Dill Fragranced Tuna Salad with Chargrilled Sweetcorn & Sweet Potato Crouton

Dill Fragranced Tuna Salad with Chargrilled Sweetcorn & Sweet Potato Crouton

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Dill Fragranced Tuna Salad with Chargrilled Sweetcorn & Sweet Potato Crouton







I find that having canned fish like tuna or salmon in my kitchen cupboard is very handy, specially on those days when I can’t think of what I want for my dinner. There are so many different ways one can play around with the fish.

Have been meaning to experiment with tuna salad for quite some time so when I was stuck for dinner idea the other day, it provided me with the perfect opportunity to get kookily creative.

This is another main course salad which balances contrasting flavours and textures. The sweetcorn has been grilled over the flame for a smokey taste (smokiness enhanced by some smoked paprika in the dressing) and I have also thrown in some extra vegetables for good measure.

I wanted to include sweet potato in the salad but didn’t want it boiled and mushy so decided to make croutons instead.

fresh dill makes this healthy and delicious tuna salad memorably fragrant


1 Small can tuna

1 Small sweet potato

1 Sweet corn on the cob

1 Carrot

2 Tomato

1 Small bunch spring onion

1/4 Cup fresh dill leaves

8-10 Pitted black olives

1 Tablespoon capers

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Juice of 1 lime or lemon

1-2 Teaspoons mustard powder

1-2 Teaspoons smoked paprika

1 Tablespoon mayonnaise (lite/low fat/regular)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Rock salt to taste


  1. Follow this method to make sweet potato croutons.
  2. Char grill the sweet corn on a flame. Alternatively, you can do this in a grill or an oven.
  3. Once the sweet corn has cooled down, remove the kernels. The easiest way is to run a knife down the cob.
  4. Drain the tuna.
  5. Wash, scrape and coarsely grate the carrot.
  6. Wash, wipe and finely dice the tomato.
  7. Trim, wash, wipe and finely chop the spring onion (including the green part).
  8. Wash, dry and chop the dill leaves.
  9. Take a large salad bowl and throw in the sweet corn kernels, tuna, carrot, tomato, spring onion and dill.
  10. Add the olives and capers and toss well.
  11. Next, make the dressing.
  12. In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, juice of lime or lemon, black pepper, smoked paprika, mustard powder, rock salt and mayonnaise.
  13. Pour this dressing over the prepared salad and mix everything together.
  14. Lastly, add the sweet potato crouton, mix once again and serve.


Kantola & Pumpkin Curry

Kantola & Pumpkin Curry

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Kantola & Pumpkin Curry







My love affair with kantola continues as I try to make the most of this elusive vegetable which is nearing the end of its season for this year.

Today’s recipe is another experiment from my kooky kitchen. I wanted to try out kantola paired with another vegetable in a curry (as opposed to a dry version).

Pumpkin came to mind because of its contrasting texture and taste.

The sauce is yoghurt based to give a bit of tarty kick.

I have also thrown in some tomato for good measure to boost the nutritional value of the dish.

opposites attract and, in this case, they make a very delicious pair

Will go equally well with any type of bread or rice. Serve some sliced onions doused in lime juice on the side.


250 Grams kantola

150 Grams pumpkin

2 Large tomato

Head of one large garlic

Small bunch fresh coriander

1/2 Cup tart/strong/sour yoghurt

1 Tablespoon cumin powder

1 Tablespoon coriander powder

1 Teaspoon turmeric powder

1 Teaspoon garam masala powder

1 Tablespoon minced ginger-green chilli paste

1 Teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)

1 Teaspoon mustard seeds

1 Teaspoon fennel seeds

1 Tablespoon oil

Salt to taste


  1. Wash and dry the kantola.
  2. Depending on their size, either quarter them or slice them.
  3. Wash and cube the pumpkin. I prefer to leave the skin on but you can peel it if you wish.
  4. Wash and roughly chop the tomato.
  5. Peel and slice the garlic along its length.
  6. Chop, wash and dry the coriander.
  7. Heat the oil in a frying pan.
  8. Once it is hot, lower the heat and throw in the mustard seeds followed by the carom and fennel seeds.
  9. Stir around for 30 seconds.
  10. Add the sliced kantola with salt to taste.
  11. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  12. In the meantime, whisk the yoghurt and add all the spices: coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala powder, turmeric powder and paste of ginger-green chilli. Mix well.
  13. Return to the kantola. Uncover the pan and add the pumpkin, tomato and garlic.
  14. Add the spiced yoghurt mix.
  15. Combine everything together, cover and cook for 30 minutes till the vegetables are soft.
  16. Take off the heat and let the curry rest for about 5 minutes.
  17. Uncover, add the coriander leaves, mix and serve.

Fruity Mixed Bean & Vegetable Salad, The Kooky Way

Mixed Bean & Vegetable Salad

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Mixed Bean & Vegetable Salad, The Kooky Way






Having just returned from a very indulgent break 🙂 and half a kilo weight gain :-(, I fancied something low fat, healthy yet satisfying for my dinner.

Since I had ingredients for salad lying around, I decided to build on what was on hand and the result is this main meal salad recipe.

something raw, something cooked, something steamed, something char-grilled, something sweet, something smokey, something spicy, something tangy, something salty all on one plate: sounds like a Britart exhibit doesn’t it?!

The recipe calls for plenty of garlic and mint, garlic to aid digestion of otherwise gassy beans and mint to balance out the pungent garlic taste. So if you are a fan of these two ingredients, definitely worth giving this a go.


1 Cup cooked mixed beans

1 Medium size carrot

2 Green peppers

2 Onions

12-15 Cherry tomato

1 Asian pear

1 Cucumber

1/2 Cup fresh mint leaves

1 Large head of garlic

1-2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 Tablespoon cider vinegar

Juice of 2 lime or lemon

1 Teaspoon honey

1 Tablespoon dried, smoked, jalapeno flakes

Salt to taste


  1. Wash and scrape the carrot. Remove the top, cut into thick batons and put in a steamer. Once the steam starts coming out, set the timer for 6 minutes. Take off the heat once steamed. Put the batons on a plate to cool down.
  2. Wash and grill the peppers either directly on a gas burner or in an oven (in which case drizzle a bit of olive oil).
  3. Once the peppers have cooled down, remove the skin, core and seeds and cut them in strips. Set aside.
  4. Peel, wash and finely slice the onion in half moon shape. Separate the rings.
  5. Wash and wipe the cherry tomato. Slit them with a knife leaving the base intact so that the salad dressing penetrates.
  6. Wash and halve the Asian pear. Remove the core and slice it.
  7. Wash and halve the cucumber and slice it.
  8. Wash and dry the mint leaves.
  9. Take a large salad bowl and throw in the cooked beans, steamed carrot batons, sliced char-grilled peppers, cherry tomato, onion, Asian pear, cucumber and mint.
  10. Now make the dressing. Peel and grate the garlic.
  11. Whisk together the olive oil, cider vinegar, juice of lime or lemon, garlic, honey, jalapeno flakes and salt to taste.
  12. Check the dressing for taste and add whatever you feel is lacking.
  13. Pour the dressing over the salad, toss well and serve.

Mushroom & Mixed Sprouts Bajra Idli/Pearl Millet Idli with Mushroom & Mixed Sprouts

Mushroom & Mixed Sprouts Bajra Idli

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Mushroom & Mixed Sprouts Bajra Idli







another kooky idli recipe from my kooky collection

There are some foods which are my “go to” dishes simply because they are time saving, labour saving, healthy, delicious and versatile. Using the base as a foundation, I can experiment, add, subtract knowing that the end result will turn out just fine. Idli is one such item.

Once you get the hang of the basics of fermentation, making idlis is a doddle. Soak, grind, leave to ferment and once the batter is fermented, you are good to go. Let your imagination run wild and play around with different types of grains and vegetables.

Today’s recipe is made of pearl millet batter and includes mushrooms and mixed sprouts. The combination may sound unusual because we don’t usually associate mushrooms with recipes from the southern part of India (I say usually, there may be exceptions).

If you are a fan of mushrooms, definitely give this one a go. These idlis are denser compared to the conventional ones but are super healthy, super yummy and super satisfying.

Serve with sambar and/or chutney. I had mine with carrot and coconut chutney.


1/2 Cup bajra grains

1/4 Cup urad dal

1 Tablespoon brown or regular rice

1 Tablespoon fenugreek seeds

200 Grams button mushroom

1/2 Cup mixed sprouts

1 Tablespoon paste of green chillies and ginger

1-2 Tablespoons instant oats

Salt to taste

Ghee to grease idli moulds


  1. Wash and soak the bajra grains, urad dal, rice and fenugreek seeds for about 8 to 10 hours.
  2. Grind them into batter of pouring consistency.
  3. Leave the batter to ferment in a warm place.
  4. Fermentation can take anything from 6 hours to 36 hours.
  5. Once the batter is fermented, you are ready to make the idlis.
  6. Wipe/wash and roughly chop the mushroom.
  7. Add the mushroom, sprouts, paste of chilli and ginger, instant oats and salt to taste to the idli batter.
  8. Mix well.
  9. Grease the idli moulds with a little bit of ghee.
  10. Pour the batter into the moulds and steam for about 40 to 45 minutes. You know that the idlis are cooked if you insert a toothpick or a knife and it comes out clean.
  11. Once cooked, remove the moulds from the steamer and let the idlis rest for about 5 minutes.
  12. Gently run a toothpick or a knife around the edges of the idlis to loosen them.
  13. Enjoy hot.

Carrot & Coconut Chutney

Carrot & Coconut Chutney

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Carrot & Coconut Chutney






Here’s another one of my “anything goes” recipe for a topnotch chutney which you can enjoy on toast, as a sandwich filler, on some crusty bread or with idlis and dosas.

As I have mentioned on this blog before, cooked carrots (like cooked tomatoes) are more nutritious compared to raw ones so I am always looking for ways to sneak them into whatever I am cooking.

Wanted to make chutney to go with some idlis and I had some carrot and coconut calling out for me from the refrigerator so I concocted this recipe. The aroma wafting from the kitchen while I was “cooking” the chutney indicated that I was on the right track.

blend together the natural sweetness of carrots and onions, spiciness of bird’s eye chillies and tartness of tamarind for a naturally sweet, hot and sour chutney


1 Large carrot

1 Onion

1-2 Tablespoons grated coconut

1-2 Teaspoons mustard seeds

1 Teaspoon asafoetida

10-12 Curry leaves

1 Tablespoon dalia dal

1 Tablespoon urad dal

1/2 Teaspoon turmeric

4-5 Bird’s eye chilli

A small piece of tamarind

1 Tablespoon oil

Salt to taste


  1. Scrape, wash and grate the carrot.
  2. Peel, wash and chop the onion.
  3. Wash and dry the curry leaves.
  4. Heat the oil in a frying pan.
  5. Once the oil is hot, lower the heat and throw in the mustard seeds.
  6. As soon as they start spluttering, add the asafoetida followed by curry leaves.
  7. Stir around for 30 seconds.
  8. Add the dalia dal and urad dal.
  9. Stir for a couple of minutes till the dals turn a couple of shades darker.
  10. Add the onion, turmeric, bird’s eye chilli and salt to taste.
  11. Mix well, cover and cook for about 5-6 minutes.
  12. Uncover and add the grated carrot, coconut, tamarind and about half cup water.
  13. Mix, cover and cook for about 8 minutes.
  14. Let the mixture cool down completely before blending.
  15. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Lal Saag & Mooli Muthia/Savoury Steamed Dumplings of Amaranth Leaves & Mooli

Savoury Steamed Dumplings of Amaranth Leaves & Mooli

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Lal Saag & Mooli Muthiya







I am trying to incorporate more leafy vegetables in my daily diet. Spinach, fenugreek leaves, dill and amaranth leaves are staples with my vegetable seller. I really don’t know why I don’t buy more of them and am consciously trying to change that pattern.

It has been a long time since I have posted muthia recipe so here is another one from my repertoire which includes lal saag (amaranth leaves) and mooli along with its green leaves.

super delicious, low in fat and totally satisfying

Unlike some greens which tend to be delicate, amaranth leaves and their tender stems are quite hardy and so can withstand the extended steaming time required to cook these muthia.

I have ready muthia flour which I used along with some bajra atta (flour of pearl millet) and instant oats. If you want to try this recipe in your kitchen but don’t have the ready flour, you can use a mix of coarsely ground wheat flour and coarse semolina along with any other flour of your choice like bajra, jowar (sorghum) or ragi (finger millet).


2 Cups muthia flour

1 Cup bajra flour

1/2 Cup instant oats

500 Grams amaranth leaves

1 Large mooli

1-2 Tablespoons sesame seeds

1-2 Tablespoons paste of minced green chillies and ginger

1 Tablespoon Turmeric powder

1 Tablespoon oil

1 Teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (plain Eno)

Salt to taste


  1. Chop and wash the amaranth leaves. Include tender stems.
  2. Scrape, wash and finely grate the mooli.
  3. Chop and wash leaves of mooli.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add the vegetables and remaining ingredients.
  5. Mix everything well with your hand.
  6. Continue mixing and bringing everything together. At this stage, if you feel that the ratio of vegetables is greater, add some more flour.
  7. Check for salt and add some if you feel the need.
  8. Form into 3-4″ oval shaped dumplings.
  9. Place the dumplings in a steamer and steam for about 30-45 minutes.
  10. Insert a toothpick or a knife and if it comes out clean, this means that the muthia are cooked.
  11. Take them off the heat and let them rest for 5 minutes before serving. If you try to take them out of the steamer when just cooked, they may break so you have to allow some rest time.
  12. Put the cooked muthia on a plate, slice them, drizzle some oil and enjoy hot with green or red chutney.

A Very Leafy Egg Curry

A Very Leafy Egg Curry

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A Very Leafy Egg Curry






Wherever possible, I try to “healthyfy” conventional recipes. This could be through ingredients or cooking method.

So, when we were having an eggetarian friend over for dinner, I decided to cook an Indian style egg curry but with the addition of leafy vegetables to boost its nutritional value.

inclusion of spinach, amaranth leaves (lal saag) and fenugreek leaves resulted in this very nourishing egg curry

You can add whichever greens you can find. As for the fenugreek, I used the dried leaves (kasoori methi) but fresh ones would taste just as good.

Delicious with some roti, naan, sliced bread, tortilla, crusty roll or even plain rice.


10 Eggs

500 Grams fresh tomato

1 Cup ready tomato puree (packet/can)

500 Grams Onion

1/2 Cup ginger-garlic paste

1 Large bunch spinach

1 Large bunch amaranth leaves

1 Small bunch fenugreek leaves (or 2-3 Tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves)

1 Tablespoon coriander powder

1 Tablespoon cumin powder

1 Tablespoon chilli powder

1 Tablespoon turmeric powder

1 Tablespoon garam masala

1-2 Talespoons oil

4 Cloves

4-5 Cardamom

10-12 Whole black peppercorns

2-3 Bayleaf

Salt to taste


  1. Wash, roughly chop and puree the tomato in a blender (without water).
  2. Peel, wash and finely chop the onion.
  3. Chop and wash the spinach.
  4. Chop and wash the amaranth leaves.
  5. If using fresh fenugreek, chop and wash.
  6. Hard boil the eggs.
  7. Once the eggs have cooled down, peel them.
  8. With a knife, make a cross at the base of each egg, away from the yolk side.
  9. Heat the oil in a large wok like pan.
  10. Once the oil is hot, add the bayleaf, cloves, cardamom and peppercorn.
  11. Next, add the chopped onion with a pinch of salt.
  12. Mix well, cover and cook for about 10 minutes.
  13. Uncover and add the ginger-garlic paste.
  14. Stir it into the onion and cook for about 7 to 8 minutes.
  15. Add the pureed fresh tomato along with packed/can of tomato puree.
  16. Throw in all the spices: coriander, cumin, chilli, turmeric and garam masala powders.
  17. Mix well and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes.
  18. Add about 2 cups of water and bring to boil.
  19. Add the chopped leafy vegetables (and dried fenugreek, if using).
  20. Add salt to taste. Mix well.
  21. Now, carefully, drop in the peeled eggs. Push them down gently with the back of a spoon so that they are submerged in the sauce.
  22. Lower the heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  23. Once the egg curry is cooked, take the pan off the flame and let it rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

Tuna Laced Cauliflower Salad

Tuna Laced Cauliflower Salad

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Tuna Laced Cauliflower Salad







Cauliflower is one of those ubiquitous vegetables available all year round and yet I don’t eat enough of it.

Fish is another food I don’t eat as much as I should, specially the oily variety.

I had some tinned tuna lying around in my kitchen cupboard and I was wondering how to pair it up with cauliflower for a main course meal; this is the result.

If you want to try this salad and don’t have canned tuna, adopt my “anything goes” philosophy and use whichever fish you have. Prawns or crab would work just as well. If you are a vegetarian, skip the fish and throw in some cooked lentils instead.

A very lemony, garlicky dressing infuses the right amount of zing to this healthy and satisfying one pot meal.

an ideal mid-week supper dish

Can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature. Make it ahead of time and let the salad dressing flavours get infused into the vegetables for a truly delectable experience.

Ingredients for Salad

1 Small head cauliflower

100 Grams French beans

1 Medium carrot

10-12 Cherry tomato

1 Yellow Pepper

Small bunch spring onion

10-12 Fresh basil leaves

1 Small can tuna (drained weight 110 grams)

10-12 Black olives

Ingredients for Dressing

1 Large head garlic

1 Tablespoon mustard powder

1 Tablespoon cider vinegar

1-2 Tablespoons olive oil

Juice of 2 limes or lemons

1 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1-2 Teaspoons jaggery powder (or honey)

Salt to taste



  1. First, we need to prep the vegetables for salad. Remove tough stalks off the cauliflower. Retain tender leaves and stems. Break florets into medium size pieces with your hands. Roughly chop the heart if tender. Wash, drain and set aside.
  2. Scrape and wash the carrot. Slice into thick batons.
  3. Top and tail the french beans. Snap into half if very long else leave them whole. Wash, drain and set aside.
  4. Wash and halve the cherry tomato.
  5. Wash, de-core, de-seed and slice the yellow pepper.
  6. Wash and slice the spring onion (white part only).
  7. Pit the olives if they have stone in them.
  8. Drain the tuna.
  9. Wash and pat dry the basil and cauliflower leaves.
  10. Steam the cauliflower, carrot and french beans till just cooked. You want them to retain a bite. Use a timer. Once the steam water comes to boil, time for exactly 5 minutes and take off the heat. That should be sufficient.
  11. Cool the steamed cauliflower, carrot and french beans.
  12. Toss all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
  13. Next, we make the dressing. Peel and grate the garlic.
  14. Juice the lime/lemon.
  15. Whisk together the garlic, cider vinegar, olive oil, lime/lemon juice, mustard powder, jaggery powder, freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste.
  16. Pour the dressing over the salad, mix well, cover tightly and let the flavours infuse.


  1. This is the first time I tried powdered jaggery in salad dressing and the result was a hint of smokey sweetness (I used organic jaggery). You can substitute jaggery with honey or a pinch of brown sugar.

Kantola & Arbi

Kantola & Arbi

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Kantola & Arbi








indulge me my current kantola fetish a bit more my dear kooky readers

Today’s recipe is another made-up one from my kooky repertoire.

I thought of marrying the two seasonal vegetables for a hearty and delicious dish which can be enjoyed hot or cold, with bread or rotis or even on its own.

Arbi, also known as taro root, is full of goodness so even if you are watching your weight, I would urge you not to dismiss it as ordinary carb.

In this recipe, the arbi is first boiled, peeled and sliced before it gets cooked with kantola. I cooked mine in a pressure cooker (three pressures on high). If you prefer, you can cook it in a pan of boiling water. Don’t worry too much about its sticky attribute; once cooked you don’t notice it.


250 Grams kantola

250 Grams arbi

1 + 1 Tablespoon coriander powder

1 + 1 Tablespoon cumin powder

1 + 1 Tablespoon turmeric powder

1 + 1 Tablespoon chilli powder

1 Tablespoon fennel seeds

1-2 Tablespoons sesame seeds

1 Tablespoon cumin seeds

1 Tablespoon mustard seeds

1 Tablespoon oil

Salt to taste


  1. Boil the arbi and once it cools down, peel and slice in rounds of medium thickness.
  2. In one bowl, add 1 tablespoon each of coriander, cumin, chilli and turmeric powder.
  3. Add this powder mix to the boiled, sliced arbi along with a pinch of salt.
  4. Toss so that the powders coat all arbi slices. Cover and set aside.
  5. Wash, dry and remove the top end of kantola.
  6. Cut the vegetable along its length and slice it.
  7. Heat the oil in a wok like pan.
  8. When the oil heats up, add the mustard seeds.
  9. Once they start spluttering, add the cumin, fennel and sesame seeds.
  10. Lower the flame and stir around for 30 seconds.
  11. Next, add the sliced kantola and the remaining powdered spices (1 tablespoon each of coriander, cumin, chilli and turmeric).
  12. Add salt to taste.
  13. Mix well, cover and cook for 20-25 minutes.
  14. Uncover and check for doneness.
  15. Add the sliced arbi coated in spice powders, mix well with the kantola, cover and cook for about 7 to 8 minutes.
  16. Take off the flame and let the cooked vegetables rest for 5 minutes before serving.

White Velvet Okra, The Indian Way

White Velvet Okra, The Indian Way

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

White Velvet Okra, The Indian Way






I have just returned from a short break in Goa, a veritable food lovers’ paradise.

Memorable dinners include prawn curry (one of THE best I’ve ever had), red snapper stuffed with Goan masala, chicken biriyani and a kind of mutton stew. All to be enjoyed with some very moreish cashew feni!

Walked around Mapusa market which has the most amazing varieties of fresh produce, foods and other stuff. Unfortunately, I had left my camera in the room so couldn’t take photos and I was kicking myself throughout the visit to the market.

White Velvet Okragoa produces a lot of fruits and vegetables which are special to that region

One of those is white okra (safed bhindi). This variety of okra is very pale green in colour, slightly thicker in circumference and easily 10″-12″ long. Given its size, the vegetable is sold in units instead of by weight. The cooked okra is quite buttery in terms of texture.

I looked up white okra on the internet but there isn’t much information on this vegetable in cyberspace. According to this website, the vegetable (also known as white velvet okra) used to be grown in the Southern United States.

I did try Goan style okra while there and the taste is interesting because they add wet kokum to it (a first for me). But the following recipe is for regular Indian style okra adapted to white okra.

Will go well with any type of bread.

In the photograph above, in the salad on the left you might have noticed some cut lemons. They are also local to Goa. Slightly bigger than a golf ball, they have orange flesh and are unbelievably juicy.

Plenty of Goan trips are on the cards in the coming months so will be sharing more about Goan food culture as and when :-).


12 White Okra (or 500 grams regular okra)

1 Tablespoon coriander powder

1 Tablespoon cumin powder

1-2 Teaspoons turmeric powder

1-2 Teaspoons chilli powder

1 Tablespoon fenugreek seeds

1-2 Teaspoons asafoetida

1 Tablespoon oil

Salt to taste


  1. Wipe the okra with a damp cloth.
  2. Remove the head and slice them into bite size pieces.
  3. In a bowl, mix the dry powders: coriander, cumin, turmeric and chilli.
  4. Heat the oil in a wok like pan.
  5. Once it is hot, add the fenugreek seeds followed by the asafoetida.
  6. Lower the heat and stir for about 30 seconds.
  7. Add the sliced okra, dry powders and salt to taste.
  8. Mix well, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  9. Take off the flame and let the cooked vegetable rest for about 5 minutes before serving.