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!

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.
Appetizers & Snacks

Samosa Tart (Tarte Au Soleil)

An indian twist to the French appetizer, “tart au soleil” Puff pastry sheets stuffed with traditional samosa filling. Buttery, spicy and easy, this tart is a great appetizer idea for easy entertaining.

If you are looking for an easy show stopper appetizer to make for your Diwali party, consider this sun shaped samosa tart. It can be assembled ahead and baked when you like.

Samosas are hugely popular and though I am all about traditional cooking but trust me having such recipes up one’s sleeve are also essential to save time when you are playing host and have a ton of things to do. Forget about spending hours to make a show stopper appetizer! I made these samosa pinwheels two years back and really puff pastry encasing traditional samosa filling is such an amazing way to imitate taste of authentic samosa closely, without the deep frying. However, this tart is in no way low in calories, but its super easy and delish!

WHAT IS A TARTE AU SOLEIL?

Tarte au Soleil is a fun french appetizer made with a savory filling and puff pastry.Two puff pastries are stuffed with a savory filling (samosa filling here),sealed, sliced in thin triangles to imitate the sun rays which are then twisted to create a roundish tart that after baking resembles the sun. Hence this tart is sometimes also called “sun tart”. Serve it as savory center piece with a bowl of green chutney and sev. This tart tastes amazing warm as well as at room temperature. All you need is store bought puff pastry dough. The samosa filling is can be made ahead as well.

Samosa Filling

Traditional samosa filling is made with boiled potatoes and peas. For taste and texture, I use two a mix of kinds of potatoes – russet & yellow or gold potatoes available in US stores. See recipe for quantities. To keep the soul of the samosa, I made authentic samosa filling spiced with spices like coriander, cumin, hing and amchoor (dry mango powder). Ginger and chaat masala add a unique flavor and tang to the filling. You can add some chopped nuts to the filling like cashews as well. Don’t miss the chopped green chilies & cilantro, they aren’t optional!

How to Make the Samosa Tarte Au Soleil?

Step 1:– Roll out thawed puff pastry to remove the seams at the folds. At all times make sure that the pastry is chilled. Start working with the first pastry sheet while the second one keeps refrigerated. Place the sheet on the parchment paper and work on it. Also choose a flat cookie sheet preferably to bake the tart than a rounded cake pan, its easier to pull out that way.

Step 2:- Once the puff pastry sheet is rolled out, choose a 10 or 12 inch dinner place and cut all along using a sharp knife. You will be left with a circle once you remove the trimmed edges.

Step 3:- Spread cold(very important!!) samosa filling evenly on the sheet leaving about 1 inch from the edges. The samosa filling should not be too chunky and don’t stuff too much else the tart will be soggy. You can smoothen out the filling using a spatula. Return to fridge while you start working on the second puff pastry sheet.

Step 4:- Using the same dinner plate you used for the first sheet, cut out a circle from the second puff pastry sheet. Brush some water on the edges that we left out on the first sheet and place the second sheet to sandwich the samosa filling. Seal the edges by pressing down lightly so that both the sheets stick together.

Step 5: – Place a juice glass in the center. Press slightly to form a circular impression but not all the way through. Now starting outwards from the edge of centre circle, cut 4 quarters to begin with. This will help you keep the rays of equal size. Next half each quarter and proceed to half those halves.

Step 6:- Once the rays have been sliced, carefully lift the rays (you can use a spatula) and twist the rays inwards bringing the end part to flatten on the parchment. Once all the rays have been twisted, use a fork and crimp the flat end part.

Step 7:- Brush the tart with melted butter (this will help in golden baking) and sprinkle some cumin seeds in the center. Bake away!

Few important tips and tricks to keep in mind when you make this tart:-

  1. I am sure you have heard this many times but at all times keep the pastry chilled. It should be pliable once thawed but should not feel sticky between your fingers.
  2. You can make the samosa filling a day ahead. Make it and store it refrigerated. If you are making it the same day, you have to make sure that the filling is cold when you make the tart. Warm or hot filling will melt the butter in the puff pastry sheet.
  3. Dont keep the samosa filling chunky. We have to twist this tart and too chunky potatoes will rip the pastry. Crumble your potatoes a little smaller than you normally would. However do not mash or grate the potatoes.
  4. You can assemble this tart up to 1 day in advance. Don’t freeze, keep it refrigerated and bake 40-45 minutes prior to serving.
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Samosa Tart (Tarte Au Soleil)

A fun indian-= french fusion appetizer. Puff pastry layers stuffed with traditional samosa filling. Buttery, spicy and easy, this tart is a great appetizer idea for effortless entertaining. 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: French, Indian
Servings: 10 inch tart

Ingredients

For the Samosa Filling

  • 4 boiled potatoes I use a mix of russet & gold potatoes (1 large russet and 3 medium gold)
  • 1/2 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp hing (asafoetida)
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, coarsely crushed
  • 2-3 thai bird green chilies, adjust to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder, adjust to taste
  • 1 tsp chaat masala
  • 1/2 tsp anardana (dried pomegranate sedds, if you cannot find, simply skip)
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor (dry mango powder)
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1.5 tsp salt or to taste
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro

For the Samosa Tart

  • 2 puff pastry sheets (thawed overnight and kept cold)
  • 1-2 tbsp cold water
  • Butter for brushing

Instructions

Step 1 :- Make the Samosa Filling

  • Peel the boiled potatoes and using your hands, crumble them into small pieces, don’t mash or grate them. Set aside.
  • In a medium pan, add the cooking oil and heat it up on medium low. Temper the oil with cumin, hing and coriander seeds, saute for 20 seconds, do not let the spices burn. Add the chopped ginger and green chillies and saute for about 10-15 seconds taking care not to burn anything. Take the pan off the stove if needed.
  • Add peas, return to the stove and and sprinkle 1/2 tsp of salt. Cook the peas for 1-2 minutes if using frozen, cook for 4-7 minutes if using fresh until the peas are soft. You might need to cover the pan in case of fresh peas.
  • Add the red chili powder next and saute. Add the potatoes to the pan and mix with everything else. Reduce the heat to low and saute on low heat for 3-5 minutes until the potatoes are warmed through and nicely combined with spices and herbs but do not turn brown.
  • Switch off the stove. Immediately mix in rest of the ingredients – chaat masalaanardana, amchoor, roasted cumin powder. Mix, taste and adjust the salt. Mix the cilantro. Samosa filling is ready. Transfer to a bowl or let the filling completely cool down in the pan. You can make the filling a day ahead as well.

Step 2:- Assemble & Bake the Tart

  • Line a large cookie baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Roll out thawed puff pastry to remove the seams at the folds. At all times make sure that the pastry is chilled. Place on parchment paper and start working with the first pastry sheet while the second one keeps refrigerated.
  • Once the puff pastry sheet is rolled out, choose a 10 or 12 inch dinner place and cut all along using a sharp knife. You will be left with a circle once you remove the trimmed edges. 
  • Spread the cold samosa filling evenly on the sheet leaving about 1 inch from the edges. You can smoothen out the filling using a spatula. Return to fridge while you start working on the second puff pastry sheet. 
  • Using the same dinner plate you used for the first sheet, cut out a circle from the second puff pastry sheet. Brush some water on the edges that we left out on the first sheet and place the second sheet to sandwich the samosa filling. Seal the edges by pressing down lightly.
  • Place a juice glass in the center. Press slightly to form a circular impression but not all the way through. Now starting outwards from the edge of centre circle, cut 4 quarters to begin with. This will help you keep the rays of equal size. Next half each quarter and proceed to half those halves. You should have 16 rays.
  • Once the rays have been sliced, carefully lift the rays (you can use a spatula) and twist the rays inwards bringing the end part to flatten on the parchment. Once all the rays have been twisted, use a fork and crimp the flat end part.
  • Generoulsly Brush the tart with melted butter (this will help in golden baking) and sprinkle some cumin seeds in the center. Chill for 20 minutes.You can store the assembled tart for upto 1 day.
  • Preheat oven to 400. Bake the tart for 23-26 minutes until goldebn brown. Once baked, let stand for 10 minutes and serve with chutney.
Appetizers & Snacks · Indian Streetfood & Indo Chinese

Kolkata Egg Roll

Egg rolls, also know as frankie or wrap are a popular treat from streets of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). Flaky flatbreads (parathas) that are rolled from a dough made of flour and shortening and cooked on a heavy tawa(griddle), then beaten eggs are spread on the flatbread. These are then stuffed with ketchup, a fresh salad made of onions, cucumber & cilantro, green chilies and sprinkled with chaat masala. These rolls are sold at every other street vendor and they are delicious, satisfying and have numerous varieties from fish to mutton to chicken stuffed ones.

I can eat these egg rolls everyday, they are so delicious!. In fact these make for an amazing breakfast. My love affair with Calcutta Egg rolls started much before I married into a Bengali family. Delhi is a culturally diverse city and during Durga Pujo you would find a lot of pandals springing up like wild mushrooms all the walled city. The evenings of navami were reserved for Durga Puja pandal hopping. There used to be a big pandal near our house and we used to walk our way there to attend the evening aarti and sample the food from the stalls.

Most of it is a fading memory because its been close to 13-14 years since I went to a pujo pandal but as I write this,I vividly remember the aroma of egg rolls and fried pomfrets that filled the air as well as the vibe.

Making these egg rolls is very simple. Probably the only time consuming part is making the paratha. However, if you don’t want to do that, you can very easily take a shortcut and buy flatbreads from store. Use something which is unleavened, not too thick or thin (don’t use a tortilla though :))

Here is a visual look at how to assemble the egg rolls.

A few things to be kept in mind when you make egg rolls :-

  • Make the dough for the parathas ahead and always always rest it for atleast 30 minutes. You can make the parathas ahead as well, cook them ever so slightly, don’t brown too much, cool them down and stash them one on top of other with a parchment/wax paper in between. Refrigerate for 2 days and freeze for up to two months. If you want to freeze, layer the parathas in a single layer on a plate or sheet and freeze for 3 hours.Once frozen, store them together in a zip loc bag.
  • One egg per roll is more than enough. If you will addd too much egg, it will remain raw while your paratha will become soggy. I like to individually crack and beat an egg for each roll while I make them.
  • Salad :- The traditional salad is onions + cucumbers +green chillies + cilantro tossed with some black salt. However you can add tomato or green pepper as well, it tastes quite good, especially the peppers.
  • Sauces :- Traditionally ketchup is added. However, at my in-laws I saw them using ketchup mixed with red chili sauce (Ching’s brand :)) and it tastes good. I sometimes add little sriracha as well.
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Kolkata Egg Roll

Popular Calcutta style egg rolls made with flakey crisped parathas topped with beaten egg and stuffed with fresh salad and sauce. These make for an amazing take along, finger food.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6 rolls

Ingredients

For the Parathas (Flatbread)

  • 2 cup all purpose flour/maida
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Water to knead the dough

For the Egg Rolls

  • 6 large eggs
  • Salt
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, halved and thinly sliced into half moons
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced into half moons
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • chopped green chilies, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black salt
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp Red chili sauce or sriracha
  • Chaat Masala, to taste
  • 6 tbsp Oil, to cook the rolls

Instructions

Prepare the dough for paratha

  • In a large bowl, add flour, sugar, salt and oil. Mix with hands. When the flour can be held in a lump when you squeeze it between your palms, its ready for adding water.
  • Slowly add water and knead the dough well. It should be soft and pliable and not sticky at all. It took me little over 1/2 cup water to knead the dough. Once the dough starts coming together in a ball, moisten your hands with 1 tsp oil and knead for 2 minutes to form a smooth ball. Cover with a damp cloth and let the dough rest for 30 minutes. While the dough is resting, you can make the salad (recipe below).

Make the Salad & Sauce

  • In a bowl, mix onions, cucumbers, cilantro, green chili along with black salt and salt. Toss well and keep ready.
  • In a small bowl, mix the ketchup and chili sauce (or sriracha). Mix and keep ready.

Make the Egg rolls

  • Take one egg, crack it in a bowl, add salt and using a fork beat the egg lightly.
  • Once rested, divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Roll each portion into a round smooth ball.
  • Roll each portion into a 6 to 7 inch diameter circular flatbread. Don't make very thin or very thick flatbreads. Thin parathas will not take the weight of egg and tear away, thick ones won't crisp and remain undercooked
  • Heat a tawa or heavy pan on medium heat. Once hot, lower the flame.
  • Place the rolled paratha on the tawa and lightly cook for a minute. Flip and cook for 30 seconds on the second side. Lift and place the paratha on a plate nearby.
  • Now, add one tablespoon of oil and pour the egg mixture on oil. Let the egg semi cook for a minute.
  • Place the semi cooked paratha on top of semi cooked egg and press down slightly. The paratha will stick to the egg. Let cook for another minute till the egg is completely cooked. Flip using a spatula and brown the paratha on the other side, you can crisp it as you like.

Stuffing the Rolls

  • Place the egg paratha on a plate and on the egg side, slather a little sauce, then add little salad that we made earlier. Sprinkle the chaat masala and roll it up. You can wrap in parchment or secure with a tooth pick. Repeat for all the parathas. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Make the dough for the parathas ahead and always always rest it for atleast 30 minutes. You can make the parathas a day ahead as well, cook them ever so slightly, don’t brown too much, cool them down and stash them one on top of other with a parchment/wax paper in between. Refrigerate for 2 days and freeze for up to two months. If you want to freeze, layer the parathas in a single layer on a plate or sheet and freeze for 3 hours.Once frozen, store them together in a zip loc bag.
  • One egg per roll is more than enough. If you will addd too much egg, it will remain raw while your paratha will over crisp. I like to individually crack and beat an egg for each roll while I make them.
  • Salad :- The traditional salad is onions + cucumbers +green chillies + cilantro tossed with some black salt. However you can add tomato or pepper as well, it tastes quite good, especially the pepper.
  • Sauces :- Traditionally ketchup is added. However, at my in-laws I saw them using ketchup mixed with red chili sauce (Ching’s brand :)) and it tastes good. I sometimes add little sriracha as well.
Appetizers & Snacks · Indian Streetfood & Indo Chinese

Chicken 65

Chicken 65 is a spicy appetizer belonging to the south indian cuisine. Boneless chicken is marinated in spices, yogurt, ginger and garlic, then fried to crispy perfection and then quickly tossed with curry leaves and chilies before serving. Its spicy, tangy and super delicious!

Having spent over four years of his student life in IIT Madras, my husband is a huge fan of south indian flavors. When we got married, I rarely knew anything about the cuisine except idlis, dosa or sambar vada which are really popular in the Delhi street food scene. However, slowly over the years I have learnt a lot of dishes that he likes and this Chicken 65 happens to be one of them.Not just him, my 8 year old has taken a liking to spicy foods in the past few years and she loves this one as well.

What is Chicken 65?

There are many theories behind how the dish got its name and really I won’t get into all that. Down south, from Andhra Pradesh to Kerala, different regions make their own variations. Essentially, Chicken 65 is fiery deep fried chicken with the saltiness & the chewy crispiness that one mostly associates with fried chicken. The flavors packed in this appetizer range from curry leaves, ginger, garlic, kashmiri chili powder to thai bird chillies- few of those ingredients which always always make a happy indian recipe 🙂

How I make Chicken 65?

I start by marinating boneless chicken thigh pieces in spices and yogurt for a few hours. Once marinated I add rice flour and corn starch and the immediately deep fry it.Yes, this dish happens to be gluten free friendly. Once deep fried, immediately toss the chicken with curry leaves garlic and green chilies and serve. Really its that easy and a perfect snack or appetizer for any time or occasion.

Few things to keep in mind when you make Chicken 65 :-

  • Always use dark chicken meat for this recipe. Don’t use chicken breast.
  • You can easily make this recipe vegetarian by using paneer, soya chunks or mushrooms . Just marinate for 30-40 minutes in that case.
  • Rice flour adds a lot of crunch and tastes good instead of just using cornstarch.
  • Don’t add very sour or too watery yogurt else the marinade will be runny and you will have to add a lot of rice + corn flour, this takes away the actual taste of the chicken in the dish and its tastes of flour.
  • While frying, don’t add a large quantity of oil since you cannot re use the oil. It gets flavored with spices by the end of deep frying chicken and you simply have to discard it.
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Chicken 65

South indian appetizer made with spice and yogurt marinated deep fried chicken tossed in curry leaves and garlic.
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4

Ingredients

For Marinating Chicken

  • 1.1 lb (500g) boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp extra hot red chili powder, adjust to taste
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 3 tbsp plain thick yogurt
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
  • Oil for deep frying
  • 2 tbsp fine rice flour, unsweetened
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch (cornflour

For Sauteing

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 3 thai green chilies, slit in half
  • 1.5 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 12-15 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp sriracha (or Ching's red sauce), optional
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • Lemon slices, sliced onions, cilantro to serve

Instructions

Marinate the Chicken

  • Add chicken to a large bowl. Add salt, pepper, chili powders, yogurt and turmeric. Mix well to coat. Cover and marinate for atleast 3 hours.
  • Set the oil for frying to heat up on medium stove.
  • Mix the rice flour and cornstarch with the marinated chicken. Use your hands to mix and coat all the chicken. The chicken should look dryish after coating.
  • Check the oil by dropping a tiny piece of chicken. It should come uo sizzling. If so, the temperature of oil is right. Deep fry the chicken in small batches on medium high heat. Don't over crowd else the chicken will be chewy. Fry all the chicken in batches and drain on a paper towel.

Stir frying

  • Heat up oil in a wok on high heat. Crackle the mustard seeds. Add the garlic, curry leaves and green chilies next. Saute for about 30 seconds on high heat till leaves crisp up a bit.
  • Next add the sriracha. Saute for 10 seconds. Add the fried chicken, add vinegar and toss everything for couple minutes so that the fried chicken is coated nicely. Serve right away with lemons and sliced onions!

Notes

  • Always use dark chicken meat for this recipe. Don’t use chicken breast.
  • You can easily make this recipe vegetarian by using paneer, soya chunks or mushrooms . Just marinate for 30-40 minutes in that case. In step 1, substitute with paneer in batons, button mushrooms, tofu or soaked soya chunks. 
  • Rice flour adds a lot of crunch and tastes good instead of just using cornstarch.
  • Don’t add very sour or too watery yogurt else the marinade will be runny and you will have to add a lot of rice + corn flour, this takes away the actual taste of the dish.
  • While frying, don’t add a large quantity of oil since you cannot re use the oil. It gets flavored with spices by the end of deep frying chicken and you simply have to discard it.
Appetizers & Snacks · Indian Streetfood & Indo Chinese

Tandoori Salmon & Pineapple Tikka

Its September and fall is in the air but here in Las Vegas we are still in the middle of three digit temperatures and summer cookouts are very much happening. Tandoori tikka could be one of the most popular appetizer from indian subcontinent. The term tikka refers to a chunk of meat/fish etc which is coated in spices and grilled/roated on high heat for a smoky charred taste. Tandoori tikka gets its name from being cooked in the hot tandoor or clay ovens where the meat is skewered on long metal rods and cooked on high heat.

I already have a tandoori chicken recipe here on the blog, link is here. It has been tried by many of you guys. However, in addition to the wet yogurt based tandoori marinade, I also like to make dry tandoori masala similar to a dry rub and use it for quick tikka with fish or shrimp. You can grind this tandoori masala and keep it for a few weeks. Its stays fresh for 4-5 weeks.

The first time I tried tandoori pineapple at the great kabab factory back in Delhi many moons ago, I feel in love. The sweet acidity of pineapple along with the the kick of spices is to die for. I am all out flavors that have a punch and here these tandoori tikka with fatty salmon chunks combined with sweet & spicy pineapple are just so delicious!

This tandoori rub is faster way to get the same flavors as you would get from overnight marination. Use good quality spices and store it in an air tight container for freshness. You can use this rub for chicken, shrimp, paneer and vegetables as well. I like serving it with a fresh relish of onions, cucumbers etc and naan. Keep the below few things in mind when you make these tikka:-

  • Cut the salmon and pineapple about the same size and do not cut salmon too small else it starts falling off while cooking.
  • Use firm yet ripe pineapple. Don’t select too ripe pineapple.
  • The tandoori rub has a nice flavor of ginger and garlic, however I like using fresh ginger and garlic whenever making tikka. You can skip it if you don’t like strong GG flavor.
  • I like to keep the skin on because we like crisped skin. If you do not like salmon skin, I suggest peeling it off after the tikka has cooked, it does help in keeping the salmon intact.
  • You can add red onion and red bell peppers as well to the skewer, they taste quite good.
  • Don’t be bogged down by the long list of spices, these are easy to find in indian homes or just visit an indian store.
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Tandoori Salmon & Pineapple Tikka

Salmon and pinapple rubbed with scratch made dry tandoori masala and grilled on high heat. These skewers tikka are easy to make and taste amazing for any meal.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Tandoori Masala

  • 2 black cardamom, seeds only (skip if not available)
  • 3 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 3 green cardamom
  • 1 small whole mace (or 1 tsp mace powder)
  • Half nutmeg (or 1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg powder)
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 3 sticks cinnamom
  • 1.5 tbsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves), crushed fine between palms
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder or Paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dry ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp hot chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1.5 tsp chaat masala
  • Red food color (if you like,I dont use)

For the Salmon & Pineaapple Tanddori Tikka

  • 3 ,6oz Salmon fillets, cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 1.5 tbsp fresh grated ginger & garlic, (grate 3 cloves of garlic and a knob of fresh ginegr shoot)
  • Half Lemon, juiced (about 2 tbsp)
  • 12-15 fresh firm pineapple chunks (about half a pineapple)
  • 2-3 tbsp tandoori masala (recipe below)
  • 1.5 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • Oil or oil spray for cooking the tikka

Instructions

Make Tandoori Masala (Makes about 3/4 cup)

  • In a medium heavy pan, on slow heat, dry roast the corinader, cumin, black and green cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, pepercorns and cloves for 3-4 minutes stirring constantly. Take care not to let the spices burn or brown too much, the taste of the masala will change. We only want to jump start the oils of the whole spices.
  • Once roasted, let the spices cool down. Add to a spice blender and grind to a powder. The powder should not be too coarse or too fine.
  • Transfer the ground spices to a bowl and mix the rest of the powdered spices listed. Mix very well and store teh masala in an air tight, dry container. Use as needed.

Make the Salmon & Pineapple Tikka

  • Add salmon to a bowl and add the lemon, oil, 2 tbsp tandoori masala, salt and ginger garlic. Mix well so that all the salmon is coated. Let marinate for 15 minutes.
  • In a seperate bowl add the pinapple and add lemon juice, 1-2 tbsp tandoori masala and salt. Mix well to coat and keep ready.
  • Switch on your grill or heat a grill pan on high. Skewer salmon and pineapple on metal or water soaked wooden skewers.
  • Spray oil on the pan and grill the tikka for 4-5 minutes per side, turn to cook all the sides and to get nice grill marks.
  • Serve with fresh vegetables, yogurt dips, relish, naan etc.

Notes

  • Cut the salmon and pineapple about the same size and do not cut salmon too small else it starts falling off while cooking.
  • Use firm yet ripe pineapple. Don’t select a very ripe pineapple.
  • The tandoori rub has a nice flavor of ginger and garlic, however I like using fresh ginger and garlic whenever making tikka. You can skip it if you don’t like strong GG flavor.
  • I like to keep the skin on on salmon because we like crisped skin. If you do not like salmon skin, I suggest peeling it off after the tikka has cooked, it does help in keeping the salmon intact and the flavor.
  • You can add red onion and red bell peppers as well to the skewer, they taste quite good.
  • Use tandoori masala for any kind of meat, chicken, paneer or vegetable. It stresses well for 3-5 weeks in air tight containers. 
Appetizers & Snacks

Chana Dal & Sweet Potato Tikki

Chana Dal & Sweet Potato Tikki. These crisp outside and soft on the inside tikkis (patties) are made with chana dal (bengal gram lentils) and sweet potatoes. These are fragrantly spiced with cumin, cloves and ground garam masala. The sweet potato does not make them sweet at all, rather gives them an earthly bite. I paired these skillet fried tikks with a simple paneer & kale pulao, spinach raita (yogurt), micro greens and raw vegetables to make a colorful indian super food bowl.

Having grown up in my grandmother’s vegetarian household, lentils were used a dozen ways from sweet to savory dishes and these tikkis appeared on special occasions. The lentils were ground on sil-batta (stone) with spices to which finely chopped onions, raisins and herbs were added. Sweet potatoes were not used rather grated regular potatoes and a handful of boiled lentils went in for texture in each bite. These tikkis are great with parathas & green chutney or pulao & raita alike. They can be tucked inside burger buns for a vegetarian sandwich or served over a bed of greens.

A few things to be kept in mind when you make these:-

  • When making tikkis with lentils, the most important thing is the water quantity when you cook them. More water will turn them mushy while less water with leave the lentils dry and chewy. Please refer to the water quantity in the recipe.
  • Its best to use your hands to mix. Unless you are using a sil batta (stone grinder), leave out the blender or processor. If the lentils are cooked properly, you will be able to a make a soft tikki mixture very easily. And the texture of hand mixed is absolutely unmatched.
  • Since onions and chopped cilantro etc go in the recipe, keep in mind that after sitting for a half and hour or so, the mix will loosen a bit since the raw vegetables will release their moisture due to salt. So if the tikki mix feels a bit dry in the beginning, don’t worry.
  • These tikkis have texture, they are soft to bite into but you will taste whole lentils grains here and there.
  • I add roasted besan to the tikki mix. Not for binding or anything, these don’t need a binder because the starches in the lentils are enough. Roasted besan(chickpea flour) lends a nice smoky taste and does make this recipe fool proof.Plus its delicious.
  • There is no need for a coating of any flour etc when you skillet fry them. Fry them patiently, that’s all. If your tikki mix is right, they will not fall apart or anything.
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Chana Dal (Bengal Gram Lentils) & Sweet Potato Tikki

Delicious skillet fried tikkis (patties) made with sweet potatoes and chana dal(bengal gram lentils)
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 12 tikkis

Ingredients

For Boiling the Lentils

  • 1 +1/3 cup chana dal (bengal gram lentils)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 small whole black cardamom (skip if not available)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water

For the Tikki Mix

  • 200 g sweet potato(boiled, peeled and cut into small chunks)
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger garlic paste (or simply add 5 garlic cloves and 1 inch piece of ginger to a mortar & pestle and pound to a paste)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 2 thai bird green chilies or 1 serrano (adjust to taste) ,see notes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped golden raisins (optional)
  • 1 tbsp garam masala (used homemade or store bought, make sure its not more than 3 months old)
  • 2-3 tbsp roasted besan (gram flour)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Oil or ghee for pan frying

Instructions

Prepare/Boil The Lentils

  • Wash the lentils 2-3 times under a running stream of water and soak for 2-3 hours.
  • Drain and discard the water in which you soaked the lentils.Add the soaked lentils to a pressure cooker, add cumin, bay leaf, cloves and black cardamom along with salt and 1/2 cup water.
  • Close the lid of the pressure cooker and place it on stove. Let the stove be on high till the first whistle. After that, reduce the stove to low medium and cook for additional 2-3 whistles. After total 3-4 whistles, switch off the stove and let the pressure release naturally.
  • Open the lid, do not mix at once while the lentils are hot, they will turn into a mush. Take 1-2 lentil grains and press between your thumb and finger, if the grain is pressed easily and dosent feel hard, the lentils are cooked. If not, add 2-3 tbsp water and cook for one more whistle.
  • The lentils should not disintegrate, they shoud be cooked through but retain their shape after boiling. Pick out and discard the bay leaf, clove and cardamom, Cover the cooker and let the lentils cool down for a bit, dont let them become cold. We want to make the mix while the lentils are still warm.

Make the Tikki Mix

  • In a wide dish(avoid a deep bowl), add the cooked warm lentils and boiled sweet potato. Mix gently breaking the lentils and poatoes for about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the ginger and garlic, onions, green chilies, raisins, ginger and garam masala.
  • Gently using your hands start squishing to combine everything together. Gently mix for about 3-4 minutes, if some lentils remain whole, thats okay.
  • Once mixed, add the salt and 2 tbsp of roasted besan. Mix again, you will be able to make a soft ball with the mix. If you feel its too wet, add another tablespoon of besan but dont add more than 3 tbsp total. Cover and let the tikki mix rest for 20 minutes.

Shape & skillet fry tikkis

  • Oil your hands and divide the tikki mix into 10 or 12 equal portions.
  • Roll the portions into a balls, flatten the balls slightly and shape them using your palm and fingers into well rounded patties.
  • Make all the tikkis this way and place on a plate. At this point you can refrigerate them for up to 3 days. Or place them on a single layer on a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze them for 6 hours. After they are frozen, place in a zip lock and store frozen for one month.
  • Warm up a 12 inch heavy cast iron wide skillet or griddle on medium. When nicely hot (not too hot) add 1-2 tbsp oil or ghee and place 3-4 tikkis at a time, don't overcrowd. Let tikkis crisp up for 5-6 minutes on one side. Don't add a lot of oil in the begnning,they will break. Once they are crisped on one side, drizzle 1-2 tbsp of oil or ghee on (uncooked) top and flip to crisp on second side.
  • Pan fry the tikkis with patience. Its takes 7-8 minutes to fry a batch on both sides.

Notes

  • When making tikkis with lentils, the most important thing is the water quantity when you cook them. More water will turn them mushy while less water with leave the lentils dry and chewy. Please refer to the water quantity in the recipe.
  • Its best to use your hands to mix. Unless you are using a sil batta (stone grinder), leave out the blender or processor. If the lentils are cooked properly, you will be able to a make a soft tikki mixture very easily. And the texture of hand mixed is absolutely unmatched.
  • Dont leave out the green chillies, this is the only heat in this recipe. Garam masala adds a warmth, but do add at least one sharp green chili for heat. 
  • Since onions and chopped cilantro etc go in the recipe, keep in mind that after sitting for a half and hour or so, the mix will loosen a bit since the raw vegetables will release their moisture due to salt. So if the tikki mix feels a bit dry in the beginning, don’t worry.
  • These tikkis have texture, they are soft to bite into but you will taste whole lentils grains here and there.
  • I add roasted besan to the tikki mix. Not for binding or anything, these don’t need a binder because the starches in the lentils are enough. Roasted besan(chickpea flour) lends a nice smoky taste. Plus its delicious.
  • There is no need for a coating of any flour etc when you skillet fry them. Fry them patiently, that’s all. If your tikki mix is right, they will not fall apart or anything.
Appetizers & Snacks · Pickles, Condiments & DIY Spice Powders

Eggplant & Tomato Chutney Pizza

I tasted eggplant pizza first time on my trip to Genoa, Italy about fourteen years ago. I was traveling solo and was a vegetarian during those years. Right behind the hotel, overlooking the Ligurian Sea was an old ship docked on the harbor, home to restaurants, shops, cafes and pizzeria. Most evenings after work were spent there to grab a shot of espresso followed by dinner.

Image

Being a vegetarian in foreign lands could be a little hard and I used to keep ordering the same things – pesto pizza, cheese & tomato focaccia, eggplant pasta & pizza,lemon linguini etc. If it were not for those pizzeria and the piping hot pizza they served, I would have never learnt to eat eggplant this way. Yum!The pizzas were super delicious, though I must admit a bit lacking on spice levels for my indian palate. There is something about the combination of sweet juicy tomatoes, the eggplant especially their skins after they get cooked in high heat and the melt cheeses- mozzarella & parmesan- its such a harmony of flavors and textures in each bite.

I am a huge fan of vegetarian pizzas and you can say that this recipe combines the east & west. A robust spicy and tangy tomato chutney is used as a sauce on which I layer grilled eggplant slices, sprinkle parmesan and the flash bake it till the eggplant is just tender, still spongy and juicy to bite into. An amazing fusion recipe which is on repeat all summer in my kitchen since tomatoes and eggplant bounty is at its peak during this time.

You can make individual pizzas or a large 12 or 14 inch. Add more or less cheese, I leave it up to you.

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Eggplant & Tomato Chutney Pizza

Quick vegetarian pizza using indian tomato chutney as the pizza sauce and topped with eggplant and cheese. Its cheesey and spicy & dosent feel like eating vegetables at all.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Indian, Italian
Servings: 4 personal pizzas

Ingredients

For the Tomato Chutney

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2-3 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp split urad dal
  • 1-2 dried red chilies
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion roughly chopped
  • 4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • pinch of hing
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 6-8 curry leaves

For the Pizza

  • 4 personal pizza base (or 12 inch pizza base)
  • 1 large egglant
  • 2-3 tbsp oil
  • Tomato Chutney
  • Cheese – shredded mozarella & parmesan (as much as you like)

Instructions

Make the Tomato Chutney

  • Heat oil in a pan. Temper the oil with cumin seeds and peppercorns. Add the urad dal and crackle. Add the dried chilli and let brown a bit.
  • Next add onions, ginger, garlic, tomatoes everything together and sprinkle salt and sugar. Mix well and let cook on medium heat till the tomatoes are soft and mushy. Takes about 6-8 minutes.
  • Transfer everything to a blender jar and blend to a thick smooth paste.
  • In the same pan, add 1/2 tbsp oil and temper the oil with mustard & fenugreek seeds. Let crackle, add a pinch of hing and add the curry leaves. Once the curry leaves are crisped, add the tomato paste and cook everything for 3-4 minutes untill its saucy.
  • Let cool and store in a air tight container for 8-10 days refrigerated. Use as you like.

For the Pizza

  • Slice the eggplant into slices. Dont slice too thin or too thick. Cut into half if the slices are too big. Sprinkle with salt and let the eggplant slices sit for 10 minutes.
  • Wipe eggplant with a paper towel and onn a hot gril pan or regular pan, add 2-3 tbsp oil and place the eggplant slices. Cook for 3-4 minutes on high heat on each side till the eggplant is little soft but not fully cooked. Take out in a plate.
  • Preheat oven to 500F or the highest temperature your oven heats up to.
  • Assemble the pizza- Place the pizza base on a pizza stone or place on a cookie sheet lined with a rack. Spread the 1-2 tbsp tomato chutney on top of the pizza bases, add shredded mozarella cheese. Layer eggplant slices. Sprinkle parmesan cheese. You can add a drizzle of oil at this stage as well.
  • Bake for 5-6 minutes until the cheese has melted. Sprinkle with some chili flakes and serve warm.

Appetizers & Snacks · Breakfast Dishes

Besan Toast


These besan toasts are super easy to make and quite a healthy way to start your day. Just mix up a spiced besan(chickpea flour) batter, dip the bread slices and pan fry or deep fry. The consistency of the batter is the only tricky thing here, it has to be rather thick for a nice coating on bread without making it soggy. Enjoy with chutney and a cup of chai 🙂

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Besan Toast

Bread slices dipped in spiced chickpea flour batter and pan fried. These vegan toasts are so delicous for breakfast or snack.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 8 half toasts

Equipment

  • Mixing bowls, an heavy cast iron skillet or tawa(griddle)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup besan(chickpea flour)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup water, as needed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi(crushed)
  • 1 tsp chaat masala
  • Pinch ajwain (carrom seeds)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onions
  • 2-3 hot green chilies, finely chopped ,adjust to taste
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 4-5 white bread slices, cut in half diagonally
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil per toast

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, add the besan and start adding water slowly. Stir continously so as to get a thick lump free batter. See video for the consistency. Keep aside for 5 minutes.
  • Add the spices, chopped onions, green chilies and cilantro. Taste and adjust the salt. Mix well.
  • Set a heavy cast iron skillet or tawa to heat on medium heat. Once nicely hot (but not suoper hot), spread 2-3 tablespoon of oil on the skillet.
  • Dip the bread slices in the besan batter to cover both sides. Immediately place on the hot skillet. Let cook on each side for 3-4 minutes without disturbing till the besan coating is browned. Once the besan is cooked, toast will leave the pan on its own. Once you flip the toast, add a litle more oil. Even though we arent deep fryring, these need a little extra oil to not get dry.
    It takes a bit of practice to undertand the right temperature of the griddle. If you will cook on very high heat, the toasts will be cooked outside but will be raw inside. A low medium stove with a heavy skillet that retains heat is good choice
  • Serve warm with yogurt, chutney or ketchup. Enjoy!
Appetizers & Snacks

Shish Tawook – Lebanese Chicken Skewers

These chicken skewers are mildly flavored, light and super approachable in terms of ingredients. Dont compare the spice levels to a tikka or kabab but they are juicy and delicious especially during hot weather. A super easy recipe which is perfect for summer evenings when you don’t want to slog in the kitchen. Marinate the chicken (or use vegetables like zucchini, mushrooms or even paneer cubes) few hours ahead and grill just before serving. You can make easy sides like yogurt raita or hummus. The tawook is traditionally served with a sharp garlic sauce called toum but I make garlic yogurt instead.

The grilled juicy chicken morsels are best served right off the grill and are also amazing tucked inside pita bread or naan for a satisfying wrap or you can serve them as a side to simple pilafs or salads. I have been making these for many years and developed this recipe over years which is a huge hit with my family.

Tawook marinade is brightly flavorful with lemon and yogurt than shawarma marinade which has more of warm spices going in. I like to add a little ginger and green chilli to my marinade for added kick though traditionally paprika is used. If you do not have thyme, use dried oregano, it gives a close flavor. Use tomato puree if you dont have tomato paste. The recipe is really approachable like I said before 🙂 Use large chunks of chicken breast since they tend to dry out in the high heat of the grill. If you do not have grill, use a hot iron skillet to cook them or broil in the oven. Chicken breast cooks fast and cooks easily but also dries out easily so avoid baking in oven or cooking on slow heat(they will become watery). And as I always always point out, since the ingredients are few- try to use good quality olive oil and organic or very good quality yogurt.

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Shish Tawook

Lebanese Chicken skewers with chicken marinated in lemon, garlic & yogurt, these are super easy to make and perfect for quick summer meals.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup whole milk thick yogurt (use greek yogurt or hung curd)
  • 1 lemon juiced (about 3 tbsp lemon juice)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger shoot, minced
  • 1 Thai green chillies (optional, adjust to tolerance, skip for kids)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1.5 tbsp tomato paste (or 1 tbsp thick tomato puree)
  • 1.5 tsp paprika (or kashmiri chilli powder) , gives the color not the heat
  • 2.5 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1.5 lb(750 gms) chicken breast, cut in large chunks
  • Oil for brushing

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, add all the ingredients except the chicken and using a whisk, mix very well.
  • Before adding chicken, taste the marinade and make sure that its sharp salty. If the salt is less the chicken wont have flavor.
  • Add the chicken, using your hands, massage the chicken chunks well with the marinade. Cover with a cling film and refrigerate and let marinate for about 5 hours.
  • If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 40 minutes. You can use metal skewers as well.
  • Skewer the chicken before grilling. Brush liberally with oil. Grill on high heat for 5-7 minutes on each side. Serve rightaway.
  • To make garlic yogurt raita simply whisk 1 cup plain yogurt with 1 tbsp grated garlic, thin out with water as desired and add roasted cumin powder, red chilli powder, chaat masala, herbs and salt to taste. Make raita atleast an hour ahead for best flavors.
  • Serve raita chilled and shish warm- best combo!