Appetizers & Snacks

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.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Indian

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!
Appetizers & Snacks · Indian Streetfood & Indo Chinese

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.
Prep Time3 hrs 20 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: Indian
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. 
Appetizers & Snacks

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
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Indian
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.
Appetizers & Snacks

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.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American, Indian
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.
Appetizers & Snacks

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!

Appetizers & Snacks · Indian Streetfood & Indo Chinese

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!

Appetizers & Snacks

Shrimp Toasties

Buttery white bread topped with juicy fiery masala shrimp. A simplistic yet an elegant appetizer. These toasties are so wonderful with some drinks as starters or even as a snack anytime of the day. They are a blast of textures – crisped bread, succulent shrimp and fiery bite of green chillies.

I make the shrimp topping north indian style in a onion tomato ginger garlic masala but take this an as idea and cook your shrimp any way you like. On different occasions, I have tried south indian style with curry leaves and desiccated coconut as well as goan style with little kokum. If you have sea food lovers in the house these flavorful toasties will be a huge hit.

I wanted to use small or medium shrimp but could not find any so I used large sized.If you use a larger size shrimp as well, cut it up in bite size pieces. The recipe is pretty simple and quick. Make sure that the vegetables are finely chopped since the cooking times is not too long. Also if you are using frozen shrimp, thaw them properly and make sure that they are dry before adding to the pan.

Recipe

Ingredients (Makes 12 toasties)

  • 2-3 tbsp oil
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 3 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 2-3 green chillies(or to taste)
  • 2 tsp tomato paste (or use 1 tbsp tomato puree)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • pinch of sugar
  • 18-20 large size raw shrimp, deveined and tail removed (cut into bite size pieces or if you can find smaller sized shrimp, use those)
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp toasted bread crumbs
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 white bread slices (sides removed and cut into quarters)
  • 2-3 tbsp melted butter (to brush on bread)

Notes

  1. If you are using frozen shrimp, thaw them properly and make sure to pat them dry before adding to the pan. we dont want any extra liquid while cooking.
  2. Add chilli flakes instead of green chillies if you wish.

Method

In a pan, heat up the oil. Add onions, ginger and garlic to the oil all at once and saute for 2 minutes on medium heat. We dont want to brown these but the raw smell should go away. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and green chilies next along with the spice powders & sugar. On medium heat saute for 4-5 minutes, stir a few times in between to make sure nothing is sticking to the pan. Let cook till the tomatoes cook down and you see little oil separating on sides of pan.

In the mean time, place the bread quarters on a baking tray and liberally brush with butter. Toast in a preheated 375F oven for 6-8 minutes until the bread is golden.

Once the masala has cooked nicely, lower the heat and add the shrimp and salt. Gently mix so that all the shrimp is coated in masala and let cook for 3-4 minutes till the shrimp are white and cooked through. Dont rush cooking the shrimp else they will turn rubbery. Cook and make sure that ALL the liquid has dried and the shrimp are coated in masala.

Switch off the stove, mix in the lemon juice, chopped cilantro and bread crumbs. You can add a pinch of garam masala as well if you wish.

Spoon the shrimp on toasted bread. Add few cilantro, green chillies or scallions and serve warm.

Enjoy!

Appetizers & Snacks

Parmesan Rosemary Shortbread

My first taste of parmesan crackers was many years ago through a holiday cookie basket we received and I loved them instantly. Could have something to do with the fact that I dont have a huge sweet tooth and I love love savory biscuits(cookies) of any kind.

These shortbread need a handful of ingredients. Flour butter, parmesan cheese and cashews is all of you need besides rosemary if you want to use, though it can be skipped altogether.

These are super crumbly, very cheesy and with some crisp wine, an absolute delight on the holiday table. You can use a mix of parmesan or romano if you want, but you do need a combination of sharp tangy cheeses.

Add a savory touch to your cookie boxes with these or use them on your cheeseboards, they are great for snacking as well.

Recipe

Ingredients (Makes 22-24 crackers)

  • 110 gms salted butter, softened but not melting
  • 110 gms flour
  • 100 gms grated parmesan cheese (grated super fine)
  • 25 gms fine powdered cashews (use your spice grinder to grind raw cashews, you can use almonds as well, sieve to make sure powder is fine)
  • 1 tbsp fine chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp sugar

Method

Place all the ingredients in your food processor fitted with dough(plastic) blade. Please make sure that the butter is soft else the dough will not form. Since we are not using any wet ingredients, butter helps in binding the dough.

Start the processor on low speed. Slowly everything will mix together and in about a minute or so, a soft (but not sticky at all) dough will form around the blade. You can pulse a few times towards the end once it starts clumping around the blade.

Dump the dough on your work surface and gently knead it for half a minute to form into a ball. Dont knead too much. Dont squeeze the dough. Please keep in mind that if you working with dough during summers or in warm regions, you will need to refrigerate it frequently if you feel its getting too soft.

Divide the dough into two and shape each half into a log. Wrap each log in a cling film and refrigerate for atleast 2 hours. The longer you refrigerate, the better the flavors are. These logs can be kept in the fridge for 2 days and frozen for a month.

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 F. Take the logs out of the fridge and using a sharp knife, slice into 1/3 inch rounds. Place the rounds on a cookie sheet and refrigerate again for 10 mins.

Bake for 11-12 minutes till they are just beginning to brown. Pull the cookie sheet out and let cook for 10 mins on the sheet itself before transferring to a rack. Store in an air tight container for 2-3 weeks.

Enjoy!

Appetizers & Snacks · Indian Streetfood & Indo Chinese

Seekh Kabab Recipe

Seekh Kabab Recipe. Seekh kabab could easily be one the most popular street foods across South Asia.A street food that instantly transports me to colorful streets of Old Delhi. We often thronged to Jama Masjid in heart of the walled city to eat seekh kabab rolls which is basically kababs right off the tandoor wrapped in rumali rotis with thinly sliced onions that soften just a bit due to warmth of kabab & rotis. A few squirts of fiery green chutney and made extra smoky with sprinkles of tangy chaat masala to round up the melt in the mouth melange of spicy and smoky. 

It’s a vivid memory hard to overwrite- that of standing on the street side biting into a hot kabab while witnessing the hustle bustle of the city engulfed in aromas from flaming tandoors lined up as far as the sight goes. 

Seekh translates to “skewer” and these kababs are usually made with ground mutton, lamb or chicken, shaped into pipe like kababs and cooked on high heat. This are so delicious served with a flatbreads, lots of onions , lemon wedges and green chutney.

You can always go ahead and buy seekh kabab masala from store, and I myself go for the convenience many times, however if you make your own masala, the depth of flavors and taste is truly unmatched. Besides homeground masala, there are a few other things as noted below to be kept in mind for a great tasting seekh.

  • Use a fine ground mince with a good amount of fat. By this I mean that even if you purchase minced meat or chicken from the store, grind it using your food processor or blender. This ensures that the kababs are not going to break when you shape or cook them.
  • Use mince with good amount of fat. So if you are choosing beef or lamb – go for 85/15 variety. If you are using chicken, do not use ground chicken breast, go for ground dark portion meat. I remember my grandfather asking the butcher to add extra fat separately whenever he bought ground meat for making seekh kababs.
  • Squeeze as much water as possible from the finely chopped onions. Else the mince will start breaking when you try to skewer it after marinating.
  • Cook on high heat. The mince cooks very quickly and if you slow cook it, the kababs will dry out.
  • Grease your palms well when putting mince on the skewer. Also brush or spray oil/ghee liberally when cooking the kababs else they will come out dry.
  • You can cook them on indoor or outdoor grill. If you do not have grill, bake them in a high oven and then slide under the broiler for few minutes for a nice char.

You can use the same recipe for making kababs with any kind of meat. However, if you choose to use beef or lamb or mutton, I suggest adding 1-2 teaspoons of meat tenderizer or 1 tablespoon of fine grated green papaya. Rest everything remains the same.

Recipe

Seekh Kabab Masala (Makes 10-12 kababs)

Ingredients (makes about 1/4 cup of masala)

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 star anise flower
  • 3 green cardamom pods, seeds only
  • 1 black cardamom, pods only
  • Cinnamon – 2 inch
  • 8 whole black pepper
  • pinch of carrom seeds (ajwain)
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 2 twigs mace
  • 3-5 dried whole kashmiri chillies
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp black salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste

Method

Dry roast all the whole spices – cumin, coriander, fennel. star anise. cardamoms. cinnamon, black pepper, dried red chillies, carrom, black pepper, cloves , mace and bayleaf on very low hear for 5-6 minutes taking care not do brown them at all. Take off the stove and let cool down completely. Using a spice grinder, grind the spices to a fine powder. Sieve the ground spices to make sure that no bits remain.

In a bowl, mix the ground spice with rest of powdered spices and salt and mix well. You can double or triple this recipe and keep it in an air tight container for a month.

For Making Seekh kababs

  • 1 lb (1/2 kg) ground chicken, lamb or mutton
  • 3 tbsp roasted kaale chane (unsalted black chickpeas (without the skin), these are easily available in indian stores (substitute with 2 tbsp dry roasted besan (chick pea flour))
  • Seekh Kabab masala (recipe above, I add the entire batch of masala, you can reduce a bit if you wish)
  • 2 tbsp grated garlic
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp very finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup very finely chopped onion, squeeze the water out
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 2-4 green chillies (adjust to taste)
  • salt (about 1.5 tsp, adjust to taste)
  • Ghee for brushing while cooking/grilling
  • Chaat masala, chutney, sliced onions to serve

Note – Add 1 tsp meat tenderizer or 1 tbsp fresh grated green papaya if using ground meat (beef, mutton or lamb). Everything else reminds the same.

Method

Add the ground meat or chicken to your blender or food processor fitted with metal blade and pulse a 4-5 times to grind the mince finer. Transfer to a large bowl. To take out easily from around the blade, drizzle a little oil.

Grind the roasted black chickpeas using your spice grinder or any small grinder to a fine powder. Sift using a colander over the ground meat/chicken. Add the rest of the ingredients and using your hands, gently mix everything. Do not squeeze the meat but make sure the spices, herbs and salt is evenly distributed. Cover the bowl with a cling film and let marinate refrigerated for 1 hour (for chicken) and 1.5 hours (for meat).

If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water while the mince marinates. Once marinated, take the mince out of the refrigerator. Rightaway, take about 1/3 cup of the mince at a time, oil your hands and pierce the meat through the skewer. It is easier to skewer the kabab mix when the mince is cold. Using your palms and fingers, spread the meat in a cylindrical shape lengthwise on the skewer. Dont make a very thick kabab else it will not come out chewy, if you make very thin, they will dry out while high temperature cooking.

If using an oven, preheat it to the highest temperature. Mine goes upto 500F. Line a large baking tray with foil or parchment paper (this makes cleaning the tray easy) while oven is heating. Place a rack on the tray. Brush the rack with oil. Place the skewers on the rack. Liberally brush with oil or melted ghee. Cook in the hot oven for 6-8 minutes, flipping mid way. Slide under the broiler for a minute or two if you want a charred skin.

You can also grill these on a charcoal or indoor grill at the highest setting. Liberally brush with oil a few times for a moist kababs. Flip a few times for even cooking on all sides.

Once kababs are done, let it cool down on the skewer for a minute or so. Transfer to a plate from the skewers. Sprinkle with chaat masala.Serve immediately with onion, green chutney , flatbreads, lemons etc.

-Enjoy

Appetizers & Snacks

Dahi Gujiya

Festivals are for special recipes and dahi gujiya are very popular during festivals in north indian homes. My grandmother used to make them on Holi and Diwali. The lentil batter is shaped into shape of gujiyas and they are stuffed with , chopped nuts, ginger, green chillies and raisins.

The soft and spongy gujiyas are a burst of tangy, spicy, sweet and salty. They take a few extra minutes than your usual dahi bade and biting into chopped nuts as you eat them is just heavenly.

If you do no want the stuff, you can use the recipe to make vadas as usual, minus the stuffing part, the recipe remains the same.I soak the gujiyas in hing water for about half hour and that makes a lot of difference. You can make ahead and store them for 4-5 days easily. Just fry and keep in the fridge. When you are ready to swerve, soak them in hot water before dunking in the yogurt.

Recipe

Ingredients (makes 10-12 gujiyas)

For the Gujiyas/vada

  • 1 cup split urad daal
  • 1/3 cup split yellow mung daal
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chilli, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp hing
  • 1/2 tsp of salt

For the stuffing

  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 2 green chillies (to taste)
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped cashews
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • 1 tbsp chironji (if you can find, I could not)

For soaking

  • 3-4 cups hot water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp hing

For the yogurt

  • 2.5 cups thick yourt
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup cold water (depending on how thick or thin you like the yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tbsp chaat masala (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp kala namak
  • 1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • Salt to taste

Garnishes While Serving

  • Tamarind & green chutneys (to taste)
  • Chopped green chillies (to taste)
  • Bhujiya sev (to taste)
  • Pomegranate arils (to taste)
  • Chopped Cilantro (to taste)
  • Extra spices (same as above) for sprinking on top (see notes)

Notes

  • You can adjust the different spices and sugar in yogurt to your taste. I usually mix most spices that I sprinkle on top with the yogurt itself. It tastes a lot better.
  • Skip the stuffing part and make the regular vadas and dunk them in yogurt. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water to the lentil batter in that case and then make vadas.

Method

Step 1 :- Soak the Lentils

Place both the lentils in a large bowl and wash them a few times until the water runs clear. Soak them for not more than 5 hours. I usually soak them right in the morning when I am making chai, and make bade/gujiya at noon. If you soak them for a long time, lentil fritters tend to become oily.

Step 2 Grind the Lentils

Discard all the water from the lentils. Place them in the a high speed blender like Vitamix along with hing, green chillies and ginger. Start the blender slowly and then gradually increase the speed to medium. If you feel that the lentils need water to grind, add 1 tablespoon at a time. Don’t go beyond 2 tablespoon, use a scraper to scrape the sides of the blender. Grind everything to a almost smooth batter with just a little texture. The consistency of the batter has to be thick and pasty for the gujiyas. If you plan to make just vada without the stuffing, add extra 2 tbsp of water to the batter after grinding.

Transfer the ground lentils to a large wide bowl. In another small bowl, add 1 cup water.Keep the small bowl nearby. Start whipping the ground lentils rigorously with your hands in a circular motion. Whip them for 5-7 minutes until they are fluffy. To test if the lentils are fluffy, drop a tiny amount of ground lentils in the water in the small bowl, they should immediately float on the water. If the batter drops and settles at the bottom of water, you need to whip more. If needed, you can use a hand beater to whip the lentils.

Once lentils are whipped, add salt and whip again for 2-3 minutes.

Set enough oil in a large iron kadai or wide pan for heating up on medium low.

Step 3:-Shaping the gujiyas (Skip this step for vada)

Place a slightly thick piece of plastic (like a ziplock bag, don’t use cling film) on a flat surface. Spread a few drops of water on the plastic. Take a lime sized ball of the lentil batter. Place it on the plastic. Dip your hands in little water and flatten the lentil batter into a 3 inch circle, do not spread very thin. Put 1/2 tbsp of nut stuffing on one half of the circle (don’t add too much), lift the plastic and fold over the other half of the lentil circle to make a semi circle ( gujiya). Using wet hands, press the ends to seal nicely and make the shape neater if you wish.

Step 4:- Frying the gujiya

To check the temperature of oil, drop a little lentil batter into the oil, if it sizzles and rises up immediately, oil is too hot, if it drops to the bottom, the oil is cold.The oil should be medium hot. Carefully, peel the plastic away from the gujiya and place them in the oil. For making vada, you can drop little portions of lentil batter with a spoon in hot oil. Fry them in oil flipping once or twice till they are lightly golden.

Fry all the gujiyas/vadas same way and drain on paper towel. Fry in batches, don’t fry more than 2-3 gujiyas or 3-4 vadas at a time.

Step 5:- Soaking the gujiyas

Heat up 3-4 cups of water and add it to a large bowl. Mix in the salt and hing. Add the fried gujiyas to the warm water and press down with the help of a small plate (smaller than the diameter of the bowl). The more the area of the gujiyas will be soaked, they will be softer. Let them soak for about 20 minutes. They will become super soft and will fluff up slightly.

Take them out of the water, gently press between palms of you hands to remove water. Place the gujiyas in a container/plate, put the lid/cover and refrigerate for ablest 1.5 hours till the are chilled.

Step 6:-Make the Yogurt

While the gujiyas are chilling, you can make the yogurt. Beat the yogurt to smooth using a whisk, add water to thin out per desired consistency and then mix with all the spices and sugar. Taste and adjust the spices as you wish. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Step7:- Assemble

In a wide dish, add about 3/4 cup of yogurt that we made. Layer the chilled gujiyas in a single layer. Pour another 3/4 cup of yogurt on top. Reserve the remaining yogurt for when serving. Chill everything in the fridge for 3-4 hours.

Serve the chilled gujiyas as you wish with extra yogurt and garnishes.

Enjoy!