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Love,

N & N

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Recipes

Our South Indian recipes

Green Beans Stir Fry

Neeru Ravi

Soft, succulent green beans, gently spiced with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, salt and fresh grated coconut. 

This dish couldn't be simpler to make and more satisfying to eat. It can be whipped up in a matter of minutes, and tastes fresh, light and delicious.

It make a wonderful accompaniment to a meal of sambhar and rice or also tastes delicious piled inside of warm toasted pitta breads spread with some spicy pickle.

It's a family staple in our house, and a quick and easy way to add vegetables to any meal. Another common twist on this dish is to add some diced carrot with the beans to add further crunch, colour and taste.

The cumin and coconut compliment the green beans beautifully, enhancing the natural flavour of the beans and adding an extra nutty, earthy flavour.

We use frozen grated coconut which makes this dish even quicker and easier. It's readily available in most ethnic and Sri Lankan stores. 

Enjoy!

N&N

Beans Curry: Quick easy recipe, on Onelifetwoways, a South Indian vegan food blog
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Serves: 3

Time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

Beans Curry: Quick easy recipe, on Onelifetwoways, a South Indian vegan food blog
  • 400 g green beans
  • 3 tsps grated coconut
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup water

Method:

  1. Top and tail the green beans and cut into 1cm thick pieces
  2. Heat the oil in a pan. When hot, add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the cumin seeds and toast until light brown
  3. Tumble in the green beans and sautee on a high heat for 2 mins
  4. Turn down the heat, pour over the water, add the salt and cover
  5. Cook gently for 5-7 min, until the beans are soft and the water is fully absorbed
  6. Add the grated coconut, mix in fully and turn the heat off

Serve up hot!

Beans Curry: Quick easy recipe, on Onelifetwoways, a South Indian vegan food blog

Life Changing Chole

Neeru Ravi

chole, chickpea stew with tomato, onion and coriander gravy

What does life changing chole even mean? Well, we think that once you've tried this recipe and seen how delicious, quick, easy and inexpensive it is to make, you'll never look back! It technically isn't South Indian, but it's a favourite dish in our house and we wanted to share it with you all.

Our friends, who have tried the chole in many restaurants around London including Michelin starred spots, have told us that they think this recipe tops them all! The secret they say, is in the sauce.

There are so many things we love about this dish. First of all, it's bursting with rich, sumptuous flavours: sweet tomatoes, aromatic cumin and coriander, hot ginger and chilli, tangy dried mango powder and fresh coriander. The recipe below is mild/medium spice level, but you can tailor the spicing according to your heat tolerance. Whatever spice level you choose, the tomatoes add a lovely sweetness which works beautifully with the spices.

Second, it's super simple to make and very easily scalable for your packed lunches, dinner parties, family gatherings etc. Taking just 35 mins from chopping board to dining table, it's the perfect go to recipe to have up your sleeve.

We love to rustle up a big batch of chole on Sundays for packed lunches and simple weeknight dinners. It keeps really well in the fridge and actually tastes better the next day as the flavours get a chance to marry and really soak into the chickpeas. 

Thirdly, it's packed full of protein from the chickpeas - it's a great recipe if you're looking to add more protein into your diet in a delicious and healthy way. Pair this with some quinoa for added protein and you've got yourself a winning balanced meal. 

What more need we say? You just have to try it out and see for yourself.

N&N x

Makes: 4-6 servings (depending on how big you like your portion sizes!)

Time: 35 mins (+ 15 mins if you want to let it stand to let the flavours marry)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 cup chopped coriander
  • 2 boxes baby plum tomatoes (we got them from Iceland with each box weighing ~340g)
  • 2 tins drained cooked chickpeas (typically with drained weight of ~240g)
  • 1 1/2 heaped tsps coriander powder
  • 1 1/2 heaped tsps cumin powder
  • 1 heaped tsp amchoor (dried mango powder commonly available in all Sri Lankan / Indian stores)
  • 1/4 tsp dried red chilli flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt + more according to your taste
  • 1 1/2 tbsp oil
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1/2 green chilli

Method:

  1. Peel the ginger and chop it finely. Also chop the green chilli and onions finely
  2. In a large wok, heat the oil, add the green chilli and ginger and fry for 30 seconds
  3. Add the onion and sautee on a high heat for 10 mins or until soft and browned
  4. Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the tomatoes - the consistency should be fairly liquid
  5. Pour 3/4 of the tomato puree into the wok with the onions, green chilli and ginger
  6. Wash the coriander and add (stalks and all) to the remaining tomato puree in the blender. Blitz for 10 seconds so the coriander is chopped. Don't blend for too long otherwise the coriander will become bitter
  7. Add the coriander tomato puree to the wok and stir well
  8. Now for the spices: add the cumin powder, coriander powder, amchoor, red chilli flakes and salt
  9. Stir well and let the mixture simmer on a medium heat for 10 mins to let the tomatoes cook and the flavours meld
  10. Drain the chickpeas and rinse well in cold water to remove excess salt as tinned chickpeas are usually stored in brine. Then add the chickpeas to the tomato gravy
  11. Simmer again on a low heat for 5 mins to let some of the excess water boil off
  12. Taste and add more salt if necessary

You can eat it straight away or if you have time, let it stand for 15 mins. This resting time allows the spices to marry with the ingredients and enhances and intensifies the flavour. Trust us, it's well worth the wait.

After 15 mins, lightly warm the chole and serve with quinoa/brown/red rice, or some chappatis. 

Enjoy!

Cumin Spiced Okra Curry

Neeru Ravi

Okra, or ladies finger as they are commonly known, is one of our favourite vegetables. It’s a distinct vegetable, both in terms of taste and texture, and is very popular in South Indian cooking, appearing in sambhar and different curries.

One of our favourite ways to eat Okra is in this incredibly simple 5 ingredient dish.  We’ve gently spiced the okra with cumin, mustard seeds and salt, and we think that this is all you need to bring out the flavours and create a delicious dish.

This okra curry makes a super side dish to go alongside some rice and sambhar or to scoop up with pieces of dosa. Or you can also just eat it by the cupful like we love to!

Slowly roasting the okra over a low heat is the best way to yield a soft, succulent and almost caramelised curry. So take a bit of time over it – we guarantee its well worth it.

N&N x

Ingredients

5 cups chopped Okra
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tbsp Sesame Oil
Salt to taste

Method

  1. Slice off the top hard stems of the okra fingers and then chop up into 1cm thick pieces. The insides are a bit slimy, so either wear gloves or rub a tiny bit of oil on your hands beforehand to prevent your hands getting sticky
  2. Heat the sesame oil in a large wok on a high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the cumin seeds and stir for 30 secs
  3. Tumble in the okra and stir fry on a high heat for 2-3 mins
  4. Turn the heat right down to very low and cover the pan
  5. Stir every 5 mins – the okra at the bottom should brown and caramelise slowly, so don’t stir too often. But also be careful not to let it burn!
  6. Keep tasting it and after about 15-20 mins it should be uniformly soft, browned and caramelised.

Season with salt and stir well. Serve HOT.

Spicy Green Banana Chips

Neeru Ravi

Crispy, spicy and oh so moreish. These oven-baked green banana chips are the perfect accompaniment to any South Indian meal, adding crunch and packing in bags of flavour.

Oven-baking creates a crispy, crunchy chip without all the oil typically used to fry them. It also makes the whole process much simpler.

We love to flavour our green banana chips using a mix of turmeric, chilli powder, asafoetida and salt. The turmeric gives a distinct yellow colour, the chilli gives heat and the asafoetida provides savouriness, creating a well-rounded flavour combination.

For maximum texture, nutritional value and minimum wastage, we use the bananas with their skins on. The skins crisp up beautifully in the oven and add an extra level of crunch!

Serve up as a side dish, snack or even a starter with some different chutneys for dipping.

N&N x

Time: 45 mins

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients

4 Green Bananas
 2 ½ tsps Sesame Oil
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 tsp Chilli Powder
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
1/4 tsp Salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (set it to fan oven, which will help dry out the banana slices and crisp them up even more)
  2. Slice off the top and tail of the green bananas. Then slice into very thin (~1-2mm) pieces
  3. In a small bowl mix together the spices
  4. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and spread 1/2 tsp sesame oil over it
  5. Arrange the green banana slices in a single layer and drizzle with 1 tsp sesame oil
  6. Sprinkle over the ½ of the spice mixture evenly and use your fingers to coat the slices
  7. Flip the pieces over and repeat
  8. Bake in the middle shelf of your oven for 15 mins and then flip the pieces over and bake for another 15 min. Keep checking to make sure they don’t burn

Serve hot or store in an airtight jar so they stay crispy.

Cauliflower Lime 'Rice'

Nikki Ravi

Sunny summer days cry out for picnics, cricket matches and bbqs. And we're here to give you some inspiration for your summer menus! 

A South Indian party or picnic is never complete without a mixed rice of some sort - think white rice with spicy grated carrots or masala aubergines or nutty toasted coconut. 

We've created a version of coconut rice already - our kale cranberry coconut rice but the most popular flavour of mixed rice has has got to be lime! The bright yellow hue from tumeric and tang from fresh lime juice make it the perfect summer dish! 

We decided to keep all the flavours but swap out the white rice for cauliflower couscous as a lighter alternative! This grain substitute is made by blitzing raw cauliflower into a fine, grain like consistency- it can be steamed in the microwave or simply eaten raw.

This dish is so simple and quick to whip up. All the flavour comes from the tempering mixture of mustard seeds, curry leaves, green chilli, asafoetida and tumeric, all classic South Indian spices. 

Right at the end we add in lots of fresh lime juice, some toasted cashews and pistachios for crunch and coriander for freshness and colour! 

For a really authentic touch, serve in little biodegradable banana leaf cups with a spoonful of spicy pickle!

Love,

N & N

Time:  20-25 mins

Ingredients:
1/2 a head of cauliflower turned into couscous
1/2 green chilli finely chopped
1/2 inch piece ginger finely chopped
3 tbsps finely chopped coriander
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp asafoetida
3-4 curry leaves
1/8 cup pistachios
1/8 cup cashews
1 tbsp sunflower oil

Method:

  1. Break the cauliflower into small florets and place in a blender - pat the florets dry with some paper towels to remove any excess moisture as this will make the couscous clump together and turn it into a puree like consistency which we definitely don't want!
  2. Spread the pistachios and cashews out on a plate and microwave on high heat for 2-3 minutes. Mix them around and put them back in the microwave for another 2-3 minutes until they're light golden brown and toasty! Once the nuts have cooled, break them into rough pieces.
  3. In a saucepan pan heat the oil and after 2-3 minutes add in the mustard seeds - they should start spluttering!
  4. Add in the ginger, chilli, curry leaves, tumeric and asafoedita and mix through for a few minutes. Be careful to make sure the mustard seeds don't burn. Remove from the heat. 
  5. Add the cauliflower couscous to the pan with the tempering mixture and mix it all through. The tumeric should colour the couscous with a wonderful golden hue! Add in the salt, lime juice, chopped nuts and coriander and give it all a good mix!

Serve it fresh or pack into tupperware boxes for a packed lunch or picnic! It tastes delicious with baked crisps or microwave popped poppadums!

Baked Polenta Upma

Neeru Ravi

Upma is as typical as South Indian food gets. Made from store cupboard staples and any fresh veggies in the fridge, it's an anytime, any occasion meal. You'll find it served up for breakfast, packed in tiffin boxes for lunch and even appearing on the menus at weddings. 

It's one of those comforting foods, like pasta with tomato sauce, mashed potato or mac and cheese, which you can whip up in an instant and make you feel warm and cosy.

In our version, we've used polenta instead of cracked wheat which makes this recipe gluten free. Polenta is so naturally creamy that we were also able to cut back on the generous helping of oil which Upma typically requires in order to make it creamy and smooth. 

And to really shake things up we've baked our Upma and made it into succulent rectangles that are crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. You might have heard of baked polenta chips - well these are our polenta Upma chips!

To be honest, they were just an experiment to begin with, but they turned out so tasty, that we just had to share! We think they're a weird and wonderful cross between Upma and Dhokla, which is a golden yellow, steamed, chickpea flour cake that originates from North India.

These golden rectangles studded with bright green peas and spec of orange carrots are best served up with a fresh coriander chutney, a creamy coconut chutney or a hot and spicy tomato and onion chutney - and yes we will be sharing recipes for these soon!

Enjoy,

N&N

Serves: 4

Time: 60-70mins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coarse polenta 
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water 
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida 
  • 1/8 tsp mustard seeds 
  • 1 inch piece ginger chopped finely 
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • Handful green beans chopped finely 
  • 1 small carrot finely diced 
  • 1/3 cup peas 
  • 1/2 white onion chopped finely 
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil 

Method 

  1. Lightly toast the polenta on a low heat for 5 mins stirring constantly 
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  3. Heat the oil in a wok. When very hot, add the mustard seeds
  4. When they start to pop, add the asafoetida and onion.
  5. Sautée for a few mins until the onions brown.
  6. Add the ginger and veggies and sauté until almost fully cooked ~ 5- 7 mins
  7. Add the boiling water, salt and chilli flakes to the veggies.
  8. Sieve in the polenta bit by bit and whisk it in vigorously. Make sure it's whisked in fully before adding any more, otherwise it will go lumpy. You may need someone to help with this part - one person sifting and one person whisking (Neeru tried doing both simultaneously and although she managed it, it was tricky!) Keep going until all the polenta is added and whisked in - it's a great workout for your arms ;)
  9. Spread out evenly on a baking tray (about 1/2 in thick)  and bake for 20 mins.
  10. Turn on the grill and bake for a further 5-10 mins until crispy on top.

Serve up hot with a dollop of chutney.

Masala Baked Tofu

Neeru Ravi

Indo-Chinese food is very popular down South. The likes of saucy, spicy noodles smothered in Indian spices and deliciously savoury hot and sour soups. We love the combo of Indian spices and Asian flavours, and they come together in perfect harmony in this masala baked tofu.

 Tofu is one of those sponge-like foods - it doesn't have a taste of its own but soaks up all the flavours its given. We marinade it in a bath of South Indian spices like asafoetida and cumin, together with freshly grated ginger, chilli and soy sauce for an Asian hit. Roasted it in the oven, it comes out crispy on the outside with a delicious spicy crust, but stays wonderfully soft and creamy on the inside.

We love tofu both for its high protein content and its soft cheese-like texture. It's great for adding substance to salads and sandwiches: slice it up and add to a sandwich with greens, tomatoes and avocado, toss on top of a crunchy cabbage, carrot and beetroot slaw or pack inside a chappati with some salad leaves for a fusion wrap.

This is a staple dish in our family - we literally make a batch every week! We hope you love it as much as we do!

Happy tofu baking, 

N & N


Ingredients:

1 block extra firm plain tofu
1 tsp sunflower oil or sesame oil
1/4 cup soya sauce (sub with tamari to make it gluten free)
3 tsps balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp garam masala powder
1 1/2 tsps cumin powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida (see our Spice Advice section on where to buy this)
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
3-4 twists of black pepper from a mill
1 pinch chilli powder (add more to taste)

Time: 40 minutes (10 mins prep - 30 minutes baking)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with tin foil
  2. Slice the tofu into 1 inch cubes and place in a large bowl
  3. Add all the spices and sauces over the top and mix it through thoroughly so all the tofu pieces are fully covered
  4. Spread out the tofu pieces onto the baking tray and pour over the remaining marinade - it will reduce down to a delicious sticky glaze in the oven!
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the tops are crispy and golden

Pop a few pieces into your mouth while they're still warm. You can also refrigerate the tofu for 3-4 days to add to your packed lunches throughout the week!

Peppercorn Pickles

Neeru Ravi

This is a true authentic South Indian pickle that packs a punch without being oily, over-poweringly spicy or heavy. It's light, crisp, tangy and with a delicate pepperiness.

We all use black pepper day in day out , but have you ever tried green, raw peppercorns? In South Indian we love pickling these gems and there's bound to be a jar of these in any South Indian home you visit in India. 

The pickling liquid is  super concoction of water, salt, lime juice and turmeric. Our mum is such a fan of this that we caught her taking a swig of the pickling juice by itself! 

Pickled green peppercorn are a perfect pairing with the most typical of South Indian dishes, in particular yogurt rice. This iconic meal is simply cooked and cooled rice mixed with plain yoghurt. Fancy chefs also like to add in chillies, toasted mustard seeds and pomegranate seeds. The tangy and cooling yoghurt matches perfectly with sharp and crisp peppercorns. It is a match made in South Indian heaven. 

You can also mix it up and try some of these pickles scattered over salads or inside sandwiches or just try with a plain cooling cup of yoghurt. 

Happy pickling!

N&N

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup green peppercorns on the vine (you can find these in ethnic grocery stores)
  • 1 + 3/4 cup water 
  • 4 tsps salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • Juice of 4 limes

Method:

  1. Boil the water with the turmeric and salt.
  2. Turn off the heat, cover and leave until completely cool
  3. Add the peppercorns to a sterilised glass jar with an air tight lid. 
  4. Pour over the water and squeeze in the lime juice.
  5. Give it a good shake and store in the fridge for a couple of weeks. This gives enough time for the peppercorns to infuse with all the flavour, soften slight, and become tangy and juicy! 
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