Methi Thepla

This time of the year is perfect to savour the varied winter greens available in the market. My absolutely favourite being fresh Methi saag( fenugreek leaves) and Sarson Saag ( mustard greens). I dont leave an opportunity to use fresh methi leaves as often as I can. While i would always make Aloo methi or simple methi parathas , Theplas , essentially a Gujrati flatbread is something I made for the first time. Perfect as a breakfast dish, I absolutely loved eating them.

methi theplaThe addition of a variety of spices and some gram flour to the dough gives the parathas if we may call them, even thogh they are to be rolled thinner than a paratha, a lovely soft texture. My boys are not much into parathas and would stick to their usual English breakfast, I love my desi breakfast and more so on weekends. Served with some homemade green chili pickle and yogurt, it made for a delicious treat.

methi thepla 1

Methi Thepla
Author: 
Recipe type: Breads
Cuisine: Gujrati - Indian
 
A soft spiced flatbread that is perfect as a breakfast dish served with pickle and yogurt.
Ingredients
  • Whole wheat flour? Aata - 1½ cups
  • Gram flour / Besan- ½ cup
  • Chopped onion - 1 tbsp
  • Chopped green chili - 1 tsp
  • Chopped fresh fenugreek leaves/methi leaves - 1 cup
  • Caraway/Ajwain seeds - 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds/jeera seeds - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Chopped coriander leaves - 1 tbsp
  • Red chili powder - 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1tsp
  • Ghee - 1 tsp + spme more to cook the theplas
  • Warm water - a cup approx to knead the dough
Instructions
  1. In a bowl mix all the ingredients listed aboved and knead into a soft using some warm water.
  2. Let the dough rest for 15 mins.
  3. Make small balls, dust in some flour and roll out very thin into round discs.
  4. They should be rolled thinner than a paratha.
  5. On a flat gridle, cook the theplas by applying ghee on both sides.
  6. Serve warm with pickle and fresh yogurt.
 

Paneer Qalia – A rich cottage cheese curry

Hello all! How is Diwali prep coming along folks? I am just back from my  2 weeks long puja holidays at my hometown and still recuperating and thinking of ways to shed off those piled on calories. But sadly I see no light of hope on that front coz Diwali – undoubtedly my most favourite festival is just around the corner and like everyone I am also fully gearing up for it. 

The recipe I am sharing today is a feasty dish but requires very little effort. Qalia has its roots in Mughali cuisine where mutton was cooked in large cauldrons with a concoction of spices, essentially in a yogury based gravy. We Bengalis also have a version called the Kalia – essentially Rohu Kalia( fish kalia) mostly made as a part of wedding menu. I made it with Paneer as every Tuesday I need to roll something delicious out of my kitchen for the man who sticks to veg food – that one day! The use of mace (javitri) is essential as it lends a royal taste to the gravy. This curry dish goes very well with rotis as well as rice.

paneer qalia

Paneer Qalia - A rich cottage cheese curry
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Mughlai
 
A rich youghurt based cottage cheese curry dish
Ingredients
  • Paneer/ cottage cheese - 250 gms - cut into cubes
  • Onion Paste - 2 tbsp.
  • Ginger/garlic paste - 1 tsp each
  • Yogurt - 1 cup
  • Kashmiri chili powder - 1 tsp
  • White pepper powder - 1 tsp
  • Mace / javitri powder - 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1 tsp
  • Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Green chilies - 3-4 whole
  • Refined oil - 1 tbsp.
  • Ghee - 1 tbsp
Instructions
  1. In a pan lightly fry the paneer cubes in 1 tbsp. refined oil. Keep them dipped in a bowl of warm water till used in the gravy. This keeps the paneer super soft.
  2. In the same pan, add the ghee.
  3. Saute the onion, ginger/garlic paste till fragrant and golden brown.
  4. Now add the dry spices - chili powder, coriander powder, mace and the garam masala.
  5. Next tip in the yougurt. Mix well and let the gravy simmer for 5-7 mins. Keep the flame low.
  6. Put in the paneer pieces, add the green chillies. Check seasoning.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Serve with rice/roti
 

Kacche Kele Ke Kofte ( Raw banana Koftas)

While you wouldn’t really pick up raw bananas as a part of your regular vegetable shopping, but once a while you can , to make this raw banana Kofta Curry, that’s very high on nutrients as well as taste. This recipe here is onion and garlic free too. The Bengali in me, loves her Kaanch Kola (raw banana) as we call it . I could even relish boiled raw banana mash with green chilies and mustard oil, our most trusted dish whenever tummy issues crop up. My boys however would squirm at the very idea. So I have to get as innovative as I can be and camouflage such vegetables in more appealing looking dishes.

kele kofteThis recipe here is onion and garlic free. To make it a bit fancy , I have used cashew and sunflower seeds paste to give the gravy a lovely texture and taste. You can easily make the koftas a day in advance,store it in the fridge, fry and add it to the gravy later.

kele kofta 1

Kacche Kele Ke Kofte ( Raw banana Koftas)
Author: 
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Indian - Bengali
 
Soft koftas made from raw bananas in a rich gravy
Ingredients
  • Raw banana - 2 nos - boiled and mashed
  • Potato - 1 large - boiled and mashed
  • Roasted cumin powder - 1 tbsp.
  • Garam masala powder - 1 tsp + 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Sugar - a pinch
  • Plain flour - 1 tsp
  • Roasted cumin powder- 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
  • Kashmiri chili powder - 1 tsp
  • Cashew paste - 1 tbsp.
  • Sunflower seeds /Magaj dana paste - 1 tbsp.
  • Tomato puree - 2 tbsp
  • Green chilies - 2 nos - finely chopped
  • Refined oil - to fry the koftas
  • Ghee - 1 tbsp.
  • Salt - to taste
  • Sugar - a pinch
Instructions
  1. First lets make the koftas.
  2. In a bowl take the boiled and mashed raw bananas and the potato.
  3. Add roasted cumin powder, garam masala powder, salt , sugar and flour and mix everything together.
  4. Wet tour hand with a little water and make small balls.
  5. Keep in the fridge for 10 mins.
  6. In the meantime, heat some refined oil for frying the koftas.
  7. Fry the koftas, till the turn golden brown in colour.
  8. Drain and keep aside.
  9. Now to make the the gravy.
  10. Heat ghee in a pan.
  11. Add the garam masala powder.
  12. Next put in the tomato puree, cashew paste and sunflower seeds paste.
  13. Fry for 5- 7 mins.
  14. Now add the dry spices - turmeric , roasted cumin, red chili , salt and a pinch of sugar.
  15. Mix everything well, add a cup of warm water and let the gravy simmer for 5 mins on low heat.
  16. Lastly add the koftas, garnish with some green chillies and a sprinkle of garam masala.
  17. Serve with rice.
 

Burnt Aubergine Dip #cookfromacookbook series

Much before I became a food blogger, I have been a cookbook lover. I remember spending hours pouring over the many cookbooks that Maa possessed, even Sananda, a Bengali monthly which was a treasure trove of recipes, going through the ingredients, trying to imagine the dish in my head and then sometimes experimenting them in the kitchen. My favourite was a Bengali recipe book,more a bible, that had every possible recipe gifted by our Bangladeshi neighbour. The books is in tatters now, still very special. I am hoping Maa will pass it down to me one day! Thankfully this love for cookbook has remained and now I am myself a very proud owner of a worthy collection. Thanks to the many online portals, you can now own your favourite book with just a click! And I am a compulsive buyer when it comes to books – especially food memoirs. With a steady growing stash , I thought it only made sense that I share what I read and cook from it with my readers. So, hereby I start a #cookfromcookbook series that will have me sharing my favourite authors and their creations that I recreate in my kitchen.

Yotam Ottolenghi – a name resonant in the British culinary scene , a chef and cookbook writer with strong Mediterranean roots that reflects deeply in his recipes. I have been following him on the social media for a while now and only very recently got hold of his book ‘Plenty’ a collection of vegetarian recipes or “new vegetarianism” as he calls it. With every new test recipe that he Instagrams,I would go gushing over the use of everyday ingredients and how it is so doable in your very own kitchens. His book Plenty has plenty recipes that can be made a part of your everyday meals. He picks up one favourite ingredient and builds a recipe around it. Much like what we do too. I have been eyeing the Burnt Aubergine Dip with Tahini and finally ended up making it too. A very flavorful condiment that can be served with cut vegetables or even as a refreshing salad in summers.

aubergine salad 1I keep going back to the book looking for inspirations in my everyday cooking and I am sure I will cooking a lot more from this one. The recipe I am sharing today is broadly inspired from the original as I have replaced a few ingredients based on availabitiy. Instead of parsley I used fresh coriander and added some red chillies for the zing.

auergine salad

Ottolenghi and his Burnt Aubergine Dip
Author: 
Recipe type: Dips and Salads
Cuisine: Mediterranean
 
A summery dip made with roasted brinjals.
Ingredients
  • Aubergine/Brinjal - 1 large
  • Tahini paste - 2 tbsp.
  • Water - 1 tbsp.
  • Lemon juice - 1 tbsp.
  • Garlic cloves - 1 - crushed
  • Fresh coriander - a handful - chopped
  • Green chilies/ red chilies - 1 -2 finely chopped
  • Tomato - 1 large - chopped
  • Pomegranate seeds - 1 tbsp.
  • Oilve oil - for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. First, roast the brinjal, with the skin on the gas stove, like we do for Indian bhartas. This can be done in the oven too. But make sure to make deep gashes on the brinjal and smear with some oil, or else it will burst.
  2. Remove the charred skin from the brinjal, scoop out the flesh.
  3. Chop the flesh roughly and transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
  4. Add the tahini paste, water,lemon juice,garlic, coriander , salt and pepper.
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  6. Mix in the chopped tomatoes and chilies.
  7. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.
  8. Serve with pita or crackers.
 

Pudine Wali Moong Dal

Sharing the recipe of a very easy but tasty lentil recipe that is perfect as a summer lunch dish. I have lost my appetite in this heat and all that I crave for is some simple dal-chawal and some light vegetable on the side. Fimish your lunch with a bowl of curd and you are good to go. Even after elaborate menu planning , I end up making a simple meal these days. The mint adds a freshness to your otherwise boring bowl of dal and green beans lentils is very easy to digest. moong dal You could use fresh coariander even along with mint, that would enhance the taste. Note the recipe below :

Pudine Wali Moong Dal
Author: 
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Indian
 
Ingredients
  • Split green moong dal/lentils - 1 cup - washed and soaked in water for 10 mins
  • Onion - 1 small - finely chopped
  • Ginger - 1 tsp- grated
  • Tomato puree - 2 tbsp
  • Mint leaves - a handful- finely chopped
  • Water - 2½ cups
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Dry red chilies - 2-3 whole
  • Ghee - 1 tbsp.
  • Salt - to taste
  • Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
  • Green chilies - 1-2 as per taste
Instructions
  1. In a pressure cooker, add the soaked lentils, onion, tomato puree, ginger, mint leaves, tomato puree ,salt and turmeric powder.
  2. Coom for 4-5 whistles, till the dal is cooked.
  3. Mash the dal with the back of a spoon and keep aside.
  4. In a pan , heat the ghee. Temper with cumin seeds and dry red chilies.
  5. Add the dal mixture and let it simmer for a min.
  6. Garnish with green chilis and some more fresh mint.
  7. Serve with irce .
 

Chef’s Basket – Chunky Arabbiata Pasta – Product Review

Ready to cook meals – sent to you in a box – with ingredients measured out as required is taking the world by storm. It is still in a nascent stage in India, but in countries like America, people swear by them and these meals are what they eat on a daily basis. I, being  a homemaker, might not be too fascinated by them, but there is no denying the fact that ready to cook meal boxes is the order of the day. And honestly speaking, a decade ago , when I was into a full time corporate job, this would have been ideal for me too. It makes a lot of sense , for people who don’t really have the time and (knack) for cooking a full course meal from scratch but would still want to cook at home, afterall, how much can one eat out or order in! Also there is money involved. Even for someone like me, who loves to cook from scratch, there are days when I don’t want to slog it out in the kitchen. So I was quite kicked to try out Chef’s Basket – Pasta in my kitchen. In their words “ We belive in the art of cooking. And we believe that with a little help anybody can cook. We put our all to create freshest and most authentic recipes from around the world. Our food is natural with no artificial preservatives or added color”

pastaI was sent a box of Chunky Arabbiata Pasta , that came along with packets of durum wheat pasta, pasta sauce and some herbs and salt. The process mentioned clearly and ingredients measured out exactly that would be required to create the dish. Making it is a child’s play if u ask me! Just follow the instructions and you are done!

pasta ingredients

chefs basket pasta

#Taste Quotient – The chunky tomato sauce is quite flavourful without being overtly tangy. The accompaniments like the herb mix and the chilli flakes add to the taste. I kept it simple with just a dash of parmesan on top.

#Quantity Quotient – I would say it would be enough for an adult if eating as a meal. For small eaters, two people could easily share!

#Price Quotient – Competitive and affordable pricing at below INR 100 per box. Also have a good range of variants in pasta and noodles.

#Availablity Quotient –  Easily available in  supermarkets and also online.

Disclaimer – The product was sent me by Chef’s Basket for review and the views are completely my own. No monetary compensation was involved.

Paneer Pasanda

How much can you do with Paneer?! Well , you never know. Personally I find it very difficult to infuse flavours into paneer. Somehow my bhurjis always remain bland and tasteless. For gravies, most of the times I resort to a tomato based gravy so as to salvage the dish. This dish too, is a tomato – cashew infused gravy, with stuffed pan fried paneer triangles. It turned out nice , so I had to share it with you all.

paneer pasanda mainEveryday cooking can sometime get on to your nerves. Even for someone like me, who enjoys her time in the kitchen, it gets a tad overwhelming. With the onset of the dreaded summer, even more. What I like to do is make easy recipes , that doesn’t compromise on taste. This gravy can easily be frozen for few days, and used as and when required.

paneer pasanda 1

5.0 from 1 reviews
Paneer Pasanda
Author: 
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Indian
 
A rich gravy dish that goes well with rice/naan/roti
Ingredients
  • Paneer - 200 gms - cut into triangles and then halved
  • Tomato paste - 1 large - blanch tomatoes and make into a paste
  • Tomato puree - 2 tbsp.
  • Cashew paste - 2 tbsp. + 1 tbsp.
  • Raisin paste - 1 tsp - blend raisins into a paste
  • Garam masala - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Sugar - a pinch
  • Ginger paste - 1 tsp
  • Kashmiri red chili powder - 1 tsp
  • Warm water - 1 cup
  • Ghee - 1 tbsp.
  • Refined oil - 1 tbsp.
  • Fresh cream- for garnish
  • Fresh green/red chilies - for garnish
  • Fresh coriander - chopped for garnish
Instructions
  1. Cut the paneer into triangles and slit them into half lengthwise.
  2. Make a paste of 1 tbsp. cashew paste, raisin paste and a little salt.
  3. Stuff the mixture inside two slices of paneer.
  4. In a non stick pan , heat 1 tbsp. refined all.
  5. Shallow fry the paneer triangles, till gilden in colour.
  6. Drain and keep aside.
  7. In another pan, heat the ghee.
  8. Add the garam masala powder.
  9. Next add the tomato paste and fry till fragrant,
  10. Once the tomato paste has cooked through, add the tomato puree, cashew paste, red chili powder, salt and sugar.
  11. Give a good mix, cook the masalas for 3-5 mins. Add a cup of warm water and let the gravy simmer.
  12. Once it thickens up, turn off the heat.
  13. In a serving dish, lay the fried paneer traingles.
  14. Pour the hot gravy on top.
  15. Garnish with fresh cream, chilies and coriander.
  16. Your dish is ready to be served.
 

Eggless Wholewheat Apple Muffins

When it comes to baking I would always stick to traditional methods and recipes and am not really confident how a cake would turn out without eggs. But of late I have been getting  a lot of requests from friends who follow my blog to share egg free recipes! So I scoured around and found this beautiful eggless recipe of muffins. Muffins are very forgiving and you don’t really need to break your back to make these.

apple muffins 1

You could skip the apples , if you don’t feel like it and just add raisins for the texture. Or even crispy pear or strawberries, the options are many. This recipe calls for buttermilk and I used the regular Amul buttermilk that you get in the market. Just strain it before using.

apple muffins

Eggless Wholewheat Apple Muffins
Author: 
Recipe type: Baked Goodies
Cuisine: Continental
 
An eggless wholewheat healthy muffin
Ingredients
  • Wheat flour / Atta - 1½ cup
  • Plain flour - ½ cup
  • Baking soda - 1 tsp
  • Brown Sugar - 1 cup
  • Cinnamon powder - 1 tsp
  • Olive oil - ½ cup
  • Buttermilk - 1 cup
  • Yogurt - 2 tbsp.
  • Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
  • Apple - 1 medium - cored and chopped
Instructions
  1. In a bowl add all the dry ingredients together - wheat flour , plain flour , baking soda, cinnamon powder and the brown sugar.
  2. In another bowl , mix together the oil, buttermilk, yogurt and vanilla essence. Whisk everything together.
  3. Now mix the dry ingredients gradually in batches and mix well . Make sure there are no lumps.
  4. Lastly add the chopped apples.
  5. Fill your muffin cups with the batter.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 mins at 180 degree C.
 

Oats Aloo Tikki Chaat

Spring hardly showed up and summer is already here! I cant even bear to think how I am going to cope up with Calcutta summers. Random rantings ! But one thing I know is that I am going to rustle up a lot of yogurt based dishes to keep us cool all along. This Oats Aloo Tikki Chaat is a healthier spin on your regular tikkis. With the goodness of oats incorporated into this dish you wont feel as much guilty indulging into your favourite chaat. Also I have shallow fried the tikkis, so a little more solace there.

aloo tikki chaat 1Theres not really much to this recipe. You just need to put together the cutlets and then serve it along with your favourite condiments. I used the staple tamarind chutney, pudina chutney and some bhujias for crispiness.

aloo tikki chaat

Oats Aloo Tikki Chaat
Author: 
Recipe type: snacks
Cuisine: Indian
 
spicy tangy tasty aloo tikki chaat
Ingredients
  • Potatoes - 1 large - boiled and mashed
  • Brown bread slices - 2 slices
  • Oats - 1 cup - soaked in warm water for 15 mins - drain the water after 15 mins and keep aside
  • Refined oil - 2 tbsp.
  • Yogurt - 1 cup
  • Tamarind chutney - few tbsp.
  • Pudina chutney - few tbsp.
  • Fresh coriander - chopped - a handful
  • Roasted cumin powder - 1 tbsp. + 1 tbsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Sugar - a pinch
  • Bhujia /sev- a handful - for garnish
Instructions
  1. First the tikkis:
  2. Mash together boiled potato, brown bread slices and soaked oats.
  3. Season with salt and roasted cumin powder.
  4. Roll out into small cutlets, the size of tikkis.
  5. Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the tikkis, till brown in colour.
  6. Take them out of the pan and keep on a kitchen towel.
  7. Next prepare the yogurt.
  8. In a bowl take the yogurt, add a little water to thin it out.
  9. Season with salt, sugar and roasted cumin powder.
  10. You can also add chopped green chilis.
  11. To serve:
  12. Place the tikkis in serving plate.
  13. Pour the yogurt mixture on top.
  14. Add the tamarind chutney,pudina chutney ,fresh coriander .
  15. Garnish with bhujia/sev and serve.
 

Pumpkin and Leek Soup

My sister in law served up this beautiful Pumpkin soup as a part of her Christmas eve dinner and ever since I have been wanting to do something similar in my kitchen. Now I am a pumpkin lover, as a kid one of my favourite meal would be steamed rice with a pumpkin-potato mash and a dollop of butter. Even now I do indulge in such meals sometime while the boys cringe! Coming back to the pumpkin, soup is the only possible way I can make my 8 year old try it.

soup main

With minimum labour, it turned out to be stellar. Again the flavours are clean and easy and with a little prep ahead, it can be doled out in a jiffy. I used some leeks ,oregano and parsley for it to come together. My SIL puts loads of lemon grass, which goes pretty well too with pumpkin. Well then, a book and a warm blanket is all you need for some delicious me – time. More on me- time in my next post.

soup 1

 

Pumpkin and Leek Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Continental
 
A flavourful pumpkin soup perfect for cold winter days
Ingredients
  • Yellow pumpkin - half a kilo - diced
  • Leek - 2 stems - diced - if not available use 1 medium sized red onion
  • Ginger paste - 1 tsp
  • Olive oil - 1 tbsp.
  • Oregano - as per taste
  • Chilli flakes - as per taste
  • Vegetable Stock - 2 cups or use warm water
  • Salt - to taste
  • Parsely - chopped a handful
Instructions
  1. In a pan heat the olive oil, sauté the leek till transluscent.
  2. Add the diced pumpkin , oregano ,cilli flakes and salt. Saute till the pumkin is soft.
  3. Add 2 cups of vegetable stock, cover ane let it simmer for 10 mins.
  4. Check seasoning.
  5. Remove from heat and blend into a smooth puree.
  6. You can strain it through a sieve for a silky texture but I left it a bit chunky.
  7. Garnish with chilli flakes and chopped parsley.
  8. Serve hot with toasted bread or soup sticks.