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.

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.
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
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!

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.
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
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!

Oats Spinach Muthiya

Muthiya is a traditional healthy Gujarati(western India) snack made with different kind of flours, vegetables and spices. The dumplings are steamed and then quickly pan fried in a tempering of sesame & mustard seeds, curry leaves and lemon juice. The balance of flavors is impeccable- sweet, spicy, tangy, yum! These irrestible, soft and crispy savory bites are good for breakfast or any time snack.

My recipe uses oat flour and chickpea flour skipping the wheat flour(which is traditionally used).The recipe is vegan and gluten free. “Mutthi” or a making a fist how the dumplings are shaped traditionally and that’s why the name. You can make fistfuls or make oval shape dumplings of dough or make long rolls and slice them(that what I find easiest to do).

Oat flour & besan dough studded with vegetables – I like to use grated lauki(opo squash) & loads of spinach and with a kick from fresh ground green chillies and ginger, these dumplings are super flavorful.

A few things to keep in mind when you make muthiya:-

  • Don’t make a very dry or a very soft dough. Since we are adding grated lauki, due to salt, the juices will be released and that’s majorly enough to bind the dough once you start squishing. Add a tablespoon or two of water if needed or you can use a dollop of yogurt as well (gives it a very good taste).
  • You can substitute lauki(opo squash) with zucchini or finely grated cabbage. Instead of spinach you can add methi (fenugreek) leaves or a combo of leafy greens.
  • Don’t make a very large batch. In my opinion, as compared to dhokla, these don’t store that well after getting pan fried, make a small batch and consume right away or same day. However, the steamed muthiya can be sliced and frozen. I make them a night before many times and temper when I am about to serve!
  • I like to grind my own oats and not grind them super fine. The texture of the muthiya is great that way. I find that using store bought oat flour makes them a bit sticky. You can substitute oats with wheat flour as well if you wish.
  • You can steam the muthiya in Instant pot as well. Find the recipe here which explains the IP method well.
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Oats Spinach Muthiya (Vegan & Glutenfree)

A popular gujarati snack made with oats, chickepea flour and vegetables like spinach & bottle gourd. Pairs beautifully with chai.
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

For the Muthiya

  • 1/2 cup ground oats (dont super fine)
  • 1/2 cup besan(chickpea flour)
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup grated lauki (opo squash)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Pinch of ajwain seeds
  • 2 tbsp ginger green chilli paste ,simply pound 1.5 inch knob of ginger and green chilies in mortar pestle
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • Salt to tatse
  • water or yogurt (if needed)

For tempering

  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp black mustad seeds
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 2 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 6-8 curry leaves

To sprinkle

  • Sugar, Lemon Juice, Cilantro, Grated coconut(optional)

Instructions

  • Brush a little oil on the base of your steamer basket or dish. Set up your steamer arrangement by filling it with water and keep it ready to go.
  • In a large bowl, add all the ingredients listed under "Muthiya" except water. Gently start squishing everything to combine. The lauki and spinach will start releasing their juices and you would be able to almost bring the dough together. If needed, add a tablespon of water at a time to form a firm yet soft dough. You can use yogurt in place of water as well. Dont knead the dough too much. Once a ball is formed, dough is ready.
  • Cover the dough with a cloth and rest it for 10 minutes. Meanwhile start your steamer so that the water is boiling when you are ready to steam.
  • Divide the rested dough into two portions. Shape the dough into thick logs.
  • Place the logs in the steamer. Make sure that the water is boiling when you place the logs. Steam for 18-20 minutes until a skewer when inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Switch off the stove and let sit covered to continue cooking in residual steam. After about 10-12 minutes when the logs are cool to touch, using a sharp knife, slice the logs into small portions. Use knife in a saw manner so as to not squish when you slice.
  • In a wide pan, add the oil for tempering. Crackle dried chilli, mustard and sesame seeds. Add the curry leaves, they will splutter. Place the sliced muthiya in a single layer in the tempering. Let pan fry for 3 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side.
  • Once the muthiya are pan fried lightly, switch off the stove. Sprinke sugar, lemon juice and chopped cilantro. Add the grated coconut if using.Serve immendiately!

Dilli Aloo Ki Chaat

Aloo chaat from streets of Delhi is one of the best things. Shallow fried potatoes in ghee tossed with powdered spices, drizzled with chutney and served warm with a little bit of grated mooli (daikon)or onions. The chaat stalls selling this chaat can be spotted from a mile away thanks to the aroma of frying potatoes. If you take a stroll in neighborhoods of Delhi particularly in the evening, you will find a chaat corner frying this chaat on every other block.

Traditionally, they fry the potatoes in ghee and hence the aroma is so amazing. Sweet, spicy, sour and deep fried- this is one amazing chaat recipe which can be quickly whipped to satiate your cravings. It can be a quick snack for any time. Just cut up the potatoes, mix the spices and go for it.

I used a mixture of different potato varieties I could find in store. Sweet potatoes(orange & purple) and regular russet/gold and red potatoes. The naturally sweet potatoes really added so much taste to this chaat, they were my favorite, to to forget the beautiful natural colors they added.

A few things to be kept in mind when making this Chaat:-

Soaking the Potatoes:- Even though I say that this is a quick snack for anytime and really you can cut up potato chunks and make this any time, I suggest planning a bit and soaking the potatoes for at least 3-4 hours. Slice or cut potatoes in chunks , I leave the skin on because it adds a nice flavor, and soak the potatoes in sharp salty water for good 3-4 hours. The water will pull out the starches since starches are water soluble and the salt will season the potatoes in the process leading to a super flavorful potato for frying. Soaking also helps in making the potatoes crispy as the quantity of starches goes down.

Fried potatoes are the key. Shallow fried potatoes usually fried to order in the center of a large heavy tawa(griddle) in ghee give the best flavor. However, if you don’t want to use just ghee, 100% ghee, use a neutral oil like grape seed or sunflower and add a tablespoon of ghee for that particular aroma. Shallow fry on both sides with golden crispy edges for the best taste.

Kind of potatoes. Avoid using a high starch content potato like Russet. In India, usually the winter crop potatoes are the best choice since they are waxy and have a good starch to moisture ratio. Here I used a mix of potatoes- sweet potatoes, purple yams, red potatoes, idaho yellow potatoes and a few slices of russet for a great balance of flavors and textures. Bonus point being that it made the chaat super colorful with multitude of natural colors.

Spices and Chutneys– The best time of add the spices is right after the potatoes come out of the oil.The oil helps in sticking the spices to the potatoes and makes them super flavorful. As for the chutneys, you can add any kind but on the streets, they add tamarind chutney. I add the tamarind chutney, lot of it and instead of green chutney, I add a lot of fresh herbs like cilantro & mint and green chilli slices. Biting into leafy herbs gives the chaat another layer of taste.

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Dilli Wali Aloo Chaat

A spicy sweet sour potato chaat from streets of Delhi. Made with multi color potatoes.
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Griddel, Cutting board, knifes, bowls and spoons

Ingredients

  • 3 large size potatoes (1 russet + 1 gold potato+ 1 red potato)
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 medium purple yam
  • Ghee for frying ,substitute with oil+ghee
  • 2 tsp chaat masala
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp crushed anardana (dry pomegranate seeds) ,optional
  • 1.5 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp Black salt
  • Salt to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp Tamarind Chutney
  • 2 tbsp nylon sev
  • Grated Daikon, Sliced Onions,Green Chillies, Cilantro & Mint leaves, Pomegranate Arils

Instructions

  • Thoroughly wash the poatoes. You can peel off the skin if you wish, I dont. Cut into slices (about 1/4th inch). You can cut in chunks as well.
  • Take a large bowl. Place the potatoes and sprinke 1/2 tbsp of salt. Add enough water to the bowl to cover the poatoes. Soak the potatoes for 3 hours.
  • Drain and discard the water and using a kitchen towl dry out the potatoes thorougly.
  • In a cast iron skillet heat up 2 inches of oil. I recommend taking a wide pan instead of a kadai/wok for frying. Heat on medium heat till you see ripples on the surface.
  • Add the poatoes in a single layer in the ghee. Dont overcrowd the pan, fry in 2 or more batches if needed. Fry on medium high heat till you see that potatoes are nicley browned and are crispy. Use a fork to make sure that they are tender and cooked. Dont overfry, The poatatoes should have a soft inside and crispy outside.
  • Take out the potatoes, dont drain the extra oil. Add the spices powders and chutney immediately. Or you can arranged the potatoes on a plate and sprinkle the spices and chutney.
  • Add herbs, cut up chillies, onions and daikon. Scatter some pomergrante arils and serve warm.

Notes

  1. You cam make this chaat with regular potatoes. 
  2. Feel free to add yogurt and green chutneys if you wish. 

Rajasthani Pyaz Ki Kachori

Deep fried kachoris stuffed with all sorts of fiery filling are are huge hit on festivals. Holi is just around the corner and I made a batch over the weekend, these Kachoris last well for a few days and are an amazing snack or a full meal if you wish to. Kachori is a deep fried, unleavened, stuffed flatbread from northern parts of India and is usually filled with a stuffing of lentils, potatoes, onions or dry fruits(a sweet version) and they are quite popular on festivals.

Pyaz or onion stuffed kachoris are a famous street side snack from the State of Rajasthan in north western parts of India. Rajasthai food is high on spice levels, almost fiery, the desert terrain demands that kind of spice levels in cuisine since it helps survive the brutal heat of summers. These kachoris are no exception. There are full pf punch of spices and I serve them with a hot lehsun mirch ki chutney (garlic- red chilli chutney) which takes them to next level. So so good with a cup of chai for evening snack or brunch on weekends.

The stuffing is made with a full head of onion or two to which fresh ground masalas are added and a little potato for binding. The onion filling is super flavorful with generous dose of hing and coarsely ground cumin, fennel and coriander. If you wish, a knob of this filling is so good even on sandwiches or with parathas. YUM!

Keep the below things in mind when you make kachoris:-

  • The dough should not be too tight or too sticky. We need a firm pliable dough with good amount of moyan(the oil/ghee/shortening that is added to dough while kneading so that the kachoris come out flaky. Keep in mind that the dough is softer than poori dough.
  • Rest the dough for 30 minutes after kneading. In the meantime you can make the stuffing.
  • Fry the kachoris on low heat. Don’t fry on high heat else they want cook inside and will not all all be flaky.
  • A good indicator of a well made kachoris is that their skins are golden brown and have no to few bubbles, this is achieved by patient frying on low medium heat.
  • When you make the stuffing, don’t brown the onions, we just want the moisture to dry out but we don’t want them to be jammy. They should have a bite. I usually mix in a little bit of raw chopped onions so as to pronounce the onion flavor and texture.
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Rajasthani Pyaz Ki Kachori

Deep fried flatbread stuffed with a spicy fiery onion filling
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 to 10 kachoris

Equipment

  • Mixing Bowls, Saute Pan, Deep Pot/Kadhai for frying

Ingredients

For The Kachoris

  • 1.5 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ajwain seeds
  • 1/2 tsp nigella seeds
  • 5-6 tbsp vegetable shortening ,substitute with oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water (I used 10 tbsp) ,water should not be cold
  • Oil for frying

For The Onion Stuffing

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp black pepeprcorn (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp hing
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp besan
  • 1 large onion (yield 1.5 cups chopped onions) dont chop the onions too fine
  • 2 small potatoes, boiled and peeled
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric powder
  • Red chilli powder ,to taste
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor powder
  • Salt ,to taste

For Lehsun Mirch Chutney

  • 2 heads (20-25) garlic cloves peeled
  • 4-5 dried red chillies (or use fresh red chillies)
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp vinegar ,adjust to taste
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

Make the Kachori Dough

  • Combine all the dough ingredients except water in a deep bowl/parat. Mix and rub the flour with palms and finger till you are able to form a loose ball of flour(thsi makes sure that the moyan is right and the kachoris will be flaky).
  • Start adding water slowly and kneading into a soft pilable dough. Your water quantity might be different than mine since different flours have different absoprtion quality. Knead well for 4 to 5 minutes.Cover and let the dough rest for 20 minutes. It will loosen a bit and will be easy to work with.

Make the Onion Stuffing

  • In a small sauce pan, dry roast the whole spices- coriander, cumin & black peppecorns. Cool a bit and grind coarsely. Set aside.
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wide pan. Add asafetida to the oil and chopped 1.25 cups onions. Sprinkle 1/4 tso salt. Keep the heat on medium high and saute the onions for 3-5 minutes untill you see that they are transculent but not mushy or cooked. Dont lower the heat else the onions will get watery. Dont let the onions brown. Cook till the moisture is dry.
  • Add ginger, green chillies, tumeric and red chilli powder next. Saute for a 3-4minutes.
  • Add potatoes, crumble them in the pan as you add, add besan, mango powder and salt to taste.
  • Mix well, and mash potatoes using back of the spoon. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add the 1/4 cup chopped onion and mix well. Cool down completely.

Make the Kachoris

  • Divide the rested dough into 8-10 equal portions. Set aside a small portion of dough to test the oil.
  • Roll out each portion of the dough into a 2.5-3 inch diameter circle.
  • Place 2-3 tbsp of the onion filling in the center.PInch the extra dough as you close the parcel.
  • Press gently and pat with hands to flatten the kachori, try to make the edges a bit thin.
  • Prick the kachoris 1-2 times with a fork. Keep all the kachoris ready before you start frying.
  • Heat 2-3 inches of oil in a wide pot/kadai over medium-high heat till you see ripples on the surface.
  • Turn the heat to medium-low and wait for 2-3 minutes. to check the temperature of oil, add a pinch of dough, it should noty come up to surface sizzling (oil is too hot). If it comes very slowly(oil is cold). It should rise to the surfce slowly(not very slowly)
  • Slowly slide 2-3 kachoris at a time into the hot oil. Dont crowd the oil.
  • Deep-fry the kachoris till golden.Drain on an absorbent kitchen paper and serve hot with chutney (recipe below) and chai.

Make The Chuntey

  • Soak the dried red chillies in 1/4 cup hot water for 15 mins. Skip this step if using fresh chillies.
  • Place the garlic, vingear, salt and soaked chillies in a blender. Blend to a smooth paste using soaking water as need. Keep pasty dont make too runny.
  • Heat oil in small pan, temper with cumin seeds, add the chutney paste. Mix and cook for 6-8 minutes. Store refrigerated for 2 weeks.

Air fried/Baked Sweet Tamarind- Chilli Chicken Wings

These sticky and tangy chicken wings are juicy, spicy and delicious – a true showstopper. I often make wings at home and this recipe always hits the right spots. If you ask me, you can never go wrong with chicken wings- even when done with minimal ingredients they turn out so yummy.

Back in the day, I always shied away from deep frying wings so I hardly made them at home. We used to eat them once in a while and that used to be at restaurants or take outs. Ever since I started using an air fryer, my outlook towards homemade chicken wings has changed. They can be super easy to make and turn out quite delicious if you keep a few things in mind.

You can use regular tamarind in this recipe and adjust the sugar & vinegar to your liking. I just used sweet tamarind pods because I had a ton to finish and I thought that it would help me cut down sugar in the sauce which it did. Just soak and squeeze the pulp of the pods like regular tamarind. I used chopped Fresno chillies for heat because I happened to have a few on hand but you can use red chilli flakes easily.

Last week I saw this post on Food52 Instagram page by amazing Sohlae who talks about always dry brining the chicken wings before baking them. I was itching to try it and used the same method for brining as she mentioned and viola!, such a revelation. These turned out so crispy outside and juicy inside. I changed her measurements a bit because I was making a lesser quantity of wings. However stick to her recipe if you are making 2 to 2.5 pounds of wings.

  1. Always make sure to marinate/dry brine the chicken wings overnight. I have tried it the quick way it for 2-3 hours myself and truly a longer marination makes a huge difference.
  2. Pat the chicken dry before baking/air frying it. The drier the chicken skin is, the crispier they turn out.
  3. Take the marinated wings out of the fridge for an hour before you plan to bake them, avoid putting cold wings right in a hot oven, it can make them tough.
  4. I also feel that making the sauce a few hours ahead makes a difference- the flavors have time to mingle and it tastes better.
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Air Fried Sweet Tamarind- Chilli Chicken Wings

Juicy, spicy & tangy chicken wings with crisy skins perfect for game day, a quick appetizer for just for snacking.
Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American, Indian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 15 wings

Equipment

  • Oven/Air fryer, Bowls, Tongs, Sauce Pan

Ingredients

For Dry Brining the Chicken Wings

  • 1.5 pounds party chicken wings
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

For the Sweet Tamarind – Chilli Sauce

  • 1/3 cup thick tamarind pulp, see notes
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tbsp ginger minced
  • 2 fresno chillies finely chopped (adjust to taste, substitute with red chilli flakes)
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2-4 tbsp brown sugar adjust to taste
  • 1/4 cup malt vinegar,
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • salt to taste
  • 2-4 tbsp water if needed

For Baking/Air Frying

  • Cooking Spray/Oil

Instructions

Dry Brine the Wings

  • In a large bowl, add the wings and all the ingredients listed under the dry brining.
  • Toss very well using clean hands, cover the bowl with a cling film and refrigerate overnight.

Make the Tamarind Sauce

  • In a medium bowl, mix the tamarind pulp, sugar, soy sauce, cumin, salt, black pepper and vinegar.
  • Heat up oil in a sauce pan. Once warm, add the garlic, ginger and chopped chillies(or chilli flakes) to the hot oil and saute for 30 seconds, dont let burn.
  • Add the tamarind pulp mix all at once to the pan. Add 2-3 tbsp water and mix well. Cook down on low medium heat for 10-12 minutes till its thickish. The sauce wil be runny in the beginning but slowly thicken.
  • Once the sauce is ready, cool down and set aside.

Prepare the Wings for Baking/Air Frying

  • Take the marinated chicken out of the fridge atleast one hour ahead of starting to cook. Using paper towel, pat the chicken dry. Discard the liquid at the bottom of the bowl. Dry the chicken very well.
  • Place the chicken in another bowl and add 2-3 tbsp of the tamrind sauce that we prepared before. Using clean hands, toss and mix to coat all the wings properly.
  • To Air Fry -Preheat your air fryer at 360F. Layer the wings in a single layer in the basket.If needed you can place the drumettes standing up if they are not fitting all at once. Make sure that the wings are not touching each other.
  • Air fry for a total of 20 minutes, flipping using tongs half way at 10 minutes.
  • Bump the temperature to 390 F at the end of 20 minutes let air fry for additional 5-7 minutes until you see that the skins are crispy.
  • To Bake – Preheat oven to 400F. Line a sheet pan with foil and place a oven proof rack on top of the foil. Spray the rack liberally wiuth cooking spray.
  • Arrange the wings in a single layer on the rack.
  • Bake for 40 minutes, flipping using tongs at half the time until the wings are crispy and slightly charred on the edges.
  • Serve the wings warm with rest of the tamarind sauce.

Notes

  1. Just soak and squeeze the pulp of the sweet tamarind pods like regular tamarind.

Brownie Bottom Saffron Cheesecake Bites


These mini cheesecake bites combine two of my favorite desserts. A cream, slightly tangy cheesecake batter atop fudgy brownie layer when eaten together with airy whipped cream is a burst of textures and flavors in your mouth. The bites are flavored with my favorite indian spices and the spiced layers complement each other so well. The brownie layer has hints of fresh ground green cardamom while the cheesecake batter gets its golden color and exotic flavor from saffron. My favorite brand to use is Zaran Saffron.

These bites are incredibly quick and easy to make once you gather the ingredients which aren’t too many. The combination of chocolate and saffron is both bold and exotic.I took to mini cheesecake bites sometime last year and its one of my favorite things to bake. This recipe makes a batch of 10-12 bites which keep well for 2-3 days in the fridge and are amazing for a post dinner sweet craving.

A few things to be kept in mind:-

  1. Make sure that your ingredients are are at room temperature wherever mentioned. I can’t stress this enough.
  2. The brownie layer is baked first to set before adding the cheesecake batter but make sure to not bake the brownie layer fully.
  3. Bake the cheesecake bites till the centers are jiggly. Do not bake all the way through. They will finish setting up while chilling.
  4. A common problem is cracks in the cheesecake layer. The reason is that when your ingredients are not a room temperature, we tend to overmix the batter and incorporate too much air in the process. This makes the batter rise too much during baking and it comes cracking down after you take it out of the oven.However, dont stress too much about it because you can always cover the cracks up with ganache or dollop of whipped cream or fruit toppings. Remember taste over looks, always! 🙂
  5. Another common problem is that the cheese batter is grainy and not smooth after you beat it. Again, this happens when the cream cheese is not at room temperature.
  6. After the baking is over, dont pull out the cheesecakes immediately out of the oven, switch the oven off, open the door and let them hang out there for 5-8 minutes.
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Brownie Bottom Saffron Cheesecake Bites

Fudgy, cardamom scented brownie bottom topped with golden saffron cheesecake filling. A bold exotic dessert.
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 12

Equipment

  • Bowls, Hand Mixer/Whisk, Spatula, Muffin Pans,Paper Liners

Ingredients

For the Brownie Layer

  • 4 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 tbsp semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour sifted
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder sifted
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom

For the Cheesecake Filling

  • 10-12 strands saffron
  • 1/2 tbsp warm milk
  • 8 oz cream cheese (please dont use low fat or no fat), softened at room temperature
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 1 tbsp sour cream room temperature
  • 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon or orange juice
  • pinch sea salt

To serve

  • whipped cream

Instructions

Brownie Layer

  • Line your 12 muffin/cupcake pan with liners and preheat oven to 350F.
  • In a medium bowl, add the butter and set it in microwave to completely melt for minute or so. Once melted, take out and immediately add the chocolate chips. Wisk well gently till smooth. The chocolate will melt in warm butter.
  • Add the sugar to the bowl and whisk well for 2-3 minutes till everything is creamy and the sugar is dissolved. By this time the mix would cool down as well so its ready for egg.
  • Add the egg to the coo butter sugar mix and whisk well to combine.
  • Next, add the flour cocoa powder and cardamon. Using a spatula combine everything until you cannot see any white flour. The mix will be smooth and sticky. And too tempting to lick 🙂
  • Add about 1 tbsp of heaped brownie batter to each liner. You can decide which layer you want to make thicker and add the batter accordingly.
  • Set in the oven to bake for 6-8 minutes untill the brownie batter is set. Dont bake all the way through. After its set, pull out the tray and you will that the brownie layer is puffy but it will puff down while you make the filling.

Cheesecake Filling

  • Grind saffron strands using mortar pestle, pour over warm milk and let infuse.
  • In a large bowl, add all the ingredients under the filling and using a hand mixer, beat for 2-3 minutes until smooth and fluffy. Dont over beat.
  • Add the infused saffron next and beat for 10-15 seconds to incorporate.
  • Add about 1/4 cup to the cupcake liners filling with brownie crust. You can add the filling in a ziplock bag and pour too. So I had planned for 12 cheesecakes but ran out after 11th one was filled.  Once filled, tap the pan a few times to get rid of any air bubbles.
  • Bake for 13-15 minutes or until set, little jiggly in the centre is fine. Dont overbale else the cheesecake will not be soft after chilling.Once baked, switch off the stove, open the door and let the pan stay there for a 10 mins.
  • After 10 minutes, pull out of the oven and transfer to a rack to cool down completely.
  • Chill for at least 6 hours or overnight before serving. Add dollop of whipped cream before serving.

Rajma Ke Kabab (Vegan & GF Kidney Bean Kababs)

Vegetarian kababs were sometimes made by mom to use up the beans or lentils she had leftover. These are a great protein rich vegetarian option, these are super easy to make and form a light meal with some rotis and chutney. Or make burgers or wraps with them.

You can easily make a big batch, shape these and pan fry over a few days as and when you want. There are a few varieties of rajma available in stores but I go for the dark skinned ones mostly because they pack a lot of flavor. The darker the kidney bean, the tastier.

There are a few things to be kept in mind when making these so that the kababs are moist (yet not falling apart) and not dry either. If you are not using leftover boiled rajma and boiling beans just to make these, always mash the rajma after it has cooled down. If you mash it while it is hot, they will be quite sticky, difficult to shape and the texture is not going to be right. Don’t use a food processor or blender – it just kills the texture.

You really dont need any binder to shape these, because the beans bind well on their own. I add a potato just for taste, you can substitute with sweet potatoes(though then they will be a little sweeter) or skip potatoes totally. Use any kinds of beans – garbanzo, black chickpeas, black eyed peas or skin on lentils, this recipe will work for all.

Recipe

Ingredients Makes 8-10 Kababs

  • 1.5 cup boiled rajma (see notes)
  • 1 large potato, boiled and peeled
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions ,divided
  • 4 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp extra hot red chilli powder (adjust to tolerance)
  • 1 tsp chaat masala (recipe for my homemade blend here)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor (dried mango powder, adjust depending on how tangy your chaat masala is and how tangy you prefer, substitute with lime juice)
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped (adjust to tolerance)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp chopped mint (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for pan frying
  • Chaat masala, pickled onions, chutney etc to serve.

Notes

  1. You can use canned beans in this recipe.
  2. Make sure that boiled rajma dosent have any liquid. If using canned, drain the beans properly to strain the liquid out.

Method

In a large bowl, mash the cold rajma nicely with hands. It will take a few minutes but avoid using a food processor or blender (it only makes the beans sticky). Try to mash them as fine as possible. Little bits of skins here and there is okay. Separately mash the boiled potato as well. Don’t grate the potato.

On medium heat, heat up oil in a pan (preferably non stick). Crackle the cumin seeds and immediately add 1/3 cup chopped onion, garlic and ginger all together to the pan. Saute for just 30 seconds and add the mashed beans and potato to the pan. Sprinkle all the powdered spices along with salt and mix well to combine. Cook this mixture continuously stirring for 2-3 minutes, you can mash lightly as you go. It will start to clump up into a ball. But will be soft. Dont cook for long else kababs will be dry.

Take off the heat, transfer to a bowl and let cool down completely. Add the rest of the onions, green chillies, cilantro and mint(if using). Combine well gently mixing with spatula or your hand if needed. Knead for a few minutes. Taste and adjust the salt at this stage. Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes.

Oil your palms, divide into equal portions and make small patties with your hands. Smooth all around using your palms and fingers. You should get around 8 or 10. Make all the patties and place them on a plate before frying.

Brush 1 tbsp oil on a cast iron skillet or a non stick pan. Once the skillet is hot (not super hot), place the kababs on the skillet and let them fry for 3-5 minutes on a low to medium heat until the bottoms are darkish and crispy. You can add 1 tsp oil at intervals but don’t add lot of oil all at once.

Carefully, using a wide spatula, flip and cook on the other side. These will be soft so be gentle. Cook till browned on other side. Switch off the stove and let the kababs rest on the skillet for 5-7 minutes. This sets them, if you pick up too soon, they will break.

Serve warm.

Enjoy!

Chicken Manchurian

Manchurian is a widely popular Indo Chinese dish in the indian subcontinent. Sold on streets as well as in good restaurants, it is fried vegetable or chicken dumplings in a  â€˜Manchurian†sauce. Do not confuse the origins of  â€˜Manchurian†sauce – it definitely has nothing to do with the region by the same name in South East Asia. Creatively put together by chinese who lived in eastern parts of  India for centuries, imagine it to be an amber-colored, tangy and mildly sweet but hot sauce with hints of spices.

We are huge fans of Indo Chinese food at home. It is a much needed break from the usual daals and curries for dinner. The flavors are enticing and a lovely balance of sweet spicy tangy umami.

Indo chinese tastes best when you use of Indian condiments – I make it a point to use the brands from Indian store for that authentic taste. However, you can very well do few a substitutions and use your pantry to try this recipe. If you have an Indian store near by, do pay a visit and try to stock on these things to try many other recipes already on my blog. There are many condiments and sauces available, but below is a terse list of sauces from the brand “Chings” which will equip you to make some delicious Indo chinese food at home.

  • Chings Dark Soy Sauce – Its thick and dark and has a strong aroma, not your regular soy sauce used for dipping dumplings or tasting. This robust sauce can stand cooking and is full of umami.
  • Chings Green Chili Sauce – This is hot. Its basically green chillies ground with vinegar and it lends a grassy heat to the recipes.
  • Chings Red Chili Sauce – This is red chilies ground with vinegar and it lends more of a smoky rounded heat to your sauce base.
  • Chings Vinegar or Chings Chili Vinegar – You choose! The latter has chilli notes along with tangy.
  • Chings Schezwan Chutney – Amazing way to start the recipe, the chili garlic base when sautéed in oil lends a beautiful fiery garlicky notes to whatever you are making. It can be served as it is on a side or tossed with noodles and rice, its just super delicious.

Here the machurian sauce is little different from the vegetable manchurian or gobi manchurian I shared earlier. The selection and measurement of condiments different because chicken needs a more robust sauce. You can serve it with fried rice or hakka noodles for a lip smacking meal.

Recipe

For the Chicken Dumplings

  • 1 lb ground chicken (dark meat,dont use ground chicken breast)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tbsp red chilli flakes (adjust to taste)
  • Chopped scallions (optional)
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Fresh ground black pepper to tatse
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Oil to spray (if baking) or enough oil to deep fry

For the Manchurian Sauce

  • 1 tbsp Chings dark soy sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp Chings Red chilli sauce or Sriracha
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp extra hot red chili powder (or to taste)
  • 3 tbsp dark clover honey
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil (its a strong unique flavor, can be skipped)
  • 1 cup+1/2 cup chicken stock (you can use 1/2 stick 1/2 water, dont use only water)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch (make a slurry with 2 tbsp cold water)
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1-2 thai bird green chillies, finely chopped (adjust to taste)
  • 2 scallion stalks, white & green parts chopped separately
  • Salt to taste
  • 1.5 tbsp vinegar (or to taste)
  • Chopped cilantro to garnish

Serve with – Fried rice, Hakka Noodles, Chili Garlic Noodles

Notes :-

  • Don’t use flavored oils like olive or coconut oil for making the sauce. Neutral Oils are best for the sauce.
  • Use any diced vegetables like bell peppers or baby corn etc in this recipe. Add them after the onions ginger & garlic have finished sautéing.
  • Add more cornstarch if you like a thickish sauce.
  • If you dont want to make ground chicken balls, you can add chicken breast or breaded fried chicken pieces to the sauce. Works great!

Method

For the Dumplings

Mix all the listed ingredients except oil in a large bowl. Gently mix everything together using spatula first and then if needed with hands without squishing a lot. Let the mix rest fir 10-15 minutes. If you feel its too sticky (depends on water content of your mince, add another tablespoon of cornstarch). Oil your palms and make lime sized balls with the mixture.You should get about 12-15.

If you are baking:- Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a large sheet with parchment. Place the chicken meatballs in a single layer and spray or brush linberally with oil. Bake for 8-9 minutes until the meatballs are firm and whitish from outside. They will finish cooking in sauce.

If you are deep frying – Heat up 3 inch oil in a frying pan. Fry chicken meatballs a few at a time until golden and crispy on medium heat. Drain on a paper towel.

Set the cooked chicken meatballs aside.

Make the Sauce

In a bowl, mix together soy sauce, red chilli sauce, tomato puree, coriander & red chilli powder, sesame oil and honey. Taste this concoction a tiny bit once (this is a strong paste right now) and you can adjust the heat or sweetness as you wish. Keep it ready.

Also keep all the chopped vegetables and cornstarch slurry ready. Warm up the chicken stock a bit. Keep everything ready to go because this sauce comes together very fast once you start cooking.

In a wide wok or heavy bottomed, heat up the oil on high. Once the oil is smoky, add the chopped onion, garlic, ginger scallion white parts and green chillies all at once. Saute for 2-3 minutes until you smell a nice aroma. If you are using any vegetables, now is the time to add them and saute on high heat for 1-2 mins. Dont cook a lot, they will be perfect by the end of cooking. I did not add any vegetables.

Add the soy sauce mix we made earlier to the wok. Saute for a couple minutes on high heat continuously stirring and then add the warm chicken stock. Add the salt to taste. Reduce the heat to medium and let the stock heat up. You will start to see bubbles on the sides. At this point add the baked chicken meatballs and let them finish cooking for 2-3 minutes or so in the sauce. Dont add the meatballs if you deep fried them (We will add at the end).

Add the cornstarch slurry next and let simmer for 2 minutes until the sauce is a bit thick and smooth. Switch off the stove. If you deep fried the meatball, add them now. Add the vinegar and green parts of the scallions along with some fresh chopped cilantro. Mix together gently and serve immediately.

Enjoy!