Appetizers/Snacks · Indian Streetfood/Indo Chines

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 ūüôā

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.
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.
Uncategorized

Rasedaar Baigan Aloo

Rasedaar baigan aloo is a warming punjabi north indian curry made with eggplants and potatoes. I always love September for the overlap of produce it brings – the summer bounty is still in the markets but the autumn produce can be spotted as well on the stands. Eggplant season is at its best during late summer and right now the eggplants are sweet, fleshy and don’t have plenty of seeds. I love to cook lot of eggplant dishes during this time. If you prefer a dryish aloo baigan, do take a look at this recipe I shared many years ago.

Rasedaar aloo baigan can be served with rotis (flatbread) or plain steamed rice. I always admire how this delicious vegetable absorbs any kind of goodness thrown into it.Here the base is a simple onion tomato ginger garlic masala which forms the starting point for many north indian curries. This curry is a quick and easy option for weeknights and tastes better the next day so do plan leftovers.

There are numerous versions of aloo baigan all over India and this the one I grew up eating. The combination of juicy eggplants and starchy potatoes in a masala base has contrasting textures and unique flavors. The list of ingredients may look a bit long but truly these are everyday spices.

How I make rasedaar aloo baigan?

I start by prepping the vegetables. No store bought ginger garlic paste or canned tomatoes! Hand grate the onions, it takes extra 5 minutes but the taste is so much better than blending or chopping it in the food processor. If you can find campari tomatoes-those are one of the best choice for curries, chop them fine and hand pound the ginger and garlic. Cut eggplants in batons and the potatoes similarly but slightly smaller than eggplants – that way none of the vegetables overcook. You can make the curry much soupy but I like to keep it on the thicker side. Keep in mind that eggplant has a lot of water content so it won’t taste that good if you make a very soupy curry.

Keep these tips and tricks in mind when you make this sabzi:-

  • Soak the eggplant for 8-10 minutes after cutting them into batons. That way they won’t absorb a lot of oil while cooking.
  • Try to keep the size of potatoes and eggplants as uniform as possible. I add the potatoes a little earlier when saut√©ing the masala so that they start cooking a few minutes earlier than eggplant and finish cooking together.
  • Do not use a lot of tomatoes since that takes away the taste of the eggplant. I like to finish with amchoor (dry mango powder) for added sour taste.
  • Saute the powdered spices in oil with onion, ginger and garlic for better aroma. You can add a little water to avoid them from getting burnt.
  • Let the curry rest for half and hour before serving. Eggplant has a spongy texture and resting really enhances the taste.

Rasedaar Baigan Aloo

Rasedaar baigan aloo is a warming punjabi north indian curry made with eggplants and potatoes. powdered spices in a onion tomato base. Its a delicous weeknight vegan curry which pairs well with rotis or steamed rice.
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 (about 400 g) medium size Italian Eggplant
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1.5 inch fresh ginger
  • 2-3 small tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup mustard oil (or grapeseed/avocado oil)
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp hing
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp kashmiri red chili powder (or paprika)
  • Hot red chili powder , to taste
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor (dry mango powder)
  • 1.5 tsp kasuri methi
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • chopped cilantro

Instructions
 

  • Wash the eggplant. Cut it in 2 to 2.5 inch batons. Soak in water while you prepare other ingredients.
  • Peel the potatoes and cut them lengthwise. Cut them a little smaller than eggplant.Soak in water while you prepare other ingredients.
  • Peel and grate the onion, you should have about 1/2 cup of grated onion. Chop the tomatoes. Pound the ginger and garlic into a thick paste using your mortar and pestle.
  • In a heavy bottom pot, warm up the mustard oil on medium low heat till its a bit smoky. Crackle the cumin seeds and hing for 10 seconds in hot oil.
  • Add the onions and brown the onions in oil for about 5 minutes until they are light golden. Do not brown too dark else the color and taste of curry changes.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for 15 seconds. Next add all the powdered spices – corinader, turmeric,chili powders. Add a tablespoon or two of water and brown the spices for 30 seconds or so.
  • Next add the tomatoes, sugar and salt. Mix and cook the tomatoes for about 2-3 minutes on medium low heat till they start to soften. Add the drained potatoes now, mix and cook the masala for another 4-5 minutes until you see oil seperating on sides.
  • Drain as much water as possibe and add the eggplant to the pot next. Mix around so that eggplant batons are coated well in the masala. Keep stirring around and cook the eggplant with masala for about 2 minutes.
  • Next add about 1.5 cup hot water. Mix, taste and adjust the salt. Bring to a slow boil and cover the pot. Let cook for about 8-10 minutes on medium low heat until the potatoes are fork tender and eggplant is cooked through.
  • Once the vegetables are cooked, switch off the stove and finish with the amchoor, garam masala and kasuri methi while still warm. Mix very gently. Cover and let the curry rest for atleast 20 minutes.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve with rotis or rice.

Notes

  • Soak the eggplant for 8-10 minutes after cutting them into batons. That way they won’t absorb a lot of oil while cooking.
  • Try to keep the size of potatoes and eggplants as uniform as possible. I add the potatoes a little earlier when saut√©ing the masala so that they start cooking a few minutes earlier than eggplant and finish cooking together.
  • Do not use a lot of tomatoes since that takes away the taste of the eggplant. I like to finish with amchoor (dry mango powder) for added sour taste.
  • Saute the powdered spices in oil with onion, ginger and garlic for better aroma. You can add a little water to avoid them from getting burnt.
  • Let the curry rest for half and hour before serving. Eggplant has a spongy texture and resting really enhances the taste.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Indian Streetfood/Indo Chines · Rice Dishes

Paneer Tawa Pulao

Tawa pulao could essentially be indian equivalent of asian fried rice. Leftover rice saut√©ed on high heat with vegetables, protein and spices, what’s not to love! Tawa pulao is a popular street food in western parts of India(Mumbai) and its one of the best ways to use up leftover rice in my opinion. Together with green chilies, fresh herbs, vegetables and pav bhaji masala, it makes for one delicious and quick weeknight dinner especially if you have cooked rice ready to go.

As the name suggests, tawa pulao is made on tawa -a flat round pan which is popular in indian cooking for making rotis, shallow frying, making savory cheelas and roasting as well. Indian tawa are heavy and usually made of iron but you can use your cast iron skillet for this recipe. If you have a wide mouthed, heavy iron kadai that will work perfectly as well. We are sort of tossing everything similar to fried rice so a wide & heavy pan and pre prepared ingredients are the key. The idea is to cook on a constant high heat- similar to how we stir fry in asian cooking and a non wide skillet or wok won’t do the job properly.

All you need is leftover rice, some blanched or steamed vegetables and protein for this recipe. My husband said, I added by Delhi touch by adding paneer :), but if you have leftover chicken tandoori or tikka, you can use those as well. You can leave out the protein altogether and make these just with vegetables.

I like to spice up the pulao with pav bhaji masala, however you can use any spice blend that you like – dry tandoori masala (my recipe here), sambar powder or garam masala can be perfectly used. The use of a spices along with a paste of ginger, garlic and green chilies lends a smoky umami flavor to these rice and with creamy, milky soft chunks of paneer they taste super delicious. Cooking on super hot tawa lends the rice slightly crispy, vegetables are charred and the spices get smoky. All and all a super flavorful dish which is perfect for quick family dinners. Serve the pulao with raita, green chutney and achar.

How to make Tawa Pulao?

You will need a heavy tawa. I like using my 12 inch cast iron griddle but you can simply use iron tawa or wide iron kadai (one that’s heavy). Making tawa pulao is very much like making fried rice. You have to work fast once you start so make sure that the ingredients are ready to go. Prepare the blanched vegetables, shallow fry the paneer, keep the chopped onion, garlic, ginger and chilies ready. We will add everything step by step (as outlined in the recipe) and add the rice at the last and stir fry on high heat.High heat is important to make sure that the rice does not turn mushy. Few of the rice grain might break but that’s okay. It is important to start with cold rice so that they do not stick to each other. I start by making a quick masala of onions, tomatoes, ginger garlic and green chillies. Then I saut√© the paneer and vegetables for a bit to warm them up before adding the rice and pav bhaji masala and tossing it up all together.

A few things to be kept in mind when you make tawa pulao:-

  • Always use cold rice. You can use leftover rice or if you are cooking fresh, let them cool down completely and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using.
  • Use a wide and heavy¬†tawa. This ensure that the rice crisp and don’t get mushy. Heavy¬†tawa¬†ensures that heat is constant. I usually avoid non stick pans because they change the texture of rice.
  • Keep the vegetables and all other ingredients ready. These pulao takes about 10-12 minutes start to finish and having everything ready to go makes sure that we get the right texture without overcooking anything. Don’t use raw vegetables except those which cook quickly or can be eaten crisp (like peppers or corn). Blanch the carrots, peas(if using fresh) or green beans if using.
  • Shallow fry the¬†paneer¬†chunks before adding or use them as it is. One good tip is to cut the¬†paneer¬†and vegetables to roughly the same size.
  • You can use leftover chicken¬†tikka¬†or shredded¬†tandoori¬†chicken as well in this recipe. It tastes amazing.

Paneer Tawa Pulao

Popular indian street food style rice pilaf/pulao cooked on a hot skillet or tawa with vegetables, paneer chunks and spiced with pav bhaji masala.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2-3 green chilies, roughly chopped , adjust to taste
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1.5 cup vegetables (use vegtables that you like, I used blanched carrots & green beans, peas, bell peppers)
  • 5-6 tbsp tomato puree(simply blitz 2 small tomatoes in a processor) or use 1/4 cup store bought tomato puree
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup paneer chunks, shallow fried if you like
  • 1 tbsp pav bhaji masala , adjust to how strong you like the spices
  • 1/2 tsp hot red chili powder , adjust to taste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups cooked rice, cold
  • Chopped cilantro

Instructions
 

  • Keep all ingredients ready. Using your mortar and pestle, piund the ginger, garlic and green chilies to a coarse paste.
  • In a heavy bottom cast iron skillet or tawa, on medium high, heat up oil, crackle cumin and add the green chillies, ginger and garlic paste and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add the onions next and cook for 2-3 minutes till onions begin to brown.
  • Then, add all the chopped vegetables at once and saut√© them around till you see them starting to char.¬†On medium high heat it takes about 2-4 mins.
  • Then add the tomato pur√©e & sugar. Cook for about 3 minutes untill ou see oil starting to seperate but dont saute too much.Add the cubed paneer. Add turmeric, red chili and pav bhaji powder as well and cook everything for another 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the cold rice, sprinkle salt and stir fry the rice with everything else for 3-4 minutes. Finish with chopped cilantro.¬†Serve.

Notes

  • Always use cold rice. You can use leftover rice or if you are cooking fresh, let them cool down completely and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using.
  • Use a wide and heavy tawa. This ensure that the rice crisp and don’t get mushy. Heavy tawa ensures that heat is constant. I usually avoid non stick pans because they change the texture of rice.
  • Keep the vegetables and all other ingredients ready. This pulao take about 10-12 minutes start to finish and having everything ready to go makes sure that we get the right texture without overcooking anything. Don’t use raw vegetables except those which cook quickly or can be eaten crisp (like peppers or corn). Blanch the carrots, peas(if using fresh) or green beans if using.
  • Shallow fry the paneer chunks before adding or use them as it is. One good tip is to cut the paneer and vegetables to roughly the same size.
  • You can use leftover chicken tikka or shredded tandoori chicken as well in this recipe. It tastes amazing.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Indian Curry/Stew

Sukha Matar Aloo

Sukha matar aloo is one of the most delicious preparation with fresh peas and potatoes. I make it a few ways and this one is without any tomatoes and cooked in iron kadai(Indian wok). The beautiful intense flavors of tempering of hing (asafetida), cumin in mustard oil and amchoor at the end make it flavorful. Serve with paratha, poori or dal chawal for a comforting meal.

Aloo(potatoes) and matar(fresh peas) is a classic combination in North Indian cuisine. Be it the curry made with these two vegetables or this dry sabzi, it makes for a delicious meal anytime. Indian homestyle food is much simpler than the 5-6 stereotype dishes which define the cuisine outside of the country. Everyday food does not need a long list of ingredients and the taste is familiar of home. Like this sabzi, which was packed in our lunch boxes with paratha and a knob of aam ka achar. Or served for dinners accompanying a pile of warm daal and chawal.

I get fresh peas from Trader Joes and use those to make the recipe. Avoid using frozen peas since frozen peas are blanched and unless the potatoes and raw peas cook long enough together with spices, the true texture and the taste does not come through. At the end of cooking, I simple smush some of the potatoes and peas and bhuno(saut√©) the sabzi on high heat. The crispy “kurchan” of potatoes my favorite part.

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5 from 1 vote

Sukha Matar Aloo

Sukha matar aloo is one of the most delicious north indian preparation with fresh peas and potatoes along with spices. It can be eaten with parathas or lentils & rice.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Iron Kadai(indian wok)

Ingredients

  • 3-4 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1/4 tsp hing
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb shelled fresh peas
  • 2 large potatoes,peeled and cubed
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp hot red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 scant tsp amchoor(dry mango powder)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Instructions

  • Add the oil to a wide and heavy iron kadai and let heat up till its a bit smoky.
  • Temper the oil with hing and cumin seeds and let crackle. Add the ginger and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Add the sliced onions and on low medium heat cook the onion till they are browned.
  • Add the peas and potatoes together, mix and saute with the onions for about 3-4 minutes stirring regularly.
  • Sprinkle the spice powders (except amchoor & garam masala) and add salt. Mix well and cover the wok and let peas and potatoes cook on low heat for about 6-8 minutes. Open and stir halfway once to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the kadai, if so add a light splash of water, cover and let cook again until the poatoes and peas are soft.
  • Uncover and add the amchoor and garam masala and on high heat, saute the sabzi for about 3 minutes stirring regularly. You will see that the peas are shiny and the potatoes are falling apart, that makes this sabzi super delicious.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve warm. If you are planning to serve later, make sure that you transfer the sabzi to another dish and store.
Rice Dishes

Zucchini & Shrimp Tamarind Rice

This tangy rice dish combined with sweet in-seaon zucchini succulent shrimp is a beautiful choice for summer dinners. You can grind and store the spice powder (podi) ahead and with some leftover rice, it is quick to make and makes for a delicious light summery meal. Pair with papads(lentil crackers) or fried potato sticks (I have a recipe here) for a rounded meal.

South indian cuisine has quite a lot of flavored rice recipes made with dry powdered spices, curry leaves and a sour agent (tamarind or tomato or lemon). Tamarind rice is a popular recipe and it has a few variations. Some recipes mix the cooked rice with tamarind paste and stir fry (I make this version), the other recipes cook the rice in tamarind and spices flavored water.

Tamarind rice is a beautiful combination of rice flavored with fresh ground spices. I add fleshy sweet zucchini and shrimp to make it a meal perfect for summer dinners. This recipe is an inspiration from traditional south indian tamarind rice. While its not authentic, my family loves it.

If you do not want to use tamarind, use lemon juice or tomato puree instead. It all works great if the spice powder is done right. This is a good recipe for summer evenings when we all need a quick and satisfying meal. The best thing is that these rice can be eaten room temperature making them great for lunchboxes.

A few things to be kept in mind :-

  • Cook the rice a few hours or a night before. Cold rice won’t break when you mix it with the spices and stir fry.
  • Try to grind the spices fresh for a better taste or max 1-2 days ahead and store in an air tight container.
  • I use thick tamarind pulp, dont use watery tamarind else the rice will turn wet.
  • Add any vegetables that you like- peas, yellow squash and spinach go well.
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Zucchini & Shrimp Tamarind Rice

Inspired by south indian tamarind rice, this spicy tangy rice with fresh zucchini and shrimp makes for a great summer meal.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb extra large shrimp, cleaned, tail on
  • 4 tbsp oil (divided)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 2 thai bird, slit (adjust to taste)
  • 2 to 2.5 cup cooked rice
  • 3 tbsp tamarind pulp (not paste)
  • 1 tbsp jaggery
  • 2 tbsp roasted cashews
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 tsp salt

For the Spice Powder (makes extra)

  • 6 dried red chillies
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp black mustrad seeds
  • 2 tbsp white urad dal
  • 1 tbsp chana dal
  • 6-8 black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds

Instructions

  • Lighly dry roast all the ingredients for the spice powder in a skillet. Cool slightly and grind to a powder(not too coarse or super fine).Keep ready.
  • In a wide skillet (12 or 14 inch), heat up 1.5 tbsp oil on low medium heat. Once oil is warm, lower the heat and layer the shrimp and sprinkle a little salt. Cook 2-3 minutes each side. Once orange and cooked through, transfer to a plate.
  • Now we have to work quickly. Add the remaining oil to the skillet and heat on medium. Add the onions and lightly brown them. Next add curry leaves and let crisp a bit.
  • Next add the zucchini, green chilli and garlic and saute them for 1-2 minutes taking care that zucchini isnt too soft.
  • Add the tamarind pulp and jaggery next and quickly mix for 30 seconds or so. Add the rice and cashews to the skillet. Sprinkle 2 tbsp of the spice powder that we made along with salt. Also add a little splash of water if you feel that rice is getting too dry.
  • Stir fry for 3-4 minutes until warmed through and slightly crisped.
  • Serve immemdiately with papadams.Enjoy!
Indian Curry/Stew

Tamatar Sev Sabji


This delicious and easy tomato dish is full of textures. The ginger and curry leaves laced tomato gravy is mixed and topped with sev (chickpea flour noodles which are very popular in India) just before serving. Super easy and quick to make, this dish needs very basic ingredients from your pantry. Summer time is best for tomatoes and I like to preserve the sweet tangy taste of in season tomatoes with minimal use of spices.

This dish is very popular in western states of Rajasthan and Gujurat and though I didn’t grow up eating it at home, we enjoyed it on our road trips to Jaipur or at food stalls in the cultural hub of Delhi, the Delhi Haat.

It is upto you how pulpy you like the tomato gravy, I personally like it full of texture so I do not cook down the tomatoes a lot. The tomato base is gets the heat from green chilies, sweet from jaggery and smokiness from garam masala. The thick ratlami sev are a good choice because they don’t get mushy easily, are quite spicy and impart a lovely texture to this dish.

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Tamatar Sev Sabji

This delicious and easy tomato dish is full of textures. The ginger and curry leaves laced tomato gravy is mixed and topped with ratlami sev (chickpea flour noodles which are very popular in India) just before serving. So amazing for a quick meal.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 4-5 ripe & firm large tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp ghee, divided
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp hing
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 2 green chillies, roughly chopped or slit
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1 tsp jaggery
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup ratlami sev or any thick sev
  • Cilantro to garnish

Instructions

  • Chop the tomatoes into small pieces.
  • Heat up 2 tbsp ghee in a pan on low medium heat. Crackle the mustard and cumin seeds followed by hing.
  • Next, add the ginger, curry leaves and green chillies. Saute for 10-15 seconds.
  • Add the tomatoes next and sprinkle salt, coriandr, red chilli and tumeric powder. Mix and saute the tomatoes for a couple minutes untill you see that they are warmed up.
  • Cover the pan and let the tomatoes cook doen for 6-8 minutes on low medium heat until they are squishy but still have a lot of texture.
  • Let the tomatoes bubble and add jaggery, 1 tbsp ghee and garam masala. Mix and let cook for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Switch off the stove and mix in the sev and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately with extra sev. Enjoy!
Indian Curry/Stew

Aloo Paneer Ki Sabzi

An easy, homestyle gravy based dish made with paneer and potatoes. The combo of potatoes and paneer is pure love. With rotis or rice and salad, it makes for a delicious weeknight meal. This sabzi uses everyday ingredients from your pantry and is pretty straightforward.

We love paneer, especially my kids and its a great source of vegetarian protein. The popular paneer curries use ton of nuts and cream and while I absolutely love them, those are reserved for special occasions in our home. Everyday curries are fuss free and I make this paneer sabzi every other week.


I love making paneer curries in ghee but you can use mustard or olive or any cooking oil that you normally use. Here I also use a few whole spices but you can just use the powdered spices. Summer tomatoes are great right now and they enhance the taste of sabzi a lot. If you want, you can use crushed canned whole tomatoes as well.

Other paneer recipes to check out.

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Aloo Paneer ki Sabzi

Everyday homestyle paneer and poato curry which pairs well with rice, rotis and salad.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 large potato
  • 8 oz paneer
  • 1/4 cup ghee
  • 1 large bayleaf
  • 3 green cardamom cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, pounded in mortar pestle
  • 3 fat garlic cloves, pounded in mortar pestle
  • 1.5 cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp hot red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi, optional
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro, garnish

Instructions

  • Peel and cut the potato into 6-8 pieces. Keep soaked in water. Cut paneer into triangles or squares, as you wish, do not cut too thick or too thin.
  • Heat ghee on medium heat in a heavy bottom pot. Once nicely warm, add the whole spices. Crackle for 10 seconds and then add the onions.Cook onions till they brown evenly.
  • Add the ginger, garlic and cook for a minute or so till you smell a nice aroma.Then add the powdwered spices – coriander, turmeric, red chilli powder. Cook for 2 minutes in oil until you smell a toasty aroma. If you feel that the spices are getting dry, add a splash of water.
  • Next add the tomatoes,sugar and salt to the potCook for 5-6 minutes till you see oil seperating on the sides and the tomatoes are pulpy. Add the potatoes and mix well. Saute the potatoes for 3-4 minutes with the masala.
  • Add 1 cup hot water, mix.Taste and adjust the salt of the masala and bring it to a slow boil. Once boiling, reduce the stove to medium low and cover the pot. Let cook on medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until the potatoes are 95 percent cooked.
  • Once the potatoes are fork tender, add the paneer, kasuri methi, cumin powder and garam masala. Mix and cover again and let cook for another 5-8 minutes until poatoes are cooked through and the paneer has softened.
  • Let rest for 20 minutes before serving. Serve garnished with chopped cilantro.
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Bengali Macher Johl

Bengali Macher Jhol.A light spicy fish curry perfect for summer months. For us indians, curries are year round, isn’t? Depending on the season, I switch between lighter or richer preparations and these days I am mostly making soupy tomato or yogurt based ones. 

Turmeric rubbed fish steaks(I used fresh asian sea bass) shallow fried in virgin mustard oil are added to a nigella and bay leaf scented gravy which gets a kick from grassy green chillies. The flavors are so bright and different from the punjabi fish curry I grew up eating, but really perfect for the hot months.  

You can use any kind of fish that you normally use for curries – salmon or carp work well. I sometimes make it with frozen baramundi or snapper fillets as well. This curry can be made in a jiffy and tastes awesome with some steamed white rice. Sometimes potatoes or eggplants are added for a nice variation and always allow it to rest for 20-30 minutes for the best flavors.

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Bengali Macher Jhol

A light spicy fish curry from the eastern parts of india.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

To prep the fish

  • 1.5 lb (about 750g) sea bass(or rohu or salmon) cleaned and cut into steaks
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the Jhol

  • 1/4 cup mustard oil
  • 1/2 tsp nigella seeds
  • 3 thai bird green chillies, slit
  • 1/3 cup onion paste (simply grind onion in a blender using as less water as possible)
  • 2 garlic cloves ,pounded in mortar pestle
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 medium tomato chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1.5 cups hot water
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, add the fish, sprinkle salt and turmeric and rub on the pieces very well. Let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, add the powdered spices and mix ith 2-3 tbsp of water. Keep ready.
  • Add the mustard oil to a heavy wok or kadai and let heat up till slightly smoky.
  • Carefully, slide the fish into the oil and shallow fry for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from oil and place in a plate.
  • In the remaining oil, crackle the bay leaf, nigella and green chillies for 30 seconds.
  • Add the onion paste next and on medium heat, brown for about 3 minutes. Once browned add the ginger and garlic and fry for a minute. Add the powdered spices paste next, a splash of water and fry the spices for 2-3 minutes untill you see that the oil starts seperating.
  • Next add the tomato, sugar and salt and fry for 2 minutes till the tomatoes have softened.
  • Add hot water to the masala and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the stove and let simmer for 2 minutes. Add the fried fish to the gravy along with any oil thats leftover in the plate in which you kept the fish. Taste and adjust the salt once.
  • Let everything cook for 6-8 minutes untill the fish is cooked through. Remive from stove and mix in the lime juice. Let rest for atleast 20 minutes. Serve with steamed rice.
Indian Curry/Stew

Bhindi Zunka /Besan Bhindi

Fleshy and sweet summer okra cooked in a masala of onion, garlic and spices and coated in roasted chickpea flour. This okra dish is so delicious as a side with daal– rice or with soft warm rotis and a bowl of yogurt. I love such simple and light meals during summer. The addition of besan(chickpea flour), one of my favorite flours, makes it taste so earthly and spices like mustard, fennel & cumin complement the combination of fresh vegetable and nutty flour.

Zunka is a Maharastrian (Western Indian) dish which is basically chickpea flour cooked in a tempering of mustard and cumin seeds along with fresh chilies and powdered spices. It is like a slurry or can be dryish. It is usually served with bhakri(flatbread bread) and pickle for a meal. It is a super light dish during summers and quite flavorful like anything made with chickpea flour is.

Here, I added fresh bhindi to the spiced chickpea flour. I also addd fennel seeds since I love the flavor with okra. Okra isn’t slimy at all once the dish finishes cooking, the dish is perfectly spiced and comes together very quickly. The is my version inspired by the iconic zunka dish, which is usually a slurry. I like this drier version with okra a lot. Here are a few things to be kept in mind while cooking okra and this dish. Keep these things in mind and your okra will never be slimy.

  1. Wash the okra at least 1-2 hours before beginning to cook and let air dry if possible. Quickly washing and wiping with paper or cloth table is okay but I recommend air drying. Do not cut okra until its completely dry else it will be super slimy.
  2. For this dish, cut the okra in longish pieces, don’t cut very thin discs.
  3. Don’t skimp on oil. Some vegetables like okra, eggplant etc cook better if the oil quantity is good. At the same time, besan(chickpea flour)also need extra oil for the right texture post cooking. Right quantity of oil also helps in reducing the slimy texture of okra since it dosent steam but stir fries well while cooking.
  4. Okra is a delicate vegetable and when fresh, it cooks quite fast. We don’t need to cover it for a long time else it loses its color, get overcooked and the texture isn’t right. Just cover for a few minutes in the beginning to get cooking started and then cook uncovered till its tender. Writing the method I follow in the recipe.
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Bhindi Zunka /Besan Bhindi (Okra Cooked in Chickpea flour)

A flavorful dish of summer okra coated in spiced chickpea flour. Pairs well with soft rotis or dal and rice.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (400gms) okra
  • 1/2 cup besan (chickpea flour)
  • 5 tbsp mustard oil or any cooking oil you use
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2-3 green or red chilies, finely chopped (adjust to taste)
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onions
  • 4 garlic cloves,finely chopped
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • Red chilli powder to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-3 tbsp water or as needed
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor (dry mango powder)(or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala (or to taste)

Instructions

  • Wash and air-dry the okra. Trim the ends and cut each okra into maximun of 3 pieces. Set aside.
  • Take a kadai or heavy pan with lid in which you want to cook and set it on stove. First, dry roast the chickpea flour on low heat stirring continously till you smell a nice aroma but it does get not browned a lot. Takes about 6-8 minutes. Keep an eye and stir continously. Once roasted, transfer to a plate or bowl and set aside.
  • Add the mustard oil (or cooking oil) to the kadai and heat up till a bit smoky. Temper the oil with mustard, fennel and cumin seeds. As soon as they crackle, add the fresh chilies and saute in oil for 30 seconds.
  • Next, on medium heat, add the onion and let the onions cook in oil till they are a nice shade of golden brown. Add the garlic next and saute for a minute till you smell a nice aroma.
  • Add the coriander and red chili powder next and saute in warm oil for a minute or so.
  • Add all the okra to the onion & spices now, sprinkle salt and mix well. Saute for 2-3 minutes with the masala. You will see that the okra will start to look deep green in color and little moist(its own juices if your okra is good quality and fresh). If you feel its not releasing its juices, add couple tablespoons of water, mix and set the stove to low medium and cover the pan with a lid.
  • Let the okra cook for 5-7 minutes covered without opening the lid in between. Remove the lid and you will see that okra is much softer, let it cook for another 6-7 minutes without the lid till its soft but not falling apart. The okra will be browned and you wont see the slime. Once okra is cooked properly, its slimy texture goes away.
  • Sprinke the besan a few tablespoons at a time and gently mix well. The besan will slowly absorb the mositure from okra and will appear sandy. Add all the besan and keep mixing. If you feel that the sabzi is looking dryish, add a tablespoon or so of water. I didnt need to add any extra water. Taste and adjust the salt.
  • Finish the dish with amchoor and garam masala.Mix well and serve warm.