Tag Archives: Pumpkin Seeds

Colourful Sprouted Moong Bean Salad

Colourful Sprouted Moong Bean Salad

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Colourful Sprouted Moong Bean Salad








a colourful salad which combines the raw and the cooked, offering different textures with a bit of zing

You don’t need me to tell you how healthy sprouted moong beans are.

They are more nutritious uncooked but although I am a bit of a kooky health freak, the thought of chomping through a bowl of raw moong sprouts is not exactly appetising or appealing to me!

So I made up this recipe which combines the goodness of sprouts with other vegetables for a really flavourful, refreshing salad.

Purple cabbage, white onion, yellow sweetcorn, orange carrot, green moong sprouts and mint – only red seems to be missing!

Remember my purple cabbage and onion mixture from Mackerel Salad? That has been sitting subconsciously in my mind ever since and so I decided to use it as a base.

This is good to eat on its own (I had a plate full for dinner) or you can serve it as part of a meal.

The roasted seeds and fresh mint make all the difference so please don’t skip them.


1 Cup finely shredded purple cabbage

2 White onion

100 Grams sweetcorn

1 Large carrot

1 Cup sprouted moong beans

1 Cup fresh mint leaves

2 Tablespoons sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Juice of 1 lime or lemon

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Tablespoon strong, smooth mustard

Salt to taste


  1. First, you need to prepare the cabbage-onion mixture.
  2. Peel, wash and finely slice the onions in half moon rings.
  3. Separate the onion rings.
  4. Combine the shredded purple cabbage and onion rings in a bowl.
  5. Add the cider vinegar, a pinch of salt and toss well. Transfer to an airtight container and set aside to marinade for 4 to 5 hours.
  6. By the end of the marination time, the cabbage and onions will have softened and the onions taken on purple tinge from the cabbage.
  7. Dry roast the seeds till they release a nice, toasty aroma. Transfer to a plate and let them cool down.
  8. Wash the mint leaves and dry them on a kitchen towel.
  9. Wash and steam the sweetcorn kernels and set aside.
  10. Wash and coarsely grate the carrot and set aside.
  11. Wash the sprouted moong beans and set aside.
  12. To make the dressing, whisk together olive oil, mustard, juice of lime/lemon and salt to taste.
  13. In a salad bowl, add the cabbage-onion mixture, steamed sweetcorn kernels, coarsely grated carrot, sprouted moong beans and mint leaves.
  14. Pour the dressing and toss thoroughly.
  15. Sprinkle the toasted seeds and mix once more.
  16. Chill for a couple of hours before serving.


  1. I didn’t add any freshly ground black pepper to the dressing because I didn’t feel the need for it. It is purely personal preference, you can add a pinch if you like.


Pearl Millet Pilaf with Mushroom & Red Pepper

A Nutty & Seedy Pilaf of Pearl Millet, Mushroom & Red Pepper

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Pearl Millet Pilaf with Mushroom & Red Pepper








Wikipedia tells me that “pearl millet is the most widely grown type of millet.” Its roots lie in India and Africa. India is the largest producer of this grain which is also extensively used across the Sahel region and which is a staple of Namibia.

My introduction to pearl millet was by way of bajra roti (pearl millet flatbread) when I was growing up . Till a couple of years back, I would not have considered using the whole grain or its flour in any other type of cooking.

But since I have become an adventurous – albeit a rather kooky (!) – cook, I have started discovering and experimenting with new ingredients along with staples in my quest to make healthy and delicious meals. “Healthy” doesn’t have to mean dull and boring. And today’s pilaf recipe demonstrates just that.

Pearl millet is good for those with gluten allergy and the versatile cooked grains can be used as a base for pilaf, in stuffings, in soups, as a side dish, in puddings, in baked goods and even sprouted.

toasting the grains before soaking and boiling lends them a nice and nutty flavour

I like to consider this pearl millet pilaf recipe balanced as it includes vegetables (mushroom, red pepper, onion, celery and tomato), calcium (cheese), seeds (sunflower and pumpkin),  herb (parsley) and good fat (pistachio nuts and olive oil).


1/2 Cup uncooked pearl millet

200 Grams mushroom (button or any other variety)

1 Red Pepper

2 Onions

1 Garlic pod

2 Tomatoes

2-3 Stick celery

1-2 Birds eye chilli

A small bunch parsley (curly or flat-leaf)

1 Tablespoon shelled, unsalted pistachio

1 Tablespoon mix of sunflower and pumpkin seeds

1 Tablespoon raisin

1 Tablespoon cheese of your choice

1 Tablespoon oil

1 Teaspoon sumac (optional)

1-2 Teaspoons paprika

2-3 Anchovy fillets (optional)

Salt to taste


  1. First we need to work on the pearl millet. Heat a wide base frying pan and throw in the pearl millet. Lower the heat and keep stirring till the grains release a nice and nutty aroma (about 5 to 7 minutes).
  2. Once the grains have cooled, wash and soak them for 8 to 10 hours.
  3. At the end of the soaking period, boil the grains in about one cup of water with a pinch of salt. They will take about 20 minutes to cook but keep checking. If you cook them in a pressure cooker, let them cook on high heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain the cooked grains (add a squeeze of lime to the remaining liquid and drink it, nutritious and delicious!).
  5. At this stage, you can refrigerate the boiled pearl millet and cook it later or keep aside and start working on the vegetables if cooking straight away.
  6. Peel, wash and dice the onions.
  7. Peel and slice the garlic.
  8. Was, de-core, de-seed and chop the red pepper.
  9. Wash and chop the celery.
  10. Wash and chop the tomato.
  11. Wash and chop the parsley.
  12. Wash/wipe and slice the mushroom.
  13. Grate or crumble the cheese (will depend on the type of cheese you are using).
  14. Toast the pistachio and seeds together in a dry frying pan till they are nice and toasty and turn a couple of shades darker. Remove and set aside.
  15. Heat the oil in a frying pan to which add the raisins and chilli. Stir around a bit for a minute or so till the raisins plump up a bit.
  16. Now lower the heat and add the chopped onion, tomato, garlic, celery, red pepper and anchovy fillets (if using). Add a pinch of salt, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  17. Once the vegetables are cooked, add the sliced mushroom, paprika, sumac (if using) and a bit more salt to taste. Stir, cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes till the mushrooms are cooked.
  18. Next, add the boiled pearl millet along with the chopped parsley. Stir, check for salt, add some more if necessary, cover and cook for 7 to 8 minutes.
  19. Take it of the heat and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
  20. Scatter toasted pistachio, seeds and cheese on the pilaf before serving.

Herby Corn Grits with Chickpea & Courgette

Herby Corn Grits with Chickpea & Courgette








Till recently, I didn’t understand the meaning of the word ‘perfect‘. As far as I was concerned, it was one of those vague, nebulous and subjective terms  (‘ideal’ and ‘normal’ being bedfellows) with little meaning.

All that changed when I cooked these corn grits (corn dalia); they finally helped me understand this word which has eluded my grasp till now.

So here’s the story of my discovery… It had been one of those crazily busy days where all I had was a morning cup of tea. While enjoying a glass of wine in the evening, it suddenly dawned on me that I had not eaten all day (doh!).

Lucky for me that I had cooked these corn grits which proved to be “perfect” under these given circumstances as they contain all the necessary elements required in our daily diet: carbohydrate (grits), protein (chickpea), calcium (cheese), seeds, vegetables, herbs and good fat (olive oil). On top of that, they provide you with your total share of 5 A Day in one meal (thanks to chickpea, courgette, tomato, onion and red pepper).

in one fell swoop, I had managed to feed my body a nutritionally balanced dinner

Perfect for me but may not be the case if you have had a carb or protein rich lunch! See what I mean?!

My new state of enlightenment tells me that when someone says that something is perfect, that only they can understand what that ‘perfect’ or ‘perfection’ means and that it may be perfect for them but imperfect for another. It is like their own little secret which cannot or does not have to be fathomed by others!

So here’s my kooky recipe for “perfect” corn grits.


1/2 Cup corn grits

1 Cup boiled chickpeas

1 Courgette

1 Red pepper

2 Tomatoes

1 Large onion

3-4 Cloves of garlic

2 Red chillies

1 Cup of basil, coriander and parsley leaves

1 Tablespoon sharp, tangy cheese

1 Tablespoon seeds of your choice (I used sunflower and pumpkin)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Salt to taste

Seasoning of your choice (I had used Taste #5 Umami Paste Laura Santini, the Mediterranean type)


  1. Peel, wash and chop the onion.
  2. Wash and dice the tomato.
  3. Wash and slice the red chilli.
  4. Wash and cut the courgette into large chunks.
  5. Wash and chop the red pepper.
  6. Peel and crush the garlic.
  7. Grate the cheese.
  8. Wash and chop the basil, parsley and coriander leaves.
  9. Toast the seeds till they turn a shade or two darker.
  10. Add the onion, garlic, tomato, chilli and red pepper to a saucepan along with the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Mix well.
  11. Place the saucepan on minimum heat, cover and let the vegetables cook for 10 minutes.
  12. Uncover, add the corn grits, courgette and chickpeas along with 1 cup of water and seasoning. Mix well, cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes till the grits are cooked.
  13. Remove the lid and add the chopped herbs and grated cheese.
  14. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  15. Take the saucepan off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  16. Sprinkle with toasted seeds and serve.

Herby Corn Grits

A Very Seedy Cauliflower Soup

Seedy Cauliflower Soup








If this soup could talk, it would tell you (in Kenneth Parcell’s voice, of course),

hey Ms/ter, I may be seedy but I am not run down

Indeed, there is nothing shabby or unsavoury about this soup. Au contraire, roasted and powdered sunflower and pumpkin seeds provide this soup an edge and a blooming dose of superiority.

As we know, seeds are full of goodness and health. To quote John Summerly, a seed “is an embryonic plant itself and the origin of nutrition. A plant goes to great lengths to produce each seed and fill it with high concentrations of vitamins, minerals, proteins, essential oils and dormant enzymes.”

If seeds are so good for us, I wondered why the word seedy has such a negative connotation so I did a bit of research and according to Online Etymology Dictionary, “[the] meaning ‘shabby’ is from 1739, probably in reference to the appearance of a flowering plant that has run to seed.”

So there we go. That’s our etymology lesson for the day!

Coming back to this elegant soup, apart from the seeds, it also becomes extra special because of the cauliflower leaves and stalks which are included.

So let me share my kooky and seedy cauliflower soup recipe with you.


1 Small head cauliflower with fresh green leaves and stalk attached

1 Large onion

1 Pod garlic

1 Vegetable stock cube

1 Tablespoon mix of sunflower and pumpkin seeds

1 Tablespoon olive oil

A generous pinch of freshly ground pepper

Salt to taste


  1. Take the seeds and dry roast them in a pan till they become a couple of shades darker (see photo below). You will know that they are done when they emit a nice and toasty aroma.
  2. Once the seeds have cooled down completely, powder them. You can coarsely grind them if you prefer, no hard and fast rule about this.
  3. Next, remove the leaves and stalk from cauliflower and set aside.
  4. Coarsely chop the cauliflower, wash the florets and put them in a soup pot or equivalent.
  5. Add 1 cup of water, salt to taste and the stock cube to the cauliflower.
  6. Place the pot on high heat, bring to boil, cover, lower the heat and let the vegetable simmer for about 10 minutes till it is tender.
  7. Strain the cooked cauliflower, reserving its cooking liquor.
  8. Puree the cauliflower and mix it with its liquor to get the soup base.
  9. Next, take the onion. Peel, wash and finely dice it.
  10. Wash the cauliflower leaves and stalk and finely chop them.
  11. Peel and chop the garlic.
  12. In a saucepan, place the chopped onion, leaves, stalk and garlic along with a pinch of salt and the oil.
  13. Mix well and put the saucepan on low heat.
  14. Cover and let the vegetables cook for about 5 to 7 minutes.
  15. Remove the lid and add the cauliflower soup base along with the crushed pepper.
  16. Stir, cover and let the soup cook for about 12 to 15 minutes on very gentle heat.
  17. Once bubbles start forming, you know it is done so take it off the heat and pour the soup in a bowl.
  18. Sprinkle the powdered seeds and serve.

This is my cauliflower with its fresh leaves and stalk

Cauliflower Stalks Used in Seedy Cauliflower Soup








The leaves and stalk washed and awaiting the chopping board.

Cauliflower Stalks for Seedy Cauliflower Soup








To give you some idea as to how far to toast the seeds. The bottom bowl contains raw seeds whereas the top one has the toasted ones.

Sunflower & Pumpkin Seeds for Seedy Cauliflower Soup

Couscous with Aubergine Stew

Couscous with Aubergine Stew









Don’t you just find it frustrating when you start your day early (like 5.00 in my case this morning) and you are through with your morning ritual and at your desk by 6.00 am thinking smugly to yourself, “oh look at me, I am so good, I am going to start my work day early today” only to find that there is some problem with the internet connection. I know, I know – I should learn to live without the internet, the internet is not the be all and end all, that I should go get a life. But internet is critical for my work and so whenever it goes down, specially first thing in the morning when I get to my desk as happened today, I find it freakin’ frustrating!

Fortunately, there is nothing frustrating about cooking couscous. Each time I cook this easygoing grain, I wonder why I don’t do so more frequetly. It is hassle free in that you can prep it in a matter of minutes even after the sauce or the stew accompanying it is made.

if couscous was a musician and not a grain, it would probably warble I’m easy

Ass Kicking Chillies for Couscous with Aubergine stewFor today’s couscous recipe, I made an aubergine stew with peppers and onions enveloped in my totally kooky sauce. Having never cooked with tahini before (only used it for dressing or in hummus), I wanted to experiment with it during the actual cooking process. Match that with my recently discovered love for tomato ketchup and some hot chillies and you get one creamy yet fiery sauce which totally works with the meek and mild couscous. Toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds provide the lovely – and much desired – nutty and crunchy texture to finish off the dish.

There are plenty of different varieties of aubergine out there. I used the long and slim purple ones. As for the chillies, my greengrocer has got some red chillies which he sold to me a couple of days back. They look harmless (I am told that the big, fat ones are usually mild compared to the skinny ones which are supposed to be wild) but these beauties know how to kick ass!

If you don’t have couscous, you can try the stew with plain rice.


1 Cup dry couscous

150 Grams aubergine

1 Green Pepper

2-3 Hot chillies (adjust quantity according to personal preference)

1 Tomato

2 Onions

1 Tablespoon tahini

1 Tablespoon tomato ketchup

A generous pinch of smoked paprika (optional)

1 Teaspoon sumac* (optional)

8-10 pitted black olives

1 Tablespoon mixture of sunflower and pumpkin seeds

1 Tablespoon dukka* (optional)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Salt to taste


  1. Peel, wash and finely chop the onion.
  2. Wash and slice the chillies.
  3. Wash and finely dice the tomato.
  4. Wash and finely chop the green pepper.
  5. Split the olives into two. If you have the unpitted variety, remove the stone.
  6. In a bowl, combine the tahini, tomato ketchup, black olives, paprika (if using) and sumac (if using). Add about half a cup of water and mix well. Set aside this sauce mix.
  7. Heat a frying pan and once it becomes hot, toast the sunflower and pumpkin seeds for a couple of minutes till they turn a light shade of brown. Be careful not to burn them.
  8. Once the seeds are nicely toasted, remove them to a plate.
  9. Return the frying pan to heat and pour the oil.
  10. Once the oil beomes hot, add the chopped onions, tomato, green pepper, chillies and salt to taste. Mix well, cover, lower the heat and let the vegetables cook for 10 minutes.
  11. While the onion mixture is cooking, wash and chop the aubergine.
  12. After 10 minutes, uncover and add the aubergine along with the sauce mix. Stir everything together, add some more water if you think it is needed, cover and let the stew cook for 10 minutes after which time take the pan off the heat.
  13. While the stew is resting, cook couscous according to instructions on the packet.
  14. Plate the cooked couscous with stew over it.
  15. Sprinkle with toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds and dukka (if using).


  1. Dukka is a versatile Jordanian spice mixture made with roasted sesame, wheat and coriander. It can be used as a seasoning, as a marinade or even in dips.
  2. Instead of sumac, you can use a teaspoon of cider vinegar or red wine vinegar. I wouldn’t recomment lemon or lime juice for this recipe as it would become too sour. You want just a wee hint of tartness.

Virtually Fat-free Bhel of Popped Amaranth Seeds & Khakhra

Virtually Fat-free Bhel of Popped Amaranth Seeds & Khakhra









Okay my dear kooky readers. If your reaction to this recipe is like “what the f-“, I can totally understand. Even for me, this is probably the kookiest recipe I have ever invented!

if there was a kookiness scale running from 1 to 10 where 10 is the kookiest, this recipe would definitely fall off the scale

Well, here’s the back story to this recipe. I have some diet khakhra lying around and they are not the best I have had. I really didn’t want to throw them and was thinking of how best to use them which is when I thought of making khakhra bhel.

Some of my most creative ideas seem to come to me when I am doing up-down-up-down laps at the pool. And so during one of my swim sessions it suddenly hit me – I can pop amaranth seeds and combine them with the khakhra to make an unconventional bhel. Probably, the Mumbai Boss article on amaranth seeds was still sitting subconsciously in my mind.

I happened to have all the ingredients, just had to buy some sweet corn and green mango so thought I would give it a go.

The traditional bhelpuri is a combination of puffed rice, sev, crispy puri, onions, tomatoes and various chutneys.

In my recipe, I have swapped puffed rice for popped amaranth seeds and crispy puris for diet khakhra. If you don’t add the sev and use diet khakhra, this recipe becomes totally fat-free.

As for the taste, I can assure you that you will not notice any difference. It is just as good as the traditional bhel but healthier. Would definitely recommend it. Kooky or not (having tried it, my verdict is ‘not’), this recipe is for keeps. And now, I am actually so glad that I have those khakhras as I will be making this bhel again.

If you can’t get hold of diet khakhra, you can try it with any plain, crisp flatbread. Also will taste good without the chutneys (like dry bhel).

Bhel combination is a matter of personal taste so please use the following as a guideline and adjust the quantity of chutneys and vegetables according to your preference.

You will find instructions on popping amaranth seeds on my blog here.


2 Cups popped amaranth seeds

3-4 Diet khakhra

1/2 Cup sev (optional)

1/2 Cup coriander leaves

2 Onions

2 Tomatoes

100 Grams sweetcorn kernels

1 Small raw green mango

2-3 Chillies

2 Tablespoons sunflower and pumpkin seeds

1 Tablespoon green chutney

1 Tablespoon red chutney

1 Tablespoon tamarind chutney*

Salt to taste


  1. First, work on the vegetables. Peel, wash and finely chop the onion.
  2. Wash and finely dice the tomato.
  3. Peel, wash and finely chop the mango.
  4. Wash and finely slice the chillies.
  5. Wash and chop the coriander leaves.
  6. Wash the sweetcorn kernels and steam the for 10 minutes till tender
  7. Dry roast the sunflower and pumpkin seeds in a frying pan for a couple of minutes till they are nicely toasted.
  8. Break the khakhra into very small pieces using your hands. Place them in a bowl.
  9. Add the popped amaranth seeds, sev (if using) and toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds to the broken khakhra.
  10. Toss it around a bit till the mixture is combined.
  11. In another bowl, mix the onion, tomatoes, mango, sweetcorn kernel, chilli and coriander with a pinch of salt. Combine everything well.
  12. Now, take a large mixing bow. Tip in the vegetable mixture and the three chutneys. Mix really well and check for salt and also see whether you would like to add more chutney. Once you are satisfied with the taste, add the popped amaranth seeds and khakhra, mix well and transfer to a serving bowl.
  13. Garnish with some chopped coriander and sev (if using).


  1. You can prepare the vegetables and chutneys ahead of time. But bring it all together when eating else it will go soggy.
  2. I have a jar of Dr. Oetker’s imli chutney sauce which is what I used. You can make your own tamarind chutney, go here for recipe.

Here are the dry ingredients. Top Row: Left – Coriander. Right – Sev. Bottom Row: Left – Popped Amaranth Seed & Khakhra Mixture. Right – Vegetables.

Dry Ingredients for Bhel of Popped Amaranth Seeds & Khakhra









Here are the three chutneys I added.

Chutneys for Bhel of Popped Amaranth Seeds & Khakhra