Monday, June 27, 2022

Best way to Bake Potatoes ever!

Step aside potato wedges, shove off hasselbacks, we have a new baked potato dish in town, and it is daaaamn yummy.

Golden baked, gently crushed potatoes in an oven tray still in the oven.

Last week, my friend Smitha Hemadri shared her method for steamed and baked potatoes. 😱 The moment I saw it I knew I HAD to make it RIGHT AWAY!

The simplicity of this recipe just blows my mind. It has literally ONE ingredient – Potatoes.

  • Scrub and clean potatoes very well, and remove the eyes
  • DO NOT peel them (you’ll see how the skin turns out to be the *tastiest* part by the end)
  • Pierce all over with a clean needle or toothpick (but be careful that the toothpick doesn’t break off into the potato πŸ˜‚)
  • Steam the potatoes whole for 20-30 mins, depending on the size
  • Preheat oven to 250C (450F)
  • Line the steamed potatoes on a baking tray and then, this is the most important bit, gently press down on each one using something flat and heavy (I used a rock). They should get crushed lightly and open up, but not mashed completely. If they fall apart a bit, it’s okay (the larger potatoes do this), very gently squish the bits together into one crumbled mass.
  • Bake for 30 minutes
  • Serve hot

That’s it! No salt, no oil, no garlic, no herbs. Nothing else required.

If you like, you can drizzle a little hot sauce over it and serve (Bhut Jholokia FTW πŸ”₯), but you won’t believe how freaking scrumptious it tastes just on its own.

The gentle crushing is the KEY here. It creates multiple textures while baking. Soft in some parts, crispy and crunchy in some. Like seriously, I can’t even explain it in words. You have to try it to get what I mean.

Oh and as a chef, you might get very tempted to add things into the crevices before baking – crushed garlic, vegan butter, olive oil, salt, herbs, pepper, nooch... I really wanted to! But resist the temptation. Just make these potatoes plain, at least the first time.

You need to experience the pure potato flavours and textures in all their glory. πŸ˜ƒ

If you try this, let me know how you like it. Also, Smitha is the queen of highly creative, super healthy recipes. Check out more of her Insta posts if you’re into eating clean.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Vegan Hobnobs Style Biscuits

My first attempt at homemade Hobnobs. They turned out reaaaaally yummy and crunchy, though not exactly like the packaged ones.

I did quite a bit of research online to find a recipe to work off of. Among them all, the one from Wendy Finn was the most appealing to me because she's simplified it beautifully.

I modified that recipe considerably to incorporate ingredients that are more accessible in India. I also switched the measurements from weight to volume because I know a lot of casual bakers here don't own food weighing equipment. And of course, in my usual lazy style, I had to make it even easier to make and clean up after. Haha

Commercial Hobnobs are often vegan too, but these are slightly healthier. Only because they don’t contain unpronounceable/numbered/chemically ingredients. There’s plenty of sugar and oil in there though. πŸ˜›

Vegan homemade hobnobs biscuits lined up on a wire rack. Oven mitt in the background.

I fully intend to develop a much healthier version of these biscuits at some point. But for now, here’s the recipe if you’d like to try your hand at them.

Dry Ingredients

1 C Rolled Oats (I used the gluten free rolled oats from Jus'Amazin*)
1/2 C Whole Wheat Flour (use the slightly rough kind)
1/2 C Maida
Little more than 1/2 C Powdered Sugar (brown and white mixed)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt

Wet Ingredients

Little more than 1/2 C Coconut Oil
1 T Maple Syrup
1 T Plant Based Mylk (a little more if needed)

Preheat oven to 180C/350F

  • Whisk together dry ingredients 
  • Add coconut oil and rub it in until the mixture is crumbly
  • Mix in the maple syrup and mylk and form into a soft dough 
  • Shape into balls, lightly flatten and place in a baking tray 
  • Leave a decent amount of gap because these babies expand big time 
  • Bake for 15-18 mins until golden 
  • Cool completely and enjoy {crunch} 😁

*Use my code “VEGANOSAURUS10” during checkout on Jus’Amazin if you plan to order the rolled oats from them. They have many other absolutely delicious products too. When you use my code, you get 10% off on every order you place. This is above the already discounted prices on the website. And they offer free pan India shipping.

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Thursday, March 03, 2022

Bite Sized Okara Patties – What's Okara, and how to use it?

"What do you do with your Okara?"
“Wait, did you mean Okra?”
“No, no. I meant Okara only.”
“What’s that now?” 🀨

When you make plant mylks, some of them need straining right? The leftover paste is Okara. It refers to soy pulp, but the term can loosely be used for other mylk pulps too.

When I make peanut curds, I don’t strain the mylk. I feel the pulp gives the curd a more thick and creamy texture. Plus the fibre is a good prebiotic. (Also I’m too lazy to strain it).

But the designated peanut curd maker in our house is way too particular about the texture. He claims that the pulp makes the curd pasty and insists on straining the mylk every single time. πŸ™„ And since peanut curd is made at home at least once a month (curd rice is a staple at our monthly Bengaluru Vegans Potluck), there's a constant supply of Okara at home.

A bit of the pulp can be mixed into chapathi/bread dough, gravies, sambar, etc. But there’s always more pulp than can be used this way. So more often than not, it sits in the fridge getting old and then we have to compost it.

Dry and tasteless as it is, Okara's still full of healthy fibre and easily digestible proteins. I always feel guilty about wasting it.

In my pursuit of using it up creatively, I made Okara Choco Chip Cookies last year. The recipe was a combination of this one from The Okara Project, and my signature Chocolate Chip/Chunk Cookies. They were daaaammmmmnnn yum! 🀀

But my tummy flab quavers in dread at the thought of cookies appearing every time we have Okara at home. πŸ˜‚

So lately I’ve been making savoury snacks with it instead – patties, cutlets, neat balls…

You mix a bunch of stuff into the paste, shape and bake. Once you get the hang of it, it’s quite flexible to experiment with.

The three key things to keep in mind are – textures, flavours and binding.

🌺 Since Okara is bland (all the tasty stuff goes into the mylk), it needs super strong flavouring. Be verrrry generous with the spices and seasonings you put in!

🌺 Good binders are important to counter the moisture. I’ve tried random combinations of corn starch, arrowroot powder, psyllium husk, flaxseed powder, Banamin's gota/vada mix*, etc.

🌺 The Okara by itself doesn’t have an enjoyable mouthfeel, so mix in some crunchy/chewy ingredients for texture. I’ve done chopped mushrooms, seeds/nuts, crumbled tofu, leafy greens…

Then it’s just a matter of shaping and baking. I usually do 200-220°C for 15 mins, gently flip them and then bake for another 15 mins. The temperature and baking time depends on the size of the patties/balls, and how wet your mixture is. So adjust accordingly.

Here's a recipe for you. Use it as a guideline and do your own thing. There's plenty of potential for variety. :)

Dark background, black tray with small, bite sized patties on it.

Monday, February 07, 2022

Creamy Broccoli Hazelnut Soup

Angled view of striped blue and white bowl with creamy broccoli hazelnut soup in it. It's on a wooden cutting board placed on a granite kitchen counter top. Reflection of the bowl on the counter top at the bottom of the photograph.


Have you ever tried soup with boondi sprinkled on it? Here's how that stroke of genius came about today...

I'd finished licking up my big serving of soup and was congratulating myself on a particularly healthy, nutritious lunch. ☺️ Soooo much broccoli in my tummy!

I rinsed the bowl and was just about to walk out of the kitchen, when I spied the khara boondi pack on the counter looking at me with its smug little face. 😏

Its voice in my head sounded like a bunch of tiny squeaky imps in chorus, "healthy lunch, you say? Muhuhahaha." 😈

I'd like to claim that my willpower was strong, but traitor that it is, it went, "the lunch was healthy, so what harm could a bit of boondi do, really?"

I succumbed. 🀷🏻‍♀️

As I was guiltily munching on the boondi, I was struck by a thought... "boondi on soup". Wait, what?! I had to try it right away.

Spoonful of hazelnut broccoli soup held up to the camera with boondi sprinkled on it. Silly imp faces digitally drawn on to the boondis.

I was too full, so I only tasted a spoonful of soup with some boondi sprinkled on. What an awesome combination it was! The creaminess and crunch complimented each other perfectly.

Soup's a rare event in our house. I don't know why, because it's such a healthy, deeply satisfying meal. But I have a feeling that the next time I buy boondi (which is also rare), I'm totally going to be making soup to have with it.

Aha! Take that evil boondi! You're only going to inspire more healthy choices in me.πŸ˜›

Anyway, on to the recipe. As always, feel free to switch flavours around to suit your tastebuds and ingredient availability.

Creamy vegan soup being ladled into a bowl. Top view, close up.

Creamy Broccoli Hazelnut Soup

To blend:
500 gms Broccoli (florets and stems)
3 T Hazelnuts
1 T Nutritional Yeast (optional)
3 small cloves of Garlic
1/4 tsp Jaggery
Salt (I used a mix of regular and pink)

To stir in later:
Freshly crushed Black Pepper
Dried Orange Peel Powder
Lemon Juice

  • Steam the broccoli for 20-25 mins and allow to cool slightly
  • Grind hazelnuts, nooch, garlic, and salt into a powder*
  • Add the steamed broccoli and a bit of water and blend into a creamy paste
  • Pour in more water as required and blend into desired thickness of soup
  • Transfer to a vessel, crush pepper on top and sprinkle dried orange peel powder
  • Warm up the soup for a few minutes on medium heat while stirring
  • Take it off the heat and stir lemon juice into it
  • Serve warm (possibly with boondi sprinkled on top hehe) and enjoy! :)

*This powder makes for a damn yum Parmesan alternative!

Note: All khara boondis are not created equal. The one I had today happened to be from Adukale (very tasty), but Maiyas and MTR boondis are super delicious too. Only thing, make sure to check the ingredients every single time! Stupid ghee gets added to boondi sometimes. Grr. 😑

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Gluten Free Banana Flour Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

generally don’t venture too much into gluten free baking. My fortΓ© is vegan baking, and I tend to stick to it.

But recently I scored some highly nutritious allergy friendly flours from Banamin Health Care and I wanted to see if I could come up with a completely GF cake with the Green Banana Flour. I was totally surprised by the results!

The texture is on the crumbly side and also more fudgy than cakey. But overall a very yummy thing.

GF Banana Flour Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

Dry Ingredients:

1 C Banamin Green Banana Flour

3 Tbsp Cocoa Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Sada

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Arrowroot Powder

1/2 tsp Salt

Wet Ingredients:

1 Cup Brown Sugar

2 Tbsp Jus’Amazin Crunchy Hazelnut Spread

2 Tbsp Coconut Oil

1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

1 tsp Psyllium Husk

1 C Warm Water

  • Whisk together wet ingredients & allow to cool completely in fridge
  • Preheat oven to 180 c/350 F
  • Lightly grease a cake pan and line it with baking paper
  • Mix together dry ingredients
  • Quickly mix wet & dry mixtures (don’t overmix)
  • Pour into cake pan
  • Bake for 35 mins and test with a toothpick for doneness (bake for 5-10 mins longer if required)
  • First cool the cake in the pan for 15 mins, then gently transfer to a wire rack along with the paper and cool completely before slicing

For the Icing:


  • Whisk Jus’Amazin Crunchy Hazelnut Spread in a few spoons of Warm Water 
  • Pour over the cake 
  • Optionally layer with Strawberry Compote (made by cooking down chopped strawberries with sugar)


If you'd like some sweet discounts:


Use my referral* code "VEGANOSAURUS10" on Jus'Amazin or Banamin websites to get 10% off on all your orders, every time.


Jus'Amazin has free pan India shipping on all orders.

* I receive an affiliate commission when you use my code at no additional cost to you. Read my disclosure page for more details.