Acai Smoothie bowl by Seeds of Life
Acai Smoothie bowl by Seeds of Life

Does the after-meal clean-up and doing dishes bother you? Is the prep time of food, fussing over marinades and bubbling gravies a bane? Fret not, one-dish meal is the quick-fix solution to the worries. Unavailability of house help during lockdown has made us deal with the entire cooking process followed by washing vessels, clearing up the kitchen in addition to work-from-home syndrome.

Devoid of mess and drawn-out cookery, creating delicious and healthful one-dish meals with limited groceries and pantry staples is a cinch during uncertain times. It could be a wholesome breakfast, lunch or a smoothie bowl. Nothing satiates like having a zesty, nutritionally balanced platter which consists of complex carbohydrates, good fat and proteins.

To each region

Every region of our country has its own set of ‘convenience meals’. Call it comfort food or one-dish wonder, it comes in handy to sustain the family’s vigour and wellness.

“Some popular fast foods like pav bhaji serve the purpose of taste and health with nourishing vegetables, spices and ginger-garlic paste. Replace pav with multigrain bread to make it healthier. Avial is another energetic dish with a medley of vegetables in coconut-chilli masala and curd,” says Mumbai-based health and wellness coach, Vidya Manoti. Khichdi, pongal, varan baath, bissibele baath all spiced up with immunity-boosting ingredients like peppercorn, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, fennel or ajwain, and herbs not only enhance the taste but also help to keep ailments at bay.

“The robust North Indians have their pulav, biryani and makhni subzis loaded with vegetables or meat in spicy gravies. Add soyabean for more nutrition,” says home chef Leelavathi Salian Gupte of The Affair.

Seasonal produce

Any comfort food settles for easily available locally grown and seasonal veggies. Now’s a great chance to use up the last of leafy summer greens before monsoon takes over the produce section. According to Manoti, “Dal palak or palak paneer with methi parathas are full of nutrients and antioxidants, iron, vitamins, and proteins.”

Mohit Bulchandani, founder, Seeds of Life, says, “Whether breakfast or post-workout consumption, smoothie bowls are all about detox and guilt-free indulgence. A cacao bowl for some raw cacao indulgence can be made with almond milk, dates, banana topped with fresh fruits; super greens bowl require spinach, banana, dates, almond milk capped with avocado; crowned with fresh fruits, acai bowl blends mixed berries, banana and almond milk.”

For an additional boost, it’s in-house granola and super seeds. Vindhya Karwa, a culinarian and food stylist, who runs Instagram page Vinsplate, enthuses about the easy five-grain handvo, a traditional Gujarati fare, “Prep it overnight and whip up a wholesome, balanced meal within minutes. You can make your own version by adding any vegetable you like.”

5-Grain Handvo

Say yes to tasty food bowls and stay in the pink of your health amidst the pandemic


1/2 cup rice

1/2 cup lentils (equal parts of chana, moong, moth and tuvar )

¼ cup sour yoghurt

2 green chillies chopped

½ ginger piece grated

Chopped coriander

Salt to taste

¼ tsp chilli powder

Turmeric powder

A pinch of hing

½ tsp fruit salt


2 tbsp oil

Mustard seeds


Curry leaves

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1 tbsp peanuts

1 Chopped green chilli


Wash and soak rice mixed lentils for five hours. Grind them to a coarse paste with ¼ cup of water. Mix in yogurt and ferment it overnight. Just before preparing, add green chilli and ginger to it. Mix the batter and season it with salt, chili powder, lime juice, turmeric and hing. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard and cumin seeds. Add sesame, peanuts, green chilli and curry leaves.

Just before pouring the batter on to the pan, add fruit salt to batter and mix well. Pour a ladle of batter in the pan, cover, cook on medium low flame until sides come off the rim of the pan. Gently flip the handvo. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes. Slide the handvo to a plate, cut and serve with chutney.

— Recipe by Vinsplate

Soyabean Tawa Pulao

Say yes to tasty food bowls and stay in the pink of your health amidst the pandemic


2 cups boiled Basmati rice

10-12 pieces soyabean chunks

50 gms each carrot (diced), french beans, green peas

1 tomato chopped

1 onion chopped

2 tbsp ghee

1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste


5-6 black pepper

1 piece cinnamon

2 pieces cardamom

1 piece star anise

2 piece cloves

2 bayleaves


1/2 spoon mirchi powder

Half pinch turmeric powder

1/2 garam masala

Salt to taste


Soak soya chunks in water for 15 minutes, remove excess water, shallow fry and set aside. Heat 2 tsp ghee in kadai and add all the whole spices. Introduce chopped onion and mix them well.

After onion turns golden, add ginger-garlic paste and tomato. Saute them well, add the masalas. Introduce the veggies, mix and saute them with masala. Later add soya chunks too. After the mixture is cooked, add rice and saute well. Serve hot with raita.

— Recipe by Pramila Salian of The Affair by Pramila & Leela

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