Paneer Tawa Pulao

Tawa pulao could essentially be indian equivalent of asian fried rice. Leftover rice sautéed on high heat with vegetables, protein and spices, what’s not to love! Tawa pulao is a popular street food in western parts of India(Mumbai) and its one of the best ways to use up leftover rice in my opinion. Together with green chilies, fresh herbs, vegetables and pav bhaji masala, it makes for one delicious and quick weeknight dinner especially if you have cooked rice ready to go.

As the name suggests, tawa pulao is made on tawa -a flat round pan which is popular in indian cooking for making rotis, shallow frying, making savory cheelas and roasting as well. Indian tawa are heavy and usually made of iron but you can use your cast iron skillet for this recipe. If you have a wide mouthed, heavy iron kadai that will work perfectly as well. We are sort of tossing everything similar to fried rice so a wide & heavy pan and pre prepared ingredients are the key. The idea is to cook on a constant high heat- similar to how we stir fry in asian cooking and a non wide skillet or wok won’t do the job properly.

All you need is leftover rice, some blanched or steamed vegetables and protein for this recipe. My husband said, I added by Delhi touch by adding paneer :), but if you have leftover chicken tandoori or tikka, you can use those as well. You can leave out the protein altogether and make these just with vegetables.

I like to spice up the pulao with pav bhaji masala, however you can use any spice blend that you like – dry tandoori masala (my recipe here), sambar powder or garam masala can be perfectly used. The use of a spices along with a paste of ginger, garlic and green chilies lends a smoky umami flavor to these rice and with creamy, milky soft chunks of paneer they taste super delicious. Cooking on super hot tawa lends the rice slightly crispy, vegetables are charred and the spices get smoky. All and all a super flavorful dish which is perfect for quick family dinners. Serve the pulao with raita, green chutney and achar.

How to make Tawa Pulao?

You will need a heavy tawa. I like using my 12 inch cast iron griddle but you can simply use iron tawa or wide iron kadai (one that’s heavy). Making tawa pulao is very much like making fried rice. You have to work fast once you start so make sure that the ingredients are ready to go. Prepare the blanched vegetables, shallow fry the paneer, keep the chopped onion, garlic, ginger and chilies ready. We will add everything step by step (as outlined in the recipe) and add the rice at the last and stir fry on high heat.High heat is important to make sure that the rice does not turn mushy. Few of the rice grain might break but that’s okay. It is important to start with cold rice so that they do not stick to each other. I start by making a quick masala of onions, tomatoes, ginger garlic and green chillies. Then I sauté the paneer and vegetables for a bit to warm them up before adding the rice and pav bhaji masala and tossing it up all together.

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

  • Always use cold rice. You can use leftover rice or if you are cooking fresh, let them cool down completely and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using.
  • Use a wide and heavy tawa. This ensure that the rice crisp and don’t get mushy. Heavy tawa ensures that heat is constant. I usually avoid non stick pans because they change the texture of rice.
  • Keep the vegetables and all other ingredients ready. These pulao takes about 10-12 minutes start to finish and having everything ready to go makes sure that we get the right texture without overcooking anything. Don’t use raw vegetables except those which cook quickly or can be eaten crisp (like peppers or corn). Blanch the carrots, peas(if using fresh) or green beans if using.
  • Shallow fry the paneer chunks before adding or use them as it is. One good tip is to cut the paneer and vegetables to roughly the same size.
  • You can use leftover chicken tikka or shredded tandoori chicken as well in this recipe. It tastes amazing.
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Paneer Tawa Pulao

Popular indian street food style rice pilaf/pulao cooked on a hot skillet or tawa with vegetables, paneer chunks and spiced with pav bhaji masala.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2-3 green chilies, roughly chopped , adjust to taste
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1.5 cup vegetables (use vegtables that you like, I used blanched carrots & green beans, peas, bell peppers)
  • 5-6 tbsp tomato puree(simply blitz 2 small tomatoes in a processor) or use 1/4 cup store bought tomato puree
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup paneer chunks, shallow fried if you like
  • 1 tbsp pav bhaji masala , adjust to how strong you like the spices
  • 1/2 tsp hot red chili powder , adjust to taste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups cooked rice, cold
  • Chopped cilantro

Instructions

  • Keep all ingredients ready. Using your mortar and pestle, piund the ginger, garlic and green chilies to a coarse paste.
  • In a heavy bottom cast iron skillet or tawa, on medium high, heat up oil, crackle cumin and add the green chillies, ginger and garlic paste and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add the onions next and cook for 2-3 minutes till onions begin to brown.
  • Then, add all the chopped vegetables at once and sauté them around till you see them starting to char. On medium high heat it takes about 2-4 mins.
  • Then add the tomato purée & sugar. Cook for about 3 minutes untill ou see oil starting to seperate but dont saute too much.Add the cubed paneer. Add turmeric, red chili and pav bhaji powder as well and cook everything for another 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the cold rice, sprinkle salt and stir fry the rice with everything else for 3-4 minutes. Finish with chopped cilantro. Serve.

Notes

  • Always use cold rice. You can use leftover rice or if you are cooking fresh, let them cool down completely and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using.
  • Use a wide and heavy tawa. This ensure that the rice crisp and don’t get mushy. Heavy tawa ensures that heat is constant. I usually avoid non stick pans because they change the texture of rice.
  • Keep the vegetables and all other ingredients ready. This pulao take about 10-12 minutes start to finish and having everything ready to go makes sure that we get the right texture without overcooking anything. Don’t use raw vegetables except those which cook quickly or can be eaten crisp (like peppers or corn). Blanch the carrots, peas(if using fresh) or green beans if using.
  • Shallow fry the paneer chunks before adding or use them as it is. One good tip is to cut the paneer and vegetables to roughly the same size.
  • You can use leftover chicken tikka or shredded tandoori chicken as well in this recipe. It tastes amazing.

Paneer Chowmein

Paneer chowmein is spicy stir fried indo chinese style noodles tossed with whole green chillies, colorful peppers and lightly browned paneer batons in a sauce made with soy, ginger and spices. These slippery savory noddles with mix of milky softness of paneer and kick from fresh green chilies are just heavenly.

If you go to Delhi, you will find how paneer strangely finds its way into almost everything! There could not be a better example of how we can create mouthwatering recipes with paneer. There are many indo chinese dishes popular with paneer – from chilli paneer to machurian and these chowmein are lip smackingly good!

I studied at Delhi College of Engineering in the campus located in the outskirts of Delhi. When you live away from main hub, the eateries around the campus become a huge part of your student life. This chowmein was the star dish at this place called Apsara restaurant,strangely so I vividly remember the seating, neon walls, huge wall decals and layout of the place even after more than two decades. It was the coolest place with fun milkshakes, ice creams, chaat, street food and some bomb indo chinese. We thronged it often and paneer chowemin with serious amounts of green chilies was my favorite thing to order.

Any good chowmein needs to have a great sauce, vegetables cut in a certain way and in my opinion, the quality of noodles matters the most. The noodles have to be thick enough to crisp during stir frying but not too doughy. Here are few of my pointers to keep in mind when you make these:-

Type of Noodles:- Go for Chings Hakka Noodles or choose chowmein noodles at the asian or american stores. You can also use ramen noodles but whichever kind you choose, make sure the noodles are neither though thin or thick.You want them to crisp up when stir fried on high heat .

Vegetables – I like to add just colorful bell peppers, but cabbage, carrot sticks would be great too. The way you cut the vegetables for the stir fried noodles make a huge difference, do no cut the vegetables in chunks. Try to thinly slice them lengthwise at an angle. This also makes sure that the vegetables don’t over or under cook. The ultimate thing in this chowmein are whole green chilies, use lots of them and you can slit them too if you want!

Sauce– This sweet sticky sauce with dark soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, green chilli sauce, honey, maggi hot and sweet and touch of coriander is the soul of this recipe. I always say this and repeating again that indo-chinese food gets its taste from indian condiments, many times substitutes great work but the taste is worth a visit to Indian store.

Other Indo Chinese recipes to try :-

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Paneer Chowmein

Paneer chowmein is spicy stir fried indo chinese style noodles tossed with whole green chillies, peppers and soft lightly browned paneer batons in a sauce made with soy, ginger, chilli sauce and spices. These slippery savory noddles with mix of milky softness of paneer and kick from fresh green chilies are just heavenly. 
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese, Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 200 g hakka noodles
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 3 scallion, white & green parts chopped separately
  • 4-5 whole Thai bird green chillies,
  • 1/2 cup bell peppers, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 100 g Paneer, cut into small batons
  • Salt

For the Sauce

  • 1.5 tbsp Chings dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Sweet chilli sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp Chings green chili sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp Maggi Hot & Sweet Sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/3 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp white vinegar

Instructions

  • Add all the sauce ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Set aside.
  • Cook noodles as per package instructions. Drain, massage with little oil and keep ready.
  • In a large wok, add oil and heat up. Add onions, ginger, garilc, scallion white part and green chillies all at once to the wok.Stir fry on high heat for about 2 minutes. Don't brown too much.
  • Next add the peppers and paneer to the wok, sprinkle a pinch of salt and stir fry on high heat just for a couple minutes. We dont want to overcook them but the paneer should brown lightly.
  • Next add the noodles to the wok.Pour over the sauce that we prepared.
  • Using tongs or chopsticks or two forks, toss everything together until the noodles are coated in the sauce and everything is heated through. Let stir fry for about 2 minutes so that the noddles crisp up.
  • Remove from heat and add the green part of scallions. Serve immediately.

Tamatar Sev Sabji


This delicious and easy tomato dish is full of textures. The ginger and curry leaves laced tomato gravy is mixed and topped with sev (chickpea flour noodles which are very popular in India) just before serving. Super easy and quick to make, this dish needs very basic ingredients from your pantry. Summer time is best for tomatoes and I like to preserve the sweet tangy taste of in season tomatoes with minimal use of spices.

This dish is very popular in western states of Rajasthan and Gujurat and though I didn’t grow up eating it at home, we enjoyed it on our road trips to Jaipur or at food stalls in the cultural hub of Delhi, the Delhi Haat.

It is upto you how pulpy you like the tomato gravy, I personally like it full of texture so I do not cook down the tomatoes a lot. The tomato base is gets the heat from green chilies, sweet from jaggery and smokiness from garam masala. The thick ratlami sev are a good choice because they don’t get mushy easily, are quite spicy and impart a lovely texture to this dish.

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Tamatar Sev Sabji

This delicious and easy tomato dish is full of textures. The ginger and curry leaves laced tomato gravy is mixed and topped with ratlami sev (chickpea flour noodles which are very popular in India) just before serving. So amazing for a quick meal.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 4-5 ripe & firm large tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp ghee, divided
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp hing
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 2 green chillies, roughly chopped or slit
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1 tsp jaggery
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup ratlami sev or any thick sev
  • Cilantro to garnish

Instructions

  • Chop the tomatoes into small pieces.
  • Heat up 2 tbsp ghee in a pan on low medium heat. Crackle the mustard and cumin seeds followed by hing.
  • Next, add the ginger, curry leaves and green chillies. Saute for 10-15 seconds.
  • Add the tomatoes next and sprinkle salt, coriandr, red chilli and tumeric powder. Mix and saute the tomatoes for a couple minutes untill you see that they are warmed up.
  • Cover the pan and let the tomatoes cook doen for 6-8 minutes on low medium heat until they are squishy but still have a lot of texture.
  • Let the tomatoes bubble and add jaggery, 1 tbsp ghee and garam masala. Mix and let cook for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Switch off the stove and mix in the sev and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately with extra sev. Enjoy!

Gram/Chickpea Flour Chocolate Banana Bread

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Gram Flour Chocolate Banana Bread

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

Notes

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

Indian Spiced Chicken Avocado Burgers

If you love spiced burgers,then this recipe is for you. These chicken patty burgers are juicy and tender and loaded with spices (but they aren’t hot). Homemade chicken burgers dont have to be boring. These are full of lot of textures and flavors throughout.

I skip the cheese altogether but ofcourse you can add cheese slices if you want. Instead I rely on the naturally fatty and creamy avocados and add them two ways. There is garlicky mashed avocado spread on the bottom brioche bun which is topped which a flavorful ground chicken patty and then for extra texture I add onions, pickles and lemony diced creamy avocados.You won’t miss the cheese I promise.

Whenever you are choosing ground chicken for making burgers, always avoid ground chicken breast – it cannot stand the high heat of cooking and becomes very chewy. I go for a dark meat ground chicken which I get from my butcher but of course I have seen variety of ground chicken in the super stores. You can use ground turkey as well. Coming to avocados, the only thing to be kept in mind is to cover them in lime or lemon juice immediately.

Burgers are very easy to make. Really! These burgers are a huge hit with the kids. They are lunchbox friendly as well. If you add right amount of lemon juice to the avocados and wrap them well, they are good for a 3-4 hours. I like adding micro greens but you can add lettuce as well.

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Indian Spiced Chicken & Avocado Burgers

Super Flavorful Indian Spiced Chicken Burgers packed with onions, tomatoes and avocados on a buttery brioche bun.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 burgers

Ingredients

For The Chicken Patties

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger,finely chopped
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2-3 thai bird green chilies, adjust to tolerance
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 lb (450gms) ground chicken, room temperature (dont use ground chicken breast)
  • 3 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  • 3-4 leaves fresh mint leaves
  • 1.25 tsp salt

For Avocado Mash

  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 1 fat garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp very finely chopped scallions
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the Burgers

  • 4 to 6 brioche buns
  • 1 large ripe avocado, diced
  • Onions, tomatoes, dill pickles, micro greens

Instructions

Making Chicken Patties

  • Heat up 1 tbsp oil in a skillet. Add onions, garlic, ginger, chillies, spice powders all at once to the oil. Saute for 4-5 minutes on low medium heat until you see that there is no moisture in the skillet. Take off the stove and cool down slightly.
  • In a large bowl add the ground chicken, cilantro, mint, salt and the cooked onions and spices. Using a spatula or your hands, gently mix everything together. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

Make the Avocado Spread

  • Peel and de seed 1 large avocado. Place it in a wide bowl, add the garlic, salt, lemon jucie and scallion. Using a fork mash the avocado.
  • Dice the second avocado and toss it with some salt and lemon juice. Keep ready.
  • Prepare the onions, tomatoes etc while the ground chicken is resting. Also brush the broiche buns on the inside with melted butter. Keep ready.

Make the Burgers

  • Divide the ground chicken mixture into 6 equal portions. Oil your hands lightly and roll the portions into a ball. Pat the balls using your palms and fingers to make an evenly thick patty. Repeat till all the patties are formed. Do not make very thick patties to start with since these swell up while cooking.
  • Heat up a grill or cast iron pan and oil it liberally.You can use a nonstick pan as well. Place the chicken patties 3 at a time on the pan and let cook. Cook for 3-4 minutes each side on low medium heat. Cover them for a minute or so towards the last minute to make sure that the chicken is cooked through. Adjust the time depending on how thick or thin your chicken patties are or the quality of your ground chicken.
  • Side by Side toast the brioche buns on the skilllet.
  • To build the burger place the botton bun on a board and spread the avocado mash on it. Next place the onion and tomato slices. Place the cooked chicken patty on top and add a few pickles. Add a few spoon fuls of diced avocados followed by micro greens. Place the top bun. Assemble all the burgers in the same fashion. Serve with french fries and beer.Enjoy!

Yellow Curry Salmon Bowl

Disclaimer :-This post is sponsored by Bluehouse Salmon. I was sent over the salmon to try but the recipe, images and opinions are my own.

After Indian cuisine, my next favorite has to be Thai cuisine. Whatâ€s not to love! What I am drawn to the most is how the spices and herbs used in both cuisines bear resemblance to each other but the flavor profile of dishes is so unique.

No points for guessing that the myriad of Thai curries are my favorite! I love using seafood with fresh vegetables in the curries and this soupy yellow curry bowl is cooked often in our home. The moment I saw Bluehouse Salmon, I knew that the fresh fish would be so amazing in this week’s yellow curry.

Bluehouse salmon are land raised in Florida practicing sustanability. Think of Bluehouse like a greenhouse. In their land based Bluehouses, salmon farming is done observing ethical practices, as a result, we can feast while our oceans thrive. Their salmon is always fresh, never frozen, antibiotics & hormone free and has a super taste.

I only have good things to say about this salmon. Being a seafood lover to the core, I have tasted numerous kinds of salmon and trust me I can differentiate. The taste of this fish is clean and rich. You really feel like eating something that is good for your body and mind (cue all the omega acids).After cooking, the salmon turned out to be firm yet buttery. It was nicely moist and flaky and not dry at all. With different kinds of colorful vegetables and steamed jasmine rice, this soupy bowl of superfood salmon goodness is satiating, wholesome and delicious all at the same time. 

Making Thai curry bases from scratch can be time consuming especially on weeknights. So I use store bought yellow curry paste when I am in a hurry but I pep it up using shallots, a fresh pounded paste of ginger, garlic and fresh turmeric. While the curry base simmers, I prep the vegetables. The rice can also cook in the same time if you start them at the beginning of cooking. If you plan a bit and with little help from the store, this amazing meal can be prepared in 30-40 minutes. 

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Salmon Yellow Curry Bowl

Thai Yellow curry Salmon, vegetables and jasmine rice served in a soupy bowl.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 4, 6oz Bluehouse Salmon Portions
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2-3 tbsp tbsp cooking oil, divided
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped    
  • 1 tbsp garlic-ginger-turmeric paste (simply pound 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 inch knob of ginger and a tiny knob of fresh turmeric using mortar & pestle)
  • 2 Thai bird chilies, slit (adjust to taste)
  • 2-3 tbsp yellow curry paste, adjust depending on how strong you like the curry taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup water (adjust how you like the consistency)
  • 1 can unsweetened full fat coconut milk (400ml/14floz)
  • 2 tsp sugar, (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice, or to taste

To plate

  • 1.5 cup blanched vegetables (I used asparagus, broccoli, sliced mushrooms, baby corn and red bell pepper)
  • Cooked Jasmine rice
  • Garnishes – Chopped cilantro, chilies etc, lime wedges

Instructions

  • Rub the salmon with turmeric, salt and pepper. Add 1 tbsp oil to a heavy and wide pot, let heat and sear all the salmon portions carefully on both sides. Do not cook through. 2 minutes each side is good enough. Transfer to a plate and keep nearby. 
  • Add 2 tbsp oil to the pot. Once the oil is hot, add the shallots and chilies and cook for a minute or so. Add the ginger garlic turmeric paste next. Sauté for 30 seconds till you smell a nice aroma. 
  • Next, add the yellow curry paste and sauté in oil for 2 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the coconut milk next along with water.Add the salt and sugar as well. Bring to a very slow simmer, it should not boil. 
  • Once simmering enough, carefully add the seared salmon. Let simmer on low for 8-10 minutes (adjust time depending on how thick your fish portions are). Finish with limejuice and chopped cilantro. Switch off the stove and let the curry rest for 10 minutes. 
  • To Plate :- Take a wide bowl. Place salmon, scoop of rice and blanched vegetables. Pour over about 1 cup of warm yellow curry. Add a lime wedge, jalapeno slices and cilantro. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Mango Royale

Mango Royale or Mango Icebox cake is a Fillipino layered dessert made with graham crackers, fresh mango and sweetened whipped cream. Its an incredibly easy dessert to make and perfect for summer. In my version, I use coconut biscuits(cookies) instead of graham crackers and add a little desiccated coconut to keep the mango-coconut theme going. Cloud like whipped cream scented with ground green cardamom and bites of luscious ripe mango make this easy peasy dessert so delightful.

What are Ice box cakes? Icebox cakes are simply cookies and whipped cream layered together with nuts, chocolate or seasonal fruit and chilled for a long time or frozen overnight. The cookies get soft after absorbing the moisture from whipped cream and the cake can be cut into neat slices. They are a fun thing to make with kids since no baking is involved. You can add fresh fruits or any kind of cookies or flavors to create the profile you like.

These cakes are rich and decadent but very delicious. They are messy to eat and I think thats how they are supposed to be enjoyed. These cakes need a handful of ingredients and are really a fun dessert to put together with kids. You can freeze them like a an ice-cream, slice and serve or chill them till the cookies are set and soften.

Use saffron to flavor the whipped cream, it pairs very well with mango. You can use marie or digestives as well in place of coconut biscuits. Th only thing to keep in mind is to not overly whip the cream. It should be whipped to soft peak consistency.

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Mango IceBox cake

A layered coconut coockies, whiped cream amd fresh mango dessert.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Fillipino, Indian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cup heavy whipping cream, very cold
  • 1/2 cup condensed milk, cold
  • 1/2 tsp ground green cardamom
  • 18-20 Nice Coconut Cookies (or 10 full graham cracker sheets)
  • 2 cup diced ripe mangoes
  • 2-3 tbsp dessicayed coconut, lightly toasted

Instructions

  • In a large bowl add the whipped cream amd whip it on low for 3 minutes.
  • Add cardamom powder and slowly start adding condensed milk in parts and whipping at the same time till very soft peaks are formed. Takes about 3-4 minutes on low medium speed of hand beater. If you feel that the cream is getting warm, immediately refrigerate it for 30 minutes and continue again. More chilled the cream, better it whips.
  • Line the container in which you want to make the cake. I used a 7 inch by 7 inch (4.75 cup) glass container. Use ny kind of baking tray or cake pan, rectangular is better since then you wont have to break the cookies to fit.
  • Add a layer of cover to cover the base, followed by 1 inch layer of whipped cream smoothen out with a spatula or back of spoon, sprinkle some desiccated coconut and then add about 1/2 cup diced mangoes. Repeat to form 3 or 4 layers depending on how thick you like the cake finsihing with cream layer on top.
  • Cover with a cling film amd chill the cake for atleast 6 hours. You can freeze it as well overnight. I like chilled version more, its softer, if you like to freeze it, peel away the parchment, slice off using a sharp knife and then let it thaw for 10 minutes since that makes it melt in the mouth 🙂
  • Slice and serve. Enjoy!

Keema(Minced Meat) Bhari Mirch(Peppers)

Delicious peppers stuffed with minced meat. A delicious low carb dish which can be made with leftover keema or with a fresh cooked minced meat masala. The ground meat is stuffed in pasillo chllies and baked off, you can add a few shreds of cheese if you like. I serve them warm drizzled with a garlicky cumin yogurt slurry. A hearty indian meal which is a hit with family.

During summers, I am on a look out for light yet hearty lunches which are not necessarily salads and these peppers are just the right answer. Stuffed peppers are a classic comfort food in many cuisines and here instead of the bell peppers, I like using zesty pasilla chillies which are not hot but have lots of peppery flavor. You can cook the keema fresh and cook it a bit ahead as well and at the time of serving just stuff and bake in oven.

Some tips and variations to try in this recipe depending on how you like.

  • Choose long and firm peppers which are not wrinkled and have fresh stems. Look for dark green ones since they have better flavor.
  • Seasoning the peppers with a little bit of salt and oil and letting them stand for 10-15 minutes brings about good flavor in their flesh.
  • Protein – Use ground chicken or ground beef.
  • Vegetables- If you wish, you can add a few extra vegetables like bell peppers or peas to the ground meat. One small potato mashed with the mince tastes really good.
  • Grains- Mix some cooked rice or quinoa with the keema before stuffing.
  • Serve with a side of rotis for a full meal. They taste amazing with rotis.
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Keema Bhari Mirch (Ground Meat stuffed peppers)

Tender pasillo chillies stuffed with indian spiced keema or ground meat filling. Serve with garlic mint yogurt or wamr rotis.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Mexican
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 stuffed pepper halves

Ingredients

  • 6 pasillo chilies, sliced lengthwise and skin & seeds removed
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 pound ground meat (choose chicken, lamb, or beef)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • Spice blend(recipe below)
  • 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro & fresh mint
  • 1-2 tbsp shredded cheese (optional)
  • Oil for brushing or cooking spray

Spice Blend

  • 1/2 tbsp corinader powder
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes(adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, add all the powdered spices, mix well and keep ready.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray the insides of pepper with oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Let stand.
  • In a heavy skillet/pan, warm up the oil and crackle the cumin seeds, bay leaf and cardamom. Add the chopped onions and cook them for 3-4 minutes till they are soften but not browned.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste and the spice blend we made. Saute for 30-40 seconds. Add the tomatoes & sugar next and cook them with the spices for 3-4 minutes on medium heat till you see oil seperating.
  • Add the ground meat, break it using a spatula and mix well with everythhing. Cover and cook for about 8 minutes till the meat is browned and has released its water. Open the lid, sprinkle the salt and then saute (bhuno) uncovered for another 8-10 minutes till all the liquid has evaporated. You will see that the meat is much deeper in color and the fat has started to release a bit. Dont dry the meat completely since it has to bake in the oven.
  • Take it off the heat, pic out the bay leaf and cardamo, mix with cilantro and mint. (At this point you can mix boiled potatoes or cooked rice) Taste and adjust the salt.
  • Divide the warm meat mixture evenly between the peppers. You might have some leftover meat.
  • Lay the peppers in a single layer on a baking sheet.Bake for 20-22 minutes. If you are using cheese, take out of the oven, top with cheese, return to the oven and bake for 5 more minutes till cheese has melted.
    These taste good if they have a slight bite. Dont overbake. Serve warm.
  • For the Yogurt Slurry – Mix 1 cup yogurt with 1/3 cup water. Grate 1-2 garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder, fresh lemom juice and 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves and add to the yogurt. Mix well.

Notes

  1. This recipe makes 12 pepper halves which isn’t easy to finish in one go unless you are serving to a big family. I store the leftovers, they taste good for next 1-2 days. Reheat for 5 minutes in a toasted oven. 
  2. If you are topping with cheese, just top the ones you are going to consume right away. 

Oats Spinach Muthiya

Muthiya is a traditional healthy Gujarati(western India) snack made with different kind of flours, vegetables and spices. The dumplings are steamed and then quickly pan fried in a tempering of sesame & mustard seeds, curry leaves and lemon juice. The balance of flavors is impeccable- sweet, spicy, tangy, yum! These irrestible, soft and crispy savory bites are good for breakfast or any time snack.

My recipe uses oat flour and chickpea flour skipping the wheat flour(which is traditionally used).The recipe is vegan and gluten free. “Mutthi” or a making a fist how the dumplings are shaped traditionally and that’s why the name. You can make fistfuls or make oval shape dumplings of dough or make long rolls and slice them(that what I find easiest to do).

Oat flour & besan dough studded with vegetables – I like to use grated lauki(opo squash) & loads of spinach and with a kick from fresh ground green chillies and ginger, these dumplings are super flavorful.

A few things to keep in mind when you make muthiya:-

  • Don’t make a very dry or a very soft dough. Since we are adding grated lauki, due to salt, the juices will be released and that’s majorly enough to bind the dough once you start squishing. Add a tablespoon or two of water if needed or you can use a dollop of yogurt as well (gives it a very good taste).
  • You can substitute lauki(opo squash) with zucchini or finely grated cabbage. Instead of spinach you can add methi (fenugreek) leaves or a combo of leafy greens.
  • Don’t make a very large batch. In my opinion, as compared to dhokla, these don’t store that well after getting pan fried, make a small batch and consume right away or same day. However, the steamed muthiya can be sliced and frozen. I make them a night before many times and temper when I am about to serve!
  • I like to grind my own oats and not grind them super fine. The texture of the muthiya is great that way. I find that using store bought oat flour makes them a bit sticky. You can substitute oats with wheat flour as well if you wish.
  • You can steam the muthiya in Instant pot as well. Find the recipe here which explains the IP method well.
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Oats Spinach Muthiya (Vegan & Glutenfree)

A popular gujarati snack made with oats, chickepea flour and vegetables like spinach & bottle gourd. Pairs beautifully with chai.
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

For the Muthiya

  • 1/2 cup ground oats (dont super fine)
  • 1/2 cup besan(chickpea flour)
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup grated lauki (opo squash)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Pinch of ajwain seeds
  • 2 tbsp ginger green chilli paste ,simply pound 1.5 inch knob of ginger and green chilies in mortar pestle
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • Salt to tatse
  • water or yogurt (if needed)

For tempering

  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp black mustad seeds
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 2 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 6-8 curry leaves

To sprinkle

  • Sugar, Lemon Juice, Cilantro, Grated coconut(optional)

Instructions

  • Brush a little oil on the base of your steamer basket or dish. Set up your steamer arrangement by filling it with water and keep it ready to go.
  • In a large bowl, add all the ingredients listed under "Muthiya" except water. Gently start squishing everything to combine. The lauki and spinach will start releasing their juices and you would be able to almost bring the dough together. If needed, add a tablespon of water at a time to form a firm yet soft dough. You can use yogurt in place of water as well. Dont knead the dough too much. Once a ball is formed, dough is ready.
  • Cover the dough with a cloth and rest it for 10 minutes. Meanwhile start your steamer so that the water is boiling when you are ready to steam.
  • Divide the rested dough into two portions. Shape the dough into thick logs.
  • Place the logs in the steamer. Make sure that the water is boiling when you place the logs. Steam for 18-20 minutes until a skewer when inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Switch off the stove and let sit covered to continue cooking in residual steam. After about 10-12 minutes when the logs are cool to touch, using a sharp knife, slice the logs into small portions. Use knife in a saw manner so as to not squish when you slice.
  • In a wide pan, add the oil for tempering. Crackle dried chilli, mustard and sesame seeds. Add the curry leaves, they will splutter. Place the sliced muthiya in a single layer in the tempering. Let pan fry for 3 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side.
  • Once the muthiya are pan fried lightly, switch off the stove. Sprinke sugar, lemon juice and chopped cilantro. Add the grated coconut if using.Serve immendiately!

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.