Appetizers & Snacks

Samosa Tart (Tarte Au Soleil)

An indian twist to the French appetizer, “tart au soleil” Puff pastry sheets stuffed with traditional samosa filling. Buttery, spicy and easy, this tart is a great appetizer idea for easy entertaining.

If you are looking for an easy show stopper appetizer to make for your Diwali party, consider this sun shaped samosa tart. It can be assembled ahead and baked when you like.

Samosas are hugely popular and though I am all about traditional cooking but trust me having such recipes up one’s sleeve are also essential to save time when you are playing host and have a ton of things to do. Forget about spending hours to make a show stopper appetizer! I made these samosa pinwheels two years back and really puff pastry encasing traditional samosa filling is such an amazing way to imitate taste of authentic samosa closely, without the deep frying. However, this tart is in no way low in calories, but its super easy and delish!

WHAT IS A TARTE AU SOLEIL?

Tarte au Soleil is a fun french appetizer made with a savory filling and puff pastry.Two puff pastries are stuffed with a savory filling (samosa filling here),sealed, sliced in thin triangles to imitate the sun rays which are then twisted to create a roundish tart that after baking resembles the sun. Hence this tart is sometimes also called “sun tart”. Serve it as savory center piece with a bowl of green chutney and sev. This tart tastes amazing warm as well as at room temperature. All you need is store bought puff pastry dough. The samosa filling is can be made ahead as well.

Samosa Filling

Traditional samosa filling is made with boiled potatoes and peas. For taste and texture, I use two a mix of kinds of potatoes – russet & yellow or gold potatoes available in US stores. See recipe for quantities. To keep the soul of the samosa, I made authentic samosa filling spiced with spices like coriander, cumin, hing and amchoor (dry mango powder). Ginger and chaat masala add a unique flavor and tang to the filling. You can add some chopped nuts to the filling like cashews as well. Don’t miss the chopped green chilies & cilantro, they aren’t optional!

How to Make the Samosa Tarte Au Soleil?

Step 1:– Roll out thawed puff pastry to remove the seams at the folds. At all times make sure that the pastry is chilled. Start working with the first pastry sheet while the second one keeps refrigerated. Place the sheet on the parchment paper and work on it. Also choose a flat cookie sheet preferably to bake the tart than a rounded cake pan, its easier to pull out that way.

Step 2:- Once the puff pastry sheet is rolled out, choose a 10 or 12 inch dinner place and cut all along using a sharp knife. You will be left with a circle once you remove the trimmed edges.

Step 3:- Spread cold(very important!!) samosa filling evenly on the sheet leaving about 1 inch from the edges. The samosa filling should not be too chunky and don’t stuff too much else the tart will be soggy. You can smoothen out the filling using a spatula. Return to fridge while you start working on the second puff pastry sheet.

Step 4:- Using the same dinner plate you used for the first sheet, cut out a circle from the second puff pastry sheet. Brush some water on the edges that we left out on the first sheet and place the second sheet to sandwich the samosa filling. Seal the edges by pressing down lightly so that both the sheets stick together.

Step 5: – Place a juice glass in the center. Press slightly to form a circular impression but not all the way through. Now starting outwards from the edge of centre circle, cut 4 quarters to begin with. This will help you keep the rays of equal size. Next half each quarter and proceed to half those halves.

Step 6:- Once the rays have been sliced, carefully lift the rays (you can use a spatula) and twist the rays inwards bringing the end part to flatten on the parchment. Once all the rays have been twisted, use a fork and crimp the flat end part.

Step 7:- Brush the tart with melted butter (this will help in golden baking) and sprinkle some cumin seeds in the center. Bake away!

Few important tips and tricks to keep in mind when you make this tart:-

  1. I am sure you have heard this many times but at all times keep the pastry chilled. It should be pliable once thawed but should not feel sticky between your fingers.
  2. You can make the samosa filling a day ahead. Make it and store it refrigerated. If you are making it the same day, you have to make sure that the filling is cold when you make the tart. Warm or hot filling will melt the butter in the puff pastry sheet.
  3. Dont keep the samosa filling chunky. We have to twist this tart and too chunky potatoes will rip the pastry. Crumble your potatoes a little smaller than you normally would. However do not mash or grate the potatoes.
  4. You can assemble this tart up to 1 day in advance. Don’t freeze, keep it refrigerated and bake 40-45 minutes prior to serving.
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Samosa Tart (Tarte Au Soleil)

A fun indian-= french fusion appetizer. Puff pastry layers stuffed with traditional samosa filling. Buttery, spicy and easy, this tart is a great appetizer idea for effortless entertaining. 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: French, Indian
Servings: 10 inch tart

Ingredients

For the Samosa Filling

  • 4 boiled potatoes I use a mix of russet & gold potatoes (1 large russet and 3 medium gold)
  • 1/2 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp hing (asafoetida)
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, coarsely crushed
  • 2-3 thai bird green chilies, adjust to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder, adjust to taste
  • 1 tsp chaat masala
  • 1/2 tsp anardana (dried pomegranate sedds, if you cannot find, simply skip)
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor (dry mango powder)
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1.5 tsp salt or to taste
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro

For the Samosa Tart

  • 2 puff pastry sheets (thawed overnight and kept cold)
  • 1-2 tbsp cold water
  • Butter for brushing

Instructions

Step 1 :- Make the Samosa Filling

  • Peel the boiled potatoes and using your hands, crumble them into small pieces, don’t mash or grate them. Set aside.
  • In a medium pan, add the cooking oil and heat it up on medium low. Temper the oil with cumin, hing and coriander seeds, saute for 20 seconds, do not let the spices burn. Add the chopped ginger and green chillies and saute for about 10-15 seconds taking care not to burn anything. Take the pan off the stove if needed.
  • Add peas, return to the stove and and sprinkle 1/2 tsp of salt. Cook the peas for 1-2 minutes if using frozen, cook for 4-7 minutes if using fresh until the peas are soft. You might need to cover the pan in case of fresh peas.
  • Add the red chili powder next and saute. Add the potatoes to the pan and mix with everything else. Reduce the heat to low and saute on low heat for 3-5 minutes until the potatoes are warmed through and nicely combined with spices and herbs but do not turn brown.
  • Switch off the stove. Immediately mix in rest of the ingredients – chaat masalaanardana, amchoor, roasted cumin powder. Mix, taste and adjust the salt. Mix the cilantro. Samosa filling is ready. Transfer to a bowl or let the filling completely cool down in the pan. You can make the filling a day ahead as well.

Step 2:- Assemble & Bake the Tart

  • Line a large cookie baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Roll out thawed puff pastry to remove the seams at the folds. At all times make sure that the pastry is chilled. Place on parchment paper and start working with the first pastry sheet while the second one keeps refrigerated.
  • Once the puff pastry sheet is rolled out, choose a 10 or 12 inch dinner place and cut all along using a sharp knife. You will be left with a circle once you remove the trimmed edges. 
  • Spread the cold samosa filling evenly on the sheet leaving about 1 inch from the edges. You can smoothen out the filling using a spatula. Return to fridge while you start working on the second puff pastry sheet. 
  • Using the same dinner plate you used for the first sheet, cut out a circle from the second puff pastry sheet. Brush some water on the edges that we left out on the first sheet and place the second sheet to sandwich the samosa filling. Seal the edges by pressing down lightly.
  • Place a juice glass in the center. Press slightly to form a circular impression but not all the way through. Now starting outwards from the edge of centre circle, cut 4 quarters to begin with. This will help you keep the rays of equal size. Next half each quarter and proceed to half those halves. You should have 16 rays.
  • Once the rays have been sliced, carefully lift the rays (you can use a spatula) and twist the rays inwards bringing the end part to flatten on the parchment. Once all the rays have been twisted, use a fork and crimp the flat end part.
  • Generoulsly Brush the tart with melted butter (this will help in golden baking) and sprinkle some cumin seeds in the center. Chill for 20 minutes.You can store the assembled tart for upto 1 day.
  • Preheat oven to 400. Bake the tart for 23-26 minutes until goldebn brown. Once baked, let stand for 10 minutes and serve with chutney.
Indian Breads & Flatbreads

Bedmi Poori

Bedmi Poori is a popular street side breakfast in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. A coarse urad dal (lentil) paste is kneaded with whole wheat flour along with spices, rolled and deep fried. Bedmi Poori are served with aloo ki sabzi(spicy potato curry) and khatta meetha kaddu (sweet & sour pumpkin).

Bedmi pooris make for a perfect weekend breakfast and are great for festivals and celebrations. Poori is puffy deep fried flatbread popular all across India. You can check out my recipe of poori here. Poori dough is usually made with just flour, however addition of coarse lentil paste to the dough makes bedmi pooris unique and so delicious!

If you happen to visit streets of Old Delhi, you will see every other stall selling bedmi poori – sabzi. Street side pooris are one of the most delicious things. The aroma of spices and lentils filling up the air whenpooris deep fry is simply irrestible and it hard to cross by without sampling a bite. Other than Old Delhi, I loved having these on our trip to Agra at food stalls outside Taj Mahal as well as in narrow lanes of Mathura.

What kind of lentils can be used?

Traditionally, urad lentils are used to make bedmi poori. However, you can use yellow mung lentils as well as chana dal (bengal gram lentils). A variety of whole spices like fennel, nigella and cumin are added to the dough along with ginger, green chili paste and lots of hing(asafetida). Urad lentils in the dough make the pooris taste so amazing but at the same time because since they are protein rich and heavu lentil variety, they can sometimes lead to bloating. Thats why adding all the spices(particularly the fennel, hing & ginger) makes them easily digestible as well as super flavorful. It is amazing how these traditional recipes have been developed keeping real nourishment to the body in mind.

How is Bedmi Poori made?

Making bedmi poori is similar to making pooris. The difference is only in the ingredients of the dough. You make a tight (but not dry) spiced lentil and whole wheat flour dough, rest it (super important) and then roll it into 4 or 5 inch discs and deep fry. Watch this video to get an idea of how these pooris are made.

How to serve Bedmi Poori?

As I already mentioned, bedmi pooris are served with a spicy potato curry and pumpkin curry. But really you can serve them with dum aloo or paneer curry or any curry you like. I love them with a cup of chai just on their own. Served with chai they remind me of childhood train trips. You can also serve raita(yogurt) and pickle with these pooris.

Important Tips and Tricks to keep in mind when making bedmi pooris:-

  1. Always soak the lentils in water. This helps in even grinding as well as better taste of the lentils. However, do not soak the lentils for more than 4-6 hours. This is a little tip of my mom – who says that this way the pooris don’t absorb a lot of oil. I swear by it 🙂
  2. Don’t go overboard on spices or chilies. Spices make these pooris really tasty, however, these pooris should primarily taste of urad lentils.
  3. When you make the dough, add water slowly and make a stiff dough for pooris.
  4. You can add a little bit of semolina to the dough for added crispness. I sometimes do it too.
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Bedmi Poori

Lentil and whole wheat flour pooris (puffed flatbread). A popular street food from Delhi & Uttar Pradesh. These pooris are traditionally served with spicy potato curry and sweet & sour pumpkin.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 12 pooris

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup split & skinned urad dal
  • 2.5 cup whole wheat flour (atta)
  • 2 inch fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2 thai bird green chillies
  • 1.5 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp nigella seeds
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp hing
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp oil (while kneading the dough)
  • Oil for frying

Instructions

  • Wash the urad lentils 2-3 times. Soak for 6 hours.
  • Once soaked, drain the water completely.
  • Add lentils to a grinder/blender along with ginger, green chilies, cumin, fennel, nigella, red chili powder and hing. Grind the dal to a coarse paste. If needed, add as little water as possible (1-2 tbsp).
  • In a large bowl, add flour, ground lentils and salt. Mix everything with hands. Add oil and mix as well.
  • Start adding little water and knead into a firm stiff dough. I used about 1/3 cup water. Add water slowly while kneading. Knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes to make as smooth as possible. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and rest for 20 minutes.
  • Pinch equal portions form the dough depending on how large/small or thin/thick you want to make pooris. Roll the portions into smooth balls
  • In a kadai/wide pot, set oil on a medium high stove to heat up.
  • Without using any dry flour, roll the balls into to a 3-4 inch circle. You can use little bit of oil while rolling if needed.
  • Slide the rolled poori into the hot oil and deep fry till slightly browned from both the sides. Gently press the pooris while frying so that they puff up. Drain them on a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat till all pooris are fried up. Serve.

Notes

  • Always soak the lentils in water. This helps in even grinding as well as better taste of the lentils. However, do not soak the lentils for more than 4-6 hours. This is a little tip of my mom – who says that this way the pooris don’t absorb a lot of oil. I swear by it 🙂
  • Don’t go overboard on spices  or chili. Spices make these pooris really tasty, however, these pooris should primarily taste of urad lentils.
  • When you make the dough, add water slowly and make a stiff dough for pooris.
  • You can add a little bit of semolina to the dough for added crispness. I sometimes do it too.
Indian Mithai & Desserts

Phirni Brûlée

Phirni is classic indian ground rice pudding made with basmati rice, milk, sugar, nuts and flavored with cardamom or saffron or rose water. Perfect for festive celebrations or as a delicious sweet finish to a dinner, its a quick and easy desserts with basic pantry ingredients. In my recipe I added a little twist taking inspiration from classic french brûlée and served it with a crackly sugar top.

What is Phirni/Firni?

Phirni is a creamy pudding made with ground basmati rice. The ground rice is slow cooked with milk till everything achieves a velvety consistency, it is sweetened and then is typically set and served in shallow earthen pots and is best eaten chilled. Setting in earthen pots imparts it a nice earth aroma which is so unique and only adds to its taste.

How is Phirni Different from Kheer?

Both kheer and phirni are milk based rice pudding, however the difference is that in phirni, rice is ground and then cooked with milk versus kheer in which rice is cooked as it is, without grinding in milk.

What is Creme Brûlée?

Creme Brûlée is an elegant french custard dessert made with eggs, heavy cream, vanilla and sugar. The chilled, set creamy custards are sprinkled with sugar and is then torched with the kitchen torch so that the sugar is caramelized crispy. And served right away.

Why Phirni Brûlée?

The idea for this fusion was playing in my mind for long and the textural contrast of creamy rice pudding with a crackly sugar top is just mind blowing. The phirni is cooked in the traditional way, its slow cooked and eggless and can be eaten and served on its own! However, I wanted to add a touch of fusion so I went ahead and bruleed it! My husband is a huge fan of creme boulle and this dessert was such a huge with him.

Lavender Flavored :- I have been loving the flavor of lavender scented desserts lately so I perfumed this phirni with little crushed dried lavender. Don’t worry the scent is just lovely, not soapy at all. Lavender is just amazing in milky desserts and it is such an underrated flavor in indian cuisine. I tried it in peda a while back! Start with this lavender malai peda recipe 🙂 However you can always flavor the phirni the traditional way with ground cardamom, rosewater or saffron!

Coming back to brûlée, you simple need a culinary grade torch which can be bought for around $10 off amazon. Alternatively, as I read on internet broiler can also be used to caramelize the sugar, however I cannot vouch for it since I haven’t tried.

Few things to be kept in mind when you make phirni :-

  1. You can choose a fragrant rice – short grain goind bhog/kalijeera or jasmine rice work wonderfully besides basmati rice. Wash and air dry the rice for a few hours before grinding it.
  2. Keep the phirni towards mildly sweeter side since the brûlée sugar will balance the sweetness. However, if you are not making the brûlée, add 6 tbsp of sugar to sweeten the phirni.
  3. Since the rice is ground, I feel phirni cooks much faster than kheer, you have to however keep on stirring it more often, so that the ground rice dosent get lumpy.
  4. Always chill the phirni to bring out the right texture and taste. Ideally, I would make the phirni a day ahead and brûlée it right before serving. Please do not brûlée warm phirni.
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Phirni Brûlée

Classic Indian ground rice pudding with a fusion twist of bruleed sugar layer.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • A heavy pot, culinary torch

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup basmati rice
  • 3 cup whole milk
  • 4 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dried lavender flowers (crushed between palms) , or use cardamom or saffron or rose water
  • 4 tbsp raw sugar/demera sugar

Instructions

  • Wash rice 3-4 times under running water. Drain and then spread the rice on paper towel or kicthen towel to air dry for a few hours.
  • Once the rice is dry, add to a coffee grinder and grind to a powder. Don't make a very fine or a very coarse powder.
  • Set milk to boil and reduce on low medium heat.
  • Once the milk comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and let the milk reduce for 15 minutes or so.
  • Next, while continuously whisking add the ground rice to the milk. Keep whisking for 2-3 minutes else lumps will form.
  • Let the milk simmer and rice cook in the milk. You will need to stir the phirni often while it cooks for even cooking and to make sure that no lumps are formed.
  • In about 20 minutes you, you will see the milk will thicken and become almost custard like since the rice has cooked out. At this point add the granulated sugar. Cook for another 3-5 minutes till the sugar is dissolved. Switch off the stove and mix in the lavender (or the flavor that you are using).
  • While still warm, divide the phirni into your serving bowls. Let sit undisturbed until completely cooled down and then chill in the fridge for atleast 6 hours. You can serve the phirni just like this or with some nuts.
  • To Brûlée (Just before serving):- Spread 3/4 to 1 tbsp of raw sugar over the set chilled phirni. Using a culinary torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy slightly burnt sugar top. Wait for 5 minutes for the sugar to harden before serving.

Notes

  • You can choose a fragrant rice – short grain goind bhog/kalijeera or jasmine rice work wonderfully besides basmati rice. Wash and air dry the rice for a few hours before grinding it.
  • Keep the phirni towards mildly sweeter side since the brûlée sugar will balance the sweetness. However, if you are not making the brûlée, add 6 tbsp of sugar to sweeten the phirni.
  • Since the rice is ground, I feel phirni cooks much faster than kheer, you have to however keep on stirring it more often, so that the ground rice dosent get lumpy.
  • Always chill the phirni to bring out the right texture and taste. Ideally, I would make the phirni a day ahead and brûlée it right before serving. Please do not brûlée warm phirni.
Indian Breads & Flatbreads

Methi Naan (Instant No Yeast Naan)

Pillowy no yeast instant naan with the flavor of fresh methi (fenugreek leaves) and garlic in every bite. This Instant naan recipe does not use any yeast or eggs and it gets ready in about 30-40 minutes. The naan are cooked on stove top and they are soft and absolutely delicious.

Naan is one of the most popular bread from the indian subcontinent and it is basically leavened dough which is rolled and cooked in high heat of the tandoor (clay ovens). However, there is a way to get the same taste at home without using tandoor. The best part about the naan is its charred on top puffy pockets and this recipe will get you both those things without using any tandoor.

My mom always made stove top naan or tandoori rotis to go along with dal makhani. She would use yogurt to knead the dough and served straight off the stove, those charred soft naan were one of the best things in the world. I have shared my tandoori roti method here in this post and this naan recipe is quite similar in terms of cooking process but of course the dough is different from tandoori roti.

What is Methi (Fresh Fenugreek Leaves)?

Methi or fresh fenugreek leaves are a very popular winter greens in india and they are used in a ton of curries – both vegetarian and non vegetarian throughout the year. The taste of methi is pleasantly bitter sweet and when it is in season, super aromatic varieties of methi leaves are dried and preserved and they are used to flavor a lot of north indian curries.

I love the flavor of methi as the winter is approaching, its one of my favorite greens and here I added fresh chopped methi to the naan dough. To augment the taste of fresh methi, I also added some kasuri methi which makes these naan super flavorful. Last year on Diwali, I shared these garlic methi pooris and the combination of methi and garlic is just mind blowing in everything! Pair these naan with the rich festive savory dishes the you will make this season. Or if you ask me, just with a dab or ghee, these are so good on their own!

How to make Methi Naan?

  1. The dough of the naan uses basic ingredients like flour, yogurt, baking soda, oil etc. All you need to do is add chopped methi and knead a firm dough. If you do not want to use methi, simply skip it and use the same recipe to make regular instant naan on stove top.
  2. Once the dough is ready, resting the dough is one of the most important part of the process to let the yogurt and baking soda do their magic towards attaining that soft chewy texture of the naan.
  3. Once the dough has rested, simply roll out the dough into oval or tear shaped bread and cook it on stove top, no oven is needed.

Here’s a visual guide to making these naan :-

Few Important tips to keep in mind when you make these naan :-

  1. Dough :- The dough uses very basic ingredients from your pantry. If you want you can make this dough a few hours(3-4) ahead and store it refrigerated. Whenever you want to serve, roll the naan and serve! However do not make it a day ahead or more than 6 hours ahead, trust me the taste changes and they will taste of soda!
  2. Methi – Fresh fenugreek leaves are easily available during fall & winter months in indian stores as well as in farmer markets. Get the freshest methi you can find. Clean the methi – which basically involves separating the leaves from the stems. Wash, dry and finely chop the leaves and add to the dough. An important thing to keep in mind is to chop the methi leaves using a knife only. Do not use choppers or food processor to chop methi since it sometimes becomes watery or is unevenly chopped. Another important thing to keep in mind is that when you are making the dough, remember that the methi leaves will release a little bit of water while resting due to salt in the dough. So keep in mind to make a firm dough to begin with.If the dough is too soft and pliable in the beginning, then it will be a sticky mess after resting.
  3. Rolling the Naan :- Use the naan as you would roll your rotis. Traditionally naan are tear drop or curvy triangle shaped but trust me don’t worry too much about it – a simple oval or round shape will work as well. It should taste good, that all matters if you ask me 🙂
  4. Naan Toppings :- You can keep them plain but really the combination of methi and chopped garlic is mind-blowing! A lot of toppings are possible and you can choose what you like. Use sesame seeds, black poppy seeds, nigella seeds, chopped cilantro, chili flakes or chopped onions and green chilies for fun flavors.

Do check out other methi flatbread recipes from the blog like garlic methi pooris and methi ke parathe(flatbreads).

Pair these naan with these curries :-

Khoya Paneer Kali Mirch

Navratan Korma

Dal Makhani

Matar Paneer

Dum Aloo

Dahi Vaale Dum Aloo

Chicken Korma

Paneer Lababdar

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Methi Naan (Instant No Yeast Method)

Instant methi flavored naan which needs no eggs or yeast and is cooked on stovetop. No oven or tandoor needed. These are fragrant with methi, soft and delicious!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6 to 8 naan

Ingredients

  • 2 cup All purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed chopped methi leaves (from 1 bunch methi (about 60 g leaves)) , see notes
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi (dried fernugreek leaves, crushed fine between palms)
  • 1/2 cup plain thick, whole yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2-6 tbsp room temperature water, as needed
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic

Instructions

  • Sift the flour, salt, sugar and baking soda in a large bowl.
  • Add yogurt, oil, kasuri methi & methi leaves and first knead without water to mix together the yogurt and oil with the flour. The flour will absorb the moisture of yogurt and slowly methi will start realeasing its moisture as well. Mix for about 2 minutes like this to incorporate the flavors.
  • Slowly start adding water a little at a time and beginkneading the dough. Keep kneading the dough and make a soft yet firm dough. I used exactly 1/4 cup of water. You may need less or more depending on absorption quality of your flour and also on the water content of yogurt that you use. Keep in mind that the dough should not be squishy else after resting it will become very sticky since the methi leaves will release bit of their water due to salt in the dough.
  • Once kneaded, cover with a damp cloth or paper towel and let the dough rest for atleast 25 minutes. If the temperature is cold, rest the dough for attest 1.5 hours. During warm weather 25-30 minutes will be more than enough.
  • Heat up a heavy, 12 inch cast iron griddle on medium high heat.
  • Once the dough has rested, divide the dough into 6 portions. Roll the portions into smooth balls. You can make the naan a bit smaller or less thick as well and go for 8 portions instead. Keep the portions covered while you start rolling them one by one.
  • Lightly dust your rolling surface. Using a rolling pin,gently roll out each portion into 1/4 inch thickness. Don't press too hard while rolling else the naan won't puff up. If you feel that the dough is getting a bit sticky, use dry flour to roll easily.
  • Brush a little water on top of the naan and press down chopped garlic so that they stick. Flip the naan and brush a little water all over the bottom side of the naan, this helps the naan in sticking to the pan.
  • To cook on Flame Stove top :- Place the naan, non garlic side side on the hot tawa. Wait for about 5-7 seconds and then cover the naan with a lid. In about 30-40 seconds the naan will start puffing up due to formation of air pockets. Uncover, lift the tawa and flip it so that the garlic side of the naan is directly exposed to the flame. You can move the tawa a bit so as to make sure that the full naan is exposed to the flame. In about 6-8 seconds the naan will start getting charred all over. Once nicely browned all over, its ready. Use a spatula to lift the naan from the tawa and brush it with melted ghee or butter. Serve warm. Enjoy!
  • To cook on Electric Stove top :- Place the naan, non garlic side side on the hot tawa. Wait for about 5-7 seconds and then cover the naan with a lid. In about 30-40 seconds the naan will start puffing up due to formation of air pockets. Uncover, and using a spatula, flip the naan to cook on the others side. Cook for 8 seconds or so for a nice char. Once nicely browned all over, its ready. Use a spatula to lift the naan from the tawa and brush it with melted ghee or butter. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Clean, wash and air dry methi before chopping. 
Appetizers & Snacks · Indian Streetfood & Indo Chinese

Kolkata Egg Roll

Egg rolls, also know as frankie or wrap are a popular treat from streets of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). Flaky flatbreads (parathas) that are rolled from a dough made of flour and shortening and cooked on a heavy tawa(griddle), then beaten eggs are spread on the flatbread. These are then stuffed with ketchup, a fresh salad made of onions, cucumber & cilantro, green chilies and sprinkled with chaat masala. These rolls are sold at every other street vendor and they are delicious, satisfying and have numerous varieties from fish to mutton to chicken stuffed ones.

I can eat these egg rolls everyday, they are so delicious!. In fact these make for an amazing breakfast. My love affair with Calcutta Egg rolls started much before I married into a Bengali family. Delhi is a culturally diverse city and during Durga Pujo you would find a lot of pandals springing up like wild mushrooms all the walled city. The evenings of navami were reserved for Durga Puja pandal hopping. There used to be a big pandal near our house and we used to walk our way there to attend the evening aarti and sample the food from the stalls.

Most of it is a fading memory because its been close to 13-14 years since I went to a pujo pandal but as I write this,I vividly remember the aroma of egg rolls and fried pomfrets that filled the air as well as the vibe.

Making these egg rolls is very simple. Probably the only time consuming part is making the paratha. However, if you don’t want to do that, you can very easily take a shortcut and buy flatbreads from store. Use something which is unleavened, not too thick or thin (don’t use a tortilla though :))

Here is a visual look at how to assemble the egg rolls.

A few things to be kept in mind when you make egg rolls :-

  • Make the dough for the parathas ahead and always always rest it for atleast 30 minutes. You can make the parathas ahead as well, cook them ever so slightly, don’t brown too much, cool them down and stash them one on top of other with a parchment/wax paper in between. Refrigerate for 2 days and freeze for up to two months. If you want to freeze, layer the parathas in a single layer on a plate or sheet and freeze for 3 hours.Once frozen, store them together in a zip loc bag.
  • One egg per roll is more than enough. If you will addd too much egg, it will remain raw while your paratha will become soggy. I like to individually crack and beat an egg for each roll while I make them.
  • Salad :- The traditional salad is onions + cucumbers +green chillies + cilantro tossed with some black salt. However you can add tomato or green pepper as well, it tastes quite good, especially the peppers.
  • Sauces :- Traditionally ketchup is added. However, at my in-laws I saw them using ketchup mixed with red chili sauce (Ching’s brand :)) and it tastes good. I sometimes add little sriracha as well.
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Kolkata Egg Roll

Popular Calcutta style egg rolls made with flakey crisped parathas topped with beaten egg and stuffed with fresh salad and sauce. These make for an amazing take along, finger food.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6 rolls

Ingredients

For the Parathas (Flatbread)

  • 2 cup all purpose flour/maida
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Water to knead the dough

For the Egg Rolls

  • 6 large eggs
  • Salt
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, halved and thinly sliced into half moons
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced into half moons
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • chopped green chilies, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black salt
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp Red chili sauce or sriracha
  • Chaat Masala, to taste
  • 6 tbsp Oil, to cook the rolls

Instructions

Prepare the dough for paratha

  • In a large bowl, add flour, sugar, salt and oil. Mix with hands. When the flour can be held in a lump when you squeeze it between your palms, its ready for adding water.
  • Slowly add water and knead the dough well. It should be soft and pliable and not sticky at all. It took me little over 1/2 cup water to knead the dough. Once the dough starts coming together in a ball, moisten your hands with 1 tsp oil and knead for 2 minutes to form a smooth ball. Cover with a damp cloth and let the dough rest for 30 minutes. While the dough is resting, you can make the salad (recipe below).

Make the Salad & Sauce

  • In a bowl, mix onions, cucumbers, cilantro, green chili along with black salt and salt. Toss well and keep ready.
  • In a small bowl, mix the ketchup and chili sauce (or sriracha). Mix and keep ready.

Make the Egg rolls

  • Take one egg, crack it in a bowl, add salt and using a fork beat the egg lightly.
  • Once rested, divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Roll each portion into a round smooth ball.
  • Roll each portion into a 6 to 7 inch diameter circular flatbread. Don't make very thin or very thick flatbreads. Thin parathas will not take the weight of egg and tear away, thick ones won't crisp and remain undercooked
  • Heat a tawa or heavy pan on medium heat. Once hot, lower the flame.
  • Place the rolled paratha on the tawa and lightly cook for a minute. Flip and cook for 30 seconds on the second side. Lift and place the paratha on a plate nearby.
  • Now, add one tablespoon of oil and pour the egg mixture on oil. Let the egg semi cook for a minute.
  • Place the semi cooked paratha on top of semi cooked egg and press down slightly. The paratha will stick to the egg. Let cook for another minute till the egg is completely cooked. Flip using a spatula and brown the paratha on the other side, you can crisp it as you like.

Stuffing the Rolls

  • Place the egg paratha on a plate and on the egg side, slather a little sauce, then add little salad that we made earlier. Sprinkle the chaat masala and roll it up. You can wrap in parchment or secure with a tooth pick. Repeat for all the parathas. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Make the dough for the parathas ahead and always always rest it for atleast 30 minutes. You can make the parathas a day ahead as well, cook them ever so slightly, don’t brown too much, cool them down and stash them one on top of other with a parchment/wax paper in between. Refrigerate for 2 days and freeze for up to two months. If you want to freeze, layer the parathas in a single layer on a plate or sheet and freeze for 3 hours.Once frozen, store them together in a zip loc bag.
  • One egg per roll is more than enough. If you will addd too much egg, it will remain raw while your paratha will over crisp. I like to individually crack and beat an egg for each roll while I make them.
  • Salad :- The traditional salad is onions + cucumbers +green chillies + cilantro tossed with some black salt. However you can add tomato or pepper as well, it tastes quite good, especially the pepper.
  • Sauces :- Traditionally ketchup is added. However, at my in-laws I saw them using ketchup mixed with red chili sauce (Ching’s brand :)) and it tastes good. I sometimes add little sriracha as well.
Indian Mithai & Desserts

Pineapple Peda

Five ingredient soft and fruity peda made with fresh pineapple, mawa, sugar, milk and ghee. You can flavor it with cardamom or saffron even vanilla,becasue why not! This soft & melt in the mouth peda is super easy to make and is perfect for fasting days or for festive occasions.

Peda is a very popular indian mithai which is traditionally made by simmering milk for hours so that the milk solids remain which are then sweetened with sugar or condensed milk, flavored and rolled into flat discs. Texturewise, peas are quite soft and little crumbly.

Making traditional milk peda takes a long time and effort.However, in our homes, we can make peda much easily using mawa or milk powder. I have shared quite a few peda recipes in the past (scroll to the bottom of the post to check them out). The flavors of this peda were playing in my mind for quite a bit and I am so glad that after a couple trials, this recipe came out perfect.

I shared a reel on making mawa at home last week on my Instagram page. You can check it out here. I used the same mawa to make these peda and viola so easy it was! You can easily use store bought mawa as well, just make sure to use a good quality one because the fat content of mawa plays an important role in how soft and fudgy the pedas will turn out. This recipe is perfect for Navratri fasting. It is grain free and uses milk and fresh fruit both of which are allowed during fasting.

How to make pineapple peda?

First begin by selecting a ripe pineapple. Over ripe pineapple will work great as well since it will automatically bring down the sugar in your recipe. Blend the pineapple to a fine(but not super fine) sort of fine crushed fruit, it should not be a puree. There should be not big chunks but it should not be like baby food either. Cook down the pineapple till it resembles a paste and then mix the paste with cooked mawa, sugar, ghee and milk. Let cool down and roll into peda and decorate as you wish.

Pineapple Peda

Few tips to keep in mind :-

  1. Bring mawa to room temperature before using it. Sometimes when we add cold mawa to the hot pan, it melts unevenly and tiny pieces remain.
  2. Don’t use very firm or unripe pineapple. I usually buy a pineapple and let it sit on the kitchen counter for 2-3 days and depending on the temperature of where you live, it will ripen and its skin will turn yellow. When you smell the pineapple you will be able to tell that its ripe.
  3. Work on the peda mix on low heat. This is super important else the peda mix will turn brown in no time. It takes about 15-20 minutes to cook down the peda mix.
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Pineapple Peda

Five ingredient soft and fruity peda made with fresh pineapple, mawa, sugar, milk and ghee. You can flavor it with cardamom. This melt in the mouth peda is super easy to make and is perfect for fasting days or for festive occasions. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 18 pedas

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup very ripe pineapple, crushed (not too coarse or too smooth)
  • 1-2 tbsp ghee, divided, as needed
  • 340 g mawa, grated
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp whole milk, room temperature
  • 10 strands saffrons, ground with pinch of sugar

Instructions

  • Set a non stick wide pan on the stove on low medium heat. Add the crushed pineapple and start cooking it with regular stirring. Initially you will see a lot of bubbles(those are pineapple juices) but keep cooking and after about 5-8 minutes you will that its turning into a thickish paste and the bubbles are much less. Don't dry the paste too much, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  • In the same pan, on low heat add 1 tbsp ghee to begin with. Once it melts add the grated mawa. Cook the mawa, it becomes soft pretty quickly in about 2-3 minutes, so keep a close eye.
  • Once the mawa melts, add the sugar and milk to the pan and mix everything. Immediately you will see that the mawa mixture becomes a slurry. Keep cooking it with regular stirring.Keep the stove on low to medium. In about 10 minutes you will see that the mixture will start thickening up.
  • Once it will start thickening up, it will start clumping around the spoon and you will see it glistening. At this point add the pineapple paste and mix up well with the mawa. Also add the saffron.
  • Keep cooking for another2-4 minutes until you will be able to fold the mixture over itself. It will not be runny, rather like loose cement/concrete. Don't dry too much, it will be much thicker once it cool down.
  • Transfer to a bowl and cool down completely. Once cooled, if needed, oil your palms with ghee and pinch small portions of the mawa mix and roll into a ball. Flatten the ball to give it the peda shape. Decorate as you wish.
    If you feel that the mixture is too soft, refrigerate it for 1-2 hours and the roll it.
  • Store pedas refrigerated for 3-4 days. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Bring mawa to room temperature before using it. Sometimes when we add cold mawa to the hot pan, it melts unevenly and tiny pieces remain.
  • Don’t use very firm or unripe pineapple. I usually buy a pineapple and let it sit on the kitchen counter for 2-3 days and depending on the temperature of where you live, it will ripen and its skin will turn yellow. When you smell the pineapple you will be able to tell that its ripe.
  • Work on the peda mix on low heat. This is super important else the peda mix will turn brown in no time. It takes about 15-20 minutes to cook down the peda mix.
Appetizers & Snacks · Indian Streetfood & Indo Chinese

Chicken 65

Chicken 65 is a spicy appetizer belonging to the south indian cuisine. Boneless chicken is marinated in spices, yogurt, ginger and garlic, then fried to crispy perfection and then quickly tossed with curry leaves and chilies before serving. Its spicy, tangy and super delicious!

Having spent over four years of his student life in IIT Madras, my husband is a huge fan of south indian flavors. When we got married, I rarely knew anything about the cuisine except idlis, dosa or sambar vada which are really popular in the Delhi street food scene. However, slowly over the years I have learnt a lot of dishes that he likes and this Chicken 65 happens to be one of them.Not just him, my 8 year old has taken a liking to spicy foods in the past few years and she loves this one as well.

What is Chicken 65?

There are many theories behind how the dish got its name and really I won’t get into all that. Down south, from Andhra Pradesh to Kerala, different regions make their own variations. Essentially, Chicken 65 is fiery deep fried chicken with the saltiness & the chewy crispiness that one mostly associates with fried chicken. The flavors packed in this appetizer range from curry leaves, ginger, garlic, kashmiri chili powder to thai bird chillies- few of those ingredients which always always make a happy indian recipe 🙂

How I make Chicken 65?

I start by marinating boneless chicken thigh pieces in spices and yogurt for a few hours. Once marinated I add rice flour and corn starch and the immediately deep fry it.Yes, this dish happens to be gluten free friendly. Once deep fried, immediately toss the chicken with curry leaves garlic and green chilies and serve. Really its that easy and a perfect snack or appetizer for any time or occasion.

Few things to keep in mind when you make Chicken 65 :-

  • Always use dark chicken meat for this recipe. Don’t use chicken breast.
  • You can easily make this recipe vegetarian by using paneer, soya chunks or mushrooms . Just marinate for 30-40 minutes in that case.
  • Rice flour adds a lot of crunch and tastes good instead of just using cornstarch.
  • Don’t add very sour or too watery yogurt else the marinade will be runny and you will have to add a lot of rice + corn flour, this takes away the actual taste of the chicken in the dish and its tastes of flour.
  • While frying, don’t add a large quantity of oil since you cannot re use the oil. It gets flavored with spices by the end of deep frying chicken and you simply have to discard it.
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Chicken 65

South indian appetizer made with spice and yogurt marinated deep fried chicken tossed in curry leaves and garlic.
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4

Ingredients

For Marinating Chicken

  • 1.1 lb (500g) boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp extra hot red chili powder, adjust to taste
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 3 tbsp plain thick yogurt
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
  • Oil for deep frying
  • 2 tbsp fine rice flour, unsweetened
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch (cornflour

For Sauteing

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 3 thai green chilies, slit in half
  • 1.5 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 12-15 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp sriracha (or Ching's red sauce), optional
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • Lemon slices, sliced onions, cilantro to serve

Instructions

Marinate the Chicken

  • Add chicken to a large bowl. Add salt, pepper, chili powders, yogurt and turmeric. Mix well to coat. Cover and marinate for atleast 3 hours.
  • Set the oil for frying to heat up on medium stove.
  • Mix the rice flour and cornstarch with the marinated chicken. Use your hands to mix and coat all the chicken. The chicken should look dryish after coating.
  • Check the oil by dropping a tiny piece of chicken. It should come uo sizzling. If so, the temperature of oil is right. Deep fry the chicken in small batches on medium high heat. Don't over crowd else the chicken will be chewy. Fry all the chicken in batches and drain on a paper towel.

Stir frying

  • Heat up oil in a wok on high heat. Crackle the mustard seeds. Add the garlic, curry leaves and green chilies next. Saute for about 30 seconds on high heat till leaves crisp up a bit.
  • Next add the sriracha. Saute for 10 seconds. Add the fried chicken, add vinegar and toss everything for couple minutes so that the fried chicken is coated nicely. Serve right away with lemons and sliced onions!

Notes

  • Always use dark chicken meat for this recipe. Don’t use chicken breast.
  • You can easily make this recipe vegetarian by using paneer, soya chunks or mushrooms . Just marinate for 30-40 minutes in that case. In step 1, substitute with paneer in batons, button mushrooms, tofu or soaked soya chunks. 
  • Rice flour adds a lot of crunch and tastes good instead of just using cornstarch.
  • Don’t add very sour or too watery yogurt else the marinade will be runny and you will have to add a lot of rice + corn flour, this takes away the actual taste of the dish.
  • While frying, don’t add a large quantity of oil since you cannot re use the oil. It gets flavored with spices by the end of deep frying chicken and you simply have to discard it.
Indian Non Vegetarian

Methi Murgh

Methi Murgh (Chicken) is a delicious and simple dish of chicken in a sauce made with fresh fenugreek leaves, yogurt and spices. This dish pairs well with rotis or rice for a flavorful meal.

Methi leaves are very popular greens in India, especially when they are in season during the autumn/winter months. Methi leaves have a unique, bitter sweet aroma which is quite addictive. During the summer months, when methi leaves aren’t that easy to find, you can still make this dish by using kausri methi which is basically dried fenugreek leaves that are commonly used to flavor a ton of Indian curries.

How to make methi chicken?

Start by plucking the methi leaves off the stems. The task of cleaning methi leaves is a bit tedious but that is the only thing which is hard in this recipe. Rest of the curry is simple to make and comes together quickly. Once the methi leaves are ready, wash them 3-4 times to remove all the dirt (this is important) and then let them air dry for a couple of hours. Once dry, chop the methi leaves and use them to flavor the onion tomato masala and cook the chicken in the masala.

Few things to be kept in mind when making Methi Murgh:-

  • Let the methi leaves air dry for a few hours before chopping them. Adding wet methi leaves will make the curry watery.
  • Methi Leaves :-Always taste a few different stalks of your methi bunch. Sometimes the leaves are too bitter especially if its desi methi and you cannot use them to make the curry. Second thing to keep in mind is that never use the stems of methi, they are usually more bitter and fibrous so they will spoil the texture of your dish.
  • I make this dish with boneless chicken thighs but you can use bone in chicken easily. Just adjust the time of cooking as noted in the recipe.
  • I don’t like using a lot of whole spices in my recipe since they overpower the taste of methi. Just a pod of black cardamom and bay leaf is more than enough.
  • Yogurt :- Taste the yogurt before you use it. It should not be too sour else the curry becomes too tangy. Use thick plain homemade yogurt or greek yogurt which isn’t too sour.
  • Tomatoes :- Using tomatoes is optional. Again don’t use very sour tomatoes.
  • Bitter Taste of Methi :- Cooking the dish a couple hours before you are going to serve and resting it not only enhances the flavor of the dish but also brings down the bitterness of the dish. However sometimes the methi is just too bitter and there is hardly anything you can do to save it, so as I mentioned before, taste the methi a few times before using it.
  • Mustard Oil:- In my opinion, the taste of this dish is best when cooked in mustard oil, however you can use avocado or grapeseed oil instead.
  • Heat :- I don’t add red chili powder in this recipe. In fact, if you ask me this dish is not hot rather it has a pleasant bitterness from methi leaves. However, I do add a few green chilies for the flavor goes really well with the methi.
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Methi Chicken

Chicken in a pleasantly bitter sweet gravy made with fresh fenugreek leaves, yogurt and spices. Serve with rice or roti for a delicious meal.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb (700g) boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut in 2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1/3 cup plain full fat yogurt
  • 1 tsp kausuri methi , crushed between palms
  • 1/3 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 3 tbsp mustard oil (or avocado/grapeseed oil)
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger garlic paste (simply pound together 3 cloves garlic and 1 inch ginger in mortar pestle)
  • 2-3 thai bird green chilies, slit
  • 1 large (about 3/4 cup) thinly sliced onions
  • pinch turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 large (about 1/2 cup) tomato, grated or crushed in a food processor
  • 1/2 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1 to 1.5 cup fresh methi leaves
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1- 2 tbsp heavy cream, optional

Instructions

  • Add chicken to a bowl. Sprinkle the black pepper powder and little salt over it. Mix well to coat the chicken. Let stand while you start making the masala.
  • In a small bowl, beat together the yogurt, cumin and kasuri methi. Keep near.
  • Add oil to a heavy wide kadai or pan. Warm up the oil till its slightly smoky. Add cardamom, methi dana & bay leaf and sauté for 10 seconds. You will see that the cardamom swells up.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste and green chillies. Sauté for 10 seconds till you smell a nice aroma.
  • Add the onions next and brown them till light golden in color on medium heat. Takes about 3-4 minutes.
  • Once the onions are browned, add 2 tbsp water to the kadai, they will splutter a bit. Immediately add the chicken. Sprinkle the turmeric and coriander. Toss around the chicken for 3-4 minutes with onions till you see that the chicken is starting to turn white. Don't brown or cook too much.
  • Next add the crushed tomatoes. Fry the tomatoes with chicken for 3-5 minutes on medium heat till you start seeing tiny oil bubbles. If you are using bone in chicken, cover the kadai and let the chicken cooks in its own and juices from tomatoes.
  • When the chicken is tender, reduce the heat to low and add the beaten yogurt, Immediately mix continuouslyfor 2-3 minutes once you add yogurt to avoid curdling.
  • Let the chicken cook for another 4-5 minutes with the yogurt. You will see a thick gravy will form. Let the chicken cook completely in yogurt. You will see that the oil will start releasing.
  • Add the chopped methi leaves along with garam masala. Mix well and cook everything till the methi has completely wilted. About 3 minutes.
  • Add the heavy cream (if using), mix and turn off the stove after 1 minute. Let rest for a couple hours if possible. Reheat and serve warm.

Notes

  • Let the methi leaves air dry for a few hours before chopping them. Adding wet methi leaves will make the curry watery.
  • Methi Leaves :-Always taste a few different stalks of your methi bunch. Sometimes the leaves are too bitter especially if its desi methi and you cannot use them to make the curry. Second thing to keep in mind is that never use the stems of methi, they are usually more bitter and fibrous so they will spoil the texture of your dish.
  • I make this dish with boneless chicken thighs but you can use bone in chicken easily. Just adjust the time of cooking as noted in the recipe.
  • I don’t like using a lot of whole spices in my recipe since they overpower the taste of methi. Just a few pods of black cardamom and bay leaf is more than enough. 
  • Yogurt :- Taste the yogurt before you use it. It should not be too sour else the curry becomes too tangy. Use thick plain homemade yogurt or greek yogurt which isn’t too sour.
  • Tomatoes :- Using tomatoes is optional. Again don’t use very sour tomatoes.
  • Bitter Taste of Methi :- Cooking the dish a couple hours before you are going to serve and resting it not only enhances the flavor of the dish but also brings down the bitterness of the dish. However sometimes the methi is just too bitter and there is hardly anything you can do to save it, so as I mentioned before, taste the methi a few times before using it.
  • Mustard Oil:- In my opinion, the taste of this dish is best when cooked in mustard oil, however you can use avocado or grapeseed oil instead.
  • Heat :- I don’t add red chili powder in this recipe. In fact, if you ask me this dish is not hot rather it has a pleasant bitterness from methi leaves. However, I do add a few green chilies for the flavor goes really well with the methi.

Rice Dishes

PANEER MOTI PULAO

Fragrant and delicately spiced basmati rice adorned with fried paneer kofta(balls) that are covered in edible silver & gold warq(leaf) to resemble ‘moti‘ or pearls. This pulao is easy to make and tastes of green cardamom & cloves with a tang of yogurt in every bite.

Pulao/Pilaf is easy one pot comfort food for anytime. They are quick to make and can be served on their own or with curries and lentils. In indian cuisine, there are hundreds of ways to make and serve pulao. From weeknights to weekend pulao to pulao recipes for special occasions, we have it all. Pulao is less labor intensive than layered rice dishes like biryani and that makes it really handy for anytime.

What is Moti Pulao?

Moti translates to pearl in Hindi and originally small, melt in the mouth ground meat kofta (balls) are added to pulao along with birista (browned onions), cashews and dry fruits. To make the meat balls resemble shiny pearls, the kofta are coated in edible silver or gold after cooking. This recipe comes from the kitchens of the nawabs where the royal cooks arduously spent hours to come up with culinary masterpieces to please their king. If you happen to look at the nawabi/awadhi cuisine, you will find luxirious and delicate flavors in the dishes. Not a lot of strong spices (masalas) are used- many of the dishes use lot of nut pastes, ghee, yogurt, mik sweet smelling spices like cinnamon and cinnamon and mild kashmiri chilies. The same theme is carried forward in this dish. There are not strong spices or any fresh ground masalas, the rice cooks to be mellow and is served as one of the dishes among many.

How to make Moti pulao?

I take inspiration from the traditional nawabi technique and make a vegetarian version with paneer koftas. In order to make moti pulao, the first step is to the make the birista or fried browned onions which form an important component of its taste profile unless you decide to use store bought fried onions(which is totally fine!) Once the browned onions are ready and while they cool down,I move on to making the pulao, which basically begins by tempering the ghee with few whole spices, followed by more onions & garlic, green chilies and them making a base of plain yogurt and then cooking the rice in it. While the rice cooks, you can work on the paneer kofta – deep fry or air fry them and then add them on the fluffed pulao.Finish the pulao with saffron, and serve. If you go with a little planning, the different steps of this recipe can be done methodically and you will be really efficient in the kitchen. Read the recipe to understand how I go about it. You can serve moti pulao with any spiced curry. It goes well with green chutney and salad as well.

Few things to keep in mind when cooking Moti Pulao

  • If you want, make the kofta with minced chicken or mutton/lamb keema.
  • Don’t go overboard with spices. I dot use powdered spices at all. Just a few whole spices are enough to season the rice, its not supposed to be too masaledaar.
  • If you want color to your rice, use a little red chilli powder for reddish hue.
  • Dont skimp on the ghee. The pulao will be sticky.
  • Always use a wide and heavy pan to cook the pulao. The thinner the layer of rice as it boils in rice, the grains won’t break and fluffier the rice will cook. I use my 12 inch pan with lid.
  • You can make mixed vegetables koftas or add a few vegetables like peas or carrots for a variation.

A few questions that I can think of :-

Can I use any other rice than basmati rice? – Yes definitely. However, this is such a royal dish and if you making it for special occasions like Diwali, I would go for basmati rice only.

Can I avoid deep frying the paneer kofta? You can air fry or shallow/pan fry the paneer kofta. I would go for latter since I feel that air frying makes them dry.

My rice sticks, why do you think? There could be two main reasons for rice to stick or break. First is that you used less oil/ghee. Pulao needs a proper amount of fat to cook fluffy. If you skim on ghee, the pulao will be sticky and taste like steamed rice. Second reason could be that you did not let the rice rest after cooking. It is super important, fluff the rice attest 15-20 minutes after it has rested.

I don’t like biting into a whole spices, can I tie them in a bag? Ofcourse. But make sure that you use muslin to tie the spices so that they flavors can permeate properly into the rice.

Other pulao recipes to check from blog :-

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Paneer Moti Pulao

Fragrant and delicately spiced basmati rice adorned with fried paneer kofta(balls) that are covered in edible silver & gold warq(leaf) to resemble 'moti' or pearls. This pulao is easy to make and tastes of green cardamom & cloves with a tang of yogurt in every bite.Serve with green chutney and/or spiced curry.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4

Ingredients

For the Birista (Fried Onions)

  • 2 large onions, halved and sliced (not too thick or thin)
  • Oil for deep frying

For the Pulao

  • 3/4 cup basmati rice
  • 1 +1/4 cup water (adjust depending on rice quality)
  • 4 tbsp ghee
  • 4 green cardamom
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3-5 cloves
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 6-8 black peppercorns, whole
  • 2-3 Thai bird green chillies, slit
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup whole raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt, beaten
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 10 strands saffron, soaked in 2 tbsp milk
  • Pomegranate arils, fresh mint, cilantro etc for garnish

For the Paneer Kofta

  • 1 cup crumbled paneer
  • 1/2 cup grated boiled potato
  • 1.5 tbsp cornstarch (see notes)
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1-2 thai bird green chilies, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tbsp coarse powdered cashews
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Edible silver or gold leaves
  • Oil for frying (same that you used for frying onions)

Instructions

Make the Birista (Fried Onions)

  • In a heavy kadai or wide skillet, heat oil on medium hit and deep fry the onions till they are light brown in color. Fry on ow heat so that the onions are crisp. Drain on a paper towel and spread them. Let cool. They will crisp up more as they cool. Set aside.

Make the Pulao (Start while the onions are frying)

  • Wash the rice 2-3 times in running water and soak them in 1.5 cup of water. Keep near.
  • In a heavy pot with lid, add the ghee and let it heat up. Make sure that the ghee is not too hot or smoky. Temper with all the whole spices – cardamom, peppercorns, cloves, bay leaf and cumin seeds. Saute for 30 seconds and add the green chilies and cashews.
  • Fry the cashews for a minute or so till they are pale brown and then add the onions. Cook onions for 3-4 minutes til they soften a bit but aren't not browned.
  • Lower the heat to low and add the yogurt to the pot. Immediately whisk for a minute or so else the yogurt will curdle. Add sugar and salt and cook the yogurt masala for about 2 minutes till you see small bubbles of fat appearing but don't cook for too long.
  • Add the soaked rice along with water to the pot, stir to combine everything. Taste and adjust the salt of the water to make sure that its sharp salty, this ensures that rice will be well seasoned.
  • Bring to a boil, cover and turn the stove to low for about 12-14 minutes for rice to cook and absorb the flavors. While the rice cooks, you can proceed to make the paneer kofta (recipe below).
  • Onde95 percent of the water is aborbed, open the lid of the pot and drizzle the soaked saffron. Don't mix. Immediately cover and let the rice cook completely for another 5 minutes.
  • Take off stove and let the rice sit undisturbed for about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork, plate and decorated with warm paneer kofta, fried onions, extra nuts, fresh herbs etc. Serve.

Make the Paneer Kofta (Moti)

  • You can use the same oil that you used for frying onions to fry the paneer kofta. Just make sure to strain the oil once to get rid of any burnt onions particles. Heat up the oil on medium.
  • In a large bowl, add all the listed ingredients except the silver/gold leaf.
  • Using your hands, squish and mix everything nicely to form a smooth dough. Take a smallD portion, roll into a ball and add to oil, if its not spreading, procee and make small koftas.
    If the kofta spreads, add another tablespoon of cornstarch, mix and then form the koftas.
  • Fry up all the koftas on medium heat until golden on all sides.
  • Drain on a paper towel and once cool to touch, cover the koftas in gold or silver warq. Add to the pulao as mentioned the instructions above.
Indian Mithai & Desserts

Brownie Burfi Bites

Eggless brownie topped with a layer of milky creamy kesar (saffron) scented burfi (indian sweet). Chocolatey, milky and fudge with hints of saffron, these bites are one divine dessert to make anytime and enjoy! The combination of saffron and chocolate is heavenly to bite into. This flavor profile is not new to me, I did a similar combination a while back with these brownie saffron cheesecake bites.

You need just a few ingredients for the eggless brownies. They are scented with green cardamom and gooey(but not falling apart). While the brownies bake in the oven you can work on the burfi layer which is simply made with milk powder, milk, ghee and sugar. My kids really enjoy fusion mithai so I like to create recipes from time to time to give them a taste of indian flavors while still keeping the appeal of the desserts they know.

What is Milk Burfi?

Milk Burfi is a super popular, easy and delicious mithai which can be prepared with 4 to 5 ingredients like milk, milk powder or mawa, sugar and ghee. You can make it for indian festivals like Holi, Diwali, Vavratri or a batch to snack on. There are many ways to flavor burfi and here I have used saffron for the beautiful color and aroma it imparts.

How to make Burfi?

Traditionally burfi is made with khoya or mawa which are basically milk solids that have been separated after cooking the milk long enough so that its moisture evaporates. If you are not able to find good quality mawa, the same milky and creamy burfi can be made with milk powder.

How to make eggless brownies?

Brownies are usually made with eggs which impart them a unique gooeiness while taking care of the structure while they bake. However, by making a few swaps, brownies can be easily made eggless and they still taste indulgent, rich, dense and chewy. This one bowl recipe is crazy easy to whip up . You are going to need simple ingredients like butter, sugar, yogurt, chocolate, all purpose flour, cocoa power, soda and hot water.

Start by preparing your pan and preheating the oven. While the oven is heating, you can melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Once the melted chocolate has cooled down slightly, its time to mix everything together, add to the baking dish and bake. While the brownies bake – make the burfi layer and save time.

Few tips to keep in mind when making these bites :-

  1. Line the baking pan with parchment paper with an overhang. This is super important because this will help you to lift the whole thing without sticking.
  2. Let the brownie layer cool down before adding the burfi layer. Prepare the burfi layer accordingly so that it doesn’t dry out either. I usually start working on the burfi layer about 10 minutes after pitting the brownies in the oven.
  3. Don’t mix the brownie batter too much.
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Brownie Burfi Bites

A fun indian fusion dessert made with eggless brownie layer topped with a layer of creamy kesar (saffron) scented burfi (indian mithai). Chocolatey, milky and fudge with hints of saffron, this is one divine dessert to make on festivals or anytime and enjoy! 
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Indian
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients

For the Eggless Brownie Layer

  • 8 tbsp butter
  • 130 g dark cooking chocolate (70%), chopped
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/3 tsp cardamom
  • 1/3 cup thick plain yogurt, full fat
  • 3/4 cup +2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

For the Burfi Layer

  • 12-15 strands saffron, grind with a pinch of sugar in a mortar pestle
  • 1 tbsp warm milk
  • 1/4 cup +1 tbsp ghee, melted
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2.5 cup milk powder, I use Nido brand
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Sliced pistachios to garnish

Instructions

Brownie Layer

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8 inch square baking dish with parchment or wax paper with an overhang.
  • In a heat proof bowl, add the butter, chocolate and cocoa powder. Place the bowl on a boiling pot of water making sure that the bottom of bowl is not touching the water. In about a minute you will see that the butter and chocolate start to melt, using a spatula stir gently a few times to mix. In about 4-5 minutes you will see that everything as melted, if some lumps of chocolate remain, they will melt in the residual heat. Take off the stove and set aside to cool.
  • In another large mixing bowl, add the sugar along with hot water. Using a whisk, combine so that the sugar is dissolved. Add the chocolate mix and whisk well to make a runny smooth mixture. Don'tmix a lot as the chocolate might start thickening.
  • Add the cardamom powder and yogurt next, and whisk to combine until smooth.
  • Place a sieve/colander over the bowl and sift the flour and cornstarch over the wet ingredients.
  • Very gently with the help of a spatula, mix everything together until the whole mixture is wet and you cannot see any white specks. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Transfer to the prepared baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes until you see a crust forming at the top. If you insert a skewer, it should not come out clean but should have wet batter stuck on it either.
  • Allow the baked brownie layer to cool completely(about 20-25 minutes). Don't take out from the baking dish. Proceed to the burfi layer below.

Burfil Layer (Make while the brownies are baking)

  • Soak the saffron in warm milk. Let stand.
  • Take a heavy bottom wide kadai (non stick is better) and add ghee, sugar, milk powder and milk to it. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, mix everything to form a milky slurry.
  • Place the kadai on low medium heat and begin cooking the mixture. Stir continuously that no lumps are formed and the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the kadai.
  • After about 5-6 minutes you will see that the milk mixture will start thickening. Continue to cook on low heat with regular stirring. At about 10 minutes, you will see that the mixture starts clumping around the spatula or wooden spoon and you will be able to fold it over itself. Also, t won't stick to the kadai at all.
  • Add the saffron mix to the mixture and cook for 1-2 minutes, so that the mixture is very well scented with saffron. Don't cook too long else the burfi will be dry.
  • Take off the stove, wait for 2-3 minutes and while still warm add the burfi mixture on top of the brownie mixture. Using a spatula smoothen and spread it out to have uniform thickness as well as cover the entire surface of the brownie layer.
  • Once smooth, press down the pistachios on the burfi top. Allow to set for 2-3 hours.
  • Carefully, lift the brownie out of the baking dish. It will be heavy. Using a sharp knife cut into desired size shape. Enjoy!
  • Store in fridge upto 5 days.