Instant Olive Oil Tomato Pickle

Delicious, tangy and spicy in every bite, this instant tomato pickle is healthy and super delicious. As soon as warm weather comes knocking and tomatoes start appearing in the markets, I start making this instant tomato pickle. If you don’t want to use cherry tomatoes, you can use regular tomatoes, make sure that they are ripe but firm. Dont use very soft tomatoes else the pickle becomes a chutney 🙂

Picking in oil is the most common way to preserve seasonal vegetables and fruits in India. Though mustard oil is the first choice, with the rise in popularity of olive oil, with time its also a common picking oil now. You can skip or add anything to this pickle, I add sliced garlic, chilies, fresh tumeric and ginger. The combination of these work quite well together. The pickle is so good with anything- with flatbreads, on toasts, with eggs, chicken or fish or even some crackers on a cheese board. It keeps well in the fridge for about 8-10 days and gets better as it sits.

My grandmother used to keep busy entire summer pickling almost every vegetable you can think of and her pickles were the best, no one in our family has ever been able to replicate the taste and I mean it. But we keep trying from what we remember of her pickling process.

This pickle is super heathy- preserved in olive oil which is a heart friendly oil and full of anti inflammatory turmeric and ginger, a tablespoon of this pickle could well one of the best things to pair with your meals. Olive oil pickles are so fruity and here with all the fragrant indian spices, the pickling oil itself turns so flavorful with time, if you are left with just oil, dab it on your sandwiches or use it to cook parathas (yum!).

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Instant Olive Oil Tomato Pickle

A fruity & fragrant pickle made with tomatoes, garlic, ginger and fresh turmeric.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 1.5 cups

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup classic/cooking olive oil (dont use extra virgin)
  • 1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida)
  • 1 tsp rai (small brown mustard seeds)
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp nigella seeds
  • 3/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp anardana(dried pomegranate seeds, coarsely pounded)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 5-6 fresh curry leaves
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • 200 gms (about 8oz) cherry tomatoes (cut in half if too big)
  • 5-7 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh turmeric, cut in thin discs
  • 1/4 cup fresh ginger, cut in thin discs
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  • In a pan, on low heat set the olive oil to heat. Dont let it get smoky. If the olive oil gets smoky, it will lose most of its antioxidants and flavor. Also, the spices will get burnt when you add them.
  • Once the oil is hot, add the hing and the whole spices. Keep the flame on low medium. The spices wont crackle immediately and thats what we want. Let the spices infuse for 2-3 minutes on low heat in the oil so that the aroma of spices in infused in oil.Dont leave unattended.
  • The spices will swell and you will smell a very nice aroma as they infuse in the oil. Next, add the curry leaves carefully and let infuse for another 30 seconds.
  • Add turmeric and red chilli powder to the oil, mix and let cook for 10 seconds(they should not burn) followed by the tomatoes, garlic, ginger and turmeric. Sprinkle salt.
  • Mix everything gently and cook for 2-3 minutes till you see that the tomatoes skins are little soft but not falling apart. Take off the stove and let cool down a bit.
  • Transfer to a clean container and keep in fridge for upto a week. Enjoy!

Pudina (Fresh Mint) Paratha

Growing up, parathas, plain, stuffed or spiced with all sorts of herbs and spices were one of the most regular things that mom made for us. I do the same now, parathas are a huge staple in our house, made probably more than any indian other flatbread. The kids love them with curries, in wraps and as a quick snack on its own.

These pudina paratha are flaky, fragrant & layered and pair well with just about anything. Pudina translates to “mint” and paratha is unleavened flatbread very popular in northern parts of India. With creamy mughlai curries they are just amazing, the hints of cooling mint flavor of these parathas complement the rich sauce very well.

Whenever I have a bunch of fresh mint to finish, I usually make a dough and make them layered laccha paratha style. Its so good on its own as well and gets better next day. I know many people like freshly made rotis or parathas but we love them anyhow, fresh or a day old. You can shape them circular or make triangle parathas as well if you dont want to make layered or are in a hurry.

I like a combination of fresh mint with cumin, ginger, fennel and a little chaat masala. The ginger is so good in here with chaat masala. Sometimes I add dried mint, sometimes I dont, I find dried mint a bit chalky and prefer using fresh mint as much as I can. The recipe is very straightforward and really its all about making a flavored dough, resting it and turning it into parathas. Read it below.

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Pudina(fresh Mint) paratha

Whole wheat flour parathas pacjed with flavor of fresh mint and spices. Pair well with curries of any kind. Or use as a wrap.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 parathas

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup heaped (20 gms) tightly packet fresh mint leaves , finely chopped, use just the leaves, save stems for something else.
  • 2 cup whole wheat flour (atta)
  • 2 tbsp besan (chickpea flour)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coarsely crushed fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp very finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp chaat masala
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 2/3 cup water or as needed
  • 3-4 tbsp oil or ghee (for rolling the laccha paratha)
  • dry flour needed while rolling
  • oil for cooking

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl, add the ingredients – flour, besan, mint(fresh & dried), spices, 2 tbsp oil and salt. Using your fingers mix everything well.
  • Now start adding water in parts. Initially you can add ½ cup water. Thereafter, the amount of water required depends upon the absorption quality of the flour.
  • Mix and begin to knead the dough. Add water as needed and knead for 3-5 minutes to make a smooth and firm dough. It should not be very loose or sticky. I used about 2/3 cup water.
  • Cover the dough and let rest for 30 minutes.
  • Divide the rested dough into equal portions and using your palms make them into medium sized balls. You can make them larger if you want thicker parathas.
  • Place the dough ball on a rolling surface and sprinkle some dry flour on both sides.
  • Roll the dough into a large thin circle of about 10 inch diameter. Dont worry about the shape right now, it should be thin.
  • Brush oil on the top surface(you can sprinkle a little more chaat massala if you wish) and begin to fold from edges like a hand fan, making thin pleates on top of each other.
  • Once there is a thick pleated long roll of the dough, fold it inwards like a spiral into a circle dough ball. Press down lightly, sprinkle dry flour.
  • Meanwhile, set a tawa to heat up on medium high stove. Roll the dough ball to a paratha of 6 inches. These will be slightly thick.
  • Place the paratha on the hot tawa. Keep the flame to medium high. Don't cook on low flame.
  • When you see paratha puffing on the top, flip it. Liberally spread oil on the cooked side.
    Flip and repeat for the second side. After you apply oil. toast nicely on both sides. You can make them crispy or keep them soft.
  • Crush a little before serving, that way the layers separate a bit but this step is optional.
  • Serve them. These keep for 1-2 days well in the fridge as well. Just warm them slightly on a suoer hot tawa before serving.

Rose Pistachio Mawa Ladoo

Ladoos are must on any indian festival and these nutty beauties are super easy to whip up. Mawa makes them so creamy and melt in the mouth and the floral notes of rose water together with meaty pistachios is a match made in heaven. If you are still looking for something easy to make on Holi, try these ladoos.

These are ridiculously easy to whip up and all you need is 3 ingredients. When a recipe calls for few ingredients, I recommend good quality ones since it makes all the difference in the taste. Use fresh pistachios which are sweeter in taste, mawa with a good quality of fat content(you won’t need much ghee then) and rose water or rose essence that is not more than 6 months old.

These ladoos are not overly sweet and I like them that way, you can increase the powdered sugar by couple tablespoons if desired. I like to chop the pistachios on a cutting board instead of using a grinder, I feel that way I can control the texture of the nut powder and the taste is better too.

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Rose Pistachio Mawa Ladoo

3 ingredient, nutty Mawa Pistachio ladoos flavored with rose.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 200 gms mawa/mava,crumbled
  • 7 tbsp powdered/confectioners sugar
  • 180 gms coarse pistachio powder +1/4 chopped pistachios(optional) ,see notes
  • 1.5 tbsp rose water (or 1-2 drops of rose essence)
  • 1-2 tsp ghee (optional, if needed for rolling ladoos)

Instructions

  • Add mawa/mava to a nonstick pan. Place the pan on stove,switch on the stove on low heat. Let the mawa soften. Mawa softens very quickly and needs attention so that it dosent get burnt. Keep stirring using a spatula.
  • I didnt need to add any extra ghee to mawa, if you feel your mawa is on a dry side add a tablespoon or so of ghee.
  • Once mawa is soft(dont let brown), immediately add the sugar and pistachios together. Mix well untill nicely combined. Keep the heat low, cook everything for 1-2 minutes.
  • Switch off the stove and mix in the rose water and chopped pistachios(if using). Wait for 5 minutes or until the mixture feels cool enough to handle. Dont let the mixture completely cool down.
  • Smear some ghee on your hands and divide into 8-10 equal portions. Roll into smooth ladoos. Store for 3-4 days refrigerated.

Notes

  1. I lightly dry toast the pistachios for 2-3 minutes on a hot skillet. Don’t let the color change, toasting helps in blooming the oils of nuts.
  2. The sugar quantity can go up to 9-10 tablespoons if you like sweeter ladoos. 
  3. I chop the pistachios on a cutting board to a coarse fine powder instead of using a grinder. It takes a bit of effort but the texture and taste of nuts is really better that way. 
  4. You can replace rose with cardamom or saffron flavor if desired. 

Rajasthani Pyaz Ki Kachori

Deep fried kachoris stuffed with all sorts of fiery filling are are huge hit on festivals. Holi is just around the corner and I made a batch over the weekend, these Kachoris last well for a few days and are an amazing snack or a full meal if you wish to. Kachori is a deep fried, unleavened, stuffed flatbread from northern parts of India and is usually filled with a stuffing of lentils, potatoes, onions or dry fruits(a sweet version) and they are quite popular on festivals.

Pyaz or onion stuffed kachoris are a famous street side snack from the State of Rajasthan in north western parts of India. Rajasthai food is high on spice levels, almost fiery, the desert terrain demands that kind of spice levels in cuisine since it helps survive the brutal heat of summers. These kachoris are no exception. There are full pf punch of spices and I serve them with a hot lehsun mirch ki chutney (garlic- red chilli chutney) which takes them to next level. So so good with a cup of chai for evening snack or brunch on weekends.

The stuffing is made with a full head of onion or two to which fresh ground masalas are added and a little potato for binding. The onion filling is super flavorful with generous dose of hing and coarsely ground cumin, fennel and coriander. If you wish, a knob of this filling is so good even on sandwiches or with parathas. YUM!

Keep the below things in mind when you make kachoris:-

  • The dough should not be too tight or too sticky. We need a firm pliable dough with good amount of moyan(the oil/ghee/shortening that is added to dough while kneading so that the kachoris come out flaky. Keep in mind that the dough is softer than poori dough.
  • Rest the dough for 30 minutes after kneading. In the meantime you can make the stuffing.
  • Fry the kachoris on low heat. Don’t fry on high heat else they want cook inside and will not all all be flaky.
  • A good indicator of a well made kachoris is that their skins are golden brown and have no to few bubbles, this is achieved by patient frying on low medium heat.
  • When you make the stuffing, don’t brown the onions, we just want the moisture to dry out but we don’t want them to be jammy. They should have a bite. I usually mix in a little bit of raw chopped onions so as to pronounce the onion flavor and texture.
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Rajasthani Pyaz Ki Kachori

Deep fried flatbread stuffed with a spicy fiery onion filling
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 to 10 kachoris

Equipment

  • Mixing Bowls, Saute Pan, Deep Pot/Kadhai for frying

Ingredients

For The Kachoris

  • 1.5 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ajwain seeds
  • 1/2 tsp nigella seeds
  • 5-6 tbsp vegetable shortening ,substitute with oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water (I used 10 tbsp) ,water should not be cold
  • Oil for frying

For The Onion Stuffing

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp black pepeprcorn (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp hing
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp besan
  • 1 large onion (yield 1.5 cups chopped onions) dont chop the onions too fine
  • 2 small potatoes, boiled and peeled
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric powder
  • Red chilli powder ,to taste
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor powder
  • Salt ,to taste

For Lehsun Mirch Chutney

  • 2 heads (20-25) garlic cloves peeled
  • 4-5 dried red chillies (or use fresh red chillies)
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp vinegar ,adjust to taste
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

Make the Kachori Dough

  • Combine all the dough ingredients except water in a deep bowl/parat. Mix and rub the flour with palms and finger till you are able to form a loose ball of flour(thsi makes sure that the moyan is right and the kachoris will be flaky).
  • Start adding water slowly and kneading into a soft pilable dough. Your water quantity might be different than mine since different flours have different absoprtion quality. Knead well for 4 to 5 minutes.Cover and let the dough rest for 20 minutes. It will loosen a bit and will be easy to work with.

Make the Onion Stuffing

  • In a small sauce pan, dry roast the whole spices- coriander, cumin & black peppecorns. Cool a bit and grind coarsely. Set aside.
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wide pan. Add asafetida to the oil and chopped 1.25 cups onions. Sprinkle 1/4 tso salt. Keep the heat on medium high and saute the onions for 3-5 minutes untill you see that they are transculent but not mushy or cooked. Dont lower the heat else the onions will get watery. Dont let the onions brown. Cook till the moisture is dry.
  • Add ginger, green chillies, tumeric and red chilli powder next. Saute for a 3-4minutes.
  • Add potatoes, crumble them in the pan as you add, add besan, mango powder and salt to taste.
  • Mix well, and mash potatoes using back of the spoon. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add the 1/4 cup chopped onion and mix well. Cool down completely.

Make the Kachoris

  • Divide the rested dough into 8-10 equal portions. Set aside a small portion of dough to test the oil.
  • Roll out each portion of the dough into a 2.5-3 inch diameter circle.
  • Place 2-3 tbsp of the onion filling in the center.PInch the extra dough as you close the parcel.
  • Press gently and pat with hands to flatten the kachori, try to make the edges a bit thin.
  • Prick the kachoris 1-2 times with a fork. Keep all the kachoris ready before you start frying.
  • Heat 2-3 inches of oil in a wide pot/kadai over medium-high heat till you see ripples on the surface.
  • Turn the heat to medium-low and wait for 2-3 minutes. to check the temperature of oil, add a pinch of dough, it should noty come up to surface sizzling (oil is too hot). If it comes very slowly(oil is cold). It should rise to the surfce slowly(not very slowly)
  • Slowly slide 2-3 kachoris at a time into the hot oil. Dont crowd the oil.
  • Deep-fry the kachoris till golden.Drain on an absorbent kitchen paper and serve hot with chutney (recipe below) and chai.

Make The Chuntey

  • Soak the dried red chillies in 1/4 cup hot water for 15 mins. Skip this step if using fresh chillies.
  • Place the garlic, vingear, salt and soaked chillies in a blender. Blend to a smooth paste using soaking water as need. Keep pasty dont make too runny.
  • Heat oil in small pan, temper with cumin seeds, add the chutney paste. Mix and cook for 6-8 minutes. Store refrigerated for 2 weeks.

Thandai Spiced Badam Nankhatai

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

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

Some tips to keep in mind when making Nankhatai.

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

Crumbly ghee loaded indian shortbread which are suitable for festivals, as a snack or any occasion.
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Servings 20 one bite shortbreads

Equipment

  • Mixing bowls, cookie sheet, measuring spoons and cups

Ingredients

For The Nankhatai

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

Thandai Spice (makes extra)

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

Instructions

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

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. 

Paneer Makhani Pizza

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

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

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

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

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

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Paneer Makhani Pizza

A fusion indo – italian pizza with homemade pizza dough topped with makhani sauce, juicy paneer tikka and lots of cheese.
Course Main Course, Snack
Cuisine Indian, Italian
Prep Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 1 Pizza (12 inch)

Equipment

  • mixing bowls

Ingredients

Make the Pizza Dough

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

Quick Makhani Sauce (Makes about 2 cups)

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

Paneer Tikka

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

Pizza Toppings

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

Instructions

Make the pizza dough

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

Make the Makhani Sauce

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

Make the Paneer Tikka

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

Assebmle and Bake Pizza

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

Notes

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

Matar Ka Nimona(Gluten free & Vegan)

Nimona is a traditional recipe made with ground green chickpeas or fresh peas in western Uttar Pradesh. My grandmother family belongs to that belt and no wonder this is one of our favorite family recipes. She cooked Nimona atleast once a week. Very arduously, she spent the entire afternoon shelling the green chickpeas which were in season during late winter. Nimona was made with peas rarely, however, I make it only with fresh peas (do not use frozen) since I dont have access to the green chickpeas. I tried the frozen chickpeas once and truly regretted it 🙂

Sweet shelled peas, blanched quickly and then ground into a coarse paste. The coarseness of the peas gives this curry a beautiful texture and if you ask a cook, the way a vegetable is cut, diced, crushed, pureed etc makes so much difference in the taste of the finished dish. Please do not make a smooth paste. In addition to grinding the peas coarsely, save a handful to add to the curry while it cooks.

This curry is gluten-free and ideally, if you cook it in mustard oil just the way it is should be, it is vegan as well. Traditionally, deep fried potatoes are added to this curry. And they are quite delicious, no question about that. However, I like to brown the potatoes in a couple tablespoons of oil rather than deep frying and later the potatoes finish cooking in the curry. Also, sautéing ground peas with the masala is an important part of making this curry. Dont be tempted to leave the peas green, the proper taste of nimona will not come through. After the peas “bhuno” with masala for good 8-10 minutes, the smokiness of the curry is just irresistible.

On some days, I like to temper the nimona, it is optional and only enhances the taste. Nimona is amazing served with rotis or steamed rice. A dollop of ghee on warm bowl of nimona is a beautiful finish. Make extra because it tastes better next day!

Print

Matar Ka Nimona

An indian curry made of ground peas and fresh sweet peas.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Food processor, Kadhai/Heavy pan

Ingredients

For Blanching the Peas

  • 10 oz (284gms) shelled fresh peas ,please dont use frozen peas
  • pinch sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the Curry

  • 4 tbsp mustard oil (or use regular cooking oil)
  • 2 medium potatoes peeled and quatered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp hing
  • 1 medium onion,finely chopped yield about heaped 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 fat garlic cloves
  • 2 inch fresh ginger peeled
  • 1/2 tbsp corinader powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp hot red chilli powder adjust to taste
  • 3 medium tomatoes add to blender & puree smooth
  • pinch sugar
  • 1 tbsp ginger julinnes optional
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor powder adjust to taste
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder

Tempering (Optional)

  • 1.5 tbsp mustard oil (or use ghee)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger

For Serving

  • Sliced Onions, Cilantro, Ghee etc

Instructions

Blanch & Grind the Peas

  • Add salt and sugar and water to a cooking pot. Bring to a boil. Add shelled peas and switch off the stove. Let the peas stand in hot water for 3-5 mins. Drain. You can reserve the water to adjust the consistency of curry later.
  • Save 1/4 cup peas and add the rest to food processor jar fitted with metal blade and pulse 10-12 times until the peas are coarse. Dont make a smooth paste. The peas should be coarsely ground. Set aside.

Make the Nimona

  • Pound the garlic and ginger along with cumin seeds using mortar pestle. Keep ready.
  • In a wide kadhai or heavy pan, add the oil and warm on low medium heat until its slightly smoky.
  • Carefully add the poatoes to the oil, sprinkle a pinch of salt. Brown the poatoes on all the sides. Do not cook them through. Once browned, take out in a bowl and keep near.
  • Remove the kadhai from stove and temper the remainng oil with bay leaf, cardamom and cloves. Add hing. Saute for 10 seconds, be careful the spices might crackle.
  • Return the kadhai/pan back to stove. Next, add the ginger-garlic that we pounded earlier and saute in hot oil for 10 seconds. Dont let burn.
  • Add the chopped onions next and on low medium heat brown the onions stirring regularly to a nice golden color.
  • Once the onions are browned, add all the powdered spices- corinader, chilli power, tumeric to the pan. Add 2-3 tbsp of water. Saute the spices very well for 3-5minutes in oil. Once you see oil bubbles seperating, add the tomatoes and pinch of sugar. Saute the tomatoes with onions and spices for 5-6 minutes on low medum heat till you see that the masala is deep in color and the oil is seperating again.
  • Add the ground peas along with julinned ginger(if using) and mix well with the masala.Also add the reserved peas. Saute the peas with the masala for good 6-7 minutes, scrapping the sides and bottom of pan since the peas have a tendency to stick.
  • The peas will slowly start turning brown. Keep on sauteing till you see that the peas are lightish brown and bit shiny.
  • Add about a cup and a half of warm water. Add the potatoes as well. Mix everything, it should be a thick curry right now. Taste and adjust the salt. Bring to a slight boil, cover with a lid, reduce the stove to low and let simmer for 12-14 minutes untill the potatoes are fork tender. If you feel that thenimona is getting too thick for your liking, add 1/4 cup or more water. Simmer after you add water. Dont make very watery though. You will see a little thin layer of oil on stove by the end. Nimona is ready
  • Mix in the amchoor and roasted cumin powder. Add the tempering(if using). Mix well. Cover and let rest for atleast 30 minutes before serving.

Make Tempering

  • In a small sauce pan, heat up the mustard oil till smoky. Switch off the stove and the cumin and ginger. Let crackle. Add to the nimona.