Archive for April, 2013

tandoori aloo

Potatoes always finds its place in most parties. You can serve it as an appetizer, side dish, curry/main dish, sweet dish, etc. Yeah you heard it right! You can even make sweet dish out of Potatoes. I have had Gulab Jamuns (deep fried balls in sugar syrup), Jalebis and sweet pudding made of potatoes. The potatoes are great for people fasting on special occasions. For me, the baby potatoes, tastes best when roasted in any flavor/spices. Tandoori Chicken is one of the favorite Indian appetizer but you can make the same juicy and delicious dish with potatoes, paneer (cottage cheese) or cauliflower. I tried the vegetarian version with baby Potatoes to make Tandoori Aloo and its a great snack for vegetarians. I like the potato skin but I peeled it off when trying this dish. Potato skin is healthy and gives a distinct flavor so you might want to try with the skin on. The broiling technique gives the charred and slightly burnt taste which closely matches with the ‘tandoor’ flavor. When broiling, for best results, keep checking potatoes frequently otherwise it will burn more than you want. So enjoy this easy and quick appetizer!

Ingredients :-

Baby Potatoes
20-22
Roasted Chana (Bengal Gram) Powder
2 tablespoon
Fresh Hung Curd
1 1/4 cup
Fresh Cream
1 tablespoon
Dried Fenugreek Leaves/Kasoori Methi
1/4 tablespoon
Oil
1 tablespoon
Salt
to taste
Kashmiri Red Chillies, dry
4 whole
Garlic
3-4 cloves
Ginger
1/2 inch
Coriander-Cumin Powder
2 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder
1/4 teaspoon
Garam Masala Powder
1/2 teaspoon
Cilantro/Coriander Leaves
1 tablespoon
Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon
Chaat Masala
1/2 teaspoon

Method :-

  • Ground Red chillies, garlic, ginger and coriander-cumin powder into paste with help of little water. This is your grounded masala/spice/paste.
  • Wash the potatoes thoroughly, peel the skin off, pierce them with a fork and cook them till they get par boiled or half cooked.
  • Mix grounded paste, roasted chana powder, kasoori methi, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, salt with hung curd and whisk it until you get uniform mixture.
  • Add the parboiled potatoes to the curf mixture and let it marinate for 1 hour.
  • Heat a pan and add oil to it. When oil becomes hot add the potato-curd mixture to it and let it cook for about 15 minutes in low heat till all the liquids of masala dries up. Add  cream to it and give it a mix. Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top of it . Serve hot with some drizzled lemon juice and chat masala on top of it.
  • You can serve this tandoori aloos as appetizers with  some thinly sliced onion, tomatoes, green bell peppers and cilantro chutney. You can also serve it as filling for wraps.

tandoori aloo1

Note :-

  • You can also bake potatoes in oven. Grease your baking tray or line in the tray with aluminum foil and bake them for 5 to 7 minutes in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C/350 degrees F. Broiling will give the best taste & effect.
  • For making hung curd, tie fresh curd tightly in muslin or cheese cloth (it will look like a ball) and hang it till the water drains out completely. Usually, I hang the cloth around water faucet over the sink for about an hour for best results.
  • If you want to save time you can use store bought tandoori masala available in any Indian/Asian market instead of making grounded masala.
  • If you have time, marinate potatoes overnight for best results.
  • Remember, potatoes are to be parboiled otherwise they will break up easily while marinating.
  • Don’t forget to prick the potatoes before marinating as it will help in seeping the masala/spice inside potatoes.
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badam pista kulfi

Kulfi is a very popular Indian ice cream. According to Wikipedia “Kulfi” can be termed as ice cream because of its similar appearance and taste but as it is denser and creamer it is more sort of a distinct category of frozen dairy based dessert. It is a perfect dessert presentation wise, as it takes longer to melt due to its consistency. Kulfi makes me nostalgic and reminds me those North Indian summer days when we use to wait for Kulfiwallahs (street vendors) to buy this delicious & heavenly frozen treats. The Kulfiwallahs used to carry big matkas (large earthenware pot) full of Kulfis and used to serve this Kulfis on large cleaned leaves which was a very Eco friendly approach. In our childhood, me, my brothers and friends used to roam around them asking for some free treats (parents didn’t allow us to buy it since they feared it might be bad for our health) :).

Kulfis are often served as rose flavored Falooda Kulfi (Kulfi with rice noodles) along with other ingredients. Here I am posting my 1st frozen dessert Badam (Almond) Pista (Pistachios) Kulfi. I plan to make Falooda Kulfi as summer is approaching soon.

Ingredients :-

Khoya/Mawa, Grated
1/4 cup
Milk
6 cups
Sugar
1/4 cup
Saffron/Kesar
a pinch
Condensed Milk
1 can
Pistachios, coarsely ground
15-20
Almonds, coarsely ground
15-20
Cardamom Powder
a pinch

Method :-

  • Heat the milk in a thick bottom pan or non stick pan on low heat. When the milk begins to boil add saffron to it. Boil the milk till it reduces to half on very low heat. Take care that milk doesn’t stick to the pan.
  • Add the condensed milk, sugar, almonds, pistachios, cardamom powder and mix well. Cook for three to four minutes stirring continuously.
  • Take the pan off the heat and set aside to cool the mixture.
  • Add the khoya and mix well. Pour into individual small bowls and place them in the freezer to set. When well set, demold and serve immediately. It will about 7-8 hours to set the Kulfis.
  • To demold the Kulfi, place the mold under running water for few seconds.

kulfi

Note :-

  • You can use Kulfi molds or Popsicle molds as it gives the proper shape of kulfi. If you don’t have Popsicle mold you can use small paper cups and place cellophane wrap on top of the cup and freeze. Take it out with the help of ice cream stick.
  • You can also try different  variations by adding various types of fruit flavors, coconut powder or even chocolate to it.
  • If you are using sweetened condensed milk then adjust sugar accordingly.
  • To make homemade khoya/mawa you can go here

paneer calzone1

Sundays are generally boring and lazy for me and my hubby. Personally I don’t want to cook full fledged Indian meal. Luckily, Calzone or Pizza comes to the rescue as it is easy to make and satisfies the tummy :). That’s one of the reasons why we like Calzone. It is defined as a “half-moon shaped stuffed pizza” originated in Naples, Italy. It is made with dough similar as pizza and the fillings can include meats, vegetables or cheese. During baking, the pizza dough swells somewhat until it resembles a “stuffed stocking”, the literal translation of word Calzone. It may be baked or deep-fried. They are typically served with marinara sauce as side dip or as a topping. In this experiment, I have ‘Indianized’ this Italian recipe by stuffing it with Paneer (Cottage Cheese) mixed with Indian spices along with some Italian herbs. If you don’t want to make the pizza dough with all purpose flour for health reasons then you can try it with whole wheat flour, as I did. It was as delicious as the original pizza dough would call for it.

Ingredients :-

For the Calzone Dough

Whole Wheat flour
1 and 1/2 cup
All purpose flour
1/2 cup
Lukewarm Milk
3/4 cup
Rapid Rise Yeast
1 1/4 teaspoon
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 teaspoon
Salt
3/4 teaspoon
Sugar
1/2 teaspoon
Dried Parsley Leaves
1 teaspoon
Sweet Basil Leaves, dried 1 teaspoon
Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon

For the Filling :-

Cottage Cheese (Paneer), Crumbled
2 cups
All purpose flour
1/2 cup
Oil
1 tablespoon
Onion, Finely Chopped
1 medium
Tomato, Finely Chopped
1 large
Tomato Ketchup
2 tablespoon
Ginger Garlic Paste
1 teaspoon
Red Chilli Powder
1/2 teaspoon
Pickled Jalapenos, Cut in pieces to taste
Garam Masala 1/2 teaspoon
Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon
Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 cup
Salt
to taste

Method :-

For the Shell :-

  • Dissolve yeast, salt and sugar in the milk and keep it aside for about 10-15  minutes until it gets frothy.
  • In a medium bowl take take whole wheat and all purpose flour. Mix dried parsley leaves, basil leaves and garlic powder. Mix it well. Make a well in the middle and pour the yeast mixture and olive oil into that well. Knead the mixture to form a soft dough. If the dough is very soft add some more flour. Knead for 5-6 minutes till the dough becomes smooth.
  • Pour some olive oil on the surface of the dough and coat it well so that dough does not stick. Cover it with a wet kitchen towel or wet tissue paper and keep it aside for 1 – 1.5 hrs in a warm place till it doubles in size. I generally keep it under the sun (summer) or in oven with lights on (winter).

For the Filling :-

  • Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion and saute it till onion turn brown in color.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and saute it for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook it until it becomes mushy.
  • Add red chilli powder and garam masala and stir for more 2 minutes. Add the ketchup and paneer and mix for 4-5 minutes. Add in lemon juice, mix it well and keep it aside.

Assembling :-

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit.
  • Take the dough and punch out the air.
  • Grease a non stick pizza pan or cookie pan. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. On a lightly floured surface roll each piece into a circle of about 6″ diameter.
  • Place the paneer mixture on half of the circle making sure that the edges of semi circle are free. Top with some grated cheese and pickled jalapenos pieces. Moisten the edges and carefully fold the filling over free half so that it forms a semi circle. Seal the edges by pressing it with fork. Make slits on top to allow the steam to escape.
  • Bake in oven for about 20 – 25 minutes till it turns golden brown in color. Take it out and allow it to cool for 10 minutes. Cut it half and serve it with marinara sauce or tomato ketchup.Enjoy!

Paneer calzone

Note :-

  • You can brush the top of  calzone with some olive oil. It will enhance the taste and look. I forgot to do that.
  • Use your imagination by using any  number of ingredients for filling like spinach, mushroom, bell pepper, green peas, meat etc.
  • To beat the time you can use store bought pizza dough instead of making it from scratch. 
  • You can also deep fry Calzone instead of baking them. They must be fried over a medium flame till they are golden brown on both sides.

chicken ghee roast

Truly admitting, I love Chicken in any form. At times when I became vegetarian for about 2 years, I missed chicken and was tempted to eat on lot of occasions. As a replacement to chicken, I had to satisfy myself with Paneer delicacies. Its probably the most sought after food by Vegetarians in India. But even best of Vegetarian recipes couldn’t stop me drooling over delicious recipes of chicken enjoyed by people around me. So in short my love for Chicken was never lost, it was indeed hidden somewhere deep in my stomach & thoughts. The dish I have tried today is categorized as one of the favorites in Mangalorian cuisine. I did not know about this fantastic Mangalorian preparation until I saw it in one of Indian cookery show and instantly thought of trying it. I have never tried the original one but was very happy the way it came out and now it has become one of my  favorite side dish or as starter. Ghee (Clarified Butter) Roast is said to be native to coastal Karnataka. The word ‘Roast’ loosely means braising rather than actually sticking the meat into an oven. The first step is to braise the chicken and then add spices into the same pot to cook slowly till it becomes tender. A more healthier version would be to reduce the quantity of ghee but I think the dish will miss that distinct ‘ghee roasted’ aroma and flavor. I would suggest indulging in this heavenly delicacy only occasionally. As always, the freshly grounded masala (spices) tastes lot better. I hope you like this recipe. Enjoy!!

Ingredients :-

Ghee (Clarified Butter) 1/2 cup
Chicken, dried and cut in bite size
1 kg
Thick Yogurt/Curd
1/2 cup
Turmeric Powder
1/2 teaspoon
Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon
Jaggery/Sugar (Optional)
2 tablespoon
Curry Leaves
10-12
Kashmiri Red Chillies
15-20
Small Red Chillies 7-8
Black Peppercorns
7-8
Coriander Seeds 1 1/2 tablespoon
Cumin Seeds 1/2 tablespoon
Fenugreek Seeds 1/2 teaspoon
Cloves 4
Garlic cloves 12-16
Tamarind paste 1 1/2 tablepoon
Salt to taste
Fresh Cilantro Leaves, Finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons

Method :-

  • Marinate the chicken with curd, turmeric powder, lemon juice,  1/2 tsp of salt for a minimum of 3-4 hrs or overnight in the refrigerator. I marinated it for overnight.
  • Heat a pan and dry roast the red chilies on low flame for 2 mts. Keep in mind that it should not burn otherwise it will spoil the dish. Remove from fire and keep aside. In the same pan, add a tsp of ghee and roast, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves and peppercorns on low flame for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool.
  • Grind the red chillies and spices along with garlic and tamarind to make a fine paste. This is your ground spice/masala.
  • Heat a big pan with 1/4 cup of ghee and fry the marinated chicken until it gets almost cooked, but not fully cooked.
  • Remove the sauteed chicken pieces and keep aside. Remove the remaining liquid into another bowl.
  • To the same pan add the remaining ghee and fry the ground spice/masala paste for 5 to 8 minutes over medium flame, or until the spice/masala starts leaving ghee on the sides. Make sure not to burn the spice/masala mixture while doing this process.
  • Add the fried chicken pieces and mix well. Add the left over liquid,curry leaves and jaggery/sugar and cook on medium flame for 5 minutes. Add salt to taste. Remember that marinated chicken already had salt added in it. So add salt accordingly.
  • Reduce the flame and cover the chicken with lid. Cook the chicken till the spices/masala dries up and there is thick coating of spice/masala on chicken pieces. This will take approximately 8-10 minutes on medium flame.
  • Remove lid, roast the chicken for 2-3 minutes. Turn off flame, remove onto a serving bowl.
  • Finally garnish the chicken with chopped cilantro leaves and serve immediately.

IMG_0227

Notes :-

  • Kashmiri Red chillies are not spicy at all. So you may go easy with the quantity of Kashmiri chillies. Also the small chillies are hot in taste so add according to your taste.
  • Adding sugar/jaggery suppresses the hotness of the dish.
  • Ghee gives extraordinary flavor to this dish but if you think its heavy on your calorie count then you can decrease the quantity of ghee and add some olive oil instead.
  • Any part of chicken goes well with this dish but it will taste best if made with chicken in bone.

falafel kebab

Mediterranean food is one of my family favorites. You name it and we cant resist it – Falafel, Hummus, Lentil soup, Shawarma, salads like Fattoush. These are really very quick and  easy to make at home. Falafel is a popular middle eastern dish in form of patties made of chickpeas or fava beans or both. These patties are common form of street food in middle east generally served in pita bread which acts as pocket and topped with salads, pickles, hummus and tahini based sauce. Generally they are deep fried but I have taken healthier route by baking them which came out pretty well. These patties are  filling and also nutritious as it contains plenty of important nutrients like vitamins A and C, iron and fibre. I have made my own low fat yogurt dressing which goes very well these patties.


Ingredients :-

For Falafel

Chickpeas
1 cup
Spring Onion, Chopped
4-5 stalks
Bread Crumbs
1/4 cup
Green Chillies, Chopped
3-4
Garlic, Chopped
4-5 cloves
Fresh Cilantro Leaves, Chopped
2 tablespoon
Parsley Leaves, Chopped
2 tablespoon
Baking Powder
a pinch
Cumin Powder
1/2 teaspoon
Black Pepper Powder 1/4 teaspoon
Salt
To taste
Lemon Juice
1/4 teaspoon
Olive Oil
1 tablespoon
Cooking Oil Spray Preferably Olive Oil

For Yogurt Sauce

Yogurt, hung
1/2 cup
Cream
2 tablespoon
Fresh Cilantro Leaves, Chopped
1 tablespoon
Garlic, chopped
2-3 cloves
Fresh Parsley, Chopped
1 tablespoon
Salt
to taste
Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon

To Serve

Green Bell Peppers, thinly sliced
1/4 cup
Red Onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup
Tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup
Hummus
2 tablespoon
Yogurt Sauce
2-3 tablespoon
Salt
To taste
Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon
Olive Oil
1 teaspoon
Crushed Red Peppers
To taste
Lettuce, shredded
1 Cup
Pita Pockets
6

Method :-

Falafel Patties

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degree Fahrenheit.
  • Soak chickpeas overnight. Wash and drain it next morning.
  • Grind the chickpeas along with garlic, coriander leaves, parsley, spring onion greens, green chillies and breadcrumbs in a food processor to a coarse mixture.
  • The final mixture should be little coarse and grainy in texture.
  • Add baking powder, lemon juice, olive oil and cumin powder to it and mix well.
  • Season it with salt and pepper powder.
  • Knead the mixture well and allow it to rest for a couple of hours in a refrigerator.
  • Spray a foil lined baking pan with cooking oil spray.
  • Make small balls from the batter. Press them lightly between palms and place them on baking pan. Spray more oil on top of these balls.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until dry and slightly browned. They would not brown too much but would be firm to touch when done.

Yogurt Sauce

  • Mix all the ingredients of yogurt sauce together and refrigerate till needed.

To Arrange and Serve

  • Mix green bell peppers, onion, tomato, lemon juice, olive oil, crushed red peppers, salt together and mix well.
  • Cut the pitas into halve, warm it for 30 secs in microwave and spread yogurt sauce and hummus inside the pockets.
  • Fill the pitas with 2-3 falafels, vegetable mixture and lettuce.
  • On top you can add more hummus and yogurt sauce, if needed.

falalfel wrap

Note :-

  • You can also make you own pita bread. I will try my own and let you know how it came out.
  • You can also make burgers and rolls with these patties.
  • The fried version might taste better so trying it once in a while would be a better choice.
  • If prepared in advance, the falafel batter can be stored in refrigerator and fried/baked later.
  • You can also bake/fry a large batch and freeze them. Just before assembling thaw and microwave it. Rest is a easy peasy.
  • Hummus can be bought from a store or freshly made at home. For this experiment, I have used Sabra brand Hummus bought from Wal-Mart. I’ll try to play around and experiment to make my version of Hummus sometime in the future.