Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Lehsuni Palak ( Garlicy Spinach)

Spinach and garlic is a lovely combination. A very simple and quick preparation .  Those who like spinach and garlic would love this dish.

Spinach                  2 bundles
Onion.                   2 cups ( Coarsely sliced)
Oil                        2 tbsp
Cumin seeds           1/2 tsp
Asafoetida.             a pinch 
Garlic crushed        1 tbsp
Red chilly pd.         1 1/2 tsp
Coriander pd.         2 tsp
Turmeric pd.          1/2 tsp
Ginger paste.         1 tsp
Salt                        to taste
Lemon juice.          1 tsp
Garam masala.        a pinch


  1. Pick and wash spinach 3-4 times.
  2. Finely chop it and keep it on a strainer to drain off all the excess water.
  3. Two bundles of spinach will give you 2 1/2 cups of chopped spinach.
  4. Spread it on a clean kitchen towel for an hour .
  5. Heat oil in a non stick pan.
  6. Add asafoetida and cumin seeds.
  7. When cumin turns golden add garlic and fry for a minute.
  8. Add onion and fry on medium heat till onion is soft and pink.
  9. Stir frequently and beat the onions with the tip of the spatula.
  10. Once onions are soft and pink add red chilly pd, turmeric pd. coriander pd, salt, ginger paste and mix well. Add chopped spinach.
  11. Cover and cook on low heat for 2-3 min or till spinach looks cooked.
  12. Turn the flame to high and fry stirring continuously , (beat with the tip of your spatula all the time, )till spinach is completely  dry.
  13. Remove from heat. 
  14. Taste and adjust salt and add lemon juice and garam masala.
  15. Serve hot with an Indian bread of your choice.

Note : I have used extra virgin olive oil, it enhances the flavor of the dish but you can the oil of your choice.
The drier the spinach less time it takes to make the dish.
Spinach absorbs very little salt so be cautious in adding salt.
Add little, taste and add more as per your taste.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Saunfia Paneer ( Fennel infused Cottage Cheese)

Mildly infused with  fennel pd  and capsicum this panner curry is  a delight.
Most of the paneer dishes are quite rich but you will find that this one isn't. Quite simple to make , great to taste. I would urge you to try it once. 

Ingredients:    Serves 4

Paneer                                  200gms cubed into 1" pieces 
Capsicum                              1 ( 125 gms) chopped in cubes
Onion                                   1 med.(100gms)  chopped very finely
Tomatoes                             4 medium sized  ( 400 gms )
Frozen corn                          1/2 cup ( thawed)
Ginger paste                         1 tsp
Garlic paste                          1 1/2 tsp ( optional)
Oil                                       1 1/2 tbsp
Black cumin                          1/2 tsp
Green chilly                          1/2 chopped
Red chilly pd                        1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric pd                         1/2 tsp
Coriander pd                        1  1/2 tsp
Fennel pd                             2 tsp
Kasoori Methi                       1 tbsp
Cashew nut  pd                    2 tbsp
Yogurt                                 2 tbsp
Fresh malai( cream).            2tbsp
Water                                 1 cup
Milk                                    1/4 cup
Salt                                     to taste
Honey.                                1-2 tsp
Chopped coriander.             2 tbsp

  1. Blanch, peel and blend tomatoes, your homemade purée is ready.
  2. Heat oil in a deep nonstick pan and add black cumin.
  3. Once they change color tip in garlic, green chilly and onion.
  4. Fry on low to medium heat till onions turn pinkish brown.
  5. Add tomato purée and ginger paste. Cover and cook on low heat for 2-3 min.
  6. Once purée thickens a little, add capsicum, red chilly pd, coriander pd and  turmeric pd. 
  7. Cook till oil separates.
  8. Meanwhile whisk  together yogurt, malai and cashew  nut pd.
  9. Add this to the pan and mix well. Add corn and kasuri methi. Cook for a minute.
  10. Now add paneer, water, milk , salt and honey.
  11. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer covered till oil separates.
  12. Add fennel pd  mix well and cook for a minute. 
  13. Remove from fire.
  14. Taste and adjust salt and honey. 
  15. Garnish with chopped coriander .
  16. Serve with an Indian bread of your choice.
Note: you can adjust the amount of honey as per your taste.
Grind cashew nuts lightly to make cashew nut pd . It need not be very fine.
Cashew nuts can be powdered and stored in the fridge.
I prefer to use cashew nut powder than cashew nut paste. It's less time consuming and less hassle. 
Fennel pd should be added in the end to keep its aroma intact.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pistachio Loaf Cake

A sinfully delicious rich cake. Though I don't fancy pistachio at all, I just loved the heady combination of Pistachio and citrus.
While searching for the perfect recipe of a Pistachio cake , I came across Rachel Allen's recipe. I tweaked it a little after having taken inputs from other recipes   The original recipe is  here
Please reads the notes at the end of the recipe carefully before starting. 


Pistachios                       150 gms/ 1 cup
All purpose flour.             225 gms
Baking powder                1 tsp
Butter                            100 gms  , at room temp.
Oil.                                2 tbsp
Castor  sugar.                  150 gms
Granulated sugar             75 gms
Eggs                               4
Milk.                              100 ml
Orange zest.                   2 tsp
Lemon zest.                   1 tsp

  1. Grease  a 9 by 5 inch loaf tin and line with parchment paper.
  2. Coarsely grind pistachio in a food processor. Keep  larger pieces (25gms) aside and tip rest in a bowl.
  3. Sift All Purpose flour and baking powder over the ground pistachios. Mix well.
  4. Beat butter till light . Add sugar and oil and beat well till light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs one by one and beat well after each addition.
  6. Add zest and beat.
  7. Lightly fold in the dry ingredients and milk alternately in three installments.
  8. Pour the batter in the prepared tin and smooth-en the surface with a spatula.
  9. Sprinkle the remaining  pistachio  on top.
  10. Bake in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 40 min. or till done. Do the skewer test to check doneness .
  11. Let the cake rest in the pan for five min and then carefully take it out .
  12. Cool it on a wire rack.
  13. Slice and serve after it has completely cooled.

Notes :
  1.  All ingredients should be at room temperature .
  2.  I felt the batter was a little more for the loaf tin, so i prepared four mini cup cake  moulds with the extra batter. But the cake didn't rise like most cakes, so next time I'll bake the entire batter in the loaf tin.   
  3. I used a mixture of salted and unsalted pistachio because I have whole load of salted pistachio in my pantry. Simply rub the salted pistachio in a kitchen towel. This will reduce the salt.
  4. The original recipe has only castor sugar but I have used a mix of  both castor and fine granulated.
  5. There is no oil in the original recipe but while beating butter and sugar I felt the mixture was quite dry so I added 2 tbsp oil.
  6. While adding eggs the batter might curdle a bit but don't worry and proceed further.
  7. The original recipe also has a glaze. It makes the cake soggy which none of us like at home. Hence I am not mentioning it here.
  8.  It's wonderful as it is with tea or coffee.
  9. If serving as a dessert , you can also serve it with whipped cream.

Baby Potato curry

One more potato based dish worth trying. This baby potato curry is different in taste and texture from regular onion - tomato based curries.  Perfect for home and dinner parties.  It's been adapted from Tarla Dalal's recipe " Vegetable Do Pyaz".

Ingredients :     Serves 6-8

Baby Potatoes.                  32 no.
Thick yogurt.                     2 tbsp
Tomato purée.                  1 cup ( homemade)
Salt.                                 1 tsp + to taste
Oil.                                  2+1 tbsp
Onion .                             2 medium sized , finely sliced
Oil.                                  For frying
Sugar.                              1 tsp
Chopped coriander.          2 tbsp
Turmeric pd                     1/2tsp
Water.                             1 1/2 cup

For the paste
Dry or fresh red chillies.    4 no. Soaked in water for 30 min.
Coriander seeds.               3 tsp
Cumin seeds.                    1 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds                   1/2 tsp
Poppy seeds.                    2 tsp
Onion.                             1 medium sized.
Ginger.                            1" piece
Garlic.                             5 cloves

Method :
  1. Boil baby potatoes. Peel and toss with 1 tsp salt while still warm.
  2. Char the onion (mentioned under paste) over gas flame. Remove outer skin and chop finely.
  3. Now make a paste of all the ingredients mentioned under paste using little water.
  4. Deep fry the sliced onions till brown and crispy. Keep them on a kitchen towel.
  5. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and toss  the potatoes till slightly golden.
  6. Remove the potatoes and in the same pan heat remaining oil and tip in the paste. Fry for a couple of minutes.
  7. Add tomato purée and turmeric pd. 
  8. Cook till it thickens. 
  9. Whisk  and add yogurt.
  10. Cook for a minute stirring all the while.
  11. Now add fried onions and  water , salt and sugar, bring it to a boil and cook covered  on medium low heat till oil separates.
  12. Remove from heat.
  13. Taste and adjust salt.
  14. Garnish with chopped coriander.
  15. Serve with Indian bread of your choice.

Note : 
The gravy should be slightly thick. 
You can adjust the quantity of water depending on your liking.
The curry is medium spiced.  Adjust the number of chillies based on your taste.
Can use fresh red chillies instead of dry. In that case no need to soak the chillies.
To make 1 cup tomato purée , blanch four medium sized tomatoes, peel of their skin and blend them in a blender.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tangy Capsicum with Chickpea flour

In Summers not only there is a dearth of vegetables, kids don't want to eat half of what is available. We as parents don't want them to eat very rich food. The general taste veers towards something that is light and refreshing . This capsicum dish is something like that. Everyone at home loves it. I like to serve it with roti and raita.

Ingredients :
Capsicum.                      400 gms
Extra Virgin Olive Oil.     3 tbsp
Mustard seeds.                1 tsp
Fennel seeds.                 1/2 tsp
Onion                            1 small finely chopped
Red chilly pd.                 1 tsp
Fennel pd.                     1  1/2 tsp
Coriander pd.                1 tsp
Turmeric  pd.                1/2 tsp
Raw mango.                  1 tbsp ( grated)
Ginger paste.                1 tsp
Chickpea flour.              2 tbsp
Salt.                             To taste
Garam masala.               1/4 tsp

Method :
  1. Wash capsicum. Cut into halves and remove seeds.
  2. Now cut into 1" cubes. Keep them in a strainer  for half an hour so that they dry out a little.
  3. Heat a non stick pan and add mustard seeds. Once they crackle add oil and fennel seeds.
  4. Tip in chopped onions . 
  5. Once onions are light brown, add red chilly powder, coriander pd, fennel pd, turmeric pd, salt , raw mango, ginger paste . Give it a good mix.
  6. Carefully sift chickpea flour into the pan . Mix well.
  7. Tip in cubed capsicum , mix. .
  8. Cover and cook till capsicum is done.
  9. Sprinkle garam masala .
  10. Taste and adjust salt.
  11. Serve hot with an Indian bread of your choice.


After you add chickpea flour the veg. may appear to be too dry but don't be tempted to add more oil. While cooking , capsicum will release water and that will make it moist.

Since we are using Extra Virgin Olive Oil , it's best to crackle mustard seeds first and then add oil. This prevents oil from over heating and losing its flavour.

Death by Chocolate Cake

Who doesn't like chocolate cake. Everyone has their own favorite recipe. I was on the look out for a super moist , super chocolaty cake recipe. Tried several. Some were good , some not so good and finally I found this simple one pot recipe.  The cake was amazingly moist , dark and chocolaty. I have already made it several times. 
I picked the recipe from  here . I have made couple of subtle changes in the recipe.I have halved the recipe. The  original recipe asks for sour cream. I have used  yogurt instead.

All purpose flour.           1 cup
Fine granulated sugar     1 cup
Cocoa                          1/2 cup
Corn starch.                  2 tbsp
Salt.                             A pinch
Baking Soda.                 3/4 tsp
Baking Powder.             1/4+1/8tsp
Oil.                              1/2 cup
Yogurt.                         1/2 cup
Eggs.                            2 no
Vanilla extract               1 tsp
Warm water.                50 ml
Choco-chips.                100 gms

Method :
  1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius .
  2. Grease and line a  7" round or square pan.
  3. Sift All purpose flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, baking powder,  and corn starch in a large bowl. Now add sugar.
  4. Mix well using a ballon whisk.
  5. Tip in oil and yogurt. Mix lightly.
  6. Break in the eggs and mix thoroughly. Don't over mix.
  7. Now add  vanilla extract.
  8. Add water in two parts and mix . The batter will have a very gooey consistency.
  9. Fold in the chocochips.
  10. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. 
  11. Give the pan a little shake.
  12. Bake in a preheated oven at 175 deg Celsius for 35-40 min.
  13. To test doneness insert a skewer in the centre of the cake. It should come out clean. Even if you find a few crumbs on the skewer , take it out.
  14. Let it cool in the pan over a wire rack at least for an hour as the sides will be firm but the center will be gooey.
To avoid over baking in this  particular recipe I always check the side of the cake first with a skewer. If it comes out clean then check the center  If the skewer from the center is almost clean then the cake is done.
If the cake is over baked you will not get that super moist texture.
Baking time can vary in each oven so after 35 min , keep checking every 5 min. till it is done.
The entire process of mixing is done using a ballon whisk. Mix the batter only till everything is well incorporated. Do not over mix it.

If you want you can cover it with chocolate ganache

Sabudana Khichadi ( Sago Khichadi )

I just love this tangy and slightly sweet , crunchy preparation. Ideal for breakfast or evening snacking.  In most parts of India, it is a preferred food  during fasts. If using during fasts replace regular salt with rock salt.


Potato.                   1 large very finely cubed
Sabudana( Sago).     300 gms / 1 1/2 cup
Oil.                        3 tbsp
Cumin seeds            1 tsp
Green chilly.           1 no. Finely chopped
Red chilly pd.          1  1/2 tsp
Sugar.                     5 tsp
Lemon juice.           4 tsp
Peanuts.                  3/4 cup
Salt                         To taste
Water.                    1   1/4 cup / 300ml.
Coriander leaves.     For garnish

Method :
  1. Wash sabudana once and then soak it overnight in 300 ml . water.
  2. Dry roast peanuts. Once they cool down , remove skin and crush them.
  3. Using a fork , fluff the sabudana.  
  4. Very lightly with a fork mix salt , red chilly pd and sugar in it. Keep it aside.
  5. Now heat oil in a non stick pan .
  6. Add cumin seeds. Once they turn golden, add green chilly and potato.
  7.  Cover and cook  till potato cubes are done . 
  8. Uncover and cook for a couple of more min till they are crispy.
  9. Add crushed peanuts. Mix.
  10. Now add spiced sabudana . Let it be on medium high heat for a couple of minutes till the rawness disappears. Keep stirring all the time.
  11. Remove from fire. Mix lemon juice.
  12. Taste and adjust salt.
  13. Garnish with coriander leaves.
  14. Serve immediately.
  1. You can roast and crush peanuts in advance. In fact I always have them in my pantry. They easily stay fresh for 2-3 months when stored in an airtight container.
  2. You can also use boiled and cubed potato. This reduces cooking time. 
  3. If using boiled potato , no need to cover and cook. Simply sauté potatoes till they are crispy.
  4. Sabudana should be soaked for 6- 8 hours. 
  5. I prefer to soak it overnite as I usually make it for breakfast.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Potol Posto (Pointed gourd alias Parwal in mustard-poppy paste)

I have lot of Bengali friends and that's how I developed a taste for their cuisine but never felt the need to cook  their dishes as they were there to cook for me.

It's only when I shifted to Bangalore that I started missing Bengali cuisine. Recently while going through old issues of  Good Housekeeping I came across some Bengali recipes and that's when I thought of making Potol Posto. Immediately called up my Bong friends and cleared whatever doubts I had and could successfully conjure  up Potol Posto.

Potol ( parwal).            350 gms
Yellow Mustard seeds.   1 1/2 tbsp
Black Mustard seeds.     1/2 tbsp
Poppy seeds.               1 tbsp
Coconut grated.           50 gms
Green chillies.             3-4 no.
Turmeric pd.               1/2 tsp
Mustard oil.                 1+ 1+1/2 tbsp.
Salt                            1/2 +1/2 tsp or to taste
Sugar.                        1 tsp
Water.                       1/2 cup*

Method :
  1. Soak both the mustard seeds and poppy seeds in water for 20 min.
  2. Wash and peel parwal.
  3.  Cut them into thick slices.
  4. If parwal seeds are blackish in colour , remove them.
  5. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a non stick wok, sauté parwal till slightly soft. Keep them aside.
  6. Grind soaked seeds, green chillies, salt and coconut to a fine paste using water as required. 
  7. Heat 1 tbsp oil in the same wok and fry the paste for a couple of minutes.
  8. Add sautéed parwal and 1/2 cup water. Mix lightly so that parwal slices are coated with spice paste.
  9. Cover and cook on low heat till parwal is done.
  10. Remove from fire.
  11. Add sugar and 1/2 tbsp raw mustard oil. Cover and let it rest for a few min.
  12. Serve  hot with an Indian bread of your choice.
Notes :
*  Instead of 1/2 cup water u can use 1/2 cup tender coconut water.
The mustard - poppy paste can be made in the mixer but I  stone ground it. (traditional and preferred method)
While grinding mustard seeds, please add a little salt to avoid it from getting bitter.