21-Day Vegan Kickstart






Flavors of India

More than 75 million people in India may suffer from diabetes by the year 2030. But healthy eating could reverse this devastating epidemic. Dr. Barnard recently visited India to share findings from his latest research showing that a low-fat vegetarian diet can help many patients cut their blood sugars, improve their insulin sensitivity, and reduce, if not eliminate, their medications.


Indian Diabetes Fact Sheet >

Recipes from Nandita Shah, M.D. >

Recipes from Madhu Gadia, M.S., R.D. >



Diet and Diabetes: Recipes for Success (PDF)



While in India, Dr. Barnard presented several seminars with Nandita Shah, M.D., a homeopathic physician who has used this nutritional approach to diabetes extensively with her patients.

Dr. Shah conducts health workshops and cooking classes in India and abroad. The following recipes were prepared during the seminars. Learn more about Dr. Shah >








Rice Milk

4 cups water

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend the rice and a little water into a smooth paste. Add the remaining water slowly. Add vanilla. Refrigerate.

Nut Butters

Roast the nuts or seeds (peanuts or sesame) over a low flame until the shells crack. Cashews need not be roasted. Do not let the seeds burn. Roll them between your hands to let the thin shells fall off the peanuts, and then separate from the shells. Place them in the grinder up to 1-inch high. Grind until it turns to butter. If it is not evenly crushed, stir and grind again.

Soy Yogurt

1 cup soymilk

1 tablespoon starter culture

Set the curds with the starter. Use about 1 tablespoon of starter for 1 cup soymilk.

Soy Yogurt Buttermilk

Add water to the soy yogurt. Churn well with a beater. Add salt to taste.

Separately dry-roast cumin seeds until they crackle. Add curry leaves, green chilies, and asafetida.


This can be taken as a drink. Rejuvelac may also be used as a starter for sourdough bread, nut and seed cheese, and curds.

1 cup wheat grains

2 liters water

1 wide-mouthed jar

Add the wheat grains to the jar. Fill with water and cover with gauze, held securely in place with an elastic band.

Leave the jar on a kitchen bench out of direct sunlight. Give the jar a gentle twirl, but not a shake, every 12 hours. Once a light foam develops, the rejuvelac should be ready for use. It may take anywhere from 1- 4 days to ferment the rejuvelac, depending on the ambient temperature. In hot weather, where it may ferment too quickly (quicker than 24 hours), it is possible for the rejuvelac go putrid. Rejuvelac should have a pleasant yeasty smell with a lemon-like flavor.

Decant the rejuvelac into a jug and refrigerate. Refill the jar with water and ferment for another 24-36 hours to make a second culture. Decant the Rejuvelac and discard the wheat grains.



Tomato Broth

2 to 3 medium-sized tomatoes

3 to 4 slices white pumpkin

1 beetroot, sliced

2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely

1 green chili, cut lengthwise (optional)

celery, chopped finely

black pepper and salt to taste

Steam the vegetables together. Puree the vegetables with a little water. Add salt. Add the celery, garlic, green chilies, and pepper into the water that was used for steaming and allow it to boil until the flavor of the ingredients is released into the water. Add the puree to this water. Turn off the heat. Serve hot or cold.

Daal Soup


1 cup lentils, your choice of yellow daal (split moong), orange daal (masoor daal), or tur daal

1 teaspoon curry powder

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon oil (optional)

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Choose 3 to 5 ingredients for tempering


1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/4 teaspoon asafetida

1-3 cloves

1 small stick cinnamon

curry leaves

red chili powder

chopped green chilies

grated ginger

chopped tomatoes

chopped onion

fresh coriander for garnish

Cook the lentils until they are well-done. Then blend until smooth. In a separate pot, dry temper with your choice of tempering. Add the lentil soup, garnishes, and serve.

Sweet Corn Soup


3/4 cup whole sweet corn kernels

3/4 cup sweet corn, grated

5 cups clear vegetable stock

3 tablespoons corn flour mixed with 1/4 cup water

salt to taste

Put the stock in a pan and add the sweet corn kernels. Cover and cook on a low flame for approximately 10 minutes, until corn is tender. Add the grated corn and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add the corn flour paste and simmer again. Add salt.

Serve hot with chilies in vinegar, soy sauce, and chili sauce.



Cucumber-Mint Raita

Makes 6 to 8 servings

2 cups soy yogurt

1 cup grated cucumber

1 tablespoon fresh mint, minced

green chili, as desired

1 tablespoon ground mustard seeds

salt to taste

1 tablespoon fresh green coriander leaves, finely chopped for garnishing

Mix all ingredients thoroughly, garnish with fresh coriander leaves, and refrigerate.

Indian Carrot Salad

Makes 4 servings

5 carrots washed and grated

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

dash asafetida

8-10 curry leaves

1/2 green chili, split lengthwise and seeds removed (optional)

1/2 teaspoon black salt

juice of 1/2 a lime

1/2 teaspoon jaggery

coriander, finely chopped for garnishing

Dry temper the mustard seeds. When the seeds start to sputter, lower the heat and add the asafetida, curry leaves, and chili. Turn off the heat within seconds. Add the grated carrots, salt, lime juice coriander, and jaggery. Mix and serve.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

1/2 white onion

1 bunch of fresh parsley

4 tomatoes

3 cucumbers

2 spring onions or shallots

1/2 bunch of mint leaves

Ingredients for the dressing

juice of 1 lemon

dash of olive oil (optional)


black pepper

Finely chop and mix the ingredients. Prepare the dressing and pour over the salad.

Sprout Chaat

Makes 6 servings

2 cups moong sprouts (These are best made with sprouts made at home or small sprouts, not the long ones used in Chinese food.)

1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup onions, chopped

1/2 cup potatoes, chopped

1/4 cup coriander, chopped

juice of one lime


black salt

chaat masala

date chutney

ginger, grated

green chilies, minced

Steam the moong sprouts with a little turmeric so they are crunchy, but cooked. Mix with the onions, tomatoes, potatoes, coriander, and lime juice. Mix in the black salt, chaat masala, ginger, date chutney, and green chilies to taste.

Sprout Salad


1 cup moong sprouts, steamed

1/2 cup red cabbage, shredded

1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup chow chow

1/2 cup onions, chopped

1/2 cup steamed potatoes, chopped

green chilies, chopped and to taste

ginger, grated

1 tablespoon jaggery

black salt to taste

juice of 1 lime, or to taste

Mix all the ingredients together and sprinkle with coriander.

Tropical Tornado


250 grams cabbage

250 grams pumpkin

250 grams capsicum

250 grams cucumber

1 lime

50 grams raisins

salt and pepper to taste

All the vegetables should be shredded lengthwise. Mix the dressing. Combine all the ingredients and let soak for 15 minutes. Serve.

Marinated Tofu Salad

250 grams tofu  

100 grams bean sprouts

grated or chopped vegetables, such as spring onions, carrots, and cabbage




coarsely ground roasted peanuts for garnishing

Ingredients for marinade

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

1 tablespoon fresh garlic, grated

green chilies, finely chopped (optional)

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons lemon juice

Mix the ingredients of the marinade together. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and put them in the marinade. Allow to marinate for 2 hours. Add all the ingredients of the salad, the marinated tofu, and the marinade and serve. For extra flavor, add a dash of roasted sesame oil.

Beetroot Salad

1 beet, boiled and cubed

spring onions, chopped

soy sauce

ginger, grated

rice wine vinegar

Boil and cube the beet. Toss together with spring onions. For the dressing, mix the soy sauce, grated ginger, and rice wine vinegar. Pour over the beet and spring onions.

Butter Beans Salad

Makes 4 servings

You need to begin this recipe a day in advance of serving.

1 cup dry large flat beans (They are called butter beans/French beans/vaal. They may be white or red and white. The red and white ones are best for this recipe.)

2 tomatoes

1 medium onion




lemon juice

olive oil, optional

Soak the beans overnight and let them cook until they are well done, or cook in a pressure cooker. When the beans are cool, mix with the other ingredients and let them stand a while before serving.

Mixed Greens

3 different kinds of lettuce, such as iceberg, romaine, etc.

tomato, chopped

red cabbage, shredded

red pepper

yellow peppers

cucumbers, chopped

Wash and break the lettuce into a salad bowl. Add the vegetables and any other vegetables you desire. Add the seeds. For the dressing, mix fresh orange juice, mustard, pepper, and salt together. Pour the dressing and serve.



Red Rice Idlis and Dhosas

Most Indian breakfasts, such as poha, upma, dalia, and parathas, can easily be made vegan and healthy by omitting the ghee and using minimal or no oil. Idlis and dhosas are healthy because they are fermented, but these are best made with whole red rice. Dhosas can be made with minimal or no oil on a good tawa.

2 cups red rice

1 cup udad dal

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

salt to taste

Soak 2 cups red rice or 1 cup of red rice and 1 cup of parboiled rice for 6-8 hours. (It’s better to use half of each the first time, until you get a feel for it.) Soak 1 cup of white udad dal for 6-8 hours separately. Soak 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds either with the rice or dal. Add salt to taste.

Grind the soaked rice in the blender (or idli grinder) until you get a slightly coarse (but almost smooth) paste. Pour into a large bowl. Grind the soaked white udad dal in the blender until very smooth and mix with the rice paste. Allow this mixture to ferment for 8-12 hours, depending on the room temperature. In summer, 8 hours is sufficient, but on cooler days it takes longer. You can smell it to tell whether it is ready or not. It should have a slightly sour, fermented smell. (I like it sour, so I always keep it out 14 hours.) Add water until it is the consistency of dhosa batter (somewhat similar to pancake batter).

Variation: An equal volume or less of finely grated lauki (dudhi) or pumpkin can be mixed with the mau, along with ginger-chili paste to taste. This makes tasty, slightly thicker dhosas, which are a big hit with children and a good way to feed them the vegetables.


Makes 4 servings

Ingredients for sambhar

1 cup toovar dal (arhar)

1 tomato, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 brinjals, cubed

1 drumstick (a plant pod commonly used in India), cut into 4 pieces

1 potato, peeled and cubed

1 tablespoon tamarind pulp (imli)

salt to taste

Ingredients for sambhar masala

Or you can use commercial sambhar masala.

6 to 8 red chilies

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi)

1 tablespoon toovar dal (arhar)

1 tablespoon split Bengal gram (chana dal)

1 tablespoon split black gram (urad dal)

1 teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)

1/2 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)

Ingredients for tempering

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

6 curry leaves

1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)

First prepare the sambhar masala. Heat dry-roast all the ingredients for the sambhar masala. Then grind them to a fine paste in a blender using a little water. Keep aside.

Wash and pressure cook the dal, tomato, onion, brinjals, drumstick, and potato with 2 cups of water. Then add the tamarind pulp, sambhar masala, salt, and 4 cups of water and bring to a boil.

Prepare the tempering by dry roasting the mustard seeds until they crackle. Add curry leaves and asafoetida. Add this to the sambhar and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve hot.


Jowar, Nachani (Ragi), and Bajra

Take the fresh flour of the millet and mix with warm water, adding a bit of salt to make a firm dough. Roll out the roti using a generous amount of flour to prevent sticking or pat out the roti on a piece of plastic so that it is easy to move to the tawa. Cook and turn over and then puff up like you would a roti.

Dal ‘Makhani’

Makes 4 servings

1 1/2 cups black grams

1/4 cup kidney beans

1 inch ginger

2-3 green chilies

1 tablespoon cashew butter

3 tomatoes, finely chopped

2 onions, finely chopped

7-8 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon asafoetida

salt to taste

Thoroughly wash black grams and kidney beans. Then soak it in water (2 glasses) for about 7-8 hours. Pressure cook for about 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 15 minutes.  Make the ginger and garlic into a paste.

Heat a pan and dry temper cumin seeds and asafoetida in it. Add thinly sliced green chilies. Heat. Add ginger-garlic paste and finely chopped onions. Fry until golden brown, adding water if the mixture dries. Add finely chopped tomatoes and salt. Cook until the mixture thickens into pulpy sauce (about 3 minutes). Then add cooked grams and kidney beans to the mixture. Heat for 4-5 minutes. You can add a little water if you find it too thick. Mix in well the cashew butter and cook for 2 minutes. Dal makhni is ready to serve. Decorate with chopped fresh coriander.

Shahi ‘Paneer’

Makes 4 servings

1 teaspoon khus khus (poppy seeds)

1 teaspoon watermelon seeds

1 cup beaten soy curd

1 onion grated

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp red chill powder (optional)

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon cashew butter mixed with water to a creamy consistency 

250 grams tofu

5 coriander leaves for decoration

Soak khus-khus and watermelon seeds in water and grind it to a fine paste.  In a pan, cook the grated onion until transparent. Add ground paste cook for 2 minutes. Gradually add curd. Cook for 5-7 minutes until it turns golden brown.

Add all the masala and cream, and again cook for 2-3 minutes. Add tofu and 1 cup water and let it cook until the tofu softens and the gravy thickens. Add coriander leaves and elaichi (cardamon) powder before serving.

Palak Mushroom

Makes 4 servings

2 cups of mushrooms

4 cups of palak

4 teaspoons onions

4 teaspoons tomatoes

2 teaspoons ginger

2 teaspoons garlic

2 teaspoons green chilies

2 teaspoons chopped green coriander

2 teaspoons jeera seeds

salt to taste

pinch of turmeric powder

2 teaspoons red chili powder

4 teaspoons coriander powder

4 teaspoons jeera powder

2 teaspoons garam masala powder

2 teaspoons kasoori methi powder

Wash mushrooms with maida and water. Drain and rinse. Add a little lemon juice to ensure white color and steam. Cool. Cut into quarters.

Trim, wash, and cut palak and steam. Cool and puree in blender or roughly chop. Peel and chop onions. Peel, wash, and chop ginger, garlic, green chilies, and coriander.

Heat a pan. Add jeera seeds and let them pop. Add chopped garlic and sauté until light brown. Add chopped onions, ginger, and green chilies and sauté until onions turn light brown. Add powder masalas and sauté for 2 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and sauté. Add little water and simmer until tomatoes are cooked and masala leaves oil. Add prepared spinach and quartered mushrooms, and sauté. Check seasoning. Serve hot. Garnish with juliennes of deseeded tomatoes.

Baked Falafel


2 cups dried chickpeas

1/2 yellow onion, cup finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley  (it is fine to use coriander instead)

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

oil for greasing the tray for baking

Soak chickpeas overnight. Run chickpeas through a food processor. Blend yellow onions, garlic, sesame seeds, parsley, salt, cumin, baking powder, coriander, black pepper, and cayenne pepper and let stand for an hour. Form into 1 inch balls, flatten slightly, and bake on a greased tray.

Coriander-Mint Chutney


1 part mint leaves

3 parts coriander leaves

chopped garlic

chopped green chilies


lime juice

dash of jaggery/stevia

Blend  together 1 part mint leaves, 3 parts coriander leaves, a little garlic, green chillies, salt, lime juice, and a dash of sugar to make a sweet, sour, and spicy chutney that goes well with the falafel.

Serve falafel with half pitas (recipe in the breads section) along with tahini, (recipe in the salad chapter), cucumber and tomato salad and coriander – mint chutney.


Makes 2 servings

1/2 cup chickpeas soaked overnight

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 tsp salt

3 tablespoons capers or 10 high-quality premium olives, pitted

1-2 cloves garlic

pinch of chili powder or paprika


Cook the chickpeas with just enough water in the pressure cooker until soft. Throw out the water and wash. Mix chickpeas, lemon juice, salt, and garlic in the blender. Grind adding water as needed to make a thick almost smooth paste. When it’s smooth, add capers or olives and blend again so that the capers are not completely pulverized. Place in a bowl. Dress with a sprinkling of red chili powder or paprika and parsley.

Variations: Add sun-dried tomatoes, olives, or coriander to the mixture while grinding to make a flavored hummus.


5 table spoons of sesame butter

3 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons water

1 clove grated garlic

3 tablespoons soy curds

salt to taste

Blend all the ingredients together. Add extra water if needed until you get the desired consistency.

Israeli Yellow Mixed Pickles


1 small cabbage

1 cucumber

1 small cauliflower

2 carrots

1 red capsicum

3 limes

18 cloves garlic peeled and mashed

1 green chili

1/2 cup vinegar

1/3 cup rock salt

10 grains English pepper

1 teaspoon turmeric

4 bay leaves

It’s best to use a bowl or jar with a lid, which can be pressed to make a vacuum. This should be sterilized by cleaning with boiling water and then allowing to dry.

In another bowl take the salt and melt it by adding a bit of boiling water. Then add 2 liters water. Keep aside.

In the vacuum jar or bowl, make layers of vegetables, adding the leaves in the middle. Add vinegar, peppers, turmeric, and water until all of the vegetables are covered. Turn the jar over everyday. It will be ready in approximately 3 days, depending on the temperature.

A similar pickle can be made by using the larger green chilies.


1 large/2 medium eggplants

2 large cloves garlic, slivered

1/4 cup tahini paste

1/4 cup soy yogurt

juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (optional)


vinegar to taste, if desired

Preheat oven to 375 F. Make several cuts on the eggplant and insert the garlic pieces. Place on baking sheet and bake until soft, about 40 minutes. Cool. Remove skin. Add to other ingredients in blender and process until smooth. Serve at room temperature.

Whole Wheat Pita

1 kilogram whole wheat flour

2-3 cups warm water

2-3 tablespoons dry yeast

salt to taste

olive oil

In a bowl of lukewarm water, sprinkle the dry yeast. Add a pinch of sugar and some flour for the yeast to activate. Cover and keep aside for 10 minutes, until the yeast becomes frothy and rises.

Pour the yeast mixture into a well made into a pile of flour and gently mix. Add salt and pour lukewarm water to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for at least 15 minutes and when the dough is soft and smooth cover both sides of the dough with olive oil. Cover the dough with a wet thin muslin cloth and keep in the sun for it to rise. When the dough has risen, roll out into slightly thick elongated rotis and place in a preheated oven to cook.

Urad and Moong Bean Masala Idli with Spicy Dahi


Makes 6 to 8 servings

For masala idli


1 cup urad dal (skinless), washed, rinsed

1 cup moong dal (skinless), washed and rinsed

1/4 cup of shredded carrots

2 tablespoon of chopped fresh coriander leaves.

1/2 teaspoon ginger and green chili paste

1/2 teaspoon of fenugreek seed

sea salt to taste

Soak urad and moong dal separately for 2 hours. (It’s better to use half of each the first time, until you get a feel for it.) Soak 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds with either dal. Add salt to taste.

Grind the soaked dal in the blender until you get a slightly coarse (but almost smooth) paste and pour into a large bowl. Allow this mixture to ferment for 8-12 hours, depending on the room temperature. In summer, 8 hours is sufficient, but on cooler days it takes longer. You can smell it to tell whether it is ready or not. It should have a slightly sour, fermented smell. Add water so that it is of the consistency of dhosa batter (somewhat similar to pancake batter). Add carrots, chopped fresh coriander, ginger-green chili paste, and sea salt.

Steam in an idli steamer and serve hot with cold spicy dahi.

For spicy dahi

2 cups soy curd

2 cups water

1 teaspoon mustard seed

3 to 4 whole dry round red chilis

1/4 tsp asafetida (hing)

8-10 curry leaves

1/2 green chili, sliced lengthwise with the seeds removed

1/2 teaspoon sea salt     

1 teaspoon crushed ginger

1 tablespoon stevia powder or maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon of coarsely-roasted jeera powder

Mix soy curd with water, preferably with a hand blender to make a liquid consistency. Heat a pot on medium flame and add mustard seeds, and when they begin sputter, add asafetida, curry leaves, red and green chilies. Within seconds, as soon as the leaves and chilies are slightly cooked, turn down the flame and add to the curd liquid. Add sea salt, crushed ginger, coarsely-roasted jeera powder, and stevia powder and mix well. Refrigerate and serve cold over hot idlis. 

Date and Tamarind Chutney


This sweet-and-sour chutney blend spruces up almost all chaat recipes. This chutney can be stored refrigerated for up to 15 days and deep frozen for more than 6 months.

Makes 2 cups

2 cups dates (khajur), deseeded

1/8 - 1/4 cup tamarind (imli) paste

1 cup water

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon of roasted cumin seeds

pinch asafoetida (hing)

sea salt, to taste

Wash the dates place them in a saucepan. Add 1 cup water and cook for about 10 minutes at a low flame. Cool and put in a blender to make a paste. Add chili powder, asafoetida, tamarind paste, roasted cumin, and sea salt and blend well. This can be stored in the freezer and used as needed. When it is used, water should be added to make it into the right consistency.

French Beans

1/2 kilogram French beans, finely chopped or cut lengthwise

2 tablespoons fresh coconut, grated

Ingredients for tempering

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon urad dal

1 teaspoon chana dal

1 red chili

2 to 3 curry leaves

salt to taste

turmeric to taste

1 teaspoon green chili paste (optional)

Mix salt and turmeric with the beans and steam, making sure that the green color remains. In a heated kadhai, add mustard seeds. When they splutter, then add udad dal and chana dal. When the smell permeates, add red chili and curry leaves. Turn off the heat. Mix the vegetables and fresh coconut

Bhendi Masala


1/2 kilogram bhendi washed, wiped and cubed

2 onions cut lengthwise

2 tomatoes cut lengthwise

1 teaspoon red chili

1/2 teaspoon amchur

2 teaspoons dhania and jeera powder

2 teaspoons garam masala

salt to taste

haldi to taste

coriander as garnish

Mix all the dry masala and add to bhendi and steam. The color should remain green. Amchur prevents the bhendi from becoming sticky. Sauté the onion in a kadai on high flame. When it browns, add tomato. Add bhendi to this and mix. Garnish with coriander. If you want the bhendi crisp, after steaming, bake in an oven for 5 minutes. Serve.

Curd Rice

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 cup curd

chopped ginger

grated carrot or french beans or raw mango

Ingredients for tempering

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

dry red chilies or green chilies

curry leaves

pinch of asafoetida

Cook your brown rice with salt, as usual, and add the curds. Add finely chopped ginger. You could also add grated carrots, chopped beans, or chopped raw mango. Mix. Temper by heating a pan and put in the mustard seeds until they pop. Add chopped green chilies or dry red chilies, curry leaves, and asafoetida (hing). Pour the mixture over the rice.


Stir-Fry Vegetables

1/2-inch ginger, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 cup broccoli florets

1/2 cup sliced carrots

1/2 cup bean sprouts

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

1 cup snow peas

Chinese cabbage

Sauté the ginger and garlic for 2-3 minutes in a hot pan. Carefully add the water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and broccoli. Stir-fry for 5-7 minutes, then add the remaining ingredients. Stir-fry for another 5 minutes, until vegetables are cooked.

Broccoli in Thai Curry Paste


1 head broccoli

1 teaspoon red Thai curry paste

2 teaspoons maple syrup or agave

3 teaspoons soy sauce (or tamari)

grated zest from 1 lime

Cut broccoli into bite-sized pieces and steam broccoli until al dente. Mix all other ingredients. Add broccoli to pan with sauce and heat until sauce coats broccoli.




Bhaidku is the Guajarati word for spicy porridge. It can be made with many different grains. Bajri bhaidku is popular, so the premade flour is often available. This recipe is made from mixed grains.

Ingredients for the flour

2 cups rice

1/2 cup bajri

1/2 cup jawar

1/2 cup mung daal

1/2 cup muth

Ingredients for the bhaidku


ajwain seeds


groundnut or soy buttermilk

sea salt, to taste

ginger-chili paste, optional

curry leaves

coriander for garnish

To make the flour, put all of the flour ingredients in a dry grinder and grind into a coarse flour which can be stored.

To make the bhaidku, take 3 tablespoons of flour and roast for a few minutes. Add 1 cup water and a few ajwain seeds, to taste. Cook for about 7 minutes. When cooked, add groundnut or soy buttermilk. Mix well. Add sea salt, ginger-chili paste, asafoetida, and a few curry leaves. Cook for 3 more minutes. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Makes a good breakfast.

Variation: Add your own flavorings: coriander seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, and vegetables, such as carrots, onion, potatoes, and peas.

Tofu Akuri

Makes 2 servings

1 packet tofu

finely chopped onions, tomatoes, green chilies, capsicum, mushrooms, or any other desired vegetables



pepper or crushed garlic as desired

finely chopped coriander for garnishing

Using a fork or potato masher, crumble the tofu into small pieces. In a nonstick or thick iron pan, lightly sauté the onions, chilies, and other vegetables. Add crumbled tofu, turmeric, and spices and sauté a bit further and serve. Garnish with coriander. A dash of olive oil is optional.

Variations: For a more cheesy or egg-like flavor add 1/2 cup nutritional yeast to the mixture while cooking.

Ragda Patties

This dish actually makes a complete meal and one that takes very little cooking, especially if you have planned ahead and soaked the peas a day before. You can use a filling of your choice for the patties, such as peas, French beans, tofu paneer, corn, etc.

Ingredients for the ragda filling

1 cup dried yellow peas (white vatana)

2 boiled potatoes, cut into small pieces

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

2 teaspoons green chili-ginger paste

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

2 teaspoons jaggery (gur), grated

1 tablespoon tamarind (imli), soaked

salt to taste

Ingredients for the tempering

1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)

6 curry leaves

pinch asafoetida (hing)

Ingredients for the patties

1 kilogram potatoes

2 tablespoons corn flour

salt, to taste

Ingredients for the patty filling

Grind together the following ingredients:

1 cup chopped mint leaves

1/4 cup chopped coriander

1/2-inch piece ginger

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 teaspoon sugar

salt to taste

Other ingredients

Crushed peanuts to ‘flour’ the patties.

For the ragda: Soak the dried peas overnight. Drain, add approximately 3 to 4 cups of fresh water, and pressure cook until the peas are soft.

Prepare the tempering by heating a pan, adding the mustard seeds, curry leaves, and asafoetida and stirring until the mustard seeds crackle. Add in all the other ingredients for the ragda, adding more water if required. Mix well, mashing the peas slightly so that the gravy becomes thicker. Simmer for 10 minutes and keep aside.

For the patties: Boil, peel, and grate the potatoes. Add the corn flour and salt and knead to a soft dough. Divide into 12 equal portions and keep aside.

Roll out each portion into a 3-inch circle. Place a portion of the ground filling mixture on each circle. Bring together the edges in the centre to seal the filling inside the potato. Press lightly on top to make a patty. Repeat to make the remaining 11 patties.

Place the ground peanuts on a plate and pat the patties on the ground peanuts so that both sides are covered with a thin layer of peanuts. Cook without oil on a tawa. The oil from the peanuts will help the cooking.

To serve, place 2 patties on a plate and pour the ragda over. Top with green chutney, date chutney, and onions as desired. Serve immediately.

Tips: For crisper patties, use old potatoes or a variety commonly called “chips” or “wafer potatoes.” You might need to add some more corn flour to the potatoes if they are not dry enough.

Green Chutney (Chaat)

This mint- and coriander-flavored chutney is great for sandwich spreads. Mint adds freshness to this chutney. The addition of lemon juice enhances the flavors of mint and coriander and prevents discoloration of the greens. The chutney can be stored refrigerated for 3-4 days.

2 cups chopped mint leaves

1 cup chopped coriander

1 large onion, sliced

juice of 1 to 2 lemons

1 tablespoon jaggery

4 to 6 green chillies

salt to taste

Combine all the ingredients and grind to a smooth paste in a blender using very little water. Refrigerate and use as required.

Date Chutney

This sweet-and-sour chutney blend spruces up almost all chaat recipes. This chutney can be stored refrigerated for up to 15 days and frozen for more than 6 months.

Makes 2 cups

2 cups dates (khajur), deseeded

1/8-1/4 cup tamarind (imli), paste

1 teaspoon chili powder

pinch asafoetida (hing)

salt, to taste

Wash the dates and place them in a saucepan. Add 1 cup water and cook for about 10 minutes over a low flame. Cool and put in a blender to make a paste. Add chili powder, asafoetida, salt, and tamarind paste. This can be stored in the freezer and used as needed. When it is used, water should be added to make it into the right consistency.


2 tablespoons udad dal

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 pinch asafetida

1/2 cup rawa

1/2 onion, chopped fine

1 tomato, chopped fine

Ginger-chili paste

few curry leaves

salt to taste

coriander for garnishing

lemon juice for garnishing

1 1/2 cups boiling water

On a low fire, in a thick kadhai, put the udad dal and begin to stir. After a minute add in the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to pop the udad dal will be going golden. Add asafortida, curry leaves, and then immediately add onions. Keep stirring until onions go translucent. Add rawa, ginger-chili paste, and salt and stir until the raw starts changing color. Add tomatoes and stir until they are half cooked. Add boiling water, a half cup at a time, while stirring until the raw expands and you get the desired consistency. All the water may not be used. Garnish with coriander and lemon juice and serve hot.

Variations: Use ground maize, bajra sevai, or wheat dalia instead of rawa. Use finely chopped, seamed French beans and carrots instead of tomatoes.

Coriander Chutney

1 bunch coriander washed and chopped into large pieces

1-2 green chillies

1/4 inch piece of ginger

juice of 1 lime

salt to taste

dash of jaggery (optional)

Put all the ingredients in a blender. Add water a little at a time until the chutney has a smooth consistency.

Green Smoothie

40 percent greens of your choice (spinach, coriander, mint, etc.)

60 percent fruit (bananas, papaya, mango, chickoos, etc.)

Put all the ingredients in the blender and mix until very smooth. Serve immediately.


1 kilogram multigrain atta

1 packet dry yeast

salt to taste

warm water

In a bowl of lukewarm water, add the dry yeast with a pinch of sugar and atta for the yeast to rise. Allow the yeast to get frothy. This will take 5-10 minutes.

Place the multigrain atta in a bowl and make a deep well the middle. Pour the yeast in. Knead the atta into a soft dough with warm water. Add salt while kneading. Cover the dough with a wet muslin cloth and leave in a warm place for the dough to rise. Place the dough into a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven. You will know the bread is done when you insert a knife into it and it comes out clean.



Payasam/Kheer with Whole Rice

1 cup whole (unpolished) rice

3 cups soymilk

1/2 cup raisins

1 teaspoon cardamom powder

maple syrup, to taste

Cook the rice in a steamer. To the cooked rice, add soymilk and boil. Flavor with cardamom, maple syrup, and raisins. Serve warm.

Caramelized Bananas

Slice ripe green bananas lengthwise and put on a hot frying pan. When you can smell the burnt smell, turn over and cook on the other side. Garnish with roasted black sesame seeds.

Chocolate Mousse

1 liter soymilk

10 grams agar agar

3-4 tablespoons cocoa powder

maple syrup to taste

Blend the cocoa powder, maple syrup, and 2-3 tablespoons of soymilk in the bowl you want to set the mousse in. Soak the agar agar for 5 minutes and then wash it 2-3 times. Boil the remaining soymilk. While it boils, add the agar agar and keep stirring until the agar agar dissolves completely. Switch off the heat. Strain the soymilk and pour directly into the cocoa mix while stirring continuously. Allow the mixture to set in the refrigerator. This will take 30-45 minutes.

Sweet Potato and Date Halva

Makes 4 servings

1 cup steamed sweet potato

3/4 cup minced seedless dates

1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup golden raisins

1 tablespoon slivered almond for garnishing

pinch of salt

Peel and discard the skin of the steamed potato and mash the insides. Blend mashed sweet potato, minced dates, lemon juice, and cardamom powder. Garnish with golden raisins, nutmeg, and slivered almond and chill in refrigerator.

Banana Ice Cream

Place peeled, halved bananas in a box in the freezer. After 2 days or longer, take them out and put in the blender or food processor until you get a smooth creamy ice cream.




Madhu Gadia

Madhu Gadia has 25-plus years of experience as a nutrition counselor, diabetes educator, writer, and a speaker. Her experience and expertise includes healthy eating, weight loss, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other nutrition-related topics.

Madhu is an expert on Indian Cuisine and has authored several Indian cookbooks. Her expertise lies in home-style, healthy, and authentic Indian cooking. Madhu teaches Indian cooking classes and develops recipes. She is a firm believer that healthy and tasty foods go hand in hand.

Madhu is the author of The Indian Vegan Kitchen and New Indian Home Cooking. Learn more about Madhu >




Bean Burgers (Dal-Vada Burger)

Makes 4 servings

Sandwiches are an easy way to enjoy a meal without a plate. Although not traditional Indian food, sandwiches are enjoyed by everyone today. If you like veggie burgers made with beans, you’ll love these. This is my version of a bean burger that is easy to make and fun to eat.

1 can (16 ounces) chickpeas

1/4 cup scallions with greens, finely chopped

1/2 cup carrots, peeled and grated

2 teaspoons ginger, grated

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons green chilies, finely chopped, to taste

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

2 tablespoons bread crumbs

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 whole wheat hamburger buns

4 tomato slices, garnish

4 onion slices, garnish

cilantro chutney (optional)

tomato ketchup (optional)

Drain and rinse the canned chickpeas. In a food processor grind the beans until smooth. In a medium mixing bowl add ground beans, scallions, carrots, ginger, salt, green chilies, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, cilantro, and bread crumbs. Mix well. Oil your palms and make 4 patties. Set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons oil on medium high heat in a large skillet. Add patties and grill for 5 to 7 minutes on each side until golden brown. (If needed, add a little more oil to help brown the patties.) In the meantime lightly oil the buns and grill in a fry pan or a griddle until light brown. Place a patty on the bottom half of bun, top with tomatoes, onions, cilantro chutney, and tomato ketchup, as desired.

Note: You can make the patties up to one day ahead and grill them when ready to eat. For a grilling party, fully prepare the patties and reheat on grill on aluminum foil.

Lemon-Pepper Soup (Neembu Rasam)

Makes 8 servings

Rasam is a South Indian dish. It is a broth-like soup that is typically made with pigeon peas/toor dal as the base. There are numerous variations, but rasams are always flavorful and often quite spicy. I fell in love with this version the first time I tried it at my friend Simi’s house. It was winter and I had a cold. The rasam was piping hot and spicy. It hit the spot and cleared my sinuses. Adjust the black pepper to your taste and enjoy this rasam by the cupful. 

1/2 cup (split, hulled) toor dal/pigeon peas

6 cups water, divided

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, to taste

1 to 2 teaspoons green chilies, finely chopped, to taste

4 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

Seasoning (chaunk):

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon asafetida powder (optional)

1 to 2 dried red chilies

6 to 8 curry leaves

Wash toor dal in 3 to 4 changes of water and drain. (Cook toor dal in a pressure cooker or in a pan. To cook in pan, see note below.) In a medium pressure cooker add washed toor dal, 2 cups water, salt, and turmeric. Cover with the lid and put the pressure weight in place. Once pressure develops, reduce heat and cook under pressure for 5 minutes. Cool the cooker until the pressure is removed. Open the lid carefully. Using a wire whisk blend the dal until smooth. Add the remaining 3 cups water, black pepper, and green chilies. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Prepare seasoning: In a small fry pan heat the oil on medium high. Add the mustard seeds, cover with lid, cook for a few seconds, until mustard seeds stop popping. Add cumin seeds, asafetida, and whole dried red chili, cook for a few seconds, until cumin seeds turn brown. Remove from heat and add curry leaves, cook for a few seconds.

Add seasoning to the rasam. Remove from heat. Add lemon juice and chopped cilantro. Serve rasam hot in a soup bowl or a cup.

Note: To cook in a skillet. You need to soak the dal after washing it. Soak the dal for 2 hours or longer. Combine drained dal, 4 cups of water, salt, and turmeric. Bring dal to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the dal is very soft. Follow steps to finish the rasam. (You will need up to 6 or 7 cups of water when preparing in a pan, as it takes longer to cook and more water evaporates.)

Potato Stew (Lipte-Aloo)


Makes 6 servings

Potato curry goes with anything. It is a favorite of children and adults alike. The curry or the sauce can be runny or fairly thick depending on what you are in the mood for or what else you’re serving. I use tomato sauce for convenience.

3 medium potatoes (about 3 cups peeled and diced)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/8 teaspoon asafetida powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds

1/2 teaspoon whole coriander seeds

3 to 4 whole red chilies

1/4 cup tomato sauce

   or 1 medium tomato, ground

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoons coriander powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon amchur or 2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Peel and wash potatoes. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Set aside. Lightly crush whole coriander seeds and fennel seeds with a mortar-pestle or with rolling pin. In a small bowl, place crushed seeds, asafetida, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, and whole red chilies. Set aside. Heat oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add all the spices in the bowl, cook for a few seconds until the cumin seeds are golden brown. Add the potatoes and tomato sauce. Stir. Add turmeric, coriander powder, and cayenne pepper. Stir to coat the spices. Add salt and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low boil, cover with a lid and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. The potatoes should be tender, slightly falling apart and the curry sauce is thick and coating the potatoes like a stew. Add the garam masala. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with cilantro.

Ginger-Spinach Red Lentils (Adrak-Palak Dal)

Makes 8 servings

Pink lentils are versatile and cook quickly. Spinach and the hint of ginger add a wonderful flavor to this dal. Serve it with rice or any flat bread or enjoy it like a soup with good hearty bread.

3/4 cup pink lentils

4 cups water

1 tablespoon ginger, grated

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup tomatoes, finely chopped

2 cups fresh spinach, finely chopped or 5 ounces frozen spinach

2 teaspoons lemon juice


2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1/8 teaspoon asafetida powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste

Cook lentils in a saucepan or a pressure cooker. To cook in a pressure cooker, see note below. Wash lentils in 3 to 4 changes of water. Soak for 1 hour or longer. (Dal can be cooked without soaking if you don’t have time. Soaking will help reduce the time it takes to cook the dal.) Drain the dal. In a medium saucepan add washed lentils, 4 cups water, ginger, turmeric, and salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the lentils are completely soft. Add the chopped tomatoes and spinach. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for another 8 to 10 minutes.

Prepare seasoning: In a small fry pan heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add the asafetida and cumin seeds. Cook for a few seconds until cumin seeds are golden brown. Remove from heat add coriander powder and cayenne pepper. Add seasoning to the dal. Stir in lemon juice and transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot.

Note: To cook in a pressure cooker: Wash lentils. No need to soak the lentils. In a pressure cooker add washed lentils, 2 cups water, ginger, turmeric, and salt. Cover with a pressure cooker lid and put the pressure weight in place. As soon as full pressure develops remove from heat. Cool the cooker to remove pressure. Open the lid carefully. Then follow steps as above. 

Curried Spinach Couscous (Palak Couscous)

Makes 6 servings

Recently, couscous has become very popular in America, with the increase in international and fusion cuisines. Couscous is a spherical granule typically made from wheat semolina and then coated with finely ground wheat flour. (It is not to be confused with khus khus of India, which are poppy seeds.) Serve in place of rice topped with vegetable curries, or as a side dish. This spinach couscous is a nice complement with any soup or salad.

1 cup couscous

1 tablespoon canola oil

1/2 cup spring onions, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ginger, finely grated

1 teaspoon cumin powder

2 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped or cilantro

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

3 cups (4 ounces) fresh spinach, chopped

    or 4 ounces frozen spinach

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 cups water

Heat a large nonstick fry pan on medium high heat. Add couscous and lightly roast for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove to a plate and set aside.

In the same fry pan heat oil. Add spring onions, cook for 2 to 3 minutes until onions are transparent. Add ginger, cumin powder, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and mint leaves; stir well. Add spinach, salt, and sugar. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, coating the spinach with spices, until the spinach is wilted. Add water. Bring to a boil. Add couscous, bring it boil again. Reduce heat to simmer, cover with lid and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until all the water is absorbed and couscous is cooked. Stir to fluff the couscous. Transfer to a serving bowl. Cover with a lid until ready to serve. Before serving, fluff couscous again.

Flaxseed Flatbread (Flaxseed Roti)

Makes 8 servings

Flax seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and are known to lower cholesterol. Flaxseeds need to be ground before adding to recipes. They add a nutty taste and texture to the roti and besan compliments the protein, making this dish healthful and delicious.

1 1/2 cups roti-atta/flour or white whole-wheat flour, plus additional for rolling

1/3 cup besan (or soy flour)

2 tablespoons flax seeds, ground

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 to 3/4 cup water

1 tablespoon canola oil, optional

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, besan, flax seeds, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour. Add water gradually as you mix dough. (Depending on the type of flour, the amount of water needed may vary slightly.) The dough should be soft but easy to roll into a ball. Knead the dough for 1 to 2 minutes until smooth and elastic. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes or longer. Place 1/4 cup flour for rolling in a shallow container. Divide dough into 8 balls. Roll each ball between the palms of your hands in a circular motion until the dough is smooth. Press to flatten.

Heat tava/iron griddle or a heavy fry pan on medium to medium-high heat. (Adjust heat as needed. If tava is too hot the roti will burn and stick to the tava and if not hot enough, it will take a long to cook and become dry.) Roll each flat ball in the flour. Using flour as needed, roll into approximately 6-inch round flatbreads. Place the roti on the heated tava. Cook for a few seconds until it turns color and becomes firm and easy to pick up. Turn over and cook for a few seconds, until light brown spots appear on the underside. Turn roti back over and press down gently but firmly with a folded kitchen towel. The roti will puff as you press it. If desired, lightly brush top of roti with oil. Oiling keeps the roti softer and moist. Serve immediately or place in airtight container to serve later.

Chickpea Salad (Kabuli Chana Salad)

Makes 6 servings

Crunchy cucumbers add a nice crunch to soft chickpeas. I sometimes make this salad just for myself when I’m busy writing, because it’s easy and nourishing. Serve this on cup shaped lettuce leaves or any lettuce leaves for a gourmet appeal.

1 can (16 ounces) chickpeas

1 cups cucumbers, chopped 1/4 inch

1/4 cup onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped 1/4 inch

2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin seed powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

cup-shaped lettuce leaves such as buttercup or any lettuce leaves

cilantro-sprigs, for garnish, optional

Drain and rinse chickpeas. In medium bowl, combine drained chickpeas, cucumber, onion, bell pepper, and cilantro. Add the lemon juice, salt, cumin seed powder, black pepper, sugar and cayenne pepper, if using. Toss well.  Marinate for about 20 minutes. Toss in the tomato halves. Place 2 to 3 lettuce leaves on 4 small serving plate. Scoop in the chickpea mixture and garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

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