Mar 28, 2013

Malpuas made with whole-wheat atta, mashed bananas and milk

Malpuas and dahi vadas were traditional Holi fare when I was growing up. I've lost count of the number of plates of malpuas that used to be sent home, and if that was not enough, no matter who invited us home for Holi dinner, malpuas would be on the menu. I've never had the guts to try my hand at making malpuas, but since I was assured that they were pretty easy to make, I had to attempt them, at least once.
They looked awful (specially since the only malpuas I have ever had were made by experts), but tasted pretty good. And yes, they were all polished off within no time at all- but that could be because people were exhausted with all that playing.


2 bananas
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
pinch of salt
3 tbsp sugar (can be more, if you like it very sweet)
1/2 cup milk 
oil for deep frying

Mash two over-ripe bananas. Add 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, a pinch of salt and sugar to taste (I used only about 3 tbsp) and mix well.
Add about 1/2 cup milk and make a loose batter (same consistency as dosa batter). Add more or less milk as required.
Let it stand for 30 minutes.
Heat sufficient oil in a pan. Test heat by putting a drop of batter in the oil- if it sinks down, then rises up, the oil is ready.
Pour batter in the oil in a circular movement. When one side is done, turn over and fry the other side. Drain on kitchen towels.

You can dunk the malpuas in a sugar syrup, but I prefer not to. You can also garnish with chopped dried fruits, but I didn't.

Tair vadais - shallow fried version

For as long as I can remember, I have loved both tair vadais and dahi bhallas, and all the permutations in-between. After the Eureka moment, when I thought of making the vadas in a paniyaram pan, I have been making them quite frequently. 
Though one would think that dahi vada is a more authentic thing to make on Holi, I made Tair Vadai, since that is what my mother used to make when we were living in Bihar.

For the vadais-
Soak 1 measure urad dal for 2- 8 hours ( I did for 4 hours).
With minimal water, grind the soaked urad dal, a few curry leaves (torn), 2- 3 peppercorns till fine (the way to test if the dal is done is to drop a bit in water- if it starts floating right away, it is done).
Add salt to taste and a few pieces of coconut and mix well.
Using an appam tray, make vadas, the same way as you would paniyarams (a slightly watery batter works better than thick one).

For the Tair-
Take 1/2 a coconut grated, 1 green chilli, 1 inch piece ginger, and grind till smooth. Beat mixture into 1 1/2 cups dahi, with salt to taste.

Dunk the vadais in the prepared dahi, and serve chillied.

Mar 19, 2013

Palak-paneer salad

Palak paneer is a favourite at home, so when I saw this recipe for a palak paneer salad, I had to try it out. I wasn't too sure about the raw spinach, but after reading about a woman who battled cancer with raw spinach, I decided to give it a try- I did wash it several times, though. And the salad was quite yummilicious.

Wash and clean 6/ 8 leaves of spinach. Chop fine.
Crumble 50 gms paneer, and toss it with the spinach.
Add juice of 1/2 lime, a dash of tabasco and salt to taste, and mix well.
Sprinkle 1tbsp roasted sesame seeds on top before serving.

- I didn't, but you could add peanuts for extra crunch
- planning to experiment with rock salt next time

Paneer roll

This is something that often goes into the school lunchbox, but this is the first time, I remembered to take a picture of the rolls.

Cut 1/2 onion very fine, and saute in about 1/2 tsp butter till the raw smell goes.
Cut about 100 gms paneer into tiny pieces and add to the onions. Add salt and pepper to taste, and about one pouch of tomato ketchup. Stir well, then turn off the fire.
Place on a roti (this quantity is sufficient for 4 roti rolls), roll and tuck both ends in. Cut into half, if you are sending it to school.

I used to roll it using tissue paper, but was told that the kids mess the class up with it. Now I tuck both the ends in (so the filling doesn't fall out), and cut it in half, so it makes a piece that can be finished off in just a few bites.

Watermelon smoothie

During a weekend trip, we stopped at a stall where they were selling watermelons straight from the field. Not only did the look amazing, they cost a fraction of what they do in the city, and I just couldn't resist picking up a couple. Since there is only so much watermelon that you can eat, I decided to experiment with a smoothie, and it tasted amazing.

Blend 1 cup watermelon chunks (remove the seeds), 6-8 leaves of mint (mine were freshly plucked), and rock salt to taste, till nice and frothy. Slurp!

Mar 18, 2013

Dak bungalow chicken

Growing up in a vegetarian household, for the longest time, the only non-veg dishes I had tasted were the fish fry and the roast chicken at this restaurant in Jamshedpur, and the chicken they served at the Guest House. It was only when I read the name "dak bungalow chicken", and tried to research it on the internet that I realized that what the cook at the Guest House was dishing out was a continuation of the grand colonial tradition of "dak bungalow chicken". This is a mish-mash of a bunch of recipes, and tastes exactly like I remember it.

Wash and clean the pieces of chicken and pat dry.
Mix -
1/2 cup curd
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp each cumin pwd and red chilli pwd* and 2 tsp coriander pwd
salt to taste
Marinate the chicken in the mixture and keep aside for about 4 hours.

Fry in 1 tbsp oil-
2 medium onions chopped
6-8 cloves garlic
1 inch piece ginger
2 bay leaves
1 stick cinnamon
1 badi elaichi
8-10 cloves
till the onions turn a golden brown.

Turn off the flame. Take out about 1/2 the total quantity of the fried mixture (without any of the whole spices), grind to a smooth paste and return to the mixture.

Add the marinated chicken pieces to the fried masala, stir well, and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

Best with hot phulkas with lots of ghee.

* adjust chilli powder to taste

Shallow fried pakodas

I was craving pakodas yesterday afternoon, but just didn't want to go through the trouble of taking all that oil out to make a couple of pakodas for myself. Paniyaram pan and a little bit of ingenuity to the rescue. It was okay- NOT like the real stuff, but good enough for the effort put in. And with this success, kadhi chawal will become a lot more accessible too.

Chop 1/2 medium onion, and 1 green chilli
To 1/3 cup besan, add jeera pwd, dhania pwd, red chilli pwd, salt (all to taste), and make a smooth batter with 3 tbsp buttermilk.
Mix the onions and green chillies.
Grease the paniyaram pan, pour in the batter and allow it to cook on low heat till one side is done. Turn it over and cook the other side.

It doesn't taste anywhere near as good as real pakodas do, but considering the convenience, it is well worth a try.

Mar 15, 2013

Pickled watermelon rind

Whenever we have watermelon, I end up throwing out more than half the fruit- the white portion. Tried eating it, but it wasn't as nice as the red. But thrifty me, wanted to do something with it. Googled a bit for ideas and came up with a combination that I like.

Take 2 cups watermelon rind cut into inch size pieces (the rind is what you get when you peel off the green part and remove most of the red- keeping a little bit on for taste), mix with 3 tbsp salt and keep in the fridge for about 6 hours.
Pour the mixture into a heavy bottomed pan, add about 2 tablespoons of sugar, 8-10 pepper corns and 5-6 cloves and cook on low heat till the water reduces in quantity by 1/3.
Keep in the fridge for at least 24 hours to allow the syrup to seep in.

It can accompany any meal.

Egg curry (Jayita's "sinful" version from IFF)

It was one of those days when I was planning to make a standard egg curry for lunch, but when I saw this recipe of Jayita Sen, I just had to give it a try. Giving the original recipe, though I did make a couple of changes (and reduce the quantities since I was making it only for myself).

6 boiled eggs

8 small potatoes
1 large onion
2 tsp ginger paste
3 tsp garlic paste
turmeric powder
2 tsp kashmiri mirch powder
3 tsp curds
salt to taste

 For ground masala
2 tsp dhania
4 tsp khus khus
2 tsp fennel

Deep fry the boiled eggs till golden brown and keep aside
Boil the potatoes, then fry them till golden
Chop the onion, and fry till glassy
Add ginger paste, garlic paste and cook till the raw smell goes.
Add turmeric, red chilli powder and salt and cook till the oil seperates
Add curds, and the potatoes  and cook till the oil seperates
Grind the ingredients listed under ground masala and add to the mixture.
Add 1 cup water and a pinch of hing, and cook till you get a nice gravy.
Add the eggs, boil once, and serve with a garnish of butter.

I did not deep fry the eggs, or add potatoes. And I was careless while adding the curds, so it broke

Watermelon salad

Did I tell you I love watermelons? Nothing speaks "Summer" as much as they do. As far as I'm concerned, they don't need anything to be wonderful, but adding a bit of proteins makes it a healthy snack, and not just pure pleasure.

Toss together-
1 cup watermelon cut into small bites
50 gms paneer cut into small bites
4-5 walnuts chopped fine

Keep it in the fridge for about 30 minutes, so the paneer soaks in some of the watermelon juice. Sprinkle rock salt and serve/ eat.

Mar 12, 2013

Bagara Baingan

Got this recipe verbally from a friend, then modified it a bit by checking a couple of similar recipes on the internet. The dish looked more reddish than the picture does, and I actually wiped the dish clean with the last piece of roti.

Dry roast 2 tbsp white sesame seeds and 2 tbsp peanuts, and keep aside. When cool, grind with 2 tbsp grated coconut (and a bit of water) till you get a smooth paste.
Slit the long, slender brinjals (350 gms) lengthwise (making sure not to cut till the stem), and fry till they are soft, but don’t lose their shape. Keep aside.
Fry 1 onion, chopped fine and 2 tsp ginger garlic paste till the onion turns brownish. Add ground mixture and fry for a minute. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder, jeera, coriander powder and salt. Mix well and fry for another minute.
Extract the juice from 1 lemon sized ball of tamarind, add to the masala and mix well. Add the brinjals and cook closed for about 10 minutes.
Garnish with fres;postID=6492327248501405989;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=11;src=linkh dhania patta before serving.

Mar 11, 2013

Kathal ki subji

Kathal used to be one of my favourite vegetables, but I haven't had it for years. So when I did buy it, I had to first have my favourite subji. I do intend making the biryani, but that's later.

Clean and cut about 500 gms jackfruit, and marinate with salt, turmeric powder and a bit of oil for about 15 mins.
Saute cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves for a few seconds, add 2 chopped onions, ginger-garlic paste and cook till onions are lightly browned.
Add 2 tomatoes chopped, jeera powder, dhania powder, chilli powder and cook till the oil is released from the tomato mixture.
Add the marinated jackfruit mixture and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes.
Steam in a pressure cooker for 2 whistles over medium flame.
Serve hot.

Raw mango poha

It started out as Mona's pulao, but since I didn't have cooked rice, and was too lazy to make any, it ended up becoming a poha instead.


Wash 1 cup poha, and keep aside the washed poha
Heat 1 tsp oil, temper jeera.
Add 1/2 raw mango, 1 medium onion, 1 green chilli all chopped small, and a handfull of peanuts, and fry till the onion turns transparent.
Add the poha, some mint and dhania patta chopped fine, salt and rock salt to taste and mix well.
Serve hot.

Mar 9, 2013

Strawberry Salsa

This was the Spring of Strawberries. I was buying strawberries almost every day, and had to keep finding new things to do with the strawberries which were deemed not perfect enough to eat. This recipe was created by mixing a couple of recipes from the internet, and I must say, I was quite happy with the result.

Crush 2-3 pods garlic and 1 green chilli.
Chop 1/2 cup strawberries into eighths.
Take a quarter of the strawberries, crush it, and mix it back with the chopped strawberries.
Add garlic and green chillies.
Squeeze the juice of 1 lime, add salt to taste. Mix well.
Keep it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes for the juices to mix well.
Garnish with chopped mint and dhania patta.

Good with khakras or nachos.

Mar 8, 2013

Eggless strawberry cake

As you know, my hubby eats only eggless cakes, and there is a glut of strawberries in the market, so this seemed like a match made in heaven. Came out tasting pretty good- the only modification I will make next time I make it is to crush the strawberries, so they mix well.

200 gm (1 1/2 cup) plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
100 gm (3/4 cup) milk powder
150 gm (3/4 cup packed powdered sugar or fine sugar
100 gm (1/2 cup) butter
1 cup (250 ml) strawberries, sliced
250 ml (1 cup) milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
A few drops of lemon juice plus 2 tsp sugar for the strawberries

Clean and slice the strawberries. Mix in the lemon juice and the sugar and keep aside for about 15 minutes to half an hour. This helps to bring out the flavour of the strawberries.
Sieve the flour, baking powder and baking soda.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and the vanilla with a hand blender or with a wire whisk, about 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in the sugar and the milk powder and beat until soft. Stir in half the flour, add half the milk and beat until soft, for about 2 minutes. Put in the remaining flour and milk and beat again until soft for 2 minutes. Mix in the strawberries with their juices. Pour the batter into a baking dish and bake till the skewer comes out clean.

Mar 6, 2013

Parsi brown rice

I got this recipe from a Parsi colleague of mine, and though it is not the traditional accompaniment for dhansaak, I choose to make the two together.

Wash and soak the rice and keep aside.
Heat 1 tbsp ghee and temper bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, cloves and 1 onion cut into long slices. When the onions are browned, remove everything, and add to the rice.
In the same pot, put about 1 tsp sugar, and heat till it melts and then caramalizes.
Pour in the rice, tempering and sufficient water.
Bring to boil, reduce flame, and let it cook till done.

Serve with dhansaak.

Vegetarian dhansak

My mother got this recipe from the mother of one of her classmates, and I grew up knowing this as dhansaak. After I moved to Bombay, I ordered it at Jimmy Boy and all the other Parsi restaurants, but none of them tasted quite the same. This then, is the authentic version of my mother's dhansaak, even if the jury is out on whether or not this is the "real" thing.

1 cup tur dal
1 small brinjal
1 bunch methi leaves
1 medium potato

1 onion
2 limes

For ground masala
dhania patta
6 deseeded green chillis
2 pods of garlic
1 tsp jeera
haldi powder
1 tsp dhania powder
5 cloves
10 peppercorns

Pressure cook the dal, brinjal, methi leaves and potatoes till soft. 
Beat in mixie to get smooth consistency.
Grind together everything listed under "ground masala", and keep aside
Dice the onion and fry in ghee till brown, add ground masala, fry till rawness goes, add to the dal, cook till it boils. 
Remove from fire, add juice of 2 limes.

I serve it with Parsi brown rice

Mar 5, 2013

English Devilled Eggs

I am a great fan of eggs, particularly boiled eggs, and this is one of my favourites. 

Cut hard boiled eggs in half lengthwise, and remove the yolk.
Mix yolk with English mustard, mayonnaise, a dash of tabasco and salt to taste.
Stuff the eggs with the mix.
Serve cold, garnished with cilantro and red chilli powder

Mar 4, 2013

Dimer Debil

One of my favourite Calcutta dishes. Never been able to replicate the taste, but won't stop trying. Proportions depend on the amount to be made.

Boil eggs, cut lengthwise and keep aside
Boil and mash potatoes
Make some keema (I fried soya nuggets with onions, tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste, red chillies, garam masala powder and salt).
Mix keema with mashed potatoes, and mould it on top of the egg halves, so it looks like a complete egg.
Make a batter with besan, a pinch of turmeric, salt and water. Coat the eggs in the batter and deep fry.
Serve hot with ketchup/ mustard sauce.

Chocolate Banana Smoothie

Smoothies in any form or kind are my favourite post-workout snack. This is one I reserve for long runs, because I have been told that chocolate is one of the best drinks you can have post run. Sometimes I wonder if I don't run as much as I do, only so I can indulge!!!!

Blend 1 cup milk, 1 banana and 1 tbsp cocoa powder till smooth. Yummy.

Mar 1, 2013


It was one of those days when I craved for something that would stimulate the tastebuds in the most primal way. Something "chatpata". Something dry. Basically, I wanted something that came out of a packet, but I didn't want to have something out of a packet either because I had been eating out more than I should. Since there was "poha" and peanuts at home, I decided to attempt chiwda, and it turned out better than the store bought stuff. I finished the entire amount in one sitting, then made some more for the hubby and kids.

Heat 1 tbsp cooking oil in a kadhai, and when it heats sufficiently, add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 2 red chillies and 2 sprigs of curry leaves. When the spluttering dies down, add 4-5 tbsp peanuts, and about 10 thin slices of copra, and fry on low heat till the peanuts are nicely done.
Add 2 small cups poha (beaten rice), 1/2 tsp each haldi powder and red chilli powder, a pinch of hing and salt to taste. Keep stirring on low heat till the poha becomes crisp, and evenly coated. Switch off the heat, and mix 1 tsp sugar.
Let it cool before packing in an airtight container.