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Blog: Cooking with Madhu

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Dal-Vada Burgers

Posted on 06/02/2014 at 7:42 PM

Dal-Vada Burger (Bean Burgers)

Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 15 Minutes

Sandwiches and burgers are an international craze. Although they are not traditional Indian food, sandwiches are very popular today. This is a relatively quick bean burger recipe using canned chickpeas. I find that frozen or even restaurant veggie or bean burgers tend to be dry or bland. When testing this recipe my primary goal was to make sure it was flavorful and moist. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. And for an extra zing add a little cilantro chutney to your burger.



1 (16-oz) can chickpeas

1/4 cup scallions (white and green parts), finely chopped

1/2 cup carrots, peeled and grated

2 teaspoons ginger, grated

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons green chiles, finely chopped, to taste

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

2 tablespoons bread crumbs

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 whole wheat hamburger buns

4 tomato slices, garnish

4 onion slices, garnish

Cilantro Chutney (page 185), optional

Tomato ketchup (optional)



1. Drain and rinse the canned chickpeas. Make sure to drain all excess water. In a food processor, grind the beans until smooth.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, add ground beans, scallions, carrots, ginger, cumin, salt, green chilies, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, cilantro, and bread crumbs. Mix well.


3. Oil your palms and make 4 patties. Set aside.


4. Heat 2 tablespoons oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add patties and cook for 5 to 7 minutes on each side until golden brown. (If needed, add a little more oil to help brown the patties.)


5. In the meantime, lightly oil the buns and brown facedown in a frying pan or a griddle until light brown.


6. Place a patty on the bottom half of bun, top with tomatoes, onions, Cilantro Chutney, and tomato ketchup, as desired.


Note: You can make the patties up to one day ahead and grill them when ready to eat.

For a grilling party, fully prepare the patties and reheat on grill on aluminum foil.


Makes: 4 servings Serving Size: 1 sandwich

Nutrition Information per serving: Calories: 311; Total Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 1g; Carbohydrate: 45g; Protein: 11g, Fiber: 10g, Sodium:679mg


From The Indian Vegan Kitchen by Madhu Gadia,


February 2014 Indian eRecipes Newsletter

Posted on 02/13/2014 at 8:58 PM

February 2014
Happy Valentine’s Day

Dear Madhu,

Just when I think life couldn’t get any busier, it does. The last few months remind me of my elderly patients from counseling days, who would always tell me, life gets busier as you get older. Ok, I believe you.

I have to admit, the reason for being so busy has been both work and pleasure. As you know, every time you go on a vacation, you end up with pending work. Thus the cycle continues. In November, I went to India for two weeks, short but a fun filled trip; see India Trip blog.

Along with travels, there were the holidays, which means parties, guests and lots of cooking and eating. No complaints, just too busy to write a blog or a newsletter.

Curry Bar Update

I am proud to say that the Curry Bar at Aetna just celebrated its 2nd birthday. We (FLIK International) started the curry bar, featuring my recipes from the New Indian Home Cooking and The Indian Vegan Kitchen, two years ago in December. I organized the menus, adjusted the recipes for volume cooking, and trained non-Indian cooks to prepare authentic Indian food.

I feel a personal sense of accomplishment with the curry bar success. The food is well received and we have repeat customers. At the curry bar, we serve approximately 150 customers for lunch everyday. The key to its success has been my recipes and due diligence. The chef and his staff are doing a great job of following the recipes. I am so glad that I stuck to what I do best – healthy home-style food.

I created a model program that we will soon be expanding to other FLIK cafeterias. I am looking forward to working with the FLIK’s culinary masters and take my “curry bar” concept around the country.

Love Potion

Celebrate valentines with your loved one and share a handful of chocolate covered almonds. Dark chocolate contains flavanols, a compound that prevents cancer and may improve blood flow to your heart and brain. Key is to eat in moderation, 1 ounce per day.


I have been a bit lax in posting recipes on the blog, certainly not because I wasn’t cooking. But you will find one new recipe, one that my aunt lovingly made for me in India, my favorite paratha (grilled flatbread) stuffed with grated daikon, called Mooli Paratha. By the way, daikons are long white radishes, see wikipedia.  In hindi (national Indian language) radishes are called mooli.

Fresh long white radishes are very popular in India, during the winter season. My dad loved mooli. He would grow them in his garden, and everyday when he came home for lunch, and still in his suit, he would pull one from the ground, wash it, lightly scrape the skin, cut it vertically into four, squeeze some lemon juice and lightly sprinkle with salt. He thoroughly enjoyed them with his meal and so did we. During the “mooli season,” you would also find street vendors selling mooli, cut vertically, and spiced to your desire. Dad could never pass one up.

I rarely eat the daikons in America. I am sure I would, if I could get them fresh, but usually they have been in the store for a while. Plus I have not had one that is as juicy and sweet as the ones in India. But the daikons here make great parathas. These parathas take sometime to make, but it is worth the time. Dip them in plain yogurt for a delicious meal anytime.

Daikon Paratha (Mooli Paratha)

Happy and Healthy Cooking!  
Madhu Gadi

Copyright © 2014 Madhu Gadia. All Rights Reserved

Daikon Stuffed Flatbread

Posted on 02/07/2014 at 9:48 PM

Daikon Stuffed Flatbread (Mooli Paratha)

Prep Time: 20 Minutes                 Cook Time: 40 Minutes 

Just writing this recipe takes me back home; it is one of those comfort foods for me. In winter, long white radishes (called daikon) are tender and sweet. On Sunday mornings my dad would dig fresh ones out from his garden, wash them, grate them, and squeeze out the water; now they were ready for Mom to make the parathas. These flatbreads are crunchy on the outside with tender, sweet, and spicy daikons on the inside. They are best eaten hot off the griddle; the longer they sit, the softer they become. Enjoy them with Indian pickles or chutneys.


2 cups roti-atta/flour or white whole-wheat flour, plus additional for rolling

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 ¼ cups water

3–4 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil


2 cups daikon, grated

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

1–2 teaspoons green chilies, finely chopped, optional

2 teaspoons coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon amchur (mango powder), optional

Salt, to taste (sprinkled on filling during the preparation)

(Dough can be made in a food processor.)


1. In a mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour. Gradually add water as you mix dough. (Depending on the type of flour, the amount of water needed may vary slightly.) The dough should be soft but easy to roll into a ball. Knead the dough for 1-2 minutes until smooth and elastic. Dough should resemble bread dough in consistency and smoothness. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes or longer.

2. Squeeze the grated daikon between your palms or place in a towel and twist, to remove the excess water. Discard the water. Place the squeezed daikon in a bowl. Mix inn cayenne pepper, green chilies, coriander powder, and amchur. Mix well. Divide filling into 8 (1/4-cup) equal portions. Set aside. (Do not add the salt to thefilling, as the salt will cause the daikons to release water and make filling soggy.)

3. Divide dough into 16 small balls. Roll each ball with the palms of your hands in a circular motion until the dough is smooth. Press to flatten. Roll each flat ball in the dry flour.

4. You will need two dough balls for each paratha. Roll out each ball into a 3-inch circle. Place about 1/4 cup of the filling on one circle, spreading evenly. Sprinkle the filling lightly with salt (I use a salt shaker). Place the second 3-inch circle on top of the filling. Press firmly your palm and seal the edges of the two circles together. Lift the filled circle, dust it with flour on both sides and roll out to a 6-inch circle. (Use only the amount of flour you need to easily roll the dough. Excess flour on the griddle burns and creates smoke.)


5. Heat tava/iron griddle or a heavy fry pan on medium-high heat. Adjust heat as needed. If tava is too hot the paratha will burn and stick to the tava and if not hot enough it will take a long time to cook and become dry.

6. Lightly oil the preheated griddle and wipe off excess. Place one filled paratha on the griddle. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until bottom turns color and paratha becomes firm and easy to pick up. Turn over with a flat spatula and cook until light brown spots appear on the underside. (While one paratha is cooking, fill androll the next one.)

7. Using a large soup or serving spoon, lightly oil top of paratha with 1/2 teaspoon oil). Turn it over and oil the second side. Using the spoon or the spatula, press the paratha several times. This helps the paratha brown evenly. Cook until golden brown on both sides.

8. Serve immediately or store in airtight container.

Makes: 8 servings Serving Size: 1 paratha

Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 160; Total Fat: 6g (Saturated Fat: 1g); Carbohydrate: 24g; Protein: 5g; Fiber: 5g; Sodium: 160mg

From The Indian Vegan Kitchen by Madhu Gadia,

My Trip To India

Posted on 02/01/2014 at 3:43 PM

My Trip To India

In November, I went to India for 2 weeks. Although I go to India approximately every 3-4 years, for me it’s always a big deal. This was a short and sweet visit. Before, I left; I made all these grand plans to make this trip a culinary journey, to learn new recipes and cooking secrets from the great seasoned home cooks. But once I landed in India, it all changed. I pretty much lost all control of what I ended up eating. The food just appeared and we ate what we were served. After all, we were the guests, and every house we visited prepared their specialties, or I should say if we were at my relative’s house, they prepared my favorite foods, and my husband’s family prepared his favorite dishes.

We were well fed, and I have no complaints. Most of the time we were served, what I would classify as comfort foods – foods we grew up with. It’s these little gestures of caring and love that I find completely overwhelming; when my 80 year old uncle says, "Madhu I bought this guava just for you, because I know how much you love it," or my aunt makes me a muli paratha (Dakon stuffed flatbread) for breakfast, and insists that I eat it when it is straight off the griddle, hot and crispy. This is ultimate love.

Although, I didn’t learn any new recipes in the short two weeks, I managed to squeeze in most of my favorite foods. One of my favorite things to eat in India is "street foods." Although, I am careful about what I eat from the street vendors now, I avail every opportunity to buy foods such as fresh roasted peanuts, grilled corn, or baked sweet potatoes. The family sometimes laughs at my little quirks, but hey, I have such a short time to get everything I need. My visit to India is just as much about food as it is about visiting family and friends. One of these days, I hope to travel to India, and learn variety of regional cuisines, we’ll see. Until then, comfort foods are great.

Here are some of the photos from my trip.  Enjoy!



Sweet-and-Sour Winter Squash (Kaddu)

Posted on 10/30/2013 at 5:12 PM

Sweet-and-Sour Winter Squash (Kaddu)

In my house this dish was made during festivals and served with puri (fried breads). Pumpkin is kaddu in hindi language. Sweet-and-sour kaddu is my personal favorite way of cooking winter squash. In India we always used the pumpkin to make this recipe, but a good cooking pumpkin is not always available. So I usually use butternut squash, it is an excellent substitution. The fenugreek seeds give this recipe a unique flavor.

Butternut squash or pumpkins are a challenge to peel and cube. I found an easier way to tackle these squashes. I put the squash in the microwave for 5 minutes and let is rest for 10 minutes. Then cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and strings. I then cut the squash into 1 inch strips, peel and dice into 1 inch pieces.

Another option: If your grocery store has peeled and diced squash, use it. Just make sure you use it soon after you purchase it.


1 small butternut squash (2 pounds)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar

Garnish (optional)

2 tsp ghee

¼ tsp cayenne pepper



Peel and cut butternut squash in half. Scoop out and discard the inside seeds and threads. Cut into about 1-inch pieces. Rinse, drain and set aside.

In a fry pan, heat oil on medium high heat. Add cumin and fenugreek seeds and cook for a few seconds until seeds are golden brown.

Add the chopped squash, turmeric, salt, coriander powder, cayenne pepper and water. Stir to mix. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15–18 minutes until the squash is soft to the touch. Stir occasionally.

Add lemon juice and sugar. Mash the squash with a potato masher or large spoon. Simmer for 5–7 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish. (Garnish with cayenne flavored ghee; see below.)

Garnish: Heat ghee in a small fry pan. Once the ghee starts bubble, remove from heat, add cayenne. The ghee will become red. (Do not overheat ghee; otherwise the cayenne will burn.)

Makes 4 servings (2 cups)
Serving size: 1/2 cup
Amount per serving:
Calories: 80, Carbohydrate: 17g, Fat: 2g, Dietary fiber: 2 g, Saturated fat: 0g, Protein: 1g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 403mg

From: New Indian Home Cooking, Madhu Gadia, M.S., R.D.,



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