Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Yummy cottage cheese!

This recipe is my take on a famous north Indian dish called Kadai paneer. "Kadai Paneer" literally translates to cottage cheese or paneer cooked in a kadai or frying pan. Simply put, you stir fry paneer (cottage cheese) with bell peppers and Indian spices. With right spices and flavors, this dish tastes fantastic and has never failed in wooing my audience. Can be served with rotis/naan or simply toasted bread-

What do we need?

Paneer / cottage cheese (cubed - about 1 cup)
Bell peppers- red, yellow and green- 2 cups sliced (generally green one is used) 
Tomatoes (2- chopped)
Onions (3- sliced)
Ginger (1/2 tsp grated)
Garlic (4 cloves crushed and chopped)
Green chilies (2 -chopped)
Salt (according to taste)
Cumin seeds(3/4 tsp)
Coriander powder (1 tsp)
Garam masala (1 tsp)
1 bay leaf
Cinnamon stick
Red chilli powder (1/2 tsp)
Dash of cardamom powder
Chopped corriander leaves for garnishing

How did I put together?

Heat butter in a frying pan. Add cumin seeds, green chillies, bay leaf and cinnamon. Add a dash of cardamom powder for extra flavor. Stir for a second before adding grated ginger, finely chopped onion and garlic. Cook for five minutes till the onion turns golden brown. Add tomatoes and cook on a low flame till the tomatoes get mushy. Add the spices- corriander powder, paprika powder and garam masala. Continue cooking it on a medium flame till the oil begins to separate. Add bell peppers and saute for about five to seven minutes. Add paneer and cook on a low flame till the paneer takes in the spices. Garnish with chopped corriander leaves.

Lime n lemony rice for a lazy afternoon!

There comes a time when you simply don't feel like entering the kitchen. One quick-fix and delicious recipe for all the rice eaters, is lemon rice. If you cook Indian food then I am sure you must have cooked this or heard about this recipe from somewhere. I love lemon rice for its simplicity and of course the minimum time it takes to cook this up! If you have a blog about Indian food then lemon rice is an absolute must. The only effort required in this recipe is the rice, rest is easy....

Alternatively, if you have left over cooked (plain) rice, then this recipe is all the more comfortable to make. I had left-over cooked basmati rice from previous night and this is what I did with it. 

In a wok, I added a bit of oil and allowed it to heat. Tossed in some mustard seeds, cumin seeds, broken pieces of dried red chilli and split chickpeas without seedcoat (also called Bengal gram). As the mustard seeds started sputtering, I added some ground nuts, cashew nuts (optional) and fried them a bit. As the nuts started turning golden brown, added turmeric powder (1/2 tsp) and garam masala powder (1/2 tsp). Original recipe does not call for garam masala. I add the garam masala to get that extra flavor (it is completely optional). Cooked on a low flame for a second. Tossed the cooked rice to this mixture and mixed well till the rice turned yellow and blended with spices. Added salt, 1 and 1/2 tsp lemon juice and chopped curry leaves to make this dish sumptuous! Took flat ten minutes to get this on table (took more than half an hour to put up this blog though…phew) - Enjoy :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bruschetta with fresh tomatoes and garlic butter

Absolutely love this simple Italian starter. Easy to make and really sumptuous!

What do we need?

2 ripe tomatoes
slices of cut Italian bread
4-5 cloves of garlic (crushed and chopped)
fresh basil leaves (chopped)
olive oil (1/2 tsp)
salt and pepper
mozzarella cheese for the topping

How did I put together?

Step 1: First we need to prepare the tomatoes. Boil water in a saucepan and drop the tomatoes in as the water starts boiling. Cook for a couple of minutes till the skin starts to split. Take the tomatoes out of boiling water and run them under cold water for a minute. Peel the skin, remove the seeds and roughly chop them.
Step 2: Prepare some garlic butter. Put the chopped garlic in a small cup and mix butter and salt. Blend them well till you achieve a spread consistency.
Step 3: Get the topping ready. Mix chopped tomatoes, basil leaves, salt, pepper and olive oil in a bowl.
Step 4: Rub the bread slices with garlic butter and toast them in a oven/griller till they are light brown on both sides.
Final step: Pile up the tomato filling on the bruschetta and add the mozzarella on top- Pop them in the oven for a couple of minutes till the cheese melts. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cottage cheese bean wrap

Full credit for this recipe goes to my favorite chef Jamie Oliver. I love his recipes and the ease with which he creates culinary magic. Being a vegetarian, I hardly get to cook most of his recipes, but I do get my inspiration from his recipes. One of my friends tried his cool mexican bean wrap and recommended that I should give it a shot. The recipe is pretty simple and I did not follow Jamie's recipe by the book. I tried to add a bit of creativity on my own and here is the verdict- YUM...


1 onion (sliced)
1 cup sliced bell peppers (red and green)
2 cloves garlics (crushed and chopped)
1/2 tsp chilli powder (if you want it less spicy add only 1/2 or a dash)
1 tsp tomato puree
1 small canned tin of red kidney beans (drained and washed)
4 tortillas
1 cup cottage cheese/ paneer (cubed)
1 fresh tomato chopped
dash of crushed black pepper
salt (according to taste)

For the filling-
Saute onions in oil for 7-8 minutes. As they turn golden brown, add garlic, chilli powder, dash of black pepper and fry them for a minute. Add the chopped tomato, tomato puree and kidney beans. Cook them for 10 minutes till the juice has reduced. Add salt according to taste. Take half of this mixture and using a hand blender/mixie grind it to a paste. This becomes our spread on the tortilla. Set aside.
In a separate frying pan, saute bell peppers and cottage cheese. As they turn light golden brown, toss in the other half of the mixture (not used for the bean paste) and fry them for 3 minutes. This is our stuffing.

Final step-
Spread the bean paste on the tortilla. Add around 2 spoons of the filling. Sprinkle some grated cheese (original recipe calls for this, but I omitted it). Roll the tortilla and place them in a pre heated oven (200 degree celsius) and cook them for 15-20 minutes. Serve them with garlic sauce.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fridge clean-up!

So, here I am, left with a stack of bread (white bread) with no one in mood for any kind of sandwich. I hate wastage of any kind- especially food :( - I put on my thinking hat and whip up something really flavorful which just vanished within seconds. Check out!


  • 6-7 bread slices
  • 1/2 cup bell peppers (red and yellow)
  • green peas (1/4 cup)
  • chopped corriander leaves
  • curry leaves (5-6 leaves-chopped)
  • 2 green chillies ( chopped)
  • one medium sized onion (sliced)
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut
  • groundnuts
  • salt (according to taste)
  • paprika powder- 1/2 tsp
  • turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
  • garam masala/curry masala powder-1/2 tsp
  • cumin seeds

Cut the bread slices into small squares or shred them into tiny pieces and keep aside. In a wok, add butter or cooking oil and allow it to heat. Add the cumin seeds and wait for it to sputter. Saute onions, chillies, groundnuts, bell peppers and peas. Throw in the spices- paprika powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder/curry masala powder with salt. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes before adding the bread pieces. Add the grated coconut and curry leaves. Allow the bread pieces to take in the flavor and turn golden brown. I will leave the wok partially covered and put the gas on a low flame to ensure that the bread turns golden brown with the flavor. Of course, my signature to any dish is the chopped corriander leaves. Just finished eating and all I can say is BURP :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Stuffed Bell peppers

If you are a vegetarian, the first question everyone will ask you is- where do you get your proteins from? – Answer is simple: Tofu, of course! I was not a huge fan of tofu- because it tastes like rubber and practically has no flavor at all. Slowly, I started experimenting and discovered new exciting ways to make tofu fun! This is another one of my experimental recipe and turned out pretty well- As it is an experimental recipe, you can be super creative and have a little fun of your own! Enjoy J

For the stuffing you need crumbled tofu (around 2 cups), 2 small onions chopped, 1 big tomato chopped, 2 green chillies chopped, ¾ tsp paprika powder, 1 tsp garlic and ginger paste (alternatively, you can use crushed garlic and grated ginger) and salt according to your taste.

Ofcourse, for the base you need 4-5 paprika/bell peppers, with the top cut off and de- seeded-

To prepare the stuffing- you need to sauté chopped onions, crushed and chopped garlic, grated ginger and chopped chillies in a frying pan with liberal dose of cooking oil/butter- As they start to become golden brown add the tomatoes. Fry for 2-3 minutes. Add tofu, paprika powder and salt. Fry them till tofu blends well and gets the flavor. If you are fond of garlic like me, then add 5 big pieces (crushed and chopped) otherwise, go easy on garlic. To make it spicy, add up to one tsp of paprika powder. Finishing touch will be the chopped coriander leaves.

Once the stuffing is done, all we need to do is quote our bell peppers with butter and fill them with the stuffing. Grill them in an oven for 20-30 minutes till they are cooked and become golden brown. You can add mozzarella cheese on top for that extra zing! Enjoy with hot chilli sauce J

Friday, August 20, 2010

Peanut butter and chocolate chip cupcake

Isn't that a pretty sight? Wow, I am so proud of myself for baking cup cakes. You might wonder, what is the big deal? The big deal is, I have never baked a cup cake before! Gotta be honest with you guys- I am intimidated by baking. For some reason, I was convinced that I could not bake and I always stayed away from it. Finally I decided, what can go wrong? (except the fact that a bunch of cup cakes will have to be thrown in the bin). I won't call this a master piece. This is just a stepping stone and I can't wait to try some more baking. Like a child who is given a toy to play, here I am listing my joy in baking these cup cakes- Hope you enjoy! I got this recipe from one of my friend who is super smart in baking and dedicate this blog post to my friend-



2 and 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 and 1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup choco chips (semi sweet)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 and 1/4 cups full cream milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon cocoa powder
3 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter


I started by preheating my oven to 350 degrees. Arranged the cup cake tray with paper liners. In a big mixing bowl, combined all the above listed ingredients. Kept mixing till it became a super smooth batter (for around 4 minutes). With the help of a spoon filled the cups (1/2  to 2/3 full). Baked them for around 25 to 30 minutes. You could decorate it with any frosting of your choice. Will start improvising from my next baking- Till then, I am enjoying these cupcakes!

Nutty, lemony fidelini!

Vermicelli or fidelini is a kind of pasta that is thinner than spaghetti and looks like little worms :)
You can be super creative with fidelini and whip up something fast and tasty. This is my creative version of fidelini - of course with an Indian touch.


  • 2 cups fidelini/vermicelli
  • 1 cup chopped red and green bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup canned sweet corn
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • peanuts
  • crushed black pepper (1/2 tsp)
  • cashew nuts
  • lime juice (1&1/2 tsp)
  • chopped corriander leaves
  • turmeric powder
  • mustard seeds
  • chopped chilli pieces (1 big red chilli)
  • garam masala (3/4 tsp)
  • salt (according to taste)
  • cooking oil

Preparation- Boil fidelini till they are soft. Rinse it in cold water to remove any starch. Make sure that the noodles don't stick to each other. In a wok, pour around three tablespoons of cooking oil. As it gets hot, toss in the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Add cashew nuts, ground nuts and fry them till golden brown. Put in the onions and fry them till they are translucent. Add green chillies, bell peppers, peas, corn and fry them till they are crispier. Toss in the turmeric powder, crushed pepper, garam masala and salt. As the vegetables take in the spice add the fidelini and cook them all together. Before serving add lemon juice and chopped corriander leaves- Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tofu stir fry- Indian style!

When you come back from office, all you want to do is kick back your shoes- fling your purse and hit the couch with a big "plop" sound! I always believe in quick fix dinners. Something that can be cooked faster, easier and takes minimal effort. Well, this stir fry can be done easily- provided you are fast at chopping vegetables. Here we go with tofu stir fry- Stuff them in tortilla for a quick wrap.


  • Tofu (1 block)- tofu should be firm and not crumple
  • 1 big cup paprika (bell peppers- red and green)- cut them length wise
  • Spring onion leaves- chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tomato (chopped)
  • 2 small onions (sliced)
  • 1 spoon grated ginger
  • 2 big cloves garlic (crushed and chopped to pieces)
  • cumin seeds (1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp curry masala powder (optional)
  • salt (according to taste)
  • chopped green chillies (2 small chillies)
  • 1 spoon butter

The difficult part is chopping the vegetables and getting them ready- once done, it takes minimal effort to put them all in a wok and fry them till all the spices blend. Let's start with the stir fry- As mentioned above, the tofu has to be firm. Cut them in cubes- Cut, chop and slice all the vegetables. In a wok, pour oil and allow it to heat. Once hot, add cumin seeds and chopped green chillies. As the cumin starts sputtering, toss in the onions and allow them to fry till golden brown. Add ginger, garlic and tomato. Keep stirring till onions blend well with tomatoes. As it starts getting mushy, throw in the paprika and tofu. Stir for one minute before adding the spices- paprika powder, garam masala, curry masala powder and salt. Toss in the chopped spring onion leaves. Add one spoon of butter and allow the tofu and vegetables to absorb the spices! Leave it on a low flame for 10 minutes and ensure that tofu has absorbed the spices- Finishing touch will be chopped corriander leaves.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Stuffed cauliflower roti (Gobi parantha)

I love cauliflower and enjoy eating it in any form and shape. The usual of course, would be a stir fry with other vegetables or mixing with rice. You could try something different and stuff them in a roti... This one is inspired from the road side food stall I used to enjoy eating in Delhi.  Tastes swell with hot chilli sauce!

Ingredients- (for stuffing)

  1. 1 small cauliflower
  2. 1 tsp grated ginger
  3. 1 tsp garam masala
  4. 1/2 tsp paprika powder
  5. salt (according to taste)
  6. oil to mix the stuffing
Ingredients (for base/roti)
  1. wheat flour (3 cups)
  2. salt (3/4 tsp)
Preparation- In a bowl, mix wheat flour, water & salt.  Knead it to a smooth dough and set it aside. For the filling, grate the cauliflower and mix it with the above mentioned spices. Add oil to mix the suffing well with spices. For making paranthas, take a small ball of dough and flatten it with a rolling pin (using a  bit of flour so that it doesn't stick to the surface)- Take around two spoons of the filling and place it in middle of the flattened dough. Fold the sides with the filling in middle so that it appears as a small pouch.  Flatten this pouch with a bit of flour to a round shape-

In a pan, fry the paranthas till golden brown on both sides- Serve it hot with chilli sauce!  

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Aloo fry

One thing is for sure- Potato dishes are popular in every corner of this earth. That is one vegetable which is a hit with everyone. Imagine a lazy saturday afternoon with a dish that is smeared with spices and has been fried to a perfection with corriander leaves... here we go with Aloo (potato) fry dish- Requires minimal effort with maximized guarantee of satisfaction :)

  • Potoatoes (1/2 Kilo)
  • Cumin seeds
  • Green chillies (2) chopped finely
  • Paprika powder (3/4 tsp) 
  • Corriander powder (3/4 tsp)
  • Salt (according to taste)
  • Chat masala/garam masala/tandoori masala (1/2 tsp) - I used tandoori masala for my dish, but you can also use chat masala or garam masala or avoid using any masala altogether.
  • Chopped corriander leaves

Boil potatoes and peel the skin. Cut them in cubes. In a wok, add oil (liberal dose) and as it gets hot put in the cumin seeds. As the cumin seeds start sputtering, put the chopped green chillies, boiled potatoes and give it a good toss. Let's shake this up with our spices- add paprika powder, corriander powder, tandoori masala/garam masala and salt. Pour some oil and allow the potatoes to fry with the masala. Just ensure potatoes don't stick to the bottom and keep tossing the potatoes so that it turns golden brown. Leave the potatoes to fry on a low flame for around 15 minutes. Finishing touch is our corriander leaves- sprinkle and enjoy! Makes a great starter :)


Friday, August 13, 2010

Leftover lentils?

What do you do with left over dal (lentils cooked with Indian spices)? Simple- make some paranthas (Indian flat bread) with them! One of the easy to make recipes which tastes fantastic with yoghurt.


  • Left over Yellow dal/lentils 
  • Wheat flour
  • Salt (according to taste)
Alternatively (if you don't have left over yellow dal) you can pressure cook some yellow split bean/moong dal around 1 cup and cook it simply with Indian spices. Here is a quick recipe for dal- 

Ingredients- Chopped ginger (1/2 tsp), crushed and chopped garlic (3 pieces)- if you are fond of garlic, go for four to five pieces, 1 onion chopped, 1 tomato chopped, 2 green chillies (chopped), cumin seeds (1/2 tsp)

As mentioned above, cook the yellow dal/lentils till they are soft or pressure cook them (for around 3 whistles). In a small frying pan heat some butter and once it melts, add cumin seeds. As the cumin seeds start sputtering add chopped ginger, garlic and green chillies. Fry them for a minute before adding some chopped onions and tomatoes. Fry them for ten minutes. Once it is fried well add salt and corriander leaves. Pour this gravy into the cooked lentils and cook the dal for 2 minutes- Remember your dal has to be soupy.

Now back to my original recipe for parantha-  I had good quantity of left over dal and this is what I did with it- In a big mixing bowl, add around 2 cups of wheat flour and with the help of the soupy dal knead it to a fine dough. Add salt according to taste. Try to avoid using water to knead the flour (the soupy dal should suffice). In case you run out of dal, add water. Once you are finished kneading the flour add a big spoon of oil to make the dough silky and pound it well. The end result should be like this-

For making paranthas take a small ball of dough and flatten it with a rolling pin using a bit of flour so that it doesn't stick to the surface-

Cook this parantha in a frying pan with oil/butter till they become golden brown on both sides-

Enjoy them with yoghurt and pickle or hot chilli sauce!

This is one style of preparing the parantha- there is another way to make this (with stuffing inside). Will blog someday about that as well - watch out for this space! Remember you can do this with any kind of left over dal/lentils -not just yellow dal- you can improvise this recipe by adding chopped corriander and chopped onions to the dough when kneading.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Black eye beans

I love black eye beans (lobia) and if cooked in a good spicy gravy it absolutely tastes heavenly! So let's get cooking black eye beans-


  • 2 cups black eye beans (soaked overnight)
  • 1 tablespoon corriander powder
  • 3/4 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
  • one chopped onion
  • 3 big cloves garlic (crushed and chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 tomato (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • cardamom powder for flavor (dash of it will do)
  • Dry red chilli (2 pieces) - 
  • Chopped corriander
  • 1 spoon butter
Pressure cook the black eye beans till they are soft and tender (takes about 30-40 minutes). In a wok add some oil and once it gets hot put in the cumin seeds and dry red chillies (break them into small pieces). As the cumin seeds start sputtering, add the onions and fry them till they are translucent. Add the garlic and ginger. Keep stirring for two minutes. Add the chopped tomato and mash them a bit so that it becomes a good thick paste. Now comes the spices- put the turmeric powder, corriander powder, cumin powder and garam masala. Cook for around 5 minutes till the oil separates from the mixture. Add the boiled black eye beans with two cups of water and continue to cook till the beans blend well with the spices (which should take just around 5 minutes). Add salt and cardamom powder. Add the butter and cook for one minute. Before serving add chopped corriander and enjoy it hot with rice or rotis!


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