By Shalini Kolluri 


I never liked tempeh. Smelt different, looked like tofu but tasted so unique. I tried my best to give it a chance. All the literature I have ever read abot tempeh made me feel like it deserved another try. I have had it baked, sautéed, and raw on sandwiches. But this  only strengthened my resolve to try harder. Once I discovered this recipe.. I fell in love with it.

I usually use organic three grain tempeh which tastes best when stir fried. It is a subtle blend of brown rice, millet and barley. Not only does it have a nutty flavor and a firm texture, it is packed with fiber, vitamins and healthy protein. Its protein content helps you maintain muscle tissue, and also make enzymes your cells need to function. Although, I must admit if its your first time, it takes getting used to.

A word of caution- tempeh is high in calories, at 320 calories per cup. Each serving contains 18 grams of total fat. While most of this fat comes from beneficial poly- and monounsaturated fats, tempeh’s high fat content makes it very calorie-dense, which means you’ll consume a large number of calories in a relatively small serving. Monitor your portion size so that you don’t accidentally overeat, which can cause weight gain over time.



1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon agave nectar
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1 teaspoon (Sriracha or  Huy Fong  9 hot sauce)
1 teaspoon lower-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon lime juice
a dash of black pepper
stir fry-
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
2 teaspoons agave
5 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha/hot sauce
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
1 (8-ounce) package organic tempeh, cut into 1/3-inch strips
2 cups thinly sliced carrot
1 cup (2-inch) strips red bell pepper
1 cup strips of green pepper
1 Japanese eggplant sliced
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup scallions sliced
6 ounces soy bean sprouts

To prepare the peanut sauce, combine 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon agave, 3 tablespoons peanut butter, 1 teaspoon Sriracha,  1 teaspoon soy sauce, lime juice and pepper  in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Set aside.

To prepare stir-fry, combine 2 teaspoons agave, 5 teaspoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon Sriracha, and garlic in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon sesame oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add tempeh and half of soy sauce mixture; stir-fry for 5 minutes or until tempeh is golden brown. Remove tempeh mixture from pan.


Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add carrot, bell peppers, and eggplants; stir-fry 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water; reduce heat to medium. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until beans are crisp-tender.


Stir in remaining half of soy sauce mixture, tempeh mixture, scallions, and soy bean sprouts; cook for 2 minutes or until sprouts are tender.


Serve with peanut sauce and rice.



Spicy Chickpea Sweet Potato Hash Topped off with a Fried Egg

 brunch,eggs,indian,masala,sweetpotato,Mini Kolluri,chickpeas,curry,sunny side 

Being a savory brunch kinda girl, I  have often leaned on bacon, sausage and pulled pork to rescue me from depression, hangovers over just plain old hunger. So, while a salad may qualify as a perfect vegetarian brunch option for many an evolved being, I need something more robust to take the place of the piggy!

And, at least six times out of ten, my go-to bold flavor is Indian. As a wink to the countless hashes I have had all over North America and to the spices of my childhood, I present this spicy curried chickpea sweet potato hash. To feed two people,

You will need:

One large sweet potato

3/4 cup of cooked chickpeas

One pod of garlic, chopped

A few slices of onion

A generous handful of baby spinach (optional)

Half a small tomato (chopped)

A handful of chopped coriander leaves aka cilantro

A teaspoon of chili powder

3/4 teaspoon of cumin powder

3/4 teaspoon of coriander powder

salt to taste

Two eggs

Two -three tablespoons of oil

Lemon juice – one tablespoon or so

Method of preparation:

Place a skillet on a burner, pour in the oil and heat. Peel the sweet potato and cut it into cubes. Stir fry them in the hot oil. Feel free to use a lid to aid quick cooking. While the sweet potatoes cook and become crisp, add in the garlic and onion slices. Stir once in a while. Once these veggies get done, add in the spinach, tomato and the chickpeas. Change the sweet potato-chickpea ratio if you like. Season with salt, cumin and coriander powders and lime / lemon. Add in half the chili powder, mix and taste. Add more chili powder to achieve the desired level of heat.

Heat an omelette pan. Add in a tablespoon of oil. Crack two eggs and fry them.

Serve the hash warm with a nice bright egg on top!

singapore rice vermicelli (VEGAN)

By Shalini Kolluri


Rice noodles/vermicelli also called rice noodles is really popular in South East Asian and China. They are commonly used in soups, pad Thais and phos. In India this variety of vermicelli or sevai is used in desserts. These noodles are cholesterol free and low in sodium.

With 200 calories in a 56-gram or 2-ounce serving, vermicelli rice noodles are a high-energy-dense food. Energy density refers to the number of calories a food contains compared to its weight. High-energy-dense foods are not as filling as low-energy-dense foods, and if you’re not careful you might eat more calories than you intended. So I suggest you watch out for that!

Singapore-style noodles  is a dish made of stir fried vermicelli seasoned with soy sauce, garlic, chili and vegetables of your choice. It is served as a vegetarian dish or can be accompanied by small slices of chicken or prawns. However, being a vegan I wouldn’t have it any other way. I stir fry tofu cubes along with my vegetable. Though today’s recipe doesn’t have it, you could try it out.

Why we love lots of color in our food-

Because we look at our food before eating, however, our eyes send signals to our brain well before our taste buds get the chance. This can determine how we experience the taste and flavor of the dish we’re about to eat.

Cuisines prepared in attractive colors have lured people in all over the world. It is necessary to preserve the natural or maintain the characteristic color of a food product while it is cooked. A non-attractive color additive however makes the food look abnormal and is likely to be rejected.

I love this recipe as it is a cross between curry and pad thai. Moreover, it has my favorite vegetables and a sweet-tangy sauce. Hope you enjoy cooking this awesome recipe.



Noodles 170g / 6 ounces ( cook them by adding to a bowl and submerging them in boiling water and cover with lid for 5 minutes. Then drain water and wash with cold water. Drain completely. Add a few drops and sesame oil in this to prevent the noodles from sticking together.)

2 tablespoons sesame oil

salt to taste

1 yellow onion sliced length wise

1/2 cup chopped baby carrot

1 /2 cup long beans

1/4 cup soy bean sprouts

3/4 red bell pepper sliced

1/4 cup green bell pepper

2 teaspoons hot sauce (Sriracha)

3 teaspoons curry powder

1 clove garlic crushed

1 table spoon soy sauce (low sodium)

For the sauce:-

1 large lime, juiced / vinegar 1 table spoon

1.5 tablespoon soy sauce ( low sodium sauce)

3 teaspoon  agave nectar / 1.5 teaspoon sugar

3 cloves garlic mixed

Chili flakes 1/2 teaspoon (optional)


Prepare the sauce by adding the four ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk the contents and keep aside. While doing so, keep in mind that the sauce has a savory sweet taste.

Heat a heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high, add 1 tablespoon sesame oil. To this add garlic and toss in the onions. Once they turn translucent add in the beans and carrot. These take longer to cook so, cover with a lid and cook for 4-5 minutes.  Once they are cooked add in the peppers and sprouts. Saute’ on medium for 4-5 minutes. Add some salt and 1 tablespoon soy sauce to this.

After cooking them, set them aside. Make sure they are crunchy and not mushy, this adds texture to the noodles.

In another skillet, add the other 1 tablespoon of oil. After it heats up, add in the cooked noodles, toss in the curry powder, the sauce we prepared earlier and hot sauce. Add some salt to taste. Toss with tongs to mix the ingredients.

Add back vegetables and toss to coat. Cook for a minute. Make sure not to over cook noodles as they may lump up.

Bon appetit!






Tofu is soft and yet has sturdy texture and neutral taste. It adapts well to a variety of cuisines and flavors. Tofu is especially easy to digest, makes it popular as a meat substitute for vegetarians.

It is a surprisingly versatile form of soybeans that is made by curdling soymilk so that its proteins become coagulated and then pressed into a slice-able cake.


Like many soya foods, tofu originated in China. Legend has it that it was discovered about 2000 years ago by a Chinese cook who accidentally curdled soy milk when he added seaweed in it!

Introduced into Japan in the eighth century, tofu was originally called ‘okabe’. Its modern name did not come into use until 1400. By the 1960s, interest in healthy eating brought tofu to Western nations.

Tofu is a good source of protein and contains all eight essential amino acids. It is also an excellent source of iron and calcium and the minerals manganese, selenium and phosphorous. In addition, tofu is a good source of magnesium, copper, zinc and vitamin B1.

Since, I’m mostly vegan, I try using tofu instead of cottage cheese ( Paneer) in most recipes.

This recipe is really close to my heart because my husband loves it. Let me know what you think.



11/2 cups extra firm tofu cube

1 large tomato chopped finely

1 large red onion cubed and layers separate

½ cup yellow bell peppers chopped

½ tsp cumin / jeera powder

½ tsp ginger  grated

½ tsp red chili powder

1 tsp coriander powder or ½ tsp garam masala or any spice powder

¼ tsp cumin powder/ cumin powder (optional)

oil as needed

Coriander leaves for garnishing



Heat oil in a wide pan, fry tofu till slightly golden brown, set aside.In the same pan, add little more oil, add cumin when it begins to splutter, and ginger, sauté.

Add tomatoes, salt, turmeric and fry till tomatoes turn fully mushy.

Add chili powder, cumin and coriander powder, sauté for a min.

Add onions,peppers, mix well and fry on high for 2 minutes.Cover the lid and cook peppers till almost done. Do not overcook, as they lose the crunch.

Add tofu, chili powder, garam masala or spice powder powder. Mix well. Cover and cook for 2 mins.

Add finely chopped coriander leaves.

Serve tofu stir fry hot with roti, bread or rice.


masala dal ( split chickpea dal)

By Shalini Kolluri


Split chickpea dal or chana dal is one of my favorites. This north Indian recipe is best served with roti or basmati rice. A more dilute version of this dal, garnished with cilantro can be eaten as a soup on a cold rainy day.

To make sure they are easily cooked, soak them for a couple of hours before you prepare the dal. Once it is soaked, you can either pressure cook it with 2 cups of water or slow cook it in a pan with water and a pinch of salt. Once it is cooked make sure that it is soft and mashable. If the lentils are half cooked, the whole recipe could fall apart.

It’s more closely related to garbanzo beans, or chickpeas. The differences are that chana dal is younger, smaller, split, sweeter, and has a much lower glycemic index. But you can substitute chana dal for garbanzo beans in just about any recipe.

Health benifits:-


  • Today, we know that chickpeas, like other legumes, provide a valuable source of folate, iron, manganese, and protein. They are also a healthy source of complex carbohydrates and are low in fat.
  • The benefit of a high fiber diet goes beyond regularity and prevention of hemorrhoids and diverticulitis.
  • It reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels, helps control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, and may even help protect against several forms of cancer

Down below is a tasty Indian recipe. Hope you like it as much as I do.



3/4 cup dry split chickpeas

2-3 cups water

a pinch of turmeric

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

3 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds

2 teaspoons ground cumin powder

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

4 cloves

1 teaspoon cardamom powder

1 plum tomato

5 cloves garlic crushed

1 tablespoon canola oil

salt to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper powder

1 teaspoon garam masala (optional)

1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional)

2 teaspoon lime juice

1 teaspoon honey

Method :-

Rinse ¾ cup chickpeas in running water a couple of times and drain. Now, soak it in enough water for 2 hours. Add it in a pressure cooker. To this add ¼ tsp add turmeric powder. Close the lid and let it cook upto 3 whistles. If you want to cook it in a pan, add 2-3 glasses of water and boil with a lid for 25-30 minutes till the lentils are fully cooked.

In the meantime, add oil into the pan and heat it. Add cumin seeds to this.

When the seeds turn a nice shade of brown add the crushed garlic. Once the garlic is fragrant, add the four spices (clove, cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf). Fry them in the oil for 1 minute.

Add in the chopped tomato.

Once the tomato is cooked add pepper, coriander powder, cumin powder, chili powder and a pinch of turmeric.

To this, add the boiled chickpeas and stir. Add salt to this and let it boil on low flame for 15 minutes. Add salt as per your taste.

Bring the dal to a boil. Turn off the stove.

Garnish with cilantro. Add in the lime juice and honey at mix at the end. Serve with Basmati rice or roti.



dish love : muji


Ryohin Keikaku Co.,Ltd. (株式会社良品計画 Kabushiki-gaisha Ryōhin Keikaku), or Muji  is a Japanese retail  company which sells a wide range of consumer goods. Muji is derived from the first part of Mujirushi Ryōhin, translated as No Brand Quality Goods on Muji’s  website.

Muji started with 40 products during the 1980s. By the end of the 2000s, Muji sells more than 7,000 products. It is positioned as an economical brand and its primary business include stationery,basic clothing for men and women, to food items, savvy kitchen appliances and really comfy bean bags!


I often visit the store in Times square, NYC  because I am drawn to their minimalistic and earthy approach to most of their kitchen appliances. Being an admirer of practical cutlery, I never leave the shop with out having bought some of their cool merchandise.  If you are an avid collector of porcelain, you will love their shelves full of plates,pots,bowls, earth-wares and dishes.


Muji’s no-brand strategy means that little money is spent on advertisement and marketing, and Muji’s success is attributed to word of mouth and the anti-brand movement.

Through their emphasis on reductive forms, both IKEA and MUJI continue the aesthetic and ethical ideals of “Basic Design”.

However, neither brand emphasizes the talents of any individual designer but instead both rely on the aura of national design genius.


One of Muji’s  latest collection of simple, perfectly plain Hakuji (means white porcelein in Japanese) china,and suddenly want to throw all my patterned plates out and go ‘all white’. This range of porcelain is made from a superior white clay found in Amakusa in Japan. The fine white glaze has a hint of blue in the finish and everything is microwave proof.


In a sense, this is like a Japanese version of The Container Store. Come here to organize your household belongings and buy very useful items for your home. It’s hard to go in here and not come out with items that you convince yourself you need, or think, why don’t I have this already because it would make life easier and cuter?

imageDo visit the branch closest to you, and let me know what you think.