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Monday, 2 October 2017

Simple Vegetarian Platter / Cooking with 1 Teaspoon Oil / Healthy Lunch Ideas

For many of us , festivals and long weekends are time to relax , spend quality time with family , pamper ourselves and eat and drink to our heart's content. As a result of over indulgence of festive food , holiday weight gain is quite obvious . Solution ? Get back to a normal routine, detox our body by increasing the amounts of fluids (water / coconut water) , exercise to burn those extra calories and have a healthy balanced diet. Whenever we ask a doctor or dietitian about a healthy diet, they say a food which is rich in fiber, low in sugar , oil and refined flour is good for our health. Many of us are clueless as to what to cook with less oil . If you too are looking for ideas and recipes with less oil, your search is over , as our theme for #112th #FoodieMondayBlogHop is #CookingWith1TeaspoonOil.

 Yes you hear it right..cooking with just 1 teaspoon oil. Many of us would be surprised to know that there are many foods which can be cooked in less oil or are completely oil free. Smoothies, salads, soups , milkshakes , baked and steamed food are a few to name. But if i say , not just one or two dishes, but a complete meal can be cooked in just one teaspoon oil, how would you react ? Well, my contribution to this healthy theme is a simple vegetarian platter with just 1 teaspoon oil. I will also be sharing some healthy lunch ideas in this post. Do not forget to check the posts of my fellow bloggers for some wonderful ideas on this theme.

My simple vegetarian platter has a brown rice vegetable pulao, aloo palak (potato in spinach curry), lauki ka raita(bottle gourd yogurt dish), lobia salad(black eyed bean salad) , daliya kheer (broken wheat pudding), chapati (whole wheat flat bread), cucumber salad and roasted ragi (finger millet) papad , all cooked in just one teaspoon oil. Now how's that possible ? I have used that 1 teaspoon oil in making the aloo palak curry and rest all the dishes in this platter are oil free :)

Brown Rice Vegetable Pulao  

Brown rice is an unrefined and unpolished whole grain which is produced by removing the surrounding hull of the rice kernel. Its grain retains the nutrient-dense bran and germ layer which are rich in fiber , proteins, thiamine, calcium , magnesium and potassium. With its low glycemic rating , it is particularly beneficial for those trying to loose weight or are suffering from diabetes.

Brown rice vegetable pulao is a delicious, fiber rich alternative to the white rice pulao. It is made by cooking the brown rice with vegetables and spices to give a flavorful and chewier rice dish. The brown rice lends a typical nutty flavor to the pulao and the added vegetables make the dish appealing , tasty and nutritious. This brown rice vegetable pulao can be served with curd or raita.

  Cooking time : 20 minutes
  Preparation time : 20 minutes
  Serves : 4

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1  carrot finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup green peas
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1/2 inch ginger piece
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 cloves
  • Pod of cardamom
  • 1/2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 black pepper corns
  • Salt to taste
  1. Wash the brown rice thoroughly and soak in enough water for 20 minutes. Meanwhile chop the veggies. 
  2. Make a coarse paste of green chilies and ginger. 
  3. In a heated pressure cooker, add bay leaves, cumin seeds, cloves , cardamom pod, cinnamon stick and black pepper corn. dry roast the spices on low heat until aromatic. 
  4. Now add onions and saute them until they turn light brown. Take care not to burn them. Keep stirring continuously. 
  5. Add ginger , green chili paste to the onions and saute for another 1 minute. Add carrots and green peas, toss.
  6. Now add 2 cups of hot water followed by brown rice and salt to taste.
  7. Give a quick stir. Close the pressure cooker with lid and cook the pulao for 2-3 whistles. Simmer for another 5-7 minutes and put off the flame.  
  8. Allow the steam to release completely before opening the lid. Fluff the pulao with a fork and serve.

  Aloo Palak / Potato in spinach Curry : Aloo palak is a delicious Indian curry in which boiled potato cubes are simmered in a silky smooth spinach gravy which is mildly spiced. The recipe is very easy to follow and is similar to the way i cook Palak Paneer , only difference is that here only 1 teaspoon oil is used to make the curry. The aloo palak curry can be served with steamed rice ,chapati ,or paratha.

  Preparation time : 10 minutes
  Cooking time: 15 minutes
  Serves : 4

  • 200 grams of spinach
  • 2 large potatoes ( boiled, peeled and cubed)
  • 1 green chilly
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 tomato finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 inch ginger 
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilly powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon oil
Method :
  1. Clean the spinach greens ( leaves and tender stems).
  2. Wash under running water or soak in the water for 10 minutes. Mud , if any will settle to the bottom. 
  3. In a sauce pan heat water with salt. Once the water starts boiling, add the washed spinach greens and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes. 
  4. In another mixing bowl take ice cold water. Transfer the spinach leaves to it. (this step ensures the spinach leaves retain their bright green color). Allow the leaves to be in cold water for about 3-5 minutes. This is called blanching the spinach.
  5. Mean while in a non-stick wok , heat 1 teaspoon oil. Add cumin seeds. Allow them to crackle. Now add the minced garlic and saute until the raw smell goes off. Add the onions and saute until it turns golden brown. 
  6. Now add tomatoes and stir fry until mushy. Add turmeric powder followed by red chilly powder. Stir fry the spices for a minute or so. 
  7. In a grinder jar, add the spinach leaves, green chilly , ginger piece, and the onion tomato mix.
  8. Pulse 2-3 times, to get a smooth paste. Add water as required while doing so. 
  9. Transfer the spinach puree to  the sauce pan and allow to boil. Add the boiled potato pieces to the curry followed by garam masala. Simmer the curry for 5 more minutes. Put off the flame.
  10. Serve the aloo palak with steamed rice or chapati.

  Daliya Kheer / Broken Wheat Pudding : 

Daliya kheer is a delicious and healthy sweet dish made from bulgur/ broken wheat , milk and dry fuits. The kheer is creamy and is mildly sweetened using jaggery powder. You may use little honey instead. Daliya or broken wheat is nutritious as it is not the refined wheat and has not lost any nutrients that are present in the whole wheat. It is a good source of regular requirement of Manganese and fibre that are much needed in our food . As it is high in protein and low in fat and calories, it offers you nutrients without adding pounds to your body and thus an excellent diet for those who want to lose weight. It also helps to keep our digestive track healthy.

  Preparation time: 5 mniutes
  Cooking Time: 15 minutes
  Serves : 4

  • 1/4 cup broken wheat / daliya
  • 2 cups of skimmed milk
  • 3 tablespoon jaggery powder
  • 1 tablespoon raisins
  • 3-4 chopped almonds
  • Pinch of cardamom powder
  1. In a pressure cooker dry roast the dalia / broken wheat until aromatic. Add hot milk and give a quick stir. 
  2. Add the raisins and almonds and cover the cooker with a lid.
  3. Cook the dalia kheer for 1-2 whistles. Put off the flame.
  4. When the steam escapes completely, open the lid. Stir the kheer.
  5. Add the jaggery powder and stir the pudding until the jaggery melts completely and blends completely with the kheer .
  6. Flavor the kheer with cardamom powder. Mix well.
  7. Serve the kheer warm.
Lobia Salad
Lobia bean / black eyed bean salad : Lobia salad is  a delicious , filling and protein packed salad recipe using a healthy legume- black eyed bean. A refreshing salad which can be had as a breakfast or served during lunch. If you have boiled lobia ready at hand , this salad can be made in a jiffy. This oil free dish can be enjoyed as a guilt free snacks in between meals or served to kids after school. This salad is great breakfast option for all the fitness freaks and all those who intend to loose weight. (Click on the highlighted word or the picture to get the recipe )

Bottle Gourd Raita
    Dudhichi Koshimbir / Bottle gourd raita Doodhichi Koshimbir (also called Lauki Raita) is a slightly sweet , a bit spicy and a refreshing yogurt based dish made with Bottle Gourd. This raita is a tasty and nutritious way to include Bottle Gourd in our daily diet. The recipe is very simple and requires minimal ingredients. The chopped or grated Bottle Gourd is steamed and mixed with curd and then seasoned with curry leaves and chilies. Chilled raita tastes best. ( i have not tempered the raita here, have garnished pomegranate seeds instead) Click on the highlighted word or picture to get the link to the recipe.


Sharing few more simple vegetarian platters from my kitchen.

The first platter has dal , rice , chole , cucumber raita, chapati and a fruit custard.

The second platter has dal , rice, bhindi/ okra stir fry, moth sprouts stir fry , Sesame seeds/ til chutneyInstant oil free lemon pickle, cucumber salad, Aamras and Imarti (store bought).

  The third platter is a soulful meal which has Bajra roti / pearl millet flat bread , roasted ragi/ finger millet papad, Fenugreek leaves curry /Methichi patal bhaji and Green chilly and garlic chutney / Hirvi Mirchicha thecha. (click on the highlighted words for the recipe)

  I hope this post is of some help to the weight watchers . For some more oil free and healthy recipes, do check my posts on

Moong Sprouts salad
Quinoa Summer Salad
Cucumber Raita
Tomato Soup
Adai Dosa
Hara Bhara Paneer Tikka
Pesarattu / Moong bean dosa
Amla /Indian Gooseberry chutney


  1. I want to get hold of everything on this page. 5 stars for this collection.

  2. Absolutely superb post, Poonam.

  3. Oh, my, my, my! That looks so good! I want to lay my hands on that thali right now! :)

    1. Thank you Priya.i just wish we stayed close by

  4. what a platter !!! superb share :)

  5. Wanna take that thali out form the screen Poonam!Its too good!

  6. such a yummy and colourful platter loaded with healthy dishes..

  7. A healthy platter, who says one cannot serve a healthy meal? Love the dalia kheer.

    1. Indeed di..doing this post really made me feel that i can reduce the amount of oil used in my cooking without actually not compromising much on taste ..thank you

  8. Love everything of your platter Poonam. Awesome share. All the thali looks super tempting.

    1. Thank you so much di for your kind words and appreciation

  9. Fabulous post Poonam!! Love the healthy and yummy platter.

  10. Wow what a delish treat to savor... Loved it! :)

  11. Beautiful Platter . Loved the lobia salad!!