Sunday, 10 September 2017

Paneer Tikka




Paneer tikka is a popular north-indian starter which is readily found in mostly all the restaurants. Being a big fan of all sort of vegetarian grilled food, it is one of my comfort food that I like to make quite often at home because of its hassle-free recipe. Moreover, the amount of oil or butter used during grilling can be easily controlled and the addition of cream by most of the restaurant chefs at the end of grilling the tikkas can be completely omitted, making it healthy. Check out step by step preparation of this delicious appetizer and do give it a try as it is simple and appealing yet filling dish at the same time.


Preparation time: 15 min.
Marination time: 2 hrs
Grilling time: 20 min.
Cuisine: North-indian
Type: Starter
Serves: 4-6

INGREDIENTS:
  • 500gms cottage cheese (paneer)
  • 1 cup bell peppers (capsicum-red, yellow, green) cut into 1" pieces
  • 1/2 cup onion (cut into 1'' pieces)
  • 1/4 cup tomatoes (deseeded and cut into 1'' pieces)-optional
  • 2 tbsp oil or melted butter (for brushing)
For Marination:
  • 1 cup hung curd
  • 1/2 tbsp kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tbsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp chaat masala
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste or crushed 
  • 1 tbsp kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
METHOD:

  1. Cut cottage cheese, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes into 1'' pieces.                                                                                    
  2. Take 500 gms of yoghurt or curd in a sieve and keep refrigerated till all the water gets seperated and a cup of hung curd is left on the sieve.                                                                                                                
  3. In a bowl take all the ingredients of marination.                                                                                                                       
  4. Mix well using a whisk.                                                                                                                               
  5. Add all the pieces of paneer, bell peppers, onions etc. and mix gently in order to coat all the pieces well with the marination. Keep refrigerated for atleast 2 hrs. or overnight to get the best taste.                                                                                                                                                              
  6. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for atleast an hour. No need to soak, if using metal ones.
  7. Pre-heat the oven at 200 degree celcius for atleast 15 min.
  8. Arrange the marinated pieces of paneer and vegetables on the skewers, keeping 3-4 paneer pieces on each skewer and vegetables in beween each paneer piece.                                                                                   
  9. Brush oil on the skewered tikkas and keep in the oven over wire rack.
  10. Grill for 10 min. on each side, until slightly charred or grill marks appear on the tikkas.
  11. Serve hot with mint chutney, onions and lemon wedges.

Note:
  • The more you marinate the tikka, the more tastier and juicier it will be.
  • Mushrooms and broccoli can also be added in the veggie list. But do keep onions and green capscicum for extra crunch which after caramelizing give better taste to the buttery and juicy paneer tikka after grilling.

Dhokla



Dhokla is a famous gujarati snack which is not only healthy but mouth-melting as well. It is a steamed savoury sponge cake made using chickpea flour soaked in flavourful sweet and sour water infused with green chillies and curry leaves. I really enjoy it as an evening snack and sometimes in the breakfast also. Today, I am sharing the fool-proof recipe of dhokla which makes soft, spongy and juicy dhokla everytime I make it.





Preparation time: 5 min.
Steaming time: 20 min. + 10 min.
Type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Gujarati
Serves: 4-6

INGREDIENTS:

For Dhokla Batter:

  • 1 cup chickpea flour (besan)
  • 2 tbsp semolina (sooji/rava)
  • 1 cup curd 
  • 1 pinch turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ginger+green chilli paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 2 tsp eno or fruit salt
  • water as required
For tempering:
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 5-6 green chillies (slit)
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 400ml water
For Garnish:
  • coriander leaves as required
  • coconut grated(optional)
METHOD:
  1. In a mixing bowl, add besan, sooji, curd, ginger+green chilli paste and mix well.

  2. Add salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and water to make a smooth batter.                                        
  3. Grease a pan using oil.                                                                                                                                                
  4. Heat around 500 ml of water in a kadai or pressure cooker.                                                                                                         
  5. Add eno to the batter and immediately pour the batter into the greased pan.  
                                                                             
  6. Steam on high flame for 15- 20 min. in a kadai or pressure cooker till a knife inserted comes out clean.    
                                                                                                                                                                                  
  7. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and let them splutter.
  8. Add green chillies and cook for few seconds.
  9. Next, add curry leaves and cook for 30 sec.
  10. Add water and let it boil. 
  11. Add sugar and cook for 10-12 min.      
                                                                                                                                                
  12. Finally, add lemon juice and remove from flame.
  13. Pour this flavourful boiled water on the steamed dhokla and let it rest for 30 min. until all the water gets absorbed by the dhokla.                                                                                                                                                 
  14. Garnish with coriander and coconut.                                                                                                                                              
  15. Enjoy hot or cool alongwith tamarind chutney or coriander-mint chutney.
Note:
  • In order to make a soft and spongy dhokla, the batter should be beaten well but don't overbeat after mixing eno, immediately pour in the pan and keep it for steaming.
  • Always use fresh packet of eno otherwise eno won't be effective enough and you won't get a fluffier dhokla.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Instant Jalebi




Who doesn't like hot and crispy jalebis straight from the flavorful and aromatic sugary syrup. During my childhood days, there was a sort of a ritual of eating jalebis alongwith our city's famous street food moong dal (going to share its authentic recipe soon) on the sunday mornings. So here i am with the recipe of jalebis which is instant and doesn't require any kind of yeast or fermentation. Try frying them in ghee for the awesome aroma and taste.

Preparation time: 15 min.
Cooking time: 30 min.
Type: Dessert
Serves: 5-6

INGREDIENTS:

For sugar syrup:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp green cardamom powder
  • 8-10 strands saffron
  • few drops kewra essence
For jalebi:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (maida)
  • 2 tbsp chickpea flour (besan)
  • 2 tbsp sour curd or yoghurt
  • 1 pinch orange food colour or turmeric powder
  • soda water as required
  • clarified butter (ghee) or oil for frying


METHOD:

For sugar syrup:
  1. Combine together sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed pan.
  2. Cook on medium high flame till all the sugar dissolves, meanwhile stirring continuously.
  3. Cook further for few min. till it reaches single thread consistency.
  4. Add saffron, elaichi powder and kewra essence.
  5. Remove from flame and keep it warm.

For jalebi:
  1. In a bowl, mix together maida, besan, food colour and curd.
  2. Add soda water to make a batter of pouring consistency. It should neither be thin nor too thick. Keep aside for 15 min.
  3. Heat ghee in a heavy-bottomed broad pan which is approx. 1" deep.
  4. Fill the jalebi batter into a plastic bottle with a small opening in the lid or use a piping bag with single hole nozzle.
  5. Press out swirls of the batter into the hot ghee or oil of 2" diameter each.
  6. Deep fry the jalebis in hot oil or ghee till golden in colour.
  7. Immediately put fried jalebis into warm syrup for 2-3 min. and drain out.
  8. Serve hot with curd or rabdi.
Note:
  • As soon as u take out fried jalebis, transfer immediately to warm syrup.
  • The sugar syrup should not be hot while adding jalebis else the jalebis will turn soft.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Idli





Idli is a popular south-indian breakfast dish generally eaten with sambhar or coconut chutney. It is a soft and spongy steamed cake made by fermented batter of rice and udad dal. I am a big fan of south-indian food for the soul reason of it being not only tasty but at the same time very healthy if eaten in moderation.

Preparation time: 5 hrs soaking + 8 hrs fermenting
Steaming time: 10 min. + 5 min. resting
Cuisine: South-indian
Type: Breakfast

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cup idli rice
  • 1 cup udad dal
  • salt to taste
  • water as needed

METHOD:
  1. Wash thoroughly rice and udad dal seperately 3-4 times.
  2. Soak atleast for 4-5 hrs.
  3. Drain all the water and grind dal and rice seperately to a smooth batter adding a tbsp of water if needed.
  4. Keep the batter at warm place to let it ferment for 8-10 hrs. till it is risen and doubled in quantity.
  5. Add salt to taste to the portion of batter that you are going to steam.
  6. Grease the idli stand with oil and take a ladleful of the batter and fill the idli mould till 3/4th only.
  7. Meanwhile, bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a pressure cooker or idli steamer.
  8. Put the batter-filled idli stand inside the cooker or steamer and cover the lid. Remove the pressure or vent if using cooker before steaming.
  9. Steam on high flame for first 5 min. and then 5 min. more on medium flame.
  10. Switch off the flame and remove the lid. Let the idli stand rest for 5 min. inside the steamer.
  11. Remove the stand and scoop out the idlis using a spoon or knife.
  12. Serve hot with sambhar or coconut chutney.
Note:
  • Do not add salt to all the batter at once. The batter will get sour quickly instead add the required amount that you are going to steam.
  • The batter should be of dropping consistency, neither thick nor runny. Adjust by adding water if needed a teaspoon at a time to get soft and spongy texture.

Oats Uttapam




Instant oats uttapam is a healthy breakfast loaded with the goodness of nutritional vegetables. I make these very often at home as it helps in weightloss as well, due to the high fibre content in oats, we tend to feel full for longer period of time. Use any seasonal vegetables for topping either chopped or grated for extra crunch and nutrition.

Preparation time: 30 min.
Cooking time: 10 min.
Type: Breakfast
Serves: 3-4

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup semolina (sooji/rava)
  • 1 cup curd (dahi)
  • 1 cup water
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup diced vegetables (onions, tomatoes, capsicum, carrot, cabbage)
  • 10-12 curry leaves (finely chopped)
  • 2 green chillies (finely chopped)
  • handful of coriander leaves (finely chopped)
  • oil as needed
METHOD:
  1. Grind oats to a fine powder in a mixer grinder.
  2. In a bowl, mix together ground oats, semolina, curd and water. Cover and leave for 30 min.
  3. Add salt to taste and mix well.
  4. Heat a non-stick pan, put 1 tsp oil and grease well.
  5. Pour a ladle full of batter and lightly spread it in a round shape.
  6. Sprinkle chopped vegetables and curry leaves, gently press with a wooden spoon. Put few drops of oil on top.
  7. Cover with a lid and let it cook for a min.
  8. Once the base is nicely browned, flip it and let it cook for a while.
  9. As it gets nice and crisp, serve hot with any chutney or sambhar.
Note:
  • Adjust the quantity of water in the batter depending upon the water absorbed by semolina. It should be of pouring consistency.
  • You may use grated carrot or cabbage for topping as well.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Instant Bhature



Chhole Bhature is the most famous north-indian breakfast. But making bhaturas at home requires a lot of patience and practise. Today, i am going to share my quick and easy recipe for making instant bhaturas which come out exactly like the ones we eat outside.  The addition of semolina keeps the bhatura puffed up for longer and gives a nice texture.

Preparation time: 5 min.
Passive time: 30 min.
Cooking time: 10 min.
Cuisine: North-indian (punjabi)
Type: Breakfast
Serves: 3-4


INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (maida)
  • 1/2 cup semolina (sooji/rava)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1tbsp oil
  • 1-1.5 cups soda water/carbonated water (to knead)
  • oil for deep frying
METHOD:
  1. In a mixing bowl, take maida, sooji, sugar, salt and oil. Mix well.
  2. Gradually add soda water and knead like chapati dough.
  3. Cover the dough and leave for 30 min.
  4. Apply oil on your hands and divide the dough into equal-sized round balls or portions.
  5. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan for frying.
  6. Roll out the flattened round ball into an oval or round shape.
  7. Gently lift the rolled out bhatura and slip into the hot oil.
  8. Press the centre of the bhatura with a slotted spatula using light strokes, bringing the hot oil over it. This ensures puffing up of the bhaturas well.
  9. Deep fry till nice golden colour.
  10. Serve hot with punjabi chhole and pickle.

Lemon Rice



Lemon rice is a south-indian lemon flavored rice delicacy which is quite very handy to make. Its great to use leftover rice for this recipe and takes only 5 min. to prepare for kids lunch box. This can be accompanied with a variety of dishes like sambhar, rasam or coconut chutney.

Cooking time: 10 min.
Cuisine: South-indian
Type: Main-course
Serves: 2-3

INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp split bengal gram (chana dal)
  • 1 tbsp skinless split black gram (dhuli udad dal)
  • 1 tbsp peanuts
  • 1 tbsp cashew nut 
  • 3-4 green chillies (slit)
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
METHOD:
  1. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and let them crackle.
  2. Add chana dal and udad dal, fry for a min. till golden in colour.
  3. Add peanuts and cook for 30 sec.
  4. Next add, cashew nuts and fry for 10 sec. only.
  5. Add green chillies and curry leaves followed by asafoetida.
  6. Next add turmeric powder and salt to taste.
  7. Immediately add cooked rice and mix well.
  8. Finally add lemon juice and cook for a couple of min.
  9. Serve hot alongwith rasam, sambhar, chutney of your choice. 

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Methi Matar Pulao


Fenugreek leaves and green pea rice is a very simple and nutritious lunch recipe. I was planning to make matar pulao but then fresh fenugreek leaves lying in my fridge prompted me to use them so i could not drop the idea and at once, i planned to use it alongwith green peas. When not in season, make with two tablespoons of dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) readily available in all grocery stores.

Preparation time:30 min.
Cooking time:20 min.
Cuisine: North-indian
Type: Main-course
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rice (soaked for 1/2 hr)
  • 3 tblsp oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 1" cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tblsp ginger-garlic-green chilli paste
  • 1 cup onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 cup fresh fenugreek leaves (chopped)
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 1 tsp black pepper powder
  • salt to taste
Method:
  1. Heat oil in a pressure cooker, add whole spices and cumin seeds, cook till nice aroma of spices comes out.
  2. Add ginger-garlic-green chilli paste and saute for 30 sec.
  3. Add onions and cook till light golden in colour.
  4. Next add fenugreek leaves and cook till the water released is completely absorbed.
  5. Add green peas and rice and mix well.
  6. Add 3 cups of water, cover and pressure cook till 1 whistle.
  7. Serve hot with curd or pickle.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Vegetable Fried Rice


Vegetable fried rice is a quick and easy to make rice dish that goes along with so many indo-chinese dishes like manchurian, chilli paneer, chilli potatoes and many more. It is preferable to use a day old rice stored in refrigerator so that each rice grain remains seperated from each other. This can be made with numerous variety of vegetables which are available, the choice is endless. Its perfect for kids' lunch box and can be made in a jiffy early winter mornings with the leftover rice. I always make this with vegetable manchurian.

Preparation time: 15 min.
Cooking time: 5 min.
Type: Main-course
Cuisine: Indo-chinese
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rice (boiled)
  • 1 tsp garlic (grated)
  • 1 tsp ginger (grated)
  • 1 big spring onion (chopped)
  • 1 tsp green chilli (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup carrot (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup green capsicum (finely chopped)
  • 2 tsp green chilli sauce
  • 1 tsp soya sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper powder
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tblsp oil
  • 2 tblsp spring onion greens (chopped, to garnish)

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pan, add ginger and garlic, saute for few seconds.
  2. Add spring onion and green chillies, saute for a min.
  3. Next, add all the vegetables and cook for 2 min. on high flame.
  4. Add chilli sauce and soya sauce.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Finally, add vinegar and garnish with onion greens.
  7. Serve hot with vegetable manchurian.

Vegetable Manchurian



Vegetable manchurian is my favourite indo-chinese dish to enjoy alongwith a bowl of fried rice or hakka noodles. It is not at all complicated to be made at home as it looks. The main part of the dish is the balls which can be made with a variety of finely chopped, grated or minced vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, corn etc. It can be made dry, semi-dry or with gravy, the consistency of the manchurian depends entirely on personal choice. I always prefer to make this with gravy and so sharing the same today.


Preparation time: 20 min.
Cooking time: 20 min.
Cuisine: Indo-chinese
Type: Main-course
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

For Manchurian Balls:

  • 1 cup carrots (grated)
  • 1 cup cabbage (grated)
  • 1 tsp green chilli sauce
  • 2 bread slices
  • 1 tblsp all-pupose flour (maida)
  • 1 tblsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp salt

For gravy or sauce:

  • 1 tsp ginger (grated)
  • 1 tsp garlic (grated)
  • 1 tblsp celery stem (chopped)
  • 2 green chillies (chopped)
  • 1 big spring onion white (chopped)
  • 4 tsp soya sauce
  • 2 tblsp tomato ketchup
  • 3 tsp green chilli sauce
  • 2-3 tsp cornflour
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 2 tblsp spring onion greens (chopped)
  • 2 tblsp sesame oil (preferably)

Method:

Manchurian Balls:


  1. Squeeze cabbage and carrots to remove any moisture.
  2. Make bread crumbs in a mixer grinder.
  3. Mix all the ingredients and make lemon sized balls and deep fry till golden brown.


Manchurian Gravy or Sauce:


  1. Heat oil in a wok or pan and add ginger and garlic, saute for few seconds.
  2. Add celery, green chillies and spring onion whites.
  3. After a minute, add chilli sauce, soya sauce and tomato ketchup.
  4. Add 1 and a half cup of water and let it boil.
  5. Mix cornflour and remaining half cup of water in a seperate bowl.
  6. Add the cornflour slurry in the boiling gravy, stirring continuously.
  7. Add salt, sugar and vinegar.
  8. Finally add the fried manchurian balls.
  9. Garnish with spring onion greens and serve hot with fried rice or noodles.

Note:

If manchurian balls begin to break or crumble while deep frying add little cornflour to the balls mixture to ensure proper binding.