Healthy Options

Mixed Greens Khichdi

Mixed Greens Khichdi

I usually get a huge pack of mixed greens from Costco that gets used enthusiastically for few days. Since it goes bad quickly, I try to make few different recipes – this also makes sure we consume all of those greens in two-three weeks’ time. This Mixed Greens Khichdi is one of those dishes. It tastes great, it is a one-pot dish that comes together quickly, it is healthy, so it checks all the right boxes.

I prefer making this dish in InstantPot because I can start the dish and walk away. But this can be easily prepared in a normal pressure cooker – I prepared it pressure cooker before I bought InstantPot.

You can make this Khichdi with just spinach or with a combination of few different greens. I have tried both and it comes out great with any combination. I have used masoor dal here, but this can also be prepared using moong dal.

Also check out sweet khichdi, pongal and other pongal recipes.

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Spinach Chickpeas Biryani

Spinach Chickpeas Biryani
Spinach Chickpeas Biryani

We are huge biryani fans. I usually try to make different kinds for variety and keeping it exciting. This Spinach Chickpeas Biryani is something I make often. It is full of nutrition and tastes delicious. I usually make this on weekdays, which means this has to be a quick dish or atleast something that does not need hands-on time. This works perfectly, with all the shortcuts I manage to take.


Spinach, coriander leaves, ginger, garlic, green chillies
Grind to a smooth paste with just little water
Pressure cook chickpeas
Cook basmati rice with black cardamom, cloves, cinnamom, salt
Fry onions
Add tomato (I used green tomatoes, use any kind)
Add the paste
Fry till the oil separates
Add chickpeas, carrots
Add the rice on top, then saffron milk
Cook on very low heat for 30mis

2 cups basmati rice
1 cup chickpeas
1 cup spinach
1/2 cup coriander leaves
4 green chillies
2 cloves garlic
1″ ginger
Few strands saffron + 2 tbl spn milk
2 tea spns biryani masala
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup onions
1/2 cup tomatoes
3 cloves
2″ cinnamon
2 black cardamoms (or green cardamom)

Wash rice and add 3 cups water (little less than needed to completely cook rice), salt, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom.
Grind together spinach, coriander leaves, green chillies, ginger, garlic and little water.
Heat oil and fry onions.
Add tomatoes (I used green tomatoes, use any kind), salt.
Now add the biryani masala, fry for few minutes.
Add the paste, fry till the raw smell goes away.
Now add the cooked chickpeas, carrots, cook it down to a thick gravy.
Cover the gravy with cooked rice.
Add the saffron to warm milk and mix it to get the bright color. Spoon the milk on top of rice.
Cook on low for 30mins.
Switch off heat and leave it undisturbed for another 15mins.
Serve hot with raita.

Serves :4-5
Preparation time: 90mins

Notes :
You can layer it in multiple layers of rice and chickpeas gravy. I just layer the rice on top of gravy to save time.
Add a layer of fried onions on top for extra crunch.
Any biryani masala is ok, here is a homemade version.
Instead of cooking on stovetop, it can be finished in oven. I just prefer stovetop cooking.

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Spinach-Cashew Chicken

Spinach Cashew Chicken
Spinach Cashew Chicken

Life has gotten so busy for me with a full time job and two little kids. Somedays I find it very hard to cook anything. I have been freezing food a lot, whenever I cook, I make the double the quantity and freeze half. So these become my weekday dinners. But once in a while – atleast once or twice a week, I make something different. It is my way to enjoy my favorite thing – cooking.  Few days back, I prepared this delicious spinach cashew chicken curry.

I make this same dish with paneer or eggs instead of chicken sometimes. Black cardamom gives it a great aroma. Spinach base gives a healthy thick consistency. It goes so well with chapatis or rice.

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Spinach-Cashew Chicken

A very fragrant, delicious chicken with spinach and cashews.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 -5


  • For the paste:
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 " cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tea spn coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tea spn fennel seeds badishep
  • 1/2 cup onions
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup tomato
  • 1 tea spn garam masala
  • For marinade
  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves
  • 3-4 green chillies
  • 1 tea spn chopped ginger
  • 1 tea spn chopped garlic
  • 1 tbl spn plain yogurt curd
  • Other ingredients
  • 1 lb 1/2 kg chicken
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup onions
  • 2-3 black cardamom moti elaichi
  • Oil
  • Salt


  • Marinate chicken :
  • Make a paste of coriander leaves, green chillies, ginger, garlic.
  • Add the paste, yogurt(curd) and little salt to chicken pieces and leave it aside for about 30mins.
  • Make the masala paste:
  • Heat oil and add cumin, cinnamon, fennel seeds, coriander seeds.
  • Fry a bit and then add onion and fry till they are translucent.
  • Add garam masala and fry for few mins.
  • Then add tomatoes and cook till they are soft.
  • Add spinach leaves and a let them wilt a bit.
  • Make it into a smooth paste.
  • Make the curry
  • Heat oil in same pan and add black cardamom and onions.
  • Add cashews, followed by marinated chicken.
  • Fry for few minutes and then add the masala paste, salt.
  • Cover and cook till chicken is done.
  • Serve hot with chapatis/rotis or rice.


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Kale Paratha

Kale Paratha
Kale Paratha

Hope you all had a happy Ganesh chaturthi. We had a small pooja at home, kids had a lovely time. After all that heavy eating for the festival, we craved for something simple. I prepared these Kale parathas last week and they came out really good.

People are going crazy about Kale or leafy cabbage these days. You hear about kale chips, kale soup etc. I have tried earlier to include this in our diet. My family was not very impressed with it. Personally I liked kale soup. This time I thought of completely hiding it in some dish. I make spinach parathas very often and my kids love it. So I decided to make kale parathas. They came out really good. I quickly clicked some pictures to post it here.

Cook/steam kale. Grind into paste and add spices.
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Add flour and knead into dough.
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Roll into parathas.
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Roast on hot tava and serve hot.

Kale Paratha

Spicy, healthy and delicious flatbreads made with kale and spices.
4 from 2 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 10 -12 parathas


  • 1 bunch kale - remove thick stems
  • 1 tea spn cumin seeds
  • 3 green chillies
  • 1 tbl spn plain yogurt/curd
  • 1 tea spn garam masala
  • 3 cups wheat flour
  • Oil/Ghee
  • Salt


  • Remove the stems of kale and chop roughly.
  • Heat a cup of water and put kale. Cook for 3-4 mins (or steam it).
  • Grind to a smooth paste with green chillies.
  • Add cumin seeds, yogurt, garam masala, salt.
  • Add wheat flour and mix it well to make a soft dough.
  • Take small ball of dough, roll into a circle.
  • Apply ghee or oil and then fold into triangle.
  • Roll again into thin round.
  • Roast on a hot tava.
  • Serve hot with a spicy side dish or with plain yogurt and pickle.


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Okra Sidedish (Bhende Upkari)

Bhende Upkari
Bhende Upkari

Upkaris are the integral part of Konkani cuisine. We make upkaris with almost all the vegetables and they are a must in any Konkani meal. The vegetables are very lightly spiced to bring out the unique flavor of it. Bhende upkari is one such dish loved by all. Okra(bhende) is cooked in very minimum spices and then garnished with fresh coconut.

When I was a kid, my granddad used to grow a lot of vegetables in out garden. Okra was one such vegetable that was grown. The taste of freshly plucked and cooked okra used to be divine. I feel there is a huge taste difference between the okra that I grew up eating and the one we get in Indian store here in USA. But still it is one the vegetables we love the most.

Apply salt and turmeric to the cut okra and keep aside. Cook okra in the seasoning. Garnish with coconut.
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Okra Sidedish (Bhende Upkari)

Bhende upkari is a Konkani classic dish prepared by cooking okra in minimum spices and garnished with coconut.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 3 -4


  • 1 lb 1/2 kg apprx okra(bhende) cut into long pieces
  • 1 tea spn mustard seeds
  • A pinch asafoetida
  • A pinch turmeric
  • 3-4 green chillies
  • 4-5 curry leaves optional
  • 1 tbl spn fresh/frozen coconut
  • Oil
  • Salt


  • Cut okra into long pieces.
  • Apply some salt and turmeric to it and set aside. (This step reduces the sliminess of okra when cooked).
  • Heat oil and add mustard seeds.
  • When they start popping, add asafoetida, curry leaves(optional), green chillies slit into halves.
  • Add the okra and mix well.
  • Fry for 2-3 mins and then close the lid and let it cook on medium heat.
  • When it is cooked, sprinkle the fresh coconut on top and take off the heat.
  • Serve hot as a side with rice or chapatis.


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Spinach-Buttermilk Gravy (Palak Kadhi)

palak kadhi
palak kadhi

Cooking for weekdays is becoming a juggling act for me. I try to keep things simple, but I still want my family to eat something fresh. My two year old is in his “terrible-twos” phase. So vegetables usually go untouched. I am finding new ways to include it back in their diet. Last week I tried this kadhi. It was simple, delicious and easy to make – 3 things which I look for in whatever I cook.
Also check this spinach tambli.

Heat oil and add all seasoning. Then add spinach.
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When it is wilted, add water, salt.
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Mix gram flour in buttermilk and mix well. Then add some boiling spinach water into it.

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Add the mix back into boiling water. Cook for few mins.

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Spinach-Buttermilk Gravy (Palak Kadhi)

A spicy, healthy and easy kadhi prepared by cooking spinach in buttermilk gravy.
4 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 -3


  • 2 cups thick buttermilk or curd/yogurt
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1/2 tea spn grated ginger
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 3-4 curry leaves
  • 1/2 tea spn urad dal
  • 1/2 tea spn cumin seeds
  • 1 tea spn besan gram flour
  • A pinch asafoetida
  • 1/2 tea spn mustard seeds
  • Oil
  • Salt


  • Heat a little oil and fry mustard seeds, urad dal, cumin seeds.
  • When they start popping, add green chillies, curry leaves, asafoetida, ginger.
  • Fry for few minutes and then add turmeric, spinach.
  • When spinach is wilted, Add a cup of water, salt. Bring to boil.
  • In a separate bowl, take buttermilk, besan and mix well to remove any lumps.
  • Now add a ladle full of spinach-water mix into yogurt and mix very well. (This step helps in bringing up temperature of buttermilk and so it does not curdle much when heated).
  • Beat the mixture very well and add it slowly back into the boiling spinach-water.
  • Cook on a medium-low heat. Mix it occasionally to avoid any curdling.
  • Serve with rice and some spicy side dish.


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Bottlegourd Raita (Lauki Raita)

Lauki Raita
Lauki Raita

Few months ago, our friend Mahi had invited us for dinner and she made this lauki raita along with many Andhra special dishes. I had never tasted this before. After coming home, I googled it and I realised it was a pretty popular dish. This is my version.

Bottlegourd or lauki is one of the vegetables I buy during almost every trip to Indian store. It was mostly used to make this khadi(burfi) or payasa when I was growing up, I loved these dishes. Now I mostly make savory dishes with bottlegourd. This raita goes very well with chapatis or rice.

Make a seasoning and then add bottlegourd, cook.
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Add yogurt, salt and serve.
lauki raita5

Bottlegourd Raita (Lauki Raita)

Lauki raita is yogurt based sidedish with cooked bottlegourd and spices
4.67 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 -3


  • 3 cups 1 medium sized bottlegourd bottlegourd pieces
  • 1 cup thick yogurt curd
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1/2 tea spn urad dal
  • 1 red chilli optional
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • A pinch asafoetida hing
  • 1/2 tea spn mustard seeds
  • Oil
  • Salt


  • Heat oil and add mustard seeds and urad dal.
  • When they start popping, add hing, curry leaves, red chili cut into two pieces.
  • Add the bottlegourd pieces, green chilli slit into two pieces.
  • Pour 1/2 cup water and cook. I pressure cooked it for 2 whistles.
  • Once it is cooled down, add curd(yogurt), salt.
  • Serve immediately with chapati/roti or rice.


Instead of adding the seasoning (mustard, urad dal, curry leaves, red chilli) first, it can be added at the end after adding yogurt. That will retain the crunchiness of seasoning.


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Palak Paneer with Almond paste

Palak Paneer with Almonds
Palak Paneer with Almonds

My new year resolution is to eat/cook with more vegetables. The problem I face with this is, I buy lot of vegetables in a week and then they sit in fridge and pass their prime time. This weekend, after a very long time, I prepped all the vegetables – washed them, cut them into pieces, dried them and stored in boxes/zip lock bags in freezer or refrigerator. This is helping so much in fast cooking during weekdays and I hope this will also bring down the wastage. Now I have to figure out something similar with spinach(palak). I buy big box of baby spinach from Costco. I make dal, paratha etc with it, but still have some leftover. Last week I prepared this palak paneer with almond paste. I called it palak paneer, because it had palak and paneer!. This is probably the closest to the classic palak paneer that my family will eat. I made it quite spicy, the way we like it.

Many years ago, on a cooking show I had seen the addition of kasoori methi (dried fenugreek) to Palak paneer. I followed the same to give it a bright methi taste.  This is by no means traditional palak paneer (calling it a palak paneer may be a stretch!)n- I made it to suit our taste buds. Check Anita’s Palak panir or Manisha’s Palak paneer posts for authentic versions.

Blanch tomatoes in boiling water. Make ginger-garlic paste.
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Blanch spinach.
palak paneer with almond paste2
palak paneer with almond paste3
Blanch almonds. Fry onions with ginger-garlic paste.
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palak paneer with almond paste6 Add masalas and fry.

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Add ground spinach-tomato paste, kasuri methi. Then add almond paste.
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Add paneer and cook.
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Paneer in Creamy Spinach - Almond gravy

Creamy, delicious and spicy twist to the humble palak paneer with the addition of tomatoes and almond paste
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 -5


  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 2 big tomatoes about 2 cup chopped
  • 1 tea spn freshly made ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1/2 tea spns cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 tea spn garam masala
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • 1/2 tea spn coriander-cumin powder
  • 8 oz 227grms paneer cubes
  • 1 tea spn kasuri methi dried fenugreek leaves
  • Oil
  • Salt


  • Boil 2 cups of water.
  • Add tomatoes to it, after about 3 mins, add spinach.
  • Switch off the heat, let it sit there for a mins.
  • Take the tomatoes and spinach in mixer bowl along with green chillies and grind to smooth paste.
  • In the same water, add almonds and boil for 4-5mins (I use them with skin).
  • Grind the almonds to a paste (I made a coarse paste for some texture).
  • Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds.
  • Then add onion, ginger-garlic paste. Fry for few minutes.
  • Add garam masala, cumin-coriander powder and fry for 2 mins.
  • Now add the ground spinach paste, salt and cook.
  • Crush the kasuri methi slightly with fingers and add it to the gravy.
  • Add almond paste and then paneer cubes. Cook for 5-6 mins.
  • Serve hot with rotis/chapatis or rice.



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Beetroot Salad (Beetroot Kosambari / Kosambir)

beetroot salad
Some of these kind of recipes are not “Aayis recipes” in strict sense. These kind of dishes are quick to prepare and very helpful for office goers when they return and obliged to cook. They are ready almost in no time. It is non-traditional in the sense, perhaps invented as per need but quite healthy as no oil involved and no cooking needed. In other words, perhaps these kinds of dishes will become ‘Aayis recipes’ of next generation!! This one comes into our family from one of our cousins and off late a regular side dish.

4-5 green chillies
One beetroot (approx 1 cup grated)
A bowl of curd(yogurt)
2 onions

beetroot salad1
Slit green chillies, chop onions, add half tea spoon of salt and mix well.
beetroot salad2
To this add grated beetroot. Mix curd and serve. For few minutes you may keep in refrigerator if required. However any dish that has salt and raw chopped onions is likely to leave out water. So it is best to serve once you mix.
This goes well with dal rice.

Serves : 2
Preparation time : 10mins

PS: – If you do not like raw onions, leave it out and add a seasoning could be added to the above to give it a different taste. To make the seasoning, heat a little oil, add mustard, when it starts popping, add urad dal, curry leaves and little asafoetida. Pour this over the salad.

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Avocado Paratha / Chapati

avocado parathaWish you all a very happy and prosperous new year. Ishaan had two weeks winter holidays and V took one week off from work. We stayed indoors mostly because of the cold weather. But we had lots of get togethers with friends. It was so much fun for all of us. We got up late, ate whenever we wanted instead of going by clock, slept very late and played/chatted with friends. I am kind of sad that the holidays are coming to end and from tomorrow, the child will go back to his daily schedule!. I had plans of posting something here once in a while but was feeling too lazy.

I did not know about Avocados (‘Benne hannu’ in Kannada) till I moved to US many years ago. I love this creamy fruit and when Ishaan was younger, I would buy it regularly, mash it up with lemon, salt and feed him. I also tried to incorporate it in any Indian dishes when possible – like this avocado dosa. My latest favorite has to be this avocado chapatis/parathas. One mashed avocado in the dough makes very soft chapatis. I make these very often now. Sometimes I just add avocado to wheat flour and make dough, sometimes I add some spices to it to make it more tasty.

1 avocado (mashed)
3 cups wheat flour
1/2 tea spn red chili powder
1/2 tea spn cumin seeds
1 tbl spn chopped coriander leaves
1/4 cup yogurt/curd(optional)

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Mash the avocado and add chilli powder, cumin seeds, salt to it. Mix well.
Aayi's Recipes avocado paratha4
Now add this to wheat flour, add coriander leaves, mix everything well. Add yogurt to the mixture and enough water to make a dough. Keep the dough aside, covered, for 15-20mins.
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Roll them into chapatis/parathas and roast on hot tava. Serve hot.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 30mins

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