Rasedaar Baigan Aloo

Rasedaar baigan aloo is a warming punjabi north indian curry made with eggplants and potatoes. I always love September for the overlap of produce it brings – the summer bounty is still in the markets but the autumn produce can be spotted as well on the stands. Eggplant season is at its best during late summer and right now the eggplants are sweet, fleshy and don’t have plenty of seeds. I love to cook lot of eggplant dishes during this time. If you prefer a dryish aloo baigan, do take a look at this recipe I shared many years ago.

Rasedaar aloo baigan can be served with rotis (flatbread) or plain steamed rice. I always admire how this delicious vegetable absorbs any kind of goodness thrown into it.Here the base is a simple onion tomato ginger garlic masala which forms the starting point for many north indian curries. This curry is a quick and easy option for weeknights and tastes better the next day so do plan leftovers.

There are numerous versions of aloo baigan all over India and this the one I grew up eating. The combination of juicy eggplants and starchy potatoes in a masala base has contrasting textures and unique flavors. The list of ingredients may look a bit long but truly these are everyday spices.

How I make rasedaar aloo baigan?

I start by prepping the vegetables. No store bought ginger garlic paste or canned tomatoes! Hand grate the onions, it takes extra 5 minutes but the taste is so much better than blending or chopping it in the food processor. If you can find campari tomatoes-those are one of the best choice for curries, chop them fine and hand pound the ginger and garlic. Cut eggplants in batons and the potatoes similarly but slightly smaller than eggplants – that way none of the vegetables overcook. You can make the curry much soupy but I like to keep it on the thicker side. Keep in mind that eggplant has a lot of water content so it won’t taste that good if you make a very soupy curry.

Keep these tips and tricks in mind when you make this sabzi:-

  • Soak the eggplant for 8-10 minutes after cutting them into batons. That way they won’t absorb a lot of oil while cooking.
  • Try to keep the size of potatoes and eggplants as uniform as possible. I add the potatoes a little earlier when sautéing the masala so that they start cooking a few minutes earlier than eggplant and finish cooking together.
  • Do not use a lot of tomatoes since that takes away the taste of the eggplant. I like to finish with amchoor (dry mango powder) for added sour taste.
  • Saute the powdered spices in oil with onion, ginger and garlic for better aroma. You can add a little water to avoid them from getting burnt.
  • Let the curry rest for half and hour before serving. Eggplant has a spongy texture and resting really enhances the taste.
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Rasedaar Baigan Aloo

Rasedaar baigan aloo is a warming punjabi north indian curry made with eggplants and potatoes. powdered spices in a onion tomato base. Its a delicous weeknight vegan curry which pairs well with rotis or steamed rice.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 (about 400 g) medium size Italian Eggplant
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1.5 inch fresh ginger
  • 2-3 small tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup mustard oil (or grapeseed/avocado oil)
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp hing
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp kashmiri red chili powder (or paprika)
  • Hot red chili powder , to taste
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor (dry mango powder)
  • 1.5 tsp kasuri methi
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • chopped cilantro

Instructions

  • Wash the eggplant. Cut it in 2 to 2.5 inch batons. Soak in water while you prepare other ingredients.
  • Peel the potatoes and cut them lengthwise. Cut them a little smaller than eggplant.Soak in water while you prepare other ingredients.
  • Peel and grate the onion, you should have about 1/2 cup of grated onion. Chop the tomatoes. Pound the ginger and garlic into a thick paste using your mortar and pestle.
  • In a heavy bottom pot, warm up the mustard oil on medium low heat till its a bit smoky. Crackle the cumin seeds and hing for 10 seconds in hot oil.
  • Add the onions and brown the onions in oil for about 5 minutes until they are light golden. Do not brown too dark else the color and taste of curry changes.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for 15 seconds. Next add all the powdered spices – corinader, turmeric,chili powders. Add a tablespoon or two of water and brown the spices for 30 seconds or so.
  • Next add the tomatoes, sugar and salt. Mix and cook the tomatoes for about 2-3 minutes on medium low heat till they start to soften. Add the drained potatoes now, mix and cook the masala for another 4-5 minutes until you see oil seperating on sides.
  • Drain as much water as possibe and add the eggplant to the pot next. Mix around so that eggplant batons are coated well in the masala. Keep stirring around and cook the eggplant with masala for about 2 minutes.
  • Next add about 1.5 cup hot water. Mix, taste and adjust the salt. Bring to a slow boil and cover the pot. Let cook for about 8-10 minutes on medium low heat until the potatoes are fork tender and eggplant is cooked through.
  • Once the vegetables are cooked, switch off the stove and finish with the amchoor, garam masala and kasuri methi while still warm. Mix very gently. Cover and let the curry rest for atleast 20 minutes.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve with rotis or rice.

Notes

  • Soak the eggplant for 8-10 minutes after cutting them into batons. That way they won’t absorb a lot of oil while cooking.
  • Try to keep the size of potatoes and eggplants as uniform as possible. I add the potatoes a little earlier when sautéing the masala so that they start cooking a few minutes earlier than eggplant and finish cooking together.
  • Do not use a lot of tomatoes since that takes away the taste of the eggplant. I like to finish with amchoor (dry mango powder) for added sour taste.
  • Saute the powdered spices in oil with onion, ginger and garlic for better aroma. You can add a little water to avoid them from getting burnt.
  • Let the curry rest for half and hour before serving. Eggplant has a spongy texture and resting really enhances the taste.

Gajar (Carrot) Ladoo

Soft and mildly sweet, melt in the mouth ladoos made with shredded carrots and stuffed with nuts and mawa. These ladoos are easy to make and need just a few ingredients. Ladoo are sweet dumplings which are a very popular sweet (mithai) in India. Ladoos are made with variety of grains, nuts, fruits, flour, ghee and sweetened with sugar, jaggery, dates etc, they are flavored with cardamom, saffron or rose water. There are number of ways in which ladoos can be made and they are a must on festivals.

These gajar (carrot) ladoos are made with fresh grated carrots, ghee, sugar, coconut and mawa.These are gluten and grain free and can be easily made nut free. Since the carrots are naturally sweet, I did not need add a lot of sugar. This a small batch recipe which makes about 6 to 8 ladoos depending on how big you roll them. Mithai made with gajar(carrots) is a huge hit with my kids since they both love carrots. The aroma of fresh ground cardamom and ghee is aroma of festivals for me.

This recipe is quite similar to how gajar ka halwa is made in north indian homes. Gajar halwa is a dessert made with grated carrots and its absolutely delightful when made the traditional slow cooked way. However, these ladoos do not take that long. They come together much faster. You can also make them without the mawa stuffing, they are still quite delicious.

How to make carrot ladoos?

Step 1 :- We will start by grating the carrots. Use a box grater or any grater that you normally use in your kitchen and use the side which will result in thin & small carrot shreds.This is important for the soft texture of the ladoos. And it shortens the cooking time as well.

Step 2: Once the carrots are cooked in whole milk or half and half we are going to add desiccated coconut and sugar. As soon as sugar is added you will notice that the carrot mixture becomes loose like a slurry. This is because of the moisture of the sugar. However don’t worry, it cooks out fast.

Step 3: At the last, once the carrot sugar mixture has dried out, we are going to saute it with ghee and mix in the milk powder (or add grated fresh mawa). Once the mixture is cool, roll ladoos by stuffing mawa in them.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:-

  • Use organic carrots and peel them. Select in season carrots for naturally added sweetness.
  • The recipe uses 1/3 cup sugar and these ladoos were mildly sweet. You can add upto 1/2 cup sugar but remember in that case you will have to cook the carrots a little longer for the moisture to dry out.
  • Don’t use non fat milk powder. Use whole milk powder if possible. I used Nido brand.
  • You can add more ghee if you want. I added total 5 tablespoons up but it can go up to 7 tablespoons.
  • You can flavor the mawa with saffron, this will make the stuffing nice yellow color.
  • These ladoos are pretty easy to make and take about 45 minutes total start to finish.
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Gajar (Carrot) Ladoo

These gajar (carrot) ladoos are made with fresh grated carrots, ghee, sugar, coconut and stuffed with mawa.These are gluten and grain free and can be easily made nut free. 
Course Dessert
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8 ladoos

Ingredients

For the ladoo

  • 1 cup thinly grated carrots, tightly packed (about 3-5 carrots)
  • 5 tbsp melted ghee, divided
  • 1/2 cup half & half (or whole milk)
  • 1/3 cup dried dessicated coconut
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom powder

For the Mawa stuffing

  • 1/2 cup mawa
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped pistachios
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Instructions

  • Heat up 2 tbsp ghee in a heavy pan or kadhai. On low medium heat, add the grated carrots to ghee. Saute the carrots stirring continously for 3-4 minutes till they are shiny.
  • Add the half and half (or milk) next and mix to combine with the carrots. When you see that the milk is bubbling, reduce heat to low and cover. Let the carrots cook covered for about 7 minutes.
  • In the mean time, you can mix the mawa for the stuffing. If your mawa is a solid block, just warm it up lightly in another pan until soft. Transfer to a plate and once little cool, mix in the cardamom, pistachios and sugar. Set aside.
  • Uncover the carrots, they would be soft by now and you will see that the liquid has almost evaporated and carrots are little sticky but cooked through.
  • Add the sugar and coconut to the carrots and mix. You will see that again there will be liquid in the kadai. Keep sauteeing for another 5-6 minutes stirring regularly until all the mositure has evaporated.
  • Add the 2 tbsp ghee next along with the milk powder. Mix and continue to cook for about 3-4 minutes till you see that the mixture starts to clump around the mixing spoon. You should be able to fold it over itself.
  • Remove from heat. Transfer carrot mixture to a plate and mix the cardamom. Let sit and cool down.
  • When the mixture is cool enough to touch, spread som ghee in your palm and take a lime size portion of the carrot mix. Flatten it on the palm of your hand and in the center, spoon over 1/2 tbsp or the mawa mixture that we made.
  • Bring the carrot mixtue together to cover and encase the mawa mixture and roll the ladoo between your palms to make a smooth round.
  • Repeat till all the carrot mix is exhausted. Ladoos are ready, decorate as you wish.
  • Store refrigerated for 4-5 days.

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.
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
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. 

Kheer- Indian Rice Pudding

Kheer is popular dessert from north indian cuisine. It’s simple to make, comforting, creamy and rich and needs few basic ingredients to make for a perfect dessert anytime you crave something sweet.
Rice kheer is a traditional North Indian rice pudding made with fragrant basmati rice, sugar, full fat milk and cardamom. You can also flavor it with saffron or rose water if you like. Kheer is a treat perfect for celebrations and festivals. There are a many ways of making kheer all across India differing from home to home and cook to cook. From the consistency of kheer to how its its sweetened to the choice of nuts, it is a dessert which can be personalized to taste and one’s preferences.

I used to be the helper whenever kheer was cooked in our house. Kheer was slow cooked and I was given the responsibility of stirring it. Kheer needs a lot of stirring, compare it to the process of making a risotto but with three times the time needed. It is a very therapeutic process for me.

Perfectly cooked kheer is creamy and luscious without use of any heavy cream, condensed milk or cornstarch. The idea is to slowly cook the rice in full fat milk, as the rice cooks, the grains break down and the rice starches dissolve in milk, which combined with the fat of milk result in a smooth creamy kheer. A well made kheer needs time and patience- it is best slow cooked and really even though there are many recipes floating around to make it in instant pot and what not, the taste is no comparison. Pick up a slow afternoon and after an hour and a half you will have a pot of deliciousness ready to go.

Keep the following things in mind when you make kheer :-

  1. Always choose a heavy pot with a wide mouth. Heavy pot makes sure that the milk won’t burn and the temperature of the milk is maintained perfectly. You can use a cast iron pot, a stainless steel pot or your dutch oven.
  2. Always rinse the pot before adding the milk. Don’t wipe after the rinse, you will notice that the milk or rice will never stick to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Rice Quality :- Use good quality basmati rice which is not very new, old basmati rice has a nicer aroma and the starches are robust. You can use brown rice as well, make sure to choose brown basmati rice. Even fragrant short grain like jasmine also work great in this recipe.
  4. Milk Quality:- Use full fat milk. This is how traditionally kheer is made. There is no khoya or evaporated milk or condensed milk needed, if you use whole milk, it will reduce during slow cooking and as the rice cooks in it, the thick consistency will be achieved.
  5. Sweetener :- Use sugar, jaggery or even condensed milk, coconut sugar or honey, however you would like to sweeten it. There is no hard or fast rule here but keep in mind that the taste of the kheer will be different depending on the sweetener. Traditionally sugar is used, but my husband likes the taste of jaggery so I use that. See point 9.
  6. Always soak the rice before cooking. This ensures even cooking of rice.
  7. We like creamy, thick kheer so the cooking times indicated in the recipe are as per that. Cook a little less longer if you like a runny kheer. As i said before, this recipe can be used as per your preference.
  8. How long it can be kept? :- Rice kheer keeps good for 2-3 days in the fridge. You can reheat on a stove before serving.
  9. Thickness of Kheer :- The more you stir and cook down or reduce the kheer, the thicker it gets. After the kheer has cooked, once you add sugar or jaggery or condensed milk, you will notice that the consistency of kheer will become thin again.The remedy for this is to return the kheer to the stove and again cook for about 10 minutes or so after adding the sugar and condensed milk. However, cooking again is not possible if you are using jagger. So, make sure that the kheer os cooked to a rich thicker consistency to start with.
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Rice Kheer – North Indian Rice Pudding

Traditional rice kheer (pudding) recipe made with full fat milk, basmati rice, jaggery (or sugar) and scented with green cardamom.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 5

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup basmati rice
  • 4 cups full fat milk
  • 8 whole green cardamom pods
  • 1/2 cup mixed nuts of choice
  • 1/2 cup jaggery powder (can be reduced to 1/3 cup) , see notes for other sweeteners

Instructions

  • Wash rice 2-3 times under a stream of water until the water runs clear. Add enough water to cover the rice and let soak for 30 minutes. This helps in even cooking of rice.
  • Rinse a wide and heavy pot with water. Dont wipe the water. Add milk and green cardamom to the pot. Set the milk pot on a low medium stove to boil.
  • In the mean time warm ghee in a pan and lightly toast the nuts in it. You can deep fry nuts in more ghee if you wish. Transfer to a plate and set aside. You can chop them as small or big as you like once they cool down.
  • When you see that the milk is starting to boil, drain and add the soaked rice to the milk. Immediately start stirring else the rice will stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • Now let the rice cook in milk for the next 45 minutes or so. Keep the stove on low medium and keep on stirring the milk often and scraping the sides and mixing with milk as needed.
  • Slowly the rice will cook and break down into small pieces and the kheer with start becoming thick.
  • By the end of 45 minutes you will see that the kheer is thick, the milk and rice are not seperate and it resembles a thick custard. If you like a runny kheer, cook for about 35 minutes. You decide how much to reduce the milk depending on the consistency you like.
  • Take off the stove and let cool down a bit. Once a little cool, add the jaggery powder and mix in. Dont cook after you have added the jaggery powder else the kheer will curdle.
  • You can pick and discard the cardamom seeds at the end of cooking. If you like a stronger cardamom taste, add 1/4 tsp ground cardamom powder. 
  • If you want to serve warm, garnish with nuts and serve rightaway. Else chill for a few hours and serve.

Notes

  • Always choose a heavy pot with a wide mouth. Heavy pot makes sure that the milk won’t burn and the temperature of the milk is maintained perfectly. You can use a cast iron pot, a stainless steel pot or your dutch oven.
  • Always rinse the pot before adding the milk. Don’t wipe after the rinse, you will notice that the milk or rice will never stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • Rice Quality :- Use good quality basmati rice which is not very new, old basmati rice has a nicer aroma and the starches are robust. You can use brown rice as well, make sure to choose brown basmati rice. Even fragrant short grain like jasmine also work great in this recipe.
  • Milk Quality:- Use full fat milk. This is how traditionally kheer is made. There is no khoya or evaporated milk or condensed milk needed, if you use whole milk, it will reduce during slow cooking and as the rice cooks in it, the thick consistency will be achieved.
  • Sweetener :- Use sugar, jaggery or even condensed milk, coconut sugar or honey, however you would like to sweeten it. There is no hard or fast rule here but keep in mind that the taste of the kheer will be different depending on the sweetener. Traditionally sugar is used, but my husband likes the taste of jaggery so I use that. See point 9.
  • Always soak the rice before cooking. This ensures even cooking of rice.
  • We like creamy, thick kheer so the cooking times indicated in the recipe are as per that. Cook a little less longer if you like a runny kheer. As i said before, this recipe can be used as per your preference.
  • How long it can be kept? :- Rice kheer keeps good for 2-3 days in the fridge. You can reheat on a stove before serving.
  • Thickness of Kheer :- The more you stir and cook down or reduce the kheer, the thicker it gets. After the kheer has cooked, once you add sugar or jaggery or condensed milk, you will notice that the kheer will become thin consistency again.The remedy for this is to return the kheer to the stove and again cook for about 10 minutes or so after adding the sugar and condensed milk. However, cooking again is not possible if you are using jaggery. So, make sure that the kheer is cooked to a rich thicker consistency to start with so that way it won’t be too runny after mixing with jaggery. 
  • Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar instead of jaggery. If using condensed milk, add 1/2 to 3/4th of a 400g tin. 

Aloo Paneer Ki Sabzi

An easy, homestyle gravy based dish made with paneer and potatoes. The combo of potatoes and paneer is pure love. With rotis or rice and salad, it makes for a delicious weeknight meal. This sabzi uses everyday ingredients from your pantry and is pretty straightforward.

We love paneer, especially my kids and its a great source of vegetarian protein. The popular paneer curries use ton of nuts and cream and while I absolutely love them, those are reserved for special occasions in our home. Everyday curries are fuss free and I make this paneer sabzi every other week.


I love making paneer curries in ghee but you can use mustard or olive or any cooking oil that you normally use. Here I also use a few whole spices but you can just use the powdered spices. Summer tomatoes are great right now and they enhance the taste of sabzi a lot. If you want, you can use crushed canned whole tomatoes as well.

Other paneer recipes to check out.

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Aloo Paneer ki Sabzi

Everyday homestyle paneer and poato curry which pairs well with rice, rotis and salad.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 large potato
  • 8 oz paneer
  • 1/4 cup ghee
  • 1 large bayleaf
  • 3 green cardamom cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, pounded in mortar pestle
  • 3 fat garlic cloves, pounded in mortar pestle
  • 1.5 cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp hot red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi, optional
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro, garnish

Instructions

  • Peel and cut the potato into 6-8 pieces. Keep soaked in water. Cut paneer into triangles or squares, as you wish, do not cut too thick or too thin.
  • Heat ghee on medium heat in a heavy bottom pot. Once nicely warm, add the whole spices. Crackle for 10 seconds and then add the onions.Cook onions till they brown evenly.
  • Add the ginger, garlic and cook for a minute or so till you smell a nice aroma.Then add the powdwered spices – coriander, turmeric, red chilli powder. Cook for 2 minutes in oil until you smell a toasty aroma. If you feel that the spices are getting dry, add a splash of water.
  • Next add the tomatoes,sugar and salt to the potCook for 5-6 minutes till you see oil seperating on the sides and the tomatoes are pulpy. Add the potatoes and mix well. Saute the potatoes for 3-4 minutes with the masala.
  • Add 1 cup hot water, mix.Taste and adjust the salt of the masala and bring it to a slow boil. Once boiling, reduce the stove to medium low and cover the pot. Let cook on medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until the potatoes are 95 percent cooked.
  • Once the potatoes are fork tender, add the paneer, kasuri methi, cumin powder and garam masala. Mix and cover again and let cook for another 5-8 minutes until poatoes are cooked through and the paneer has softened.
  • Let rest for 20 minutes before serving. Serve garnished with chopped cilantro.

Indian Spiced Chicken Avocado Burgers

If you love spiced burgers,then this recipe is for you. These chicken patty burgers are juicy and tender and loaded with spices (but they aren’t hot). Homemade chicken burgers dont have to be boring. These are full of lot of textures and flavors throughout.

I skip the cheese altogether but ofcourse you can add cheese slices if you want. Instead I rely on the naturally fatty and creamy avocados and add them two ways. There is garlicky mashed avocado spread on the bottom brioche bun which is topped which a flavorful ground chicken patty and then for extra texture I add onions, pickles and lemony diced creamy avocados.You won’t miss the cheese I promise.

Whenever you are choosing ground chicken for making burgers, always avoid ground chicken breast – it cannot stand the high heat of cooking and becomes very chewy. I go for a dark meat ground chicken which I get from my butcher but of course I have seen variety of ground chicken in the super stores. You can use ground turkey as well. Coming to avocados, the only thing to be kept in mind is to cover them in lime or lemon juice immediately.

Burgers are very easy to make. Really! These burgers are a huge hit with the kids. They are lunchbox friendly as well. If you add right amount of lemon juice to the avocados and wrap them well, they are good for a 3-4 hours. I like adding micro greens but you can add lettuce as well.

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Indian Spiced Chicken & Avocado Burgers

Super Flavorful Indian Spiced Chicken Burgers packed with onions, tomatoes and avocados on a buttery brioche bun.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 burgers

Ingredients

For The Chicken Patties

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger,finely chopped
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2-3 thai bird green chilies, adjust to tolerance
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 lb (450gms) ground chicken, room temperature (dont use ground chicken breast)
  • 3 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  • 3-4 leaves fresh mint leaves
  • 1.25 tsp salt

For Avocado Mash

  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 1 fat garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp very finely chopped scallions
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the Burgers

  • 4 to 6 brioche buns
  • 1 large ripe avocado, diced
  • Onions, tomatoes, dill pickles, micro greens

Instructions

Making Chicken Patties

  • Heat up 1 tbsp oil in a skillet. Add onions, garlic, ginger, chillies, spice powders all at once to the oil. Saute for 4-5 minutes on low medium heat until you see that there is no moisture in the skillet. Take off the stove and cool down slightly.
  • In a large bowl add the ground chicken, cilantro, mint, salt and the cooked onions and spices. Using a spatula or your hands, gently mix everything together. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

Make the Avocado Spread

  • Peel and de seed 1 large avocado. Place it in a wide bowl, add the garlic, salt, lemon jucie and scallion. Using a fork mash the avocado.
  • Dice the second avocado and toss it with some salt and lemon juice. Keep ready.
  • Prepare the onions, tomatoes etc while the ground chicken is resting. Also brush the broiche buns on the inside with melted butter. Keep ready.

Make the Burgers

  • Divide the ground chicken mixture into 6 equal portions. Oil your hands lightly and roll the portions into a ball. Pat the balls using your palms and fingers to make an evenly thick patty. Repeat till all the patties are formed. Do not make very thick patties to start with since these swell up while cooking.
  • Heat up a grill or cast iron pan and oil it liberally.You can use a nonstick pan as well. Place the chicken patties 3 at a time on the pan and let cook. Cook for 3-4 minutes each side on low medium heat. Cover them for a minute or so towards the last minute to make sure that the chicken is cooked through. Adjust the time depending on how thick or thin your chicken patties are or the quality of your ground chicken.
  • Side by Side toast the brioche buns on the skilllet.
  • To build the burger place the botton bun on a board and spread the avocado mash on it. Next place the onion and tomato slices. Place the cooked chicken patty on top and add a few pickles. Add a few spoon fuls of diced avocados followed by micro greens. Place the top bun. Assemble all the burgers in the same fashion. Serve with french fries and beer.Enjoy!

Bengali Macher Johl

Bengali Macher Jhol.A light spicy fish curry perfect for summer months. For us indians, curries are year round, isn’t? Depending on the season, I switch between lighter or richer preparations and these days I am mostly making soupy tomato or yogurt based ones. 

Turmeric rubbed fish steaks(I used fresh asian sea bass) shallow fried in virgin mustard oil are added to a nigella and bay leaf scented gravy which gets a kick from grassy green chillies. The flavors are so bright and different from the punjabi fish curry I grew up eating, but really perfect for the hot months.  

You can use any kind of fish that you normally use for curries – salmon or carp work well. I sometimes make it with frozen baramundi or snapper fillets as well. This curry can be made in a jiffy and tastes awesome with some steamed white rice. Sometimes potatoes or eggplants are added for a nice variation and always allow it to rest for 20-30 minutes for the best flavors.

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Bengali Macher Jhol

A light spicy fish curry from the eastern parts of india.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

To prep the fish

  • 1.5 lb (about 750g) sea bass(or rohu or salmon) cleaned and cut into steaks
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the Jhol

  • 1/4 cup mustard oil
  • 1/2 tsp nigella seeds
  • 3 thai bird green chillies, slit
  • 1/3 cup onion paste (simply grind onion in a blender using as less water as possible)
  • 2 garlic cloves ,pounded in mortar pestle
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 medium tomato chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1.5 cups hot water
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, add the fish, sprinkle salt and turmeric and rub on the pieces very well. Let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, add the powdered spices and mix ith 2-3 tbsp of water. Keep ready.
  • Add the mustard oil to a heavy wok or kadai and let heat up till slightly smoky.
  • Carefully, slide the fish into the oil and shallow fry for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from oil and place in a plate.
  • In the remaining oil, crackle the bay leaf, nigella and green chillies for 30 seconds.
  • Add the onion paste next and on medium heat, brown for about 3 minutes. Once browned add the ginger and garlic and fry for a minute. Add the powdered spices paste next, a splash of water and fry the spices for 2-3 minutes untill you see that the oil starts seperating.
  • Next add the tomato, sugar and salt and fry for 2 minutes till the tomatoes have softened.
  • Add hot water to the masala and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the stove and let simmer for 2 minutes. Add the fried fish to the gravy along with any oil thats leftover in the plate in which you kept the fish. Taste and adjust the salt once.
  • Let everything cook for 6-8 minutes untill the fish is cooked through. Remive from stove and mix in the lime juice. Let rest for atleast 20 minutes. Serve with steamed rice.

Coffee Jelly With Mocha- Mascarpone Cream

A very simple and fun coffee dessert which is one of my favorite. I am a caffeine loving person, if you cannot tell – chai and coffee anything makes me run. I am a huge fan of using the flavors of these beverages in my sweet treats. Coffee Jelly is a very popular japanese dessert. For this dessert I used the recipe from Just One Cookbook. Nami is a seasoned Japanese food blogger and this recipe came out amazing. Now these refreshing jellies do need a creamy element so I made a quick cocoa mascornpne whipped cream and scented it with little cinnamon since cinnamon is one of my favorite spice to pair with coffee.

The recipes are very easy but for the jelly, you have to start a night ahead. Make the jellies and let them set. Make a quick whipped cream next day and serve it. So breezy and your coffee loving guests will love it. If you do not want to serve with whipped cream, a dollop of chocolate ice cream is as good.

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Coffee Jelly With Mascarpone Whipped Cream

A fun summer dessert of coffee jelly served with luscious mocha whipped cream.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Japanese
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Servings 5 servings

Ingredients

For the Coffee Jelly – Please follow Just One Cookbook vegan recipe link here

    For the Mocha Mascarpone Cream

    • 8 oz mascarpone cream , very cold
    • 1.5 cup heavy whipping cream , very cold
    • 1-2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/4 tsp powdered cinnamom or vanilla

    Instructions

    • Prepare coffee jelly base according to the recipe. Pour it in individual cups and let set overnight.

    For the Mocha Mascarpne Whipped Cream

    • Place your mixing bowls and hand beater attachments in the freezer for 30 minuutes.
    • Add the mascarpone chesse, sifted cocoa powder and cinnamon into a large bowl and beat on medium low speed for 45 seconds or so.
    • Slowly start adding heavy cream about 1/2 cup at a time and beating on low speed at the same time. You will first see that the cheese is turning liquid but dont worry.
    • Increase the speed once you have added all the heavy cream, increase the speed and beat on medium high for about 8-10 minutes till you see soft peaks.
    • Add the powdered sugar next and continue to beat on low speed until all the sugar has been mixed. The resulting cream should have soft peaks and appear fluffy & cloudy.
    • Chill till you are ready to assemble.

    Assemble the Coffee Jelly Dessert

    • Add generous spoons of mich whipped cream on top of jelly, add nuts, shaved chocolate or fruits of choice. Serve chilled.

    Notes

    1. The coffee jelly recipe uses agar agar so its suitable for vegetarians. 
    2. Use a good quality instant coffee powder for a delicious tasting jelly. 
    3. You can serve with a scoop of chocolate ice cream instead of whipped cream.

    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)
    Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
    Cuisine Indian
    Prep Time 30 minutes
    Cook Time 30 minutes
    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.

    DIY Masala Chai Concentrate

    DIY chai concentrate is basically coveneinent chai any hour of the day. I love making and keeping it around especially during summers because whenever chai cravings (especially iced tea, all I have to do it pour it over ice and mix with some milk and ta-da. I call it a DIY because you can totally make it your own – like less strong chai? brew it for a shorter time, don’t like cinnamon in your chai?, simply skip it, would love to use english breakfast tea, go for it!

    Chai is a loved indian beverage and really I had never tried it iced before coming to the States. But then slowly I started liking it from cafes all around (its a very cool concept actually) and with the aroma of spices and inspired by vietnamese coffee, sweetened with condensed milk, its one of my favorite summer beverage. This concentrate is just not suitable for iced tea, you can use it to make hot tea as well. Just add in super hot milk and make sure to flush your tea cup with hot water before you pour everything in. When schools open, amid the morning rush, I seldom go for a hot cuppa this way! It is simply a chai lovers delight!

    There is simply nothing like a hot cup of chai at the end of day or a tumbler of iced tea in hand while lounging in the backyard, make this recipe your own and have fun. Below are a few more things I wanted to put down.

    • I use loose black tea to make mine, you can use your favorite tea or tea bags – orange pekoe or english breakfast to make it.
    • Add non diary milk to make it vegan friendly. I personally ike using oat milk in chai, other nut based mylks alter the taste of tea but then its your call.
    • You can use any selection of spices that you like – fennel or lemongrass work great as well.
    • If you dont like a strong brew, dont boil the chai for long.
    • I like to leave the concentrate unsweetened but you can add sugar while boiling.
    • This concentrate sits well in the fridge for 5 days, appears a little milky after refrigeration but dont worry. To last longer, you can place it in ice cube tray and freeze for 2 months.
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    DIY Masala Chai Concentrate

    A homemade masala chai concentrate with black tea, fragrant spices that sits well in the fridge for a week and is perfect for iced or hot tea any time of the day!
    Course Drinks
    Cuisine Indian
    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Cook Time 20 minutes
    Servings 8 servings

    Equipment

    • Large Pot, Measuring spoons, tea strainer

    Ingredients

    • 1 litre water
    • 4 inch fresh ginger shoot, crush in mortar pestle
    • 15 black peppercorns
    • 4-5 cloves
    • 15-18 green cardamom
    • 6-8 tbsp loose black tea (or use 6-8 unflavored tea bags)
    • To make tea – hot or cold milk, sweetener

    Instructions

    • In a large pot, bring water to a boil.
    • Once boiling, add the ginger, spices and loose tea (or tea bags).
    • Bring to a slow boil again, reduce the heat and let brew for 8-10 minutes. It will be a gorgeous dark amaber color and a beautiful aroma of spices will fill up your kitchen. Switch off the stove.
    • Strain and store in a glass container for up to a week. You can freeze in ice cube tray for upto 2 months.
    • To make Masala Chai – Add 1/3 cold (alomg with ice cubes) or hot milk to about 1/2 cup of the concentrate along with 1-2 tsp condensed milk or sugar. Really make it your own, taste and adjust. Mix and enjoy.

    Notes

    • I use loose black tea to make mine, you can use your favorite tea or tea bags – orange pekoe or english breakfast to make it.
    • Add non diary milk to make it vegan friendly. I personally ike using oat milk in chai, other nut based mylks alter the taste of tea in my opinion but then its totally your call.
    • You can use any selection of spices that you like – fennel or lemongrass work great as well.
    • If you dont like a strong brew, dont boil the chai for long.
    • I like to leave the concentrate unsweetened but you can add sugar while boiling.
    • This concentrate sits well in the fridge for 5 days. To last longer, you can place it in ice cube tray and freeze for 2 months.