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India Currents gave me a voice in days I was very lost. Having my articles selected for publishing was very validating – Shailaja Dixit, Executive Director, Narika, Fremont

Super Bowl Scrumptiousness!

If you are like me, the Super Bowl is all about food, commercials, and the halftime show. It is the social aspect of the game that allures me, so I make an extra effort to make sure that game day snacks are easy to eat while watching the game, but bold in flavor. 

Bay Area desi fans might be a bit disappointed that the 49ers were eliminated, but that just means that we can concentrate on the food a bit more! So, wherever you are watching from – stadium stands, the bars, or a friend’s home – get ready to cheer your favorite team on the most popular sporting day in America. 

Score a few extra points with your guests with these Game Day recipes with an Indian twist from Priya Lakshminarayan of Cookilicious. Her vegetarian and vegan recipes are a healthy mix of family favorites that have been passed down by her mom, accidental creations, and some passionately invented dishes.

Taco Boats 

Black Bean Taco Boats (Image courtesy: Priya Lakshminarayan)
Boats of deliciousness! (Image courtesy: Priya Lakshminarayan)

This vegan Instant Pot Black Beans Taco boat recipe is delicious, packed with flavor, and very filling. Makes 10 Taco Shells.


  • 1 cup Raw Black Beans
  • 8-10 cloves Garlic
  • 2 Jalapenos
  • 1 Onion finely chopped
  • 2 Tomatoes chopped
  • 1 Bell Pepper chopped
  • ¼ cup Sweetcorn
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon Chili seasoning
  • ½ tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups Water/Vegetable Stock Add 1.5 cups to make it less liquid
  • Salt
  • ½ cup salsa
  • Shredded vegan cheese as needed


  1. Rinse the black beans under running water till you get clear water. Then soak them overnight or for 7-8 hours.
  2. Turn on the Instant Pot in sauté mode. Add oil and once it’s hot, add minced garlic. Fry till it turns light golden.
  3. Then add chopped onions and sauté till they turn translucent.
  4. Then add chopped tomatoes along with salt. Continue to sauté till they turn soft and pulpy.
  5. Now add chopped bell pepper and sweet corn. Cook it for a minute.
  6. Drain the black beans and add them to the pot. Mix and cook for another minute.
  7. It’s time to add the seasonings. Add Cajun seasoning, Mexican seasoning, chili seasoning, and ground cumin.
  8. Give it all a good mix and cook for one minute. Then add water. Turn off the sauté mode. Close the lid and cook in pressure/manual/beans mode for 30 minutes.
  9. Release pressure naturally. Garnish with chopped cilantro and lemon juice. Mexican Black Beans in Instant Pot is ready!
  10. Keep this aside for now. Keep it refrigerated if you don’t need to prepare the taco boats immediately.
  11. To prepare the taco boats, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the taco shells over a lined cookie tray and heat them for 3 to 4 minutes.
  12. Alternatively, you can also microwave them on high for 40 to 60 seconds.
  13. Add a generous helping of the prepared black bean mixture and fill up the boats.
  14. Then, add a layer of salsa on top.
  15. Lastly, garnish with shredded vegan cheese and add some sliced jalapenos for that extra kick. Broil for 1-2 minutes or till the cheese melts.
  16. Serve these authentic tacos immediately. You can also top it with some avocado slices, guacamole, and/or olives if you like. Want more heat, drizzle some hot sauce on top.

Chai Cheesecake 

Eggless Wonder - Chai Cheesecake! (Image courtesy: Priya Lakshminarayan)
Eggless Wonder! (Image courtesy: Priya Lakshminarayan)

Eggless and no-bake dessert recipe. This mini cheesecake Indian fusion recipe is smooth, creamy, deliciously tart, and served in a jar! Makes 10 Jars


For masala chai

  • 1.5 cups water
  • 4 tablespoon tea leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chai masala

To prepare the crust

  • 40 Parle-G biscuits or any other biscuits
  • 6 tablespoons melted salted butter

To prepare the cream

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream


  1. Before you begin making this no-bake cheesecake recipe, don’t forget to take out the cream cheese from the fridge and let it sit on your kitchen counter to soften.

Make masala chai

  1. Add water, tea, and chai masala to a pot. There is no need to add milk. Bring it to a boil and let it brew for 2 minutes.
  2. Take it off the flame. Strain and keep it aside. It should measure about ¾ cup.

Prepare the crust

  1. Reserve some for garnish and break the remaining Parle G biscuits. Then add them to a blender. Pulse till crumbly. Do not over-pulse and make powder. It should be coarse. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Add melted butter, mix, and keep aside. If using unsalted butter, add ⅛ teaspoon of salt before mixing.

Prepare the cream

  1. In a bowl add softened cream cheese. Using a spatula, beat it till smooth.
  2. Add powdered sugar to the bowl. Mix them together. Keep it aside for now.
  1. In another bowl add chilled heavy cream and beat using an electric beater till it forms stiff peaks.
  2. Add the cream cheese mixture to the bowl now. Also, gradually add the strained chai.
  3. Fold the mixture gently so that you don’t lose all the air incorporated into the whipped cream which will help it from deflating.
  4. Keep tasting to see if the flavor of the chai is strong enough. Also, be mindful that the cream cheese batter should not become runny.

Assemble the cheesecake

  1. Add a generous layer of biscuit+butter mixture in jars. Using a flat bottom glass, press it down firmly. Reserve some for garnish.
  2. Then fill ¾ of the glass with the cream cheese batter.
  3. Cover with cling wrap and keep it in the fridge for 4 hours or till it sets. Overnight is better.
  4. Take them out when it’s time to serve. Garnish with biscuit+butter crumbs and insert half a biscuit into the cheesecake. Serve immediately.

French Loaf Vada Pav

French Loaf Vada Pao (Image courtesy: Priya Lakshminarayan)
Stuffed Delight! (Image courtesy: Priya Lakshminarayan)

Make this Potato Cheese stuffed bread recipe in 30 minutes, it will remind you of Vada Pav because it has all the flavors of it minus the effort. Serves 6.


For the stuffing

  • 6 potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 7-8 green chilies
  • 2 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 2 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
  • 1 teaspoon chaat masala
  • 1 teaspoon amchur powder
  • ½ cup green peas
  • salt
  • ⅓ cup chopped cilantro reserve half for later
  • For the flavored butter
  • ⅓ cup salted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • To stuff the loaf
  • 1 French loaf of bread
  • ¼ cup green chutney optional as required
  • 2 tablespoons dry garlic masala powder
  • ½ cup mixed cheese pecorino, mozzarella, and parmesan
  • ¼ cup fried onions
  • Butter to apply over the bread
  • Aluminum foil


For the stuffing

  1. Cook the potatoes first. I cooked them in a microwave for 15 minutes. Peel and grate the potatoes. You can also mash them.
  2. Heat oil in a pan. Temper cumin seeds. Add the minced green chilies, ginger, and garlic paste to the pan. Saute for 2 minutes till the raw smell goes away.
  3. Add turmeric powder, chilly powder, cumin powder, garam masala, chaat masala, Italian seasoning, and amchur powder.
  4. Next, add the green peas and salt. Now add the grated potatoes, and half the cilantro. Mix it all together till the veggies get coated well. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Check and add the seasoning as required. It’s fine if it’s a bit salty and spicy at this point. It will balance out eventually. Transfer the potato mixture to a bowl. The stuffing is now ready.

For the flavored butter

  1. Melt butter in a bowl. Add minced garlic and mix together. Also, ensure that the green chutney is at room temperature.

To stuff the loaf

  1. Carefully cut the French loaf in half using a serrated knife. Scoop out the center part of the bread on both halves to make a depression.
  1. Smear garlic butter all over the insides of the bread. Then smear green chutney over it. Sprinkle garlic masala powder (used to make vada pav) all over.
  2. Fill both halves with potato mixture. Be generous and stuff it well.
  3. Sprinkle mixed cheese and the remaining cilantro on one half of the loaf. Sprinkle fried onions on the other half of the loaf.
  4. Carefully close the loaf. Smear butter on top. Wrap nicely with aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake it for 15-20 minutes. Let it rest outside for 5 minutes before unwrapping it.
  5. Slice and serve immediately.
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Mona Shah

Mona Shah is a multi-platform storyteller with expertise in digital communications, social media strategy, and content curation for Twitter and LinkedIn for C-suite executives. A journalist and editor,...