Allergy Friendly High-Protein Vegan Burger

The history buff in me has always loved Thanjavur, a town in the Southern part of India, steeped in astounding architecture and art (music, paintings, metal work and more!) for over 1000 years.

Brihadeshwara Temple - 1010 AD!
Brihadeshwara Temple – 1010 AD! Photo courtesy:

It is also home to lip-smacking vegetarian cuisine – one such dish is the high protein Thavaladai. Traditionally, this vegan patty/ burger uses chickpeas which I have substituted because chickpeas is a relatively allergenic bean. It also usually uses Matpe beans which is not easily available except in South Asian stores so, I have substituted it with split lentils. The substitutions help make this vegan burger less calorific too – that works for me any day 🙂

Before I go any further, I must mention that I first heard of this dish via Pratibha Jain. Pratibha along with her friend, Jigyasa are the brains behind which in their words, ‘is a space for tradition, for tribute, for culinary inheritances’. One of the posts that inspired me from this traditional cuisine haven, Pedatha, was the ‘Thavaladai Tamilian Snack‘ recipe posted by Chithra Viswanathan, another delightful food connoisseur who inspires and delights me everyday. Thanks ladies…

Now, without further ado, the thavaladai…


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Allergy Friendly Buckwheat Crepes and more…

The past weekend was unadulterated Blogger nirvana for me…my boy went away for a final weekend of snowboarding with his dad. That meant I got uninterrupted time to try out allergy-friendly recipes, write about it and even catch up on reading about the latest in the world of food allergies.

Before I share the recipe for the scrumptious allergy-friendly crepes I fixed myself for lunch, sharing a couple of epic news items from the world of food allergies:

  • 2 organizations that have been doing outstanding work in the field of food allergies by spreading awareness and investing in research, FAI (Food Allergy Initiative) and FAAN (Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network) came together to form FARE (Food Allergy Education & Research). A must-visit website and the food allergy conferences organized by them around the US of A are all just around the corner.
  • Something that most moms with food allergic kids already know by experience – AAAAI (American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology) released the results of a study that basically says, ‘Food Allergies May Affect Children’s Growth‘ .  There is a reason why my little one is still small and his 2nd grade heart breaks when people think that he is a Kindergartner – he simply has not had the essential nutrients essential in the early stages of life!
  • A conveniently designed epinephrine shot that talks and walks you through the injection process in emergency situations was approved by FDA…Sanofi has definitely delivered a breakthrough form of this life saving drug – Auvi-Q

Aah – enough of news and time for some Buckwheat crepes that I whipped up and which turned out to be unbelievably delish!! This is a dish made in many households in Western India and is commonly referred to as a buckwheat ‘dosa’ aka crepe! Don’t the holes on the crepe dosa look totally gourmet 🙂North Plainfield-20130331-00225

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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 🙂 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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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 🙂



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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 🙂 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 🙂 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 🙂

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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 🙂

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’ favourite dinners…‘Flat’ 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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