Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Stuffed Kofta in Green Cardamom infused TomatoGravy

Another party dish for you all to try. A little time consuming but worth every minute. Looks good and tastes even better. (Please read the entire recipe with the notes before your start)

Ingredients: Serves 4

For the Kofta. 
Boiled Potatoes 200gms
Paneer 150gms
Cornstarch  2 tbsp + extra for rolling
Maida 2 tbsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Ground Pepper 1/2 tsp

Onion                                   1/4 cup finely chopped
Cheddar cheese.                   2 tbsp (grated)
Oil                                       1/2 tbsp
Salt                                      1/2 tsp or to taste
Ground pepper                      1/2 tsp
Cabbage                               (check note below)
Carrot                                             "
Capsicum                                         "
Red Bell Pepper                               "
Yellow Bell  Pepper                          " 
Capsicum                                         "
Note : the vegetables should all be cut into fine juliennes and together measure 1 cup. For best results ensure equal quantity of each vegetable.

For gravy
Oil                                        1tbsp
Butter                                   2 tbsp
Cumin                                   1/2 tsp
Green Cardamom.                  6
Fresh Red chilly                     2 no .sliced  (optional)
Onion                                   2 med sized  ,sliced. Approx 250 gms
Tomato Purée of                   500 gms ( homemade) 
Tomato                                2 med. sized , finely chopped  approx 180gms
Garlic crushed                      2 tsp
Ginger paste                        1 tsp
Fresh Cream                        2 tbsp
Red Chilly pd                       1 tsp
Coriander pd.                      1 tsp
Turmeric pd.                       1/4 tsp
Salt                                     to taste
Sugar                                  2 tsp
Chopped Coriander              1 tbsp
Pomegranate                       1 tbsp
Water                                 1 cup

Method : for stuffing
  1. Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in  a pan.
  2. Add onions and carrots.
  3. Sauté for a minute.
  4. Add all the other vegetables , sauté for another minute.
  5. Remove from fire.
  6. Let it cool.
  7. Once cool , add salt, ground pepper and cheese. Mix well
Method : for kofta
  1. Grate potatoes and paneer and kneed well so that it is smooth and there are no lumps.
  2. Add salt, pepper, maida and 2 tbsp corn starch.
  3. Mix well. Divide into four equal portions.
  4. Wet your hands and flatten one portion.
  5. Keep 1 1/2 tbsp filling on it.
  6. Carefully lift the sides and fold over the filling and carefully give it an oblong shape.
  7. Repeat the process with the other three portions.
  8. Roll the koftas in corn starch and carefully remove excess corn starch.
  9. Deep fry in hot oil till golden.
Method :  for curry
  1. Heat oil in a pan. Add butter. Once butter melts add  cinnamon and cumin seeds.
  2. When cumin seeds turn golden, add fresh red chilly  and green cardamom.
  3. Now add onions and cook on low heat .
  4. When onions just start changing colors mix in ginger and garlic .
  5.  When onions turn soft and pink tip in tomato purée and chopped tomato.
  6. Wash the blender jar with 1/4 cup water and add it to the pan.
  7. Stir and cook on low heat.
  8. After 2 minutes add red chilly pd, coriander pd, turmeric pd, and salt and sugar.
  9. Cook till oil separates and the mixture attains a rich colour, remove from flame.
  10. Once cool grind it into a fine paste. You may add  some water if you find it difficult to grind. I added 1/4 cup water.
  11. Heat the same pan and tip in the paste.
  12. Take 1/2 cup water and wash the jar and pour this water in the pan. Add another 1/4 cup water to the pan. Bring it to a boil. 
  13. Add cream and chopped coriander.
  14. Cook for a coupe of minutes.
  15. Remove from fire.
For serving:

  1. Carefully cut the koftas into two lengthwise and heat them in the microwave. 
  2. Heat the gravy and pour it in a serving dish.
  3. Now place koftas in the gravy, cut side up. 
  4. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.
  5. Serve immediately.

Note : to make tomato purée : tip in tomatoes in boiling water , keep them for a couple of minutes.
Then cool them, peel off their skin and purée them in a blender.
Oil should be really hot so that the koftas don't take much time to be ready, else chances are that the koftas might burst.
Fry one at a time
If not using fresh red chillies, then increase the quantity of red chilly powder as per taste.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lachcha Paratha Demystified ( can be made with very little fat)

For this recipe you  don't need a specially made dough laden with fats. You can use regular roti ( flat bread) dough that's  in your fridge.  It is the technique that's very important. I have given a step by step guide with pictures to help you nail a perfect Lachcha Paratha  with  very little oil/ ghee(clarified butter) . I have used oil.

Ingredients: gives 2 parathas 

Whole wheat dough              200 gms
Oil                                       2tsp
Oil/ ghee.(clarified butter)    4 tsp

Method :
  1. Heat a non stick girdle.
  2. Take  80-100  gms dough and shape it into a ball.
  3. Press it lightly and roll it in flour.
  4. Using a rolling pin roll it into an 8" disc.
  5. Apply 1/2 +1/4tsp oil on half of the disk .
  6. On the other half sprinkle  two large pinches of dry flour.

  1. Carefully lift the disk from the oiled end and place it on the floured surface.
  2. Press it lightly. You now have a semi circular disk.

  1. Again on one half apply 1/4 tsp oil and on the other half sprinkle a large pinch of flour.

Fold it in similar manner. Now you have a long band of dough.

  1. Lift both the ends and fold it to form a roll, tuck the loose end in the bottom.

  1. Roll it in flour and press lightly.
  2. Roll it out into an 8" disk.
  3. Place it on the hot girdle.
  4. Flip it to other side once you see golden spots.
  5. Apply 1 tsp oil / ghee and press it lightly with a spatula.
  6. Flip it over and apply oil .
  7. Remove from girdle when slightly dark golden spots appear on both sides.
  8. Lightly crush with your palm to open up the layers.
  9. Repeat the process with the other portion of the dough.
  10. Serve hot with a gravy of your choice.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Khoya Makhkana Paneer ( Cottage Cheese in rich gravy)

A rich gravy, slightly sweet and mildly flavoured curry. Ideal  for dinner parties. One of my earliest experiments with cooking, and very popular among family and friends.

Ingredients : serves 5
Paneer.                         300 gms cut into cubes
Makhana.                       20 gms
Ghee/ clarified butter     1+1+1 tbsp
Onion.                           3/4 cup very finely chopped
Tomato purée.               1 1/2 cup ( homemade)
Green chilly                   1 no. Finely chopped
Ginger paste                  1 tsp
Poppy seeds                  1 tbsp
Cashew nuts                  2 tbsp
Khoya                           100 gms
Yogurt                           1/4 cup
Red chilly pd                 1 tsp
Sugar                            1 tsp
Salt                              to taste
Water                          1 1/2 cup
Chopped coriander        1 tbsp

Method :
  1. Grind poppy  seeds and cashew nuts into a fine powder.
  2. Whisk them with yogurt and keep it aside.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a pan. Sauté makhana in it till they are crisp.
  4. Remove them from the pan.
  5. In the same pan roast khoya till it is soft.
  6. Take a heavy bottom non stick pan. Heat 1 tbsp ghee and fry panner cubes till golden brown on all sides.
  7. Remove on a kitchen towel.
  8. In the same pan add 1 more tbsp ghee. Tip in green chilly and onions.
  9. Fry onions till soft and golden-pink.
  10. Add tomato purée , ginger paste and red chilly pd.
  11. Cover and cook on medium heat till oil separates.
  12. Now add khoya, and yogurt( prepared earlier).
  13. Keep stirring till it comes to a boil.
  14. Cook for a couple of minutes.
  15. Add salt , sugar , water and paneer.
  16. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes, till the gravy thickens a little.
  17. Add makhanas, give it a boil so that makhanas absorb all the flavours.
  18. Don't cook for too long after adding makhanas.
  19. Remove from fire.
  20. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  21. Garnish with chopped coriander.
  22. Serve hot with an Indian bread of your choice.
Note: you can prepare the gravy in advance. Add makhanas only before serving. Give it a boil after adding makhanas .
If you find the gravy too thick at the time of serving, add some boiling water and adjust seasoning.
Choose large makhanas  as the small ones don't crisp up nicely.
To make 1 1/2 cup tomato purée, take 4 large tomatoes, tip them into boiling water for a couple of minutes, skin and purée in a blender.

Parwal ( Pointed Gourd) in Tomato- Coconut Gravy ( Satvik)

This curry  gives  the humble Parwal a very tasty avatar.  Many years ago it was shared by a Bengali Friend of mine . She had told me that there are certain occasions when Bengalis  don't eat even onion -  garlic, on those days she makes these. It's a very tasty preparation and a good option for people who prefer Satvik food.

Ingredients : serves 4
Parwal.                 250 gms
Potato                  150 gms.  ( 2 med)
Tomato                 250 gms ( 3 med)
Green chilly           1/2
Oil                        1 tbsp+1 tsp
Bay leaf                1
Cloves.                 2 
Cumin seeds          1/2 tsp
Coconut                1/4 cup ( grated)
Ginger paste         1 tsp
Red chilly pd         1 tsp
Cumin pd              1 tsp
Coriander pd         1 tsp
Turmeric pd          1/2 tsp
Garam masala pd   1/4 tsp
Sugar                    1 tsp
Salt                       to taste
Water                   1 cup
Chopped coriander 1 tbsp

Method : 
  1. Wash and peel parwal and potatoes.
  2. Cut parwal into half lengthwise.
  3. If the seeds are even slightly hard remove them and keep them aside.
  4. Now cut each half of parwal into 3 or 4 pieces depending on the length, so each parwal  gives you 6-8 cubes.
  5. Cut potatoes also into similar sized cubes.
  6. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a non stick pan and cook both parwal and potatoes till done.
  7. You can also deep fry them but I don't for health reasons.
  8. Meanwhile blanch tomatoes and peel their skin.
  9. Grind these tomatoes  into a fine  puree with green chilly and parwal seeds.
  10. Keep the  puree aside and in the same jar grind coconut into a fine paste.
  11. Once parwal and potatoes are done , remove them from the pan.
  12. In the same pan add 1 tsp oil and add cumin seeds, bay leaf and cloves.
  13. When these turn brown tip in the tomato purée  and ginger paste.
  14. Bring it to a boil and cook covered on low heat .
  15. Mid way through add red chilly pd, coriander pd, cumin pd, turmeric pd, mix.
  16. Cook till  it thickens.
  17. Now add  1 cup water, parwal and potato pieces, sugar and salt.
  18. Bring it to a boil. Cover and cook till oil separates.
  19. Add coconut paste and garam masala  and cook for two more minutes.
  20. Remove from fire . Taste and adjust seasoning.
  21. Garnish with chopped coriander.
  22. Serve hot with an Indian bread of your choice.
Note : you can adjust the quantity of water , depending on the consistency of the gravy you want. 1 cup water gives slightly thick gravy.

Instant Dhokla using leftover Idly Batter

Quick and easy to make. A healthy breakfast or tea time snack.

Ingredients : serves 5
For dhokla :
Leftover  Idly Batter.              2 cups
Chickpea flour.                      1 1/2 cup
Water.                                  1/2 cup
Sugar                                    1 tbsp
Lemon juice                          2 tsp
Red chilly pd                         1 tsp
Turmeric pd                          1/4 tsp
Ginger paste                         1 tsp
Salt                                      to taste
Eno salt.                               1 sachet or 1 tsp

For tempering 
Oil                                      1 tbsp
Mustard seeds                      1 1/2 tsp
Whole red chilly                  2 no.
Curry leaves                        15
Sesame seeds.                     1 tbsp
Sugar                                  1/2 tbsp
Salt                                    1 tsp
Lemon juice                        2 tsp
Water                                 100 ml.

Method : 
  1. Grease  the dish in which you want to steam them.
  2. I use two 7" round steel pans to steam this recipe and I use my rice cooker for steaming. 
  3. Mix all ingredients mentioned under dhokla except Eno salt.
  4. Check the consistency of the batter . Add  more water if needed.
  5. It should be thick like cake batter.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  7. Keep water to boil for steaming. 
  8. Now add Eno salt to the batter , mix vigorously and quickly pour the batter into the prepared dish. 
  9. Steam covered for 30 -35 min. or when a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  10. Remove and keep them aside.
  11. Now to prepare the tempering , heat oil in a deep pan.
  12. Crackle mustard seeds, then add whole red chillies, curry leaves, sesame seeds , in this order
  13. Now carefully add water, let it come to a boil. Remove from fire.
  14. Now mix in salt, sugar and lemon juice.
  15. Pour this tempering over the ready dhokla.
  16. Cut into squares. Garnish with chopped coriander.
  17. Serve with mint chutney and  sweet tamarind chutney.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Stuffed buns

Till a few months back I could not even dream of baking bread. The thought also never crossed my mind. Slowly I ventured into this " yeasted" zone.
I started with pizza base, then successfully moved on to Foccaccia  . 
After several trials and tribulations I could make a perfect white bread. 
Then stated all the variations.  Now the situation at home is that nobody wants to eat store bought bread.  So today I'll help you make stuffed buns.
Amazingly soft and delicious buns. They are not difficult to make. Just follow the instructions carefully.
Read the recipe  and the notes several times  before starting. I have tweaked  the original recipe a little. You find the original recipe  here
Two most important things in bread making are: the temperature of water in which you will be activating the yeast. Water should be just warm, approx. 48 to 54 degrees Celsius .
Second is kneading. You have to knead it for 10. -15 minutes for the gluten to develop, which helps the buns or any bread for that matter to rise.

Ingredients : for stuffing
Oil                           2 tsp
Black cumin              1/2 tsp
Crushed Garlic          1 tsp
Onion chopped         1/2 cup
Potatoes                   2 small (150gms) very finely cubed
Bell pepper.             1/ 2 cup very finely cubed
Frozen Corn              1/2 cup , ( thawed)
Cheddar cheese        1/2 cup grated
Green chilly              1/2 finely chopped
Salt                          to taste
Chilly flake               1 tsp

  1. Heat oil in a pan. 
  2. Crackle black cumin.
  3. Add garlic , green chilly and onion .
  4. Sauté till onions turn pink and soft.
  5. Now add  peppers, potato and corn and sauté for a couple of minutes.
  6. The mixture should be absolutely dry at this stage.
  7. Remove from fire, add chilly flakes and cheese. 
  8. Taste and add salt accordingly.
  9. Keep it aside to cool completely.
Ingredients:   For buns
Milk.                        1 cup
Butter                      1 tbsp
Sugar.                      1 tbsp
Salt                          1 1/4 tsp
Warm water.            1/4 cup
Active  dry yeast       2 1/4 tsp 
  All Purpose Flour      3 1/2 cup  approximately.
Oil                            for brushing
Milk                          for brushing

Method : 
  1. Boil milk in a saucepan.  Remove it from fire .  
  2. Add butter and salt to it. Mix well so that butter melts completely. Pour it into a large bowl and let it cool down till it is  just warm to touch. It should not be hot when you add puffed up yeast to it coz that will kill the yeast.
  3. Take warm water in a small bowl.  Dip your finger in it, it should feel just warm. If water is  hot it will kill the yeast.
  4. Add sugar to it and stir.
  5. Now sprinkle yeast over it and let it sit for 10 min, till yeast balloons up. 
  6. Once milk butter mixture is  just warm  add the puffed up yeast to it.
  7. Now start adding flour , one cup at a time ,  mixing lightly( no kneading right now), till you no longer can stir it with a wooden spoon .
  8. Turn the dough onto a floured surface . at this point the flour will be very sticky. Add more flour little by little and start kneading it.,adding till the dough is soft but not sticky.
  9. Care should be taken to not add too much flour.  I used 2 tbsp flour less than mentioned above. 
  10. There will be a slight variation in the total amount of flour used because of the quality of the flour and weather conditions.
  11. Now knead till the dough is elastic and soft like baby's  bottom.
  12. If kneading by hand then knead for 10-12 minutes.
  13. Now   grease a large bowl and  put the ready dough into the bowl and turn the dough over so as to grease it from all sides. Cover with a cling film and let it sit un disturbed in a warm and draft free place till it doubles in size, anywhere between an hour to hour and a half depending on the temperature of your kitchen .
  14.  To check if the dough has risen enough, push your finger , into the dough upto your second knuckle. If the indention remains when you remove your finger then it is ready else let it rise for some more time.
  15. Once the dough has doubled, turn it onto a floured surface and punch it and knead till you release all the air trapped in it. 
  16.  Divide the dough into 10 equal parts and shape each into a ball. 
  17. Flatten one ball and carefully place a table spoon of the filling . Pull up the sides and seal properly, otherwise the stuffing will seep out during baking.
  18. Repeat the process with the remaining balls.
  19. Place them  , sealed side down , 2" apart on  a tray greased and lined with parchment paper or silicon mat.
  20. Brush them with oil , loosely cover them with cling film and leave them un disturbed  for second rise, until they double in size. Approximately 25 - 35 minutes.
  21. Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius . Brush the buns with milk and  bake for 30-35 min or until golden brown.
  22. Remove from oven and place them on a wire rack. Brush with butter or olive oil for soft crust. Allow the to cool slightly before  eating.
Note : if your yeast does not  ballon up then don't proceed further. Throw away the yeast and start again.
Remember : hot liquid and too much salt kills yeast.
Yeast feeds on sugar to grow.

With the same recipe you can also make plain buns .
Just skip the stuffing step. Rest of the procedure remains the same.

You can make any stuffing , just remember that the stuffing should be dry.

Eggless No Churn IceCream

This recipe was shared by a friend . It turned out so well that I have to share it with all of you . You will never buy ice cream from store once you try it out. The  recipe has been taken from here

Non dairy whipping cream.          1 cup/ 240ml.( pre sweetened)
Amul fresh cream                        1 tetra pack ( small)
Sweetened condensed milk.        1/2 tin / 200 gms.
Salt                                           a pinch
Vanilla extract.                           1 tsp

  1. Chill a large bowl and your whisks in the freezer for ten minutes.
  2. Now place this bowl on an ice bath. 
  3. Pour non dairy cream in the chilled bowl. Add salt and vanilla extract.
  4. Beat till stiff peaks form.
  5. Now add condensed milk and Amul cream and beat again till stiff.
  6. Pour it into a container, cover it well and freeze for 6-8 hours.
  7. Your super creamy ice cream is ready. 
Note : add  flavouring of your choice at step 5 above. Some options based on inputs from friends are:
Cocoa pd to make chocolate ice cream  : 1  tbsp or more to get that rich dark color/you can also add melted chocolate
Coffee pd  to make coffee ice cream : 2tbsp , can also add 3-4 tbsp Baileys, taste before freezing, add powdered sugar to suit your taste .
Mango pulp to make mango ice cream (  purée the mangoes without water)
 Can also add a liqueur of your choice. 
Can also add choco chips.
There are endless choices. Get creative.

Onion and garlic free Stuffed Bitter Gourd

Bitter gourd or Karela is not everyone's favourite. But everyone in my family just loves them. I remember whenever I made fried and crispy bitter gourd my son ( who was very small then)  would always complain why I had made such less quantity.

I generally make stuffed bitter gourd using onion as the base. Few years back my sister made these when I was visiting her. Since then I am hooked on to this recipe. The only prerequisite is raw mango. I  freeze grated raw mango to use when not in season for various dishes and sauces.

Bitter gourd                                350gms
Mustard oil                                  2tbsp
Mustard seeds                             1 tsp
Fennel seeds                               1 tsp 
Vinegar.                                     1 tbsp

Boiled potato.                            1 cup (grated)
Red chilly pd.                             1 tsp
Grated raw mango.                     1 tbsp
Fennel pd                                   2 tsp
Coriander pd.                             1 tsp
Garam masala                             1/4tsp
Salt.                                          To taste
Sugar                                         2 tsp 
ginger paste                               1 tsp

  1. Wash and peel bitter gourd.
  2. Slit them open. If they are  too long cut them into 2 or 3 pieces.
  3. Rub salt on them.
  4. Boil water in a pan. Add 1 tbsp of vinegar to it. Boil bitter gourd in this water till tender.
  5. Drain in a colander. Let  them cool. 
  6. Lightly squeeze them to remove excess water.
  7. Check the seeds, if they are too hard remove them.
  8. Mix all the ingredients under filling.
  9. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  10. Fill this stuffing in bitter gourd.
  11. Heat oil in a  non stick pan.
  12. Crackle mustard seeds and fennel seeds.
  13. Now carefully place the stuffed bitter gourd in the pan in a single layer.
  14. Cook on medium to high till they are brown on all sides.
  15. Turn them carefully  in between so that they brown uniformly on all sides.
  16. Serve hot with rice and curry or an Indian bread of your choice.