Tag Archives: brunch

Sunday Morning Brunch & Panda

So, last weekend, I met up with my old co-workers for a bagel brunch….

I baked fresh home-made bagels: sun-dried tomato, olive and jalapeno.


and visited the Smithsonian Zoo to see Bao Bao, who was leaving ūüė¶


We will miss you, Bao Bao!

Bulgur Wheat Upma

I thought I will finish the list and add the Bulgur wheat upma as well. I decided to measure carefully and make this following the 21-day fix container method.



1/4 cup bulgur wheat
1 shallot, chopped
1 carrot, chopped fine or grated
1 small potato, chopped
8-10 mini heirloom tomatoes, sliced
1 small jalapeno, chopped
1 tsp oil
1 tsp chana dal
1 tsp urad dal
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
8 cashews
a few curry leaves

In a small pan heat oil. Add cashews, dals, mustard seeds and let cook for a minute until lightly browned. Add jalapeno and curry leaves and fry for a few seconds. Add onions and potatoes and continue frying for 1-2 minutes.

Add carrots and tomatoes and mix well and continue frying for another minute. Add 1.5 cups water and salt to taste and bring to boil. Reduce flame and let simmer for 5-6 minutes until the vegetables soften.

Add bulgur wheat and mix well. Continue cooking until cooked and all the moisture evaporates. ¬†I like to increase the flame to medium heat, add a little ghee and cook for a minute or two to let the bottom brown a little. ¬†That’s the tasty part ūüôā


Serve warm. Makes 1 serving.

I am not a 21-day fix expert, but I count this as 2 Greens, 1 Yellow,  1 Blue  and 1 tsp.

See Also:

Amaranth Upma
Millet & Beets Upma
Pearl Couscous Upma
Pearl Tapioca Upma
Red Rice Poha Upma
Quinoa Upma
Upma & Pesarattu

Spicy or Sweet Paneer Toast

Recently when I was in Long Island visiting my friend, she made Paneer Toast as one of the items for Sunday brunch. It was so good that I couldn’t wait to try it.¬† I am constantly on the lookout for non-sweet alternatives for breakfast, and this definitely fits the bill. But hey, if you prefer sweet, you can make it sweet too.


4 slices of bread
2-3 tbsp grated Paneer
1 jalapeno minced
touch of butter

IMG_5655Mix grated Paneer and minced jalapeno. Lightly apply butter to each slice. Add 1-2 tbsp Paneer mix and toast two slices at a time in a sandwich maker or Panini press.

IMG_5653If you like sweet toast, add a tbsp or two of jam, before toasting. You can skip jalapeno if you like.


Millet and Beets Upma

I love trying healthy grains (or seeds)  in different ways. Especially those I can substitute for rice.mu2Millet is a relatively unknown small, round, yellow (or white, gray or red) seed. Although the term millet refers to grains, it is not really a grain, but a seed. Millet is widely grown in India, Asia,  and parts of Africa. Certain forms of millet have high protein, minerals, iron and calcium compared to common grains such as rice and wheat. It is gluten free, and a good substitute for other grains such as rice, oats or couscous.It is a source of high energy,

This is my second time cooking it and I can tell you it is not the easiest to cook. It definitely takes longer and needs more preparation than other grains such as Amaranth and Quinoa. For details on preparation and how to cook millet, I found this site with good information.

Upma is a very traditional and popular south Indian breakfast item that I cook for brunch, quite often. I have a traditional recipe that we used at home and adapt it each time I alter the ingredients. Following my Upma series, here is another almost similar, but slightly different millet-based Upma.


1 cup organic, hulled millet, rinsed (soaked overnight if possible)
1 small onion or scallion, chopped
1/2 red beet, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
a small piece of ginger chopped
a handful of cashews ( you can also use peanuts)
1 tbsp channa dal
1 tbsp urad dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp ghee (optional)
a few curry leaves

mu1In a pan, add oil, channa dal, urad dal, mustard seeds and cashews (or peanuts) and fry lightly till golden. Add chopped ginger, curry leaves and jalapeno and fry for a minute. Add onion and continue frying for 2-3 minutes. Add beets and tomatoes and fry for 1-2 minutes.

Add 2-3 cups water, season with salt and bring to a boil. Reduce flame and let simmer for 5-6 minutes.

Meanwhile, rinse millet seeds and add.  Cover and cook for 30-40 minutes or until cooked, stirring often, and adding water as needed. Add 1tsp of ghee if desired and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.

Remove from flame and serve warm with a cup of tea or coffee.

mu2See Also:

Quinoa Upma
Amaranth Upma
Pearl Couscous Upma
Pearl Tapioca Upma
Red Rice Poha Upma
Upma and Pessarattu

In addition you can also make upma with bulghur wheat, Sooji (cream of rice) or Vermicelli.


Millet Nutrition with some recipes
Millet on Wikipedia
Let’s make some boiled Millet

Upma & Pesarattu (Moong Dal Dosa)

If you are waking up on a Sunday morning and wondering what’s for brunch…. here’s one idea!


Upma is a fairly common breakfast or snack (tiffin) item in Southern India. Typically it is made with cream of wheat with choice of vegetables of personal preference. It can also be made with Bulghur wheat or vermicelli.

Continuing my dosa series, here is one made-from scratch dosa that is fast, healthy, nutritious and tasty to boot. Pesarattu is a kind of dosa made from pesara pappu or moong dal or yellow split pea.  Compared to other made-from scratch dosas, this requires very short preparation time, is very easy to make and requires few ingredients.


Both upma and pesarattu are individual breakfast items but quite frequently are combined and served together.  It is very popular especially at wedding breakfasts. The upma is simpler than the stand alone version and is devoid of all the colorful palate of vegetables. In the past I have posted variations of Upma using Quinoa, Coucous and Amaranth. The steps to make upma are exactly the same irrespective of what main ingredient you use.


When making upma for pesarattu I typically use the following formula learned from my mother. It tends to be a little more greaser than the normal one. And what I remember of it is feeling the crunch of ginger as you take a bite!

First make the preparation for the pesarattu.

Ingredients for the Pesarattu:
1 cup pesara pappu (De-husked and Split Green Gram)
1-2 jalapenos
some cilantro
a piece of ginger

The yellow split pea after being soaked for an hour.


To reduce the preparation time, use 2-3 cups warm water to soak the pesara pappu. After 45 minutes to an hour, the pappu will swell and almost double in size. In a grinder, blend the pappu with cilantro, ginger and jalapenos into a smooth thick batter using a little water. Add salt to taste. Set aside until ready to make the dosa.


Ingredients for the Upma:
1/2-3/4 cup cup rava (cream of wheat)
1 medium onion chopped
1-2 jalapeno sliced into circles
a few curry leaves
a handful of cashews
1 tbsp chana dal
1 tbsp urad dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 small piece of ginger chopped
1-2 tbsp ghee
1 tbsp oil

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the seasoning ingredients – chana dal, urad dal, mustard seeds and cashews and fry till lightly brown. Add jalapeno and curry leaves and fry for 30 seconds. Add onion and ginger and continue frying till the onions turn translucent. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Lower to medium and continue cooking. Add salt to taste. When the onions are cooked, lower the flame to medium low and slowly start adding the rava while mixing to prevent lumps. Add enough rava that it holds together but not too much that it breaks into chunks. Add the ghee and leave on for a few more minutes. Remove and set aside.


Once the upma is ready and the pesarattu batter is ready, heat a flat frying pan on the stove on medium. Lightly grease with a little oil or cooking spray. For thicker dosas keep the batter thick. For thin dosas, add water to the batter to dilute it a little. Pour 2-3 tbsp of the batter on the heated pan and roll out into a thin crepe. Add a little oil and cook until it starts to brown. This is one of the easiest dosas to make since it does not stick to the pan and starts to peel once it is brown on the side. Using a spatula flip it and cook until cooked. Place the dosa in a plate with the crispy side face down. Add some upma and fold the attu over it and serve warm.


If making only pesarattu, I usually like to sprinkle the attu with finely chopped onion and chopped cilantro. Optionally you can also add chopped jalapeno.


It is excellent when eaten with some sweet and sour ginger pickle!


Healthy Rava Dosa with Brown Rice Flour

Continuing in my dosa series next up is Rava Dosa. The crisp and crunchy dosa variety is another very popular south Indian breakfast item. Traditionally it is made with Sooji (Cream of wheat), rice flour and maida (all purpose flour). In this healthier version, I have recreated the rava dosa, using brown rice flour and whole wheat flour.

If you are waking up on a Sunday morning and wondering what easy, fast and delicious breakfast you can make then look no further. Provided of course you have the ingredients at hand. With 30 minutes preparation time and as little as  three ingredients this is one healthy breakfast to jumpstart a slow Sunday.

1 cup Sooji (cream of wheat)
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 medium onion chopped
1-2 jalapenos chopped fine (optional)
some coriander chopped

Mix all three flour ingredients in a large bowl in approximately 2 cups of water. Use water as needed to make batter that is smooth flowing. Add salt and mix well. Set aside for 30 minutes.

When ready to make the rava dosas, heat a flat pan on medium flame. Grease well with a little oil. Mix in cilantro, onions and jalapeno into the batter. When the pan is sufficiently hot, pour batter onto the pan from a few inches above. Don’t use a spatula or spoon to even out the batter. Don’t worry about the shape of this one. This dosa is usually full of holes and comes out crispy and crunchy.The more holes the more crispy and crunchier the dosa. ¬†Add 1-2 tsp oil around the edges and cook until golden brown. Flip and cook other side adding oil as needed until cooked.

This is so good, you will want to eat the hot rava dosa straight out of the pan!

It can be eaten as is or you can serve it hot with chutney (see Tomato, coconut or peanut) and sambhar on the side.

Brown Rice Uttapam with Cabbage

When I visited my friend Anu in Chicago last time, she made this for breakfast. Seeing her toss cabbage into batter and make uttapams I was surprised. “Really, cabbage in uttapam?” I asked her. I wouldn’t have thought of doing that. But it was excellent! Especially with the simple, fast chutney she made. Roasted peanuts, garlic, whole red chilli and tamarind ground with some water. No seasoning. No need to turn on the stove. That too was tasty and excellent.

Cabbage is such a bland vegetable that I am always at a loss on how best to create something exciting with it. The one or two recipes I commonly use cabbage in long exhausted, these days I rarely buy cabbage when I go grocery shopping. So it was a pleasant change to find a refreshing new use for cabbage.

Continuing my resolve for healthy eating and fitness (see Spinach on my mind), I decided to make brown rice uttapam for brunch for the weekend. To see the recipe for making the batter see my posting on brown rice idli here. Uttapam is a traditional South Indian breakfast and different people use different batter and ingredients in different ratios. I have evolved my recipe based on what works for my palate. For the traditional recipe I use to make idli/uttapam batter check here.

To make batter from scratch requires planning and preparation. Rice and dal need to be soaked at least for 8 hrs before blending into almost smooth batter. Then another 8-12 hrs or longer for proper fermentation. But once that is done, you can use the batter to make different dishes. The batter can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Here is the chutney recipe I used. Since I was short on peanuts, I ended up using 1/2 cup peanuts with some coconut and roasted dal. You can never go wrong with these ingredients. It was scrumptious!

1 cup roasted peanuts
5-6 dry red chilli
2-3 garlic cloves
some tamarind paste or fresh
cliantro (optional)
1 green jalapeno (optional)
salt to taste

Toss all in a blender and add some water and blend to a smooth paste. Alternately you can also add coconut, roasted sesame seeds, cashews, and/or roasted dal. Any combination of these can also be used. Always adjust spices and salt for personal preference.