Dec 31, 2014

Vegan orange cupcakes

I haven't been baking much these last few months, and though I kept promising myself I would bake a cake for various occasions, they came and went without anything going into the oven. New Year's Eve was my last chance to redeem myself, and even though I could think of a dozen excuses not to, I weighted out the ingredients, and in no time at all had myself a lovely batch of cup cakes. I hope the next lot isn't this late in coming!

1 cup all purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
a pinch of salt
¾ cup orange juice
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp orange zest
1 tbsp custard powder or corn flour

Method: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Sieve flour, with corn flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Keep aside.
Mix the oil and sugar, and beat well till well blended and creamy.
Add orange juice to the sugar and oil mixture, and mix well.
Add the sieved flour mixture and orange zest and mix well ensuring there are no lumps in the batter.
Pour into a greased cake tin, or cupcake liners, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes (15 minutes for cup cake, 20-25 for a regular cake), till a toothpick inserted into that batter comes out clean.
Serve hot or cold.

Dec 28, 2014

Dahi chicken

With the cook on leave for the day, I had to make dinner. I was in no mood to do anything complicated, and I definitely did not want to have anything spicy. This lightly spiced dahi chicken fitted the bill perfectly, we all loved it.

1 curry cut chicken
5 tbsp curds
4-inch piece of ginger, minced
2 green chilli peppers,slit lengthwise
2 tbsp dhania powder
2 tsp jeera powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
3 large cardamom pods
1 inch cinnamon
3 tbsp ghee
1 brown onion,chopped fine
1/2 tsp kasuri methi
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 cup chicken stock
Salt to taste

Marinate the chicken in curds and salt, and leave it for an hour.
Heat ghee. Add onions ginger, green chilli, badi elaichi and cinnamon, and saute till the onion starts browning.
Add kasoori methi and the marinated chicken, and mix well. Add the spices, stir, and cook uncovered for 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and the chicken stock. Mix well, cover and cook for 30-40 minutes till the chicken is well done.
Serve hot.

Creamy sweet corn soup

When winter is here, can soups be far behind. This was something I made while the chicken was simmering away on the other burner. The proportions are for 4 soup bowls- you need to reduce or increase quantities proportionally for different amounts.

2 packets peeled corn
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp chopped celery
2 tbsp chopped spring onions/ onions
1 tbsp butter
4 cups water or 2 cup warm milk + 2 cup water or 4 cups veg stock
½ tbsp corn flour dissolved in 2 tbsp water
4 tbsp shredded boiled chicken, optional
Salt to taste

Steam the corn for 5 minutes. Keep aside 1/3 cup corn, and blend the rest, with water to a smooth paste.
Heat butter, add onions, and saute till transparent.
Add celery, and toss around till the aroma is released.
Add the ground corn, and the water/ water+ milk/ veg stock. Bring to a boil.
Add black pepper, salt and the reserved corn kernels. Stir and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Add the shredded boiled chicken, if desired.
Add cornflour paste, and simmer for 2 more minutes till the soup thickens.

Serve hot.

Dec 26, 2014

Candied orange peel

There is a glut of oranges now, and when I saw a recipe to use the rind, I had to try it out. Unfortunately, I wasn't very careful in removing the pith, and there is a slight undertone of bitter in the candied orange, but it does taste really good with curds.

Peel of 8 oranges
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water

Cut the orange peel into strips, and soak in water for 4-6 hours. Remove the white part of the peel, making sure nothing is left behind.
Heat 1 1/2 cups water in a pan, add 1 cup sugar, and stir till it dissolves completely.
Add orange peel. Bring to a boil, then reduce the flame and allow it to simmer for 30 minutes till the rind starts turning translucent.
Pour into a sterilized container, and either have it as such, or use in cooking

Dec 23, 2014

Sweet and Spicy Dry Chicken

Dinner today was a mishmash of everyone's request. I wanted something spicy, but Thing Two insisted he needed sugar to kill the spice. The Hubby and Thing One both wanted chicken- preferably dry. There was also the slight problem of having to work with the ingredients that were available in the kitchen/ kitchen garden, since I didn't want to go out in the cold. And it had to be something easy.

I browsed the internet for recipes, and tried to decide between two recipes that I liked. Unfortunately, I got the two mixed up, and the recipe I finally made was something all my own (with some jaggery thrown in to keep Thing Two happy). The result- Fantastic Chicken, they all said, before finishing it all off!

1 curry cut Chicken

For Marinating:
1 tbsp Chilli powder
2 tbp dhania powder
2 tbsp Garam Masala Powder
1 tsp haldi powder
Salt to taste

For Masala:
Oil - 3 tblspn
1 tsp Saunf
3 large onions, chopped Onion
2 green chilli Green
3 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
2 tbsp Jaggery
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 sprig curry leaves


Marinate chicken and leave it for 30 mins.
Heat oil, add saunf and wait till it finishes spluttering.
Add onions and green chilli, and saute till it turns light golden.
Add ginger garlic paste, and curry leaves and fry till the onion is well browned. Make sure the onion is golden, because that what gives good colour to the curry.
Add the marinated chicken and jaggery and mix well.
Cover with a tight lid and cook on a very low flame for 30 mins to 40 mins stirring in between.
Now open the lid and increase the heat. Dry up the chicken, this will make the masala stick to the chicken and get fried.
Add lemon juice, mix well and serve.

Khatta meetha Chilli Achar

One of my  collegues brought this absolutely yummy khatta meetha chilli achar to work, which I couldn't have enough of. Unfortunately, someone had gifted the pickle to her, and she had no way of getting me the recipe. I browsed the internet till I found something that seemed like what I was looking for, and I tried it at once. It isn't quite what I had, but is lovely all the same, and I will definitely make it again.

15 green chillis, cut into inch long pieces
1 tbsp dried ginger powder
Salt to taste
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp dhania powder
100 gms jaggary
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup mustard oil

Heat the oil, and saute the green chillis till soft
Add salt, chilli powder, dhania powder, ginger powder and fry for a few mins
Add jaggary and mix well till it melts (keep the flame low to ensure it doesn't burn)
Add vinegar and stir.
Turn off the heat, and mix the rest of the oil (pre-heated).
Store in a dry jar, and keep it in the sun for 4-5 days before using.

Dec 22, 2014

Curly-wurly lemon pickle

I am not too fond of lemon pickle, but I fell in love with how this pickle by Renu Dheer looked, and couldn't wait to try it out myself. All the proportions are by andaz (and I am not yet sure if I need to add a bit more of something or not), but I do know that I like it a lot. I also know that had I been a fan of lemon pickles, I would like it a lot more than I actually do!

4 lemons
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp hing

Squeeze the juice into a small sterilized jar.
Turn the lemon inside out and with the thumb and forefinger, pull out the pith. With a small pair of scissors, cut out thin spirals till the centre. Put these in the jar with the lemon juice. 
Add salt to taste, and put the sealed jar in the sun for a week.
Add red chillie powder, hing, a pinch of garam masala and some sugar, and put it out in the sun again for a couple of days.
Excellent with parathas.

Dec 21, 2014

Tomato basil soup

With an unseasonal winter knocking on the door, what better way to enjoy the shortest day of the year, than with warm tomato soup?

6 large tomatoes
1/4 cup basil leaves
1 tbsp olive oil
4 pods garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup milk*
Salt and Pepper to taste

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, add the tomatoes (so they are submerged), cover, and allow it to cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the flame, immerse the tomatoes in cold water. Peel the skin and discard.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil, and saute the garlic on low heat till brown.
Blend the skinned tomatoes, basil leaves, and garlic, till you get a smooth consistency (I blended a bit less, because I wanted it a bit chunky).
Return the blended tomato puree to the pan (some of the olive oil will still be in it), add milk, and water (if desired), and bring to a boil.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, garnished with basil leaves.

*- the original recipe calls for cream, but milk worked just fine.
Olive Oil, also, works better than butter.

Matar ka halwa

While I love gajar ka halwa, and try to make it at least once a year, grating carrots is not exactly my idea of fun. Which is why I have been wanting to try matar ka halwa ever since I saw a recipe nearly a year back. I finally made it today, and liked it a lot. Given my family, though, I am going to reduce the sugar a bit more next time I make it.

2 cups green peas, shelled
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp ghee
Cardamon powder, optional
Sliced nuts for garnish

Blanche the peas in boiling water for 5 minutes (or till the colour turns a more vivid green). Remove into cold water, drain and keep aside.
Grind the peas coarsely in a blender.
Heat the ghee, add ground peas, and saute till the raw smell goes.
Add sugar and milk, stir well, and cook on a low flame till most of the milk evaporates.
Stir in cardamon powder.
Garnish with nuts and serve chilled.

Dec 20, 2014

Maharashtrian inspired hot and sweet drumsticks

I've had two drumsticks sitting in my fridge for almost a week. I'm not sure why I bought them, but I know that once it got home, I couldn't think of anything I wanted to make with them, and they languished. I finally invented this recipe to put the drumsticks out of their misery, and it actually turned out pretty good!

2 drumsticks
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp mustard oil
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp Maharashtrian godh masala powder
1 tsp jaggery
Salt to taste
1 tbsp black sesame seeds

Cut the drumsticks into 2 inch long pieces, and boil in water (with a bit of salt), for 5 minutes.
Heat the oil, saute the onion pieces till it turns transparent, then add ginger-garlic paste, and fry a bit more. Add drumsticks along with some of the water it was cooked in and mix well.
Add chilli powder, godh masala powder, jaggery and salt and mix well.
Cover, and let the curry bubble for 3 minutes or so. Uncover, and boil off the water, if required.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Dec 17, 2014

Gajar ka halwa

The kids have been asking for gajar ka halwa ever since carrots started appearing on the dinner table, and I finally succumbed to the pressure and made it for them tonight. A picture is in order, isn't it?

Dec 15, 2014

Muli Bhaji Nu Muthia

I'd picked up a big bunch of radish the other day, and after using half in a stir fry, still have quite a few to use up. Took to the internet, and found this recipe that used radish leaves. I adapted it slightly and came up with something that I really liked.

1/2 cups radish leaves and red radish, chopped
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
4 tsp rawa
3 tbsp curds
1 tsp haldi powder
2 tsp chilli powder
Salt to taste
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 pinch of hing
2 whole dry red chillies
1 tbsp lemon juice
Dhania patta for garnish (optional)

Combine the radish leaves, wheat flour, rawa, curds, haldi powder, red chilli powder, salt, mix well and knead into a soft dough using water.
Divide the dough into equal portions and roll them into cylindrical shape.
Steam the muthias in a steamer for 15-20 minutes or till done.
Remove from the steamer, cool and cut into thick slices.
Heat oil in a kadhai and add the mustard seeds.
When the seeds crackle, add the hing and red chillies and saute for 20 seconds.
Add the sliced muthias and saute for 2 minutes.
Add the lemon juice, coriander, mix well and serve hot.

Dec 11, 2014

Radish stir fry

This is my attempt at cooking greens the Maharashtrian way. While I would normally have used a traditional 'green', these radishes looked so lovely, I had to give them a try. 

I cup radish and radish leaves, chopped fine
3 tbsp peanuts
6 pods garlic, peeled and chopped
1 green chilli, chopped
1 tsp mustard oil
Salt to taste

Heat the oil, add the garlic and sauté on a low flame till browned
Add chilli and peanuts and sauté till peanuts start browning
Add the radish and radish leaves, and sauté till done (about 2-3 minutes)
Add salt to taste, mix well, and serve hot 

Dec 8, 2014

Desi Charburnt Salsa

I fell in love with this dish the moment I read it's description. But when I eventually made it, it wasn't exactly what I was expecting. But since you can't go too wrong with tomatoes, garlic, raw onions and mustard oil, it is worth documenting the recipe.

4-5 medium tomatoes
1/2 onion finely chopped
8-10 Garlic cloves, finely chopped.
1 Green chili, finely chopped
1 tsp raw mustard Oil
Coriander leaves, for garnish

Method:Roast 4-5 tomatoes on flame, peel, the skin, do not remove all , let a few smoked pieces stay.
Mash roasted tomatoes, in a deep bowl with your hand, do not use a blender, as the tomatoes should remain coarse.
Mix all ingredients, RAW.
Drizzle raw mustard oil and let it sit for 10 minutes,

Dec 7, 2014


The best way to spend a lazy Sunday is with a davara tumbler of filter kapi, and a good book (or magazine). Bliss!!!!

Green Moong Dhokla

One of my colleagues got this really lovely green dhokala the other day, and after finishing off most of it, I asked for the recipe. It seemed surprisingly easy- so easy in fact, that I suspected there would be a trick to it. But since there is not very much that can go wrong with green moong, I decided to give it a try. And it turned out absolutely fantastic.

1 cup green moong dal
1 inch piece ginger
1 green chilli
Salt to taste
A pinch of sugar*
1 packet Eno (I got only lemon flavour, and that added to the taste)
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds

Soak the green moong for 6-8 hours (or overnight).
Grind green moong, ginger, green chilli, with minimal water, till you get a consistent batter.
Add salt and sugar, mix, and let it stand for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, grease a container, and heat the water in a pressure cooker.
Add Eno, mix well, pour into the greased container, and level the surface.
Put in the pressure cooker. Close the lid (with the whistle taken off), and cook on high heat for 6 minutes. Reduce the flame and steam for 3 additional minutes.
Remove, and leave it out to cool. Cut into squares.
Heat the oil, temper the mustard seeds, and pour over the dhoklas.
Garnish with grated coconut, if desired.

*- I added this because the batter seemed too hot

Dec 6, 2014

Coin Pizza

The kids have been hankering for home made pizza for awhile, but I've been too lazy to break out a packet of yeast to make the base. So when I saw these whole wheat coin pizza bases at the grocery store, I couldn't resist picking them up. It didn't take long to make the pizza paste, and we had a really lovely meal with practically no work.

3 large tomatoes, chopped
6-8 pods garlic, chopped fine
6 baby corns, diced (or cut vertically)
1 tbsp butter
12-15 black olives
1 tsp chilli flakes, or to taste
1 tsp oregano, or to taste
Salt to taste

Ready made pizza bases
Cheese, grated

Method:Heat the butter, add garlic and baby corn, and saute till brown.
Add tomatoes, and saute till the tomatoes turn mushy. Mash down with the spoon.
Add chilli flakes, oregano, salt. Do a taste test and add sugar if needed. Keep aside.
Cut the olives into small pieces.
Grate the cheese.
Spread the sauce on the pizza bases. Sprinkle chopped olives. Cover with grated cheese.
Grill in the oven for 2 minutes at 175 degrees.

Savoury Galette

I'd never even heard about a Galatte till I saw it posted on a food group. Naturally, I had to dig deeper, and I found out that it was a "rustic" pie, which is perfectly suited to my lack of culinary skills (specially when it comes to rolling dough). The original recipe calls for a lot of butter, but I replaced it with olive oil, and it worked just as well.

For filling:

1 bunch spinach
1 tomato
6-8 black olives
100 gms homemade chilli paneer
6 cloves garlic
Salt and chilli flakes to taste
1 tbsp olive oil

For crust:1 cup flour
Salt to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
Milk or egg for washing

Method:Add the olive oil to the flour, and roll between your fingers till it resembles bread crumbs. Add salt and water, and knead well till it forms a dough (same consistency as roti ka atta). Knead on for an additional 5 minutes [this was not a part of the recipe, but when making whole wheat bread, I find I need to knead it longer, so did so].
Roll into a ball, wrap in cling film and cool for an hour.

Wash the spinach, chop into rough slices.
Heat the oil, add garlic, and toss around for 30 seconds. Add spinach, and cook till it releases water, and then the water dries up. Add salt and chilli flakes.
Crumble in the paneer, and add sliced olives.
Dice the tomatoes and keep aside.

Divide the dough into two parts, and roll each into a circle of 12 inch diameter.
Place the filling in the center. Arrange the tomatoes on top, and drizzle salt and olive oil. Wet the edge, fold in till you get a pie of about 6 inches diameter.
Brush the exposed surface with milk or egg wash, and bake at 215 degrees for 15 minutes.

Chicken with citrus glaze

I was looking for recipes using chicken breasts when I came across this one. Though it was nothing like what I was looking for, the medley of flavours looked interesting, and I decided to try it out. I am glad I did, because it was lick smackingly good. Next time, I am making it with smaller slices of chicken, and serving it with fried rice.

500 gms chicken breasts
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp honey
Juice of 1 orange*
Juice of 1 lemon/ 1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and chilli flakes to taste
2 tsp canola oil

Combine orange juice, lemon juice, honey, galic cloves, salt and chilli flakes in a large shallow dish. Add chicken breasts, cover and place in the refrigerator for one hour.
After the chicken has marinated, remove from the fridge. Heat the oil, and once hot, add the chicken. Cook the chicken for about 10 minutes per side till cooked well.
Meanwhile, simmer the marinade in a pan till it reduces to a thick consistency. At this stage, I added some orange food colouring, but it is not necessary.
Arrage the cooked chicken breasts on a plate, pour the glaze over the chicken, and serve.

*- I used one tetrapack of orange juice

Dec 5, 2014

Chilli Paneer

I'd gone on an overnight trip two weeks back, and (quite unsurprisingly), the milk hadn't been brought it all day, till the cook found it at night, and put it in the freezer. There it remained till today, when I pulled them out to make paneer. Since I was in a mood for something different, chilli paneer it was. Similar to the oregano paneer I made a few months back and just as flavourful.
After using half of it up in a palak paneer, I reserved the rest for using in a savoury galette! Yum!!!

1 litre milk
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp chilli flakes

Take the milk in a thick bottomed vessel, and heat it. When it starts heating up, stir in the chilli flakes, and 1/2 tbsp vinegar.
Once the milk comes to a boil, lower the flame, and add the rest of the vinegar. Keep heating till the paneer separates out.
Line a colander with a muslin cloth and pour the mixture in. Once all the water has drained out, place a weight on the cloth, and leave it for about 30 minutes
Cut into cubes.

Nov 29, 2014

Spinach Stir Fry

I had this spinach stir fry in office the other day, and thought it one of the most flavourful dishes I've ever had. Turned out being one of the easiest dishes to make also.

1 bunch spinach
6-8 pods garlic
1 tomato
1 tsp oil
2 tbsp melon seeds

Wash the spinach well, and cut it into shreds.
Chop the tomatoes into small pieces.
Peel the garlic and cut in half.
Heat the oil, add garlic, and saute till brown.
Add spinach, tomatoes and salt to taste. Fry on medium heat till the water escapes and dries up again.
Garnish with melon seeds and serve.

Pasta in mushroom sauce

I adapted this recipe from a similar one I made a couple of months back, and the medley of mushrooms, creamy sauce, basil and chilli flakes was as good as I'd hoped it would be. I tossed in a few chicken sausages for the hubby and kids, but thought it was really good without any of it.

200 gms macaroni (or any other pasta)

1 packet mushrooms
1 onion chopped fine
6-8 pods garlic
1 cup milk
2 tbsp cornflour powder
1 tbsp chilli flakes
3 tbsp basil, shredded
1 tbsp butter
Salt to taste

Cook the pasta in sufficient water (and 1 tsp salt), stirring constantly to ensure it doesn't stick. Drain and keep aside. Reserve some of the water that the pasta was cooked in.
Heat the butter, Saute garlic (peeled and cut lengthwise), and onions till transparent.
Wash the mushrooms. Chop lenthwise in half. Add mushrooms to onions and garlic, and saute till browned.
Sprinkle the cornflour, salt and chilli flakes and stir till well coated. Once browned, add milk gradually, with constant stirring.
Let the milk simmer for a few minutes till thickened.
Stir in the basil (reserving a little for garnish) and turn off the flame.
Add pasta and mix well (add the reserved pasta water, if required).
Check for salt and serve, garnished with fresh basil leaves.

Nov 26, 2014

Chicken in Creamy Wine Sauce

I've been wanting to make a chicken in wine sauce for a long time, and found this recipe that I really liked. Unfortunately, the milk/ cream curdled when I was adding it, and the chicken didn't come out as well as I had hoped it would. But I am definitely making it again, without the wine this time.

1 curry cut chicken
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic
1 package mushrooms, halved
1 cup wine
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp. fresh basil leaves

Heat olive oil and brown chicken. Remove chicken and reserve drippings; keep aside.
Cook onion with garlic in reserved drippings, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, 
Stir in mushrooms and cook until browned.
Stir in wine, cream and milk, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly reduced. 
Return chicken to the skillet, cover, and cook till chicken is well done (about 20 minutes).
Stir in basil, and serve.

Nov 23, 2014

Methi Chicken with a medley of spices

This was another of those recipes that had me at "Hello". One  look at the photograph, and I knew I  had to go through the recipe. One scan of the recipe and I had to bookmark it to make someday.
Strangely, despite the presence of many iffy spices, the recipe was a hit at home, and every last bit of it was polished off.

1 curry cut chicken

1 cup hung curd
2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 green chill, minced
1/2 tsp javitri (mace powder)

2 tsp oil /butter
4 Cloves
1/2 tsp whole jeera
1 inch piece of cinnamon
salt to taste
1 cup milk /milk plus water
1 tbsp roasted besan
1/2 tbsp Kasoori methi

Marinate the chicken after cleaning it well. Wrap with clingfilm and keep in refrigerator overnight.
Heat oil and put whole garam masala.
When it stops spluttering, add the marinated chicken with salt and let it cook on medium heat. Stir off and on. 
After 10 to 15 minutes, add milk or milk and water and the roasted besan - cook for another 5 minutes. 
Sprinkle kasoori methi and cook away for another 5 minutes.
Serve with parathas.

Nov 16, 2014

Fresh and Crunchy Salad

A couple of weeks back, a friend taught me to make mozzarella cheese. Though it sounded very similar to the process of making paneer, I decided to take it at face value and try it. The bad news is that the end product was no different from regular paneer. The good news is that the paneer went straight into a crunchy salad which was quickly consumed with the Sunday lunch!

For the paneer:
1 litre milk
1 tbsp lemon juice

For the salad:
2 large tomatoes
2 medium onions
1 large cucumber
12- 15 black olives

For the marinade
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
4- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp crushed dry mint
Salt to taste

Add the lemon juice to cold milk, and keep aside for 30 minutes
Bring to a boil, reduce the flame, and keep stirring till the whey separates.
Drain and keep aside.
Cut the cucumber, onions, tomatoes and paneer into 1/2 inch square pieces.
Mix the marinade, toss in the vegetables, cover with cling film and keep in the fridge for 2 hours.
Garnish with olives before serving

Nov 15, 2014

Ginger-lemon chicken

I wanted a no-frills chicken dish to accompany our dinner. Something that didn't take too much more time than frying a packet of kebabs. And something that could be whipped up using the ingredients on hand.
This was something I came up with, and it tasted really amazing!

1 curry cut chicken
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp ginger paste*
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp dry mint, crushed
1 inch piece of ginger for garnish
1 1/2 tbsp ghee

Clean the chicken, make slits and marinate it in a mixture of lemon juice, ginger paste, salt and pepper for at least 30 minutes.
Heat the ghee, and shallow fry till the chicken pieces are golden brown (about 5 minutes on each side).
Pour in the marinade, sprinkle the dry mint, cover and cook on a low flame till done.
Garnish with thin ginger slices and serve.

*I used ready made paste, but fresh ground will be nicer

Nov 9, 2014

Chicken in dark sauce

I modified this recipe from my older recipe for roast chicken. The sauce is nearly the same, but the method of cooking makes it much easier.

5 chicken legs (I used curry cut chicken, but legs would be much better)
3 small onions, or a handfull of shallots
5 tbsps soya sauce
2.5 tbsps Worcesterchire sauce
1 tsp freshly ground pepper powder

1 tbsp sugar
5 tbsps olive oil
Salt to taste

Wash and clean the chicken. Make a few small slits in the flesh. Marinate in a mixture of soya sauce,Worcestershire sauce and 2 tbsp oil for 1 hour.
Heat the remaining oil, pour in about 1 tbsp of the marinade, add sugar and stir it on high heat for about 30 seconds (till the sugar starts to melt). Reduce the flame, add the marinated chicken, with the marinade. Add pepper powder and salt, and bring to boil. Cover and let it cook for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile peel the shallots or make cross cuts in the onion (taking care not to cut all the way through).
Turn all the pieces around, place the onions/ shallots over the chicken, and cover them with sauce. Cover and let it cook for 15 minutes (or a bit more till done).
Thicken the gravy if needed.
Serve with mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables

For mashed potatoes, boil the potatoes, and mash with butter, milk, salt and oregano.
For steamed vegetables, steam the vegetables, and season with salt and pepper.

Nov 7, 2014

Snake gourd stuffed with mixed pulses

Leftovers! How I hate them. At every mealtime, when just that little bit of something or the other gets left over, I despair. Do I throw it out, despite the fact that millions of people across the world are starving. Or do I shove them in the fridge, even though I know I am unlikely ever to consume them.
Which is why, I love those recipes where leftovers get a makeover.

2 snake gourds
1/2 cup leftover dal, thickened (you can even mix different dals before thickening them)
Oil for shallow frying

Wash the snake gourds and roughly scrape the skin. Make s slit along the vertical line, remove the seeds, and cut into 2 inch pieces.
Stuff the pieces with thickened dal, and shallow fry.
Serve with rotis.
You can also sprinkle with sev or chopped onions.

Nov 6, 2014

Creamy, minty chicken

The hubby and kids wanted chicken, but I was in no mood to make the standard gravy. Hence, I improvised and came up with something that was absolutely yummy.

Curry cut chicken  
3 tbsp milk
2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp freshly ground pepper powder
2-3 tbsp dried mint leaves
Salt to taste
1 cup curds
Oil, 2 tbsp
1 sprig mint leaves, crushed

Method:Wash and clean chicken, make small slits, and marinate it with curds, salt and pepper. Let it marinate for 30 minutes.
Heat oil, and on a low flame, heat the ginger-garlic paste. Add the marinated chicken, and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add black pepper powder mix well, cover and cook on a low flame. Stir occasionally to ensure it doesn't stick to the pan.
Crush the dry mint with your hands and add it along with milk and some salt in to the pan. Mix well and continue to cook on low for 5-10 minutes.
Turn off the flame, and stir in the fresh mint leaves.
Serve with rotis

Oct 23, 2014

Chivada- Diwali special

I had this really amazing chivda in office the other day, which I liked so much, I had to get the recipe. It turned out to be absolutely yummy, and I can't understand why everyone wouldn't want to make it every day.

2 cups chivda (pressed rice)
1/3 cups peanuts
2 green chillis, sliced
1/2 tsp haldi powder
a pinch of hing
Salt and sugar to taste
1 tsp oil

Dry roast the chivda till it becomes absolutely crisp. Keep aside.
Heat oil, and fry the peanuts till they start browning. Add hing, haldi powder and green chillis. Saute for 1-2 minutes, than add the roasted chivda.
Mix well. Turn off the flame, Add salt and sugar to taste and mix well.
Cool well before storing in an airtight container.

Kala Channa Masala

It was one of those days when I had a housefull of people to feed, and no vegetables in the fridge. Since the vegetable vendor comes only after 7, I decided to make rajma or channa, but found only kala channa at home. I first soaked it, then looked for a recipe more substantial than the one that I normally make. It turned out tasting much better than anticipated.

1 cup dry kala chana
1 bay leaf
1 piece cinnamon
2-3 cloves
1 badi elaichi
2 large onions
2 large tomatoes
2 green chillis
2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp saung
1/2 tsp jeera
1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 1/2 tsp dhania powder
1/2 tsp haldi powder
1/2 tsp amchur powder
A pinch of hing
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste


Wash the kala chana and soak it for 4- 6 hours (or overnight)
Pressure cook with bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, elaichi, and sufficient water till the chana is cooked (I reduce the flame after the first whistle and cook for 20 minutes). Discard the spices.
Cut one onion in large chunks, and the other finely. Chop tomatoes into large chunks.
Heat 1/2 tbsp of oil and saute onion chunks until light brown, allow to cool and grind with green chili, cumin seeds, fennel seeds with little water into fine paste. Puree tomato and keep aside.
Heat remaining oil, add chopped onion, ginger-garlic paste and saute until golden brown.
Add hing and onion paste and saute until oil starts to separate. Add chilli, dhania powder, turmeric powders and mix well, saute for a minute.
Add puree tomato and mix well, cook in medium to slow until oil separates. Add cooked chana along with water, salt and bring it to boil.
Add amchur powder and simmer for 10 minutes or until gravy thick.
Garnish with dhania patta and/ or chopped onions and serve.

Oct 22, 2014

French lentil and vegetable soup

It was the second day of the Diwali vacation, and the maid had taken off. With two hungry kids (and a grandmother) to feed, I decided to try out a recipe I had seen and liked a very long time back. Since I trust SpiceRoots like I trust few other blogs, I presumed the recipe would work, and didn't worry too much about making a few changes. Needless to say, I skipped the wine, and served it as a regular "dal" to my mother, but it was absolutely fantastic.

1/2 cup masoor dal, rinsed
2 tsp olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
4-6 cloves of garlic minced
1 bunch spring onions, chopped (reserve some for garnish)
1 tsp fresh oregano
1 tsp jeera powder
1 tsp dhania powder
2 carrots, diced
4 cups water
2 tablespoons dry red wine
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Salt and pepper as per taste

Rinse the masoor dal, and pressure cook it for 20 minutes with 2 cups water.
Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions, garlic, spring onions, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender.
Add the carrots, and jeera and dhania powder, and cook until the carrots begin to soften.
Add the two cups of water and the cooked dal, and let it simmer for a few minutes.
Add the grated cheese, and let it bubble for half a minute till the cheese melts in with the soup.
Add in the wine, stir and cook half a minute.
Serve with garlic bread.

Maharashtrian Amti

I am always looking for new dal recipes to try out, so when I saw a packet of goda masala in the store, I picked it up, and then looked for a recipe that I could try out. This dal was a major hit, and it is definitely going to be my "go to" dal in future.

1 measure green moong dal
1 tbsp tamarind paste
2 tsp goda masala
½ tbsp powdered jaggery/gur or as required
½ tbsp chopped coriander leaves/dhania
salt to taste

For tempering:
½ tsp mustard seeds/rai
1 sprig curry leaves
1 to 2 green chilies
¼ tsp haldi powder
a pinch of hing
1 to 1.5 tbsp oil or ghee

Wash the dal, and pressure cook it with water and a pinch of haldi till soft. Mash the dal.
Heat the oil, add mustard seeds, and after it stops crackling, add the haldi powder and hing.
Add curry leaves and green chilies, stir for a few seconds, then add the dal and stir.
Add sufficient water to get a good consistency.
Season with goda masala, jaggery, tamarind pulp, and salt. Simmer for 10-12 minutes on a low flame with frequent stirring (so that the dal does not stick to the bottom of the cooker) till the desired consistency is reached.
Check the taste and add more salt, jaggery or goda masala if required.
Serve with rice.

Oct 21, 2014

Fennel Pumpkin Curry with Webbed Dosa

Many months back, I saw Vikas Khanna making Webbed Dosa with Pumpkin curry on TV, and took down the recipe on my iphone. The phone got lost, but the recipe was saved on the Cloud and turned up on my new phone. By the time I got down to making it, I had completely forgotten what the original recipe looked like, so recreated it using my imagination.
Verdict- the pumpkin curry was good, but I am not sure the webbed dosa is worth the trouble.

250 gms pumpkin
1 large tomato
4-6 pods garlic
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Cooking oil
Salt to taste

For the dosa
1 cup rajma, cooked
1 cup maida
1 egg
oil for drizzling
salt to taste

Puree the rajma, mix well with maida and beaten egg. Add salt to taste and keep aside.

Peel the pumpkin slice, and cut it into chunks. Boil till it is slightly soft.
Heat the oil, add garlic (crushed), curry leaves and chopped tomatoes and saute till tomato turns mushy.
Add the chilli flakes and fennel seeds, and saute for a minute
Add the boiled pumpkin, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, and cook on a low flame for 2-3 minutes

Lightly grease a tawa with oil and heat over high flame till smoky. Reduce heat to medium and carefully wipe off excess oil with a tissue. Using the squeezie bottle or Roti Jala mould, drizzle the kidney bean batter onto the griddle to create a web. Drizzle over with ½ teaspoon oil. As batter sets and turns golden, carefully flip the web over, taking care not to break. Drizzle over ½ teaspoon oil and allow to cook till almost crisp.

Oct 18, 2014

Maharashtrian inspired Dry Chicken

One of the side effects of having a dog in the family is the fact that you often have chicken in the freezer. This was something I invented as a top up dish.

500 gms chicken
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp Maharashtrian Goud masala
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 red chillis
1 sprig curry leaves
2 tbsp cooking oil
Salt to taste

Heat the oil. Splutter the mustard seeds, add onions, red chilli and curry leaves and saute till the onions turn transparent.
Add chicken, and fry on high heat to fix the juices.
Remove the onions, and reserve them. Add sesame seeds, masala and salt to taste, mix well, cover and let the chicken cook. When almost done, return the onions, and fry for another minute or two.
Serve with rotis and dal.

Oct 7, 2014

Chena payash- poornima special

I made Chena payash for Sharad Poornima last year, and decided to make it again this year. I improvised slightly, and all of us really loved it.
1 litre milk

1/3 cup sugar
Few drops kewra essence

Make paneer out of 1/2 litre of milk (paneer recipe here).
While the paneer is draining, take the rest of the milk in a heavy bottomed vessel, and reduce it on a low flame till it is about half the original volume.
Break the paneer into the milk, add the sugar, and cook on a low flame till you achieve the desired consistency.
Add the essence and well.
Chill before serving.

Oct 4, 2014

Buttery Pepper Chicken

Some dishes grab you. This Buttery-pepper chicken recipe was one of them. When it actually came to making it, I found I didn't have coriander leaves, so I substituted it with kasoori methi, and I think it came out really well. One of those keepers.

900 grams - 4 whole chicken legs, each cut into two pieces 
125 grams butter
2 tablespoons oil
2½ tablespoons black pepper, ground to a coarse texture
2 tbsp kasoori methi
¼ teaspoon salt (optional) 

Heat butter and oil in a thick bottomed vessel on a medium-low flame. 
Add the chicken pieces and fry the chicken until it turns brown. 
Add the ground pepper and salt (optional) and stir well.
Reduce heat to low and cook till water from the chicken evaporates. 
Add 1 cup water and cook till chicken is tender. 
Add the kasoori methi and stir fry for a minute.
Serve as a side dish.

Polemo salad

I bought a big fat polemo, and after eating half of it as a fruit, wanted to do something different with the rest. This is adapted from a Vietnemese recipe, and is absolutely lovely. While the original recipe called for shrimps, I dropped it completely and was satisfied with the result.

1/2 polemo peeled and desegmented
1 cucumber chopped into fine pieces
1/3 cup peanuts, roasted and crushed slightly

2 tbsp mint leaves, crushed
3 pods garlic crushed
2 tbsp fish sauce/ soya sauce
1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp chilli sauce
1 tsp sugar
salt to taste

Mix the fish/ soya sauce, lime juice, chilli sauce, sugar, garlic and mint leaves. Add a little water, if required so the sugar dissolves
Toss the polemo segments and cucumber, add the dressing, and mix well.
Let it refrigerate for1 hour. Add salt to taste, and mix well.
Add the roasted peanuts before serving.

Oct 2, 2014

Ashtami spread

Ashtami always meant sooji halwa, poori and kala channa, and this year too, I stuck to the tradition I set last year and made that for lunch. This, however, was a slightly different take on the regular sooji halwa, and I for one liked it much more.

1 cup sooji
1/3 cup besan
3 tbsp ghee
1/3 cup sugar
cardamon powder (to taste)
1 tbsp khus khus seeds
1 tbs melon seeds

Dry roast the sooji till it starts to turn brown.
Add the ghee, mix well, then add besan, and fry on a low flame for 2-3 minutes
Add the sugar, khus khus and melon seeds, mix well, and dry roast for a minute.
Add about 1/2 cup water, mix well, cover, and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.
Serve hot.

Ashtami spread- sprouted kala channa

I wanted to make something slightly different for Ashtami this year, so instead of regular kala channa, made it with sprouted kala channa instead. The taste was very different from what it normally is (who would have guessed the act of sprouting will change the taste so much), but what it lacked in regular taste, it made up for in the health quotient.

1 Cup Kala Chana Sprouted
1 Tbsp Mustard Oil
1 Tsp Jeera (Cumin)
1/2 Tsp Red Chilli Powder
1 Tsp Jeera (Cumin) -Roasted and Powdered
1 and 1/2 Tsp – Kala Namak (Balck Salt)
Curry leaves
1 Tsp Lemon Juice

Pressure cook the kala channa sprouts for about 10 minutes. 
Heat oil in a kadhai and add cumin seeds and curry leaves to it. Once the seeds start crackling add the drained chick peas (You can use the water from chick peas for kneading the poori dough). 
Now add the black salt, the red chilli powder and Jeera powder and mix thoroughly. 
Keep it on simmer for 2-3 minutes and after that take it off fire and add 1 tsp lemon juice to it.

Sprouts and apple salad

Now that I have started working full time, I am constantly on the look out for things that will keep the mid day hunger pangs at bay. Sprouts are a perennial favourite. This is a variation on a salad I tried out first about two years back, and I like it enough to make it again.

1 cup sprouted chana
1 apple, chopped into small pieces (reserve a few slices for garnish)
1 tbsp vinegar
Salt to taste

Bring 2 cups water to boil, add the vinegar and salt, and dissolve so it mixes well.
Add the sprouted channa to the water, and let it soak for 15 minutes.
Drain well, add the apple, mix, and serve.

Oct 1, 2014

Radish salad

This is adapted from something my mother has made a couple of times when I was a child.

1 large radish, grated
1 tsp cooking oil
1/2 tsp jeera seeds
3-4 tbsp peanuts
Red chilli powder to taste
Salt to taste

Heat the oil, splutter the jeera seeds. Add peanuts and fry on a low flame.
Pour over the grated radish, season with red chilli powder and salt, and mix well.
Serve chilled.

Sep 21, 2014

Paneer Salad with mint and pomegranate

There was a time when I would get really upset when the milk curdled, but no longer. Now, I simply make paneer out of it, and either use it in a dish or convert it into a salad. This is the first time I attempted this combination, and I am thrilled with the result.

250 gms paneer
1/2 pomegranate, deseeded
3-4 sprigs mint leaves

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp lime juice'
Salt to taste

Crush/ roughly pound the mint leaves
Mix the oils, lemon juice, salt and crushed mint leaves
Add the dressing to the paneer chunks and let it marinate for about 30 minutes.
Add the pomegranate seeds, and serve chilled

Pudina Chicken

I made regular chicken curry for the family, but wanted something different for myself, so attempted this minty curry. I really, really loved it, and might just make it when we have people over for dinner.
500 gms curry cut chicken
1 medium onion, chopped into small pieces
1 tomato chopped
1 green chilli
3 pods garlic
1/2 inch piece chicken
1/2 bunch mint leaves
3 tbsp coconut
1 tsp jeera
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste

Heat the oil, splutter jeera, and saute the onions, green chilli, ginger and garlic till the onion turns transparent.
Add the tomatoes and mint, and saute till the tomatoes turn mushy. Add the coconut and stir for 30 seconds.
Grind the masala.
Add chicken, and stir it well so all the pieces are well coated with the ground masala.
Add 1/2 cup water, cover, and let it cook on a low flame for 30 minutes till done.
Serve hot.

Sep 18, 2014

Eggplant tomato casserole

My mother used to make an eggplant casserole which was one of my favourite dishes. Somewhere along the line, she misplaced the recipe, after which I embarked on a quest to hunt it down. I finally found what I was looking for at a restaurant in Delhi, and everytime we went there, I insisted on ordering that dish and no other. Now that I am a reasonably confident cook, I know I can re-create the dish anytime (and I will do so soon), so the next phase begins- experimenting with the classic dish.

This is a desi version of my favourite eggplant casserole, and is every bit as lovely as the original.

1 egg plant, sliced into thin circles

2 tbsp besan
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
Salt to taste

Cooking oil for shallow frying
2 tomatoes, chopped into coarse pieces
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3- 4 pods garlic
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
pinch of hing
salt to taste
1 tbsp cooking oil

Sour cream for garnish

Coat the eggplant slices with salt, keep aside for a few minutes, and squeeze out the juice.
Cover with a mixture of besan, red chilli powder, and shallow fry on a low flame till done.
Heat the oil, temper with mustard seeds. Add garlic and onions and saute till it turns transparent. Add tomatoes and curry leaves, and cook till it turns mushy.
Add hing, salt and red chilli powder, and saute for a few minutes.
Place a layer of eggplant slices on a baking tray. Pour some of the tomato paste over it. Keep layering till all the eggplant slices are used up, and finish with a layer of tomato paste.
Bake for 2-3 minutes. Pour on the sour cream and serve.

Carrot- beet root salad

Ever since I got back to working full-time, my time in the kitchen has dwindled to near zero. While I am happy for the time I got to experiment in the kitchen for nearly a year, if I am totally honest, I do not mind not having to slave for hours everyday to produce something that may or may not be palatable. But, I do miss trying out new recipes, and today, I decided to make a "top up" dish because I felt like doing so.
It ended up tasting much better than I expected, and for that I am glad.

2 medium carrots
1 medium beetroot
1 tbsp melon seeds (peanuts might be better, but I had run out of them)
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 green chilli (or more, as per taste)
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt to taste

Grate the carrots and beetroots.
Mix the olive oil, sesame oil, lemon juice and salt, and pour over the grated vegetables. 
Break the green chilli in half and add to the grated vegetables. Mix well, and allow to marinate for 1 hour.
Add melon seeds and mix well. Garnish with sesame seeds before serving.
Serve cold.

Sep 17, 2014

Roasted makhana

We used to have a lot of makhana when we lived in Jharkhand, but after moving out of the place, the dish moved out of my life. Till I very recently re-discovered it in a grocery store and started stocking it. This recipe is adapted from something a colleague got for us, and I really enjoyed it.

1 cup makhana seeds
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp haldi powder
rock salt to taste

Heat the oil, add the makhana and fry on a low flame for 10 minutes till it becomes nice and crunchy.
Switch off the flame, add all the spice powders and mix well.
Allow it to cool well before storing.