Gochujang Noodles

How do you like your noodles? I love them spicy, tangy and a bit sweet! These noodles with a balanced kick from gochujang (fermented korean chili paste), mild sweet notes from coconut palm sugar and tang from fresh lime juice are perfect for anytime you crave noodles- be it light summer lunches or weeknights.

Gochujang Noodles with Shrimp & Zucchini

It takes less than 30 minutes to make these and they are sought after in my house during summers. I use juicy summer zucchini and light protein such as shrimp to make them more hearty. I simply love the combination of shrimp and zucchini together! You can spiral the zucchini if you wish, in fact if you want you can make them just with zucchini spirals(noodles) for a light, low carb meal.

Gochujang is made by slowly fermenting gochugaru chili flakes and the long process of fermentation makes the chile develop a savory umami taste. It is subtly sweet and depending on the brand, the heat levels can vary- it is definitely not fiery, rather an unbelievably versatile condiment in my kitchen to pep up almost anything!

Why I love these noodles so much besides the fact that they are noodles 🙂

  • You can adjust the sour, spicy or sweet levels to your liking.
  • It can be easily made vegetarian using extra firm tofu strips or mushrooms.
  • Takes less than 30 minutes to make, even lesser if you use fresh noodles like I do.
  • Its a balanced meal – carbs, protein and vegetables all in one.

Below are the substitutions you can do to make this recipe fit different dietary needs.

  • For gluten-free version- use flat rice noddles instead of the wheat ones. Many gochujang pastes available in the market are GF, check label before buying. Use tamari instead of soy sauce.
  • Use any kinds of vegetables instead of zucchini. Broccoli, napa cabbage, mushrooms all work great.
  • Instead of soy sauce use tamari or liquid aminos.
  • Use thinly sliced chicken breast strips if you don’t want to use seafood.
  • Use tofu or mushrooms for a meat free version.
  • Instead of coconut sugar, add maple or agave for a more smoky taste.
  • If you dont have shallots at home, use thinly sliced red onions.
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Gochujang Noodles

Delicious noodles with balanced spicy, sweet sour flavors tossed with shrimp and juicy zucchini fo ra quick & simple weeknight meal.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Korean
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 12 oz fresh noodles, cooked per packet instructions or use any dried noodles that you normally use
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2-3 tbsp gochujang paste, adjust to tolerance
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil, divided
  • 6 oz extra large shrimp, cleaned
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 stalks scallions, white and green parts seperate
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • Salt
  • Garnish – toasted sesame seeds, cilantro etc

Instructions

  • Set the noodles to boil while you prep the sauce and vegetables. Cook as per package instructions, drain once cooked, reserve 1/2 cup noodle water and massage drained noodles with a little oil after to avoid them sticking.
  • In a small bowl, mix the soy, gochujang, sugar and lemon juice. Thin out with 2-4 tbsp noodle water since gochujang is quite thick and sticky. Taste the sauce and adjust the ingredients if needed as per your liking. At this point it should taste bold and salty. Keep ready.
  • In a 12 inch pan, heat up 1 tbsp oil on medium.Layer the shrimp, sprinkle some salt and sear/cook them for 2-3 minutes each side depending on the size of your shrimp. Take out in a plate.
  • Add another tbsp of oil and add the sliced zucchini next,sprinkle pinch of salt and quickly saute on high for 2-3 minutes so as to not overcook it. Transfer in the same plate as shrimp.
  • Add the rest of the oil to the pan and heat up on high. Add the shallots and white scallion parts for 2 minutes till they are soft. Work quickly now and next add the sliced garlic and saute for 30 minutes. Add the sauce mix that we prepped now and cook it for a minute or so with shallots and garlic till the sauce starts bubbling.Keep a close eye since the sugar caramalizes fast.
  • Add the noodles next along with shrimp & zucchini and toss everything very well so that its coated in sauce. Taste and adjust the salt. Cook for 3-4 minutes and you can use reserved noodle water (add slowly) if you feel that everything is a bit thick.
  • Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds and green scallion parts and serve immediately.

Notes

  • For gluten-free version- use flat rice noddles instead of the wheat ones.
  • Use any kinds of vegetables instead of zucchini. Broccoli, napa cabbage, mushrooms all work great.
  • Instead of soy sauce use tamari or liquid aminos.
  • Use thinly sliced chicken breast strips if you don’t want to use seafood. Cook them earlier like how we cooked shrimp in this recipe. 
  • Use tofu or mushrooms for a meat free version.
  • Instead of coconut sugar, add maple or agave for a more smoky taste.
  • If you dont have shallots at home, use thinly sliced red onions.

Sooji (Semolina) Halwa

Halwa is a runny pudding made in indian homes using different kinds of grains, flours, nuts, lentils as well as fruits and vegetables.Halwa is usually pretty quick to whip up and quite popular due to ease of cooking and that it requires basic ingredients that our available in our homes. . Semolina halwa in north indian homes is cooked in a blink to translate any occasion- big or little into a celebration. It is one of the frequently cooked meetha(dessert) in my home, much more than kheer. Thats partly because, growing up my grandma made it everyday was an offering after prayers. A small bowl of nutty, melt in the mouth halwa appeared mid morning infront of us, glistening with ghee and scented with ground black cardamom. It is one of my loved memory of her- of my badi mummy, wrapped in a starched cotton saree feeding us halwa every morning 🙂

You need very basic and few ingredients for this recipe- fine semolina, ghee, sugar and whichever flavor you like- cardamom, rose or saffron. This recipe can be easily made vegan, just swap ghee with coconut oil, you can add a handful of shredded coconut to elevate the coconut flavor in that case. The halwa can be made in about 30 minutes, the most effort and patience is needed while roasting the semolina in ghee, else this is a quick recipe.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you make Sooji Halwa:-

Kind of Semolina (Sooji) – Its best to use fine semolina when making the halwa, the texture comes our great, its melt in the mouth. Avoid coarse semolina.

Water or Milk:- You can use either, or you can use a combination of both. I use water, not only it keeps the color of the dark amber halwa intact but it avoids the halwa from getting too rich (there is already quite a bit of ghee in there!) Also keep in mind that milk will make the halwa a bit soft or sticky to taste.

Sugar or Jaggery or Honey- Again you can use either but traditionally sugar is used and I do the same. If you are using jaggery, don’t use milk. If you use honey, the halwa will be quite sticky and has the tendency to easily burn while you “bhuno” it, since honey caramelizes fast. Also keep in mind that the taste profile sweetened with honey or jaggery is quite different from the traditional recipe.

Nuts & Flavors– Anyting you like! I like almonds and raisins because those were what my grandmother used to use. You can add cashews, makhana or pistachios or shredded coconut as well. As for the flavors, I add black cardamom seeds fresh pounded in mortar pestle and a tiny bit of rose water. You don’t taste the rose as such but it adds a nice floral aroma to the halwa. You can choose green cardamom, saffron, even vanilla 🙂

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Sooji(semolina) Halwa

Also know as sheera, Sooji Halwa is a semolina pudding made with simple pantry staples- semolina, ghee & sugar. It tastes heavenly and takes just 30 mins to make.
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4

Equipment

  • A heavy kadhai (preferable iron) or cast iron pan, sauce pan, bowls and spoons etc

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup melted ghee
  • 1/2 cup fine semolina
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (can go down to 1/3 cup if you prefer less sweet halwa)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-2 tbsp ghee (optional)
  • 2 tbsp raisins (soaked in warm water for 10 minutes)
  • 1 whole black cardamom seeds removed and crushed to a fine powder in mortar pestl
  • 7-8 almonds, thinly sliced (Use any nuts you like)
  • 1/2 tbsp rose water

Instructions

  • Add the ghee and semolina to iron kadhai (or cast iron pan). Mix well for 2 minutes so that you see all the semolina is covered in ghee. Place the kadhai on a low medium stove and begin roasting the semolina. You will have to keep an eye and keep stirring frequently for it can burn easily.
  • While the semolina is roasting, add the sugar and water to a small sauce pan or pot and set on the other stove on medium heat. In about 5-8 minutes, the sugar will dissolve in water. Switch off the stove, dont cook the syrup. We dont want any string consistency or anything. Keep the syrup near and warm.
  • Coming back to semoilina, keep on roasting it while stirring it making sure to scrape it from the bottom of the kadhai, it burns that way easily. Roast the semolina for good 10- 15 minutes(see notes) till you see that the ghee has begun to seperate and the semolina granules are dark brown in color. There should be no black specks of semolina- that means the semolina has burnt, a conistent medium heat and contuinal stirring ensures that wont happen.
  • Reduce the stove to low, and slowly add the warm sugar syrup from one side of the kadhai to the semolima while stirring it at the same time with the other hand, this makes sure that no lumps are formed. There will be spluttering so watch out.
  • As soon as the syrup is added, you will see a puddle followed by big bubbles in a minute on the surface of the halwa, your will notice that the semolina granules begin to swelled up. it will be runny, let the halwa cook on low heat. Add the raisins, almomds and black cardamom powder now.
  • Keep stirring everything gently and continue to cook the halwa for 3-4 minutes on low heat. Add 1-2 tbsp of ghee (if you wish)and mix well. The halwa will be glistening and of thick smoothie like pourable consistency by the end of 5-6 minutes. Dont let all the liquid absorb. Switch off the stove. Mix in the rose water. The halwa will thicken as it sits.
  • Serve warm garnished with nuts. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. If you don’t want a dark halwa, no problem, roast the semolina for just 5-7 minutes, until its golden in color. Rest of the recipe remains the same. 

Dilli Aloo Ki Chaat

Aloo chaat from streets of Delhi is one of the best things. Shallow fried potatoes in ghee tossed with powdered spices, drizzled with chutney and served warm with a little bit of grated mooli (daikon)or onions. The chaat stalls selling this chaat can be spotted from a mile away thanks to the aroma of frying potatoes. If you take a stroll in neighborhoods of Delhi particularly in the evening, you will find a chaat corner frying this chaat on every other block.

Traditionally, they fry the potatoes in ghee and hence the aroma is so amazing. Sweet, spicy, sour and deep fried- this is one amazing chaat recipe which can be quickly whipped to satiate your cravings. It can be a quick snack for any time. Just cut up the potatoes, mix the spices and go for it.

I used a mixture of different potato varieties I could find in store. Sweet potatoes(orange & purple) and regular russet/gold and red potatoes. The naturally sweet potatoes really added so much taste to this chaat, they were my favorite, to to forget the beautiful natural colors they added.

A few things to be kept in mind when making this Chaat:-

Soaking the Potatoes:- Even though I say that this is a quick snack for anytime and really you can cut up potato chunks and make this any time, I suggest planning a bit and soaking the potatoes for at least 3-4 hours. Slice or cut potatoes in chunks , I leave the skin on because it adds a nice flavor, and soak the potatoes in sharp salty water for good 3-4 hours. The water will pull out the starches since starches are water soluble and the salt will season the potatoes in the process leading to a super flavorful potato for frying. Soaking also helps in making the potatoes crispy as the quantity of starches goes down.

Fried potatoes are the key. Shallow fried potatoes usually fried to order in the center of a large heavy tawa(griddle) in ghee give the best flavor. However, if you don’t want to use just ghee, 100% ghee, use a neutral oil like grape seed or sunflower and add a tablespoon of ghee for that particular aroma. Shallow fry on both sides with golden crispy edges for the best taste.

Kind of potatoes. Avoid using a high starch content potato like Russet. In India, usually the winter crop potatoes are the best choice since they are waxy and have a good starch to moisture ratio. Here I used a mix of potatoes- sweet potatoes, purple yams, red potatoes, idaho yellow potatoes and a few slices of russet for a great balance of flavors and textures. Bonus point being that it made the chaat super colorful with multitude of natural colors.

Spices and Chutneys– The best time of add the spices is right after the potatoes come out of the oil.The oil helps in sticking the spices to the potatoes and makes them super flavorful. As for the chutneys, you can add any kind but on the streets, they add tamarind chutney. I add the tamarind chutney, lot of it and instead of green chutney, I add a lot of fresh herbs like cilantro & mint and green chilli slices. Biting into leafy herbs gives the chaat another layer of taste.

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Dilli Wali Aloo Chaat

A spicy sweet sour potato chaat from streets of Delhi. Made with multi color potatoes.
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Griddel, Cutting board, knifes, bowls and spoons

Ingredients

  • 3 large size potatoes (1 russet + 1 gold potato+ 1 red potato)
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 medium purple yam
  • Ghee for frying ,substitute with oil+ghee
  • 2 tsp chaat masala
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp crushed anardana (dry pomegranate seeds) ,optional
  • 1.5 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp Black salt
  • Salt to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp Tamarind Chutney
  • 2 tbsp nylon sev
  • Grated Daikon, Sliced Onions,Green Chillies, Cilantro & Mint leaves, Pomegranate Arils

Instructions

  • Thoroughly wash the poatoes. You can peel off the skin if you wish, I dont. Cut into slices (about 1/4th inch). You can cut in chunks as well.
  • Take a large bowl. Place the potatoes and sprinke 1/2 tbsp of salt. Add enough water to the bowl to cover the poatoes. Soak the potatoes for 3 hours.
  • Drain and discard the water and using a kitchen towl dry out the potatoes thorougly.
  • In a cast iron skillet heat up 2 inches of oil. I recommend taking a wide pan instead of a kadai/wok for frying. Heat on medium heat till you see ripples on the surface.
  • Add the poatoes in a single layer in the ghee. Dont overcrowd the pan, fry in 2 or more batches if needed. Fry on medium high heat till you see that potatoes are nicley browned and are crispy. Use a fork to make sure that they are tender and cooked. Dont overfry, The poatatoes should have a soft inside and crispy outside.
  • Take out the potatoes, dont drain the extra oil. Add the spices powders and chutney immediately. Or you can arranged the potatoes on a plate and sprinkle the spices and chutney.
  • Add herbs, cut up chillies, onions and daikon. Scatter some pomergrante arils and serve warm.

Notes

  1. You cam make this chaat with regular potatoes. 
  2. Feel free to add yogurt and green chutneys if you wish. 

Keema Pasta

One of the fusion pasta dishes which I make often for the kids. They absolutely love it. It is an indian fusion version of pasta in a meat sauce. Hearty and comforting, a bowl of keema pasta is a full meal which is a favorite for all age groups.

You can scratch cook the keema or repurpose leftover keema from dinner last night. A super simple pasta to make and has fresh made sauce. I do add a little smoked paprika for color and a tiny bit of fresh mint for that smokiness you expect from a well “bhunakeema. Its an absolute winner dish with them. You can add a little cream to finish at the end if you like especially if you are using chicken mince.

The keema base is traditional indian kind – a spicy & tangy sauce made with fresh chopped onions, fresh pounded ginger & garlic and fresh tomatoes (or you can use canned tomatoes if you wish). Then go in the ground cumin, coriander and paprika(or red chilli powder), make it as spicy as you like. You can add some dried herbs like oregano as well. Once the minced meat (or ground chicken) goes in, bhuno(saute) it on low medium heat with the masala base till the meat is smoky and attains a brownish color.

I use the pasta water to thin out the base, and if you want you can add some vegetables like carrots, peas or peppers depending on how your family will enjoy it. It is so exciting to see how the kids enjoy the taste of indian dishes presented this way, in a way that appeals to their senses without trying to “sneak” anything. Double up the recipe if you want a larger batch. Here I used GF brown rice pasta, however substitute with any shape or kind or flavor of pasta that your family likes.

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Keema Pasta

A indian-italian fusion pasta dish of spiced keema in a fresh sauce folded with fuisili pasta.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes

Equipment

  • pot & pans

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger garlic simply pound 2 cloves of garlic & 1/2inch fresh ginger shoot using mortar pestle.
  • 1+1/4 cup chopped tomatoes substitute with canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Red chilli powder(to taste)
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • 4-5 chopped fresh mint leaves (or any herbs you like)
  • 150 gms ground lamb/beef/chicken (85-15 lean)
  • salt to taste
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice to taste
  • 200 gms pasta of choice, I used fuisili ,cook according to package instructions, reserve 1/2 -3/4 cup of pasta water. Drain the pasta and keep ready.

Instructions

  • In a wide saute pan, heat up the olive oil on medium heat.
  • Once warm, add the chopped onions to the oil. Saute for 4-5 minutes till the onions start turning little brown, dont brown them too much.
  • Next add the pounded ginger and garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the ground spices next and saute for a minute so as to toast them in oil.
  • Add the tomatoes next and sprinkle some salt, reduce the stove to low medium and let the tomatoes cook down.The tomatoes will soften and become saucy, continue to cook them till you see that they thicken and tiny oil bubbles start appearing on the top. Dont dry out too much.
  • Add the ground meat now(I used ground lamb). Break down the meat using a wooden spoon and mix it with the masala. Cook the meat with the masala for good 8-10 minutes to low medium heat till you see that it has browned. Conitune sauteing the meat for another 5 minutes till you see that the oil is seperating.
  • Add the salt (keep in mind that the pasta water that we are going to add little later is salted too), chopped mint and lemon juice now. After the meat has finished bhuno(browning), thin out the meat sauce with the reserved pasta water. Dont add too much water at once, start with 1/3 cup water and then go up from there depending on how much you need. Let the sauce heat up once you add the water.
  • Once the sauce is warm, add the cooked pasta and fold gently with the meat. Add more water if you feel its dry. Check and adjust the salt as well.
  • Let everything cook for 2 minutes, dont stir too much since the pasta is soft and might break.
  • Switch off the stove, add some fresh cracked pepper(optional) and serve warm.

Notes

  1. Add 1/2 cup of frozen vegetables to the pasta. 
  2. Add 2 tbsp of cream to finish the sauce, highly recommend it if you are using ground chicken. 
  3. You can use the same recipe with vegetables. Just substitute the keema with equivalent amount of finely chopped vegetables and cook them down to soft before adding the pasta. 

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.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
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. 

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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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.
Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American, Indian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
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.

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! 🙂
  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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Brownie Bottom Saffron Cheesecake Bites

Fudgy, cardamom scented brownie bottom topped with golden saffron cheesecake filling. A bold exotic dessert.
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
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 🙂
  • 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.

Bhindi Aloo (Spiced Okra & Potatoes)

The 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.

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.

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.

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.