Indian Curry/Stew

Chicken in Yogurt Cardamom Sauce


This tangy, cardamom scented chicken in yogurt sauce is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. It can get pretty hot in Vegas during summers and I love a good yogurt based sauces, its light but still rich on warm evenings, that how this recipe came into being. You dont need to marinate chicken, if you can use bone in, the flavors come out amazing though this recipe will work for boneless dark meat chicken as well. Honestly, one cannot have enough chicken recipes on hand and this one is good change up from the red ones(though there still is bit of a tomato in here). With rice or rotis and a quick salad, this is a satisfying dinner. The sauce is chunky and thickish, it won’t win many laurels for the way it looks, its not one of your smooth creamy ones, rather delicately aromatic with hints of coconut and freshly ground cardamom in each bite.

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5 from 1 vote

Chicken In Yogurt Cardamom Sauce

A tangy and fragrant dish of chicken in yogurt sauce.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp oil
  • 8 green cardamom pods
  • 3 cloves
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger garlic green chilli paste ,simply pound 4 garlic cloves with a knob of ginger and 4-5 hot green chillies(adjust to taste, this is the only heat that goes in this masala)
  • 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 medium tomato just grate flesh of tomato using a box grater and discard the skin.
  • 1.5 lb bone in chicken(preferably dark meat)
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk thick yogurt, whisked
  • 1/4 cup fresh dessicated coconut
  • 1/4 tsp green cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Cilantro & mint leaves – chopped

Instructions

  • Place a kadai or a shallow pot on the stove. Add oil and let it heat up on medium heat.
  • Add the cardamom and cloves to the oil and saute for 30 seconds, dont let burn. Next add the cumin and let crackle.
  • Next, add the onions to the oil and saute them on medium heat until they start to brown but dont let brown too much.
  • Add the ginger garlic chilli paste and saute for 15 seconds followed by coriander and cumim powder and saute the spices in oil for 30 seconds. Add the tomato pulp next and saute on medium heat till you see oil seperating.
  • Next add the chicken, sprinkle salt and mix well with the masala. On medium heat, saute the chicken for 5 minutes. You will see that the chicken will slowly release its juicies and the masala will become a bit runny.
  • Cover the pot with a lid and let the chicken cook for 10-12 minutes (time will depend on the size of chicken pieces so adjust accordingly). You will need to saute in between a few times so that chicken dosent stick to the bottom.
  • Open the lid, reduce the heat to low and while sauteing add the yogurt over the chicken. Also add the coconut. Mix well and cover again for 10 minutes. Avoid adding any water to the sauce. In 10 minutes you wil see the yogurt is warmed through, thr masala resembles a thick slurry and there are oily bubbles on the top.
  • Remove the lid and saute the chicken for another 5-8 minutes till you see that the color of sauce has deepened and a nice amount of oil is seperating.
  • Finish with cardamom powder and garam masala. Take off the heat and garnish with chopped cilantro and mint leaves.
  • Serve warm.
Indian Curry/Stew

Cashew Yogurt Tofu & Bell Pepper Masala (Vegan)

A super flavorful tofu and colored bell pepper curry that will please your tastebuds whether or not you are vegan. When I am entertaining, I try to have a few dishes in the menu keeping in mind speciality diets of few my guests and this tofu masala always appeals to everyone. The creamy texture of the curry along with satisfying plant protein from tofu is pleasantly satisfying.

It is super creamy due to use of the cashew yogurt and fine ground almonds, you can skip the powdered nuts though if you wish. Also,you can switch up to oat milk yogurt or any nut free yogurt in case of nut allergies. The spices in the masala are usual indian kitchen spices, you can deep fry the tofu before adding it to the base. The curry is super quick to make and pairs beautifully with rotis or rice.

If you don’t want to use tofu,you can add anything you like to it right from cauliflower to soy nuggets to potatoes to chickpeas. Sometimes its a good to experiment and experience the nuances of restrictive cooking and I really enjoyed creating this recipe for my vegan readers.

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5 from 1 vote

Cashew Yogurt Tofu & Bell Pepper Masala

A vegan curry in afresh tomato & cashew yogurt sauce with tofu and colored bell peppers.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
  • Whole Spices – 1 bay leaf, 3 green cardamom, 2 cloves and 1 inch cinnamom stick
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste (simply smash 6-7 garlic cloves with 1 inch ginger shoot in a mortar pestle)
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric powder
  • Red chilli powder to taste
  • 5-6 tomatoes blanched and pureed (about 2 cup thick puree)
  • 1/4 cup super fine ground almonds (or cashews)
  • 6 oz extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 cup colored bell pepper chunks
  • 2-3 tbsp cashew yogurt
  • Warm water to thin the curry, as needed
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi (crushed slightly)
  • 1.5 tsp garam masala (adjust to taste)
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  • In a large wide pot or slighly deep pan, heat up the oil on medium heat. Temper the oil with all the whole spices and saute for 10-12 seconds.
  • Add the onions next and saute on medium heat for 6-8 minutes untill soft and lightly browned. Dont darken.
  • Next add the ginger garlic paste and saute for 10-15 seconds till the raw smell goes away.
  • Add all the powdered spices next – cumin, coriander, tumeric and red chilli. Add 2-3 tbsp water and saute the spices in oil for a minute or so.
  • Add the tomato puree next and cook for 6-8 minutes untill you see oil bubbles seperating. If the masala is looking too dry, add a little warm water at this point.
  • Add the ground almond and bell peppers next and salt the curry. Let peppers cook in the tomato masala for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Next add the cashew yogurt and mix well with the masala.Check and adjust the salt. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes taking care that bell peppers dont soften too much.
  • Add the tofu cubes next and using a spatula, very carefully combine them with everything. At this point if you want, add warm water to adjust the consistency of the masala. Dont mix too much else tofu will break. Avoid cooking on high heat.
  • Let everything simmer for 5-6 minutes on low medium heat. Finish off with garam massala and kasuri methi. Combine gently. Switch off the flame. Let rest for 20 minutes before serving.
Desserts/Baking

Thandai Spiced Badam Nankhatai

Crumbly, nutty nankhatai are everyone’s favorite. I make them often especially for the kids with different flavors and nuts. I make them with besan only, or sometimes with a mix of different flours- all purpose & semolina. There are truly so many combinations of flours and flavors.

This was the cookie which I grew up with. We had a round aluminum oven at my grandma’s place and it saw light of the day just to bake nankhatais. Every two weeks we had a fun baking session with my siblings, aunts and mom and we made tons of nankhatai. The texture of nankhatai is unique- its crumbly yet soft and mouthful. They should be crisp outside but still have a melt in the mouth centre. These nankhatai are super easy to make, just need a handful of ingredients and make for a good treat anytime.

Some tips to keep in mind when making Nankhatai.

  • I use ghee to make the dough. The ghee should be softened, it should not be melted. It should not be solid. It should be similar to softened butter. The flours bind using just ghee and no other wet ingredient, so its important that the ghee is measured properly(too much will make the cookies spread) and is of the right consistency .
  • I make nankhatai using just chickpea flour many a times (will share recipe sometime), however I feel using all purpose flour gives a nice body to the cookies and besan gives an amazing taste. Semolina can be added as well for extra crispiness.
  • The kind of sugar which is suitable is confectioners sugar or powdered sugar. Please dont use granulated or raw sugar ground at home. Store bough powdered sugar has a little bit of cornstarch which helps in the texture of the cookies.
  • Nut powder- If you have allergies, you can skip it and substitute it with equal quantity of flour. Or substitute with any kind of nut powder you fancy- cashew & pistachios work great. However keep in mind to use finely ground nuts in this recipe. Finely ground almonds are different from almond meal. If you have almond meal at home, process it to fine before using.
  • Th best way to know the if the dough is right is so feel it. The dough should come together in a ball and it should be soft yet firm. The dough should not be sticky at all. If it sticking to your hands, that means that you added more ghee and this will make the cookies spread too much when they bake, so add little flour to firm up the dough.
  • I used thandai spices(not powder) to spice up these nankhatai, you can use just cardamom powder if you wish.
  • I used gel colors to the dough in the spirit of festival of Holi, you can skip the colors and make them traditional as well.
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Thandai Spiced Nankhatai

Crumbly ghee loaded indian shortbread which are suitable for festivals, as a snack or any occasion.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time22 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 20 one bite shortbreads

Equipment

  • Mixing bowls, cookie sheet, measuring spoons and cups

Ingredients

For The Nankhatai

  • 75 gms (3/4 cup) all purpose flour
  • 25 gms(1/4 cup) besan
  • 20 gms (about 1/4 cup) finely ground almond powder
  • 75 gms(10tbsp) powdered sugar
  • 75-100 gms (1/3 cup – 1/2 cup) softened ghee, not melted adjust depending on consistency of dough
  • 1 tsp thandai spice powder (recipe below)

Thandai Spice (makes extra)

  • 1 tsp (8-10) black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 4 green cardamom pods, seeds only
  • 3-4 saffron threads

Instructions

  • Add all the thandai spices to a mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder.
  • Place a sieve over a large bowl and sift flour, almond flour, powdered sugar and besan. Make sure that there are no lumps.
  • Add the thandai spice powder and mix with fingers to combine.
  • Add softened ghee in parts, a little at a time and start mixing with the other hand(or a soft spatula) at the same time to incorporate the ghee. Mix very well, we want to moisten each and every speck of flours with ghee- makes for a crumbly nankhatai.
  • Incorporate ghee as needed to make a soft yet firm dough. You will use anywhere from 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup depending upon the absorption quality of your flour.The dough should not be loose or sticky. If needed due to wamr weather, refrigerate the dough to make handling easier.
  • Once the dough is formed, divide into 4 portions and and add gel color of your choice to dye each portion.
  • Pinch small portions (these spread a bit) of the dough and place on a baking sheet lined with paper. You can press a whole raw almond on top or any nut of choice. Place the cookies a bit apart since these spread a little(not much).
  • Refrigerate for 10 minutes(dont skip). Meanwhile preheat the oven to 325F.
  • Bake for 18-22 minutes till the bottoms are light golden in color. Cool for 10 minutes and enjoy!
Lentils

Sambar (Indian Lentil & Vegetables Stew)

Sambar is an utterly popular slow cooked south indian lentil and vegetable stew which is served with idlis, dosa, vada or steamed rice. It is fragrant, nourishing and very comforting. Lentils form a huge part of indian cuisine and every region has its own speciality. Sambar is an everyday dish of the south indian region and over years because of its delicious taste and nutrient dense value, it has become one of the most popular dishes in India.

However, in our north indian family, south indian food was made once or twice a month. It was a special meal and the preparations started a couple days ahead with mom fermenting idli batter and making chutneys. Her sambar recipe is the best if you ask me. I dont claim it to be the authentic for it differs in the selection of vegetables and the way she tempered it. So unlike the drumsticks and squash loaded ones, I grew up on sambar in which went chunks of capsicum(green bell pepper) and green beans and sometimes okra or eggplant. It was a warming, soul satisfying and a beautiful medley of flavors of sambar powder and taste of vegetables.

I make sambar like mom, with the same selection of vegetables. Be it the contrasting sweetness of jaggery and sour of fresh squeezed tamarind pulp or the chewy pungency of black mustard seeds and a subtle citrus nuttiness of curry leaves, every single slurp rings comfort into my soul..

Mom used store bought sambar powder and I do the same. We have a few favorite brands and I stock up on those whenever I go to India or someone is visiting. I sometimes find it in our indian store as well, its a pretty easy thing to find. However, if you do not have ready to use sambar powder, leave a comment and I will write you a recipe.

Many people like to use a blend of lentils but I make mine with just arhar daal (toor/pigeon pea lentils). Sambar is a easy thing to make and tastes better next day or after resting if you are serving the same day. You can prep the vegetables and make tamarind pup while the lentils are cooking(I pressure cook them) and just temper everything and simmer it for about 10-12 minutes.

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5 from 1 vote

Sambar

A flavorful,south indian pigeon pea lentil & vegetable stew. Best served with idlis, vada, dosa or steamed rice. Can be easily made vegan.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Indian

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker, Cooking Pot

Ingredients

For Boiing The Daal

  • 1 cup arhar daal (toor daal/pigeon pea lentils)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2.5 cups water

Vegetables (substitute with your choice of vegetables)

  • 1 small capsicum/green bell pepper cut into bite size pieces
  • 12-15 green beans cut into 1 inch long pieces
  • 1 medium firm tomato quatered
  • 6-8 sambar onions/pearl onions peeled

Tempering The Sambar

  • 3 tbsp oil/ ghee I use avocado oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 3/4 tsp chana daal (bengal gram lentils)
  • 3/4 tsp split urad lentils
  • 1/4 tsp hing
  • 2-3 dried red chilies
  • Pinch methi seeds
  • 12-15 fresh curry leaves
  • 2-3 tbsp thick tamarind pulp adjust to desired sourness
  • 2.5 tbsp sambar powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp jaggery powder adjust to desired sweetness

Instructions

Boil The Daal

  • Wash the lentils throughly 2-3 times under a running stream of water.
  • Place in the pressure cooker. Add 2.5 cups water and turmeric. Soak for 20 minutes.
  • Once soaked, pressure cook the lentils in the same water for 3-5 whistles on medium heat. Switch off and let pressure release naturally. While the lentils are still hot, add salt and using a wooden masher or back of spoon mash the lentils well so that no grain is visible. Set aside.
  • While the lentils are cooking you can prepare the vegetables and tamarind pulp. Keep everthing ready.

Make the Sambar

  • In a heavy bottom pot,warm up the oil. Temper the oil with mustad seeds. Once they crackle, add the hing, chana & urad dal. Cook till the lentils are browned in color.
  • Add the dried chillies and methi seeds next. Saute fo r5-6 seconds till they swell a bit.
  • Add curry leaves to the oil, they will immediatley splutter so be careful. Saute for 2-3 seconds and add all the vegetables that you are using at once. Sprinkle a pinch of salt. Saute the vegeatble for a minute or so with the spices.
  • Next sprinkle the sambar powder and red chilli powder (if using) and saute for 20 seconds.
  • Add the cooked mashed lentils next and mix well. If you feel that they are thickish, add water to thin out as per desired consistency.
  • Mix well and let come to a slow boil on medium heat. Reduce the heat and add the tamarind and jaggery. Taste and adjust the salt. Mix well.
  • Let simmer for 10-12 minutes on low medium heat stirring a bit in between. Initially you will see that there is a layer of foam on the sambar but as it cooks out, the color will deepen so will the flavors. Rest for 30 mins and serve warm!

Extra Tempering (optional but recommmended)

  • Heat 1 tbsp oil or ghee in a pan and add 1/2 tsp mustrd seeds,pinch of hing, 1-2 dried chillies and 8-10 curry leaves. Add on top of the cooked sambar and mix well.
Breads/Flatbreads · Brunch · Indian Streetfood/Indo Chines

Paneer Makhani Pizza

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

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

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

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

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

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Paneer Makhani Pizza

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

Equipment

  • mixing bowls

Ingredients

Make the Pizza Dough

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

Quick Makhani Sauce (Makes about 2 cups)

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

Paneer Tikka

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

Pizza Toppings

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

Instructions

Make the pizza dough

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

Make the Makhani Sauce

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

Make the Paneer Tikka

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

Assebmle and Bake Pizza

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

Notes

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

Spinach Tandoori Roti (Stove Top Method)

Tandoori rotis are as as popular as naan in India. They are soft inside and crispy to bite into and pair so well with all kinds of indian curries or lentils. I prefer them on most days because they use whole wheat flour (hence more nutrition & fiber) than naan.

I grew up eating dad’s paani vaali roti. Few days of the year when he entered the kitchen, he made these special thick doughy rotis– cooked on tawa(griddle) and smeared with lots of ghee. He spread water on on side of the roti to make it stick to the griddle and then cooked the other side by flipping the tawa over direct flame. What came out of the kitchen were immensely delicious flatbreads which were soft and chewy as well as super crispy. I remember eating them with chana dal.

The recipe of this spinach tandoori roti is based on those flatbreads. The rotis are made on the stove top, there is no oven or tandoor needed and they taste the same as you would get at dhabas in India, I promise.

You can use this same recipe to make regular tandoori rotis at home. Just skip the spinach puree part and knead the dough with water.

  1. I use cooking spinach in this recipe. Avoid using baby spinach(that is just for the pictures :))
  2. Rest the dough well. It is important for soft rotis.
  3. We knead the dough using thick, pureed cooked spinach. That gives the best spinach taste to the rotis. Avoid kneading with water or using a very watery pureed spinach.
  4. Dont use non stick pan or tawa for this recipe. We want the roti to stick to the griddle so that we can flip and cook them on the direct flame. If you are using a cast iron pan, make sure that it has no oil. Our purpose is to make the roti stick to the tawa 🙂
  5. The recipe uses 1 tbsp of yogurt but you can substitute it with any plant yogurt for vegan version.
  6. Use plant fat substitute to smear on top and make them vegan.
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Spinach Tandoori Roti

A wholesome, nutritious Indian flatbread loaded with spinach. It is soft yet crispy and is made on stove top.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6 rotis

Equipment

  • Griddle, rolling pin, rolling surface, bowls & spoons

Ingredients

Cook the Spinach

  • 100 gms cooking spinach, cleaned
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the Rotis

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour(atta)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour(maida)
  • 1 tbsp thick yogurt/greek yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp hing
  • pinch ajwain(carrom seeds)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2-3/4 cup thick pureed spinach(prepared above)

For topping the Rotis

  • 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp nigella seeds
  • Ghee to smear

Instructions

Make the Spinach Puree

  • Wash spinach 3-4 times in water. Make sure all the dirt is removed from the spinach. Remove any thick and tough stems. You dont need to remove all the stems.
  • In a large pot of water, bring water to a boil. Add the cleaned spinach to the water and press down using a large spoon. Slowly the leaves will wilt, the spinach will soften and get soaked in water. Cook on high heat in boiling water for 6-8 minutes till the spinach is dark green. Switch off the stove and let cook for 10 minutes.
  • Add the boiled spinach(along with whatever water is remaining) to a high spped blender, add salt, hing and cumin seeds. Blend on high heat to a smooth fine puree. The puree should be thick like a smoothie consistency. Dont make a watery puree. If needed add a little water while grinding. You should get about 3/4 cup thick spinach puree.

Make the Dough

  • In a wide dish/paraat or you can use your stand mixer as well add the flours, salt, sugar, carrom seeds, yogurt, oil and baking powder. Using fingers rub the flour so that everything is mixed well and the flour is little moistened.
  • Start incorpotating the spinach puree a little at a time and kneading. Each time you add the puree, let it mix well with the dough.
  • As the atta absorbs spinach puree,it will start clumping up into a ball.Continue to add till all the dry flour becomes wet, your hands will be mighty messy but the flour will come together.Remember not to add too much puree at a time.
  • Once a ball is formed, ensure that it is not very dry by trying to squeeze the dough ball between your palms as if making a fist and it should feel firm. Since we added salt to the dough, when the dough will rest it will get a little soft. Start using your knuckles to knead the dough next.
  • Use your knuckles to flatten the dough out and then pull it all together towards yourself, using your palm & fingers, then knead again with knuckles to flatten out. Knead this way (flatten and bring together) repeatedly for 7-8 minutes.
  • Towards the last 1-2 minutes of kneading, use both hands to knead for a very smooth & elastic dough (this will work up the gluten really fast). Once the dough looks and feels really really smooth, cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for (not more than) 30 minutes.If you are not planning to make rotis right away, place the dough into an air tight container with lid and refrigerate.
  • When ready to make rotis, uncover and divide into equal portions.(Note: If you refrigerated the dough, take it out 10-15 minutes before and let sit on kitchen counter).
  • Take each dough portion between palms of your both hands and roll to make as smooth balls as possible. Flatten the balls. Get some loose atta on another dish.
  • Set a tawa(griddle) on the stove to heat. Dont use non stick pan or tawa for this recipe. We want the roti to stick to the griddle.
  • Roll and cover each ball in the loose atta and place on a smooth rolling stone or pastry board or kitchen surface. Flatten out lightly on edges using tips of your finger. Using a rolling-pin, start rolling the dough to a oval shape.Dust the board or the roti as and when required when rolling.
  • Once rolled, spread 1-1.5 tbsp of water on one side of the roti and immediately place it water side down on the tawa. Keep the flame medium low.
  • Press a little bit of garlic and sprinkle some nigella seeds on the top of roti. You can press down a little so that they stick to the dough.
  • In 1-2 minutes,you will see bubbles on top of the roti. At this time, lift the tawa and invert it on direct flame. The roti wil start getting chars, keep on moving the tawa and make sure that entire surface of the roti is nice and charred.
  • Ideally when the roti is nicely cooked, it will start pulling away from the tawa. Using a large flat spatula, carefully seprate the roti from the griddle and serve rightaway!

Notes

  1. I use cooking spinach in this recipe. Avoid using baby spinach(that is just for the pictures :))
  2. Rest the dough well. It is important for soft rotis.
  3. We knead the dough using thick, pureed cooked spinach. That gives the best spinach taste to the rotis. Avoid kneading with water or using a very watery pureed spinach.
  4. Dont use non stick pan or tawa for this recipe. We want the roti to stick to the griddle so that we can flip and cook them on the direct flame. If you are using a cast iron pan, make sure that it has no oil. Our purpose is to make the roti stick to the tawa 🙂
  5. The recipe uses 1 tbsp of yogurt but you can substitute it with any plant yogurt for vegan version.
  6. Use plant fat substitute to smear on top and make them vegan.
  7. Use plain warm water (a little over 1/2 cup) instead of spinach puree to knead the dough if you want to make regular tandoori rotis. The rest of the recipe remains SAME. 
Breads/Flatbreads · Brunch

Stuffed Paneer Paratha

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

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

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

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

Stuffed Paneer Paratha

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

Equipment

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

Ingredients

For the Dough

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

For the Paneer Filling

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

Instructions

Making the Dough

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

Make the Filling

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

Make the Paratha

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

Rajma Ke Kabab (Vegan & GF Kidney Bean Kababs)

Vegetarian kababs were sometimes made by mom to use up the beans or lentils she had leftover. These are a great protein rich vegetarian option, these are super easy to make and form a light meal with some rotis and chutney. Or make burgers or wraps with them.

You can easily make a big batch, shape these and pan fry over a few days as and when you want. There are a few varieties of rajma available in stores but I go for the dark skinned ones mostly because they pack a lot of flavor. The darker the kidney bean, the tastier.

There are a few things to be kept in mind when making these so that the kababs are moist (yet not falling apart) and not dry either. If you are not using leftover boiled rajma and boiling beans just to make these, always mash the rajma after it has cooled down. If you mash it while it is hot, they will be quite sticky, difficult to shape and the texture is not going to be right. Don’t use a food processor or blender – it just kills the texture.

You really dont need any binder to shape these, because the beans bind well on their own. I add a potato just for taste, you can substitute with sweet potatoes(though then they will be a little sweeter) or skip potatoes totally. Use any kinds of beans – garbanzo, black chickpeas, black eyed peas or skin on lentils, this recipe will work for all.

Recipe

Ingredients Makes 8-10 Kababs

  • 1.5 cup boiled rajma (see notes)
  • 1 large potato, boiled and peeled
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions ,divided
  • 4 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp extra hot red chilli powder (adjust to tolerance)
  • 1 tsp chaat masala (recipe for my homemade blend here)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor (dried mango powder, adjust depending on how tangy your chaat masala is and how tangy you prefer, substitute with lime juice)
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped (adjust to tolerance)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp chopped mint (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for pan frying
  • Chaat masala, pickled onions, chutney etc to serve.

Notes

  1. You can use canned beans in this recipe.
  2. Make sure that boiled rajma dosent have any liquid. If using canned, drain the beans properly to strain the liquid out.

Method

In a large bowl, mash the cold rajma nicely with hands. It will take a few minutes but avoid using a food processor or blender (it only makes the beans sticky). Try to mash them as fine as possible. Little bits of skins here and there is okay. Separately mash the boiled potato as well. Don’t grate the potato.

On medium heat, heat up oil in a pan (preferably non stick). Crackle the cumin seeds and immediately add 1/3 cup chopped onion, garlic and ginger all together to the pan. Saute for just 30 seconds and add the mashed beans and potato to the pan. Sprinkle all the powdered spices along with salt and mix well to combine. Cook this mixture continuously stirring for 2-3 minutes, you can mash lightly as you go. It will start to clump up into a ball. But will be soft. Dont cook for long else kababs will be dry.

Take off the heat, transfer to a bowl and let cool down completely. Add the rest of the onions, green chillies, cilantro and mint(if using). Combine well gently mixing with spatula or your hand if needed. Knead for a few minutes. Taste and adjust the salt at this stage. Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes.

Oil your palms, divide into equal portions and make small patties with your hands. Smooth all around using your palms and fingers. You should get around 8 or 10. Make all the patties and place them on a plate before frying.

Brush 1 tbsp oil on a cast iron skillet or a non stick pan. Once the skillet is hot (not super hot), place the kababs on the skillet and let them fry for 3-5 minutes on a low to medium heat until the bottoms are darkish and crispy. You can add 1 tsp oil at intervals but don’t add lot of oil all at once.

Carefully, using a wide spatula, flip and cook on the other side. These will be soft so be gentle. Cook till browned on other side. Switch off the stove and let the kababs rest on the skillet for 5-7 minutes. This sets them, if you pick up too soon, they will break.

Serve warm.

Enjoy!

Lentils

Milai Ki Dal (Arhar Urad Mix Dal)

A very cozy daal recipe from my grandma’s kitchen. Indians are known to mix lentils always and this is a unique combination of lacey split urad and earthly archer(pigeon pea lentils). Both the lentils are mixed and cooked together in with lots of hing and ginger and then tempered with mustard oil browned garlic slices and dried chillies. You can vary the quantity of each lentil as per your liking. I love deals when they are creamy lacey as well as have a lot of texture, this daal fits so well in that variety.

I remember making faces at this daal growing up but surprisingly enough it is now one of my favorite with rotis especially.

A few things to be kept in mind when making these. Don’t soak the lentils for more than 20 minutes for the right texture. Make them on the thicker side, they taste better than soupy. If you cannot find mustard oil, you can use ghee to temper them and don’t skimp on the garlic. Lastly, dont add salt when boiling the daal, add it later, it keeps the grains soft.

Recipe

Ingredients(Serves 3-4)

  • 1/2 cup arhar daal
  • 1/3 cup split urad daal
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1/4 tsp hing
  • 1/2 tbsp mustard oil (or ghee)
  • 2-2.5 cups water
  • salt to taste
  • Lemon juice, cilantro( to serve)

Tempering

  • 3-4 tbsp mustard oil (or ghee)
  • 3-4 dried chillies, broken
  • 12-15 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp hing
  • 3/4 tsp hot red chilli powder (adjust to taste)

Method

Wash the lentils 3-4 times until the water runs clear. Add them to a pressure cooker along with ginger, hing and oil.Add 2 cups water and let them soak in the cooker for 15-20 mins.

Once soaked, put on the lid and pressure cook the lentils for 2-3 whistles on medium flame. Do not cook for too long else the lentils will lose their texture. Switch off the stove and let the pressure release naturally. Open the lid and add 1/2 cup cold water along with salt to taste. With the back of a spoon, mash the lentils for 1-2 minutes, gently so that they are creamy but the grains are not broken. Return to a low stove and cook for 3-5 minutes without stirring much. Take off the stove.

Tempering the Daal:- In a small saucepan or your tadka pan, warm up the mustard oil on low medium heat till its a bit smoky. Add the dried chillies and crisp them for 30 seconds, sliced garlic and cook them for 2-3 minutes until they are light brown. Add the cumin and hing next and sauté for 20 seconds. You will smell a nice aroma.

Take off the stove and add the red chilli powder. Add the tempering to the warm daal and mix well.

Serve warm with lemon juice and chopped cilantro.

-Enjoy!

Rice Dishes

Yakhni Pulao


For a long time, I was tricked into thinking that Yakhni pulao is biryani. Most of my family, still, for some reason refers to it as biryani but its not. This is not a layered rice dish, it is a pulao. Yakhni is ” broth” and this dish is basically basmati rice cooked in a delicious made-from-scratch meat broth.

South asian broths have much more depth of flavor due to use of spices. I dont pressure cook the meat, I let it simmer for couple of hours or more depending on the quantity. Slowly the meat releases its flavor into the water along with those of the spices and herbs. The delicious yakhni is full of body and I remember mom would ladle it into teacups and give us to drink as it is as a soup.So comforting on a cold night. You can do the same if you are not in mood for a pulao.

A delicious yakhni needs bone in meat or chicken and time! There are no powdered spices and all the flavor comes from whole spices, dried chilies, ginger and garlic. Caramelizing the onions well before cooking the rice is another important step, do not rush it, brown the onions nicely, they add not only to the taste but also to the color of the pulao.

This recipe is one of my most family’s most oldest. It was cooked winter long and it is a great way to feed big families or when entertaining. You can serve it with a light chicken curry or any side but I really just like it with plain raita.

Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 4)

For the Yakhni

  • 1 lb bone in mutton or chicken, cleaned
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1.5 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2-3 bay leaf
  • 2 whole black cardamom, slightly cracked
  • 2 cinnamon stick
  • half nutmeg
  • 7-8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 inch fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped 8-10 dried chillies
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups water

For the Pulao

  • 1 + 1/4 cup basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1.5 cup sliced onions
  • Red chili powder to taste
  • 1 tsp shah jeera
  • 2.5 cups liquid (yakhni topped with water)
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro, raita, ginger jullienes etc to serve.

Method

Step 1 Make the Yakhni (Spiced Broth)

Add everything listed under yakhni to a dutch oven. Cover the pot and set on a medium high stove and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer for 1.5 hours till the meat is fork tender but not falling apart. You can do the same thing in an instant pot or pressure cooker but slow cooked yakhni is something else 🙂 Meat releases its own juices and water as it will cook so don’t add much water in the beginning. Also please keep in mind that the cooking time of meat will depend on how small or big the cuts are. So adjust accordingly.

Once the meat is cooked, switch off the stove.Pick out the meat pieces using a spoon into a medium bowl and cover the bowl with a cling film to make sure that the meat does not dry out. Set a large colander over another large bowl and drain the yakhni in there. Dont be tempted to mash the ginger or garlic or onions, else the yakhni will lose its soupy texture. Discard the things in the colander.

Yakhni is ready. You can enjoy it as it like a soup when while it is warm with few squirts of lemon and scatter of fresh cilantro. Add a few pieces of cooked meat to make it more filling.

If you make a pulao, follow step 2 below. Keep in mind that do not make the yakhni a day ahead, the taste changes so its best to make it a couple hours before when you want to serve as soup or make a pulao.

Step 2 Make the Pulao

Wash the rice 2-3 times under a running stream of water. Soak the rice for 20 mins in enough water.

Measure the yakhni. The variety of rice I use needs double amount of liquid to cook. So I needed 2.5 cups of liquid to cook the rice. I got 2 cups of yakhni from the recipe above and I added 1/2 cup water to it.

In a wide shallow pot, (I use my braiser) or you can use a kadhai or a 12 inch pan, add the oil. Once the oil is warm, add the sliced onions. On medium heat, brown the onion. It takes about 8-10 minutes but do not rush this process.

Once the onions are dark brown, add the red chilli powder to oil along with cumin seeds and saute for 30 seconds. Add the meat to the pan and stir around with the onions for 3-5 minutes on medium heat. The meat will brown a little, once so, add the soaked rice(discard the water in which you soaked) along with yakhni (+water). Mix gently and taste the salt in the liquid, it should be sharp salty at this stage else adjust it, this makes sure that your rice comes out properly seasoned once cooked.

Cover with a lid and set the rice to cook on medium high heat, once you see that the liquid is bubbling, reduce the heat to the lowest and let cook for 20-25 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is soft. Switch off the stove and let the pot sit undisturbed for atlest 10-12 minutes.

Uncover and using a rice spoon or a small plate, fluff up the rice from once side. Yahni pulao is ready.Serve as you wish. Taste amazing next day.

This recipe can be easily doubled. Just adjust the cooking times for both rice and meat in that case.

Enjoy!