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Our South Indian recipes

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Puffed Buckwheat Bars

Neeru Ravi

buckwheat bars, healthy, onelifetwoways, south indian, vegan, recipe

Crunchy, crisp, sweet and moreish. These absolutely hit the spot when you're looking for that slightly sweet snack - and our recipe saves you the guilt by using unrefined sugar!

One of our favourite South Indian snacks is the 'pori urandai' – a.k.a puffed rice ball. These sweet spheres are commonly made around November to celebrate the South Indian festival of lights - Karthikai. No not Deepavali - we have another festival of lights! Apparently one isn't enough.

In this recipe, we've swapped the puffed rice for puffed buckwheat to shake things up and add a different flavour dimension. In case you haven't tasted it before - it's a bit like popcorn! 

Buckwheat is a naturally nutritious grain with 'buck'et loads of goodness, which when popped results in crunchy little pillows. And it's gluten-free too! 

Toasting the puffed buckwheat means it stays crisp once combined with the sweet syrupy mixture and retains its crunch perfectly once set.

These bars are studded with juicy raisins and crunchy almonds for extra taste and texture. We've used one of our favourite unrefined sugars from down South - Jaggery, a dark earthy sweetener made from sugar cane. To pack in a different kind of sweetness, we've thrown in some dark agave nectar and finished it off with lots of ground cardamom for festive measure.

Shape them however you fancy- baubles, bars, triangles... and if you store them in an airtight container, they'll last you all week. Feel free to swap in whatever dried fruits or nuts you fancy. Cashews, cranberries, pecans and sultanas could all work well.

Toast, mix, set and enjoy!

Love,

N & N

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Time: 35 mins
Makes: 15-20 squares

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups toasted puffed buckwheat (You should be able to get this in most health food stores. If you can't find it, feel free to use any other puffed grain: rice, quinoa...)
  • 3/4 cup jaggery 
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 4 tbsps water
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil for greasing

Method:

  1. Toast the buckwheat in the oven at 180°C for 5 mins or until crispy (it shouldn’t colour or burn)
  2. Grease a metal dish (around ½ inch deep) with coconut oil
  3. Heat the water in a pan along with the jaggery and the agave nectar
  4. Mix and melt. It need to reaches a certain consistency in order to stick the buckwheat together and set properly. This can be a little tricky to spot. So to test if the sugar syrup has reached the correct stage, drop little spoonfuls of the hot sugar syrup into a cup of cold water. If you’re able to roll it into balls in the water then you’re good to go. Cooking isn't just about seeing, smelling and tasting, you also need to use other senses, and touch is the perfect one here!
  5. When the sugar syrup reaches this stage, add in the cardamom, toasted buckwheat, raisins and almonds and stir well to mix.
  6. Pour into the greased dish and flatten out. Or you can even shape them into balls – but be careful, the mixture will be hot!
  7. Let it set for 10 mins and then cut into squares.

Crunch away!

Spice Advice - Jaggery

Jaggery is a dark, earthy, unrefined sugar, which is made from sugar cane juice, date palm sap or a combination of the two. Unlike regular sugar, Jaggery is rich in minerals and iron. It also has a more complex structure, so is digested more  slowly and helps prevent sugar highs and lows. You should be able to find it in an Indian/Sri Lankan/Ethnic store. We suggest finding the real deal instead of trying substitutions!

Masala Brussels Sprouts

Neeru Ravi

Masala Brussels Sprouts. Crispy, roast, flavourful, green gems. You'll never look at your humble Brussels sprouts in the same way again! 

These flavour-packed green nuggets are smothered in cumin and curry powder, and are super-simple and quick to make.  The multiple layers of the Brussels sprout trap in all the spices, making them burst with flavour in your mouth. 

We've taken the classic spices we use to make curries with cauliflower and potato, and showered them on the very British and very unloved Brussels sprout. 

Make these masala sprouts once, and you'll find tens of different uses for them. We love eating them with a hot fragrant bowl of South Indian spiced coconut vegetable stew (Avial), stuffing them into pitta pockets slathered with tahini, enveloping them in a soft dosa to make a meaty wrap or tossing them into a salad with some fresh baby spinach and cherry tomatoes.

Why not swap your usual sprouts recipe for these gems?

Try it out and let us know what you think! 

Love,

N & N 

masala brussel sprouts, onelifetwoways, south indian, vegan, recipe


Time: 30 mins
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg Brussels sprouts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp Madras curry powder
  • 1/8 -1/4 tsp salt

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Wash the Brussels sprouts and cut in half
  3. Drizzle over the oil and sprinkle the spices across
  4. Toss to coat and put into oven 
  5. Roast for 20 mins until brown and crispy

Savour every mouthful and try and stop yourself from eating the entire batch!

Spice Advice: Madras Curry Powder

Madras Curry Powder is an all-purpose spice mix, used for curries, soups etc. It's a blend of a large numbers of spices including turmeric, cumin, chilli, cardamom, peppercorns, fenugreek and others. It adds a rich and earthy flavour to any dish. There are two types in South India: 'Rasam' powder and 'Sambhar' powder - 'Rasam' and 'Sambhar' being two iconic South Indian soups. We'll be sharing recipes for both powders soon, so you can prepare them yourself.

Fudgy Almond Bites

Nikki Ravi

Fudgy almond bites, onelifetwoways, south indian, vegan

'Barfi', a classic South Indian sweet, is often made for religious festivals, weddings, and other special occasions. No Indian sweet shop would be complete without a glistening tray of barfi displayed in the window. 

They're a delicious treat but the thought of all the sugar and ghee that goes into the traditional recipe is enough to give us a heart attack!

So we've taken the same key ingredients and given it a healthier, vegan twist!

The ingredients are just four in number: powdered nuts, palm sugar, water and fat.  Our bites use palm sugar (from the sugar palm tree), which is a raw, natural and unrefined sugar. We add a touch of coconut oil for some richness and an added flavour boost. A pinch of saffron or cardamom mixed in at the end can elevate the flavour to a whole new level. We first tried this recipe out for Deepavali and wow, were we blown away!  

There are countless variations on this recipe! Swap almonds for cashews for a creamy white barfi, give pistachios a go for a cool green hue, or opt for desiccated coconut flakes for a barfi that packs a flavour and texture punch. 

Go on, put the kettle on for a cup of masala chai and whip up a batch of these barfi bites. 

N & N
 

Time: 40 mins prep + 20 mins to cool
Makes: 15-20 pieces


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup palm sugar
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom

Method:

  1. Grease a shallow metal dish with some coconut oil. The reason we say metal pan and not glass is that the almond syrup mixture that you'll pour in will be super hot and we don't want a glass explosion! 
  2. Blitz the palm sugar kernels to a smooth powder.
  3. Heat the water in a large pan and add the sugar. Dissolve and keep mixing until it reaches a one string consistency. What does this mean? Essentially when you scoop up a spoonful and tilt the spoon, the syrup should fall in a single string and not drip drip drip.
  4. Add the ground almonds and cardamom and stir vigorously. Be careful here, the sugar syrup mixture will be very hot so don't splash yourself!
  5. Pop a cooking thermometer into the mixture and keep beating until it reaches 114 °C . This is the perfect temperature that will give you soft setting barfi that still keeps its shape. 
  6. Pour the mixture into the greased dish, making sure to scrape everything into it! Use a flat bottom metal cup or spatula to flatten down the mixture so it's even and around 1/2 inch thick.
  7. Let is set for 10 mins and then slice into pretty diamond shaped pieces. Before the mixture sets, you can even scatter over almond slivers or more cardamom to add some extra crunch and flavour. 

These beauties are a unanimous favourite among our friends and family. We're sure yours will love them too.

Spice Advice: Palm Sugar

This is a special type of sugar from the sugar palm tree - note this is different to the coconut palm tree! It's made from the juice extracted from the jelly like fruit of the tree. For a comparison, they're a bit like lychees, but bigger, juicer and without the seeds. In Tamil, they're known as 'Nongu'. Palm sugar is available in all ethnic/Indian/Sri Lankan stores, and if you can't find it, substitute with coconut sugar or demerara sugar.