Thursday, February 21, 2013

Paneer kulcha

There is a lot of variety in Indian breads. Some like roti, parathas -- stuffed and plain which we make at home regularly . But there are some which we have a belief can't be made at home and are best eaten in a restaurant. Breaking this myth today I'll show you how easily you can make a paneer stuffed kulcha at home.
Gives 10 kulchas of 6" diameter each.

Ingredients :  

All purpose flour.             1 cup
Whole wheat flour          1 cup
Baking pd.                      1/4 tsp
Baking soda.                   1/2 tsp    
Sugar.                            1 tsp
Salt.                              1/2 tsp
Yogurt.                          1/3 cup
Oil.                                2 tbsp + 1/2 tsp
Water  (warm )              100 ml
Butter.                           For brushing on kulcha

Extra flour for rolling out kulchas .
Paneer grated.                200gms
onion.                           1/3 cup heaped.  (finely chopped)
Green chilly.                 1 finely chopped
Red chilly pd.                1 tsp
Carom seeds.                 3/4 tsp
Chopped coriander         2 tbsp
Salt.                             To taste

  1. Mix  all ingredients under dough except water and  1/2 tsp oil.
  2. Slowly add water and knead into a soft dough.
  3. Tip it on a floured surface and knead for a couple of min. till soft and pliable.
  4. Smear that 1/2 tsp of oil on the dough and knead for another min.
  5. Cover and Rest  the dough in an oiled container for an hour.

  • Except salt mix all ingredients for filling together . Keep it aside.  Add salt only when you are ready to roll out kulcha .
  • Divide the dough into ten equal portions. Divide the filling also into ten equal portions.
  • Heat a non stick girdle.
  • Take one portion of dough , make a smooth ball out of it.
  • On a floured surface roll it into a 4" disk, place one portion of filling .
  • Carefully lift the sides of the disk carefully and seal it like you would seal a momo.
  •  Pinch of  any excess dough and  roll it lightly in your palms.
  • Dust this stuffed ball  with flour, press it lightly  and roll it into a 6" diameter disk
  • Cook on the girdle on medium heat till slightly dark golden spots appear on both sides.
  • Remove it on a plate. Brush some butter and serve immediately.
  • Repeat the process with the remaining portions of dough and filling.
  • Note: should be served hot.
    Can be served with any rich gravy like chana masala , paneer etc .
    Also tastes good with onion - tomato raita and mango pickle.

    Chana Masala ( Chickpeas ) without onion , garlic

    Chana or chole as they are popularly known , is one supremely popular dish of Indian cuisine. There are many, many  versions of this dish available across India.
    Mostly chanas are cooked with lots of onion , garlic , ginger and tomato. My version is without onion and garlic with just a tbsp of oil.


    Serves 6-8
    Kabuli chana.            2 cups (350gms)

    Bengal gram dal.       1 handful (35gms)
    Oil.                          1 tbsp
    Baking soda.              A pinch
    Salt.                         To taste
    Tomatoes.                1 large (130gms) finely chopped
    Ginger paste.            1 tsp
    Water.                     4 cups  + 1 cup.
    Cumin seeds.            1/2 tsp
    Asafoetida.               A large pinch
    Bay leaf.                   1
    Tamarind chutney.     2 tbsp

    Spice mix
    Coriander seeds                  1 tbsp

    Cumin seeds.                      1  1/2 tsp
    Cloves.                              3
    Peppercorns.                      6
    Cinnamon  stick.                 1"piece
    Whole red chillies.             3
    Pomegranate  seeds (dry).   1 tbsp

    Chopped coriander.              2 tbsp
    Ginger julienes.                    1 tbsp
    Green chilly                          1 slit into 2
    1. Wash and soak chana and Bengal gram dal overnite in sufficient water.
    2. Dry roast all spices under spice mix, cool and grind to a fine powder.
    3. Boil  chana with 4 cups of water, 1 bay leaf, salt, 1 tea bag, and a pinch of baking soda till soft and mushy.
    4. Discard bay leaf and tea bag.
    5. Crush a few chanas with the back of a ladle.
    6. Add powdered spices and mix well.
    7. Heat oil in a pan.
    8. Add asafoetida and cumin seeds.
    9.  When cumin seeds turn golden tip in chopped tomato and ginger paste.
    10. Fry till tomatoes turn soft and mushy. Keep smashing them with the back of a ladle.
    11. Add these to boiled  chanas.
    12. Add 1 cup of water and tamarind chutney. Give it a boil. This will give you a thick gravy. You can add more water depending upon how thin a gravy you want.
    13. Taste and adjust salt.
    14. Garnish with ginger julienes, chopped coriander and slit green chilly.
    15. Serve hot with  any Indian bread of your choice or rice.

    If you don't have tamarind chutney, add 2 tbsp tamarind paste, 1 tsp of sugar and 1/2 tsp of roasted cumin pd.
    Taste and if you want tangier add some lemon juice or tamarind paste.
    You can altogether omit tamarind chutney and add tamarind  paste or lemon juice as per your taste.
    This is a medium spiced dish , if you like more chillies you can add 1 more whole red chilly to spice mix.

    Raw banana peel ( side dish)

    As promised here is my second post on peels. Raw bananas are used extensively in South Indian cuisine  but peels are not used as far as i know, however this dish is my mother's recipe and is made out of raw banana peels .

    Ingredients :
    Skin of 2 boiled raw banana         finely chopped (1 cup heaped)
    Oil.                                            2  - 3 tbsp
    Mustard seed                              1/2tsp
    Fennel seeds                               1/2 tsp
    Red chilly pd.                             1 tsp
    Coriander pd                              1tsp
    Turmeric pd                               1/2tsp
    Ginger paste.                             1/2 tsp
    Gram flour                                 1 tbsp
    Salt to taste
    Raw mango pd                            1/2 tsp
    Garam masala pd                        A pinch

    Method :
    1. Before boiling raw bananas scrape them a little to remove upper fibrous layer.
    2. Peel them and proceed to use them as you like.
    3. Finely chop the peels and keep them aside.
    4. Heat oil in a pan.
    5. Crackle mustard seeds.
    6. Add fennel seeds , when they turn golden add all spices, ginger paste, salt and gram flour.
    7. Mix well and fry for a min.
    8. Now add peels and mix well.
    9. Fry for a couple of minutes.
    10. Remove from fire .
    11. Adjust salt and raw mango pd.
    12. Serve hot with roti  and raita.

    Karela (Bitter Gourd) peels : side dish

    We almost always throw away peels of vegetables, not knowing what to do with them.
    Well here is my first post on the series .  If you like bitter gourd then you would love this dish.

    Ingredients :
    Karela skin                  1 cup
    Potato.                       1 large boiled .
    Mustard Oil.                 2 -3 tbsp
    Mustard seeds               1/2 tsp
    Fennel seeds.               1/4 tsp
    Onions.                        1/2 cup finely chopped
    Red chilly pd.               1 tsp
    Turmeric pd.                1/2 tsp
    Coriander pd.               1 tsp
    Fennel pd.                    2 tsp
    Raw mango.                  2 tbsp grated
    Salt.                             To taste
    Sugar.                           1+  1 1/2 tsp

    1. Rub salt on peels and let them sit for 15 min.
    2. Boil them for 2-3 min.
    3. Drain and mix 1 tsp of sugar and set it aside to cool.
    4. Once cool squeeze to remove excess water.
    5. Heat oil in a pan and crackle mustard seeds .
    6. Add fennel seeds , once golden add onions. Fry till slightly brown.
    7. Add potato cubes . Fry for a couple of minutes .
    8. Now add peels and fry till slightly crisp.
    9. Add all spices, sugar, salt and raw mango. Give it a good stir and fry for 2 more min.
    10. Remove from gas.
    11. Taste and adjust salt.
    12. Add more sugar if its too bitter for your taste but remember it will be slightly bitter.
    13. Serve with dal rice.

    ** you can use any vegetable oil if you don't like the flavour of mustard oil.

    Bisi Bhele Bhat

    Rice and dal cooked together , also known as khichari, has innumerable variations. Each region of India boasts of its own version . Bisi Bhele Bhat is from Karnataka. A beautiful  spicy and tangy combination of Tur dal, rice and vegetables , is perfect for winter afternoons. Tastes best when served hot with a dollop of ghee/ clarified butter , accompanied with yogurt and fried appalams( Crispies ).

    Ingredients : for bissi bele bhat
    Rice.                                          3/4 cup 150 gms
    Tur dal.                                      1/4 cup. 50 gms
     Beans                                       60 gms
    Carrot                                        1 large / 100 gms
    Cauliflower.                               A few florets
    Green peas ( frozen or fresh)      75 gms / 1/2 cup
    Tomatoes.                                  2 large / 215 gms. Finely chopped
    Salt to taste
    Sambar pd                                 6 tsp
    Red chilly pd                              1  1/2 tsp
    Turmeric pd                               1/2 tsp
    Tamarind paste.                         4 -5 tbsp
    water.                                        1000ml+250ml

    Ghee / clarified butter               3 tbsp
    Mustard seeds                             1 tsp
    Curry leaves                               8 -10
    Asafoetida                                  a pinch
     whole red chillies                      1
    Cashew pieces                            1/4 cup
    Peanuts                                      1/4 cup

    Garnishing :
    Coriander                                    2 tbsp chopped
    Ghee / clarifired butter               As per taste

    1. Wash and soak dal and rice for half an hour.
    2. Pressure cook  for 4 whistles with 1000ml. Water, all ingredients mentioned under bissi bele bhat except tamarind paste.
    3. When pressure drops , open the cooker add tamarind paste and 250 ml *water. Mix well.
    4. Taste and adjust salt. You can add more tamarind paste if you like it tangier.
    5. At this time bhat should be mushy and not very thick , if not give one more pressure.
    Tempering :
    1. Heat ghee/clarified butter in a pan.
    2. Add all ingredients mentioned under tempering , in the order in which they are given.
    3. When peanuts and cashew nuts start browning , pour the tempering over the bhat. Mix well
    4. Garnish with chopped coriander.
    5. Serve hot with a dollop of ghee/ clarified butter.

    Note:  add more water if bhat is too thick . It tastes better when not thick .


    Lemon iced tea

    With summers just round the corner I thought of sharing some refreshing coolers with you all.  First in the series is Lemon Iced Tea .
    Iced tea has caught up everyone's fancy in last few years. To get a real good glass of iced tea is very difficult but believe me making it at home is no rocket science. 
    My preparation below gives three glasses

    Ingredients : 
    Water                  3 1/2 cups
    Sugar                   5 tbsp+1tsp
    Tea bags              3
    Mint leaves          a handful
    Lemon juice         6 tsp
    Lemon slices        3 for garnish
    Ginger paste         1/2 tsp
    Method :
    1. Bring the water to boil and switch off the gas.
    2. Add sugar and tea bags. Brew for five min.
    3. Remove tea bags.
    4. Arrange a mint leaf in each cube of ice tray.
    5. Fill it up with brewed tea. Stash it in the freezer.
    6. Put a few mint leaves in the remaining tea and keep it in the fridge to chill.
    To serve :
    1. Take 3 glasses. Put  7 - 8  prepared  cubes in each glass.
    2. Take the cold tea from the fridge, add  6 tsp lemon juice to it and  pour it over the ice cubes in the glass.Taste and adjust lemon juice
    3. Garnish with mint leaves and a lemon slice.
    4. Serve immediately.
    Note: part of brewed tea is frozen as cubes coz if plain ice cubes are used to chill the tea , the tea gets diluted. These tea ice cubes maintain the flavour of iced tea till the last sip.