Ghee (clarified butter) is undoubtedly the lifeline of Indian cuisine. We Indians use ghee in almost everything that we cook – curry (sabji), chapati, lentils, paranthas, laddus and so and so forth. Traditionally, ghee has been prepared, in some form or other, in all Indian households through milk; but now the usage of branded ghee has taken over. When we moved to London five years back, I found it hard to pick up a good quality ghee from the supermarket shelf; some well-known Indian brands were also available but the price premium was too high. I did try couple of local UK ones but failed to get the taste of pure ghee. But then I discovered the art of making ghee from (unsalted) butter – and I have not looked back again 🙂
I do not think Puri/Poori needs any introduction from my side 🙂 ; nonetheless, for all my global friends, Puri is a deep fried Indian bread made up of whole wheat flour. Puri is almost an essential part of every special Indian occasion. We Indians irrespective of our states, regions, religion, shape and size love to devour these Indian breads in many combinations – Chhole-Puri, Chana-Puri, Halwa-Puri, Puri-Aloo ki Subzi, and the list can simply go on 🙂 However I am not covering any of these today but sharing something unique – Moong Dal Puri, which as the name suggests is Puri made from Moong daal (yellow split lentil). I recently prepared it for the first time on Shitla Astami (a day marked in respect to goddess Shitla Mata), and it was an instant superhit. The credit for the recipe goes to my darling Mumma as she introduced it to me recently. Moong Dal Puri is a crispy and spicy puri which can be enjoyed equally as a main bread item or as a standalone snack. Continue reading →
Dosa is another gem coming from South Indian cuisine with an equally strong standing in rest of Indian states. For all my global friends, Dosa is essentially a rice and lentil fermented crepe. Masala Dosa is simply the filling based version of the plain Dosa. Dosa/Masala Dosa is best enjoyed with Sambhar and Coconut chutney – made perfectly, the combination is a bliss for any food lover !
Continuing my focus on South-Indian delicacies, this post today covers another quintessential dish of South Indian cuisine – Sambhar. Sambhar is a nutritious dish made up of tuvar/arhar daal (types of lentils) and mixed vegetables. You can use your own choice of vegetables in the Sambhar and make it healthy as per your preferences. I have made the Sambhar Masala Powder at home too, so that we have our own healthy Sambhar ! South Indian households consume Sambhar nearly everyday; it is served with idli, dosa, rice, vada, upma etc.
Firstly thanks to darl Melinda of Linda Creations for nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. This is my first award in blogging and I am very honoured to receive this; I am really happy to get this for my relatively young blogging (4 months only). Melinda had nominated me in January but somehow I could not write this post – very sorry for being late dear. It feels good that someone has found my work this worthy – thanks a ton darling ❤
This post presents one of the well-known dips Coconut Chutney, which is a must-have accompaniment in the South Indian cuisine. It is a very simple and quick recipe and, can be enjoyed with all meals during the day. North Indians predominantly associate it with Idli, Dosa, Medu Vada and Upma but this is present across all the South Indian states and used extensively.
Paneer Butter Masala is one of the most popular paneer recipe in the Indian cuisine. In fact, this could be stated as the 1stpaneer based item that started the usage of Paneer in Indian kitchens. As the name suggests, it is a spicy paneer curry made in butter. The optimum use of butter, spices, tomatoes and cream makes this curry simply delicious and mouth-watering. In line with my own way of healthy eating (but no compromise on taste), I have replaced the cream with milk and cashew nuts.
My health-freak husband, as you all know it 🙂 , bought a whole lot of green vegetables over the weekend for a cleansing/detox diet. However, since I did not do it with him this time 😉 , his diet also went out in 1 day 😜 . As a result, I had much greens in my fridge. So, I picked some of them last night and turned out a super healthy and tasty curry – Chickpea and Kale leaves curry.
Before I start talking about today’s recipe, I would like to take this moment to say a heartfelt thanks to each and everyone who have inspired me for this blog till date – today’s recipe marks my 100th blog post, a significant milestone for me which would not have been possible in this short time frame (just shy of 5 months) without the love and support of all you guys. Let’s celebrate this occasion with the Indian street food gem, the very famous scrumptious Pav Bhaji. The highlight of this recipe is that, I have made this pav bhaji without using the pav bhaji masala…Yes 🙂 …and the taste is just awesome !!
Exploring the amazing taste present throughout India, I am today presenting a very famous recipe from the region/city of Hyderabad – Mirch Ka Salan. This tasty recipe is made from green chillies, peanuts, coconut, sesame seeds and some freshly grounded spices. Mirch is the Hindi word for chilli and Salan in Urdu language (local language in Hyderabad) refers to curry. Mirch ka Salan is thus a spicy and tangy green chilli curry. I have prepared this Mirch Ka Salan in a slightly different manner, as compared to the traditional style, but it is still toothsome 😋😋.
Kadai Paneer is perhaps the best full-blown paneer dish made – in my humble opinion 🙂 This classic results from an apt combination of paneer (cottage cheese), bell pepper (capsicum), onion, tomato and some of our great Indian spices. This whole dish is prepared in a Kadai/Kadhai (Indian wok) and so the name Kadai Paneer (but I have made in a pan ;P ). It is a simple recipe but with amazing taste, and one which is generally available in almost all Indian restaurants. I believe my use of freshly grounded spices has made a huge difference as I have got the same flavour as that of a Kadai Paneer from a top-end restaurant.
Rajma (red kidney beans curry) comes from North India, specifically from the state of Punjab, and is omnipresent in eateries of all shapes and sizes. Rajma is essentially the Hindi name for red kidney beans. Rajma curry is prepared using a spicy onion-tomato gravy. People generally prefer this curry with rice as a quick bite, as evident from the consumption of Rajma-Chawal (Chawal is the Hindi name for rice) in Northern India.
Matar paneer is the most common form of paneer dish available in almost all Indian restaurants – big or small. It is a delicious curry made from soft Paneer (Cottage Cheese) and Matar (Peas) in a mild spicy tomato curry. It is a very simple, quick, tasty recipe which seems to be is loved by everyone. Today I have made Matar Paneer with only 1 tsp of oil but there is absolutely no compromise in taste and colour.
My darling husband is a truly chocolate lover and so is our angel. I made this Eggless Chocolate-Coffee Molten Lava Cup Cake last night to give them a warm surprise after dinner, as they were glued to the telly. They were so happy with it that I had to prepare it again immediately 😉 . The cake has a gooey, chocolatey, molten centre and takes only 5 minutes (hardly) to make from scratch.
Getting back into my Rajasthani mould 🙂 , this post presents another speciality from the desert state – Bharwan Mirch. Yes, this inadvertently continues to spread the best of Rajasthani cuisine as I simply cannot resist myself to share more and more speciality of my wonderful Rangeelo Rajasthan ;). For the benefit of all, “Bharwan” in Hindi means stuffed and “Mirch” means green chilli; essentially it is a side dish, made up of green chillies stuffed with spicy chickpea flour mix. Do note that the green chillies used are the long, thick green ones as they tend to be less spicy than the regular small,thin green chillies.
Broccoli is a very nutritional vegetables, full of many essential vitamins, minerals and low in calories. However today I have used the stems (Danthal in hindi) of Broccoli, which generally goes in the bin, to make Broccoli Stem Parantha. I am sure my previous dishes using Broccoli (Broccoli Parantha, and Broccoli Kofta Curry) would have at least made clear its rich nutritional value. Apart from these 2 recipes, I also make a Broccoli dry curry on a regular basis in my home ( I will post the recipe soon 🙂 )
Aloo Bonda or Aloo Chop/Aloo Chaap is a deep fried, crispy, savoury appetiser made with spicy potato mix and coated with chickpea flour (“Besan” in Hindi) batter. For all my friends, Aloo is the Hindi name for Potato, and Bonda in colloquial Hindi could be designated as Fritter. This potato fritter is also packaged as the famous “Vada Pav” in Mumbai/Western India, with the pav (bun/bread). Last but not the least, this potato fritter is known as “Aloo Chaap/Aloo Chop” in Kolkata/Eastern India.
Continuing the Makar Sankranti theme, the next in line after the Til Papdi is another lovely and nutritious snack – Peanut Chikki (could be termed as Peanut Brittles). Peanut Chikki is a healthy, and delicious candy made from peanuts and jaggery. Apparently my husband and his friends ate/enjoyed them in Pune/Lonavla during their MBA days 🙂
First things first – this post is dedicated to Tilkuta Chauth / Sakat Chauth, a revered day for fasting, which comes on the fourth day of Krishna Paksha, in the month of Magh (January) according to the Hindu calendar. This vrat (fast) is mainly observed in North/West India and it is believed that fasting on this day removes all the obstacles from life and Lord Ganesha blesses his devotees with health, fortune and good children. For the benefit of all, Til is the Hindi word for Sesame seeds. On this Sakat Chauth day, sweets made up with sesame seeds and jaggery like Til Papdi, Til Laddu or Tilkut (meaning grounded sesame seeds) are offered to God – hence the day is also termed as Tilkuta Chauth.
Yes, you got it right 🙂 This is the continuation of my winter enjoyment theme. I am presenting my ultimate-winter delight -Gajar Ka Halwa (known as Carrot Pudding in English). Gajar ka Halwa has been a part of my family’s new year celebrations since my childhood, and it is the same with my husband’s family. I can safely say that I have successfully managed to follow this tradition post my marriage, as both of us (my husband and me) really relish this super-dessert.
Continuing our mutual enjoyment of this wonderful winter 😉 , I am now presenting my next set of Pakoras – Palak Pakora (Spinach Fritters). Palak Pakora is also a very easy, quick recipe which can be prepared in just 15-20 minutes – just perfect as the tea time snack in this weather.
Thanks a ton to all you lovely friends and followers who have made this stats/report possible !! Hope my efforts will continue recieving your love and support in the years to come ! xx
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 27,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
One of the best ways for me to enjoy the chilling weather is to devour some good heavy/fatty food; and being a true Indian, Pakoras (Fritters) are always high on my winter quick-to-do list 🙂 My thinking also has a traditional angle – Marwadi households (from the state of Rajasthan) usually observe a month in winter, mid Dec-mid Jan, wherein they prepare and consume fried foods for religious reasons. Hence in order to satiate my own desire and also to be on the right side of our tradition, I am today presenting one of favourite pakore- the awesome Moong Daal Pakore.
Here I come with another of childhood favourite straight from the lovely land of Rajasthan – Mirchi Bada. In fact to be precise, this is Jodhpur speciality (Jodhpur is a much known city in the state of Rajasthan); it is known popularly that you can’t get that delicious Mirchi Bada/Vada any were else – hence it is also famous as Jodhpuri Mirchi Bada. In a nutshell, Mirchi Bada is a real lip-smacking snack which is made up of big green chillies/jalapeños (Mirchi is the Hindi word for Chilli). A spicy flavoursome potato filling is stuffed in the chillies and covering the chillies as well ; and finally covering with a smooth batter made from chickpea flour (Besan).
With Christmas being just around the corner, the whole environment has turned real Christmassy. Just observing the whole festive spirit/theme, I simply cannot stop myself to be a bit merrier and feel enjoyed with some good cakes and muffins. So, my dear friends, let’s start rolling in this spirit with freshly baked Eggless Whole Wheat Carrot Muffins !
Winter seems to be on full swing here as temperatures are touching the 0°C mark. Harping on the need to eat sweet rich food with the objective of both enjoying the cold weather and also to feel some warmth, my darling husband asked me to make Coconut Burfi over the weekend. Getting two points in one shot (satisfying his demand, and presenting it to all you guys) 😊, I have prepared Coconut Burfi without khoya in a very easy way. I have made this Burfi with sugar so there is no hassle to make any form of sugar syrup.
Continuing my journey of experience, this is my 1st take on Indo-Chinese food – I prepared Vegetable Hakka Noodles last evening. For the benefit of all my friends, Indo-Chinese cuisine is the adaptation of Chinese seasoning and cooking techniques to Indian tastes. It is said to have been developed by the small Chinese community that has lived in the city of Kolkata, India for over a century. Today, Chinese food is definitely an integral part of the Indian culinary scene.
Going by my darling daughter’s favourites, and to ensure that she eats without much fuss, I try to use Matar (Peas in English) in most of my curries. On these lines, Kadhai Matar (Green Peas curry) is a very quick, easy, nutritious and a real tasty curry. This triggered last night in my kitchen when my little angel asked me as to what I was preparing; I posed a question to her instead asking what does she wants. And the reply was “I want to eat Matar” 🙂 The usual Matar Paneer immediately came to my mind, but I was in not really in the mood to eat Paneer; and thereby the idea came to me to make a Matar/Peas only curry – and here I present the output as “Kadhai Matar”.
Back to my love for street food/ similar savoury snacks – I would like to admit that this is pure experiment borne out of the love for taste :), and something which I have named as Baked Pinwheel Snack / Baked Samosa Bites / Samosa Bhakarwadi. The best point of such snacks is that they could be enjoyed in most of the seasons, and without much of a guilt. Now if the season is of winter, then nothing could beat them with a hot cuppa tea/coffee.
Continuing my traditional Indian winter specials and in accordance with demand from friends, this post covers another great Laddu that is undoubtedly my hubby’s favourite – Gaund ke Laddu. The logic of consuming these during winters is on the same lines as of Methi ke Laddu – getting the much required warmth and strength during the cold season. However one of the biggest difference/advantage of Gaund ke Laddu is that these could be consumed by all age groups, unlike the Methi ke Laddu which are usually meant for elderly people.
Complying with mother nature’s season of warmth and cosiness and with my Indian genes, I am presenting one of the most devoured winter-essential food item – Methi ke Laddu. To be exact, Methi (Fenugreek seeds in English) Laddu is mainly is a medicinal food item as compared to other usual Indian Laddus. It is perceived to give the much needed warmth to our bodies during winter (and so it is not advisable during the Indian summer) and also provide strength to our bones and joints. Indians mostly above the age of 40-45 consume Methi Laddu in winters as the first thing in their morning, usually with a glass of milk.
Getting back to my love for Indian street food, I present to all another spicy and delicious snack – Dabeli. Dabeli comes from the Western region (Kutch to be exact) of India, precisely from the Kutch region in the state of Gujarat. I however tasted this delicacy in Maharashtra for the 1st time. My husband also recalls that he and his friends did use to enjoy Dabeli during his college days in Pune. The key ingredient in Dabeli is the specific masala, which I have prepared myself at home. Though it is readily available in Indian grocery stores, I tried it at home so that I could experiment with the taste. I can easily and confidently say that once you make it at home, you would not want to buy the readymade one ever again 😉
The super-food Avocado is mostly eaten plain, in salads, as a dip (most famous one is Guacamole) or in the form of shakes. But today I have given this amazing fruit an Indian twist – I have made Avocado Parantha😊. Obviously it is super-healthy, one that satisfies the Indian palate, and defintely a great way to add avocado in our meals. You can even give this as a lunchbox to the kids as the Parantha remains soft and good nutrients will get consumed without any significant effort.
Sweet Potato (Shakarkandi in Hindi) in itself is a very sweet and nutritious vegetable; it is used in many diets, and also consumed in various forms by Indians during fasts. Its winter time folks and this is the time to indulge, eat and rejoice in the festive spirit. Strictly getting into the spirit 🙂 I prepared the Sweet Potato Halwa last night as my dessert. Actually I would like to put the onus on my hubby as he made me to think of Halwa when he asked me to boil some sweet potato for him 🙂
It has been a little more than 6 years since I got married; and like it happens with everyone, this life event not only brought my husband into my life but his friends and their college stories 😉 One such perennial mention was of a Paneer Lababdaar that they used to enjoy in their college canteen. In my hubby’s own words, he had never tasted any other Paneer Lababdaar which exceeded his college experience. To be honest, I had never actually thought of taking this as a challenge and prepare Paneer Lababdaar in our home. However I just thought of preparing this royal/rich dish last night. It did turn out really good. Whether it managed ti surpass my husband’s previous expectations, I will disclose that at the end of this post 🙂
This is in continuation of my previous post on Pistachio Crackers. The same experiment also resulted in herbs based whole wheat crackers, in alignment of my requirement for healthy winter snacks. Do note that these whole wheat herb crackers are my regular item as I make them often. These herbs crackers are quite easy peasy, healthy and quick to prepare. I prefer to make crackers with whole wheat flour, so that I could afford to snack in an healthy, guilt-free way 🙂
The sudden drop in temperature this week here in London looks like the end of autumn / arrival of the cool winter. Winter, as all of you know, is the season for eating more (as compared to summer), eating rich foods, and keeping warm. With the same intentions every year, I do prepare a lot of items with the so-called warm ingredients e.g., ghee, sesame seeds, pistachios, almonds, and figs.
I like peppers (Capsicum; Shimla Mirch in Hindi) and have always used them in my vegetable curries or to make side-dish like dry pepper curry or pepper with chickpea flour. To be honest, I had never heard of Bell Pepper Chutney until recently. As usual, that did trigger the cook in me to try it out :). On an impulse, I prepared the chutney with Spinach Theplas over the weekend and the combo was just a super hit !
Its breakfast time again 🙂 and I present another healthy Indian flat bread made with Spinach. This flat bread is called “thepla” (in the local dialect of the Western Indiuan state of Gujarat) and is a very healthy option for all times – breakfast, lunch or dinner. Thepla originates from the state of Gujarat, and can be termed similar to Paranthas. The main difference is that thepla is thin, with its dough kneaded with spices and yogurt while Parantha is comparatively thicker and its dough is kneaded with water without any spices.
I know this would have triggered the thought that this is a regular food and nothing special. Behold my friends – this is not your regular French toast but Fluffy French toast uses flour, has a different taste than the regular one, and is ideal for a great breakfast as it has egg, bread and fruits rolled into one.
For all my global friends, Kadhi (it is a Hindi word) is a spiced yogurt sauce thickened with Chickpea flour (gram flour/ besan). It is quick and easy comfort food in India, which is also very light, healthy and tasty. I have gone ahead and combined this light beauty with the more nutritious Spinach (Palak in Hindi), resulting in Spinach Kadhi. I am sure there are some people who may not like to have Spinach on its own – this could be one of the ways of getting this group to eat/like Spinach 🙂 ; I have already covered another way using Spinach Parantha, Spinach Kofta Curry.
This is back to basics for me – as this dish (again) comes from my native state of Rajasthan 🙂 I am sure all of us are aware of Fenugreek seeds (or Dana Methi in Hindi). However I am not so sure if this particular recipe has ever moved out of Rajasthani households; I say so as even my beloved hubby, a staunch Rajasthani, was not aware of this. Perhaps the bitterness of these seeds may have stopped people from experimenting with it. But that stops now, with this post 😉
Now, the way it works with Indian snacks/street food is that you simply cannot eat them without the real chutneys/dips 🙂 One such chutney that really goes with almost all of the Indian street cuisine is real, tangy Tamarind chutney. It is a great accompaniment with fried snacks like samosa, kachori, pakode etc., and also with chaat items like dahi wada, papdi chaat, aloo tikki chaat and so on and so forth. In fact, in honesty, we Indians will not enjoy any of these without our indigenous Tamarind chutney.
As is the case with lentils (being the core in an Indian staple diet), Bread(s) also enjoy the same status. Indians enjoy a variety of bread as part of their daily routine, most of the usual ones being – Roti/Chapati, Tandoori Roti, Naan, and Parantha. My previous posts have covered couple of Paranthas (Aloo Parantha, Spinach Parantha, Broccoli Parantha). Today I am covering Naan in this post. Naan is also a very popular leavened oven-baked flat bread with origins in Persia (Iran) but extremely popular in the Indian cuisine.
As a true North Indian, I have to say that Dal Makhani is my favourite daal. For all my friends out there, Daal means lentil, and Makhani refers to butter (or buttery) thus making this lentil creamy, rich and heavy. I have been preparing Daal Makhani for the past couple of years but in my own healthy way – I have replaced the cream with milk & yogurt, and butter with olive oil. This is the way I prepare my Dal Makhani at least once in a month, but eat it twice (same daal on the next day) as I feel the taste reaches a new zenith on the next day 🙂 . My today’s post is this healthy version of Dal Makhani.
Yes, it’s breakfast time once again 😉 and today’s healthy start of the day is Yogurt (Dahi in Hindi) Sandwich. I am sure all of us would have had sandwiches of some shape/form. I am also certain that all my fellow kitchen cooks would have surely done experiments on the basic sandwich as per taste/requirement. Keeping alive the streak of innovation, I am today presenting a light, healthy and refreshing sandwich involving Yogurt. Needless to say, the inclusion of some of my favourite vegetables and yogurt makes this a real good start to a lovely day (Amen!). It is also a real quickie in terms of its preparation, thus making it ideal for breakfast/snack.
Malai Kofta is a rich and a bit sweet (mildly) Indian curry. The name of the curry gives away its constituents – Malai is the Hindi word for cream and, Kofta refers to fried dumpling balls. The dumplings are usually made up of potatoes, with or without cottage cheese. The use of cream and frying the dumplings is what makes this curry rich. I have today prepared my own version of this curry but have tried to be on the healthy path by using less of the heavy ingredients; I have used only one tsp of oil, have baked the dumplings instead of deep frying, used more cottage cheese, used less of potatoes, and have omitted the cream.
Honestly being an Indian, I will always prefer Indian food. However one cuisine that comes very close to me in this respect is Italian food. I love both pizza dn pasta, in all their forms/types (as long as they are vegetarian 🙂 ). My little angel has also become very fond of pasta and so I usually make pasta once in a week for the family. My husband loves his pasta with white sauce but I have always been sceptical of using all-purpose flour for the white sauce. So today I prepared the white sauce in a more healthy way, using whole wheat flour instead of the all-purpose flour and it turned out be super delicious (you have to take my word 🙂 )
People mostly use cucumber in salads and/or in raita. I however make a dry cucumber curry which I have already posted earlier. Needless to say, this chutney is a bit different from the other dips as it is real healthy and flavourful. Cucumber is very nutritious vegetable – the Potassium richness in cucumber helps in regulating the blood pressure levels. Cucumber helps to reduce cholesterol, promotes digestion, rehydrates and remineralized the body. Cucumber is also eaten raw during summer as it has a cooling effect and helps in regulating the body temperature.
This post is the continuation of the use of leftover Khichdi. In the previous post I have shared the recipe for Leftover Khichdi Muffins and, in this post I am sharing the recipe for making savoury pancakes using the leftover Khichdi.
These pancakes are very soft, delicious and I have really enjoyed them with cucumber chutney (so all in all a total healthy combination 🙂 )