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N & N

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Our South Indian recipes

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Tangy Spinach Protein Crackers

Neeru Ravi

spinach, protein, crackers, healthy, onelifetwoways, south indian, vegan, recipe

Thatai. A crunchy South Indian cracker that’s a super popular afternoon snack. These golden-brown, crisp discs are perfect with a cup of chai, South Indian filter coffee or simply a quick snack on the go.

Traditionally Thatai are completely gluten-free and vegan, and pack a flavour punch, with spicy chilli power, savoury asafoetida and crunchy coconut.  We love the taste, spices and texture, but we squirm at the thought of these crackers being deep-fried, which is how they are usually cooked.

So, we’ve taken the same super ingredients, and added a modern and healthy twist.

Our crackers are oven-baked, cutting out all the unnecessary oil, and we’ve added an iron boost with some rich spinach leaves.  As well as all the usual spices, our Thatai have an extra tangy bite - we’ve used a dollop of tahini-lime mayo for protein, flavour and zing.  And to make these even more nutritious, we've given our Thatai another protein hit with some black gram flour (see note below).

You can load up these versatile crackers with chutneys, dips and veggies or serve them as a crunchy snacks as is. So pack them up as your afternoon snack, try as a quick canapé for your dinner party, dip into soups and stews or devour in any way you fancy.

Flavour-packed, healthy, and easy. What more could you ask for?

We’d love to hear what you think!

N & N

spinach, protein, crackers, healthy, onelifetwoways, south indian, vegan, recipe


Time: 35 mins
Makes: 15 crackers

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 2 tbsps toasted urid dal flour (black gram flour)
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsps tahini
  • juice of 1 lime
  •  4 ½ tbsps water
  • ¼ cup chopped spinach

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C
  2. Mix together the rice flour, urid dal flour, salt, chilli and asafoetida
  3. In another small bowl, whisk together the lime juice and tahini. It should form a thick emulsion.
  4. Add the chopped spinach leaves to the flour and spice mixture and mix. Pour in the tahini and lime mixture, add the coconut oil and incorporate well. Get your hands in there if you need to break up big clumps!
  5. Add the water bit by bit and use your hands to bring the dough together. It’s a gluten free mixture so it will be a bit crumbly.
  6. Take small balls, and either flatten into discs with your hands, or roll out onto a flat surface and cut out discs using a cookie cutter. Either way works fine – flattening with your hands will give you a more rustic, rough-edged look, and cookie-cutters will give you a very round cracker.
  7. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 mins Any longer and they will burn and become dry. You’re looking for a tinge of golden brown.

They're super just hot out the oven. Load up with chutneys, curries or devour as is.

Spice Advice: Black Gram Flour (Urid Dal Flour)

Black gram, also known as black lentils, are a very high source of protein. In South India they're commonly used to make the batter for our iconic pancakes - Dosa (we'll be sharing a recipe for this soon) . Black gram is also a rich source of iron and fibre. It's available in most Indian and ethnic grocery stores, but if you're struggling to find it, you can substitute it with chickpea flour (gram flour).

Rasam: Spicy, Soulful Soup

Neeru Ravi

rasam, spicy, soup, onelifetwoways, south indian, vegan

Chilly English winters cry out for Rasam. The hot, spicy and soulful soup of South India, and one of our most iconic dishes. 

Picture a South Indian version of the miso soup: a clear, wholesome and nourishing broth. Something you can drink by the cupful to warm you up, soothe a sore throat, or make you feel cosy and happy from the inside out. Like miso soup, which can be poured over vegetables, tofu and other toppings, Rasam is also commonly enjoyed with rice, vegetables, dumplings and savoury South Indian doughnuts. 

Rasam, like miso soup, is also one of those anytime, anywhere soups. Fill up a flaskful for a mid-morning warmer, start you lunch with a mug of Rasam, or snuggle up on the sofa in front of the telly with a hot tumbler-full. 

In fact, it's such a staple South Indian dish that many die-hard South Indians don't feel a meal is complete unless it includes Rasam. Need we say more? We love the stuff.

The beauty of Rasam is its simplicity.  Nothing fancy or artificial.  Just pure goodness and flavour.

Rasam is finished off with a tempering mixture - a few drops of hot fat and toasted mustard seeds. Heating the mustard seeds in fat makes them pop, releases all their flavour and elevates the taste to another level. 

In our family we have three favourite types: Tomato, Lime and Jeera. Each has it’s own loyal following: our grandma is partial to the Tomato Rasam, our mum is a die-hard Lime Rasam believer and we are staunch Jeera Rasam fans. Try them all and see which is your favourite! 

Growing up, any time we had a cold or the flu, our mum would tuck us up in bed with a bowl of our her piping hot Jeera Rasam. For us, there's no better comfort food. 

Here's our recipe for Lime Rasam, Try it out and keep a look out for the other varieties coming soon.

Love,

N & N

Time: 35 mins
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • I cup toor dal (split pigeon peas)
  • 3 + 6 cups water
  • Juice of one lime
  • 8 cherry tomatoes/ one big tomato
  • 1 green chilli
  • ½ inch ginger
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 6/7 curry leaves
  • 2 tbsps chopped fresh coriander 
  • 1 tsp madras curry powder (see note above)
  • 1 pinch asafoetida
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste

Method:

  1. Soak the toor dal in 3 cups of water overnight.
  2. The next day, cook the dal in a saucepan with the turmeric and cover with a lid, monitoring it closely to make sure it doesn’t catch. It should be soft and begin to break down after approximately 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile in another pan, add 6 cups water, asafoetida, curry leaves, curry powder, salt, chopped chilli, crushed ginger and halved cherry tomatoes and bring to the boil.
  4. Let the mixture bubble and reduce down by 1/3 on a low heat while the lentils are cooking.
  5. After the lentils are cooked, mash them well with the back of a spoon and add to the tomato, spice, water mixture.
  6. Bring it to the boil and then turn it off. Squeeze in the lime, and add the chopped coriander.
  7. To make the tempering mixture, heat the coconut oil in a small pan and add the mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds pop, pour the mixture into the Rasam and listen to the sizzle!

Sip a piping hot tumblerfull of this soup to ward away those winter blues.

Spice Advice: Madras Curry Powder

Traditionally we use 'Rasam Powder' to make Rasam, a very traditional blend of coriander, dried chillies, different pulses, pepper, turmeric and cumin. We'll be sharing a recipe for it soon, but in the meantime, you can use Madras Curry Powder which is an all-purpose spice mix, used for curries, soups etc. You'll easily find it in any good supermarket.