along with a plethora of veggies. I have used silken tofu to mimic and replace eggs and diced firm tofu for protein in a tamarind sauce. Using bean sprouts, turnip, tomato and carrots makes a refreshing dish, other vegetables can also be used such as green onions, radish, bell pepper, etc.


Vegan Pad Thai

Gluten-free, nut-free wok cooked rice noodles with a variety of garnishes.

Priya: Priya@MasalaVegan
  • 3 cups Dried Rice Noodles
  • 2 tablespoons Oil
  • 1/2 cup Silken Tofu
  • 3/4 cup Firm Tofu, cubed
  • 1 cup Shallots
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger, crushed
  • 2 cups Diced Vegetables (Carrot, Bell Pepper, Mushrooms)
  • 1 cup Bean Sprouts
  • 1 medium Tomato, deseeded and diced
  • 1 medium Cucumber, diced
  • 1 medium Avocado, cubed
  • Dried Chilli Flakes, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
For the Sauce
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Tamarind Paste
  • 1 tablespoon Cider Vinegar
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons Coconut Sugar
  1. Boil water and soak the rice noodles until soft. Drain and set aside.
  2. Airfry or bake the firm Tofu until golden brown and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a wok, and toss in the shallots, silken tofu and vegetables until wilted (around 5 - 8 minutes).
  4. Mix the ingredients for the sauce until smooth and add to the vegetables in the wok.
  5. Toss in the drained rice noodles, bean sprouts and baked/ airfried Tofu cubes.
  6. Season with salt and chilli flakes.
  7. Garnish with avocado, tomato and cucumber pieces.

If you like this recipe, please check out my Vegan Fried Quinoa recipe too! 



Vegan Hot Cross Buns for Easter Baking

These vegan hot cross buns are soft, fluffy, fruity and the most fragrant buns I’ve ever made. The aroma of mixed spice and cinnamon beckons tantalizingly from the oven when the buns bake and, while they are cooling on the rack, making it impossible to walk past without stealing a bite. These buns aren’t sweet as, I haven’t added any sugar or xylitol into the dough, except for the yeast mixture. The mixed fruit is the main star in these buns, with every bite full of sultanas, berries, pawpaw pieces and cherries. I let them rise for a good 30 minutes in a slightly warmed oven, as the colder weather seems to have arrived. Also, using my brownie pan was perfect for 9 large buns that were nice and tall. Happy baking and have a blessed Easter.


Vegan Hot Cross Buns

Vegan Hot Cross fruity buns which are the perfect food for breakfast, morning tea, dessert or, anytime in between!

Priya: Priya@MasalaVegan
  • 3 cups Wholemeal Baking Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Active Yeast
  • 2 tablespoons Raw Sugar
  • 300 ml Tepid Water
  • 3 tablespoon Oil
  • 2/3 cup Mixed Fruit
  • 1 teaspoon Mixed Spice Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
For the crosses
  • 2 tablespoons Plain Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Raw Sugar
  • 4 teaspoons Water
  • Non Stick Spray
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the tepid water, yeast and raw sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes.

  2. Add the flour, oil, spices and fruit to the yeast mixture in the bowl. Knead dough either by hand, or with a dough hook (I used my stand mixer).

  3. Stop kneading when the dough forms and is soft and slightly sticky. Allow to rest in a warm place.

  4. Spray a tray with non stick spray to place the buns.

  5. Tip the dough on a well floured surface, knead gently and separate into little round balls of dough.

  6. Place the dough balls closely but not touching each other on the prepared tray. 

  7. Cover with a clean tea towel and place in a warm corner for 35 - 45 minutes.

For the crosses
  1. Pipe crosses on to the risen dough buns using a piping bag or, sandwich bag with a corner cut off and then bake in the oven.

  2. Mix the flour, sugar and water to form a thick, smooth paste while the buns rise.

  3. Heat oven to 175 degrees C and, spray the dough with non stick spray and bake the risen dough buns until golden brown (approximately 25 minutes).

These buns are making their way to Healthy Vegan Fridays and The Bloggers Pitstop