Plantain Two Ways

Plantain is such an under-appreciated vegetable in so many cultures. Even here, in the Caribbean, they make tostones, fried plantains and that’s it. But we, South-Indians have so many plantain recipes. And seeing plantains so often in the supermarket, in the farmer’s market, or simply on the street side shops, makes me very happy.


Vazhakkai, has so many uses in the South-Indian kitchen. We make so many sides, bajji, pan-fried, sautéd with spice powder, steamed, and I’m sure so many more preparations. I’m gonna try all of them, as plantains are in season here now. In fact, in South India, we use every part of the banana tree. We cook with banana stems, blossoms, plantains, bananas, we eat on banana leaves.. I remember a time when we used to go to our grandmother’s house for summer vacation, and there were a few banana and coconut trees in backyard, and we used to cut banana leaves just before lunch to eat on them.

But here, in the Cayman, it’s still here. If you go down south, to the older, non-touristy parts, every house has a couple of banana trees and coconut trees, sometimes neem trees and mango trees. (New life aim to live in one such house).

In the past one month (it’s been a month since we moved here? :O), with my limited kitchen utensils (no, our shipped stuff is still somewhere mid-atlantic), I’ve tried out 2 recipes using local plantains. One is pan-fried, and the other steamed. Will give both recipes here. I am also currently ripening one plantain to make platanos maduros. More on that later. Now to the recipes.

Pan-Fried Plantain (Vazhakkai varuval)



Ingredients :

Plantains – 2
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Chili powder – 1 tsp
Salt, to taste
For tempering –
Oil – 2 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – few
Asafoetida – a pinch

Method :

  1. Peel and slice plantain thinly. You can use a mandoline for this.
  2. Marinate it in a mixture of turmeric, chili powder and salt for salt.
  3. Heat a wide pan, add oil and temper mustard seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida.
  4. After the mustard seeds splutter, add the marinated plantains to the pan, and try to spread them so they’re in an even, single layer on the pan. (If your pan is too small, and the plantains look crowded, pan-fry in two batches).
  5. Pan-fry them, on medium high heat, turning once or twice, so it cooks evenly on all sides.
  6. When it’s cooked through, and you have the desired level of crispiness, remove from pan and serve.

Vazhakkai podi (Plantain spiced powder)

The traditional recipe, of course, doesn’t use flaxseeds. I’m adding it here because, flaxseed is super healthy with fibre and omega3, but has to be eaten powdered and raw. Also we should consume it immediately after grinding. So this podi is only meant for serving right away, not to be kept for later and eaten. But, even if the nutrients deteriorate, it would still be good kept in the fridge for 3-4 days.



Plantain – 1
Urad dal – 2 tbsp
Chana Dal – 2 tbsp
Red Chili – 2
Curry leaves – few
Flaxseed – 1 tbsp (optional)
Tamarind – 1/4 tsp of extract, or tiny bit of raw tamarind
Salt – to taste
Asafoetida – a pinch


  1. Steam the plantains with their peel on, in a steamer or in your pressure cooker for 10-15 min.
  2. Remove off steamer, and peel the plantains. The peel should slip off easily. Grate the plantains on a box grater and keep aside.
  3. Roast the dals, red chiles and curry leaves in a tsp of oil till golden brown.
  4. Grind the roasted stuff, along with a bit of tamarind, salt, and asafoetida coarsely.
  5. Add the grated plantain, spin the blender a few more times, till you get an even mixture.
  6. Vazhakkai podi can be eaten mixed with plain white rice and ghee. Or you can use it as side for curd rice, idli, dosai.

Vendakkai Kari (Pan-fried Okra)

I’ve always had a thing for cooking/buying local, in-season produce. I don’t understand people who live in India and pay Rs.200 for an avocado, or people living abroad hunting for imported Indian mangoes. Sure, once in a while is fine. But regularly, we should all try to eat local produce. They’re fresher, cheaper and definitely much healthier.

Hence, I frequent farmer’s markets. After our recent move, it took me one day to locate the time and place of the local market. It was quite easy given that the area of the island is just 75sqmi. But the local market here is so different from those I’ve been to before, the produce so different. Summer in NY means, best of fruits – peaches and apricots and berries. Here it’s mangoes. So many varieties of local mangoes. And star fruit and guavas and coconut. It’s quite a revelation. As far as veggies go, right now, okra and plantains are in season. I buy them every week and try out new ways to fix them.


Today, I will give here my Okra recipe. I never buy frozen okra, because my favorite way to make it crispy, pan-fried, and okra and moisture don’t go well. Look how gorgeous this farmer’s market haul is! And I’ve never seen red okra before! I’ve always loved okra, and not because my mom told me that eating okra makes you a genius at Math. Now my kids love it too. It’s their favorite vegetable of all time. Here’s how I make it (and how my mom made it).

Pan-fried Okra (Vendakkai kari in Tamil)


Okra – 1/2 kg (about 1 pound)
Oil for tempering
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida – a pinch
Curry leaves – few
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder – 1tsp (You can change this based on your spice level, but I keep it here otherwise you can’t really taste the okra, or anything else)
Salt – to taste


1. Wash the okra well. Wipe it well with a fresh tea towel. Let it sit in a colander for 10-15 min to air dry. You don’t want any water on the okra. Dry it again with a paper towel if you must. No water!

2. Slice it with a sharp knife, taking care not to bruise it too much. And don’t slice it carpaccio-thin, thinking it would be crisper. Slice it thusly.




3. Use a wide pan. Don’t use your vANali/wok here. You need a pan wide enough to fit the okra without crowding it in a pile. You don’t want it to steam.

4. Heat oil (medium high heat). Temper mustard seeds, urad dal, asafoetida and curry leaves. Once the mustard seeds have spluttered and the dal is brown, add turmeric powder and chili powder. Don’t burn them, but let it mix with the oil well.

5. Add the chopped okra. Mix with the seasoned oil well and spread it out evenly in the pan so it’s not all crowded. Let it sit here and cook for a bit.

6. Resist the temptation to stir the okra too much. The more you stir, the more gooey the okra becomes. Also, notice we haven’t added salt yet. And we won’t till the very end. This is because salt is hydrophilic, and will draw moisture out of the food. We don’t want more moisture in there. Keep the heat at medium-high as well.

7. Stir the okra once every five minutes. so it cooks evenly on all sides. In about 15 min, you will notice, while stirring, the okra is no longer gooey and has turned color slightly. At this point, add salt to taste, stir well, and cook for another 5-7 minutes, till the okra is at desired level of crispness.

8. Take off heat and serve with rice/roti or just eat it off the pan. I’ve done all 3.




Rice and Beans


I always have canned beans on hand. Dried beans of course are the  preferred  choice, and I use those often, but canned beans are a lifesaver for quick week night meals. Especially for vegetarians. Today, for example, I had some ripe avocados that I wanted to use before they spoiled. Guacamole  is always my choice, because the family loves it. And when considering a main dish of the same cuisine, I didn’t have much choices. Hence decided to make this simple, one-pot  Mexican  rice and beans.

Rice and Beans


Onions – 1 medium-sized, diced finely
Carrots – 1 medium-sized, diced finely
Garlic – 2 cloves
Green bell pepper – 1 medium-sized, diced finely
Green chilies – 2 (I just slit them in half, if you like it spicy, dice it finely)
Tomato paste – 1 tsp
Rice – 1 cup (any kind, I used basmati)
Red kidney beans – 1 can, rinsed many times
Cumin powder – 1tsp
Salt – to taste
Vegetable or Chicken stock – 2 cups (can be substituted with water)
Cilantro for garnish


1. In a wide, heavy bottomed pan (I used my pressure pan) add about a tbsp of olive oil. Add onions, garlic, carrots, bell pepper and green chilies and sauté on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
2. Add the tomato paste, salt and cumin powder and sauté for a few minutes more.
3. Add the rice, and mix well, till every grain is coated well with the onion-tomato mixture.
4. Add beans, stock and bring to a boil.
5. If using a pressure pan, at this point close and cook for 2 whistles. If it’s a regular pan, cover and cook till all the water is absorbed, for about 15-20 minutes.
6. Let it sit, covered, for about 5 min.
7. Fluff the rice up with a fork, and serve, garnishing with chopped cilantro.


1. Use any kind of rice. I used basmati. If using brown rice though, soak it for about 30 minutes first, and then follow the recipe.
2. This rice can be eaten as is, or served with toppings (sour cream, lettuce, grated cheese, the works). Or wrap everything up in a tortilla and serve as a burrito.
3. Skip the beans, and serve the spiced rice as a side for fish or chicken.

Kancheepuram Idli

Temples in India are special in that they attract food enthusiasts and gourmands as well, thanks to their “prasadham” (offering). Each temple (let me stick to my homeland) in Tamilnadu, has it’s own special food offering. And for a relatively cheap price, sell it to all the visitors. One temple in Kancheepuram, Varadharajar temple, offers this special, spicy idli as prasadham. My mom tells me, her great uncle was the cook there for many years, making these idlis day after day, and this recipe from him, has been in the family forever. Try it, it’s both healthy and delicious, with a spicy kick from the dry ginger and black peppercorns.

Kancheepuram Idli


Idli Rice – 1 cup
Raw Rice – 1 cup
Black Urad dal – 1 cup
Salt – as per taste
Sour yogurt – 1/4 cup
Dry ginger (sukku) – 1″ piece
Black Pepper Corn – 1 tbsp
Cumin – 1/2 tbsp
Curry leaves (fresh) – 10
Ghee – 2 tbsp


1. Soak black urad dal overnight.
2. In the morning, soak the rice, for 3-4 hours.
3. Grind the dal, and rice  separately, into thick batter (don’t add too much water).
4. Mix the dal and rice batter with salt, and ferment for 10-12 hours. (or until the dough rises and has bubbles on the surface). At this point, you can store the batter in the refrigerator for future use. It can be used for a week.
5. On the day of cooking, mix in sour yogurt (just leave 1/4 cup of yogurt on the counter overnight).
6. Coarsely powder dry ginger, cumin and black peppercorns and add it to the dough, along with fresh curry leaves.
7. Heat the ghee (clarified butter) in a small pan, and pour hot ghee over the spice powder on the batter.
8. Mix the batter well.
9. Now you have two choices, you can cook it in regular idli pan for 20 mins, or pour all the batter into a cake pan, or the steamer pan of your rice cooker (lined with aluminum foil), and steam for an hour or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
10. Cut into wedges and serve with idli molaga podi, or chutney of your choice.


1. If you can’t find whole black urad dal, you could replace it with regular urad dal. You don’t have to soak regular urad dal overnight though.

ParuppuruNdai mOrkkuzhambu

There are some dishes bring about a bout of nostalgia. Mother’s kitchen. Sunday lunches. Weeknight dinners. Birthday cakes. Brunches. Everyone has that one special recipe that reminds you of mom, of simpler, happier times. For me, it’s this dish. I can just close my eyes and go 20 years back, sitting on my mom’s kitchen counter, watching my mom cook, waiting for her to finish, so I can eat it, with steaming hot rice, and pan fried okra. Those were the days.

But it’s still nice to know that I can make the same kuzhambu (sauce), and re-live those memories, even though mom is thousands of miles away. So here is the recipe of mom’s paruppuruNdai mOrkkuzhambu (steamed lentil dumplings in a spicy yogurt sauce).

ParuppuruNdai mOrkkuzhambu


For ParuppuruNdai:
Chana dal – 1/2 cup
Toor dal – 1/2 cup
Dried red chilies – 2-3 (depending on your spice preference)
Curry leaves – 1 bunch
Salt to taste

For mOrkkuzhambu:
Buttermilk – 2 cups (or plain yogurt 1 cup and water 1 cup blended together)
Cumin – 1 tsp
Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
Toor dal – 1 1/2 tsp
Green chilies – 1-2 (depending on how sour your buttermilk/yogurt is)
Fresh grated coconut – 3 tbsp
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
For tempering: Oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves, asafetida.


For ParuppuruNdai:

Soak the dals and red chilies in water for 2 hours.
Drain, and grind it with curry leaves and salt (without extra water) into a coarse, thick batter. Do not add more water.
Shape into lime sized balls, using a light touch, don’t press too hard to shape them, they tend to become too hard when steamed.
Steam for 15 – 20 min. (Be it in the idli cooker, rice cooker or stove top steamer)

For mOrkkuzhambu:

Soak cumin, coriander seeds, and toor dal in water for 15-20 min.
Grind into a fine paste with green chilies and grated coconut.
Mix the ground paste, turmeric and salt in the buttermilk/yogurt.
Place on the stove (medium heat) and heat the kuzhambu till it bubbles up. Do not let it boil, as this will separate the curds and whey in the yogurt.
Add the paruppuruNdais.
Temper mustard seeds, curry leaves and asafetida in oil, and add to the mOrkkuzhambu.
Let it sit for 30 min, so the paruppuruNdais will soak up the flavor of the kuzhambu.
Serve with hot rice, or sEvai (rice noodles).


1. Leave the yogurt/buttermilk on the counter for a few hours so it turns a bit sour. Sour is better for this dish, because it holds up well to the spices.
2. The same paruppuruNdai recipe works for paruppusili too, after steaming, temper and saute with steamed veggies.
3. You can make the mOrkkuzhambu without the lentil dumplings, and use veggies in it’s place (okra, squash, eggplant)
4. You could add the lentil dumplings in other sauces too: vathakuzhambu, kaarakuzhambu.

Vegetarian Meatballs


Kids wanted spaghetti for dinner. Again! And I was tired of the simple marinara sauce, or pesto (which happens to be their current favorite). I wanted some protein too. And when I thinking of healthy options, I thought, the classic is spaghetti  with  meatballs. Why not make it vegetarian? I mean, if there can be turkey meatballs.. I initially thought lentils, but it was almost time for dinner, and I didn’t have time to soak and pressure cook them, but I did have canned garbanzo beans, so that’s what I went with.

Now, I’m giving the recipe for the “meatballs” here. Marinara sauce (don’t use the sauce out of the jar) is simple, and I’ve already given the recipe here. Cook spaghetti as per instructions on the box, ‘al dente’, toss around in a tablespoon of olive oil and keep aside.

Vegetarian “Meatballs”


Onion – 1 (medium sized, diced)
Carrot – 1 (medium sized, diced)
Red bell pepper – 1 (medium sized, diced)
Garlic – 2 cloves (minced)
Spinach – 1 bunch (chopped)
Tomato paste – 1 tablespoon
Fresh thyme – 1 sprig
White button mushroom – 8 (chopped)
Chickpeas – 1 can (drained and rinsed well)
Breadcrumbs – 1/2 cup
Egg – 1
Parmesan cheese – 1/4 cup (grated)
Fresh parsley (or cilantro) – 1 bunch (chopped fine)
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil – to sauté and drizzle on meatballs

baked veggie meatballs.


1. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a hot pan. Sauté onion, carrot, red bell pepper, garlic and thyme for 5 – 7 minutes, till veggies are soft.
2. Add tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add spinach and mushrooms and cook for 10-15 minutes, till all the liquid is absorbed.
4. Add the chickpeas, cooking for a couple of more minutes, while smashing the chickpeas with the back of your spatula.
4. Remove the mixture from heat, let it cool.
5. Mix in breadcrumbs, eggs, grated cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix well with your fingertips (don’t knead).
6. Preheat the oven to 400F.
7. Grease a cookie sheet or a baking pan with olive oil.
8. Roll the veggie+chickpea mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Arrange them on the greased tray with at least 1/4″ gap between them.
9. Spray the meat balls with non-stick cooking spray.
10. Bake for 25-30 minutes until browned evenly, and cooked through. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
11. Serve on marinara sauce, ladled over a bed of spaghetti.

Note: I decided to keep the meatballs crispy, but if you prefer, after removing them from the oven, you could place them in the marinara sauce, and let them gently poach in sauce before serving them on spaghetti. Just don’t boil them in sauce, lest they fall apart.


1. Instead of chickpeas, you could use lentils. (1/2 cup lentils, soaked for an hour and pressure cooked till tender, drained and smashed).
2. You could add chopped walnuts or almonds (1/4 cup) to the mixture for a bit of crunch.
3. Technically, these meatballs could be deep fried, they will taste better I suppose, but this is healthier. 🙂
4. Any hard cheese, Pecorino Romano or Grana Padano can be used. (Parmesan is quite expensive)
5. Add any veggies you like, dice them fine so they’ll cook evenly. Substitute spinach with any other greens you have on hand.

Curried Lentil Burgers

Curry lentil burger

Vegetarian burgers are sadly not very good, even at the best burger joints. Especially in Spain. ‘Hamburgesas’ aren’t very good, or healthy. So when I wanted to introduce my kids to burgers, I wanted them to be healthy and tasty. So I made these Curried lentil burgers with Greek yogurt on whole wheat burger buns. The patties are so yummy, that you wouldn’t miss the meat at all.

Curried Lentil Burger


Brown lentils – 1/2 cup, cooked and drained
Onion – 1, diced finely
Carrot – 1, diced finely
Fresh ginger minced – 1 tsp
Green chili minced – 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt and pepper to taste
Egg – 1
Breadcrumbs – 1 cup
Oil, for pan frying


1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and add the onion and carrot. Cook until tender about 3 minutes, and add the ginger, cumin, coriander, pepper and salt. Cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl.
2. Add the lentils, egg and half of the breadcrumbs and mix well, till the mixture comes together.
3. Shape into patties of desired size.
4. Drench in the remaining breadcrumbs.
5. Pan fry in oil, till golden brown on both sides.
6. Serve on burger buns, with a slice of onion, tomato and lettuce. I skipped the mayo and slathered the bun with greek yogurt.

Summer on a plate

Today for dinner I made a really fresh, really simple salad. Cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and salad greens (mixture of radicchio, curly endive, arugula, and lettuce) were store bought. Add some pasta, diced cucumber and fresh basil. The salad dressing is very simple. Whisk together fresh lemon juice, good olive oil (I use this), salt, pepper and some oregano. Mix well and serve. How easy is that?!

You could add some toasted walnuts or croutons for some crunch. Or skip the pasta and add Shrimp or roasted chicken for a healthier, low-carb version.

Thai Red Curry

Thai Red Curry with tofu and cashewnuts

I’ve always been afraid of cooking Thai food. I love eating thai food though, and my recent lunch at Krachai, a trendy, Michelin Guide recommended thai restaurant, made me fall in love with the cuisine all over again. This pushed me to try my hand at Thai food. I knew there were currys, and one had the option of making your own curry paste, but I wasn’t going to risk it on my first attempt. I found a good oriental supermarket and bought the red curry paste, pre-made. It was then just a matter of making the curry and rice. It was yummy, the next time, I am going to try and make the curry paste from scratch.

Thai Red Curry


Tofu – 200gms
Onion – 1, cut in thin strips
Red pepper – 1, cut in thin strips
Green pepper – 1, cut in thin strips
Carrot – 1, cut in thin strips
Broccoli – 1 small head, cut into small florets
Thai red curry paste – 1-2 tablespoons
Brown Sugar – 1 tsp
Coconut milk – 1 can
Lime – 1
Fresh basil – a few leaves
Cashew nuts (optional) – 10
Salt to taste
Vegetable Oil – 2 tbsp


1. Cube the tofu, and carefully pan fry it in 1 tbsp of oil till mild golden brown. Take it out and drain on paper towels.
2. Pan fry the cashew nuts as well and reserve.
3. Heat the remaining oil in a pan, and fry the red curry paste for a couple of minutes till fragrant.
4. Add the onions, and saute for a couple of more minutes.
5. Add all the vegetables, saute for a couple of minutes more.
6. Add the coconut milk and brown sugar and cook for 8-10 minutes, till the vegetables are cooked, but not mushy.
7. Add the pan-fried tofu, cook for a couple of minutes more, taste and add more salt if needed.
8. Remove from the heat, add the juice of a lime, and the basil.
9. Top off with the fried cashew nuts, and serve with jasmine or basmati rice.


1. Don’t over cook the tofu, hot pan, fry for a minute or two.
2. Try out the curry paste you buy, some are spicier. Adjust the quantity on how spicy you like your curry.
3. Chicken or shrimp would be lovely as well. I had the curry with Langostinos at Krachai and it was yummy.
4. Add any vegetables you have on hand: green beans, asparagus, cauliflower, zucchini, mushrooms..

The Laborious Lasagne

Roasted vegetable lasagne

This recipe has home-made pasta sheets, oven-roasted vegetables, made-from-scratch tomato sauce, bechamel sauce, home-made bread crumbs.. well that’s an afternoon’s work. But what I like about lasagne is that the whole thing can be made and assembled days ahead, and you can just bake it 30 minutes before you serve! Not a shabby week-night dinner, if you have it all assembled over the week, eh?

I agree, home-made pasta sheets are pushing it too far, but trust me, they are extremely simple. Well even if you use store bought pasta sheets, you will not be compromising too much on the flavor, as long as you don’t use store bought sauce.

Veggies ready to be roasted

Roasted Vegetable Lasagne

Ingredients: (For a five layer lasagne)

Pasta sheets – 5 (or more if you are using store-bought) (Go Here for Pasta Dough Recipe)

Tomato Sauce – 

Onion – 1, diced fine

Garlic – 2-3 cloves, minced

Carrot – 1, grated

Tomatoes – 1 can of whole tomatoes

Fresh thyme- 1 sprig

Salt and Pepper to taste

Bechamel Sauce-

Butter – 2 tbsp

Flour – 2 tbsp

Milk (Whole Milk) – 2 cups

Garlic – 1 clove, minced

Nutmeg – freshly grated, a pinch

Salt and Pepper to taste

Roasted Vegetables-

Carrot – 2 medium, sliced

Eggplant – 1 medium, sliced

Zucchini – 1 large, sliced

(Use any vegetables you have on hand, make sure to slice them even. Mushrooms work great as well)

To Assemble

Grated parmesan – 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup

Breadcrumbs – 1 cup


1. To make the roasted veggies: Place all your veggies on a sheet pan (don’t overcrowd) in a layer. Add salt and pepper and olive oil and roast it in a 400 oven for 20 – 25 min.

2. To make the tomato sauce: Saute the onions and garlic in 1 tbsp olive oil for a minute. Add the carrots (to cut the acidity, better than sugar) and saute for another minute. Add the can of tomatoes, 1 can of water or stock (just wash the same can you emptied), thyme, salt and pepper and let it simmer for 15 minutes on a medium flame. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. This is my go-to tomato sauce.

3. To make the bechamel sauce: Warm the milk in the microwave till hot. Melt butter in a pan. Add the flour and whisk well, so there are no lumps. Cook the flour for about 3-5 minutes, till it smells nutty. Add the hot milk in batches and keep whisking till there are no lumps. Add the garlic and continue cooking for about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and nutmeg.

4. Make your fresh pasta sheets, or prepare your store bought sheets as per the package instructions. Just don’t over cook it, I normally just use the fresh sheets as is, or soak the store bought ones in warm water so they are easy to use.

5. To assemble: Take a square pan (or any pan you like, I’ve even used my loaf pan once) and spread a teaspoon of tomato sauce at the bottom as glue, then line the first pasta sheet. Since this is a 5 layer pasta, spread 1/5 of the tomato sauce evenly, then 1/5 of the roasted veggies, 1/5 of the bechamel sauce, and then sprinkle an even layer of parmesan. Then cover it with the pasta sheet, and continue till you have exhausted all the sauces. Cover with breadcrumbs and remaining parmesan, drizzle some olive oil on top. Bake your lasagne in a 350F oven for 30 – 35 minutes till the top is nice and golden brown.

6. Wait for 10 minutes for the lasagne to cool a bit, then slice and serve!


1. Make it ahead, till the very last step. Bake when needed!

2. If you like your lasagne cheesy, then include a layer of grated cheddar or gouda.

3. Don’t overdo with the sauces, then it won’t bake right in the given time, and won’t slice well.

4. Breadcrumbs are easy to make : Pulse in your food processor stale bread and you have it. Add any seasoning: garlic and onion powder and dried parsley will be nice.

P.S. It is quite laborious isn’t it? Ah, once in while it’s alright, I guess!