Semolina & Quinoa Upma (Savory Porridge)

Sinfully Spicy - Semolina & Quinoa Upma(Savory Porridge), #indian #breakfastWhile the whole world has gone crazy over quinoa and come back, here I am, a food snob you may call who never liked it. I found it gritty and bitter and terribly failed to admire it.When everyone was riding the quinoa bandwagon a few years back, just when I had just entered the food blogging world, I could barely tolerate it in puddings with loads of nuts and cardamom thrown in to cover its taste. I stopped buying it because I felt intimidated by it.

Sinfully Spicy - Semolina & Quinoa Upma(Savory Porridge), #indian #breakfastA couple of months back, at Whole foods check out, I spotted a packet of red quinoa on sale and I almost jumped on it (more because it was a good deal a Wholefoods & less for the deal itself), anyhow I got it home again. A week before that, I had spotted this delicious looking salad in bon appetit paired with a beautiful chunk of fish and I decided to give quinoa another chance thinking that my love for fish and pistachios will pass over the dislike when they all are plated together.

Sinfully Spicy - Semolina & Quinoa Upma(Savory Porridge), #indian #breakfastIt turned out that red quinoa was such a revelation. Vastly tastier and less stinky than the plain one. I liked the nuttiness and the earthly flavor which I didn’t admire much during the first years. And the fact that even though you are eating a grain but not piling up on carbohydrates, proteins & fibre instead was such a cool thing.

I would not say that quinoa is a favorite thing in the kitchen yet like rice or oats and even tough I am still a far away from eating it all on its own but we are enjoying it a lot mixed in with other grains, vegetables and or serving it alongside proteins.

Sinfully Spicy - Semolina & Quinoa Upma(Savory Porridge), #indian #breakfastIn India, upma is a hugely popular breakfast down south. I love it. Its a brave thing to say for someone who likes to start the day with stuffed parathas(flatbreads), but there is something really comforting about upma.Light, moist and speckled with nuts and crunchy bite of lentils and mustard seeds,  I woke up to upma and rice idlis (steamed cakes) during the short two month trip that I chanced upon in Chennai.

Sinfully Spicy - Semolina & Quinoa Upma(Savory Porridge), #indian #breakfastUpma is whole grain savory, thick porridge with flavorings thrown in and mostly is traditionally served alongside a dry spice powder.Even though the sooji/suji (semolina) version is more popular in the rest of the country, anything from short grain rice to tapioca pearls to vermicelli to coarse rice powder can be used to prepare this wholesome porridge which could really be a nice, light meal in itself on a hot summer day.

Sinfully Spicy - Semolina & Quinoa Upma(Savory Porridge), #indian #breakfast

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

  •  1/2 cup semolina
  • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa (I use this tutorial to cook )
  • 4 tbsp oil (I use half olive and half coconut, you could use ghee too)
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp chana dal (bengal gram lentils)
  • 1/2 tsp split urad dal
  • 8-9 fresh curry leaves
  • 1/4 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2-3 Thai green chilies, slit (adjust to tolerance)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 2-3 tbsp raisins
  • Fresh Lemon Juice to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh cilantro to garnish


On a low heat, dry roast the semolina till it begins to turn light brown. Remove from heat, transfer to a plate and let cool.

In a heavy bottomed, wide pan/kadhai, heat up the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds, wait till they crackle. Be careful because the seeds splutter a lot. Add the chana and urad dal next and cook for 30-40 seconds till they change color to light brown. Lower the heat and add the ginger, curry leaves and green chilies. Wait till they crackle and you see blisters on chili skin.

Next, add the onion to the pan and sauté on medium heat for 2-3 minutes till it starts to soften but does not change color. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes till they begin to soften. At this point, add the roasted semolina and cooked quinoa to the pan with 1.5 cups of water. Also, add the salt. Lower the heat and let water reduce, do not stir much. The semolina will swell up and just when the water has reduced by a little more than half, turn off the heat. Add the raisins and lemon juice and gently toss everything together.

Let sit for 10 minutes, fluff with a fork and all the water will be absorbed. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Enjoy & Thanks for Stopping by!


Aam Pana – Green Mango Drink

Sinfully Spicy - Aam Pana, Green Mango, Mint & Cardamom Drink #indianAs we drove to indian store a few weeks back, I told the husband “Oh I doubt they would have any more”, though secretly,I desired that they had ordered more of these chubby, tart green mangoes which are gateway to aroma and taste of indian summer into my little kitchen. I approached the mango carton first thing though I was there to stock up on green chilies, baby eggplants and curry leaves. I hurriedly tore the plastic bag and started my selection.”She’s a little too excited about them”, I overheard the husband telling the store keeper whose reply made me smile ear to ear,” Will be getting more in few days”.

Sinfully Spicy - Aam Pana, Green Mango, Mint & Cardamom Drink #indianThis summer has been rather good as far as seasonal produce goes. Except the blueberries which I climbing the price ladder each week, we are enjoying the bounty a lot. I bought squash and first cherries home over the weekend  but I am more happy that the supply of raw mangoes exported from India will continue in our local store. After pickling, adding them to lentils and chutneys, I also made this drink last week.

Sinfully Spicy - Aam Pana, Green Mango, Mint & Cardamom Drink #indian

Sinfully Spicy - Aam Pana, Green Mango, Mint & Cardamom Drink #indianWhile the raw mangoes were boiling and the cumin was slow roasting, I plucked up few leaves from my potted mint, tore them from the twigs, bathed them in the kitchen sink and set on the counter. My hands started to smell of the herb and a strong aroma filled up the nostrils only to be replaced a few moments later by the sweet-smelling cardamom as I broke open the pod. Suddenly, the kitchen was engulfed in the perfume of herbs and spices. I was at once transported to being a child again, drinking aam pana first thing from the jug in the refrigerator after getting back from school.

Sinfully Spicy - Aam Pana, Green Mango, Mint & Cardamom Drink #indianAam (mango) pana/panna is tart, sweet and spicy drink popular in India during the cruel summer months.The recipe is very simple and quick.You could roast or grill the mangoes for a smoky flavor instead of boiling them. Just keep in mind not to overdo the mint, cardamom or cumin since the pronounced taste has to be of the mango here.

Sinfully Spicy - Aam Pana, Green Mango, Mint & Cardamom Drink #indianPrintable Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 6-8)

  • 5-6 green mangoes, unripe
  • (scant) pinch of hing (asafetida,optional)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup sugar (can be increased to 1/2 cup or to taste)
  • 6-7 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 very small green chili (any mild variety will work)
  • 1 green cardamom pod
  • 1/2 tsp (scant) roasted cumin powder
  • 1 tsp kala namak (black salt, adds tang but substitute with salt if you don’t have)
  • Salt to taste
  • Water
  • Crushed ice, mint leaves to garnish


Wash the mangoes and remove their tops,peel them. Place them in a pressure cooker along with hing and 2 cups of water.Close the lid and let cook on medium heat for 1-2 whistles. If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can boil the mangoes in a pot till the flesh is soft. Take off the heat and let cool down till okay to touch.

Meanwhile, finely chop the mint leaves and green chili. You can seed the chili before chopping. Break open the cardamom pod and crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle.

Once the mangoes have cooled a bit, add the sugar to the pot and using your hands squeeze the mangoes till all the flesh falls off and you get hold of the seeds. Discard the seeds and any tough membranes. Add finely chopped mint and chili and using your immersion blender, blend everything. Ideally, the consistency of pana is not smooth, there is mango flesh and bits of mint & chili suspended in the liquid.

Add the cardamom, cumin, kala namak, red chili powder. Mix thoroughly, taste and adjust the salt. Transfer the contents to a beverage holder or a jug and add top with water depending on how dilute you like it.

Chill thoroughly and serve with ice and mint leaves.

Enjoy and Thanks for stopping by!



Chole Paneer

Sinfully Spicy - Chole Paneer, Chickpeas With Indian Cheese #streetfood #recipeChandani Chowk,one of the busiest area in Old Delhi has been around for more than three centuries. Wiki tells me that all the merchants & invaders who ever crossed the walled city flocked past it,thus speaking volumes about its popularity and worth. The congested lanes dotted with shops selling linen,clothing, jewellery, books, electronics, footwear and what not turn so busy after noon,the peak time when the wholesale dealings begin that you could skip a breath trying to carve your way past them. Being in hurry is a way of life in this part of the city which is eternally teeming with people but has something to offer to everybody who lands here.

Sinfully Spicy - Chole Paneer, Chickpeas With Indian Cheese #streetfood #recipeFor me, the area is one of the best places to shop and eat if you happen to be in Delhi. It has a charm, a retro yet modern feel which is missing inside the food courts & malls.However, it is quite unfortunate that I caught on to the magnificence of the area quite late. I remember my first time there with dad and how claustrophobic I felt. In an effort to catch the glimpse of the sky, I looked up and all I saw were a cacophony of electric wires and the countless birds sitting on them, the rows of laundry sun drying and dilapidated balconies of houses, spaced at arm’s length from one another.

It was again during school years that I visited the place for our book hunting and chaat (street food) tasting hangout with friends. In those years, the Delhi Metro was still in the works and reaching Chandani Chowk from my home meant commuting through a couple of buses to a central point & then either hopping on to a rickshaw or walking down to your destination.It took effort, a whole lot of it.

Sinfully Spicy - Chole Paneer, Chickpeas With Indian Cheese #streetfood #recipeI thronged the area much more during my pre wedding months, the place is a heaven for women interested in shopping for bridal gear and mom and me really looked forward to our Saturday shopping trips.We used to catch the morning metro as early as possible to get there and finish by noon before the shopper frenzy started.

For obvious reasons I skipped breakfast on those days.The food choices were unlimited and dreamy.We ate a different thing at a different eatery each time. It was on one of those trips that I discovered Chole Paneer from a street side eatery, served with ribbon thin onion rings and puffy bhaturas (fried flatbread) and hot, really hot pickle. It is fit to be the best chickpeas dish I have eaten in a long long time.Oily, spicy and creamy from soft melt in the mouth chunks of paneer, I am already salivating as I write this after so many years, so you can imagine what I mean here.

Sinfully Spicy - Chole Paneer, Chickpeas With Indian Cheese #streetfood #recipeOver the years, I have come up with a recipe which (sort of) caters to the needs & tastes of my family – the husband doesnt want the ‘yellow’ from turmeric and if he had his way he would pick out the paneer too. I like how the lightly mashed chickpeas pick up the milky richness from paneer and would not give up on that ever! Although in the real world, I serve it with naan or kulcha,I bet they are no comparison to those oil drenched soft bhaturas!

Sinfully Spicy - Chole Paneer, Chickpeas With Indian Cheese #streetfood #recipe

Printable Recipe 

Ingredients(Serves 2-3)

For the chickpeas

(Skip this step if using canned chickpeas however I insist on starting with dry chickpeas and boiling them for the most delicious stock ever)

  • 1 cup chole (chickpeas)
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 2.5-3 cups water
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp chaat masala
  • 1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1 tsp ginger, freshly grated
  • 1-2 Thai green chilies (adjust to tolerance)

For the Sauce

  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 2 cloves
  • 1-2 green cardamom, split open
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3/4 tsp red chili powder (adjust to tolerance)
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 oz paneer, cut into cubes
  • Lime juice to taste

Garnishes – Chopped Cilantro, Onion Rings, Sev (Fried Chickpea flour Sprinkles), Lime Wedges


Soak the chickpeas overnight in enough water.Drain and discard the water and transfer the chickpeas to your pressure cooker. Add salt,soda, oil and water and pressure cook for 4-5 whistles or till 95% cooked. Please adjust the cooking time & number of whistles depending on your variety of chickpeas. Once cooked, drain the chickpeas, and reserve the stock. While the stock is still warm, mix the chaat masala , garam masala, cumin powder & grated ginger with the chickpeas.Also add the green chilies and set aside.

In a pot, heat up the oil on high heat. Take off the stove and add the cloves, green cardamom and bay leaf.Wait till the whole spices crackle.Return to stove and add the chopped onion and garlic. Saute on medium heat till onions begin to brown, about 3-5 minutes.Add the chopped tomatoes next along with cumin seeds and red chili powder. Cook on medium heat till the tomatoes soften and you see oil separating on sides of the pot. At this point, add the chickpeas to the pot along with the stock. Taste and adjust the salt. Cover and let the chickpeas cook on medium low heat for 30-35 minutes or till they are completely soft. At this point, with the back of the spoon, lightly mash the chickpeas once they are soft. Add the paneer cubes to the pot and cook for another 5-8 minutes till the paneer softens and the sauce thickens. If you want, you can add little water to thin out the sauce.

Squirt lime juice and let sit for 1-2 hours before serving. When ready to serve, reheat and if you feel that they are too dry, add little bit of water, simmer again and serve. Garnish with cilantro, onion ring, sev or lime wedges.

Serve with bhatura, warm tortillas, pita bread, kulcha, or naan.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!






Green Chili & Garlic Noodles With Eggs

Sinfully Spicy : Green Chili & Garlic Noodles #indochinese #recipeWhen I posted the pictures of these noodles on Instagram, a few of you asked for the recipe. Well,to be true these are such a casual thing in my kitchen on days when I am a lazy ass to cook that I never cared to put together a recipe. There is hardly any fixed way I make these noodles because in real, I toss them together with any kind of vegetables, protein or spice mix I can lay my hands on from the refrigerator or kitchen cabinets. However, they always leave us wanting for more. I always end up telling myself to-make-a-larger- batch-next-time.The leftovers are better than freshly made,something so typical with asian flavors. I don’t even remember how and when these became a regular in our kitchen, but now they are usually a mid-week dinner and lunch the following day. For the last few of times I am noticing that our little girl is reaching out for a couple of strings so I make a chili and soy sauce free version for her. Looks like these are slowly lining up to be a family favorite.

Sinfully Spicy : Green Chili & Garlic Noodles #indochinese #recipe

Sinfully Spicy : Green Chili & Garlic Noodles #indochinese #recipeYou know the thing about noodles – thin or thick, whole wheat or buckwheat, stringy or tubular, hand pulled or knife cut, I have hardly met anyone who doesnt like these little carb packs. There is no denying the versatility with which they marry vegetables, meat, seafood and soak up any kind of sauce you toss them with.Most of the time you will find me mixing them with a tomato based sauce loaded with spices which is a typical example of the kind you will find on indian streets.

Sinfully Spicy : Green Chili & Garlic Noodles #indochinese #recipeI kept it really simple and quick in this one. It hardly takes 15-20 minutes for the dish to come together.The garlic and fresh green chillies are the star flavors here and a touch of garam masala rounds it up with a spicy note. Sometime I add shredded roasted chicken or sautéed shrimp but mostly quick scrambled eggs. You could serve this alongside gobi manchurian and chicken in hot sauce or just as it is.

Sinfully Spicy : Green Chili & Garlic Noodles #indochinese #recipe

Sinfully Spicy : Green Chili & Garlic Noodles #indochinese #recipe

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

  • 5 oz noodles (I use Ching’s brand but any egg noodle will work)
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 3 Thai bird chilies (adjust to tolerance)
  • 1/2 cup thin sliced red onions
  • 4 scallion stalks (green & white part chopped separately)
  • 1.5 cups shredded vegetables (I used cabbage, carrots, green/red bell pepper)
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil (Use any neutral oil)
  • 1.5 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1-2 tsp white vinegar (adjust to taste)
  • Salt to taste

For the Eggs

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • Salt & black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp fresh cilantro, very finely chopped


Cook the noodles as per package instructions. Drain, wash with cold water and rub thoroughly with both & 1 tsp regular and sesame oils and set aside.

While the noodles are cooking, you can prep the vegetables and chop the onions.Also using your mortar & pestle coarsely grind the garlic. Slit and half the green chilies or finely chop them depending on the heat level you prefer.. You could seed them if you like.

Beat the eggs thoroughly and add the salt, pepper and cilantro.In a small pan, heat up 1 tsp oil and on very low flame, cook the eggs stirring continuously. The eggs should be cooked such that they are not loose or runny.Set aside in a small bowl.

In a wok, heat up the oil to medium high. Take off the heat,add the garlic and slit green chilies.Cook for 20-30 seconds till you smell a nice aroma (this is important) and see blisters on chili skin and they crackle. Take care not to burn the garlic.

Return the wok to the stove and add the sliced onions and white parts of the scallions. Cook for 2-3 minutes on medium high till the onions begin to soften but do not brown. Add the vegetables to the wok and a pinch of salt. Saute for another 2-3 minutes till the vegetables are lightly coated in oil and soften a bit.

Next,reduce the heat to very low, add the noodles to the wok along with green parts of scallions, soy sauce, garam masala and black pepper. Toss well so that the noodles are coated well. Check the salt and adjust. Let cook for 1-2 minutes till the noodles are just warmed through. Put the stove off. Add the vinegar and the cooked eggs.

Toss well and let sit for 20-30 minutes if possible else serve right away.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by.

Lamb Shaami Kabab

Sinfully Spicy :Lamb Shaami Kabab #indian #spicy #recipeHe took the first bite and said ‘just like your mom makes’. A broad smile scanned my face, probably it was all I ever wanted to hear aftergrinding, stuffing and arduously shaping these kabab all Sunday morning.

When my mom visited last year, she made kabab from the mutton mince we got from a middle eastern store some 30 miles away. To put in one word – they were sensational, speckled with spices in each bite,smooth & silky, just melt in the mouth, glorious rounds of deliciousness. I picked up the recipe from her which slightly differs from how I make them. I need not even say this but mom’ were definitely better.

Sinfully Spicy :Lamb Shaami Kabab #indian #spicy #recipeI am told that this recipe has been in the family for few generations now.Even though I hardly had a chance to witness but in those days on special & rare days a big chulla (clay & brick stove) was set up in the aangan (backyard) and what followed was hours of slow cooking and making sure that the recipes were followed to the tee. All you needed were lots of whole spices – which are easily a part of any Indian kitchen. If there is something which was missing,an instant trip to the market was inevitable for there was hardlyroom for substitutions.The meats were hand cut and cleaned at home,the mince was ground on the stone, truly making cooking a glorious labor of love.

Sinfully Spicy :Chana Dal, Lamb Shaami Kabab #indian #spicy #recipe

Sinfully Spicy :Lamb Shaami Kabab #indian #spicy #recipeFor few months, we kept flocking to the middle eastern store to get mutton mince, but then I decided to give these a shot with lamb which is so darn easy to find. With all those aromatic spices, you will not miss the taste unless you are an ardent mutton lover, though the kabab do taste different.The fat content in lamb mince keep them uber moist and the use of chane ki daal (bengal lentils) is irreplacable.The lentils are boiled with the meat & whole spices,followed by grinding, some people prefer to grind the mince to a paste like consistency but I like to keep it a bit on the coarse side because that is how the husband prefers it but its a choice.

Sinfully Spicy :Lamb Shaami Kabab #indian #spicy #recipeYou can stuff and shape these kabab and refrigerate for couple of days or even freeze them, just thaw and pan fry whenever ready to serve. I usually serve them with parathas (flatbread), salad and a chutney. They make an excellent appetizer and are even great for tucking inside those sliders or wraps.

Sinfully Spicy :Lamb Shaami Kabab #indian #spicy #recipe



Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Makes 15)

  • 1/2 cup chana dal (bengal lentils)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 whole dry chillies, broken (adjust to tolerance)
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2″ fresh ginger shoot, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 ” cinnamon stick
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • Oil/ghee for pan frying

For Stuffing

  • 3 tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 3 tbsp fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • 1-2 Thai green chillies, finely chopped (adjust to tolerance)
  • Julienne ginger
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins, cut into small pieces
  • Salt


Wash the chana dal 2-3 times in a stream of running water. Soak the dal in 1 cup of water for (not more than)15  minutes. While the dal is soaking, coarsely crush black pepper, cumin, cloves, fennel, and cardamom using a mortar and pestle.

Once  the dal has soaked, drain all the water and transfer it to a pressure cooker along with the crushed spices, bay leaf, red chilies, garlic, ginger and cinnamon. Add the lamb mince and about a 1/2 tsp salt. Using a fork or with fingers, gently mix everything together. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and steam on medium – low heat for about 20-25 minutes (about 3-4 whistles). Note – This time will depend on how coarse or fine ground the lamb is, adjust accordingly. If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can cook on open stove till the lentils are tender (but not mushy) and the lamb is cooked. Do not stir the mixture when it is hot.

Put aside the cooked lentils and lamb to cool down completely. Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix together the stuffing ingredients and set aside.

Once cold, take out the bay leaf and cinnamon,discard. Transfer the mix into your food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse 3-4 times. At this point you need to decide how coarse or smooth you want the kabab, process accordingly.

Take out the processed mince into a bowl, add the mint leaves, check and adjust the salt, knead (do not squeeze) gently for 5-8 minutes so that everything comes together.

Apply some oil on your palms and divide the kabab mixture into equal portions, flatten each portion and stuff with about a teaspoon or less of the stuffing.Pinch on all sides to close and  shape into little patties. Do not press too much. At this point you can refrigerate for at least 20 minutes so that they are firm. You can freeze if you want. 

When ready to fry, heat a cast iron skillet and pan fry the kabab on both sides with a 1-2 teaspoon oil/ ghee flipping to get golden brown on both sides. You can lightly flatten them as you fry them

Serve with green chutney, onion rings, cucumber slices, lemon wedges or a sprinkle of chaat masala

Enjoy and Thanks for stopping by!



Indian Asparagus & Pea Stirfry With Coconut & Curry Leaves

Sinfully Spicy : Asparagus & Pea Stirfry  With Coconut and Curry Leaves #southindianAsparagus was a new vegetable for me when I came to States few years back. I had never heard about it or seen it. I was curious to try it and cook it. I do not as promptly fall in love with new vegetables like I do with fruits. May be because we are so much into spices that just salted, blanched stalks caught very little attention when I ate them those first times with eggs and hash. It for sure looked and sounded something amazingly healthy but I was a little skeptic. I hardly cooked it, unable to figure out how to involve it our style of home cooked meals.

Sinfully Spicy : Asparagus & Pea Stirfry  With Coconut and Curry Leaves #southindian

Sinfully Spicy : Asparagus & Pea Stirfry  With Coconut and Curry Leaves #southindianIt would be really dishonest if I associate every recipe with some kind of a memory or inherited cooking. Not everything can belong to childhood years or to mom’s and grandma’s secret stash of recipes. Even though the basics string down from their kitchens but many dishes are just cooked in our house because a particular vegetable is in season or we got those organic free range chicken at a bumper price.

It is not very often that I scribble down recipes, you know that pencil in one and spoon in other kind of cooking sessions.I don’t. Not always. It becomes a process then and the fun in the kitchen is lost (at least for me). It’s a lot of unplanned, impulsive cooking that happens here, plainly guided by the senses. I taste, I sniff and I enjoy.

Sinfully Spicy : Asparagus & Pea Stirfry  With Coconut and Curry Leaves #southindianWhen I got a bunch of asparagus few week backs, like those initial years, I again didn’t know what I would do with it. It was inexpensive and looked very green. I got it and forgot about it .Only because the bunch was so fresh, it survived a good four – five days in the refrigerator.We were having curried eggs for dinner and just in a whirl of a moment I threw together this stir fry over the other stove while the eggs came together. Keeping the spice selection very simple and mostly south indian style, this stir fry won our heart. It is kind of south indian ‘poriyal‘ (stir fry) with a basic tempering of mustard seeds, fresh coconut and curry leaves. Aromatic, clean and fresh tasting – it turned out to be a perfect side to those eggs. I wish I had written down the measurements but anyhow.

When we were vegetarian for a while, I cooked it again and spooned it over ghee rice – what a fantastic lunch it was. Soft, crunchy asparagus bits and that burst of sweetness from peas in every bite – so sublime yet fulfilling. Of all the ways I have cooked and eaten asparagus so far,this one is my current favorite.

Sinfully Spicy : Asparagus & Pea Stirfry  With Coconut and Curry Leaves #southindianIt is one of those recipes which turned out glorious even though it was more of an experiment in the kitchen. Both me and the husband can (literally) eat grass tossed with curry leaves and I must admit that those aromatic leaves play magic here though I least imagined that they would. No wonder this simple & quick stir fry is a favorite ‘green’ side on our tables these days.

Sinfully Spicy : Asparagus & Pea Stirfry  With Coconut and Curry Leaves #southindian

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 1 bunch asparagus (about 12-15 stalks)
  • 1/2 cup sweet peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tbsp ghee (or coconut oil for vegan version)
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • generous pinch of hing (asafoetida)
  • 1/4 tsp grated fresh ginger (optional but recommended)
  • 1-2 Thai green chilies (adjust to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
  • 6-7  fresh curry leaves, torn into small bits
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh grated coconut (you can cut it in small bits too)
  • 1/4 tsp jaggery powder (or use sugar, optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Lemon juice – to taste


Throughly wash the asparagus stalks. Hold and try to bend the stalk between fingers of both hands,it will automatically break at the (inedible) bottom part. If you feel that the skin is thick and hard, you can peel it away. Chop the stalks into small round pieces. It is better to chop them this way for this recipe since they cook really quick and do not lose the color. Also thaw the peas if using frozen. Set aside.

On medium high, heat up the ghee in a wok. Temper it with mustard seeds, be careful since they splutter in all directions. Only after the seeds have crackled (else they will remain bitter), immediately add the cumin seeds. Let them crackle too. Add the hing, green chillies, ginger and turmeric next.

Before the chillies change color, add the chopped asparagus and peas along with curry leaves to the wok. Add a generous pinch of salt and stir so that everything mixes together. Cover and let steam for 2-4 minutes on medium high heat.

Remove the lid, add the coconut, adjust the salt and let cook uncovered till the asparagus and peas are tender (but not mushy) and have a crunch to them. Sprinkle the sugar and lemon juice to taste. Cook or 1-2 minutes more.

Serve as a side to main dishes.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

Chicken in Hot Garlic Sauce (IndoChinese)

Sinfully Spicy - Chicken in Hot garlic sauce, indochinese #recipeWhen I was little, I had a toy puppy and a doll. They were probably my most favorite since I still have them, carefully kept in a wooden cupboard beside my bed at mom’s house. Even after reminding myself every time I opened that cupboard, amid all that crazy last moment packing, I forgot to bring them along on my last trip. The puppy has a brown fur,big black button eyes and it woofed cutely darting out its little red tongue. It hopped & crawled when the key near its belly was turned. Sometimes I brushed its fur with the small comb which came along with it. Last week when we got little A a fuzzy pink pup with swanky neon glares, adorning a glitter studded cap and a silk scarf around its neck, she played and giggled with it all afternoon. Maybe we share an affection for dogs (the toy ones),I thought to myself.

Sinfully Spicy - Chicken in Hot garlic sauce, indochinese #recipeMy doll wore a floral frock with flat shoes and it had green glassy eyes. When I learnt to recognize flowers and shapes and colors, I named it Daisy from the ones printed on her black dress.I used to tie her black nylon hair into a pony using the same comb I brushed the dog’s hair with.It looked like a little brit missy with those matching daisies on her hat, readying for afternoon tea.Secretly, I wished to be as pretty as her(oh innocence!).Once when we had a fight and one of my sibling sketched pimples on its face (!) with a black pen, mom tells me I was dull for days and spent hours in the bathroom to wash those out. The dots mostly faded away but that ugly outline around one of her eyes still remains, signaling the grumpy look that the sketching was intended for.

Sinfully Spicy - Chicken in Hot garlic sauce, indochinese #recipeLife just goes on and days pass one after the other but suddenly amid the busy ones, I stop for a while and get reminded of my childhood seeing my daughter and her antics.I wish she creates her own – of the house, toys and favorite things. I think about family,those years, the food, that bustling local market near our house where we used to go for shopping fabrics, jewellery, handicrafts and what not. Sometimes the shopping stretched for so long that suddenly it was decided that tonight we are eating out – at one of the local chinese restaurants with dragon print curtains and smelling of sweat and sesame. One where they served a spicy clear vegetable soup with unlimited side of rolls and chicken in hot garlic sauce over glutinous rice.

Sinfully Spicy - Chicken in Hot garlic sauce, indochinese #recipeI start craving that chicken in hot garlic sauce severely,one with bits of garlic and crispy morsels coated in a deep flavored, sticky and hot reddish sauce. With no recipe to follow, it is just left to receding memories to build one.

Sinfully Spicy - Chicken in Hot garlic sauce, indochinese #recipeYou can read bits about indo chinese food in this post. As many of you who read my blog would know that we love some serious spicy indo chinese food in our house. What follows  in the kitchen is mixing chinese & indian ingredients – soy with coriander, turmeric and vinegar . Ideally, the chicken needs to be deep-fried to crispy perfection, but seared it on high heat. The sauce is hot – you have a quite a handful of Thai bird chillies going in and even though there is a good amount of honey in the recipe but the kick from them remains. Spicy,smoky hot, garlicky or addictive – I don’t know how to describe the taste. It left us utterly content. I don’t claim to match any restaurant or cookbook recipe but the one I am sharing today left us almost licking our plates.Try it!

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

  • 1 lb boneless chicken thighs,skinless
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 garlic pod, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp dark soya sauce ((I use Ching’s brand)
  • pinch of  turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Oil for skillet frying (I used sunflower)

Use tofu, paneer and assorted vegetables for a vegetarian version of this recipe

For the Sauce

  • 8 garlic pods
  • 5-6 whole red Kashmiri chillies (adjust to tolerance, de seed if you like )
  • 1 tsp roasted white sesame seeds
  • 1-2 Thai bird chili, whole
  • 2 tsp dark soya sauce (I use Ching’s brand)
  • 3 tbsp chilli tomato sauce (I use Maggi Hot & sweet)
  • 2.5 tsp honey (or brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 turmeric powder
  • 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust to tolerance)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp pure sesame oil (optional but recommended)
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 2/3 cup chicken/vegetable stock or water
  • 3-4 tbsp oil (I used sunflower, use any neutral oil)
  • 4 scallion stalks, white & green cut separately
  • 1/2 cup thin sliced red onion
  • Salt to taste
  • 1.5 tbsp white vinegar (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • For Garnish – chopped scallions(green parts)



Soak the whole red chillies in warm water for 20 minutes.

Cut the cleaned chicken into bite size pieces. Rub it with flour, garlic, chili, soya sauce, turmeric, salt & pepper and let sit for about 25-30 minutes.

While the chicken is marinating, using your mortar and pestle or mini processor, crush the garlic, sesame seeds and soaked red chillies to tiny bits.You could use some soaking water if required for blending.

In a small bowl, mix up the soya sauce, chili tomato sauce, honey and sesame oil(if using). In another bowl, mix the cornstarch with the stock and set aside.


In a wide skillet (I used my 12″), heat up 2-3 tbsp of oil on high. Layer the marinated chicken pieces on the skillet and let sear on both sides, flipping in between. Make sure that the chicken pieces cook all the way through. This may take about 7-8 minutes or more depending on size of pieces.

Once done, transfer the chicken pieces to a plate and reserve the dripping in the skillet itself.

Add the 3 tbsp oil into the same skillet and heat it up on medium. Add the crushed garlic- chili paste as well as the whole green chili to it and fry up these for 20-30 second or so till you smell the aroma. Be careful that the garlic does not burn. Next add the chopped scallions (white part) & onions and cook on medium high for 2-3 minutes or till light brown in color. Add the coriander, turmeric,ginger and soya sauce mix made earlier, let cook for 3-4 minutes till everything starts looking glossy or till you see bubbles on the sides.Next, add the cornstarch mix to the skillet. Reduce the heat to low and let everything simmer for another 2-3 minutes till the sauce thickens slightly.

Next, taste & adjust the salt in the sauce. Sprinkle the garam masala & vinegar to the skillet and stir everything well. Add the chicken & toss so that the pieces are evenly coated.

Garnish with chopped green scallions & serve immediately.

Enjoy and Thanks for stopping by!


Green Mango & Curried Tofu Salad With Coconut Sugar- Ginger Dressing

Sinfully Spicy - Green Mago & Curried Tofu Salad With Coocnut Sugar - Ginger Dressing, VeganOnset of spring and at least once a day I could hear her say ‘Raat mein aandhi aayegi tab amiya aayengi’(When strong winds will blow at night then green mangoes will hit the market).It always left me wondering as to why would one wait for the winds and not climb up the tree to pluck the fruit? On posing the question to her,she would reply that the green mangoes which drop on their own taste the best and are the really tart.Grandmothers and their beliefs could never explain as to how the touch of fingers spoils the fruit.

Sinfully Spicy - Green Mago & Curried Tofu Salad With Coocnut Sugar - Ginger Dressing, VeganIf we had few showers in the night, I knew that her wait could be soon over. Indian summers are synonymous with mangoes – both ripe and unripe,encasing in them the same hype & excitement as berries in the western parts of world. Everyday, she would enquire our sabziwala (vegetable vendor) as to when he would bring along green mangoes.We had the same vendor for almost two decades,getting us fresh produce daily and bargaining over it with the same fervor. He knew that grandma would not settle for some cold storage fruit so he dare not, and even though he kept his false promises at bay but his assurance of  ‘tomorrow’ was as satisfactory than ever.

Sinfully Spicy - Green Mago & Curried Tofu Salad With Coocnut Sugar - Ginger Dressing, VeganFinally, when he did bring green mangoes on a particular morning, badi mummy would accommodate pickles and chutney making for a few days in her afternoon chores. There was this sweet mango pickle with fennel seeds, a sour pickle with pungent mustard oil, tiny whole mangoes pickled in sweet vinegar, a tangy green mango drink and this chutney prepared with jaggery. All summer long,we had meals with mangoes in some form or the other.

However, never in a salad form. I would lie if I told you so. If you grow up in a north indian family like mine,salads rarely make an appearance on the table.We ate a lot of vegetables and lentils but raw vegetables were limited to onions or cucumber rings sprinkled with a good measure of chaat masala & lemon to tag along the rich, spicy curries and rice. Sometime we had Kachumber but I do not remember having just the leafy greens for a meal.

Sinfully Spicy - Green Mago & Curried Tofu Salad With Coocnut Sugar - Ginger Dressing, Vegan

Sinfully Spicy - Green Mago & Curried Tofu Salad With Coocnut Sugar - Ginger Dressing, VeganIt’s a different case now and more often than not, I like to include few salads in our menu.Last week, I saw first green mangoes in our local indian store. Since  the green mangoes we get here are more sweetish-sour unlike the tart indian ones, they paired beautifully with crunchy cucumbers in this salad. I added a few batons of curried tofu to make it more filling and to keep it vegetarian, even though I think that shrimp will do much better here. This salad is loosely inspired by Thai flavors of green papaya salad which is one of favorite things.The spicy from the ginger and the sweet, smoky hints from coconut sugar along with aromatic sesame oil turn beautifully to dress that bowl up. A perfect spring or summer lunch, I must say!

Sinfully Spicy - Green Mago & Curried Tofu Salad With Coocnut Sugar - Ginger Dressing, Vegan

Sinfully Spicy - Green Mago & Curried Tofu Salad With Coocnut Sugar - Ginger Dressing, Vegan

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 2)

For the Salad :-

  • 1 medium green mango
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp red onion slices
  • 1 Thai green chili , chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, roasted & salted
  • Curried Tofu (recipe below)

Note – Green mangoes available in India could be very tart so before using taste them & try to use a mild sour variety. If not, use shredded raw papaya in this recipe.

For Curried Tofu

  • 4 oz firm tofu, cut into batons
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tsp oil + extra for cooking
  • Salt to taste

Note – You could use curry powder in case you do not have above powdered spices.

For the Coconut Sugar- Ginger dressing

  • 2 tsp coconut sugar (or dark brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp dark soya sauce (or use tamari)
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger paste
  • 1/4 tsp bhuna jeera (roasted cumin powder)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (or use olive oil)
  • 1.5 tbsp fresh lime juice (or to taste)
  • Salt to taste

Method :-

Make sure that the tofu is completely dry. Press between paper towel to absorb all moisture. Combine all the spices, lime juice and salt with tofu and set aside for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel the mango and using your mandolin slicer, shred it into medium julienne. Also julienne the cucumber. I do not peel or seed the cucumber since the sweet persian variety I used were thin-skinned and seedless.You could take out the seeds depending on the variety of the cucumbers since the seeds could make the salad watery.

Place the shredded mango, cucumber,mint leaves, cilantro & chili in a large bowl and set aside.

Heat up a cast iron skillet or non stick pan on medium. Brush a little oil on the skillet and cook the marinated tofu for 2-3 minutes flipping on all side or till they are lightly crisp.

While the tofu is cooking, in a small bowl mix up the ingredients of the dressing.

When ready to serve, toss the salad with the dressing and place tofu batons on top. Sprinkle peanuts on top. Check the salt. Garnish with few cilantro sprigs or lemon wedges.Serve immediately.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!





Spiced Lamb Burgers With Garlic-Mint Yogurt

Sinfully Spicy - Spiced Lamb Burgers With Garlic Mint Yogurt MayoShould I eat it? How will it taste? Will it be okay to eat it in public? Similar to hesitations when trying anything new, I was a bit reluctant when I ate lamb first couple of times. It was a red wine stewed lamb T- bone at one of the elaborate buffets here and the husband was all over it. I could not help but stare at his enthusiasm. If I remember correctly, it was only lamb that he ate all night. Eventually I fell prey to his company and gave in. No points for guessing that I did not quite like it at first, you know how clingy we can get to childhood tastes-  firstly the lingering taste of mutton I grew up with & secondly I am not quite up for wine sauces – not yet.

Sinfully Spicy - Spiced Lamb Burgers With Garlic Mint Yogurt MayoDuring the initial years, we never really cooked it at home.I scurried through the supermarket aisles just looking at the the wide variety of cuts available but never really bought it.

However, once I did (thinking I will empty my spice box while cooking to layer ‘that’ taste),there was no going back. Lamb paired so beautifully with those cardamons & turmeric in my kitchen and as I cooked it more, adding indian flair to recipes, we slowly embraced it as a regular in our meals. Even though mutton mince ispopular back home, after eating it more and more, we have as much love for lamb dishes in our household now as poultry & seafood. Due to its easy availability, I have substituted all my keema recipes with lamb mince & there is hardly anything not to like. Equally good, equally satisfying & equally delicious is all I can say.

Sinfully Spicy - Spiced Lamb Burgers With Garlic Mint Yogurt Mayo

Sinfully Spicy - Spiced Lamb Burgers With Garlic Mint Yogurt MayoThis lamb burger is for those days when we are looking for a change & feeling lazy to cook but still want to eat at home. It is hearty. It is big, spicy and juicy. It is something which is a quick every now & then dinner for us.

I like to stuff my buns with lots of tomatoes, and with that mint laced, garlicky yogurt or whatever salad leaves at hand, however the husband keeps all that at bay. His meaty version is indulgent in itself with just the mince patty & lots & lots of onion slices and kettle chips on the side (which by the way are a must out here).

Sinfully Spicy - Spiced Lamb Burgers With Garlic Mint Yogurt MayoThe ground spices and the addition of cilantro & mint along with green chillies make these burgers so fresh tasting. You get a spike from spice in each bite and the yogurt mayo completely balances it. The fennel & nutmeg added in the mince pairs beautiful with the red mince giving it a nice warm,licorice hints.The burger tastes all the more better if you give lamb mince a chance to marinate for a couple of hours, but if you can’t its alright.

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Makes 5-6 burgers)

  • 1 lb lamb mince (or use mutton, beef mince)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1″ ginger shoot, minced
  • 3 tbsp chopped mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2-3 Thai green chillies, finely chopped (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 green cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg, freshly ground
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste

For the Yogurt Mayo

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 fat garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp Lemon juice (or to taste)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

For assembling the burgers

  • Buns
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Sliced Onions, Tomatoes
  • Pepper Jack, Colby or any easy melting cheese

To serve alongside

Fries, Chips, Onion rings, beer, hot sauce,pickles etc


In a small bowl, mix up the mayo & yogurt. Mince the garlic clove using your microplane and add the mint leaves to the yogurt. Add lemon juice, salt & pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Using your coffee grinder coarsely grind black pepper, fennel, cloves, cumin and cardamom.Set aside in the grinder itself. In a bowl, add the lamb mince. Add the garlic, ginger, mint, cilantro & green chillies. Add the ground spices over it along with nutmeg,cinnamon & olive oil.Using a fork (or your hands), lightly mix up the mince with all the herbs and spices. If you have time, you can cover the bowl with a cling film & let it sit in the fridge for 1-2 hours or else you can use it right away.

Heat up a cast iron pan. Divide the lamb mince into six equal portions.(We do not like very thick patties, so I could make 6 out of these, however if making thicker patties, divide into desired portions). Brush a tsp of oil on the pan and cook the patties on moderately high heat until well-browned on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Flip the patties and cook on the other side, about 3-4 minutes more. When cooked, add the cheese on top and cover with a lid, the cheese should melt in under a minute.  Note – We like our burgers cooked through and the times are noted for that. If you like your burgers pink in bewteen, please reduce the cooking time. These burgers grill beautifully, you can use your outdoor grill to good use for cooking these. 

While the patties are cooking, you will see the mince releasing a lot of fat and juice, soak it up by warming up the bun halves on the same pan.

Assemble the burgers by slathering the yogurt mayo on both sides of the buns,add in the onion & tomato slices, lettuce and place the cooked patties.

Serve immediately along side chips.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

Mushroom Matar – Mushroom & Peas Stirfry

Sinfully Spicy - Mushroom Matar (peas) Stirfry01

Mushrooms rarely made an appearance at meal time during my childhood years so I don’t even remember how and when I started liking them. The then winter vegetable, it was overly price and named fancy. There was this white  puffy vegetable that had hit the vegetable market and no one cared about it for a while.They say it’s a kind of fungi – could be poisonous, the rumor went viral.

I still remember how small button mushrooms were cooked with just shelled, sweet tasting winter peas(matar) & gently simmered in a tomato base. In no time we sat down to scoop the stir fry with fresh-off -the skillet triangle parathas. They were mellow, meaty and pleasantly chewy. The hints of spices, just perfect to balance the natural sweetness & adding the correct depth of flavor to offset their blandness.

Sinfully Spicy - Mushroom Matar (peas) Stirfry02

Weekday lunches are quite rushed for me, you will usually find me decking up the lunch plate from  what’s in the refrigerator.With a toddler who wants to explore every cabinet in the house and has to be constantly watched,I barely cook something elaborate for myself. On some days its lentils re- tempered & served with pickled vegetables or leftover chickpeas curry with a side of yogurt. Sometimes, I treat myself to quickest scrambled egg (bhurji) with flatbreads on the side.

Sinfully Spicy - Mushroom Matar (peas) Stirfry

Even after trying hard for years, I could never get my husband to like mushrooms.That leaves only me in the house who eats them.Sweet & spicy,this mushroom & pea stir fry is few of those things that I make just for myself for a quick lunch. You could buy pre sliced, cleaned mushrooms and make it extra fast.

Sinfully Spicy - Mushroom Matar (peas) Stirfry033

Many versions of mushroom matar use heavy cream or nut paste for a rich version or may a times water is added to make it sort of a curry but I have always liked this dryish stir fry than gravy. I really like how the tomato base coats the mushroom keeping them perfectly moist and adding hints of acidity.If you cook the tomatoes properly, they almost taste like a chunky ketchup like (if you know what I mean).

Sinfully Spicy - Mushroom Matar (peas) Stirfry04

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 8 oz mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1/3 cup onions, finely chopped
  • 1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped (yield about 3/4 cup)
  • 1-2 Thai green chillies, chopped (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp amchoor (dry mango powder, substitute with fresh lemon juice to taste)
  • salt to taste
  • pinch of sugar
  • Generous pinch of kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves, crushed between palms)
  • Chopped Cilantro – for garnish


Clean the mushrooms and slice them. If using frozen peas, thaw them. Set aside.

In a pan/wok/kadhai, on high, heat up the oil to smoky point.Reduce the heat to medium & add the chopped onions & garlic. When the onions start to soften & turn lightly brown, add the chopped tomatoes, green chilies, ginger, turmeric, coriander,amchoor and red chili powder to the kadhai and turn heat to medium-low. Let the tomatoes cook down and soften, cook this masala till you see oil separating on sides. At this point turn heat to medium high & add the sliced mushrooms. Also add pinch of salt. Cook the mushrooms till the are tender. This will depend on the variety you are using. Once the mushrooms are sweaty and have shrunk in size, add the peas,adjust the salt, sprinkle the sugar and also add the kasuri methi .  Cover for 5 minutes on medium – low heat and let cook.

Garnish with chopped cilantro. You can also squirt little lemon juice/vinegar if you like. Serve immediately.

Enjoy and Thanks for stopping by!


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