Dari-free Chocolate Fudge-Caramel ?! :-)

One of the best perks of being part of the blogosphere is the amazing people I get to meet from across the world – people I would have never had the good fortune of meeting otherwise. One such person is Ms. Chithra Vishwanathan who writes (Facebook page: Ask Chitvish). I adore her recipes because it takes me back to my roots in the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu – the dishes tantalize my olfactory senses and transport me instantly to my avva’s (grandmother) kitchen. I still miss avva so, so, so much – even in the ICU her worry was if others had remembered to pack my favorite dish for my lunch box. What can I say – I was an indulged granddaughter ūüôā I have never met Ms. Chithra in person but even online she emanates the graceful strength, modesty and beauty synonymous with the quintessential beautiful Indian woman! I have adapted many of her recipes to make it Allergy Friendly and one such recipe that I re-invented over the holiday season was the Chocolate Burfi.

Burfi is an Indian dessert and has a consistency akin to a fudge and in its most essential form it is made with dairy and sugar. It has numerous variations and of course the one with cocoa powder is my fav…

Cocoa + Sugar + Dari-Free = Candy Nirvana!
Cocoa + Sugar + Dari-Free = Candy Nirvana!

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Ingredient, Recipes

Allergy Friendly Buckwheat unleashed…

Buckwheat pancakes, savory steamed Buckwheat cake and more – this post is the 1st part that attempts to begin unleashing the powerful Buckwheat…

Ok – call me boring but one of my favorite things to do is walking down the aisles of grocery stores and discovering lesser known food items! And, if it is a small store with an informed owner manning it – even better! One such store that I love to visit on a lazy afternoon is ‘Bhavani Cash & Carry’ in Green Brook, NJ. The co-owner, Bela Patel is informed, helpful and an all-round good human being.

Over summer, she let Arjun and his dear friend Jack and fav cousin Soumya set up a Lemonade stand in front of the store and they raked in a tidy sum – half of which went to the FAI (Food Allergy Initiative) and FAAN (The Food Allergy Anaphylaxis Network). By the way, these two amazing organizations have joined forces to form FARE – ‘Food Allergy Research & Education’. Pheww – FARE would have been thrilled seeing 2 little boys chase down potential customers with a cup a lemonade ūüôā



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Mung Bean flour Spaghetti, Pappardelle Pasta et al – Panfusine inspired!

Every once in a while, I come across a recipe which just thrills my heart and I can’t rest an Allergy-Friendly version has been tested and proven a success by my taste-buds. ¬†‘Khandvi deconstructed.. Chickpea flour Spaghetti & Pappardelle Pasta’ by Niv Mani of Panfusine fame was one such recipe.

Khandvi is an appetizer native to Gujrati cuisine. Niv describes a khandvi delectably, ‘a beautiful, almost impossible vision to behold, gossamer thin, jellied strips of chickpea flour & sour yogurt, tiny miniature savory Swiss rolls that delightfully wobble in your mouth before delicately disintegrating & gliding¬† down your throat, making way for…the next little morsel!’¬†

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A Birthday Toast to an avid Allergy Foodie supporter

2012¬†¬†marks a¬†hallmark birthday year for a very dear friend so this blog post is dedicated to Akhila –¬†an Allergy Foodie supporter from Day 0!

We met as wide eyed¬†teens in our Freshman year of college –¬†Akhila and I. She –¬†the graceful ¬†beauty charmed us all¬†with her soft-spoken demeanor and haunting eyes. We belonged to the same group of friends…partied together, got into mischief and so much more. The last vivid memory I had of her was that of a bashful, happy bride in the final semester of college. After that, we parted ways sure that we¬†would never meet again.

Years rolled by and Mark Zuckerberg re-introduced us¬†at a Facebook party ūüôā It was so much fun reconnecting as adults and the non-stop girl-talk forged a bond between us that had never existed before. She patiently listened to my¬†many woes especially when it came to my challenges with food allergies. She has always been amongst¬†the first few to support me in all my initiatives – she was one of the first to contribute to my annual FAAN walk for food allergy, she was one of the first subscribers to my blog and to my Facebook page, she was also one of my many friends who diligently voted every single day for 3 weeks to ensure that¬† earned a spot on the Top 25 food allergy mom blogs organized by Circle of Moms and so much more. But I am most thankful to her for one precious gift she continues to give everyday – she keeps egging me on to take baby steps towards my goals. Thanks to that, not only this blog but I as a person have survived some of the toughest challenges life has presented me with.

One of my favorite memories with her was when she made the effort to visit me in New Jersey all the way from North Carolina. Laughter, tears and memories reigned the day – a memorable meet after 17 loooong years ūüôā Since then we have taken a trip together to India to meet all our college friends and hope to take many more in the years to come…

A giggly, teen meet after 17 years ūüôā

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Allergy Friendly Flat Chicken from ‘Food Allergy Chronicles’

Thanks to Circle of Moms¬†search for the ‘Top Food Allergy Mom Bloggers’ in North America, I met Susan, the blogger at ‘Food Allergy Chronicles’. The food allergy blogging world is like one big happy family with a high sense of camraderie. It’s quite simply¬†because our objective is simple – ‘make the world a safer place for food allergy sufferers’. To that end – we are constantly learning from each other…

What I love best about her blog is – Susan writes about her experiences raising 2 sons with food allergies – field trips, school, vacations and more. My son is much younger than hers so I learn a lot about what to expect through her experiences.

Of course her recipes are also delish and her baked good are supremely decadent!!! All her recipes are healthy, nutritious, dairy-free and nut-free. And this particular recipe is free of all the top 8 food allergens too. But, what makes it extra special is that it is also free of 2 other allergens that are becoming increasingly dangerous – sesame seeds and mustard seeds.

Thank you Susan for letting me share this kid-friendly delicious post on Allergy Foodie ūüôā

The Food Allergy Chronicles

This weekend, I embarked on writing on the topic of cross-contamination. As a parent with children with food allergies…it is one of my greatest fears.

The more I wrote, the more I realized how much a factor it plays in my daily life. Cross-contamination touches so many parts of my life the story seemed to take on a life of its own.

I am going to take my time with it and present it as a series. In the meantime, this weeks posts will be a series of simple allergen free dinners that our family enjoys.

To start off the week, I am offering one of my boys‚Äô favourite dinners‚Ķ‚ÄėFlat‚Äô Chicken.
Below is Michael’s finished masterpiece.

Michael's flat chicken dinner with rice and peasNamed appropriately as my boys enjoy flattening the chicken themselves!

This is a great hands on recipe for children to experience a start to finish meal. This recipe also offers children an opportunity to try new flavours by…

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Allergy Friendly Spring – Mint Rice…

The days are getting warmer and mint flavored lemonade and mojito¬†is on my mind ūüôā Or, more to the point…the crisp, fresh flavors of mint leaves!¬†These leaves¬†are extremely aromatic with a cool aftertaste and are¬†used¬†to flavor¬†teas, beverages, jellies, syrups, candies, ice creams, lentil fritters, entrees etc. A word of caution people – it has¬†a strong flavor so, a little goes a very long way. The good news is – it is also healthy and has many healing properties.¬†I found this post on¬†wikipedia¬†very interesting¬†–

So, here is a dish to celebrate Spring – light, flavorful and elegant ‘Mint Rice’!¬†It does not contain any of the top 8 food allergens and is also free of mustard, sesame and¬†corn. Yes – it still tastes delish!

  • Time: 30 – 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings as a main dish

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Parents' nuggets of wisdom, Recipes

Allergy Foodie’s 100th Post – Celebrations!!

Pheww РI have been exercising my grey cells overtime the past few weeks to come up with a momentous 100th post for Allergy Foodie! My mind raced over the past few years since Arjun was born and I was unceremoniously thrown into the world of multiple food allergies Рit is a kaleidoscope of people who have helped make this journey a joyous one despite the travails.

That’s when it suddenly dawned on me…a parent/caretaker alone cannot keep a child safe!¬†A lot of people contribute through big and small actions to make the life of a food allergic child joyous – family, friends, teachers and more. In fact, I would go a step further and say that it is impossible to raise a healthy and confident food allergic child without society’s help.

In my mind, the one person who stands ‘tall’ amidst them is¬†my niece¬†who was but a child herself when Arjun was born. ¬†The 9 year old would get up at 6 am despite her summer vacations just to see a 4 month old Arjun cackling with laughter. Since then a life-long bond of love, laughter, empathy and friendship was forged between these two cousins. So, this special post is dedicated to Soumya on her 16th birthday.

When they first met...

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Homemade ‘Mung Bean Flour’ – oh yes!

I absolutely love Mung Bean flour. It is versatile, nutritious, mildly flavorful¬†and most importantly allergy-friendly. Do refer to¬†my post entitled ‘Beyond Lentils – allergy friendly vegetarian proteins’¬†if you want to know more about the nutritious punch this little bean packs!¬†Little wonder I use it extensively in my allergy-friendly kitchen – in gluten-free baking, crepes, pancakes, dumplings, tortillas, tempura batter¬†and more! If you have a South Asian store around the corner – stop in there¬†and pick up a pound of mung bean flour and start experimenting. If there is no store in your vicinity or like me you love making things from scratch – making mung flour or moong flour at home is soooooo easy and quick that it is definitely worth a try. Once made, store it in an airtight container and it will last for months.

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AF Cilantro Pumpkin Seed Pesto

I just love, love, love the flavor of cilantro/ coriander leaves because the vibrant green color and fresh smell¬†instantly¬†transports me to a warmer, tropical clime¬†– utter bliss! Little wonder that when¬†I spotted a container of basil and cilantro pesto at Whole Foods recently – I pounced on it ūüôā¬†It was sooooo bursting with flavor and taste that I wanted to churn out my own ‚Äėallergy-friendly‚Äô version with only the cilantro/coriander being the belle of the ball ūüôā

A quick note Рcilantro and coriander leaves are just different words for the same herb,Coriandrum sativum. Cilantro is a Spanish word and is widely used in the US but it is referred to as coriander in UK and India. A nutritional side-note Рcoriander or cilantro contains antooxidants and has medicinal uses too.

If you want to know more about this fragrant herb –¬†I found¬†this short write-up on cilantro/coriander¬†very informative. Growing up in India, one of my fav home projects with mom was gardening and a coriander patch was a must, given the ubiquitous usage of coriander leaves and seeds in Indian cooking. I try to do the same with my little one and if growing your own herbs is¬†something you enjoy,¬†this article on ‘How to grow Coriander (Cilantro)’¬†is pretty good. So easy and so much cheaper than buying it though coriander leaf bunches are very reasonably priced in South Asian stores (¬†$1 for 2 bunches of leaves during summer months)

Presenting Allergy Friendly Cilantro Pumpkin Seed Pesto…

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AF Rice and Mung Bean Khichri

Moving forward from my previous post ‘AF Mashed Potatoes with a twist…‘, this rice and mung¬†bean dish tastes particularly good on a cold winter evening. Soul-satisfying, nutritious, packed with flavor and above all AF – Allergy Friendly.¬†‘Khichri’ has been a part of Indian cuisine for over 700 years – whoa!¬†

Since, I just could not come up with¬†a¬†name for the dish in English that would reflect the true nature of the dish¬†– I threw it out as a question to my Facebook friends. ¬†So, this post is an ode to all the fun names they came up with…Niv,¬†a most creative food blogger of Panfusine¬†came up with ‘Kedgeree’, the British dish that traces its roots back to the India Khichri and uses fish and rice. Mohita, my high school pal, names it ‘Rictle’ – Rice + Lentil, dear Indu called it the ‘Rice Porridge’, my cherished undergrad friend Helen wondered if ‘Rice Polenta’ should be the way to go and Kamy coined a real cool name¬†– the ‘Indypot’ or Indian hot pot ūüôā Finally, decided to stick with the¬†original name¬†as suggested by the guys. They made school a barrel of fun but stuck to tradition when it came to dish-naming – Navin, a¬†grad school pal and Vivek, an¬†undergrad friend ūüôā¬†Thanks all – given the various names, even a first-time taster can hazard a guess as to what the dish is going to taste like…

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