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Filtering by Tag: recipes

Kale & Coconut Mallung

Sonali Perera

Mallung in Sri Lanka means to "mix up" and typically mixes up shredded leafy vegetables, coconut, onion, chiles, spices and lemon. Mallung is usually served with every Sri Lankan meal which consists of rice and curries. My mother-in-law's kale and coconut mallung recipe is my favorite!


  • 1 bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • lime juice
  • generous grating of black pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in a skillet. Add onions and chile, stirring often until onions soften
  2. Add in the kale and cumin, and cook until kale is cooked through
  3. Add in the coconut, lime juice, salt and pepper and cook enough to heat through
  4. Serve hot or cold with rice and curry or by itself

Mint Chutney

Sonali Perera

Mint chutney (pudina ki chutney) is one of favorites when it comes to Indian sauces. This chutney is not only great for Indian cooking but also one of my favorites to use in American cooking. I use it as a dip for fries, pakoras, grilled meats and more, as a marinade for meats or as a spread on sandwiches (chutney & cucumber sandwiches are my favorite)! Here is my moms pudina ki chutney recipe...


  • 1 bunch of cilantro chopped (include the stems)
  • 1 bunch of mint with stems cut off
  • handful of peanuts (optional)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1 serrano chile
  • 1 lemon
  • a pinch or two of ginger
  • salt to taste
  • sugar to taste
  • coconut (optional)


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender, adding little water and blend

  2. The lemon juice enhances the taste and keeps the chutney green

  3. Chutney will keep in fridge for a couple days or in the freezer for up to a month

I make a couple jars and keep them in the freezer. Add yogurt to the chutney and use it to marinade chicken overnight. Cook in on the grill and serve with rice, raita and a cucumber salad. 




The Khichadi Detox Bowl

Sonali Perera

Growing up, my mom would often make us Khichadi (kich-ah-ree), one of my favorite comfort foods. This simple mix of lentils, rice, vegetables and Indian spices was fed to us to bring us to health but little did I know that khichadi has many nourishing and cleansing benefits. It is considered one of the most healing meals in Ayurveda, because it balances all three doshas. Khichadi pulls toxins from your body, is high in protein and is extremely healing to your digestive tract and intestinal mucosa. Khichadi recipes vary depending on the region. Below is one of my favorite recipes. I enjoy it most with a spoon of ghee, yogurt and papadum. 

Serving size: 4 servings


  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 1 ½  tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp whole mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½  tsp cumin
  • ½  tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 small dried red chili pepper, crumbled (or half for less spicy)
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ cup split mung beans or whole mung beans soaked over night
  • ½ cup brown or white basmati rice
  • 2 ½ cup water
  • 2 cups chopped vegetables ( like carrot, pees, celery, cauliflower, broccoli)
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • squeeze lemon or lime
  • 1 diced tomato
  • spoon of ghee


  • In a medium pot, sauté onion in oil over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium add ginger and garlic, and sauté a few minutes, until golden brown.
  • Add spices, pepper, salt and  stirring, toast for a few more minutes.
  • Add soaked mung beans and rice.
  • Add water and 2 cups chopped veggies bring to a good boil.
  • Cover. Turn heat to low, and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Check for doneness. Continue cooking for 5 to 10 more minutes if necessary. Some rice takes longer, and if you do not pre-soak your whole mung beans, you will need to add more water, which will change the recipe proportions and flavor…so try to soak if possible.
  • Once it is done, mix with ghee and top with fresh diced tomato and fresh cilantro and a pinch of salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon or lime.

Indian Inspired Cocktails We Love

Sonali Perera

Here are some of our favorite East Indian inspired cocktails that we love! A mix of unexpected flavors and textures in these cocktails will be sure to bring back memories of your annual trips to India. 


Tamarind Margarita


  • 2 half-inch slices of cucumber
  • 8 leaves fresh cilantro
  • 2 quarter-inch slices of fresh green finger chili (any medium-mild chili, such as jalapeno or Anaheim can be substituted)
  • 1.75 oz gin
  • .5 oz fresh lime juice
  • .5 oz simple syrup


  1. Muddle cucumber, cilantro, and chili in a cocktail shaker or mixing glass until well broken and slightly mashed.
  2. Add gin, lime, and simple syrup and shake vigorously.
  3. Strain into a double rocks glass, half filled with ice.
  4. Garnish with a slice of cucumber.

Indian Summer


  • .25 cup vodka
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsps water
  • 2 tbsps fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp tamarind concentrate
  • .5 cup crushed ice
  • 2 orange (slices, cut into quarters)
  • 2 pineapple slices (cut into quarters)


  1. Combine first 5 ingredients, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  2. Divide vodka mixture, ice, orange quarters, and pineapple quarters between 2 glasses.


The Spiked Lassi


  • 1.75 oz premium vodka
  • .50 oz plain yogurt
  • .75 oz honey syrup
  • .5 oz lemon
  • 2 dashes angostura bitters
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • a pinch of salt
  • a fennel frond
  • Freshly cracked black pepper


  1. Spray the interior of a martini glass with Le Tourment Absinthe.
  2. Add all the ingredients to pint glass.
  3. Add ice, shake and strain into the martini glass.
  4. Crack fresh black pepper on the top of the drink and finish with a fennel frond.



Mango Masti


  • 1 oz premium vanilla vodka
  • 1 oz amaretto
  • 2 oz mango juice


  1. Chill a cocktail glass in the freezer.
  2. Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and add about 4 cubes of ice.
  3. Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Serve with mandarin orange skewer and add a sprig of mint.




Desi Bloody Mary


  • 2 oz premium vodka
  • 4 oz tomato juice
  • 1 tsp dry sherry
  • 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • .50 tsp horseradish
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • .25 tsp celery salt
  • Tabasco Sauce
  • sprinkle of garam masala
  • squeeze of lime juice


  1. In a shaker or glass combine the tomato juice with the vodka, sherry, and Worcestershire sauces and a good pinch of celery salt, salt and pepper, tobasco (to taste) and the horseradish.
  2. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and stir well or shake. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  3. Fill two glasses with the ice, then pour over the bloody Mary.
  4. Add a slice of lime and a sprinkling of fresh garam masala.
  5. Garnish with celery, olives and whatever else your heart desires.

Six Important Spices for Indian Cooking

Sonali Perera

Growing up, my moms kitchen always had a 'masala dabba'. A round stainless steel container with a lid and 6-7 round containers inside with spices that are the most important spices used in Indian cooking. What I didn't realize until recently was that these spices along with ginger, garlic, onions and tomatoes are all you really need to make a delicious Indian dish. 

Below is a breakdown of the 6 most important spices used in Indian cooking. 

Black Mustard Seeds (Rai):
Black, tiny round balls commonly used in South and North Indian foods. You probably remember the loud, crackling sound they make when your mom throws them into hot oil to do 'tadka'. Tadka is a method used when seeds and spices are added to hot cooking oil causing the seeds and spices to crackle, bringing out their full flavor. 

Cumin Seeds or Powder (Jeera):
These seeds are brown colored, oblong, bitter in taste with a distinctive aroma. Jeera is sprinkled in powder or whole seed form to various dishes. You might remember it being sprinkled into your chaas (yogurt shake) in whole form with salt. Jeera has Ayurvedic properties that can calm the digestive system.

Cayenne Powder (Mirchi):
This bright red powder is added to most Indian dishes for heat and the beautiful red colors. Cayenne power also has a lot of therapeutic properties and is gaining a lot of buzz in the US for its uses in cleansing and detoxifying regimes such as the Master Cleanse. 

Turmeric Powder (Haldi):
A deep yellow colored powder that is gaining a lot of buzz in the US for being one of the world's healthiest foods. It is used to make curry and it is also what gives yellow mustard the bright yellow color! I used it in my face masks. Just add some yogurt, lemon and haldi, and smear it all over your face. Stains your clothes so be careful...

Coriander Powder (Dhania):
This powder is ground, roasted coriander seeds (super easy to make at home). This powder is used in most Indian cooking for flavor. Coriander powder is also used in various spice mixes such as Garam Masala and Sambar powder. 

Cinnamon Sticks:
I never realized how much cinnamon is used in savory Indian food. It is usually added to the beginning of a recipe during the 'tadka'. Cinnamon sticks are mixed into the hot oil, making a flavorful oil to cook the food in. 

Stay tuned for recipes using these important spices!