Fast and Furious

My Favourite 7 Bean Salad

I love eating this salad in the monsoon. It substantial but vegetarian, cooling and warming, complex and simple. Ready to eat in half an hour and still delicious a day later.




1 cup of mixed beans- red kidney beans (rajmha), pink kidney beans, chick peas, (kabuli channa ), dried green peas, green gram , black eyed peas or soya beans. Soak in 4 cups of boiling water for an hour.

2 sprigs of thyme

1 cup of pearl barley cooked for 30 minutes.( or 1 cup cooked finger millet)

½ cup grape tomatoes, cut in halves

Two handfuls of spinach, roughly chopped and wilted over low flame for 3 minutes, till cooked.

½ cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped

½ red onion finely chopped

1 cup finely shredded cabbage.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons lime juice

Salt and Pepper

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1. Pressure cook  the soaked and drained beans in 500 ml water with a few sprigs of fresh or dried thyme for 25 minutes. Turn off heat and let the pressure come down normally. Open cooker and remove thyme sprigs. Drain and reserve any cooking liquid.

2. Mix with the cooked and fluffy pearl barley.

3. Add the tomatoes, spinach, cabbage, coriander and onion and mix well.

4. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

5. Make a dressing of two tablespoons olive oil and two tablespoons lime juice. Mix with a little of the reserved cooking  liquid.Pour over salad and serve warm or cold.

Express Khichadi with Vegetables- A Meal in 20 minutes



Fast food need not mean the greasy ,synthetic, barely edible stuff available at a variety of food chains with fancy names of Scottish clans and Italian famiglias.

Fast food can mean healthy, fresh and filling meals made in a jiffy. You just need to know the recipes.

Here's one, whipped together with what you usually have in any Indian kitchen and the indispensable pressure cooker.


1 1/3 cup rice

2/3 cup toor dal

1/4 cup frozen peas

2 tbsp oil or ghee

1 onion, finely chopped

1 large potato cubed

2 tbsp peanuts, roasted

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 " ginger sliced

1 green chilli, chopped fine

1 tsp cumin, powdered

1/2 tsp black pepper ground

4 cloves ground

1 " piece of cinnamon

Pinch of asafoetida

2 tbsp chopped coriander

600 ml water

1 tsp salt


 Wash the rice and lentils well till water runs clear. Soak in water while getting the other ingredients ready.

Heat the oil or ghee in a 3-5 litre pressure cooker. When hot saute the garlic and onions in the oil. Add the ginger and green chilli and fry some more. Now add the cumin, the peas and poattoes. Fry for a minute or two then add the pepper,cinnamon ,cloves and asafoetida.Give it a good stir and add the drained rice and lentils. Now add the water and salt. Cover with the lid and put on the weight of the cooker.

Cook on high heat till the cooker gives one whistle. Turn the heat off and leave to cool and reduce to normal pressure. Now open lid and serve hot with yogurt and pickle.

Absolutely yum and incredibly fast to produce!



The Man who fed Google

Considering how many young people in Pune work in the IT sector, Food 2.0 should be a best seller here. The cookbook is written by  Charlie Ayers, who  introduces himself as "The Chef who Fed Google" and thats a mighty savvy introduction.For who is not in awe of that group of bright young people who founded one of the most important tools of our time? Obviously whatever was feeding their brains was something good.

"Those Google guys...were curious and adventurous, and wanted exciting flavors. They were from all parts of the country, and all over the world. They were young, most of them recently out of school, and they worked all the time...they barely had time to shower, much less worry about what to eat."

Charlie grew with Google and with them his ideas about food- " I came to believe that we can all eat delicious, clean fast cuisine that is good for us, good for the community, and good for the Earth. "

Fast, Raw and Organic is his mantra and I like it. It works. His tips are great -about keeping fruit cut and ready for use, vegetables cleaned and chopped for snacking or cooking, using different oils for everyday variations in flavour, how to cook pasta well with additions to make it fast and tasty,...every page has a trick you can use right away.
Even for people who are not rushed off their feet the basic advice Charlie Ayers gives, about eating healthy and eating well, is sound.

There are irresistable features like -  "Kitchen Essentials",i.e.  what you absolutely need in your kitchen,  "The easiest meal, ever" i.e.something fast and furious, and  "Pick me Up" i.e fantastic breakfast ideas . Plus a host of very useable recipes, from  Khmer Spring Rolls  to Lamb Korma. There is enough variety here to satisfy the fussiest eater. For those ingredients we cannot get here, like turkey, blue cheese or rye bread , substitutions can be made with other readily available foods such as chicken, baramati cheese or ragi bread.

Here is a taste of Food 2.0. This, for a power packed, filling and healthy breakfast that lasts the whole morning.
(BTW notes in brackets are mine.)

Quick Apple Oaty Thing

Serves 1

3/4 cup rolled oats ( I use Bagry's or Quaker)
1 1/2 cups apple cider or water ( apple juice is good too)
1 small apple, cored and diced
2 tbsp of your favourite dried fruits, chopped if necessary.( I use kismis and pista)
1 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp flaxseed oil ( I grind up a tbsp of flaxseeds in a mortar and add it immediately)
Wild blossom honey ( any honey is fine)
A large spoonful of thick plain or vanilla yogurt. ( homemade dahi is good too)

Combine the oats, apple cider or water, apple, dried fruits, and pumpkin seeds in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring until thick and the oats are cooked, about 5 minutes. The apple should have some texture to it. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes
Stir in the flax oil and sweeten to taste with honey. Spoon into a serving bowl and top with the yogurt. Drizzle a little more honey over the top if you want a sweeter finish.

Charlie's gyan- " Oats slow the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, providing a steady release of energy".
My gyan "- ...Which is why it is good for people with diabetes as well as those with high cholesterol. The flax seed oil is another cholesterol fighter."

This is one practical book  that can be put to use immediately by all those hungry young things who have never entered the kitchen at home and are now on their own two feet and dying to feed themselves as nutritiously as Mama always did.
If you are one of that tribe, and even if you aren't, pick up this book . You wont regret it.