Tag Archives: south indian

Vegan 7 cup sweet for Deepavali (Gluten Free)

Today is the last day of vegan mofo. Unfortunately, I have been unable to blog every weekday as I had originally planned. Ah well, life just happened. However, I have been checking out vegan mofo entries from the blogosphere and having fun looking at all the food that’s being cooked.

For Deepavali this time, I wanted to branch out to Indian sweets, a domain which is held by copious amounts of ghee and milk. I found a vegan friendly recipe for the 7-cup-sweet, popularly known as the 7-cup-cake (though there is nothing cakey about it). This is a sweet my mom used to make when I was younger and I wanted to see if I could veganize it. Indian sweets are just not my forte, as my hand can rarely seem to part with the amount of fat it requires. The end result usually leaves a lot to be desired. So this time, I sucked it up, used the requisite amount of fat (I used Earth Balance vegan butter) and gave it some elbow grease. While my version looks nothing like the original version I was inspired from, I think I can explain what happened. J


Ingredients for veganized 7 cup cake (makes about 15 squares):

I used a 1/3 measuring cup as 1 measure:

  • 1 measure dessicated coconut (the finely shredded almost powdery variety)
  • 1 measure chickpea flour (Besan)
  • 1 measure non dairy milk (I used Trader Joe’s drinkable coconut milk)
  • 3 measures (I used dark brown sugar, hence the brown color)
  • 1 measure melted earth balance


  • I followed the directions listed in the link above.


You’ll be tempted to take it out as soon as it reduces and thickens. But it’ll only result in a gooey mass (which is also delicious). Be persistent as timing is key, the mixture will reduce considerably and when you stir the contents with a spatula, the contents should completely clear the pan, and you should be able to see the pan underneath. That turned out to be the best time to take your skillet off the stove. If its too gooey, put it back on medium heat and let it thicken some more.

Butternut Squash Curry

The best thing about mofo, even if I dont get to post regularly, is that I buy vegetables that I normally dont buy. Butternut squash is one of them. After trying it, I ask myself why I dont buy it more often. Butternut squash is sort of sweet, so I wanted to try it with a variety of other flavors – tangy and spicy. So I decided to cook it into a black-pepper-tamarind base, but ended up using far less liquid than I originally intended. So what started as a kozhambu, ended up resembling a stir fry. But no regrets as I took it to a friends place for a potluck dinner and we nearly wiped it out.



  • Tamarind paste – 2t
  • Butternut squash – 1 medium (yields about 3 cups chopped)
  • Coconut, fresh or frozen, grated – 3T
  • Peppercorns – 1t
  • Cumin seeds – 1T
  • Chana dal – 1T
  • Salt – to taste
  • Cilantro – to garnish
  • Cornstarch mixed with water to thicken (optional)


  • Peel and chop butternut squash into 1 inch cubes or smaller.
  • In a saucepan, place chopped squash and pour just enough water to cover. Add tamarind paste and bring to a boil.
  • In the meanwhile, dry roast the cumin, chana dal and peppercorns. Add more pepper if you like black pepper. Add more chana dal if you dont like it spicy.
  • Grind the roasted stuff in a coffee grinder.
  • Add the salt, ground spice mix and coconut to the now boiling mixture.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 10 minutes. The mixture will thicken, stir well to coat the squash with the sauce.
  • Garnish with cilantro.
  • Enjoy with rice or bread.

Sweet Potato Kuzhambu/ Sweet Potato In Thick Tamarind Sauce

The very popular cookbook ‘Appetite For Reduction’, which I recently acquired, celebrates the sweet potato in various ways. So when I chanced upon a bag of organic sweet potatoes, I remembered the cookbook and glowing mentions of sweet potato dishes on the PPK forums. 

I havent cooked much with sweet potatoes; so when I spoke to my mom in India, I was curious to know how she made it. I was surprised by the simplicity of the recipe she gave me. I proceeded to make it and it went perfectly well with steaming hot white rice. I love brown rice and its health benefits, but for some dishes you just got to have the real deal.

Beans Poricha Kootu/Green beans and mung dal stew

Today is my first blog post for Vegan MoFo 2011, a very awesome collective vegan blogging event. So for the month of October, I’ll be blogging a lot about vegan food and discovering tons of new stuff from 650+ other blogs.

I’d spent quite a bit of time about what the first post would be and fantasized about making something complex and time consuming, or kicking off with a sweet dish like any self-respecting Indian would do. But the week came and went and soon it was a Friday evening (after a long day at work) and I had to make a quick and nourishing meal in under an hour for couple of friends who were joining me for dinner.

As much as I’d love to throw a fabulous spread, the reality is that I am (like most others) starved for time and need something that is healthy, tasty and quick. It’s no wonder that the humble south indian kootu has a permanent place in my recipe repertoire. And to think I used to turn my nose up at this dish when I was young! Poritha means fried in Tamil and kootu is a general-purpose name for a stew that contains vegetables and lentils/beans seasoned with spices. I really don’t know what is fried here, as I certainly did no such thing. There really are innumerable combinations, and this is definitely not the first or last time a kootu will feature on this blog.


But the real icing on the cake is: it is extremely rare that I come across a poricha kootu recipe that is not vegan – even the omnis make this vegan! To me, that is alone worth extolling its virtues.