Monday, 27 July 2015



It is never late to learn anything in this life provided you are interested in learning, that is what I personally think. For this to happen, we need to have the attitude of wanting to learn, and to not think we know everything. You can be a jack of all but you can not be master of all. Some people think they are master of all, to these type of people when I try to explain something, it is impossible because their glass is always full and their answer is always, “I know this and I know that already”. If you keep your glass half full at least there is room to listen and grasp something new from somewhere or from somebody.

Talking about learning, when I was in Southern Africa, in 2007 I joined “Weigh Less” because I wanted to shed some kilos. This is very similar to the weight watchers of the Americas (with a few differences). I got some good results and lost some kilos. Together with losing weight, I learned very important information on how to cook food using very little oil or how can we replace frying by grilling or baking in a recipe.

Though at that time, I had problems when I was following their weigh less formula for food, because they had no books or recipes for vegetarian people like me. I had to replace meat fish, eggs etc. with my vegetarian protein. I learned about how we can make the same recipes in a much healthier way by changing the cooking techniques. Until today, this information is playing a vital role in my life and in my cooking journey. It does not mean I do not eat any fried food, but I have restricted it to only one meal in a week.

This recipe of baked spring rolls is a very good example of low-fat cooking because very little oil is used but it still tastes just as good as the fried version. If you make low-fat or baked items instead of frying them, you will have to compromise a little bit with the taste but the benefits of eating low-fat foods are endless.

I have tasted different fillings for these spring rolls in different restaurants, whenever I go to restaurants if springs rolls are on the menu, I definitely take one plate and try. But this filling is my own creation which is my favourite of all because it has got some form of protein and sprouted mung beans are there together with some veggies. Check the recipe here on how to sprout your own mung beans.




  • 12 spring roll pastry sheets
  • oil for frying and for glazing the baked ones

  • One big onion
  • One big green pepper
  • 100 grams frozen corn
  • 100 grams sprouted mung beans
  • 200 grams paneer OR Haloomi cheese
  • Salt and black pepper for taste
  • 2 tbs oil
  • 1 tbs ground mustard seeds

  • Heat oil in a fry pan or wok and add mustard seeds.
  • Fry onion and green pepper together for few minutes till they are soft.
  • Add sprouted mung beans and cheese and cook for few more minutes.
  • Add salt black pepper and keep it aside.
For Baking

  • Preheat oven at 180 degrees C
  • Cut the spring roll pastry in 4 pieces.
  • Arrange them in alternate order in a cupcake tray and grease with oil each sheet, spoon the filling in it.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes till they are light brown as shown in the photo.

For Frying

  • Heat oil in a wok or fry pan.
  • Take one sheet of spring roll pastry, place filing in the middle, one tbs of filling and fold from all sides, give shape as desired.
  • Fry in a hot oil till golden brown.
  • Serve hot with any taste of chutney or ketchup.

Sunday, 19 July 2015



In South Africa and in many southern African countries barbecue is called braai. Braai word came from the Afrikaans language which is now one of the official languages of South Africa. This language was spoken by early Dutch settlers of Africa. This language has adopted words from many African and European languages (such as Portuguese and English), and now is widely spoken in South Africa and Namibia.

After my long stay in southern Africa, now I am so much used to this word- braai, that I am finding barbecue is a long word to pronounce. Anyhow I will have to get used to it, as the proverb says – “When you are in Rome do as Romans do”.

When I talk about braai I mean barbecue, I remember one incidence of the early 90s, when I was teaching in Africa, in my school there was a party for teachers, in which they were planning to do a braai in the evening. It was a social gathering for all staff members of the school, and they had no idea of roasting anything for vegetarians like me. I thought I will attend the party for a short time and then will go home and eat my dinner later at home.

While I was thinking about that, a colleague of mine said, “You don't know what are you missing, because you do not eat meat, what are you going to eat this evening, are you going to roast cabbage”? I felt offended but was not in a mood to answer him back then and there. In the evening, when we were chatting in the braai gathering, I asked the same colleague of mine, “Do you smoke?”, he quickly answered “No, not at all”, then I told him, “Oh no, you do not know what are you missing because you do not smoke”. He looked at me and realized his mistake and said “sorry, I didn't mean to offend you”.

20 years ago, being vegetarian in Africa was a twofold challenge. One is to get vegetarian food in social gatherings and another one was to convince people about vegetarianism so as to have a respect for it. But now things are changing in Africa, people are slowly becoming conscious of vegetarian food and their importance for good health.

Coming to the recipe, this is a very good, and a very well recognized Indian barbecue recipe - Paneer Tikka, which is available in many Indian Restaurants in India and Abroad. In Restaurants, it is mainly served as starters to increase the appetite. This can also be served as a side dish with other light meals or salads during a barbecue party.



  • 500 grams Paneer, cut in big square pieces
  • 2 big red pepper, chopped in big pieces
  • 2 big green pepper, chopped in big pieces
  • 200 grams pineapple (fresh or tinned), chopped in big pieces
  • 200 grams baby potatoes
  • 2 big onions chopped in big pieces

To marinate
  • ½ L dahi (yoghurt)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • a small piece of ginger
  • 2 tbs chat masala
  • salt to taste


  • Mix all the spices well in yoghurt.
  • Take all the vegetables and wrap this mixture separately and leave them aside to marinate for 2-3 hour.
  • Arrange them in the same order in skewers as shown in the picture.
  • Roast on barbecue stand for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally till they are roasted.
    Serve hot with other salads or as the starter.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Bread Pakoda/ Bread Fritter

Bread Pakoda/ Bread Fritter

In Indian cuisine, a variety of pakoras is made with many vegetables like potatoes, onions, spinach, cauliflower. Paneer pakoras are very famous in Punjab. Punjabi's, in general, are very fond of different types of pakoras, they serve pakoras on every occasion.

During my long stay in Africa, this was one of the favourite dish amongst my African friends, those who were visiting me at my place. They have always admired this snack and were asking for the recipe. Many of them asked the same question, “what did I use for batter to cover the bread”, they thought I used eggs but they had no idea about, what else can be used because they hardly cook vegetarian meals. Some of my African colleague and friends were really interested in learning vegetarian dishes, some were trying my recipes in their homes and they were giving me feedback that they enjoyed it with their families.

When I talk about pakoras/pakodas in general, I feel like eating them, because of their awesome taste. I think, being Indian I love pakoras. In India, it is any time or every time snack. This snack goes very well with evening tea, or for any guest, for parties, functions or any other occasion to celebrate. In almost all Indian restaurants, either in India or abroad, some sorts of pakoras are definitely served as a starter.

For these pakoras old bread works well, because fresh and soft bread is difficult to handle when we dip in chickpeas batter. For Triangle shape, I sliced the bread into two pieces to give triangle shape. French loaf bread which is long and round can also be used to make these pakodas to get round shapes, as you can see in the picture above.



  • 8 bread slices
  • 200 grams chickpeas/chana flour (besan)
  • salt and chili powder to taste
  • pinch soda-bi-crab
  • 1 tbs coriander powder
  • 1 tbs mango powder(optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • oil for frying

  • Slice the bread in two pieces giving triangle shape or slice the bread using french loaf.
  • Add all the spices in chick peas flour and make a thick paste using little water, add soda-bi-crab.
  • Heat oil in a wok on a medium high flame.
  • Dip and fold the bread slices in the batter from both sides and slip it into hot oil.
  • Turn after 2-3 minutes, take it out on kitchen paper,when golden brown from both side.
  • Serve hot with any chutney of taste.