Appetizers/Snacks · Brunch

Indian Spiced Chicken Avocado Burgers

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

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

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

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

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Indian Spiced Chicken & Avocado Burgers

Super Flavorful Indian Spiced Chicken Burgers packed with onions, tomatoes and avocados on a buttery brioche bun.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Indian
Servings: 6 burgers

Ingredients

For The Chicken Patties

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

For Avocado Mash

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

For the Burgers

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

Instructions

Making Chicken Patties

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

Make the Avocado Spread

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

Make the Burgers

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

Eggplant & Tomato Chutney Pizza

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

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

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

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

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Eggplant & Tomato Chutney Pizza

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

Ingredients

For the Tomato Chutney

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

For the Pizza

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

Instructions

Make the Tomato Chutney

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

For the Pizza

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

Appetizers/Snacks · Brunch

Besan Toast


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

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Besan Toast

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

Equipment

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

Sous Vide Creamy Shrimp Skillet

These juicy shrimp in a creamy cheesy sauce are perfect for an indulgent meal for special occasions. The shrimp are cooked sous vide (indirect slow water bath cooking), however I have added the instructions for cooking them in a skillet as well in the recipe. Sous vide cooking allows for slow cooking for about 40 minutes and by the end, the shrimp are really succulent and cooked perfectly. Then added to an easy creamy sauce.

The sauce is very simple – butter, onion, garlic, have cream and parmesan cheese. It comes together in less than 10 minutes. You can make the sauce a little lighter by using half and half or milk, it won’t we as thick in that case. My kids like to dunk crusty bread and slurp on the sauce as a soup but you can mix in boiled fettuccine or linguine for a rounded heavenly shrimp pasta dish.

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

  • Undercook the shrimp slightly :-Slightly undercook the shrimp because we are going to finish cooking them in the sauce. I have noted each timings in the recipe for jumbo size shrimp. Adjust if you are using a different size of shrimp.
  • One Skillet Dish -If you do not want to use sous vide or do not own one, no problem! You can make this dish in the skillet itself. Its a one skillet recipe. Use non stick, stainless steel, ceramic coated or seasoned cast iron, any heavy skillet will work since it conducts the heat better. You quickly sear the shrimp first, take them out, make the sauce in the same pan and finish the shrimp in the sauce. Easy peasy!
  • You can use half milk and half heavy cream if you do not want to use heavy cream. But I don’t recommend, its a once in a while, special occasion dish and we should live just a little 🙂
  • Spice it up:- I like to keep this dish mellow because thats how my kids like it, nut if I were making it for adults, I would add a 1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes to add a nice kick.
  • Variations – You can use a mix of scallops, crab meat and shrimp instead of just shrimp for a seafood fiesta.
  • Add Vegetables – Add 1/2 cup of blanched peas, handful of baby spinach or blanched asparagus to the sauce to make it more hearty. Promise you the kids will love vegetables in that cream sauce.
  • Use a mix of cheese – Use a mix of asiago, romano and parmesan cheese instead of just parmesan.
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Sous Vide Creamy Shrimp Skillet

Juicy sous vide shrimp in a creamy parmesan sauce. Serve with crusty bread or pasta.
Course: Main Course

Ingredients

  • 1 lb raw jumbo shrimp (cleaned, tail on)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Half lemon sliced
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the sauce

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning
  • Salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

Cooking Shrimp Using Sous Vide (Ignore if you dont want to use sous vide, see note1)

  • Place the shrimp along with butter, salt and lemon slices in a ziploc bag. Press down and seal while removing out all the air.
  • Set up the sous vide stick in a 6 qt pot filled with water. Select the shrimp recipe from sous smart panel. Or set at 130F for 35 minutes. Lower the ziploc bag into the water bath, clip to secure the bag to the side of the pot. Cook till sous vide session is finished.
  • Once the shrimp is cooked, the ziplog bag will have juices. Reserve the juices.

Make the Cream sauce

  • While the shrimp is cooking, make the cream sauce. Melt the butter over medium- high heat in a large skillet.
  • Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes until transculent. Next, add the garlic, sprinkle the italion seasoning and saute for 15 seconds.
  • Add the cream and simmer for 2 minutes. Dont let the cream boil.
  • Carefully add the shrimp along with all the juices from the bag into the skillet. If using spinach or peas, add right now. Mix gently and let cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the parmesan cheese,mix everything, taste and add the salt and pepper(if you wish)
  • Immediatley take off the heat, sprinkle parsley or cilantro and serve with bread or boiled pasta.

Notes

  1. Sear the shrimp on both sides for 2 minutes in 1 tbsp butter in a medium hot skillet at the start of cooking. Once seared, take out in a plate, add second tablespoon of butter and proceed to make the sauce as in the recipe. 
  2. If you are not using sous vide, you might need to add 1/4 to 1/3 cup chicken stock to the sauce to thin it out a bit right when you add cream along with some lemon juice. 
  3. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes to add a nice kick to the sauce if desired.
Brunch · Desserts/Baking

Sooji (Semolina) Halwa

Halwa is a runny pudding made in indian homes using different kinds of grains, flours, nuts, lentils as well as fruits and vegetables.Halwa is usually pretty quick to whip up and quite popular due to ease of cooking and that it requires basic ingredients that our available in our homes. . Semolina halwa in north indian homes is cooked in a blink to translate any occasion- big or little into a celebration. It is one of the frequently cooked meetha(dessert) in my home, much more than kheer. Thats partly because, growing up my grandma made it everyday was an offering after prayers. A small bowl of nutty, melt in the mouth halwa appeared mid morning infront of us, glistening with ghee and scented with ground black cardamom. It is one of my loved memory of her- of my badi mummy, wrapped in a starched cotton saree feeding us halwa every morning 🙂

You need very basic and few ingredients for this recipe- fine semolina, ghee, sugar and whichever flavor you like- cardamom, rose or saffron. This recipe can be easily made vegan, just swap ghee with coconut oil, you can add a handful of shredded coconut to elevate the coconut flavor in that case. The halwa can be made in about 30 minutes, the most effort and patience is needed while roasting the semolina in ghee, else this is a quick recipe.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you make Sooji Halwa:-

Kind of Semolina (Sooji) – Its best to use fine semolina when making the halwa, the texture comes our great, its melt in the mouth. Avoid coarse semolina.

Water or Milk:- You can use either, or you can use a combination of both. I use water, not only it keeps the color of the dark amber halwa intact but it avoids the halwa from getting too rich (there is already quite a bit of ghee in there!) Also keep in mind that milk will make the halwa a bit soft or sticky to taste.

Sugar or Jaggery or Honey- Again you can use either but traditionally sugar is used and I do the same. If you are using jaggery, don’t use milk. If you use honey, the halwa will be quite sticky and has the tendency to easily burn while you “bhuno” it, since honey caramelizes fast. Also keep in mind that the taste profile sweetened with honey or jaggery is quite different from the traditional recipe.

Nuts & Flavors– Anyting you like! I like almonds and raisins because those were what my grandmother used to use. You can add cashews, makhana or pistachios or shredded coconut as well. As for the flavors, I add black cardamom seeds fresh pounded in mortar pestle and a tiny bit of rose water. You don’t taste the rose as such but it adds a nice floral aroma to the halwa. You can choose green cardamom, saffron, even vanilla 🙂

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Sooji(semolina) Halwa

Also know as sheera, Sooji Halwa is a semolina pudding made with simple pantry staples- semolina, ghee & sugar. It tastes heavenly and takes just 30 mins to make.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • A heavy kadhai (preferable iron) or cast iron pan, sauce pan, bowls and spoons etc

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup melted ghee
  • 1/2 cup fine semolina
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (can go down to 1/3 cup if you prefer less sweet halwa)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-2 tbsp ghee (optional)
  • 2 tbsp raisins (soaked in warm water for 10 minutes)
  • 1 whole black cardamom seeds removed and crushed to a fine powder in mortar pestl
  • 7-8 almonds, thinly sliced (Use any nuts you like)
  • 1/2 tbsp rose water

Instructions

  • Add the ghee and semolina to iron kadhai (or cast iron pan). Mix well for 2 minutes so that you see all the semolina is covered in ghee. Place the kadhai on a low medium stove and begin roasting the semolina. You will have to keep an eye and keep stirring frequently for it can burn easily.
  • While the semolina is roasting, add the sugar and water to a small sauce pan or pot and set on the other stove on medium heat. In about 5-8 minutes, the sugar will dissolve in water. Switch off the stove, dont cook the syrup. We dont want any string consistency or anything. Keep the syrup near and warm.
  • Coming back to semoilina, keep on roasting it while stirring it making sure to scrape it from the bottom of the kadhai, it burns that way easily. Roast the semolina for good 10- 15 minutes(see notes) till you see that the ghee has begun to seperate and the semolina granules are dark brown in color. There should be no black specks of semolina- that means the semolina has burnt, a conistent medium heat and contuinal stirring ensures that wont happen.
  • Reduce the stove to low, and slowly add the warm sugar syrup from one side of the kadhai to the semolima while stirring it at the same time with the other hand, this makes sure that no lumps are formed. There will be spluttering so watch out.
  • As soon as the syrup is added, you will see a puddle followed by big bubbles in a minute on the surface of the halwa, your will notice that the semolina granules begin to swelled up. it will be runny, let the halwa cook on low heat. Add the raisins, almomds and black cardamom powder now.
  • Keep stirring everything gently and continue to cook the halwa for 3-4 minutes on low heat. Add 1-2 tbsp of ghee (if you wish)and mix well. The halwa will be glistening and of thick smoothie like pourable consistency by the end of 5-6 minutes. Dont let all the liquid absorb. Switch off the stove. Mix in the rose water. The halwa will thicken as it sits.
  • Serve warm garnished with nuts. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. If you don’t want a dark halwa, no problem, roast the semolina for just 5-7 minutes, until its golden in color. Rest of the recipe remains the same. 
Brunch · Indian Streetfood/Indo Chines

Keema Pasta

One of the fusion pasta dishes which I make often for the kids. They absolutely love it. It is an indian fusion version of pasta in a meat sauce. Hearty and comforting, a bowl of keema pasta is a full meal which is a favorite for all age groups.

You can scratch cook the keema or repurpose leftover keema from dinner last night. A super simple pasta to make and has fresh made sauce. I do add a little smoked paprika for color and a tiny bit of fresh mint for that smokiness you expect from a well “bhunakeema. Its an absolute winner dish with them. You can add a little cream to finish at the end if you like especially if you are using chicken mince.

The keema base is traditional indian kind – a spicy & tangy sauce made with fresh chopped onions, fresh pounded ginger & garlic and fresh tomatoes (or you can use canned tomatoes if you wish). Then go in the ground cumin, coriander and paprika(or red chilli powder), make it as spicy as you like. You can add some dried herbs like oregano as well. Once the minced meat (or ground chicken) goes in, bhuno(saute) it on low medium heat with the masala base till the meat is smoky and attains a brownish color.

I use the pasta water to thin out the base, and if you want you can add some vegetables like carrots, peas or peppers depending on how your family will enjoy it. It is so exciting to see how the kids enjoy the taste of indian dishes presented this way, in a way that appeals to their senses without trying to “sneak” anything. Double up the recipe if you want a larger batch. Here I used GF brown rice pasta, however substitute with any shape or kind or flavor of pasta that your family likes.

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Keema Pasta

A indian-italian fusion pasta dish of spiced keema in a fresh sauce folded with fuisili pasta.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Italian

Equipment

  • pot & pans

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger garlic simply pound 2 cloves of garlic & 1/2inch fresh ginger shoot using mortar pestle.
  • 1+1/4 cup chopped tomatoes substitute with canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Red chilli powder(to taste)
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • 4-5 chopped fresh mint leaves (or any herbs you like)
  • 150 gms ground lamb/beef/chicken (85-15 lean)
  • salt to taste
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice to taste
  • 200 gms pasta of choice, I used fuisili ,cook according to package instructions, reserve 1/2 -3/4 cup of pasta water. Drain the pasta and keep ready.

Instructions

  • In a wide saute pan, heat up the olive oil on medium heat.
  • Once warm, add the chopped onions to the oil. Saute for 4-5 minutes till the onions start turning little brown, dont brown them too much.
  • Next add the pounded ginger and garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the ground spices next and saute for a minute so as to toast them in oil.
  • Add the tomatoes next and sprinkle some salt, reduce the stove to low medium and let the tomatoes cook down.The tomatoes will soften and become saucy, continue to cook them till you see that they thicken and tiny oil bubbles start appearing on the top. Dont dry out too much.
  • Add the ground meat now(I used ground lamb). Break down the meat using a wooden spoon and mix it with the masala. Cook the meat with the masala for good 8-10 minutes to low medium heat till you see that it has browned. Conitune sauteing the meat for another 5 minutes till you see that the oil is seperating.
  • Add the salt (keep in mind that the pasta water that we are going to add little later is salted too), chopped mint and lemon juice now. After the meat has finished bhuno(browning), thin out the meat sauce with the reserved pasta water. Dont add too much water at once, start with 1/3 cup water and then go up from there depending on how much you need. Let the sauce heat up once you add the water.
  • Once the sauce is warm, add the cooked pasta and fold gently with the meat. Add more water if you feel its dry. Check and adjust the salt as well.
  • Let everything cook for 2 minutes, dont stir too much since the pasta is soft and might break.
  • Switch off the stove, add some fresh cracked pepper(optional) and serve warm.

Notes

  1. Add 1/2 cup of frozen vegetables to the pasta. 
  2. Add 2 tbsp of cream to finish the sauce, highly recommend it if you are using ground chicken. 
  3. You can use the same recipe with vegetables. Just substitute the keema with equivalent amount of finely chopped vegetables and cook them down to soft before adding the pasta. 
Breads/Flatbreads · Brunch · Indian Streetfood/Indo Chines

Paneer Makhani Pizza

Paneer pizzas are a huge favorite in our house and this one is no different. From scratch pizza with a pillowy dough, quick makhani sauce made out of fresh tomatoes and topped with juicy paneer tikka. To add some kick, I add pickled jalapeños. This pizza is a riot of flavors in every bite.

Until last year, before lockdown, I considered as pizza one of the most casual food. Pizza nights were either take outs or something put together with off the shelf items from Trader Joe’s. Quick pizzas did the job but I knew in my heart that I was missing out on something.

Last year, when everyone was struggling to find yeast last year, so was I. But I kept looking and looking and nearly after a month I found yeast online. Took over 20 days to deliver and then started my quest for homemade pizza dough. 

Right from how the house smells while pizza bakes to how the dough feels between my fingers, the entire process of making pizza from scratch can be so gratifying.. It swells my heart to see kids enjoying desi pizza- one filled with orange sauce and topped paneer, it’s their huge favorite.

Desi pizzas are a huge hit in our home, here I make a quick makhani sauce and paneer tikka. You can use chicken as well instead of paneer. You can make the dough, the sauce as well as marinate the tikka ahead of time and just assemble and pop into the oven or pizza oven (if you have one) anytime for a quick treat!

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Paneer Makhani Pizza

A fusion indo – italian pizza with homemade pizza dough topped with makhani sauce, juicy paneer tikka and lots of cheese.
Prep Time2 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Indian, Italian
Servings: 1 Pizza (12 inch)

Equipment

  • mixing bowls

Ingredients

Make the Pizza Dough

  • 2-2.5 cups all purpose flour (250-290gms)
  • 1 package active dry yeast (7gm)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup warm water

Quick Makhani Sauce (Makes about 2 cups)

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 green cardamom
  • 1 clove
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2.5-3 cups tomato puree (Simply blanch 4-5 large fresh tomatoes and puree them in blender)
  • 1/2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1.5 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tbsp kasuri methi
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream

Paneer Tikka

  • 150 gms paneer cut in cubes
  • 1 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp hot chilli powder or to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh lemom juice
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi
  • 1/2 tsp chaat masala
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste

Pizza Toppings

  • Shredded low moisture mozarella cheese as much or as less you like
  • Sliced Onions as much or as less you like
  • Pickled Jalapenos as much or as less you like

Instructions

Make the pizza dough

  • In a small bowl, empty the yeast packet. Add 3 tbsp luke warm water (of the 3/4 cup), add sugar, give a gentle mix and let the yeast bloom for 5 minutes. You should see bubbles once bloomed else start over.
  • In a large bowl, add the 2 cups flour salt, olive oil and garlic powder. Using your fingers mix everthing well. You can add some dried herbs to the flour as well.
  • Pour the yeast mix over the flour. Add remaining water. Using your hand mixer attached with the dough hook, mix the dough for a minute on medium speed or so till it starts clumping around the hook into a ball.
  • On a floured surface, take out the dough ball and knead for 3-4 minutes until its smooth and springs back when you press it with a finger. Add a little flour if the dough feels wet at any point. Pizza dough should not be sticky but its a pretty soft dough.
  • Place the dough in a large oiled bowl. Rub the surface of the dough ball with some olive oil. Cover with a cloth or cling film and place in warm place to rise for 1-2 hours (depends on the tempetature of where you live). The dough should double in volume after the rise.

Make the Makhani Sauce

  • In a pan, warm up the butter and oil together. Add the whole spices – cloves, cardamom & cinnmaon and saute for 15 seconds. Add the onions to the pan and saute the onions till lightly browned for about 3 minutes.
  • Once the onions are browned, add the ginger garlic paste along with the powdered spices. Saute for 30 seconds.
  • Add the tomato puree next and mix well. Let the tomato puree cook down for about 5 minutes tll you see that the sauce is thick and oil is starting to seperate. Switch off the stove. Dont dry the tomatoes too much, add 1/4 cup water if needed to make a thick slurry like consistency sauce.
  • Strain the makhani sauce into a bowl and immediately mix in the cream, garam masala and kasuri methi. Mix well. Makhani sauce is ready to go.

Make the Paneer Tikka

  • In a bowl, add all the ingredints except paneer. Using a whisk, mix well to make a smooth paste.
  • Add the paneer cubes and mix well to coat using your fingers. Marinate for 15 minutes.
  • Once marinated you can cook the paneer on a heated tawa brushing oil on all sides. Alternatively, you can skewer the paneer, brush oil and broil in oven for 3-4 minutes each side. Dont cook the panner too much since it will cook with the pizza as well.

Assebmle and Bake Pizza

  • Preheat ypur oven to 475 F. I use my seasoned cast iron skillet to bake pizza. You can use your baking sheet lined with parchment paper or pizza steel (if you have one).
  • Punch down the risen dough and on a floured surface, using your hands in a circular motion shape it in a circle.
  • Place the shaped pizza dough into the cast iron griddle/baking sheet/pizza steel.
  • Laddle makhani sauce on top of the dough leaving a little space from the edges. Add the shredded cheese over the sauce.
  • Place the paneer tikka, onions and jalapenos on top of cheese. Drizzle with a little oil.
  • Bake the dough for 8-12 minutes untill the cheese has melted and the edges are golden.
  • Slice & Serve. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Use chicken in this recipe instead of paneer to make chicken makkahi pizza.
  2. Use any kind of vegetables for topping.
  3. You make make all the elements 1-2 days in advance and assemble and bake the pizza. This dough rests well in the fridge for 2 days after proofing.  
Breads/Flatbreads · Brunch

Stuffed Paneer Paratha

Soft and delicious stuffed paratha(flatbread) perfect with a bowl of raita(yogurt) and chutney. These are super easy to make especially is you prep a bit ahead. Fresh homemade crumbled paneer is the best choice here. You can refer to one of my past posts on how to make paneer at home. That is exactly how I make fresh crumbled paneer for parathas. Just follow the steps and skip the block making part.

Over the years, I have changed this recipe a bit from my mom’s. I used to feel that fresh crumbled paneer tasted a bit chalky in a paratha when used as it is. So now I saute the crumbled paneer with spices before mixing it with onions, chllies and cilantro. The result is a very flavorful filling which is fragrant and has a lot of texture.

Keep a few things in mind when you are making these.

  • Make the dough fresh and rest it (super important). The dough should not be too tight or too soft, in either case you won’t be able to roll the parathas. It is also super important to knead the dough for about 5-8 minutes to smoothen it out, it helps develop the gluten which is important for the right texture of the parathas.
  • When you saute the paneer, dont dry it out or brown it, thats not the purpose. We just want to add a lot of flavor with spices crackled in oil and sautéed with paneer.
  • Cook the parathas on a medium hot skillet using enough oil. Flip them carefully because they will be soft. Don’t press too much.
Print Recipe
4 from 1 vote

Stuffed Paneer Paratha

A soft and flavorful indian flatbread (paratha) stuffed with fresh paneer, herb and spices filling.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Breakfast, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6 parathas
Author: Tanvi

Equipment

  • Skillet, Rolling board and pin, 2 Bowls, Pan

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 1.5 cup atta (whole wheat flour)
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • luke warm water, as needed
  • Extra flour for dusting while rolling the parathas

For the Paneer Filling

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric powder
  • Pinch of ajwain (carrom seeds)
  • 1 cup crumbled paneer
  • 3/4 tsp garam masala adjust to taste
  • 1/4 tsp amchoor
  • 1/4 cup onions finely chopped
  • 2-3 thai green chillies (adjust to taste) finely chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger finely chopped
  • Cooking oil as needed

Instructions

Making the Dough

  • In a large bowl, add the flour, oil and salt.
  • Gently mix with hands to combine everything together.
  • Start adding water slowly and mixing with the flour. Bring the flour together, adding water and squeezing continously with finger to bring it together to form a ball. I used a little over 1/2 cup water. Adjust water quantity depending on quality of the atta you are using.
  • Once the flour has come together, stop adding water and keep kneading for good 5-7 minutes or more to smoothen out into a soft ball, if at any point you feel that the flour is drying out or is too tight, add little water.
  • Once the dough is smooth and kneaded well, cover it with a damp cloth and let rest for 20 minutes.

Make the Filling

  • While the dough is resting, make the filling. Heat up 1 tbsp oil in a pan on low medium and crackle the cumin and ajwain seeds in there. Take take not to burn the spices. After 10 seconds, add the paneer and sprinkle all the powdered spices. Mix well and on low heat, saute the paneer for about 5 minutes. Dont let brown or dry out.
  • Once done, transfer to a bowl, let cool down a bit and add the chopped onions, ginger chillies and cilantro. Add a pinch of sugar. Mix very well. The filling is ready.

Make the Paratha

  • Place a tawa or cast iron griddle on the stove to heat up. Divide the rested dough into equal portions, you should get about 6 or 7.
  • Dust the dough portions in dry flour and roll into a 4 inch circle using a rolling pin. Place about 2 tbsp of filling in the center and bring around the sides of the dough to make a small round parcel.
  • Dust the rolling surface liberally and roll the stuffed dough parcel into a 7 inch circle. Dont press too much while rolling, ideally place yur rolling pin half on the surface and half on the dough for even rolling thickness. Make them as thick or thin you like.
  • Place the hot tawa. After 15 seconds, or when you see bubbles on top, flip the paratha, brush oil (about 1 tbsp), flip and let cook on oil side, brush oil on the second side, flip and cook till both the sides are golden. Dont press too much when cooking the paratha.
  • Repeat the above steps for the rest of the dough.
  • Serve wam with yogurt, butter, pickles or chutney.
Brunch · Desserts/Baking

Citrus Yogurt & Olive Oil Cake (Eggless & One Bowl)

A super soft yet a firm cake with a beautiful crumb. It has a rich tang of whole milk yogurt and fruity hints of olive oil in every bite. I have been making this eggless cake for many years and get asked for a recipe every time I share it on my Instagram page. The recipe is ridiculously simple and uses just one bowl (how easy!)

I added blood orange juice (can you see a faint pink hue?) because they are in season but any kind of citrus will work in this recipe- naval orange juice, meyer lemons or regular lemons. Just make sure that you squeeze the citrus juice fresh before using. To cut the sweetness of sugar and the richness of olive oil, you do need lots of acid – that why both yogurt & citrus come helping, dont worry the cake isn’t tangy.

I like to serve it with faintly sweetened whipped cream on the side , however, you can cover it with frosting if you wish so. As for the flavors- cardamom with its balmy lemony notes is my absolute favorite, however use rosewater, saffron, vanilla – whatever you fancy. Use this recipe as a blank canvas for any eggless cake.

Ideally I like using a 8 inch round cake pan, but if you don’t have one, that fine too, just use a 9 inch cake pan and the cake will be slightly flatter but as delicious.

Recipe

Ingredients (Makes one 8 inch Cake, serves 4-6)

  • 125 gms whole milk plain greek yogurt, room temperature & slightly beaten (see note)
  • 210 gms granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 125 ml good quality olive oil (please dont use extra virgin)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground cardamom powder
  • 205 gms all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup heavy cream, soft whipped with 2 tbsp sugar for serving

Note – Please use thick (ideally greek) yogurt in this recipe. If you reside in a place where you dont have access to greek yogurt, use hung curd if your yogurt tends to be watery.

Method

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray or brush an 8 inch round cake pan with olive oil. Line the base of pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, add the beaten yogurt, sugar, vinegar, olive oil, orange juice & zest, salt and cardamom. Whisk for good 2-3 minutes until everything is smooth and nicely combined.

Sift the flour and baking powder over the yogurt mixture. Using a spatula, gently fold the flour until all combined. Don’t over mix. Pour the cake batter into the prepped pan, it will be slightly runny.

Bake for 32-38 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Take the cake pan out of the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Invert the cake carefully (its soft and moist) onto a wire rack and let it cool completely.

Slice and serve with whipped cream and fruits.

Enjoy!

Appetizers/Snacks · Brunch

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!