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 ūüôā
  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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5 from 1 vote

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 ūüôā
  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. 
Appetizers/Snacks

Air fried/Baked Sweet Tamarind- Chilli Chicken Wings

These sticky and tangy chicken wings are juicy, spicy and delicious – a true showstopper. I often make wings at home and this recipe always hits the right spots. If you ask me, you can never go wrong with chicken wings- even when done with minimal ingredients they turn out so yummy.

Back in the day, I always shied away from deep frying wings so I hardly made them at home. We used to eat them once in a while and that used to be at restaurants or take outs. Ever since I started using an air fryer, my outlook towards homemade chicken wings has changed. They can be super easy to make and turn out quite delicious if you keep a few things in mind.

You can use regular tamarind in this recipe and adjust the sugar & vinegar to your liking. I just used sweet tamarind pods because I had a ton to finish and I thought that it would help me cut down sugar in the sauce which it did. Just soak and squeeze the pulp of the pods like regular tamarind. I used chopped Fresno chillies for heat because I happened to have a few on hand but you can use red chilli flakes easily.

Last week I saw this post on Food52 Instagram page by amazing Sohlae who talks about always dry brining the chicken wings before baking them. I was itching to try it and used the same method for brining as she mentioned and viola!, such a revelation. These turned out so crispy outside and juicy inside. I changed her measurements a bit because I was making a lesser quantity of wings. However stick to her recipe if you are making 2 to 2.5 pounds of wings.

  1. Always make sure to marinate/dry brine the chicken wings overnight. I have tried it the quick way it for 2-3 hours myself and truly a longer marination makes a huge difference.
  2. Pat the chicken dry before baking/air frying it. The drier the chicken skin is, the crispier they turn out.
  3. Take the marinated wings out of the fridge for an hour before you plan to bake them, avoid putting cold wings right in a hot oven, it can make them tough.
  4. I also feel that making the sauce a few hours ahead makes a difference- the flavors have time to mingle and it tastes better.
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5 from 1 vote

Air Fried Sweet Tamarind- Chilli Chicken Wings

Juicy, spicy & tangy chicken wings with crisy skins perfect for game day, a quick appetizer for just for snacking.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American, Indian
Servings: 15 wings

Equipment

  • Oven/Air fryer, Bowls, Tongs, Sauce Pan

Ingredients

For Dry Brining the Chicken Wings

  • 1.5 pounds party chicken wings
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

For the Sweet Tamarind – Chilli Sauce

  • 1/3 cup thick tamarind pulp, see notes
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tbsp ginger minced
  • 2 fresno chillies finely chopped (adjust to taste, substitute with red chilli flakes)
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2-4 tbsp brown sugar adjust to taste
  • 1/4 cup malt vinegar,
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • salt to taste
  • 2-4 tbsp water if needed

For Baking/Air Frying

  • Cooking Spray/Oil

Instructions

Dry Brine the Wings

  • In a large bowl, add the wings and all the ingredients listed under the dry brining.
  • Toss very well using clean hands, cover the bowl with a cling film and refrigerate overnight.

Make the Tamarind Sauce

  • In a medium bowl, mix the tamarind pulp, sugar, soy sauce, cumin, salt, black pepper and vinegar.
  • Heat up oil in a sauce pan. Once warm, add the garlic, ginger and chopped chillies(or chilli flakes) to the hot oil and saute for 30 seconds, dont let burn.
  • Add the tamarind pulp mix all at once to the pan. Add 2-3 tbsp water and mix well. Cook down on low medium heat for 10-12 minutes till its thickish. The sauce wil be runny in the beginning but slowly thicken.
  • Once the sauce is ready, cool down and set aside.

Prepare the Wings for Baking/Air Frying

  • Take the marinated chicken out of the fridge atleast one hour ahead of starting to cook. Using paper towel, pat the chicken dry. Discard the liquid at the bottom of the bowl. Dry the chicken very well.
  • Place the chicken in another bowl and add 2-3 tbsp of the tamrind sauce that we prepared before. Using clean hands, toss and mix to coat all the wings properly.
  • To Air Fry -Preheat your air fryer at 360F. Layer the wings in a single layer in the basket.If needed you can place the drumettes standing up if they are not fitting all at once. Make sure that the wings are not touching each other.
  • Air fry for a total of 20 minutes, flipping using tongs half way at 10 minutes.
  • Bump the temperature to 390 F at the end of 20 minutes let air fry for additional 5-7 minutes until you see that the skins are crispy.
  • To Bake – Preheat oven to 400F. Line a sheet pan with foil and place a oven proof rack on top of the foil. Spray the rack liberally wiuth cooking spray.
  • Arrange the wings in a single layer on the rack.
  • Bake for 40 minutes, flipping using tongs at half the time until the wings are crispy and slightly charred on the edges.
  • Serve the wings warm with rest of the tamarind sauce.

Notes

  1. Just soak and squeeze the pulp of the sweet tamarind pods like regular tamarind.
Appetizers/Snacks · Desserts/Baking

Brownie Bottom Saffron Cheesecake Bites


These mini cheesecake bites combine two of my favorite desserts. A cream, slightly tangy cheesecake batter atop fudgy brownie layer when eaten together with airy whipped cream is a burst of textures and flavors in your mouth. The bites are flavored with my favorite indian spices and the spiced layers complement each other so well. The brownie layer has hints of fresh ground green cardamom while the cheesecake batter gets its golden color and exotic flavor from saffron. My favorite brand to use is Zaran Saffron.

These bites are incredibly quick and easy to make once you gather the ingredients which aren’t too many. The combination of chocolate and saffron is both bold and exotic.I took to mini cheesecake bites sometime last year and its one of my favorite things to bake. This recipe makes a batch of 10-12 bites which keep well for 2-3 days in the fridge and are amazing for a post dinner sweet craving.

A few things to be kept in mind:-

  1. Make sure that your ingredients are are at room temperature wherever mentioned. I can’t stress this enough.
  2. The brownie layer is baked first to set before adding the cheesecake batter but make sure to not bake the brownie layer fully.
  3. Bake the cheesecake bites till the centers are jiggly. Do not bake all the way through. They will finish setting up while chilling.
  4. A common problem is cracks in the cheesecake layer. The reason is that when your ingredients are not a room temperature, we tend to overmix the batter and incorporate too much air in the process. This makes the batter rise too much during baking and it comes cracking down after you take it out of the oven.However, dont stress too much about it because you can always cover the cracks up with ganache or dollop of whipped cream or fruit toppings. Remember taste over looks, always! ūüôā
  5. Another common problem is that the cheese batter is grainy and not smooth after you beat it. Again, this happens when the cream cheese is not at room temperature.
  6. After the baking is over, dont pull out the cheesecakes immediately out of the oven, switch the oven off, open the door and let them hang out there for 5-8 minutes.
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5 from 1 vote

Brownie Bottom Saffron Cheesecake Bites

Fudgy, cardamom scented brownie bottom topped with golden saffron cheesecake filling. A bold exotic dessert.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 12

Equipment

  • Bowls, Hand Mixer/Whisk, Spatula, Muffin Pans,Paper Liners

Ingredients

For the Brownie Layer

  • 4 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 tbsp semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour sifted
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder sifted
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom

For the Cheesecake Filling

  • 10-12 strands saffron
  • 1/2 tbsp warm milk
  • 8 oz cream cheese (please dont use low fat or no fat), softened at room temperature
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 1 tbsp sour cream room temperature
  • 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon or orange juice
  • pinch sea salt

To serve

  • whipped cream

Instructions

Brownie Layer

  • Line your 12 muffin/cupcake pan with liners and preheat oven to 350F.
  • In a medium bowl, add the butter and set it in microwave to completely melt for minute or so. Once melted, take out and immediately add the chocolate chips. Wisk well gently till smooth. The chocolate will melt in warm butter.
  • Add the sugar to the bowl and whisk well for 2-3 minutes till everything is creamy and the sugar is dissolved. By this time the mix would cool down as well so its ready for egg.
  • Add the egg to the coo butter sugar mix and whisk well to combine.
  • Next, add the flour cocoa powder and cardamon. Using a spatula combine everything until you cannot see any white flour. The mix will be smooth and sticky. And too tempting to lick ūüôā
  • Add about 1 tbsp of heaped brownie batter to each liner. You can decide which layer you want to make thicker and add the batter accordingly.
  • Set in the oven to bake for 6-8 minutes untill the brownie batter is set. Dont bake all the way through. After its set, pull out the tray and you will that the brownie layer is puffy but it will puff down while you make the filling.

Cheesecake Filling

  • Grind saffron strands using mortar pestle, pour over warm milk and let infuse.
  • In a large bowl, add all the ingredients under the filling and using a hand mixer, beat for 2-3 minutes until smooth and fluffy. Dont over beat.
  • Add the infused saffron next and beat for 10-15 seconds to incorporate.
  • Add about 1/4 cup to the cupcake liners filling with brownie crust. You can add the filling in a ziplock bag and pour too. So I had planned for 12 cheesecakes but ran out after 11th one was filled.¬†¬†Once filled, tap the pan a few times to get rid of any air bubbles.
  • Bake for 13-15 minutes or until set, little jiggly in the centre is fine. Dont overbale else the cheesecake will not be soft after chilling.Once baked, switch off the stove, open the door and let the pan stay there for a 10 mins.
  • After 10 minutes, pull out of the oven and transfer to a rack to cool down completely.
  • Chill for at least 6 hours or overnight before serving. Add dollop of whipped cream before serving.
Indian Curry/Stew

Bhindi Aloo (Spiced Okra & Potatoes)

IMG_8376-2The first thing to be spotted in markets at the turn of April or May as soon as the short fairytale called winter is over is okra pods.¬†It¬†probably tops the list of summer vegetables in India. I would compare the hue and cry about it to sight of fresh tomatoes here. I would accompany my grandmother to our daily¬†vegetable vendor, leaned over his cart and gazed at the pile of okra that occupied half of the space and observed how my grandmother chose the dark green, soft, slender ones while arguing about how costly he sold his produce. Almost each week, sometimes more than once, okra formed a part of our meals. My mother tells me that it was my grandfather’s favorite vegetable so our family recipe repertoire is packed with a lot of¬†ways to cook it.¬†As the summer progressed, by the months of July and august and with the knock of monsoons and okra slowly losing their crisp texture, only then the focus shifted to other vegetables.

Sinfully Spicy : Bhindi Aloo (Spiced Potatoes & Okra)However, it was not until I met the husband that I cooked okra with potatoes. Kid you not, I had not even heard about it in all my years of living in northern parts. It’s hard to say if his suggestion to do so was driven by his childhood food memories or his obnoxious need to combine potatoes with each and every food group possible, but the deal didn’t get too bad here and these two vegetables worked beautifully the first time I cooked them. We continued discussing for many years, each chance¬†I got to get okra home as to how the recipe can get better and better until I mastered it.

Sinfully Spicy : Okra

Sinfully Spicy : Bhindi Aloo (Spiced Potatoes & Okra)These emerald looking, slender beauties pair with earthly flavor of starchy potatoes so well. On the lines of stuffed okra, I always add fennel seeds to my okra recipes and you will need to do that to know how deliciously this grassy vegetable braces the liquorice of that spice.Try it. The deal with dealing with all the nuances which people associate with okra is not to go too stingy on oil quantity  as well as not to let the vegetable steam too much while cooking. I cover it for no more than few initial minutes after its added to pan and then continue cooking uncovered till its done, this preserves the beautiful color as well as eliminates the chances of mushy okra.

Sinfully Spicy : Bhindi Aloo (Spiced Potatoes & Okra)

Serve these as a side with daal (lentils ) and rice or with skillet fried flatbreads and chutney. It is good on side as well as on its own.

Sinfully Spicy : Bhindi Aloo (Spiced Potatoes & Okra)