Aug 28, 2015

Cabbage fritters

With onion prizes shooting through the roof, it is nice to be able to experiment with pakoras made with other vegetables.
These are cabbage pakoras made with cabbage left over after using most of it in a curry. 

Aug 27, 2015

Matar paneer- rich, creamy version

We end up having a lot of osneer at home, so when I saw a recipe for a "quick" version of paneer masala which can be whipped up in a jiffy when visitors drop in unexpectedly, I was obviously interested. Unfortunately, the lady has very different standards when it comes to cooking- this turned out to be at least as involved (if not more so) than my regular version. But the dish was more than worth the effort. Definitely a recipe I'm going to use much more. 

200 gm paneer
1/2 cup peas
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp haldi powder
1 tsp dhania powder
1/2 tsp amchur powder
1 tsp kasoori methi
Salt and sugar to taste
A pinch of nutmeg 
1/2 cup milk

For gravy:
4 tomatoes, chopped
2 onions chopped
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 inch piece cinnamon
2 green cardamom
10 cashew nuts
1/2 cup water

Pressure cook the ingredients listed under gravy for 20 minutes on sim after the first whistle
Cool. Discard cinnamon and cardamom and grind to a fine paste
Heat oil, add bay leaves, and sauté for a minute or two
Add paste, and dry spices, and sauté on a low flame till the oil starts leaving the sides
Add peas, milk, kasoori methi, salt and sugar, and cook for 5 minutes
Add paneer, bring to a boil, and turn off the flame
Serve with parathas or roti. 

Sada aloo dum

MM calls this the yin to the yang which is the traditional Bengali aloo dum. Posto, coconut, curds- a combination that leaves me salivating, but one which my family doesn't care much for. 
So when I saw baby potatoes, I picked them up, and while making a conventional potato fry for dinner, reserved a few parboiled potatoes to make this dish for myself. Sometimes you deserve to pamper yourself. 

250 gms baby potatoes
3 tbsp grated or dessicated coconut
1 tbsp Khus Khus/ posto/ poppy seeds
3 tbdp curds (at room temperature)
1 tbsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp green chilli paste
1-2 red chillis
1-2 green cardamom
2-3 cloves
1/2 inch piece of cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp cumin powder
Salt and sugar to taste
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp oil

Soak posto and coconut in 1/4 cup warm water for 30 minutes. Blend to a smooth paste and keep aside. 
Par boil the potatoes in salted water. Peel, prick and keep aside. 
Whip the curds with cumin powder and keep aside. 
Heat half the oil, and toss the baby potatoes till lightly browned. 
Add the remaining oil, sauté the red chillis for 15 seconds. Remove and keep aside.
Add whole spices and let them sizzle. Add posto-coconut paste and sauté on low flame till the oil separates and it turns to a light beige colour. 
Add ginger and chilli paste and sauté for a minute. 
Remove from the flame, add the curds, mix well. Return to the flame, and cook on low heat for a minute. 
Add 1/2 cup water, and let it simmer till the volume reduces by half. 
Add potatoes, salt and sugar, and let it simmer on low heat for 5 minutes. 
Top with ghee, if desired. 

Aug 26, 2015

Pomegranate sprouts salad

The simplest of meals, but probably the most flavourful, and colourful. I love sprouted moong. I love pomegranates. And when the two come together, all you need is a bit of rock salt to bind it all together.

Aug 25, 2015

Spiced oats cookies

When I lady baked a batch if butter cookies, the hubby wanted oats cookies. This one is for him!

3/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/4 cup maida
1/4 cup granulated sugar*
2 tbsp butter
2-3 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp pepper powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp ginger powder
A pinch of nutmeg powder
A pinch of salt
1/4 cup raisins 

Mix the oats, flour and sugar well. Add the spices and mix well. 
Add the butter, and mix well till crumbly. 
Add milk one spoon at a time, mixing well. 
Add the raisins and mix well. 
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 175 degrees. 
Grease the baking tray. Till the dough into balls, flatten and place on the baking sheet. 
Bake for 15-20 minutes, checking to ensure it doesn't burn. 
Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container. 

Aug 24, 2015

Chicken korma with Khus Khus

I developed a sudden craving for khus khus tonight, and realised the best way to disguise it into food would be in a chicken korma. Modified it slightly, and the recipe worked really well.

1 kg chicken
1 tbsp curds
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
3 medium onions
2 medium tomatoes
2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
12 cashewnuts
1 tbsp khus khus
4 tsp dhania powder
2 tsp jeera powder
2 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp kasoori methi
Salt to taste
2 tbsp oil
Whole spices:
1 bay leaf
1 inch piece cinnamon
1 star anise
1 large badi elaichi

Marinate the chicken in a mixture of curds, ginger garlic paste and salt for 1 hour.
Grind the onions with a little water till you get a fine paste. Keep aside.
Grind the tomatoes, cashew nuts and khus khus and keep aside.
Heat the oil, add the whole spices, and toss around for 30 seconds. 
Add onion paste, ginger garlic paste, and the dry spices. Fry on a low flame till the oil starts leaving the masala.
Add the tomato-cashew- khus khus paste, and mix well. Saute for about a minute till the raw smell goes.
Add the marinated chicken, allow it to come to a boil on a low flame, cover, and let it cook for 45 minutes. Every 15 minutes, stir it a bit so it doesn't stick. Do not add water.

Aug 21, 2015

Nutty peas delight

I've realised that vegetables go down much easier, if they are colourful, which prompted me to make this peas- pepper curry in a creamy gravy for dinner. You can bet every last bit was polished off.
4 pods of garlic, thinly sliced
2 inch piece - ginger, grated
1/2+1/2- yellow and red pepper, thinly sliced
2 1/2 - onions, thinly sliced
1 cup frozen peas
1 tbsp - ghee
1 cup milk
1 tsp - garam masala
Oil to sauté vegetables
3 tbsp flax seeds
6- 8 cashew nuts
1 tsp kasuri methi
1 tsp sugar
salt to taste

Steam the peas for five minutes till slightly cooked. Keep aside.
Coarsely grind the flax seeds and cashew nuts (without water). Keep aside.
Heat the oil in a non stick pan, add the thinly sliced garlic, ginger, onions and pepper and saute for a minute on medium heat.
Add the coarsely ground nuts and cook for about a minute. Add the 1/2 cup of milk and cook until the milk evaporates.
Add the garam masala, salt, sugar and 1/2 cup of milk and bring it to a boil.
Add the peas and the kasuri methi and mix well.
Serve immediately. Goes best with hot rotis.

Dabak Vadi

Some recipes are so nice, the moment you see them, you want to try them out. This was one of them. 

5 tbsp besan
3 cups sour buttermilk 
1/2 tsp haldi powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
A pinch of hing
1 tbdp crushed garlic 
1 green chilli
1/4 cup water
1 tsp oil
1 sprig curry leaves
Salt to taste 

Make a thick almost dough like batter by mixing besan, salt, 1/4 tsp haldi and 1/2 tsp red chilli powder. 
Heat oil, splutter mustard seeds, add curry leaves, green chilli, garlic and hing and sauté for a minute. 
Add red chilli powder and haldi powder. Add buttermilk and salt. Mix well, bring to a boil. 
Using a slotted spoon, put a blob of besan batter on it and rub over it with the other hand, so that the batter falls into the boiling butter milk in the form of boondis. Keep repeating this process till all the batter is finished.
Keep stirring the buttermilk alongwith the dabak wadis till it thickens. 
Serve hot with rotis. 

Parsley pesto

I bought a huge bunch of parsley at the supermarket, and fell ill before I could use it properly. Ten days after it came home, I remembered the bunch that was languishing in the fridge, and wondered if I could do something with it. Using it as a garnish was out- I would never finish it in time, and I have too much dry parsley to attempt to dry it. Why not make a pesto I wondered, and when I googled I found that there was indeed something called parsley pesto which was native to some parts of Italy and used mainly in winters when basil was not readily available. I had all the ingredients, so why not just make it.

1 bunch parsley
2 slices stale bread
6-8 cloves garlic/ 1 tbsp garlic paste
Zest of 1 lime
2 tbsp lime juice (less if you are using commercial garlic paste)
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Pulse the bread, till you get fine bread crumbs.
Blend all the ingredients till you get a smooth pesto. Remove into an airtight container.

For storing, add a layer of oil above the pesto, before closing the lid.

Tastes great with tomatoes!

Aug 20, 2015

Tricolour cookies

I was intending to make these tricolour cookies on Independence Day, but was too ill that day to cook and click. So when I decided to make a batch of cookies today, I finally made them- a few days late is okay, as long as the sentiments are sound.

200 gms all purpose flour/ maida
100 gms white butter
100 gms sugar, powdered
3 tbsp milk
Vanillla essensce
Orange essence
Orange food colouring
1 tbsp green tutti fruity

Mix the sugar and flour well. Add butter, and mix well. Gradually add milk till you get a firm dough. Add tutti fruity and mix well.
Divide into two parts- in one add vanilla essence and mix, in the other add orange essence and colouring and mix.
Roll both doughs into cylindrical ropes, and twine them with each other. Collapse into a ball, and roll it out again. Divide into 32 parts, and roll into spheres.
Grease a baking tray, and place the spheres on them. Bake at 175 degrees in a preheated oven for 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before serving.

Papaya halwa

I had a huge papaya, which I cut up for the kids. But the fruit was so big, I had a lot left over even after we ate, so decided to make a halwa out of it. Just a couple of minutes effort, and great taste.

1 cup papaya grated*
1 tbsp ghee
1 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp cashew nuts
1 tbsp sugar

Heat the ghee, and saute the raisins and cashewnuts till they are well browned.
Add grated papaya, and saute till it all comes together in about 5 minutes. Add sugar, and mix well. Take off the flame.
Allow it to cool down before serving.

* some parts may remain ungrated- let it be so- it will get mashed in

Aug 19, 2015

Soya pasanda

Both the kids are going through a phase where they want soya nuggets every week, and I indulge them, because it is of course full of proteins. But the same old tomato based gravy gets a bit boring, so I jazzed it up a bit this time to get a smoother gravy.

100 gms soya nuggets
6 pods garlic
1/2 large onion, chopped fine
2 large tomatoes
1 tsp dhania powder
1 tsp jeera powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp kasoori methi
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste

Soak the soya nuggets in boiling water, till soft. Drain and keep aside.
Heat oil, and saute garlic and onions till transparent.
Chop the tomatoes directly onto the onion-garlic mixture, and saute till it turns mushy. Add the spices and  cook for 2-3 minutes.
Blend the mixture till smooth, and return to the pan.
Make a paste with cornflour in 1/2 cup water, and add to the paste, with constant stirring.
Add the nuggets and squeeze a bit, so the water is drained and the gravy can take it's place.
Sprinkle kasoori methi, mix well, and let the gravy bubble till it thickens a bit.
Serve with roti or paratha.

Aug 14, 2015

Mushrooms with brown rice

When the cat is away, the mice will play. When hubby is traveling, we have all kinds of different foods for dinner. Where normally, we would have rice and dal, today, we had brown rice with musrooms gravy. The kids were smart enough to catch me out, though, and have already extracted a promise that I will make the same mushroom dish with pasta!

200 gms button mushrooms
1 onion, cut lengthwise
4-5 pods garlic
3 tbsp basil leaves
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp butter
1 cup chicken stock

Melt 1 tbsp butter in a skillet. Add garlic and onions, and saute will browned.
Meanwhile wash the mushrooms, and cut them lengthwise. Add to the browning onions, and saute till the water is released, and then starts drying up.
Add chicken stock, and salt and pepper to taste. Gradually bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, make a paste of cornflour with 2-3 tbsp water. Add to the gravy, serving constantly to ensure there are no lumps.
Simmer for 5-8 minutes till the gravy starts to come together. Add torn basil leaves, and simmer for an additional minute.
Serve with steamed brown rice.

Aug 13, 2015

Grilled aubergine with bell peppers and cheese

I love brinjals, but the kids not so much. They do, however, tolerate the vegetable if it is called by its more fancy name of aubergine. I bought these thin brinjals for myself, but when I also saw the colourful bell peppers, I decided to make a dish for all of us. And believe me, aubergines never disappeared as fast!

250 gms aubergines/  brinjal
1 1/2 bell peppers
2 tbsp basill
4 tbsp feta cheese
4-6 garlic cloves
Olive oil for dousing
Salt and pepper to taste

Smash the garlic cloves, add 2 tbsp olive oil, and let it seep for 5 minutes
Meanwhile, chop the brinjals into cubes (or discs), and the bell peppers into inch squares.
Toss the chopped vegetables in olive oil, adding salt and pepper to taste. Allow it to marinate for at least 1 hour. Tear the basil leaves and toss in.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Grease a baking tray and arrange the vegetables on it. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring once to ensure all parts are well done. Remove from the oven.
Crumble the feta cheese and sprinkle over the vegetables.
Serve with garlic bread.

Aug 12, 2015

Burnt offerings cookies

I had bookmarked a recipe for eggless chai cookies, which I finally tried out today. Unfortunately, however, the doorbell rang soon after I put the cookies in the oven, and by the time I could pull myself away, the butter had all melted away, and the perfect circles were an equally perfect flat mess. And brown too. So much for the perfectly white cookies I had been dreaming off.
But one has to serve up the disasters too, specially since this one comes with an important lesson. Never answer the doorbell if you have cookies in the oven!

Vegetable ishtew

The hubby is away this week, so I've been experimenting a bit with dinner. I also picked up a lot of veggies from a shop I've finally discovered, and decided to celebrate by making this ishtew. It is a slightly simplified version of the original, and we had it with brown rice.

2 carrots, diced
2 potatoes, cut into inch long cubes
1/3 cup frozen peas
A handful of spring beans, cut
2 onions, sliced long
1 sprig curry leaves
1 inch piece ginger, sliced
2 bay leaves
10-12 peppercorns
4-6 cloves
1 inch piece cinnamon
1 tbsp cooking oil
Salt to taste
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 1/4 cup water
200 ml coconut milk
Pepper powder to taste

Steam the potatoes and peas for 5 minutes, add the carrots and beans and steam for an additional 3 minutes. The vegetables should be cooked, but firm. 
Heat the oil, add the spices. Once they start crackling, add the curry leaves, and the sliced onions. Sauté till they turn transparent. Add chillies and ginger, and sauté for half a minute.
Add 2 cups water, and just when it starts boiling, add the cornflour paste and mix well so there are no lumps. 
Add coconut milk, with constant stirring, add the vegetables and let it simmer for about 5 minutes till the gravy comes together. Add a dash of pepper powder before serving. 
I served with brown rice and fryums. 

Lentil soup with soya nuggets

While the kids don't like the regular dal chawal/ dal roti, they are open to innovations of any kind. With hubby traveling this week, it is a good time to indulge them a bit, and get them to eat healthy.

1 cup masoor dal
1/2 cup soya nuggets
1/2 tsp haldi powder
1 tsp paprika powder
1 bay leaf
1 inch cinnamon
1 large onion cut lengthwise
1 tbsp ghee
Salt to taste

Soak the masoor dal for half an hour and cook in the pressure cooker with the haldi and paprika powder till soft.
Boil water with some salt, add soya nuggets and let it soak for 10 minutes. Drain and keep aside.
Heat the ghee, add bay leaves and cinnamon, and then the onions. Saute till browned.
Add the cooked dal,  drained soya nuggets and 1/2 cup water, and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
Serve hot.
It can also be used as a substitute for a dal- you will have to increase the quantity of water.

Aug 9, 2015

Chai cookies

I love chai, and when I saw a recipe for chai flavoured cookies, I just had to try it out. The first attempt was a bit of a disaster, but I tried again soon after. Unfortunately, the flavour of cardamon was the dominant one, and the older one even dubbed it kheer cookies. It tasted good, but not the way I wanted it to taste- which means, I get to experiment a bit more!
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon tea leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, optional
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tbsp milk

Dry grind the sugar and tea leaves in a blender till well powdered.
Combine the flour, sugar, powdered sugar, tea mix, and salt, till well mixed (add cardamom powder if using).

Add the vanilla and butter and knead together to get a rough dough. Add the milk gradually till you get a batter.
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees.Drop spoonfulls of the batter onto the greased cookie tray, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes till the edges start to brown. Cook for 5 minutes in the oven, then transfer to a wire rack for cooking. Store after cooling down completely.

Aug 6, 2015

Bengali style hing aloo

On a rainy evening, the thing you crave most is pure unadulterated carbs, and that's a draw I can never resist. Not wanting to make something very elaborate, I had this really simple Bengali dish for dinner with parathas and dahi phulki, and a more satisfying meal I haven't had in a long time!
200 gms baby potatoes, or 2 large potatoes
1 tbsp mustard oil
A pinch of hing
A pinch of haldi powder
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
Salt to taste

Boil the potatoes till cooked, peel and keep aside. If using large potatoes, cut into eights. 
Heat the mustard oil, splutter the cumin seeds. Add hing and haldi powder, mix, and immediately add the potatoes. On a low flame, fry for 2-3 minutes. Add salt and mix well. 
Serve hot. 

Dahi pulki

When you have both garlic and mint in the same dish, why would you even think of hesitating before making it? Specially when it is an easy peasy recipe, that also packs the nutritional punch of curds and besan? This is a Marwari recipe I fell in love with and it entirely lived upto its promise.
2 cups curds
5 tbsp besan
1 large onion, chopped fine
Green chillies to taste
1 tsp garlic paste
2 tsp dried mint leaves, crushed
Salt and red chilli powder to taste
3 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds

Our the curds into a large bowl. Season with red chilli powder and salt. Add crushed mint leaves and garlic paste and mix well. Add water and mix till you get a smooth consistency. 
Mix onions, green chillies and besan with salt and red chill powder. Add water and mix to get a medium thick batter. 
Heat oil in a saucepan, and drop in single teaspoons of batter in batches. When one side of the phulki is done turn it over to brown the other side. Drop in the curd mix while still hot. 
After all the batter is exhausted, add cumin seeds to the oil, and when it stops spluttering, pour over the dahi phulki
It can be had as an accompaniment, or as a snack. 

Aug 5, 2015

Beet soup

I wanted to have a soup for lunch, and a quick audit of the fridge threw up only two slightly sad looking beets. Necessity is the mother of invention, and this awesome soup resulted.
2 beetroots
1/2 cup curds
1 tsp garlic paste
Salt and pepper to taste
Cream cheese for garnish

Roughly chop the beetroots and steam them for 10 minutes. 
Blend beetroots, curds and garlic paste till you get a smooth consistency. Add water to get the desired thickness. 
Bring the blend to boil, with salt and pepper
Sprinkle with cream cheese or feta cheese before serving. 

Aug 4, 2015


I really love pesarrattu because despite being it is choke full of proteins, it also tastes as good as it is for you. And when you get to eat it with white butter, and jaggery, you can fool yourself into believing you are in heaven.
1 cup green moong dal
1 red chilli
1 tbsp rice flour
1/2 inch piece ginger
Salt to taste
A pinch of hing
Oil for frying

Soak the moong dal overnight (or at least for 4 hours). Grind with the red chilli and ginger, adding water as required till you get a batter that is consistent, but not totally smooth.
Add salt, hing, rice powder and mix well.
Heat the tawa, bring down the temperature by sprinkling water, and spread the pesarrattu as you would a dosa.
Put oil along the edges, and let it cook in a low flame. When the edges start lifting up, flip over, and let the other side cook.
Serve with white butter and jaggery.

Aug 3, 2015

Sheera, with jowar rawa

Sometimes it gets a little difficult to keep inventing things for the kids to have when they get back from school. Left to themselves, they will happily have biscuits every day, but you can't really allow that, can you. This is something I whipped up for them, and was pretty happy with because it introduces a whole new flour into their diet.
1 cup jowar rawa
1 tbsp ghee
2 tbsp raisins
4 tbsp sugar

Heat the oil, and fry the raisins till browned. 
Add the rawa, and on a low flame, roast till the raw smell goes. 
Add sugar and 2 cups water, mix and bong to a boil. Cover, and let it simmer on a low flame for 10 minutes*
Serve hot. 

*- jowar takes longer to cook than normal rawa, so you need to check before serving. 

Ragi utappam

I am experimenting with different kinds of grains these days, and ragi is top of the list, since it was always there on my list. Ragi and coconut makes an awesome combination, and this proves it yet again!

1 cup ragi flour
1/3 cup grated coconut
A pinch of salt
Oil for frying

Mix the coconut and ragi flour well, and add water slowly, with constant stirring to get a firm batter. It should not be to runny, and there should be no lumps. Add salt and mix well. Let it stand for half an hour (or more)
Heat the utappam pan, and pour in the batter. Add a touch of oil around the edges. Let it cook on a low flame, till the edges start to rise up. Flip over and cook the other side.
Serve with white butter.