Breads/Flatbreads · Indian Curry · Side Dishes · Stir-fry · Vegetarian

Kadhai Paneer & Triangle Paratha (Flatbread)

Thousands of miles away, when you cook food which you ate back home – on family picnics, long drives, with friends, at birthdays parties & weddings, there is a certain sense of overwhelm which grasps me.Does it happens to you too? – tastes which remind you of good times spent.One such memory is eating at dhabas in and around Delhi.Dhaba is indian equivalent of a diner, very popular amongst drivers and long distance travellers for quick & inexpensive food.If you ask me the best places to eat in Delhi, I will recommend most of the dhabas on the outskirts of the city and some in Old & central areas.

The typical setting of a dhaba is not fancy,very basic, you might or might not get cutlery or tissue paper, but you are sure to find food made with love and bursting with authentic flavors.Mostly you would be eating on reusable stainless steel plates, you may get mineral water,there might be mosquitos during summers and monsoons [grin],AC is out of question,if it’s a popular place – you ll get chairs else enjoy seating on a cot & don’t shy away from humming old hindi film songs playing on the radio…the food is glorious,the atmosphere – intoxicating! When my dad used to work outside Delhi, most of our summer vacations were spent on road trips. I remember that we used to plan our visits such that we can have dinner at our favorite dhabas which dotted the interconnecting highways.As I write this, my mouth is already watering at the thought of food served – dal makhani [ lentils], palak paneer [ spinach & cheese curry],  kadhai chicken served along with hot& fluffy butter dunked tandoori rotis [flatbreads] straight out the the clay oven, jeera [cumin] rice & a BIG glass of lassi or chaas [ salty buttermilk] during summers or masala chai during winters.Here you don’t kill yourself over worrying about calories or hygiene, its the zesty experience which matters!! The recipe in this post is one which you will find at almost every dhaba in north india – trust me the very mention still stirs the emotions of best family times 🙂

“Kadhai” is an indian wok.It is one of the most indispensable utensil in an Indian kitchen..be it for making quick stir fry, curries, shallow or deep-frying or simmering stews.Its shallow & less heavy as compared to dutch ovens and something I just can’t imagine my without.A dish which is made start to finish in a “kadhai” gets its name from there & is Indian answer to a stir fry. However, you do not compulsorily need a kadhai to make this recipe 🙂 The point to keep in mind is that since it’s a quick cooking method, you can make a kadhai with almost anything under the sun.The recipe is very simple, you can prepare & store the kadhai sauce in advance & add whatever you wish to it- from chicken to cauliflower to fish to vegetable medley .Today I chose paneer [Indian Cottage Cheese] which is the most popular of all kadhai preparations in northen India. A typical addition to any kadhai is lots of bell peppers – of all colors, choose any you like.The dish is bursting with indian flavors, mostly made semi dry, is really one of the most colorful curries around & is really simple to whip up.

Although kadhai tastes awesome with naan bread, tandoori roti or even rice, in my home we are used to eating it with tawa parathas or skillet cooked flatbreads.Since childhood , I have known parathas in this triangle shape right from dinner plate to lunch box.Infact my granny was very particular about how neat a triangle you are able to roll out.I hope my pictures of the steps will help you in that regard 🙂 This triangle paratha has layers , is soft & flaky coz its brushed with oil/ghee inside – I can have few of these straight from the skillet on its own- Love the aroma of steam which escapes when you bite the layers. You can add chopped chillies, herbs, spices etc to make your own variations.


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Ingredients:- [Serves 2-3]

 [ You can replace the paneer with any boneless meat or vegetable of choice]

  • 1 lb / 1.5 kg Paneer, cubed or cut in strips  [ Indian Cottage Cheese available in all indian stores, recommended brand “Nanak”]
  • 1 tbsp canola/corn/vegetable oil
  • 1 medium-sized each of red & green bell peppers, seeded, cut in strips or diced
  • 1/2 cup onions, thick sliced [ optional]
  • Salt to taste [ if required]
  • Fresh chopped Cilantro for garnish
  • Fresh lime juice
Basic Kadhai Sauce Ingredients [ Can be made fresh or well in advance.For storing, put in dry-air tight containers & freeze.Thaw 1-2 hours before you need]
 
  • 1/3 cup mustard/canola/corn//vegetable olive oil
  • 3/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 3-4 fresh tomatoes [ any variety which is slightly sour, chopped fine to yield 1 cup]
  • 1.5 tbsp coriander seeds, coarsely ground with mortar pestle or in coffee grinder
  • 7 dry red chillies, coarsely ground with mortar pestle or in coffee grinder [ adjust to taste]
  • 3 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp brown sugar [ adjust to taste,do not skip]
  • 2 tsp kasuri methi,crushed with hand [ dried fenugreek leaves,do not skip, makes all the difference in the taste, available in all indian stores under ” Peacock” brand]
  • 2 tsp salt
Method:-
Make the Kadhai Sauce:- [ Makes about 2.5- 3 cups] 
  • In a kadhai or any heavy bottomed cooking pot, heat the oil on high heat.Once the oil is smoking, reduce the heat to medium.If using mustard oil, it is important to cook it to smoky point at the start of cooking to do away with the raw smell.
  • Add the chopped onions and cook on medium heat till golden brown in color.
  • Next,add the grated garlic & ginger and saute for about 2 minutes till you smell the aroma.Next add the chopped tomatoes,coarsely ground coriander & red chillies,green chillies, turmeric and cook on medium heat till you see oil separating at the sides of the pot.About 5-8 minutes.
  • At this point add the kasuri methi, garam masala, salt & brown sugar,stir well cook for 5 minutes more on medium heat.
  • Above is the basic kadhai sauce, if you want to store it for later use, let it come to room temperature and refrigerate for using within 3-4 days or freeze up to a month.
  • Making Kadhai Paneer :- For the stir fry, on high heat 1 tbsp oil in a kadhai or a cooking pot.Add the diced bell peppers & onion slices [ if using] to the oil and saute for 3-4 minutes.This saute time depends on how tender you like the veggies.Next, add the paneer and saute for another 1 minute till paneer sarts to become light brown.Be careful while stirring after you have added paneer because it softens quickly & crumbles easily in heat. Add the sauce and mix well.Check the seasoning and let simmer for 2-3 minutes till everything is heated well.
  • Remove from heat,squirt some fresh lime juice & sprinkle chopped cilantro.Serve warm with flatbreads & a salad.


Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by.
Brunch · Easy Recipes · Indian Curry · Non vegetarian · Stir-fry

Shrimp Stir Fry With Scallions and Fenugreek Leaves

Cooking with fenugreek leaves-dried or fresh is very popular in India.Infact the typical taste of butter chicken or tandoori chicken is incomplete without dried fenugreek leaves[kasuri methi].Fenugreek seeds are used for tempering lot of dry and wet curries for a typical flavor.Fresh fenugreek leaves are clover shaped and taste slightly bitter [if fully mature].They add a great typical piquant, bitter flavor to curries. You will easily find frozen or fresh fenugreek [methi] leaves in any of the indian store.If looking for a substitute, chopped fresh watercress or celery leaves come close because they also have a biting taste.

Recipe adapted from cookbook, “50 great curries of India”

Ingredients: [Serves 3-4]

  • 14 oz uncooked large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder [adjust to taste]
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 ” fresh ginger shoot, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp oil [sesame/olive or any flavored oil]
  • 2 green chillies [finely chopped]
  • 1 cup chopped scallions,white and green scallion parts,separated
  • 1/4 cup fresh fenugreek leaves,finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped [or parsely]
  • salt to taste

Method:

  • Marinate the cleaned, uncooked shrimp in 1/2 tsp turmeric,1 tbsp fresh lime juice,1 tsp red chilli powder and 1/4 tsp salt for about 15 minutes, refrigerated.
  • Meanwhile,take a wide-mouthed cooking pan/wok/kadhai and put it on low heat.Add the oil along with garlic to the wok and let the oil heat up slowly.The idea is to flavor the oil with garlic.About 3 minutes.
  • Once garlic is crisp,turn up the heat to high and add the white chopped scallions.Saute for about 1 minute and add the chopped ginger and green chillies.
  • Next, add the chopped fenugreek leaves , green scallions along with rest of the turmeric and chilli powder.Saute on high heat for about 2 minutes till leaves start to wilt.
  • Just when about to serve: Add the marinated shrimps [along with the marinade],and cilantro leaves, toss on high heat for about 4 minutes, until the shrimp is cooked.Take care not to over cook the shrimp.Check the salt in the dish at this point and adjust.
  • Squirt some fresh lime juice and serve warm with steamed white rice.

Notes/Tips:

  • Adjust the quantity of fenugreek leaves depending on how bitter they are.
  • To reduce the bitterness of fenugreek leaves, rub whole leaves with little salt and let salt for half n hour, wash the salt away, bitterness will reduce.
  • Another tip which my mom told me was that fenugreek leaves if cooked and left uncovered for 1-2 hours.
  • The cooking time will vary depending upon the size of shrimps that you use.I used large shrimps.

Enjoy!

Beverages · Breakfast · Brunch · Easy Recipes · Side Dishes · Stir-fry · Vegetarian

Indian Spiced Peas(Chuki Matar)& Masala Chai

 

 

 

 

Spiced Peas/Chuki Matar

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh/frozen peas
  • 3/4 cup sliced onions
  • 3 tbsp fresh ginger julians
  • 2 green chillies. thinly cut (adjust to taste)
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3/4 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 3-4tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice [adjust to taste ]

How I did it:

  • In a pan, heat up the oil on medium heat.
  • Once heated, temper the oil with cumin seeds and wait for them to crackle.
  • Add the sliced onions to the pan and let the onions saute till transculent.Dont brown them.
  • Next, add the chopped green chilies and ginger julians and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the peas, red chilli powder, cover the lid and let the peas steam till they are cooked but not mushy.
  • Once tender, open the lid,add salt and garam masala and stir fry on high heat for 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add the fresh lime juice and serve warm with masala chai

Masala Chai

Ingredients

  • 1 tea bag per cup (or 1 tsp of black tea leaves/cup)
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1-2 fresh tulsi leaves [holy basil leaves if available] NOTE:Holy basil is totally different from Thai or Italian basil.
  • 1 cup of water
  • ½ cup of warm milk
  • ¼ tsp chai masala powder
  • sugar to taste

Masala/Spice Mix  [Makes 1 cup masala]

  • 1/4 cup cinnamon sticks, broken into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp cloves
  • 1/4 cups whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cups green cardamom
  • 4 twig mace, broken into small pieces
  • 1/2 piece nutmeg, grated
  • 1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds

How I did it

  • Fine grind all the ingredients under the head “Masala/Spice Mix”.Store this spice mix in an air tight container in a dry place.This lasts for 2-3 years.
  • To make the masala chai:In a saucepan, add the water along with ginger and tulsi leaves[if using] and let come to a boil.After 2-3 minutes, add tea bag or tea leaves. Let  brew for 2-3 minutes.Next, add “masala” and milk and let it again come to a boil.Reduce the heat to a low simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes.Strain and serve with sugar (or sweetener).

Enjoy!

 

Appetizers/Snacks · Easy Recipes · Indo Chinese · Non vegetarian · Side Dishes · Stir-fry

Chilli Chicken

Sinfully Spicy - Chilli Chicken #indochineseAll of you who grew in India in the 80’s would swear to eat or crave this chicken dish every other day.Atleast I did! The best about this dish is that the recipe is so quick that it can make its way to your tummy within minutes.The other day when I felt ultra lethargic,I made a quick chilli chicken & steamed rice.

Sinfully Spicy - Chilli Chicken #indochinese

When I say CHILLI chicken,I mean lots and lots of chillies..of all kinds…whole red chillies, black pepper and red chilli powder..Okay dont be scared..this is not some deadly chicken preparation..it is just a really hot chicken recipe.Succulent pieces of chicken in a spicy sauce with onions and dry red chillies.If they say, heaven exists on earth,a bowl of chilli chicken personifies it in some crude distant form! Though I never actually asked Mom the recipe,and only saw her making it while chatting beside the stove,I still prepare it recounting those times and the lingering tastes from childhood.I normally refrain from deep-frying the chicken pieces and settle for shallow frying.A handful of red or green capsicum tastes very good, but P is not a great fan, so though I didn’t use it I m noting down!

Sinfully Spicy - Chilli Chicken #indochinese

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2″ pieces [even bone in chicken can be used too]
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1.25 cups sliced red onions [the more onions, the better]
  • 3-4 pods garlic,crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger julians
  • 12-15 whole dry red chillies, broken into 2-3 smaller pieces (adjust to taste, use less quantity or milder variety)
  • 2-3 tbsp dark soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp hot & sweet tomato chili sauce (I use this brand)
  • 1.5 tsp – 2 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 cup diced bell peppers
  • 3/4 tsp crushed black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Few chopped green chillies
  • 3 tbsp + 1 tbsp canola oil

Notes –

  1. The dish taste much better when you deep fry the chicken as opposed to shallow frying it.

Method

  • Pat the chicken pieces dry with a paper towel.Sprinkle the chicken with cornstarch, all-purpose flour, salt and black pepper and combine well.Set aside for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile in a wide-mouthed pan, heat the 3 tbsp oil to the smoking point.When the oil is hot, tip in the chicken pieces and saute in oil till they become white on the outside and slightly tender.About 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken pieces and drain on a paper towel.
  • In the same pan, add the 1 tbsp oil and on high heat add the crushed garlic and ginger julians.Saute for 2 minutes and add the sliced onions.Saute the onions till they are soft and translucent but not brown.
  • Next, add the whole red chillies,chicken,soya sauce, hot & sweet tomato chili sauce, salt and red chilli powder to the pan and cook on high heat till the chicken pieces are tender.About 8-10 minutes.Add the diced capsicum now (if using).
  • Once the chicken is cooked, remove from heat and add the vinegar.
  • Transfer to a bowl and garnish with few green chillies.
  • Serve warm with steamed rice or chow mein/hakka noodles.

Enjoy!