Category Archives: Lunch

Cauliflower Pizza with Asparagus, Kale and Mushrooms

Ok…. so this is not much of a recipe but more of the art of putting it all together…but I just had to post. Such an amazing crunch and taste that it leaves you craving for more. And it is healthy, nutritious and scrumptious. If Gluten bothers you, this is GF.


My cauliflower pizza base is Cauliflower and Corn flour from Trader Joes or Moms Organic market. On my trip to MOMs, I brought back beautiful garlic, asparagus, fresh Kale, Jalapeño, and mushrooms.  I had some Parmesan and Halloumi in the fridge so putting this together was a breeze.

Note this is not a typical pizza smothering in tomato sauce and cheese. This one showcases the beautiful vegetables so adjust if you need more of the cheeses or add some tomato sauce.


The Kale and chopped mushrooms need to be sautéed in chopped garlic with a pinch of salt and set aside.


Slice or chop some Asparagus, Jalapeño, Roma tomato and set aside

Slice the cheeses.

Cook the crust according to instruction until it is firm and slightly crisp. The TJ version had me cook at 450 degrees and flip the crust to cook 12 mins on each side. That was perfect

Top the crust with veggies and cheese and put under a broiler for 3-4 mins.

Douse with some good avocado or olive oil and red chili flakes.




Sharing at Fiesta Friday featuring Laurena @ Life Diet Health and Alex @ Turks Who Eat as co-hosts this week.


Kashmiri Tangy Eggplants – Chok Wangun

My love for eggplants keeps me experimenting with new recipes from around the globe. This one is close to my heart and soul and so very easy to make.

IMG_8318-5Frying eggplants will fill your kitchen with an amazing aroma. I often chow down a few slices even before they make their way to the dish.



This recipe has the flavor of cloves, ginger, and fennel and is a delicate yet strong blend to showcase the eggplants. The tamarind paste is what adds the tanginess. Use it to your taste.

Tip: Be careful not to burn the cloves or the chili powder but adding water quickly.




  • 4 eggplants – long or 8 small
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp ginger powder
  • 2 tbsp fennel powder
  • 2 tbsp red chili powder
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 4 black cardamoms
  • 1 tsp black cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • Salt – to taste.
  • Mustard oil


Putting it together:

  • Soak the tamarind paste in 1/2 cup hot water. Put aside.
  • Chopped and fry the onion until golden brown and make a paste of the fried onions adding a dash of water
  • Cut the eggplants lengthwise into 3 to 4-inch lengths – keeping a part of stem on the end pieces.
  • Heat the mustard oil until smoking and deep fry the eggplants until golden brown. Drain on paper towels
  • In a wide pan take  3 tbsp of the remaining oil and bring to medium heat
  • Add the cloves, red chili powder and salt. Add 2 cups of water immediately not letting the red chilies burn. Add the garlic, turmeric and cardamoms fennel powder, ginger powder, onion paste and continue to cook for 10 mins adding 2 more cups of water if needed.
  • Add the eggplants and tamarind water and cook for 5 -10 mins to get to a saucy consistency.
  • Serve with a garnish of green chilies with white rice or roti.IMG_8320-6

Matar Paneer Curry – Peas and Cheese

Sometimes the simpler the food the more rewarding for your taste buds.  Visons of many a beautiful vegetarian tables with paneer, lentils and pickles seems to stay with me.  The memories range from  restaurants to friends houses after school, to street side travel shacks and many more…..but they are always vivid and connect me to a rich past.


Growing up our family were big meat eaters…it would not be “food” without lamb or chicken 🙂 However, every now and then we would have a vegetarian day where Paneer would be the showcase.


When I first moved to the US, store bought  paneer (cheese)  was not an option so making the paneer at home was the only way. Don’t get me wrong, homemade cheese is the best but sometimes a working girl needs a premade handy version so dinner can be cooked at moments notice.


The local Asian stores now have the most amazing Paneer available so I keep a block in the fridge or freezer for quick dinner situations.


This is a curry, which as always is spicy, tangy, rich, gentle, soft and ever so delicious.


I have paired it with butter rice, lentils and pickles. Naan or roti would be perfect with the platter.




Matar Paneer

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A quick and easy matar paneer


  • 1 block of Paneer cubed ( I used Nanak Paneer)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 large  chopped red onion
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 7-8 garlic cloves – sliced
  • 1 inch ginger – grated
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Red chili powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 4 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped coriander leaves for garnish


Putting it together:

  • Add 2 tbsp oil to a pan on medium heat and add the chopped garlic cloves,  ginger and  onion into the pan and fry this for a few minutes until the onions start to soften.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and little salt, cover the pan and cook the mixture until the tomatoes have softened.
  • Blend this sauce in a food processor ( there should be any need to add water)
  • Using the same pan  add 2 tbsp oil into the pan on medium heat, add
  • Add cumin seeds and fry for a few seconds until they pop, add turmeric coriander and chili powder.
  • Now you can add the prepared tomato sauce mixture and bring the mixture together.
  • Throw in the cumin powder and a few tablespoons of water and let it cook for a few minutes. Do stir to ensure it does not start sticking
  • Add yoghurt into the sauce and continue stirring.
  • Add the frozen peas and then the paneer cubes
  • Adjust for salt and water for consistency and cover and  cook the curry for  on low heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with Cilantro and a squeeze of lemon and serve with rice or bread.



Sharing on Fiesta Friday!

Moussakah vegetarian

While I was in NYC for a conference, I had the pleasure of dining with my sister and brother in law at a fabulous restaurant  Cleo at Mondrian Park Ave. The chef certainly had a way with Mediterranean small plates but one particular dish that caught my attention was the vegetarian Moussakah with eggplants and feta immersed in delicious béchamel sauce.


I have made Mousakkah many times with Lamb, beef and also with just vegetables and it always comes out warm and comforting.

Inspired by Cleo I experimented with a new recipe and it was a winner.


Moussakah is a very popular Greek dish but there are many versions of it through the Mediterranean, all equally worthy of trying.

In a  traditional Greek Moussaka recipe,  minced beef (or lamb) is cooked in a tomato base and spices then layered with eggplants and topped with creamy béchamel sauce and cheese.


In this vegetarian version, my basic ingredients are sweet eggplants and mushrooms. Then the béchamel sauce and the topping of feta and gruyere. I have made two small plates here for lunch but you can adjust and make one large one. The béchamel sauce has leftover which was wonderful. I have stored it for use during the week.




  • 1 large eggplant or 3-4 slim ones
  • Olive oil
  • Pink salt

Mushroom sauce

  • Cremini mushrooms – I box around 20 pieces
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 of a cup olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 cup pureed tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Béchamel sauce

  • Stick of butter – 4 ounces
  • Whole milk – 3 cups
  • Flour – 4 ounces
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup Grated Gruyere
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  1. Cut the eggplant into slices (1 inch),  Season with salt and place in a colander for about half an hour.
  2. Squeeze the liquid from the eggplants with your hands and pat dry with a paper towel. Drizzle the eggplants with some olive oil and bake them for 15 minutes in a 400-degree oven until golden brown.
  3. Add olive oil to a pan over medium heat and stir in the chopped mushrooms and sauté for about 5 minutes,  add the garlic and chopped onions and continue to cook. Add the cinnamon and adjust the salt and pepper. Cook until the sauce thickens.
  4. For the béchamel sauce use a deep pan and melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour whisking continuously to make a paste and add warmed milk pouring in a stream. Continue to whisk the whole time to avoid lumps and get to a smooth paste.  Remove the pan from heat and add the egg yolks, salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and the grated cheese. Whisk to incorporate all the ingredient and get a smooth and creamy paste
  5. To assemble I have used 2 small dishes, you can use a large baking dish as well. Sprinkle the bottom with some panko or breadcrumbs and layer the eggplants. Add the mushrooms sauce and another layer of eggplants.
  6. Top with the béchamel sauce, feta, and more gruyere.
  7. Cook in a 400-degree oven for 15 mins until bubbly. Cool for a few minutes before digging in




Sharing at Fiesta Friday where co-hosts this week are Diann @ Of Goats and Greensand Shinta @ Caramel Tinted Life.

Meatballs with Eggplant puree and Radish pesto

After a hectic week I unwind with experimentation of ingredients and spices. Weekends that have nothing to do with my technology work are a way to meditate, unwind and reconnect with living a simple life with natural clean organic cooking.

IAS_0627The weekend is always a time for me to center my energy. Some music, some reading , some quality grounded time with my soul mate and some poetry. Here is my Rumi inspiration from the weekend

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill

where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.



With some ground lamb  and free range turkey from the local market I found flavors that yet again favor Mediterranean and Indian spices. My food always needs to be kicked up with some tang and some spice 🙂

For vegetarians, this can totally be made with veggie or lentil meatballs – try black lentils and zucchini.


Summer is also a time to play with you dips and chutney. The beautiful red radishes sprouted in my garden and are a base for this amazing pesto.

IMG_6112Ah and the bread, the bread. So the very creative and inspiring Suzanne posted this pita recipe promising it to be super easy. And easy it was!!  I have made it twice already. Thanks Suzanne 🙂 Please do check out her blog and the recipe here.



  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

a true fusion dish with lebanese and indian flavors



  • 1/2 lb lamb
  • 1/2  ln turkey
  • Combine the minced lamb and turkey
  • Add 1 tsp pink salt
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2  tablespoon gluten free pancake mix ( secret ingredient)
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard oil ( or olive oil)

Eggplant puree

  • 3 Japanese eggplant
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 4 cloves whole garlic
  • 1 green chili
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • Himalayan salt to taste

Radish Almond pesto

  • 2 cup fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 5 fresh red radish with leaves
  • Handful of chives
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup soaked and peeled almonds
  • 1 cup walnut or olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Grated peel of 1 lime.



  • Combine the lamb and turkey and mix in the onion and ground spices with your hands. Add the oil, pancake mix and crack in the egg. Combine well.
  • With wet hands make the meatballs the size of golf balls and line them on a baking tray
  • Bake at 375 F for 20-25 mins. Remove from oven and set aside

Eggplant puree

  • Roast the eggplant over an open fire or on a broiler setting in your over until it is charred and the skin breaks.
  • Let is sit for a few minutes and remove the charred skin by hand collecting the pulp in a bowl
  • In a pan add butter or oil on medium heat and add the garlic and green chili.
  • In about 1 minute add the cumin and let the spices roast for about 2 minutes
  • Add the eggplant pulp and sauté for a few minutes.
  • Add chopped cilantro and remove from heat.
  • Blend this with the tahini and add any additional water needed to make a paste.
  • Set aside


  • Blend the ingredients together with salt to taste and set aside


  • In a large plate, spread the eggplant puree and top it with the meatballs
  • Pour the pesto and some extra glugs of olive oil
  • I topped it with chives, my homemade Hibiscus spice mix with a side of Pita and some extra pesto

For the perfect Pita recipe, check out my friend Suzanne’s blog.


I am bringing this to Angie’s Fiesta Friday. Co hosts this week are Monika, Everyday Healthy Recipes, and Juhls, The Not So Creative Cook.

Coconut Flour Tostadas with Cilantro Steak

Spicy tangy flavors seem to make everything better for me….the sense of the spice, the heat and the sour is a dance on the taste buds.


In a quest to make gluten free tostadas I have experimented with flours quite a bit which have resulted in as many fails as successes. A combination of coconut flour with some almond flour added in seems to hold it’s own for me. I have seen people add xanthan gum so the dough becomes pliable but I did not have any so went without.


There are layers of flavors in this recipe.




With the dough in place, I started with grated beets and carrots and marinated them with lemon juice and salt for 5 mins.


The steak is grass fed organic and turns out just amazing

The Cilantro sauce is a staple in my kitchen and I have used it as a marinade and topping. You can find the recipe below and another version here.


CilantroChutney-5702Now to the fermented red cabbage….just delicious and so good for you. This add the right amount of tanginess and crunch.

This dish is topped with fresh watercress and a sprinkle of goat cheese.


Coconut Flour Tostadas with Cilantro Steak

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

a gluten free tostada layered with steak and fermented vegetables



  • 1 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Cold water for the dough

Beet and carrot salad

  • 1 beet and 1 carrot – grated
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp grated lemon peel
  • Pink salt


  • 1-2 portions of organic grass fed steak

Cilantro Sauce

  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro ( 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 serrano chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Watercress leaves and goat cheese for garnish

Cabbage Pickle: Recipe can be found here


  • Blend the ingredients for the Cilantro sauce adjusting the salt to taste
  • Marinate the steak in the cilantro sauce for an hour or overnight if you have the time.
  • Combine the ingredients for the beet and carrot salad and set aside
  • For the tostadas, combine the flour, oil salt, pepper and eggs. Add water in small increments, just enough for the dough to come together. It will be crumbly.
  • Using a tortilla press between plastic wrap, press the tostadas out gently. You have to be careful as the dough is crumbly with the gluten and it may take a couple of tries.
  • Pan fry in olive oil until both sides are browned.
  • Grill the steak, 5 mins on each side and let it rest for 5 mins. Slice in  2 inch pieces.
  • Using the tostadas as a base, top with the beet mixture, steak pieces, red cabbage pickle, cilantro sauce and watercress
  • Top with goat cheese or any other cheese you prefer.
  • Serve with a side of the cilantro sauce.


Jhuls is the solo cohost this week at Fiesta Friday. Do check out her blog at  Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook
Also linking up on Saucy Saturdays

Lemon Grass Chicken with Jicama Salad

Thai cooking has always been a passion, with fresh aromatic ingredients like lemon grass, cilantro, chilies and ginger, the possibilities of creating dishes is endless. This cuisine brings to the world  the 5 flavors of sweet, salty, sour, bitter and hot. The  subtle variation in proportions of ingredients used highlights these flavors.


I am fortunate to have a store within a mile that carries fresh Thai ingredients ( except for Kaffir lime leaves). Kaffir lime leaves are essential flavoring in Thai cooking and I found a wonderful online store for a bag of dried leaves. The smell is heavenly.

Lemon Grass ( or Takrai) is widely available and sold in bunches. The edible portion is about 4-6 inches from the root. The rest can be used for flavoring broths.

lemongrass-chickenI am using fresh mushrooms but If you have dried shiitake mushrooms just soak them in warm water until they are soft and use the broth in cooking as well.

Continue reading Lemon Grass Chicken with Jicama Salad