Author Archives: Dhanistha R.

About Dhanistha R.

Freelance Web & Graphic designer. Loves the beach, photography, fashion, hiking, saunas, dancing, and of course COOKING!

Nostalgic but Ready to Move On!

Nostalgic but Ready to Move On!

San Juan Tower in Yunque

Oh the feeling to be back. Sigh. I fell in love with Puerto Rico and my heart aches on returning, it is such a strange feeling, because normally I feel very happy to come back home after a trip, but I felt so comfortable in Puerto Rico, not only because the island has so much wealth and beauty but also because the people are so warm and friendly everywhere you go. This place reminded me so much of Mexico, yet it felt much more safe and secure to travel without the worries of being mugged or cartel crimes. Kala and I moved into our new house just a week before we left to PR and I barely got to unpack anything (although the kitchen was the first room I worked on). I was worried about some boxes that had gotten wet and would start developing fungus, since there is a lot of humidity by the beach… but my Auntie Noreen came to my rescue, she helped unpack and organize our whole house before we would get back, and I can’t thank her enough for helping me create our new place like home, she is truly a wonderful and AMAZING auntie, I love her!

We flew to San Juan with a couple of friends, Paul deSomma and Marsha Blaker, whom Kala works with, blowing beautiful glass sculptures (you can check out their art by clicking on the link). We arrived in the evening after rearrangements of delayed flights and a loss of my debit card for the car reservation….it was pretty hectic :(. But the next day we went with the family and friends to celebrate Andy’s birthday, (kala’s oldest sister’s husband) at a beautiful restaurant; Marmalade, in the colonial town of San Juan. The lavish restaurant exceeded our expectations with its ten course vegetarian gourmet dishes and not to forget the desserts! The chef Peter Schintler was such a cool down to earth guy; it made the whole experience earthy yet extravagant! We spent the rest of the night exploring downtown in old San Juan and encountered a children’s folklore dance in the square and a nice jazz band playing at another plaza. Our final stop was at the Nuyorican Café, they had some sweeet salsa music (I couldn’t help but get my dancing feet on!) and so we ended the night with happy music and happy food.

The next day I went to the farmers market with my friends in San Juan and I was in ecstasy with all the foreign vegetables. I had never seen so many different types of roots for so many dishes. It was awesome! I spoke with every farmer that had a table and got ideas for how to cook these strange looking things. My favorite, was an herb called Recau, it is like cilantro but looks nothing like it. I was so happy buying all kinds of roots, vegetables, and fruits that I had to get a big sack (like for potatoes) to throw over my back since a few plastic bags were insufficient. And then I ran into the chef from our previous dinner at Marmalade! He was so nice and we started talking about the different types of vegetables that they had and what things to try… and then his lovely wife and daughter showed up. Ohhh I had the time of my life!!! Yay for the farmers market :), I will have to post some recipes of the dishes I cooked, because they were off the hook! I cooked a ñame (its like a potato) with olive oil and recau cilantro, then broiled it for crispiness, and paired it with caramelized coconut plantains, let me just say it was very nice!

So our trip was wonderful, it was also my first time snorkeling expirience and boy we saw so many different types of fishes, I saw a turtle, manta rays and an eel. It was quite magical but I ended up slipping on some rocks and I got cuts and scrapes all over me of which I am still healing. My left hand was all cut up and bleeding and the first thing I said was “oh no how will I cook now!??” hehe… Well now that I’m home it’s time to get back on track, I’ve learned so many new things on this trip and have come up with new ideas for recipes and I can’t wait to share them with all of you. Here are some more pictures of my trip, you can just click on the image to go to the next picture. enjoy 🙂

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Que Rico Puerto Rico

Que Rico Puerto Rico!Puerto Rico Plantains, parrots, flowers...Puerto Rico!

These past 3 weeks I have been in absence from packing & moving our entire house to flying out for our vacation to the beautiful Borinquen island, Puerto Rico. The tropical island has been full of exciting adventures, colorful sandy beaches, delectable plantain dishes, rainforest waterfalls, flamboyant fishes, and bizarre vegetables and flowers.

We flew with friends and family to San  Juan and stayed in Condado for a week which is near the charming old San Juan. The old San Juan is a gorgeous historical town filled with bright colorful colonial buildings and its just such a magical place. After our stay there we decided we wanted to travel around the whole island, so we moved to Fajardo; the bioluminescent bay, visited the island of Palomino, stayed the night in Yabucoa, visited the state forest of Aguirre in Guayama, Ponce; the 2nd largest city in PR, Guanica, the sea salt flats in Combate, the colonial town of Cabo Rojo, and are in Isabela (garden of the northwest) for now.
This exotic island has been a wonderful adventure, and although being a vegetarian has presented some challenges as far as eating out, we always did have the option of rice and beans, variety of plantain dishes, yucca, ñame and my new favorite herb: Recau Cilantro!
Right now we will head to the Royal Isabela where Kala (my boyfriend) decided to have a round of golf in a 2200 acre golf resort. Sooooo I will have to come back to continue our trip later….sometime. It’s really difficult to be on the computer when there is so much beauty to see, so I apologize for the late post. I’ll be back Pronto!

Con Amor,

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Simple Khichuri

Khichuri | The Vegetarian Blog Khichuri from The Vegetarian Blogkichuri3
This dish is one of my favorite Indian courses that I grew up with. And personally, the best individual that ever made this dish was Sanatani’s husband, Sruta, who was a beloved member of the ashram and another dear father and mentor to me. He recently passed away from liver cancer and although his death has been a hard thing to go through, I can say that with family, friends and time, it has definitely helped with the understanding of moving forward, and healing. Khichuri will always be a loving memory of his favorite meals to cook, therefore it has a warming comfort for my heart. My khichuri is a humble version of his.


3/4 cup basmati rice; washed, drained, dried
1 cup yellow split moong dal
1 inch ginger, minced
2 small tomatoes
1 or 2 red chilies (or more if you like it hot!)
1/2 tsp of tumeric powder
1 tsp of paprika
a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1 cinnamon stick
3 green cardamom
3 cloves
1 bay leaf
1 tsp of cumin seeds
1 tsp of mustard seeds
1/4 tsp of fennel
5 cups of water
½ tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 cup of frozen green peas

In a pot, heat ghee or oil and fry the chilies, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cumin, mustard, fennel and bay leaf. The mustard and cumin seeds should crackle when frying.  Add the ginger, tumeric, paprika and hing and saute for 3 seconds, then add the tomatoes, stirring till they become soft. Add the rice and dal and saute for 2 minutes, carefully watching that the spices don’t burn. Pour 5 cups of water, stir and add salt. Cover and cook on medium for 30 minutes. Add green peas and keep cooking. If the pot keeps spilling over, just lower the flame. Check the consistency of  the khichuri and add water if needed. I like my khichuri to be porridge like, not too runny but not too thick, but you can cook it to your liking, just make sure that both rice and dal are thoroughly cooked. There are so many vegetables you can add, like potatoes and carrots. Sruta would add deep fried florets of cauliflower and paneer.

When your khicuri is done, sprinkle cilantro and plop a bit of yoghurt and squeeze some sriracha sauce or chutney. You can serve it with a roti, naan, pita bread or even tortillas (anything is good with a tortilla)!

Click on the following link to learn more about delicious Indian breads to enjoy with this Khichuri:



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Pozole Rápido

Pozole Rápido

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This week has been all about the rain and no sun, and with all this windy and cold rain, there is nothing like having a warm bowl of soup in your lap to comfort the chilly weather. Pozole is a traditional mexican hominy soup that is very popular in weddings or quinceañeras, because of how quick and satisfying it is to make, yet very delectable. There are a few ways i make this soup, but considering the gray weather, i was feeling a bit lazy so this is my easy way of making Pozole (instead of roasting the chilies and making my own sauce), what can i say?? This is a very convenient recipe you can whip up if you’re in a hurry to get back under the covers and watch movies with a delicious bowl to warm you all day. 😛

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Eggplant Bruschetta

Eggplant Bruschetta

Eggplant BruschettaMy boyfriend’s mother, Sanatani, LOVES eggplant with a passion (but it’s got to be well cooked)! I’ve known her since my childhood, and i grew up with her and her whole family, so she is my other dear mama and mentor!  She is a great cook and i have definitely learned a great deal from her. So the other day i was at her house and i decided to treat her a dinner with a juicy eggplant bruschetta. This was an experiment that actually turned out delightful and i was happy to see her content and smiling. Mother’s are the best! And it’s awesome when you have more than one!

3 long asian eggplants
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 diced onion
6 diced sweet mini bell peppers; yellow, red & orange
2 minced celery sticks
2 grated carrots
2 TB of vegetable oil
1/2 cup of cilantro
1/2 cup of mint leaves
3 tomatoes; diced
1 tsp of sugar
greek feta cheese for topping

Halve the eggplant lengthwise and then split in half. In a saucepan at a high flame, put 1 TB of oil and add the garlic, onions, carrots, celery, bell peppers, 1/2 mint, and 1/2 of the cilantro. Stir for about 2 minutes until they are a bit golden and wilted and add the eggplant, stirring for another minute. Add water enough to cover the eggplant and boil till the water is almost evaporated. Remove the eggplant and in the remaining water add the 3 diced tomatoes and cook till it has reduced into a chunky sauce and simmer. Meanwhile in a nonstick pan at a medium flame, add 1 Tb of oil and spread all over the pan, add the eggplant facing the sliced part down and cover for about 10 minutes, remove the lid and if you can prick the eggplant with a fork it is nicely cooked. Turn the eggplants so they can cook on the bottom, sprinkle the sugar evenly and cover for 5 minutes. Turn facing down on a medium high flame for a couple of minutes to caramelize the sliced top.  Check to see if they have a golden color to them, and are soft but not mushy. Turn off the eggplant and check the tomato sauce, add the remaining cilantro and mint and turn off. Place a couple of eggplants, facing the sliced part up, and add the sauce carefully on top, sprinkle with feta and fresh cilantro and serve immediately!

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