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 sautéing 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.
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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.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
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 sautéing 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.

Paneer Tawa Pulao

Tawa pulao could essentially be indian equivalent of asian fried rice. Leftover rice sautéed 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 sauté 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.
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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.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
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 sauté them around till you see them starting to char. On medium high heat it takes about 2-4 mins.
  • Then add the tomato purée & 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.

Tandoori Salmon & Pineapple Tikka

Its September and fall is in the air but here in Las Vegas we are still in the middle of three digit temperatures and summer cookouts are very much happening. Tandoori tikka could be one of the most popular appetizer from indian subcontinent. The term tikka refers to a chunk of meat/fish etc which is coated in spices and grilled/roated on high heat for a smoky charred taste. Tandoori tikka gets its name from being cooked in the hot tandoor or clay ovens where the meat is skewered on long metal rods and cooked on high heat.

I already have a tandoori chicken recipe here on the blog, link is here. It has been tried by many of you guys. However, in addition to the wet yogurt based tandoori marinade, I also like to make dry tandoori masala similar to a dry rub and use it for quick tikka with fish or shrimp. You can grind this tandoori masala and keep it for a few weeks. Its stays fresh for 4-5 weeks.

The first time I tried tandoori pineapple at the great kabab factory back in Delhi many moons ago, I feel in love. The sweet acidity of pineapple along with the the kick of spices is to die for. I am all out flavors that have a punch and here these tandoori tikka with fatty salmon chunks combined with sweet & spicy pineapple are just so delicious!

This tandoori rub is faster way to get the same flavors as you would get from overnight marination. Use good quality spices and store it in an air tight container for freshness. You can use this rub for chicken, shrimp, paneer and vegetables as well. I like serving it with a fresh relish of onions, cucumbers etc and naan. Keep the below few things in mind when you make these tikka:-

  • Cut the salmon and pineapple about the same size and do not cut salmon too small else it starts falling off while cooking.
  • Use firm yet ripe pineapple. Don’t select too ripe pineapple.
  • The tandoori rub has a nice flavor of ginger and garlic, however I like using fresh ginger and garlic whenever making tikka. You can skip it if you don’t like strong GG flavor.
  • I like to keep the skin on because we like crisped skin. If you do not like salmon skin, I suggest peeling it off after the tikka has cooked, it does help in keeping the salmon intact.
  • You can add red onion and red bell peppers as well to the skewer, they taste quite good.
  • Don’t be bogged down by the long list of spices, these are easy to find in indian homes or just visit an indian store.
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Tandoori Salmon & Pineapple Tikka

Salmon and pinapple rubbed with scratch made dry tandoori masala and grilled on high heat. These skewers tikka are easy to make and taste amazing for any meal.
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

Tandoori Masala

  • 2 black cardamom, seeds only (skip if not available)
  • 3 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 3 green cardamom
  • 1 small whole mace (or 1 tsp mace powder)
  • Half nutmeg (or 1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg powder)
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 3 sticks cinnamom
  • 1.5 tbsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves), crushed fine between palms
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder or Paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dry ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp hot chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1.5 tsp chaat masala
  • Red food color (if you like,I dont use)

For the Salmon & Pineaapple Tanddori Tikka

  • 3 ,6oz Salmon fillets, cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 1.5 tbsp fresh grated ginger & garlic, (grate 3 cloves of garlic and a knob of fresh ginegr shoot)
  • Half Lemon, juiced (about 2 tbsp)
  • 12-15 fresh firm pineapple chunks (about half a pineapple)
  • 2-3 tbsp tandoori masala (recipe below)
  • 1.5 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • Oil or oil spray for cooking the tikka

Instructions

Make Tandoori Masala (Makes about 3/4 cup)

  • In a medium heavy pan, on slow heat, dry roast the corinader, cumin, black and green cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, pepercorns and cloves for 3-4 minutes stirring constantly. Take care not to let the spices burn or brown too much, the taste of the masala will change. We only want to jump start the oils of the whole spices.
  • Once roasted, let the spices cool down. Add to a spice blender and grind to a powder. The powder should not be too coarse or too fine.
  • Transfer the ground spices to a bowl and mix the rest of the powdered spices listed. Mix very well and store teh masala in an air tight, dry container. Use as needed.

Make the Salmon & Pineapple Tikka

  • Add salmon to a bowl and add the lemon, oil, 2 tbsp tandoori masala, salt and ginger garlic. Mix well so that all the salmon is coated. Let marinate for 15 minutes.
  • In a seperate bowl add the pinapple and add lemon juice, 1-2 tbsp tandoori masala and salt. Mix well to coat and keep ready.
  • Switch on your grill or heat a grill pan on high. Skewer salmon and pineapple on metal or water soaked wooden skewers.
  • Spray oil on the pan and grill the tikka for 4-5 minutes per side, turn to cook all the sides and to get nice grill marks.
  • Serve with fresh vegetables, yogurt dips, relish, naan etc.

Notes

  • Cut the salmon and pineapple about the same size and do not cut salmon too small else it starts falling off while cooking.
  • Use firm yet ripe pineapple. Don’t select a very ripe pineapple.
  • The tandoori rub has a nice flavor of ginger and garlic, however I like using fresh ginger and garlic whenever making tikka. You can skip it if you don’t like strong GG flavor.
  • I like to keep the skin on on salmon because we like crisped skin. If you do not like salmon skin, I suggest peeling it off after the tikka has cooked, it does help in keeping the salmon intact and the flavor.
  • You can add red onion and red bell peppers as well to the skewer, they taste quite good.
  • Use tandoori masala for any kind of meat, chicken, paneer or vegetable. It stresses well for 3-5 weeks in air tight containers. 

Lavender Malai Peda

Malai peda is an Indian sweet made with solidified milk, whole milk, sugar and flavors like cardamom or saffron. Its super creamy and melt in the mouth. The ingredient list for malai peda is simple but traditional method requires long hours of cooking down the milk, scrapping and boiling till the milk solids are separated, which are then sweetened and rolled into small flat discs (peda).

Here in this recipe, I have simplified the process by using milk powder. The paste of milk powder, blanched almond powder and whole milk when cooked for a few minutes turns thick like mawa or khoya and eliminated the traditional long process of turning the milk into mawa. You can flavor these with cardamom but I used a few pinches of lavender and aloud extract for a unique flavor profile.

It does not taste like soap. Pedas have a mild floral hint and they are simply melt in the mouth. Lavender is a strong scent and you need to be careful when using it, for example here I used just 2 pinches of ground food grade lavender for its scent. The combination of lavender and milkiness of peda is simply divine. Food color is totally optional.

Here are a few things to be kept in mind :-

  1. Choose a full fat milk powder. I use Nido brand, its easily available in Indian stores and has 28% milk fat. If your milk powder is tasty, pedas will be tasty.
  2. Use full fat milk. And good quality ghee. When a recipe has few ingredients, the quality of ingredients is even more important.
  3. I use store bought fine ground almond powder by the brand Blue Diamond. However if you are grinding at home, soak the almonds for 4-6 hours and peel the skin. Let the almonds completely dry overnight before grinding them fine. You can use raw cashew powder instead of almonds if you want.
  4. Be careful when using lavender. Depending on the brand you use, it might have a strong or mild scent. The one that I used had a very strong scent so I just used 2 pinches. Also don’t add a lot since these dried flowers are bitter and will spoil your peda. Almond extract pushes the almond flavor and I like to add a drop of pure extract .
  5. Use powdered sugar instead of boora or plain ground sugar. Powdered or confectioners sugar has little corn starch mixed in which makes the texture fudge and smooth.

This is a small batch recipe and makes 8-10 peda of good size (about 30 g each). These peda keep good for 2-3 days in the fridge and you can freeze them for 3 weeks. Let thaw before serving, don’t warm in microwave.

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Lavender Malai Peda

Malai peda is an Indian sweet made with solidified milk, whole milk, ghee, sugar and flavored with lavender. Peda is creamy and melt in the mouth and perfect for festivals.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
20 minutes
Servings 8 pedas

Ingredients

  • 1.5 tbsp melted ghee
  • 1.5 cup milk powder
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup fine almond powder
  • 1/3 tsp good quality dried lavender flowers, grind to a fine powder in mortar pestle
  • 1 drop pure almond extract
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 drop purple gel food color ,optional

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, add the ghee, milk powder, milk and almond powder. Using a spoon or whisk, mix togther till a smooth mix is formed. It will be slightly thick and pourable runny.
  • Pour the mixture in a non stick pan (I use my 10 inch pan) and set it on a low medium stove.
  • Start cooking and stirring. Dont walk away. You will see that mixture will start to become thick. After about 2 minutes it will be pasty and sticky.
  • Keep stirring and scraping the sides till it becomes a thick mass and starts clumping around the spoon. Once that happens, dont stir a lot else pedas will become chewy. When the mixture starts leaving the sides of the pan, its ready. Takes about 4-6 minutes.
  • Take out in a bowl and let cool down slightly.
  • Only when the mixture is cooler to touch(but not cold), add the almond extract, ground lavender and sugar. Using your hands, mix everything together. Add food color(if using) and knead to mix evenly.
  • Divide into 8-10 portions. Smear some ghee on your palms and roll each portion into a smooth ball. Press the ball slightly to flatten it to resemble traditional peda shape. Repeat for all portions.
  • Store in fridge upto 2-3 days. These can be frozen upto 3 weeks, thaw before serving(do not microwave).

Notes

  1. Choose a full fat milk powder. I use Nido brand, its easily available in Indian stores and has 28% milk fat. If your milk powder is tasty, pedas will be tasty.
  2. Use full fat milk. And good quality ghee. When a recipe has few ingredients, the quality of ingredients is even more important.
  3. I use store bought fine ground almond powder by the brand Blue Diamond. However if you are grinding at home, soak the almonds for 4-6 hours and peel the skin. Let the almonds completely dry overnight before grinding them fine. You can use raw cashew powder instead of almonds if you want.
  4. Be careful when using lavender. Depending on the brand you use, it might have a strong or mild scent. The one that I used had a very strong scent so I just used 2-3 pinches. Also don’t add a lot since these dried flowers are bitter and will spoil your peda. Almond extract pushes the almond flavor and I like to add a drop.
  5. Use powdered sugar instead of boora or plain ground sugar. Powdered or confectioners sugar has little corn starch mixed in which makes the texture fudge and smooth.
  6. These peda keep good for 2-3 days in the fridge and you can freeze them for 3 weeks. Let thaw before serving, don’t warm in microwave.

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(sauté) the sabzi on high heat. The crispy “kurchan” of potatoes my favorite part.

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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.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
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.

Gram/Chickpea Flour Chocolate Banana Bread

This nutritious banana bread is protein rich, fibre rich and is 100 % gluten free. It made with besan/gram/chickpea flour, is aromatic with ghee & green cardamom and has a double dose of chocolate. It is nut free (though you can add nuts), eggless and one bowl. Perfect for breakfast or snack any time of the day.

Banana bread is a favorite in our house and since the kids love sweet breakfast,I make it every other week. There is always a peace of mind when there is banana bread in the fridge especially during weekdays when the morning rush is a real thing!

Chickpea flour or besan is one of the most loved flour in north indian homes, second only to whole wheat flour. It is versatile, and perfect for both sweet and savory dishes. Chickpea flour is high in soluble fiber which makes it nutritious. I make nankhatais with chickpea flour all the time but this was the first time I baked a cake with it. And it was surprising as to how well this loaf came out.

It took me few attempts to get this recipe right. I went through inspiration from the internet but ultimately came up with measurements and swapped ingredients suited to the tastes of my family. The bread isn’t overly sweet and has an amazing texture. As with banana breads, it tastes better the next day.

Now the question ringing in your mind ever since you started reading 🙂 How does it compare to regular banana bread made with all purpose flour? The answer – Quite well! It does taste different, but only slightly. Not bad at all! There is an aftertaste of besan but its very nutty & pleasing. I am a convert! I would pick this wholesome recipe over a regular banana bread made with regular flour especially since the kids often consume it as first meal of the day.The husband who isn’t a big fan of alternative flour baking, LOVED it.

You can easily make this recipe vegan but substituting neutral oil in place of ghee and using plant milk instead of dairy milk. The addition of cardamom and ghee together makes it taste like indian mithai (sweets) and we love it. However good quality vanilla or cinnamon will work great as well. A very doable, make ahead breakfast recipe for next morning while you are making dinner in the evening. It is one bowl and the ingredients are easy to find and few.

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Gram Flour Chocolate Banana Bread

One bowl glutenfree, eggless and double chocolate banana bread made with besan/chickpea flour, cocoa and ghee. It is scented with ground green cardamom, is super moist and tastes better the next morning.
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American, Indian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 1 loaf (8 by 5 inch)

Ingredients

  • 450 g mashed bananas , from about 3 large very ripe bananas
  • 90 g raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted ghee
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 175 g besan(gram flour /chickpea flour) use superfine variety
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 tbsp baking chocolate chunks I used 70% dark chocolate chunks or use chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F. I used a 8 inch by 5 inch nonstick loaf pan to bake this bread, since my pan was nonstick I did not need to spray or line it with parchment paper. If you are using a regular loaf pan, line it with parchment paper with bit of an overhang so that the loaf is easy to take out.
  • In a large bowl, add the bananas, raw sugar, ghee and milk. Whisk very well for 2-3 minutes until you all the raw sugar granules have dissolved.
  • Place a sieve on top of the bowl and add besan, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Sift the flour mixture over the wet ingredinets. Do not skip sifting coz besan is usually lumpy and it will make the bread batter lumpy.
  • Add the cardamom powder. If using nuts, add them right now. Using a soft spatula, gently fold and mix everyrhing together until its cocoa color. Dont over mix.
  • Transfer the batter to the loaf pan and smoothen the top using a flat spatula. Scatter chocolate chunks on top.
  • Bake for 44-49 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. I baked mine for 45 minutes. Note that the baking times will differ depending on the size of baking pan as well as oven.
  • Once baked, let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Pull out of the pan and transfer to a cooling rack and let cool down completely.
  • Slice using a sharp knife and enjoy. You can store leftovers in fridge for 2 days or freeze upto 3 months.

Notes

  1. You canned chopped walnuts or almonds to the batter. 
  2. Use very ripe and sweet mashed bananas, else your bread wont be as sweet.
  3. Instead of cardamom, you can use cinnamon as well. 
  4. If you are making for kids and arent a fan of dark chocolate, use regular cocoa powder and chocolate chips in the recipe. 
  5. You can make easily make it vegan by substituting neutral oil and plant based milk. 

Kale and Paneer Pulao

A healthy, fragrant and easy paneer(indian cheese) and kale pulao that is perfect for lunchboxes and quick meals.It tastes great a room temperature and keeps well for 2-3 days without changing its taste.Serve it on its own with salad, papad and raita or combine with tikkis or kebabs.

Paneer is an excellent source of protein for vegetarians and in this recipe I combine it with blanched kale – another powerhouse of nutrition. The combination of dark leafy greens, ghee crisped paneer, buttery rice and aroma of spices in each bite makes this pulao irresistible. You can add vegetables like peas, spinach or greens beans instead of kale if you wish. If you want to make it vegetarian, use tofu or any plant protein in place of paneer and skip the yogurt (finish with a little lime juice instead).

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Kale & Paneer Pulao

A nutritious, fragrant and easy pilaf made with ghee crisped paneer and leafy kale.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale (5-6 stalks)
  • 7 oz paneer, cut into cubes or triangles
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1/4 cup cooking olive oil
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 green cardamom
  • 2 shallot, thinly sliced (or 1/3 cup sliced red onions)
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp tumeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp full fat plain yogurt ,beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup basmati rice washed and soaked for 20 minutes
  • 1.5 cup water (or as needed for your rice brand)

Instructions

  • Blanch the Kale Leaves – Discard the stems of the kale and wash the leafs thorougly 2-3 times in water. Next, add the leaves to a boiling pot of water and let cook for 5 minutes. Immediately add the kale to ice water. Let cook completely. Once cooled, chop into bite size. Keep ready.
  • Prepare the Paneer -Add ghee to a cooking pot or shallow pan and on low heat, crisp up the paneer on both sides. Transfer to a plate.
  • To the remaining ghee, add the cooking oil and let heat up.
  • To the warm oil, add the whole spices and let crackle. Add the sliced shallots next and brown lightly for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste and brown for 30-40 seconds on low medium stove.
  • Add the powdered spices next alomg with yogurt and saute continously for a minute or so else the yogurt will curdle. Let cook for couple minutes till you see oil seperating on seeds. Add the chopped kale next and saute everything for a minute or so.
  • Add the soaked rice, salt and paneer to the masala along with water. Mix well and taste the once, the water should taste salty else rice wont be flavorful.
  • Bring the water to a boil, cover the pot and let cook on slow heat till the water is absorbed. Takes about 10-15 minutes.
  • Switch off the stove, dont open the lid immediately. Let the rice pot sit undisturbed for 20 minutes.
  • Gently fluff the pulao and serve.

Notes

  1. You can add vegetables like peas, spinach or greens beans instead of kale if you wish.
  2. If you want to make it vegetarian, use tofu or any plant protein in place of paneer and skip the yogurt (finish with a little lime juice instead).

Chana Dal & Sweet Potato Tikki

Chana Dal & Sweet Potato Tikki. These crisp outside and soft on the inside tikkis (patties) are made with chana dal (bengal gram lentils) and sweet potatoes. These are fragrantly spiced with cumin, cloves and ground garam masala. The sweet potato does not make them sweet at all, rather gives them an earthly bite. I paired these skillet fried tikks with a simple paneer & kale pulao, spinach raita (yogurt), micro greens and raw vegetables to make a colorful indian super food bowl.

Having grown up in my grandmother’s vegetarian household, lentils were used a dozen ways from sweet to savory dishes and these tikkis appeared on special occasions. The lentils were ground on sil-batta (stone) with spices to which finely chopped onions, raisins and herbs were added. Sweet potatoes were not used rather grated regular potatoes and a handful of boiled lentils went in for texture in each bite. These tikkis are great with parathas & green chutney or pulao & raita alike. They can be tucked inside burger buns for a vegetarian sandwich or served over a bed of greens.

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

  • When making tikkis with lentils, the most important thing is the water quantity when you cook them. More water will turn them mushy while less water with leave the lentils dry and chewy. Please refer to the water quantity in the recipe.
  • Its best to use your hands to mix. Unless you are using a sil batta (stone grinder), leave out the blender or processor. If the lentils are cooked properly, you will be able to a make a soft tikki mixture very easily. And the texture of hand mixed is absolutely unmatched.
  • Since onions and chopped cilantro etc go in the recipe, keep in mind that after sitting for a half and hour or so, the mix will loosen a bit since the raw vegetables will release their moisture due to salt. So if the tikki mix feels a bit dry in the beginning, don’t worry.
  • These tikkis have texture, they are soft to bite into but you will taste whole lentils grains here and there.
  • I add roasted besan to the tikki mix. Not for binding or anything, these don’t need a binder because the starches in the lentils are enough. Roasted besan(chickpea flour) lends a nice smoky taste and does make this recipe fool proof.Plus its delicious.
  • There is no need for a coating of any flour etc when you skillet fry them. Fry them patiently, that’s all. If your tikki mix is right, they will not fall apart or anything.
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Chana Dal (Bengal Gram Lentils) & Sweet Potato Tikki

Delicious skillet fried tikkis (patties) made with sweet potatoes and chana dal(bengal gram lentils)
Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 tikkis

Ingredients

For Boiling the Lentils

  • 1 +1/3 cup chana dal (bengal gram lentils)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 small whole black cardamom (skip if not available)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water

For the Tikki Mix

  • 200 g sweet potato(boiled, peeled and cut into small chunks)
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger garlic paste (or simply add 5 garlic cloves and 1 inch piece of ginger to a mortar & pestle and pound to a paste)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 2 thai bird green chilies or 1 serrano (adjust to taste) ,see notes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped golden raisins (optional)
  • 1 tbsp garam masala (used homemade or store bought, make sure its not more than 3 months old)
  • 2-3 tbsp roasted besan (gram flour)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Oil or ghee for pan frying

Instructions

Prepare/Boil The Lentils

  • Wash the lentils 2-3 times under a running stream of water and soak for 2-3 hours.
  • Drain and discard the water in which you soaked the lentils.Add the soaked lentils to a pressure cooker, add cumin, bay leaf, cloves and black cardamom along with salt and 1/2 cup water.
  • Close the lid of the pressure cooker and place it on stove. Let the stove be on high till the first whistle. After that, reduce the stove to low medium and cook for additional 2-3 whistles. After total 3-4 whistles, switch off the stove and let the pressure release naturally.
  • Open the lid, do not mix at once while the lentils are hot, they will turn into a mush. Take 1-2 lentil grains and press between your thumb and finger, if the grain is pressed easily and dosent feel hard, the lentils are cooked. If not, add 2-3 tbsp water and cook for one more whistle.
  • The lentils should not disintegrate, they shoud be cooked through but retain their shape after boiling. Pick out and discard the bay leaf, clove and cardamom, Cover the cooker and let the lentils cool down for a bit, dont let them become cold. We want to make the mix while the lentils are still warm.

Make the Tikki Mix

  • In a wide dish(avoid a deep bowl), add the cooked warm lentils and boiled sweet potato. Mix gently breaking the lentils and poatoes for about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the ginger and garlic, onions, green chilies, raisins, ginger and garam masala.
  • Gently using your hands start squishing to combine everything together. Gently mix for about 3-4 minutes, if some lentils remain whole, thats okay.
  • Once mixed, add the salt and 2 tbsp of roasted besan. Mix again, you will be able to make a soft ball with the mix. If you feel its too wet, add another tablespoon of besan but dont add more than 3 tbsp total. Cover and let the tikki mix rest for 20 minutes.

Shape & skillet fry tikkis

  • Oil your hands and divide the tikki mix into 10 or 12 equal portions.
  • Roll the portions into a balls, flatten the balls slightly and shape them using your palm and fingers into well rounded patties.
  • Make all the tikkis this way and place on a plate. At this point you can refrigerate them for up to 3 days. Or place them on a single layer on a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze them for 6 hours. After they are frozen, place in a zip lock and store frozen for one month.
  • Warm up a 12 inch heavy cast iron wide skillet or griddle on medium. When nicely hot (not too hot) add 1-2 tbsp oil or ghee and place 3-4 tikkis at a time, don't overcrowd. Let tikkis crisp up for 5-6 minutes on one side. Don't add a lot of oil in the begnning,they will break. Once they are crisped on one side, drizzle 1-2 tbsp of oil or ghee on (uncooked) top and flip to crisp on second side.
  • Pan fry the tikkis with patience. Its takes 7-8 minutes to fry a batch on both sides.

Notes

  • When making tikkis with lentils, the most important thing is the water quantity when you cook them. More water will turn them mushy while less water with leave the lentils dry and chewy. Please refer to the water quantity in the recipe.
  • Its best to use your hands to mix. Unless you are using a sil batta (stone grinder), leave out the blender or processor. If the lentils are cooked properly, you will be able to a make a soft tikki mixture very easily. And the texture of hand mixed is absolutely unmatched.
  • Dont leave out the green chillies, this is the only heat in this recipe. Garam masala adds a warmth, but do add at least one sharp green chili for heat. 
  • Since onions and chopped cilantro etc go in the recipe, keep in mind that after sitting for a half and hour or so, the mix will loosen a bit since the raw vegetables will release their moisture due to salt. So if the tikki mix feels a bit dry in the beginning, don’t worry.
  • These tikkis have texture, they are soft to bite into but you will taste whole lentils grains here and there.
  • I add roasted besan to the tikki mix. Not for binding or anything, these don’t need a binder because the starches in the lentils are enough. Roasted besan(chickpea flour) lends a nice smoky taste. Plus its delicious.
  • There is no need for a coating of any flour etc when you skillet fry them. Fry them patiently, that’s all. If your tikki mix is right, they will not fall apart or anything.

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.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes

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.

Besan Toast


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

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Besan Toast

Bread slices dipped in spiced chickpea flour batter and pan fried. These vegan toasts are so delicous for breakfast or snack.
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 8 half toasts

Equipment

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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