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Tawa Chicken

Tawa Chicken Recipe. A quick, fragrant and warming chicken dish which comes together on a tawa(griddle). This is a popular street from India. Tawa Chicken is perfect for weeknight dinners or at times when you want to cook chicken in a in hurry.Quickly make the tawa masala (spice powder), chop some vegetables and cook together on a heavy griddle. Serve as wraps or with parathas and yogurt.

Indian cuisine has a lot of “tawa” dishes comparable to asian style high heat wok stir frying. Stir frying on a high heat on a heavy cast iron tawa gives a charred taste to the meats or vegetables or paneer and we all know how delicious anything charred is, right?

The soul of this recipe is the tawa masala. Fresh ground masala elevates the taste of any dish and the same is true here as well. For the tawa masala, use woody spices like cumin, coriander, bay leaf, peppercorns, black cardamom and cinnamon. Sometimes I add 1-2 dried chillies as well.

Which Chicken cut to be used ? I always use dark chicken cuts in indian dishes. Indian cooking needs prolonged time and chicken breast meat would become dry. Dark chicken meat stays moist and has good flavor. Here in this recipe, I used organic, boneless, skinless chicken thighs which I cut into strips. Also, cutting into strips makes them cook quickly and at the same time the chicken won’t dry out from the high heat of the tawa.

How is Tawa Chicken Made? Start by making the tawa masala. Then,slice the onions, tomatoes ginger & green chillies.Thereafter, saute till translucent. Add the chicken. Sprinkle the masala and salt. Finally, cook the chicken until slightly charred. Add ketchup & butter. Finish with lemon juice. Done.

Can I Skip the Ketchup? You won’t taste the ketchup, it adds a bit of sweetness. However, if you don’t want to use it, add a tablespoon of canned tomato sauce or 1 teaspoon of tomato paste and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to the recipe.

Consistency and Texture : Tawa chicken from this recipe is dryish. If you want it saucy, you can increase the quantity of the tomato puree a little bit. However, the sauce isn’t velvety smooth like mughlai chicken dishes. The masala sticks to the chicken and there is a bite from the onions, ginger and green chilies.

How to Serve Tawa Chicken? Tawa Chicken is a perfect dish to serve as a starter with drinks or it and can be easily used for wraps or eaten with paratha. I also like to serve it over salad greens.

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Tawa Chicken

Tawa Chicken Recipe. A super quick, fragrant and warming chicken dish which comes together on a tawa(griddle). This is a popular street from India. Tawa Chicken is perfect for weeknight dinners or at times when you are in hurry and want to cook chicken.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 3

Equipment

  • Bowls, Tawa, Cooking Spoon, Cutting boards

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken thighs (boneless & skinless)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon mustard oil (or cooking oil)
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 medium tomato, slices
  • 2 inch ginger, julienned
  • 3-4 thai bird green chilies, halved (adjust to taste)
  • 1/3 cup tomato puree (simply blend 2 tomatoes)
  • Tawa masala (recipe below)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup, see notes
  • 1 tablespoon butter, optional
  • Lemon Juice to finish
  • Chopped cilantro to garnish

For the Tawa Masala

  • 1.5 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 8-10 black pepeprcorn
  • 1 bay leaf, broken into pieces
  • 1 black cardamom, seeds only

Instructions

  • Using sharp knife, cut the chicken into strips. Add to a bowl and add the garlic, salt and lemon juice. Let sit while you chop the vegetables and make the tawa masala.
  • Dry roast all the spices listed for 4-5 minutes on a griddle. Transfer to small bowl and let cool a bit.
  • Meanwhile halve the onion and thinly slice into half moons. Halve the tomato and slice into half moons. Half the green chilies lengthwise. Julinne the ginger.
  • Set the tawa on a medium high stove to heat. Add roasted spices to spice grinder and grind to a powder.
  • Add oil to the tawa. Once smoky add the onions, tomatoes, ginger, green chilies and tomato puree at once. Saute for 2-3 minutes until a dark shade.
  • Add the marinated chicken. Sprinkle the tawa masala and salt. Mix to combine. Once mixed, spread the chicken in a single layer on the tawa and let cook for 4 minutes.
  • Flip and let the chicken cook on other side for 2 minutes. Then saute around till you see the chicken getting a bit charred.
  • Switch off the stove and add lemon juice. Plate the chicken, garnish with cilantro and serve.

Notes

  1. Let the stove be on medium heat throughout the cooking. If you lower the heat, the chicken will be watery and won’t get charred. 
  2. This recipe can be easily made vegetarian by substituting chicken with paneer, mushroom or blanched vegetables. 
  3. You won’t taste the ketchup, it adds a hint of sweetness. However if you don’t want to use it, add a tablespoon of canned tomato sauce or 1 teaspoon of tomato paste and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to the recipe.
  4. To make this a bit saucy, add 3/4 cup of tomato puree. Other things remain the same. 
Indian Mithai & Desserts

Jaggery Cheesecake

Jaggery cheesecake is a rich and decadent cheesecake with a biscoff cookie crust and a jaggery sweetened cream filling. This cake has a smooth texture and slight smoky hint of jaggery in every bite. Its not too dense but is creamy and rich.

What is Jaggery?

Jaggery is an unrefined sugar product popular in India and is available in syrup, blocks and powdered form. It is made by evaporating sugar cane juice and is regarded a super food rich in iron and anti oxidants. It is considered warming for the body and its consumption is especially recommended during winter months.

Jaggery Cheesecake

Be it the ghee & biscoff cookie crust or jaggery cream cheese filling or cardamom whipped cream, each element of this cake enhances the taste of its counter parts. I have been meaning to try this cake for quite a while now and its going to be our Thanksgiving dessert this year.

The original idea and recipe of this Jaggery cheesecake comes from Masterchef Sasi Chelliah. You can find his original recipe here. I used the cream cheese filling recipe in entirety. However, I changed the other components of the cake to our liking.

How the cheesecake tastes ?

This jaggery cheesecake is quite delicious and unimaginably creamy. It is simple to make and the taste of jaggery filling is mildly smoky, quiye similar to brown sugar. With the subtle hint of cinnamon from biscoff cookies and cardamom whipped cream, each and every bite is delighatful. I simply loved the indian twist to the traditional cheesecake.

Lets Look at the Cheesecake Components one by one :-

  1. Biscoff Cookie Crust :- I used 20-25 biscoff cookies and melted ghee, and sweetened them with a tablespoon each of sugar & jaggery for the crust. You can use digestive biscuits, ginger snaps or graham crackers as well for the crust.
  2. Jaggery Cream Cheese filling :- The filling uses usual cheesecake ingredients- full fat cream cheese,jaggery, sour cream, heavy cream and eggs are few of the things for the filling.
  3. Whipped Cream – Simply whipped cream flavored with fresh ground cardamom.

Do make sure that except the whipping cream, all the ingredients are at room temperature . During cold months, I simply set out everything on the kitchen counter overnight.

Selecting the Cake Pan for the Cheesecake:– We need a spring form cake pan to bake any kind of cheesecake. Spring form cake pans have a removable circular ring and so the cheesecake can be unmolded easily. It is not possible to turn over the cheesecake after baking like traditional flour cakes so spring form cake pans are a must when making cheesecakes. I always use non stick spring form cake pans because nothing is more frustrating than a cake sticking to pan after all the hard work.

How To Make Jaggery Cheesecake?

As with every cheesecake, the process of making this cake starts with the crust. I start by crushing the biscoff cookies. You can add little cinnamon while crushing the cookies as well if you like them extra spiced. It is important to crush the cookies such that there are no big pieces. I find pulsing in a food processor better than hand crushing in a Ziploc bag.To make the cheese filling, simply start by beating the softened cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Next we add the jaggery followed by sour cream and heavy cream. Then the eggs go in one by one and the filling is mixed just so that its smooth and lump free. The cream cheese filling is then poured over the cookie crust. The cake is then baked in a water bath.

When mixing the filling, you have to make sure to not overmix the filling. Stick to exact timings that I have noted down in the recipe. Overmixing incorporates air. The air bubbles pop during baking and create cracks. Also, I recommend you to strain the filling after mixing it. It is an additional step but trust me it really makes sure that the filling is super smooth.

Baking Cheesecake in Water Bath :-

To prevent a soggy crust, it is a good idea to wrap the cake pan in 3-4 layers of aluminum foil. Baking the cheesecake in a water bath will help in slow baking of the cheese layer reducing the possibility of cracks and unevenly baked areas. In a nut shell, water bath prevents drastic temperature changes while the cheesecake bakes. After the cheesecake is finished baking, water bath additionally helps in slow cooling hence preventing the temperature of the cheesecake to drop drastically once the oven is off. This prevents cracks and the possibility of shrinkage of edges and the top surface is reduced as well.

Chilling the Cheesecake:-

I always chill the cheesecakes overnight or for at least 6-8 hours. It us a true test of patience but chilling helps a lot in the final structure of the cake.

To summarize, here are the tips for a smooth and creamy cheesecake :-

  1. Using room temperature ingredients. Softened cream cheese is super easy to work with.
  2. Do not over mix the cheese filling. It incorporates air into the filling. Air in the filling means cracks while baking.
  3. It is important not to overbake the cheesecake. The edges should be set and the center of the cake should be wiggly. We cannot use a skewer to test this cake since it will crack the cheese layer so simply follow the timings in the recipe.
  4. Baking the cheesecake in a water bath and cooling down in water bath as well.
  5. Chilling the cheesecake for 6-8 hours.

Here are a few other cheesecake recipes from the blog :-

Brownie Bottom Saffron Cheesecake Bites

Gingerbread Cheesecake Bites

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Jaggery Cheesecake

A rich and decadent cheesecake with an Indian twist.Made with jaggery sweetened cream cheese filling and biscoff cookie crust. Topped with cardamom whipped cream. Its creamy, smooth and slightly smoky.
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time8 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Indian
Servings: 8 inch cake

Equipment

  • Mixing Bowls. Spatula, 8 inch Spring Foam Pan, Large roasting pan

Ingredients

For The Crust

  • 18-20 biscoff cookies
  • 2 tablespoon melted ghee
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon powdered jaggery

For The Jaggery Cheese Filling

  • 680 g (3 blocks) full fat cream cheese, softened
  • 250 g (1 cup) jaggery
  • 250 g (1 cup) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 200 ml (3/4 cup) heavy cream
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 50 g (1/3 cup) cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

For Topping

  • 1 cup Whipped Cream flavored with 1/4 teaspoon of green cardamom powder
  • 1/4 cup sliced nuts of choice

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Prepare a 8 inch/20 cm springform non stick cake pan and line the base with parchment. Wrap the cake pan all round in 3 layers of aluminum foil.
  • Place biscoff cookies,sugar and jaggery in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Whiz to crumbs. Add ghee and pulse to combine. Press the cookie crumbs to the base of prepared pan. Keep ready.
  • Put water to boil in a kettle or over stove .Place cream cheese in a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat for 2 minutes until the cheese is smooth.
  • Add the jaggery and beat for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  • Add the sour cream and heavy cream. Beat for 1 minute.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating total for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides as needed. Add in the cornstarch and lemon juice. Beat to combine .
  • Strain the cheese filling. This step is optional but recommended.
  • Pour the filling over the crust. Smoothen the top using a flat spatula. Tap gently to get rid of air bubbles.
  • Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan. Add enough boiling water till halfway up the sides of the pan.
  • Reduce the oven to 300F/150C. Carefully place the roasting pan in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 40 minutes or until the sides are set and the center is wiggly. Dont peek.
  • Turn the oven off and let cool for 30 minutes. Dont peek. Slightly pop open the door of the oven using a wooden spoon and let the cake cool for another 30 minutes.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and cool it to room temperature.Chill overnight or for atleast 6 hours.
  • Unmould the cake and seve topped with whipped cream and nuts.
Indian Vegetarian & Vegan

Sarson Ka Saag Recipe

Sarson Ka Saag Recipe. Punjabi Sarson Ka saag is a seasonal recipe prepared using mustard greens(sarson) and fresh spinach. It is one of the most delicious north Indian recipe and is traditionally served with makki ki roti (flatbread made with fine maize flour) gur (jaggery) and onions.

What is Sarson ka Saag?

The term “Saag” translates to greens, and sarson ka saag is pureed mustard greens that are tempered with browned onion, ginger, garlic, tomatoes etc. It is one of those dishes that are homestyle and rustic. The mix of greens used differ from home to home. In my recipe I use a mix of mustard greens, cooking variety(not baby) spinach, daikon(mooli), and bathua(if I can find it in indian stores). I also like using few scallion stalks for a grassy onion flavor.

Ingredients Needed for Sarson Ka Saag

  1. Mustard Greens (Or Rapini Greens)
  2. Cooking Variety Spinach
  3. Daikon (or mooli)
  4. Bathua greens (If you can find, else skip)

In addition to the above greens, you can also add kale, turnip greens or collard greens to the greens mix if you wish. However keep the quantity of mustard and spinach more than any other greens you add .

Selection of Greens for Saag :- Since saag has a prominent flavor of mustard greens, the quality of mustard is very important. My most important tip would be to taste the mustard greens when buying. Tear a small portion of the mustard greens bunch and taste it. Mustard greens are naturally pleasantly bitter sweet , however sometimes the bunch is just not right and bitter mustard will lead to bitter saag. Additionally, choose the greens which look fresh, do not have yellow leaves or spots or holes in them.

Buying Mustard Greens in American Stores :- I have seen curly leaf mustard being sold in the greens aisle of many superstores. It is very different from how sarson leaves look back in India but it tastes just like mustard and does the job! It closely esembles kale, however the color is light green and the stems are very fleshy. I always buy it to make saag. The second option is rapini greens. You will see small broccoli like flowers in its stems and its available again in the greens section. It works quite well as well. If you can find real Indian sarson in Indian stores, lucky you, go for it!

Using mooli (radish) is optional. I love to use a small portion and again if you can find slender mooli at indian stores, please buy those. Else go for the Japanese daikon. Don’t use red radish. Taste the daikon or mooli that you bought before adding. If mooli is smelly and pungent, the taste of saag won’t be good.

How to cook Sarson Ka Saag?

The beauty of saag is in slow cooking. The greens cook slowly in their own juices, the stems soften and the mellow flavors of the tender leaves combines with spices and ginger. Making saag is super easy though picking and preparing the greens is what takes some extra time and effort. One of the ways I ease my workflow is to wash and dry the greens a few hours or a day ahead. Pluck the leaves from the stems of mustard. Peel the skin of stems and roughly chop them discarding very tough ones.You can use spinach stems as it is if they aren’t very fibrous. Wash the greens 4-5 times under water to remove every speck of dirt. Drain, air dry for half an hour or so and store them covered in the fridge until ready to use.

My saag recipe is very simple. During the time when when dad was posted in Chandigarh, Punjab , the cook at that house taught us to make saag the punjabi way. He told us that the saag should taste of greens and not of spices or herbs. And rightly so. I do not use any powdered spices in my recipe. If the quality of saag is good, it tastes great and isn’t heavily spiced.

Add the greens to a large pot. Add daikon, ginger, salt and makki atta. Adding makki atta helps thicken the saag and also imparts a unique velvety consistency to the cooked saag. Ofcourse it tastes great as well. Cook the saag low and slow till the leaves have wilted and completely cooked.

Tempering Sarson Ka Saag

Tempering is where the real taste of the saag comes from. It is the final touch and if you really put effort in making the tempering, the saag will taste hearty and delicious.

For the tempering you will need :-

  1. Mustard Oil, else use ghee
  2. Red Onions, chopped
  3. Fresh ginger, chopped
  4. Garlic, chopped
  5. Green Chillies
  6. Dried chilies
  7. Tomatoes, a little (optional)
  8. Cumin Seeds
  9. Butter, to finish

The flavor of tempering plays an important role in taste of saag. Make it hearty with a tempering made of onions, ginger, green chilies and tomatoes and finsh with butter. Brown the onions well, adds a smoky flavor.

Many people don’t add tomato in the tadka. Feel free to skip it. I like the tartness it adds so I do use a small quantity of tomatoes.

How To Serve Sarson ka Saag?

Sarson Ka Saag is best served with makki ki roti. Makki Ki roti is another winter staple in north India. It is a unleavened flatbread made with fine ground corn (maize flour). As you can see, this is a gluten-free, wholesome and good for you meal. Other things that taste delicious with this saag-makki roti are sliced onions, softened butter, jaggery and radishes. This meal celebrates winter and the produce. It is warming and delicious.
A few helpful notes :-

  1. Keep the saag on a thicker side to begin with. When you blend, if needed add water slowly. It should be lacey yet not overly smooth.
  2. Add a tablespoon or two or maize flour if needed later and cook the saag down if you feel that it is not thick.
  3. For the tempering, you don’t have to chop the onions, tomato etc very fine. Saag is supposed to be chunky.
  4. I personally like finishing saag with ghee as compared to butter(the traditional choice).
  5. The heat of the saag comes mainly from green chilies. You do not need a lot of chilies since mustard greens have that bitter note.
  6. When you cook the onions, do so over low medium heat. They will be sweetish and browned that way. If you rush, they wont get time to develop that caramelized taste.
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Sarson Ka Saag Recipe

Sarson Ka Saag is a seasonal North Indian dish made with winter greens. It is wholesome, easy to make and is served with makki ki roti for a gluten free meal.
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4

Ingredients

For Sarson Ka Saag

  • 300 g Mustard Greens
  • 300 g Spinach Greens
  • 100 g bathua greens
  • 1 /2 cup chopped mooli (daikon)
  • 1/4 cup makki atta (maize flour)
  • 1.5 tablespoon fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 4 scallion(spring onion), green & white stalks roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 pinch hing (asafoetida)
  • 2 cup water

For Tempering

  • 5-6 tablespoon Mustard Oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3-4 thai bird green chilies, roughly chopped, adjust to taste
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • Butter, to finish

Instructions

Cook the Saag

  • Wash the greens by soaking them in a large pot of water for 5 minutes. Drain and discard the water.Keep repeating until no dirt is visible and water runs clean. Drain, air dry for half an hour or so and proceed to next step. Or store them covered in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Pluck the mustard leaves from the stems. Peel the skin of stems and roughly chop them discarding very tough ones. Roughly tear the mustard and spinach leaves.
  • Add the greens to the pot along with all the ingredients listed under "For Sarson Ka Saag". Cover the pot with a lid.
  • Set the pot on stove and let cook for 25-35 minutes on low medium heat until the greens are cooked through. Alternatively, you can pressure cook the greens for 7-8 minutes and 3-4 whistles.
  • Using an immersion blender, blend the cooked greens to desired consistency. Proceed to tempering the saag.

Tempering the Saag

  • In a wide pan, warm up the mustard oil till lightly smoky.
  • Temper with cumin, dried chilies. Add the chopped onions next and fry them over medium heat until nicely browned.
  • Add the ginger, garlic and green chilies next and saute for a minute or so.
  • Add the tomatoes next and cook until they soften. Dont cook too much. Th tempering needs to be chunky.
  • Add the tempering to the cooked saag. Taste and adjust the salt. Also adjust the consistency as per liking.
  • Return the saag pot to stove, add butter and simmer for 10-12 minutes until its a dark shade of green. Serve.
Indian Mithai & Desserts

Maple -Ricotta Cheese Mousse

Maple-Ricotta Cheese Mousse. Easy, 4 ingredient Maple sweetened ricotta cheese mousse. This mousse is creamy, decadent and has a nice smoky flavor of pure maple syrup in every bite. Takes less than 15 minutes to make.

Maple -Ricotta Cheese Mousse
Maple Sweetened Ricotta Cheese Mousse

Ricotta Mousse is not too rich, rather has a soft milkiness to it. I love maple syrup, love adding it to desserts I make during Autumn/Winter months for its warming taste. Milky Ricotta plus smoky maple is a super delicious flavor! You can sprinkle some chopped nuts on top or add fresh fruits like berries, pomegranate arils or even citrus sections will work great too.

Maple Sweetened Ricotta Cheese Mousse

You will just need 4 ingredients for making this mousse :-

  1. Full Fat Ricotta Cheese
  2. Heavy Cream Or Whipping Cream
  3. Pure dark Maple Syrup
  4. Flavoring Agent – Could be Spices that you like or vanilla.

This refined sugar free mousse is ready in minutes once you have the ingredients ready to go.

Ricotta Mousse Ingredients

Whats the Mousse Consistency Like?

Because its sweetened with maple syrup, this mousse isn’t as stiff as mousse made with sugar, however its very fluffy and creamy. And delicious. There are no eggs or gelatin used. A lot of eggless mousse recipes use gelatin to get the right consistency but I don’t use gelatin either. The key to using ricotta cheese in mousse recipes without losing the structure is to strain the ricotta cheese before using it.

Straining Ricotta cheese overnight (ideally) helps in removing the liquid (whey) from the cheese leaving behind a solid cheese – aka the good stuff. The taste of the cheese is much sweeter and concentrated and once whipped with heavy cream, it makes an amazing fuss free dessert.

How to Make Ricotta Maple Mousse ?

  1. Strain the Ricotta Cheese over a cheesecloth or paper towel overnight.
  2. Add the Ricotta Cheese with a little bit of maple syrup to a blender and puree till smooth.
  3. Whip together the heavy cream and ricotta cheese. We will add more maple syrup while doing so.
  4. Mix in the spices or vanilla. I like using ground cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg.
  5. Chill for at least 4 hours. Serve with nuts and fruit.
Whipped Ricotta Cheese Mousse

How to Store and Serve the Mousse?

The mousse stores in the fridge perfectly for 2 days. Store it chilled until ready to serve. I found that beyond 2 days it became a bit watery.

Add fresh fruits or nuts on top just when you are serving. They add a nice texture to the mousse.

Ricotta Cheese Mousse
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This maple sweetened ricotta cheese maple mousse is a 4- ingredient dessert can be put together in less than 15 minutes. It is creamy, decadent and has a nice smoky flavor of pure maple syrup in every bite.
Prep Time8 hrs
Cook Time10 mins
8 hrs 10 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 5

Ingredients

  • 15 oz Whole Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup dark maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

To garnish

  • Pomegranate arils
  • Chopped walnuts

Instructions

  • Line colander with a cheesecloth. Place the colander over a bowl. Add ricotta cheese over the cheesecloth. Let sit overnight or 8 hours to strain.
  • Add strained ricotta with 2-3 tbsp of maple syrup to a blender and blitz to smooth.
  • In a bowl add the blended ricotta and heavy cream and using a hand held electric mixer beat on low speed for about 4 minutes till you see the cream getting thickened.
  • Add another 3 tablespoon of maple syrup along with spices and beat for 4 more minutes or until fluffy and smooth.
  • Divide between 4 to 6 serving jars or bowls. Chill for about 3-4 hours. Serve garnished with pomegranate arils and chopped walnuts.

Notes

  1. Please make sure that the cheese and heavy cream are super cold when you start making the mousse. 
  2. Add and incorporate maple slowly while mixing the mousse. 
Dal (Lentil) Dishes · Indian Vegetarian & Vegan

Dal Maharani Recipe

Dal Maharani Recipe. Dal Maharani or Maharani Dal is a rustic punjabi preparation of slow cooked lentils made using a mix of lentils. Paired with tandoori rotis or naan, dal maharani makes for a wholesome delicious meal.

Dal Maharani Recipe.
Dal Maharani Recipe

How is Dal Maharani Different from Dal Makhani?

Both Dal Maharani and Dal Makhani belong to Punjabi cuisine. Firstly, the type of lentils used in both the dal is different. Secondly, the consistency of Dal Makhani is buttery and smooth. Dal Maharani has a lot of texture from the lentils itself as well from the chopped onion, garlic and ginger. Thirdly, dal makhani has a rich tomato taste in its preparation, be it from canned tomatoes or tomato puree, Dal Makhani has a sweetness and tang of tomatoes in its taste. Dal Maharani has a robust & vibrant taste of spices in its final form.

Dal Maharani Recipe Close Up

How to Make Dal Maharani/Maharani Dal/Dal Maharani Recipe?

The first step in making Dal maharani is to soak the lentils overnight. They cook evenly and faster. Pressure cook the lentils with spices, ginger and garlic. Then I prepare a tempering of browned onions, tomatoes, ginger & garlic and whole spices. Then I add the the lentils and simmer them over low heat until creamy. I like to finish off with a little bit of heavy cream.

A few things to be kept in mind when making Dal Maharani :-

  1. Soak the lentils overnight. Else they will take a long time to cook and will cook unevenly.
  2. As mentioned before , I use 3 kinds of dal when making Dal Maharani – whole urad, split green mung and chana dal in equal quantity. If you want it chunkier, use whole green mung in place of dhuli (split) green mung. Dont add a lot of rajma, 2-3 tablespoons i more than enough.
  3. Don’t use a lot of tomatoes or garlic. Unlike dal makhani, this dal has a pronounce taste of onions, ginger and spices.
  4. You can also use Instant pot for cooking the lentils instead of pressure cooker. You can slow cook the lentils from scratch over open stove for long hours. However, I like to shorten the cooking time by boiling the lentils in a pressure cooker.

How To serve Dal Maharani?

Dal Maharani is pairs deliciously with rotis or paratha. However you can also serve it with steamed or cumin rice and a salad.I also like to eat it on its own with a dollop of thick yogurt.

Here are few more Dal recipes to try from the blog :-

Dal Makhani

Chana Dal with Lauki

Dal Tadka

Milai Ki Dal (Arhar – Urad)

Kali Masoor ki Dal

Sambhar

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Dal Maharani Recipe

Dal Maharani Recipe. Dal Maharani or Maharani Dal is a rustic & wholesome punjabi preparation of lentils made using a mix of lentils. Dal Maharani delicious, creamy and is slow cooked by simmering the lentils over low heat for long time. Paired with tandoori rotis, this dal maharani makes for a wholesome meal. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian

Ingredients

For Boil the lentils

  • 1/3 cup whole black urad lentils
  • 1/3 cup split or whole green mung lentils
  • 1/3 cup chana dal (bengal gram lentils)
  • 2 tablespoon rajma(kidney beans)
  • 1 large black cardamom
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 2 teaspoon ghee
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 cup water

For Tempering the Dal

  • 4 tablespoon ghee
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1.5 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon hing
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1.5 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 2 teaspoon corinader powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder, adjust to taste
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree (simply blend 2 fresh tomatoes)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Chopped ginger (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2-3 tablespoon heavy cream
  • Chopped cilantro, ginger julienne, chopped green chilies to garnish

Instructions

  • Wash the lentils and rajma 3-4 times and soak overnight or for atleast 10 hours.
  • Discard the water and add lentils and rajma to a pressure cooker along with all the ingredients listed under "boil the lentils". Pressure cook on medium heat for 6-7 whistles. Takes about 15 minutes (adjust the time as per your pressure cooker//Instant pot). Let pressure release naturally.
  • While the lentils are boiling you can start making the tempering.In a heavy pot or kadai, heat up the ghee.
  • Temper the ghee with clove, bayleaf, dried chilies, cumin seeds and hing all at once. Saute for 10-15 seconds or so and then add the chopped onions. Brown the onions to a dark (but not burnt) shade of brown while sautéing in ghee. Takes about6-7 minutes on medium low stove.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste along with coriander and red chili powder. Saute the spices for 30-45 seconds.
  • Then add the tomatoes and let them cook for 3-4 minutes with the masala till you see oil bubbles separating on the sides.
  • Meanwhile, the dal must have pressure cooked Using back of your spoon, slight mash the dal and stir so that water and lentils are mixed well.
  • Add the warm dal to the onion tomato masala. Add the chopped ginger (if suing) and mix well. Taste and adjust the salt. Also depending on the consistency you like, add 1/2 cup or more water. Let come to a slow boil.
  • Cover and let the dal simmer for about 20-25 minutes on low heat. You will need to stir it in between (that makes it creamy) and make sure that its not sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • Once the dal has simmered and its of desired consistency, add the garam masala and heavy cream. Mix well and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with cilantro, ginger julienne etc and serve. You can also add some butter if you wish.
Appetizers & Snacks · Indian Vegetarian & Vegan

Chutney Stuffed Paneer Pakora

Paneer Pakora stuffed with green chutney and tomato chutney is a super easy to make snack or starter. It is crispy & spongy on the outside and soft & spicy on the inside with taste of delicious chutney in every bite! In this recipe I am sharing the traditional deep fried as well as air fried version which also comes out amazing! These pakoras are fancy to serve for entertaining or for evening chai time at home if you are craving something different and delicious.

Pakoras are a hugely popular indian snack and they are made a ton of ways using all sorts of vegetables, paneer, chicken or seafood. A spiced besan (chickpea flour) is prepared and whatever you are making the pakoras with is dunked in the batter and then deep fried. Pakoras are addictive – deep fried, spicy, crunchy outside, soft inside, tasty all in one. They are usually served with an assortment of chutneys and paired with chai.

When we used to go to Haridwar- Rishikesh road trip, we used to stop midway at this quaint little town called Cheetal in Uttar Pradesh. I remember the rest area filled with a myriad of shops and eateries. The food at one of the restaurant there was really delicious and we always ate there. Usually our time of arrival was towards the evening and dad used to order paneer & aloo pakoras along with chai. Those paneer pakoras are the best I have eaten till date. Years later, I still remember the taste. The batter was crispy and spongy at the same time and it tasted of ajwain (carrot seeds) and the paneer was the softest. Could be something about the batter or the oil they fried it in or the quality of paneer or just that we were starving, but those pakoras were heavenly!!

The Pakora Batter :- The pakora batter is made with super fine chickpea flour and it is the soul of pakoras. If your batter is of the right consistency and peppery spiced, the pakoras will be delicious. There are many ways people spice the pakora batter and the recipe differs from home to home and region to region. Truly any kind of spice powders will do. However I stick to the traditional seasonings.I like to add cumin, ajwain and kasuri methi to the batter. Instead of adding amchoor (dry mango powder) which can sometimes make the batter too dark in appearance, I add chaat masala for the tang. You can add some minced ginger or garlic as well. For the heat, I keep switching between adding minced green chilies or red chili powder depending on my mood 🙂 Some people like adding coarsely pounded coriander and black peppercorns as well, however I avoid that and stick to using powdered spices most of the time.

Chutney Stuffed Paneer Pakora is simply made by sandwiching teaspoon of chutney in between paneer. Take a block of paneer and start by cutting it into long batons. Then you slice the batons halfway lengthwise to make space for the chutney but do not slice all the way through. Cut into into largish cubes. Then add a teaspoon of thick chutney in between.You will get a chutney stuffed paneer sandwich. Dunk it into the besan batter and deep fry. You can see the video below to get an idea of how these pakoras are made.

Green Chutney & Tomato Chutney Recipe :- You can find my tomato chutney recipe here. It is sweet spicy tangy and has lovely flavors of curry leaves. The green chutney recipe is below in the recipe card.

Green Chutney

Can I Air Fry these pakoras? Absolutely! These paneer sandwiches are super delicious when air fried. If you plan to make them air fried there are a few things that you should keep in mind.

1.Use malai paneer or full fat paneer. When air frying, the softness of the pakora depends on the quality of the paneer. These won’t taste as good with reduced fat paneer. However you can certainly use reduced fat paneer for deep fried version.

2. Make the besan batter a little thick but not too thick. Dunk the pakoras in batter and layer in a single layer on the air fryer tray. Spray the pakoras with oil and air fry at 400F for about 16-18 minutes. Due to fat content of paneer and the oil in the batter, they aren’t dry at all. I would totally recommend.

3. The only thing I did not like about air fried pakoras was that they didn’t taste that great once they cooled down , lets say 30 minutes later. So serve and eat while still warm.

A few more tips and tricks when making these pakoras :-

  • When you make the chutneys, make sure to make them thick. They should not be watery at all. This is super important!
  • I find working with chilled, straight from the fridge paneer easier. It is easy to slice and stuff.
  • Dont make a too runny or too thick batter. Add water slowly when making the batter else the besan will become lumpy.
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Chutney Stuffed Paneer Pakora

Paneer Pakora stuffed with green chutney and tomato chutney is crispy on the outside and soft & spicy on the inside with taste of delicious chutney in every bite! Both deep fried and air fried versions included.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

For the Green Chutney

  • 1 bunch (2 cups) organic cilantro leaves & tender stems, washed and air dried
  • 12-15 fresh organic mint leaves, washed and air dried
  • 3 bird eye green chilies, or adjust to taste
  • 3 fat garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon amchoor(dry mango powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or adjust to taste
  • 1 tablespoon thick yogurt

For the Paneer Sandwich

  • 14 oz (400g) malai paneer
  • 1/4 cup Green chutney
  • 1/4 cup Tomato chutney
  • Oil for frying
  • Chaat Masala & Extra chutney to serve

For the Pakora Batter

  • 1.5 cup fine besan (chickpea flour)
  • 3 tablespoon rice flour
  • 1.5 teaspoon coarse coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Pinch of ajwain (carrom) seeds
  • 1 teaspoon hot red chili powder, adjust to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1.5 teaspoon chaat masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon kasuri methi, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt, adjust to taste

Instructions

Make Green Chutney

  • Add all the ingredients except the yogurt to the blender jar. Blitz to make a smooth paste adding as little water as possible.
  • Add yogurt to a bowl and beat it to smooth. Add the chutney and mix together.Ready!

Make the Paneer Sandwiches

  • Take a block of paneer and using a sharp knife, start by cutting it lengthwise into long batons about an inch and a half thick.Then you slice each baton halfway to make space for the chutney but do not slice all the way through. Once sliced, cut each baton into 2-3 cubes depending on how big or small you want the pakoras.
  • Add a teaspoon of thick chutney in between the space you created by slices. Press gently and wipe out excess chutney. Thats your chutney stuffed sandwich.
  • Dunk it into the besan batter(recipe below) and deep fry or air fry. You can see the video in post to get a visual idea.

Make the Pakora Batter

  • In a large bowl, add every thing listed under the pakora batter and adding water slowly, mix to make a not too thin or thick batter. I used a little under 3/4 cup water. Pakora batter is ready! Dunk paneer one by one batter and deep fry(see instructions below).
  • Batter for Air Fryer. If you are making the batter for air frying, make it thickish, I would add just over 1/2 cup water. Also add 1.5 tablespoon of oil to the batter. Rest of the recipe remains same.

Fry the Pakoras

  • Deep Frying – Heat up 3 inches of oil in a wide kadai or pot. Check oil temperature by dropping a little batter, it should rise up(but not sizzle) quickly without changing color. Too hot oil, the batter won't cook, too low the temperature of oil, pakoras will not crisp up rather become chewy.
  • Dunk the paneer cubes in the batter and coat nicely. Lower them into the hot oil. Deep fry until golden on all sides. Serve.
  • Air Frying :- Preheat the air fryer at 400F. Line the air fryer tray with parchment paper. Makes cleaning easy. Coat the paneer in the batter, make sure that the coating on paneer is not too thick. Layer the pakoras in a single layer, spray nicely with oil and air fry for 16-18 minutes. Flip mid way to cook evenly on all sides. Serve warm!

Indian Non Vegetarian

Malabar Shrimp Curry

Malabar Shrimp (prawn) curry is a spicy seafood curry from the coastal regions of south india. Succulent shrimp in a coconut laced sauce which is aromatic from fenugreek seeds and tangy from tamarind. This recipe has a burst of heat from green chilies and red chili powder and deep fragrant flavor from fresh curry leaves – all balanced by the sweetness of coconut milk.

I first tried this curry couple years back at a friends house and loved it at first bite. I asked her a rough recipe and then forgot about it until recently when I spotted it again on menu of one of the restaurants here in Las Vegas. That is when I decided to recreate from what I remembered of the recipe, the way it looked and smelled. Cooking is truly an amalgamation of senses and nostalgic in my case, if you cannot tell 🙂

My husband is a huge fan of south indian non vegetarian curries and both my kids share my love of seafood and at least once a week I make shrimp or fish curry. I cooked this delicious curry earlier this week and they lapped it up with steamed basmati rice and cucumbers (they do need a cooling side to curries :)) Serve this flavorful malabar shrimp curry with rice, pappadams and yogurt for a delicious meal.

How to Cook Shrimp Perfectly Each Time?

I often get asked how to cook shrimp so that they don’t end up chewy or tough. Here are few tips I keep in mind to make sure to cook perfect shrimp every time.:-

  • Size of Shrimp – For curries, I always prefer wild caught or sustainably raised extra large or jumbo size shrimp. That way you can cook them with the curry sauce longer to absorb the flavors without overcooking.
  • Frozen Versus Thawed :- Unless I make impromptu meals, I always prefer to thaw the frozen shrimp overnight in the fridge. There are two ways in which this helps. First being that it wont make you curries watery. Second the shrimp cooks evenly and is much succulent. However, if you want to use shrimp straight from the freezer, remember to add them to a much thicker sauce and cook them on low heat.
  • Time of cooking :- Time of cooking depends on the size of shrimp you are using. Always cook shrimp on low heat. If you are using small or medium shrimp, often the heat of the curry sauce is enough to cook them through. I usually add them to sauce, stir for a couple minutes or so, cover and switch off the stove. They cook perfectly in residual heat. For large shrimp, about 5 -6minutes on cooking in low medium heat is perfect. For extra large and jumbo sizes, I do not go beyond 7-9minutes on low medium heat. Please always check the time of cooking mentioned behind the package you buy and use the times I have mentioned accordingly.
  • Shell on:- These days many stores sell cleaned shell on shrimp. For the best flavor of shrimp try cooking them shell on with the curry sauce.The flavor the shell imparts is impeccable though there is extra effort needed when you eat them 🙂

Few more things to keep in mind when you make this recipe :-

  • Coconut Paste :- For this recipe, you will need you will make a coconut paste with ginger, garlic & green chilies. Use fresh desiccated coconut or if you have dry desiccated coconut powder at home, not a problem, just add a little hot water while blending it.
  • Coconut Milk :- Unsweetened, full fat organic coconut milk is the best. If you are using homemade, go for the thick first extract.
  • Chilies :- This recipe uses 3 kinds of chilies – green, dried red chilies and kashmiri chili powder(mainly for the color). You can adjust the chili depending on how you like. Using this recipe, the curry will be pretty hot like the traditional ones.
  • Variations :- If you have someone who does not eat seafood, you can add boiled eggs to the same curry vase and make malabar egg curry. I do it many times for my husband. For vegetarians, you can also add cauliflower or peas to the coconut sauce.
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Malabar Shrimp Curry

Malabar Shrimp (or prawn) curry is a spicy seafood curry from the coastal regions of south india. Succulent shrimp in a coconut laced sauce which is aromatic from fenugreek seeds and tangy from tamarind. Perfect with steamed rice.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 3

Ingredients

Marinate the Shrimp

  • 18-20 jumbo or extra large shrimp, shelled, deveined and thawed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Make the Coconut Paste

  • 1/3 cup desiccated coconut
  • 4 birds eye green chili, adjust to tolerance
  • 4 garlic cloves,peeled
  • 1 inch fresh ginger shoot, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1.5 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 3 tablespoon hot water, or as needed

Make the Curry

  • 3-4 tablespoon mustard oil or cooking oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 3 whole dried chilies
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 8-10 fresh curry leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
  • 2 medium tomatoes, pureed in blender
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Chopped cilantro to garnish

Instructions

  • Pat the shrimp dry using a paper towel. Place in a bowl, sprinkle turmeric kashmiri chili powder and salt.Marinate for 15-20 minutes.
  • Add the ingredients listed under coconut paste into a blender jar. Blend to make a smooth paste. Keep ready.
  • In a shallow pan, warm up 2 tbsp of oil. Add the shrimp in a single layer. Sear for a minute on each side and remove in a plate. Dont cook the shrimp all the way.
  • Add another 2 tablespoon of oil to the same pan. Once warm, temper with mustard seeds. Once they crackle, add the fenugreek seeds and dried chilies. Let cook for 30 seconds. Then add the chopped onions and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes until lightly browned.
  • Next, add the curry leaves along with the kashmiri chili powder. Also add the coconut paste. Saute on low heat for 3-4 minutes until you see the masala glistening.
  • Add the pureed tomatoes and cook again for 3 minutes or so until you see oil separating on the sides. At this point add the coconut milk and 1/3 to 1/2 cup warm water. Let the coconut milk simmer for 3 minutes, don't let boil.
  • Add the seared shrimp to the simmering oconumt milk, add salt and on low medium heat cook for maximum 5-6 minutes until the shrimp are cooked through. If you feel that the sauce is thickish, add 1/4 to 1/3 cup additional water.
  • Finish with tamarind and don't cook a lot after adding tamarind. Take off the stove and garnish with cilantro and serve warm.
Dal (Lentil) Dishes · Indian Vegetarian & Vegan · Rice Dishes

Khichdi Recipe (Dal Khichdi)

Khichdi or Kitchri is an easy indian comfort meal made with rice and lentils. It is super simple to make, healthy and nourishing to the body. I grew up eating many kinds of khichdi made with a combination of different kinds of lentils and rice but this version made with red lentils and rice was made quite often.

Depending on how much time you want to spend, you can make khichdi either in an instant pot, pressure cooker or make it slow cooked. I go for the slow cooked version mostly because I like the consistency and the creaminess of slow cooked khichdi, however, any way you choose to make it, like most lentil & rice dishes, it is super hearty and an absolute comfort food.

What is Dal Khichdi?

Every cuisine has its comfort food, and khichdi is one of the most loved comfort food for Indians. It could be the health benefits (ease of digestion) or how easy it is to make, khichdi is very popular in indian homes.

Khichdi is made by boiling rice and lentils (red lentils or mung lentils or chana/urad lentils etc) together with turmeric and salt. Sometimes few spices are added and well as depending on how different homes like it, vegetables like potatoes or peas are also added. Everything is cooked till it resembles a runny porridge and is often tempered with garlic or cumin seeds and served warm.

Khichdi is considered as one of the most healing or restorative foods as per Ayurveda. Lentils are superfoods that can balance all the dosas (shortcomings) in the body. Due to ease of digestion and how minimally spiced khichdi is cooked, it is considered one of the best foods for people have gut issues.

What are the Ingredients Needed to Make Khichdi?

You need very basic ingredients from your pantry. Lets discuss them one by one :-

Lentils :- In this recipe, I used Masoor Dal or red lentils since this was the most common type of khichdi that was made in my home. However you can easily swap the red lentils with yellow moong dal or split green moong dal. If using yellow moong dal, dry roast them slightly before using, it gives a nice flavor.

Rice :- For the best consistency of the khichdi, I suggest using any starchy short grain rice. I use gobindbhog/kalijeera rice and it is easily available in Indian stores. However, my grandmother used to use tukda basmati rice which is simply broken grains of basmati rice. I don’t find it here at my indian stores but if you do, go for it. Please don’t use brown rice since its husky and takes away the smooth texture of the khichdi.

Ghee :- Use ghee for cooking khichdi as well as for making the tempering. Ghee is one of the most healthy fats and helps in maintaining gut health a well as enhance the taste of this simple dish. You can see recipe of my homemade ghee here. However for plant versions, you can simply use neutral oil.

Spices :- While the khichdi cooks, I spice it simply with minced ginger, hing, turmeric powder and black peppercorns. Before serving, I make a tempering of garlic, cumin and red chili powder (optional).

You can also use bay leaf, clove or cardamom to add more flavor.

How To Make Dal Khichdi?

Slow Cooking Method :-

Start by simply tempering and then boiling the lentils and rice together to a heavy bottom pot. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cook covered for 25-30 minutes or longer depending on how long it takes for grains to cook. Keep stirring often, it makes the khichdi creamy by breaking down the starches of the lentils and rice.

Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker Method :-

Temper and add the lentils and rice to the IP or Pressure cooker with 3 times the water to begin with. Close the lid and pressure cook. For the quantities mentioned in the recipe, on medium heat, it takes about 8 minutes in an Instant pot and 3-4 whistles in a pressure cooker. Let pressure release naturally in both cases, add more water an cook a little to adjust the desired consistency and then proceed to adding tempering.

How to Serve Khichdi?

In most homes, khichdi is served with pickle, papadums, and slightly tart yogurt. In Bengali cuisine, then serve it with omelete and fried potatoes or vegetables (bhaja). You can also make a simple potato curry like this one here and serve alongside. Chutneys and a quick salad also pairs quite well.

Variations of Dal Khichdi :-

Masala Khichdi :- Saute 1/3 cup of chopped onions with the ginger and add 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder and 1/4 tsp red chili powder (or to taste).

Vegetable Khichdi :- Add 1 to 1.5 cups of mixed vegetables to make vegetable khichdi.

Spinach Khichdi :- Add 1/2 cup of finely chopped or torn spinach while the khichdi is boiling.

Few tips and tricks while making khichdi :-

  • Always start with a optimum quantity of water at the beginning as noted in the recipe. Later as needed or depending on the consistency you desire, add warm water and mash the khichdi.
  • Don’t add too many spices. Khichdi should tastes of lentils and rice and its supposed to be a mellow dish.
  • You can add 1-2 chopped green chilies to the tempering that goes on top if you like to add a little heat to khichdi.
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Khichdi Recipe (Dal Khichdi)

Khichdi is an indian comfort food made with red lentils and rice. It is warming, vegetarian protein rich and nourishing for the body.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon hing powder
  • 2-4 black peppercorns
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup split red lentils
  • 3/4 cup short grain rice, (I use gobindbhog)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • 4-5 cup water (depending on desired consistency)

For the Tempering on top

  • 2-3 tablespoon ghee
  • 7-8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (or to taste)

Instructions

  • Rinse the lentils and rice at least three times or until the water runs clear. Add to a bowl and pour 3 cups of water and let soak for 30 minutes.
  • Heat ghee in a heavy botton pot with lid(or IP or Pressure cooker).
  • Add minced ginger, hing and black peppercorns to the warm ghee and saute for few seconds. Add the onions and cook them for a couple minute until translucent and starting to turn light brown.
  • Add the soaked lentils and rice along with the water. Sprinkle turmeric powder. dd another cup of water. Stir well and taste the salt. Adjust salt.
  • To slow cook :- Bring to a boil, cover and let cook for 20-35 minutes until lentils and rice are soft. Stir often and mash using back of spoon while the khichdi cooks. Adjust consistency with warm water as desired. Add tempering before serving and mix. Serve warm.
  • To cook in Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker :- Close the lid and pressure cook. For the quantities mentioned in the recipe, on medium heat, it takes about 8 minutes in an Instant pot and 3-4 whistles in a pressure cooker. Let pressure release naturally in both cases, add more water an cook a little to adjust the desired consistency and then proceed to adding tempering.

Tempering

  • Heat up ghee in a small sauce pan and on slow heat brown the garlic. Add cumin seeds and crackle. Switch of the stove and add the red chili powder. Add to the Khichdi.
Appetizers & Snacks

Aloo Lachha Namkeen (Potato Trail Mix)

Aloo Lachha Namkeen or aloo lachha is a spicy savory snack (trail mix) made with deep fried potatoes, nuts and spices. It is super popular snack in northern India. Aloo lachha is amazing paired with chai and a perfect snack to make for Diwali.

What is Aloo Lachha?

Lachha literally translates to something coil shaped or with a series of loops and it is a term often used in indian cuisine to describe the textures and looks of food like lachha paratha, onion lachha etc.

Spicy savory snacks often called namkeen are so popular in India and they are prepared using variety of flours, lentils, chickpeas., nuts etc.

Aloo or potato lachha is unique since its made with grated potatoes and is gluten free and vegan. This snack was popularized by Haldirams, a big confectioner in northern India. Their aloo lachha is really delicious, their lachha looks like matchstick potatoes coated in spices. However, please note that am not writing a copy cat haldirams recipe. I have no clue about their recipe. This is how make lachha namkeen at home and its quite delicious and addictive 🙂

How to make Aloo Lachha?

Aloo Lachha an easy snack to make with easily available potatoes, some nuts and spices. Since I don’t have any special potato cutter, I use the good old mix grater to grate the potatoes and make lachha. Use the largest side of the grater to grate the potatoes or you can hand cut them into match sticks. These are not fries. These potatoes resemble match sticks or small twigs after grating.

Here is a short video to give you an idea of how to make aloo lachha:-

Few Tips and Tricks to keep in mind when making aloo laccha:-

  • Avoid using too starchy potatoes like russet potatoes. For laccha, I like using yellow or gold potatoes since they are waxy, not too starchy and crisp up quite well.
  • Soak the grated potatoes in salted water for a little bit to remove starches and then deep fry.
  • You decide how brown you like the potatoes, I keep them golden brown.
  • While deep frying keep in mind to keep the heat constant and on medium high. Else the potatoes will get soggy and won’t cook evenly.
  • Do not over crowd the oil when frying, fry in small batches. You will still see that the potatoes will stick to each other, mainly because they are grated and form a coil shaped ring at the end.Dont worry its all good, once cooled, we are going to break it up and use up.
  • You can add any kind of nuts that you like. Roasted almonds and coconut chips taste amazing as well.
  • The masala I use in my recipe is the same as I use when making Kaju Masala. See the recipe here.

FAQs

Can I air fry the potatoes?

I tried. But the texture & taste- it’s not the same. Due to thin grated potato they were dry and tasteless.Little burnt too. Maybe if you hand cut them in match sticks, you can air fry them but I haven’t tried that method.

How to store Aloo Lachha?

Let the aloo lachha cool down completely. To make sure that its completely cooled, let it sit for 3 hours or so, uncovered on the kitchen counter. Then you can store it in air tight container for 2-3 weeks.

What do I do with the leftover oil after frying?

You can use it to deep fry pakoras, pooris or nuts, anything savory. Please don’t use it to make curries/for cooking.

Can I use sweet potatoes?

Yes you can , however, don’t swap the potatoes completely for sweet ones. However you can use a mix of sweet and regular potatoes for a sweetish bite. Aloo lachha is spicy savory snack o sweet potatoes don’t fit too well in my opinion.

Variations

To the spice blend, add some garlic or chipotle pepper powder to change the flavor profile. You can mix it with just salt and black pepper for a farali/falahari/fasting snack.

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Aloo Lachha

Aloo lachha Namkeen is a spicy & savory snack (trail mix) made with deep fried potatoes, nuts and spices. It is super popular snack in northern India. Amazing paired with chai.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 4-5 medium potatoes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/3 cup peanuts
  • 1/3 cup roasted cashews
  • 3 dried chilies
  • 7-8 curry leaves

Masala (Makes extra, use it o chaat/spiced nuts etc)

  • 1 tbsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1 tsp ground fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1.5 tsp extra hot red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor (dry mango powder)
  • 1 tsp kala namak (black salt)
  • 1 tbsp chaat masala
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  • In a bowl, mix all the ground spices. Keep ready.
  • Peel the potatoes. Grate the potatoes using thick side of the box grater. Rinse the potatoes 2-3 times to get rid of excess starch.
  • Soak the potatoes in water mixed with salt & turmeric for 30 minutes. This removes more starch.
  • Drain and spread the grated potatoes on a cloth/kitchen towel. Pat them dry completely.
  • Set oil for deep frying on stove to heat up. Dont use a lot of oil (2-3 inches oil is enough) and use a deep pot/kadai for deep frying.
  • Add the potatoes to a wide plate/large bowl. Add the cornstarch and toss with the potatoes lightly.
  • Deep fry the potatoes on medium hight heat in small batches in hot oil until golden and crisp.. Drain on a paper towel.
  • Let the fried potatoes completely cool down.
  • In the same oil fry peanuts and cashews (if using raw), curry leaves and dried red chilli.
  • Add on top of potatoes. Sprinkle 2 tbsp masala or more/less as you like. Gently mix everything together without squeezing till everything coated well.
  • Store in a air tight container for 2-3 weeks.
Indian Mithai & Desserts

Masala Chai Tres Leches

Tres Leches Cake is a latin milk soaked sponge cake with a soft and moist crumb. The cake is soaked in three kinds of milk (tres- three, leche- milk) and thats how it gets its name. The sponge itself is airy and it absorbs the milk sauce to form a luscious, dense and rich cake. This masala chai tres leche tastes like a cup of sweet milky indian chai aka tea – it’s indulgent, soft and has a wonderful taste of milky tea and spices in every bite.

Saying that my family loves tres leches cake is an understatement. I mean they adore it!! There are very few cake flavors that we all agree upon at once and this is definitely the one. For Diwali this year, I wanted to make a cake inspired by indian flavors and that is how this idea was born.

What is Masala Chai Tresh Leches Cake?

A light and airy chai spiced sponge soaked in a tea infused 3 milk concoction which is covered in dulce de leche whipped cream. Dreamy right?

Check out these other Masala Chai Recipes :-

Masala Chai Ice cream

DIY Masala Chai Concentrate

Chai Mug Cake

Chai Spiced Shortbread Sandwiches with Dulce De Leche Filling

This Masala Chai Tres Leches Cake is

  • eggless
  • airy and moist
  • tastes like milky sweet chai (doodh patti (milky indian tea), see this video I made earlier this year)
  • super easy to make
  • perfect for festivals

There are quite a few steps to this recipe but nothing is too complicated. The four essential steps to making this cake are –

  1. Grinding the chai masala(spice blend) (always grind fresh masala)
  2. Baking the sponge
  3. Soaking it in tea infused milk sauce
  4. Topping it with the dulce de leche whipped cream.

Masala Chai Tres Leche Ingredients

The recipe needs every simple basic ingredients from you pantry and refrigerator. You will need flour, leavening agents, sugar and yogurt for the cake. Other than that you will need 3 kinds of milk products- evaporated milk, condensed milk and heavy cream to make the soaking milk. You will need heavy cream and dulce de leche to make the frosting.

Lets look at the components of Masala Chai Tres Leches Cake one by one :

  1. Chai Masala : – Chai Masala is a spice blend which is used to flavor indian tea. Every home has its own recipe but essentially the spices are cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and black pepper. Some families like using fennel in their chai masala as well. Chai masala is one of the most fragrant blends out of indian kitchens. Find my chai masala recipe here
  2. Chai Masala Spiced Sponge:- This is an eggless sponge made with flour, whole milk and full fat yogurt. It is flavored with fresh made chai masala (see recipe). This is a light, airy sponge which happens to be egg free and butter free.
  3. Three Milk (Leche) – This is one of the most important component of any leche cake. It is a blend of 3 kinds of milk – evaporated milk, condensed milk and heaavy cream. For this recipe, I infuse the evaporated milk with orange pekoe black tea to get that authentic chai flavor. A little bit of chai masala goes in as well for deep flavor.
  4. Dulce de Leche Whipped Cream :- You can use plain whipped cream, this cake will still taste awesome. However, I loved the combination of dulce de leche and chai spices in this cookie recipe I developed last year during the holidays and thats the reason I flavored the whipped cream this way.

A few tips and tricks to be kept in mind when you make this cake :-

Cake Batter : – The cake batter is made in one bowl.It is one of the most easy cakes to bake. Fold the batter with a spatula  just until it is well incorporated then stop. Keep in mind to not overmix the batter. You can bake the cake in a round pan, however I like square or rectangular casserole pans since its easier to carry or serve from.

Sweetness :- The cake is not too sweet on its own, the main sweetness of this cake comes from the milk concoction.

Dairy : – The cake uses a lot of dairy products like many kinds of milk and yogurt. Always choose whole milk and full fat yogurt for this recipe.

Make Ahead :- You can bake and soak the cake on one day and then next day just make the whipped cream and slather it on top. The cake needs to soak for at least 12 hours for best flavor.

Serving Suggestions :- Reserve a bit of the soaking milk and serve it with the cake slices. Cake with extra milk is truly heavenly.

Variations : – You can bake this cake batter into 12 cupcakes and bake for about 18 minutes till a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes, poke and individually soak them in milk. Then you can pipe the whipped cream just like you would decorate cupcakes.

How to store :- Once you have soaked the cake, you can store it unfrosted for 1 week in the refrigerator. After frosting the cake, serve it with 2-3 days. Additionally, you can freeze the unsoaked sponge for unto two months. Thaw the cake and then soak and frost it.

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Masala Chai Tres Leches

This eggless masala chai tres leche tastes like a cup of sweet milky indian chai aka tea – it's indulgent, soft and has a wonderful taste of spices in every bite. So perfect for festivals and celebrations.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Indian, Mexican
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 -10 servings

Ingredients

For the Chai Masala (makes 1/4 cup masala, we won't use the whole thing)

  • 1 tbsp  ground green cardamom
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp ground dried ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 4-5 black peppercorns, fine ground

For the Sponge Cake

  • 3/4 cup whole milk thick yogurt (not too tart or watery), at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup whole milk,at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp chai masala (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1.5 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder

For the Chai Infused Milk (This will make extra for serving)

  • 4-5 orange pekoe black tea bags
  • 12 oz evaporated milk
  • 14 oz condensed milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp chai masala (recipe below)

For the dulce de leche Whipped Cream

  • 1.5 cup heavy whipped cream , super cold
  • 2-3 tbsp dulce de leche
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Instructions

Grind the Chai Masala

  • Add all the spices to a bowl. Mix well. Chai Masala is ready for baking.

Make the Chai Infused 3 Milk Mixture

  • Warm up the evaporated milk. Add the tea bags and let infuse for 10-12 minutes. Squeeze the tea bags nicely to get all the flavor and the milk they absorb.
  • In a large jug or measuring cup with spout, mix the tea infused evaporated milk with condensed milk and heavy cream. Add 1/2 tsp of chai masala and combine. Reserve 3/4 cup for serving. Keep ready.

Bake the Sponge

  • Preheat the oven to 350F / 180 C. Brush a 7 by 11 rectangular pan/ 8 or 9 inch square pan with 1 tbsp oil. See notes.
  • in a large bowl, add the yogurt, milk sugar and oil. Whisk for 2-3 minutes until smooth and combined, the sugar should completely dissolve. Add 1 teaspoon of chai masala and mix well.
  • Sift the flour, baking soda and baking powder in two batches over the yogurt. After each batch, gently fold using a spatula until just incorporated.
  • Pour the batter in the cake pan and bake in the middle rack for 28-32 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Mine was done at about 31 minutes. Pull the cake out and let cool for 7-8 minutes.
  • Using the back of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the cake. Pour the milk mixture all over the cake. Cover the cake with cling wrap and refrigerate for atleast 4 hours or preferably overnight so the cake can soak up all the milk and flavors.

Make the dulce de leche Whipped Cream

    Assemble the cake

    • Remove the chilled soaked cake. Add a generous amount of whipped cream to the cake and using a spatula spread it out as evenly on the top part as possible. Sprinkle with silvered pistachios, rose petals, edible gold etc or decorate as you wish.
    • Serve sliced with the reserved milk mixture. Store the leftovers refrigerated.

    Notes

    1. The thickness of the sponge will vary depending on the size of cake pan you use.