Eggless French Toast

With Mother’s Day around the corner, I thought I should share some breakfast-in-bed ideas that dad and the kids can whip up easily. This recipe is a change from the usual pancakes /PBJ / store bought muffins, etc. They can be made either savory or sweet, and are vegetarian. The basic recipe idea comes from both my grandmother & Show Me The Curry, and I have adapted it to suit our tastes.

Eggless French Toast

Eggless Savory French Toast

  • 1/2 cup besan (chickpea flour)
  • 1 Tbsp rice flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp fine sooji (if all you have is regular sooji, give it a quick whir in the blender)
  • 2 Tbsp yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp green chilli (finely minced) OR chilli powder
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 tsp ginger paste (optional)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4-5 slices of day-old sandwich bread

Eggless French Toast

[Here’s my grandma making french toast 🙂 ]

1) Sift together besan, rice flour & baking soda into a flat-bottomed wide dish.

2) Add all the other ingredients (except bread) and stir well till no lumps are left. (Add a teaspoon or two of extra water only if absolutely necessary to make the paste smoother.)

3) Place your griddle / shallow frying pan on medium heat to preheat.

4) Soak each slice of bread in the besan mixture for a few seconds on each side.

5) Lightly grease the griddle and cook the bread on medium-low flame, flipping over as each side is crispy and golden. Add a few drops of oil around the bread as it cooks on each side to keep it from getting dry.

Alternately, add a teaspoon of butter on the griddle and cook the bread in it – it’s delicious!!

6) Repeat till all slices are done and serve with ketchup / hot & sweet sauce.

Eggless Sweet French Toast

  • 1/2 cup besan (chickpea flour)
  • 1 Tbsp rice flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp fine sooji (if all you have is regular sooji, give it a quick whir in the blender)
  • 2 Tbsp yogurt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla / cinnamon powder / orange zest

1) Follow the same cooking method as above.

2) Serve the toast topped with maple syrup, fruit slices, or jam.

Serve MOM these French Toast slices with Blueberry Yogurt Parfait (click here for recipe) and hot tea or coffee.

Blueberry Yogurt Parfait

Blueberry Yogurt Parfait


For regular French Toast recipe, click here.

Read my Mother’s Day post from 2014 for instructions on how to make a Cupcake Bouquet.

These French Toast slices will keep well for lunch boxes too – just add a side of veggies and fruit for a complete meal.

Eggless French Toast


Spicy Cajun Pasta

Spicy Cajun Pasta


If there’s one thing I like almost as much as good food, it’s a good book. I didn’t get much reading in the past few months, and the list I keep on my phone kept growing and growing. Finally, I decided to put a few books on hold at the library, and as luck would have it, I got all five at the same time! Three of them kept me engrossed enough that I’ve neglected  chores around the house and emptied out the freezer come dinner time. The culprits for the big gap in posts on this blog are I Never Promised You A Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed, and Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (more info below).

One of the books I just finished is a 2011 National Book Award winner titled Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward. Set in rural Mississippi in the days just before and right after Hurricane Katrina, motherless teens deal with a drunk dad, poverty, hunger, uncertainty, birth, death, and the fury of the Hurricane. Yet, love and tenderness is evident through the book – between siblings, parent, pet, and friends – in unconventional ways. Each and every character – from the protagonist Esch to the dog China – is powerfully, yet beautifully described by Jesmyn Ward. The novel culminates in a chapter where the family is caught in the storm surge from the Hurricane, and it gave me the chills. I highly recommend reading this book.

Thoughts of Hurricane Katrina led to thoughts of spicy Cajun food. Since my husband has been making Sunday night dinners for the last few years, my request this week was for his spicy Cajun pasta. He has looked up recipes online, but this is his own version. (Adapted from   Enjoy! It’s delicious!!

Spicy Cajun Pasta


Spicy Cajun Pasta

(Serves 6-7)

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 1 extra large tomato
  • 1 (12oz) packet Aidells Habenero & Green Chilli Chicken Sausage (OR) about 12-16 oz smoked sausage of choice (slice into rings) *
  • 3 cups chicken broth / water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp cajun seasoning
  • salt to taste
  • 16oz penne pasta (cooked, rinsed and drained)
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
  • sliced green onions to garnish

1) Heat oil in a wide, heavy bottomed pan with lid.

2) Add minced garlic and saute till golden and fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3) Add onions and saute till transparent.

4) Add tomato and saute for a few seconds. Cover lid and cook on medium -high till soft, and onion-tomato mixture blends together.

5) Add red pepper flakes and the sausage, cream & broth and bring to a boil.

6) Simmer 5 minutes till flavors meld. Add pasta and stir well. Season with salt to taste.

7) Heat thoroughly, and serve topped with some cheese and sliced green onion.

*NOTE : You may substitute the sausage with red, yellow, and green peppers to make a vegetarian version of the recipe.

Homemade “Instant” Pongal

“Mom, what’s for ………………?”

How many of you dread this question? (Fill in the blank with breakfast/ lunch/ snack/ dinner.)

It’s not so much the cooking that bothers me; rather, it’s the planning, pulling out everything needed, cooking, cleaning up, and putting the stuff away, only to do it all over again in a few hours. It’s nice to have a couple things handy to just pull out of the pantry or refrigerator, and do the final touches. No dealing with chopping boards, peeling onions, spice containers, or dirty dishes (well, atleast, not as many).

I make instant upma mix at home for breakfast several times a month. All it requires at meal time is a HOT cup of water. Just stir water and mix, allow it to sit covered for few minutes, and your hot meal is ready. I wanted to try some more recipes like this and played around with a few ideas. Pongal / kichidi was something that seemed possible. After two attempts, I finally arrived at the recipe below. While not as simple as the instant upma, this pongal mix is ready to be cooked. Just add water, mix and salt to a pressure cooker, and your meal is ready in a few minutes. Give it a try.

Quick, easy and satisfying. For a healthy meal, serve with a side of coconut chutney  and a vegetable.

NOTE: For a lower carb version, check out the recipe for Savory Quinoa Pongal.

Homemade “Instant” Pongal

(Entire recipe serves atleast 10-12 people)

  • 2 cups rice
  • 1 cup split yellow mung dal
  • 4 Tbsp ghee
  • 1 cinnamon stick (broken into large pieces)
  • 4 cloves
  • 3 red chillies (snap in half)
  • 1/2 cup cashew pieces
  • 1 sprig curry leaves (stripped, washed, and dried)
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper corn
  • 3 Tbsp cumin/jeera seeds
  • 3/4 cup grated coconut, optional

1) Roast dal on a medium-high flame for a few minutes, stirring often. Make sure it does not brown. Cool.

2) In a large pan, heat ghee on medium flame, making sure it does not smoke.

3) Add the cinnamon and cloves and fry for a few seconds.

4) Add the red chillies and curry leaves; partially cover lid so it does not splatter out of the pan.

5) Add cashews and roast till light golden.

6) Add the pepper and jeera and fry for a few seconds.

7) Add the rice & dal and mix well. Turn off heat and cool completely. Store in an airtight container or in the fridge for a few weeks.


1) Add 1 cup of the pongal mix, 3 cups water & 1 tsp salt to a pressure cooker pan, and stir well.

2) Cook on a medium flame for 2-3 whistles and turn off stove.

3) Allow the pressure to release and remove pongal; stir again and serve hot with ghee and coconut chutney.

4) Serves 3-4

NOTE: Many variations of pongal exist, and the ingredients in this recipe can be adapted to suit your taste. You may also reduce the amount of water in the final round of cooking to 2 1/2 cups. Just remember that the pongal will absorb water as it cools, making it thicker.

To make a vegan version, skip the ghee and use a few spoons of oil.

“Instant” Plain Pongal (Milder version)

This version is good for kids or for those who like milder food.

  • 2 cup rice
  • 1 cup yellow split moong dal
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp ghee or oil (ghee preferred)
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp peppercorn
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 sprig curry leaves

1) On medium flame, dry roast the moong dal for a few minutes, stirring constantly, about 2-3 minutes. Do not brown. Turn off stove, stir in rice and set aside.

2)In a saute pan, heat the ghee / oil.

3) Add pepper & cumin seeds and allow to pop.

4) Add the curry leaves and cover partially with a lid. The moisture in the leaves will make them crackle and pop, and it might splatter out.

5) Add cashews and roast till light golden in color.

6) Turn off stove and add the rice & dal mixture. Stir well and allow to cool. Store in the refrigerator.

To Prepare Pongal:

1 cup rice & dal mix
2 1/2 – 3 cups water
1 tsp salt
Add all ingredients to a pressure cooker and cook on medium for 2-3 whistles. Allow to cool few minutes and remove. Serve with coconut chutney.

Spinach Cottage Cheese Roti

Spinach Cottage Cheese Roti



Cottage Cheese is a calcium rich protein powerhouse, and spinach, as we all know, is one of the wonder-foods packed with iron and fiber. I have tasted methi masala rotis before, and had heard of using cottage cheese to make rotis soft. When I came across a recipe for spinach cheese parathas at Saffron Hut, I wanted to try them. I changed the recipe to make just rotis without the stuffing. I was surprised at how nicely they fluffed up while cooking, and they kept beautifully for a few days in the refrigerator. Reheating was as easy as putting them on a hot griddle for a few minutes each side. This breakfast is on regular rotation in my family.

Spinach Cottage Cheese Roti

(8-10 rotis)

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves (packed)
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • few spoons oil to cook rotis

1) In a large food processor bowl, add cottage cheese, spinach, chilli, cumin & turmeric powders and salt. Puree till well mixed.

Spinach Cottage Cheese Roti


2) Add the whole wheat flour and pulse few times till a dough forms. DO NOT ADD WATER.

Spinach Cottage Cheese Roti

3) Set aside covered in a bowl for 10 minutes. Check to see if the dough is too dry or soft, and add cottage cheese or flour as needed. Set aside covered for another  15-20 minutes.

4) Knead lightly and form into 8-10 balls.

Spinach Cottage Cheese Roti

5) Roll out into thin rotis and cook on a hot griddle, brushing with some oil on both sides.

Spinach Cottage Cheese Roti

6) Serve with some yogurt or a pat of butter.

Baked Parmesan Spinach Balls

Baked Parmesan Spinach Balls

(Photo credit: Karan – 9 years old)

I have served this appetizer about a dozen times, and it is always a hit. Can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer; just take out and bake before serving. (See NOTE at end of post about stuffing mix and eggs.)

Baked Parmesan Spinach Balls

(Makes about 40 balls)

  • 2 (10 oz) packets frozen chopped spinach (thaw & drain well)
  • 1 (6 oz) stuffing mix – about 2 1/2 cups, any flavor
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 5 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 3/4 cup butter (melted)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp crushed black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 350*

2) Thaw and squeeze out water from the spinach and place in a large bowl.

3) Add stuffing mix, eggs, cheese, butter, salt and peppers. Mix well but gently.

4) Measure out tablespoons full of mix and shape into balls (I use a small ice-cream scoop).

5) Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.

6) Alternately, you can freeze the spinach balls uncooked – cover the cookie sheet with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for several hours. Once frozen, you can remove the balls and store in a ziplock bag till ready to use.

Bake frozen spinach balls 12-14 minutes at 350*

NOTE: I’m assuming that the boxed stuffing mix can be substituted with homemade coarse bread crumbs and seasonings. I have previously successfully substituted ground flax seeds for eggs when using as a binding agent (1 Tbsp flax seed powder and 3 Tbsp water – stir well and set aside for a few minutes; then mix in.) I plan on using these substitutions the next time I make this dish, and will update the post on whether it was a success. If you beat me to it, please leave a comment on how it turned out.