Friday, December 19, 2014

Gobi Paneer Paratha

                  Gobi Paneer Paratha, a whole wheat bread stuffed with fresh cauliflower and paneer mixed with aromatic spices. These parathas are really simple and are great as a quick and tasty meal. They serve as a complete meal by itself or can be paired with any simple curry that you like.
                  One can make it with little or no oil, thus making it healthy low-calorie meal. So lets get to the recipe. I hope you like it.

  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • 2 tsp Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup grated Gobi (Cauliflower)
  • 1 cup grated Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Cilantro
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Bell Pepper
  • 2 tsp Chili-Ginger-Garlic paste
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • Oil
  • Sieve the flour
  • Add 2 tsp oil and salt and mix it well. 
  • Add enough water and make a semi-soft dough. 
  • Knead the dough properly. Cover it and keep aside.
  • Now take a big bowl, add the cauliflower and paneer to it and mix it well.
  • Add onions, bell pepper and cilantro to the bowl.
  • Then add the spices and mix it well.

  • Now, knead the dough and divide into smaller portions.
  • Roll out each portion of the dough into a small round with the help of flour.
  • Put 2 tablespoons of the stuffing in the center.

  • Fold towards the center from all 4 sides and press to seal.
  • Gently roll it again in round.
  • Put the paratha on hot tava (or skillet), cook for a minute or two and turn once.
  • After 1 minute, add a little oil/butter around the edges, turn again and fry the other side. 
  • When brown patches appear on both sides, the paratha is ready.
  • Serve hot with Cilantro chutney, ketchup and/or yogurt.
  • You can add any of your favorite vegetables to the stuffing.
  • Make sure the stuffing is not too soft. It shouldn't have any water content in it.
  • It can be made without oil or butter too.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Roasted pepper and Onion with Beans Tacos

                   Who doesn't like Mexican food? After coming late from work, I generally prefer to make a quick delicious meal. If you are also in same boat as me, these tacos definitely fit the bill.
                  It is a nice combination of roasted peppers and smoky flavor of fire-roasted tomatoes. You could add many toppings like lettuce, sour cream etc as you like, but I like mine to be minimal so that the actual flavors of the stuffing are not diluted.
              I do hope that you like this quick healthy dinner.
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced Onions
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper powder
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped Onions
  • 3 minced Garlic cloves
  • 2 cups Black beans
  • 1/2 cup diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp red Chili powder
  • 6-8 Corn Taco Shells
  • 1 cup Salsa
  • 1 cup diced Avocados
  • 1/2 shredded Cheese (Can use vegan cheese also)
  • Olive Oil

      For roasted peppers and Onions:
  • Preheat the oven at 450°F.
  • Add the sliced peppers and onions to a bowl. Add some Olive Oil to the bowl.
  • Season with salt and pepper and mix it well.
  • Arrange the mixture on a large baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes.
  • Stir and roast again for 10-15 minutes or until the peppers are tender and beginning to turn slightly black.
  • Remove from oven, transfer to the bowl and keep aside

      For the bean stuffing:
  • Heat some oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds.
  • Once the seeds start to crackle, add the garlic and chopped onions and saute till they are translucent.
  • Now add the cooked black beans and fire roasted tomatoes. Add about 1 cup water and salt and chili powder and mix it well.
  • Let it simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes, until most of the liquid is evaporated.
  • Take it off the heat. Now, gently mash the beans until the mixture is thick but still chunky. 
  • Transfer to the bowl and keep aside.

     For assembling the tacos

  • Heat the taco shells in microwave for couple of minutes
  • Take a taco, add some stuffing to it.
  • Top it with some roasted peppers and onions.
  • Garnish with some avocado, cheese and salsa.
  • Serve immediately and Enjoy!
Hope you enjoy this quick meal! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Diwali Festivities

               As many of you might be aware, last week was Diwali, the festival of Lights. Diwali, also known as Deepavali spiritually signifies the victory of good over evil. It is usually celebrated over 5 days. Each day has a special significance.

               First day is the Dhanteras, followed by Naraka Chaturdasi or Kali Chaudas. The third day is the main day, Diwali. For some parts in India, mainly western India, the fourth day marks the beginning of their new year. The festivities end with Bhai Beej dedicated to the sister-brother bond.

               So, wish you all a very Happy Diwali and a prosperous new year too. Hope you all had a great celebration too. In the spirit of the festival, plus my husband's birthday, we had a fun filled weekend which included a special Diwali dinner on Friday evening with a group of friends. The menu for the evening was:

Main Course/ Entrees:

               No meal can be completed without a good dessert, so how can I miss the yummy dessert that we had.
  • Chocolate Pani Puri

               Saturday was reserved for his birthday. I made a special plan for him, took him out for Sunset Sailing under the beautiful Golden Gate bridge followed by an amazing dinner.

               Sunday was another Diwali lunch with another group of friends, but this time it was a potluck. The theme for the potluck was regional specialties, so we had a nice variety of food. Some of the items from the huge menu, whose recipes I will be posting in the near future, were:
  • Peas Kachori
  • Undhiyu - A special curry recipe from Gujarat
  • Baked Pakodas
  • Sev Khaman - Another Gujarati recipe
  • Dal Dhokli
  • Tamarind Rice - A Southern Indian Specialty
  • Puran Poli - Specialty of Maharashtra, western part of India
  • Bajri(Millet) Bread - A specialty from North Gujarat and Rajasthan
  • Choorma Ladu - A sweet dish

              Do let us know how your celebrations were. Also, how do you generally plan parties and do you have any tips on managing and executing the plan successfully?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Shaam Savera

                 As many of you know I am a big fan of spinach and I always have it in my refrigerator. Recently, it so happened I had lot of spinach but didn't want to make any of my usual spinach recipes. And so I started looking online for other options to use it. And then I stumbled upon a recipe from Sanjeev Kapoor and immediately decided to give it a shot.
              So here is my version of the Classic Shaam Savera recipe. In other words, Spinach dumplings in Tomato Gravy. Hope you all enjoy it like we did.

  • 4 cups Spinach leaves
  • 1 cup grated Paneer (Cottage Cheese)
  • 1 tsp Cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  •  5 tsp Ginger-Chili-Garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp Gram flour (Besan)
  • 2 tbsp Corn flour
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 2 cups Tomato puree
  • 2 tsp Red Chili powder
  • 2 tsp Dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil

For the Koftas:
  • Blanch the spinach leaves in 7-8 cups of boiling water for 2 minutes.
  • Drain and wash them in cold water to stop further cooking
  • Now, squeeze the water from the leaves and chop finely and keep it aside
  • Heat about 2 tbsp Oil in a pan
  • Add the cumin seeds, garlic-chili-ginger paste to the pan
  • Once the cumin seeds starts to crackle, add the gram flour and saute for about 2 minutes.
  • Add turmeric powder to the pan
  • Then add the chopped spinach leaves and stir continuously.
  • Continue stirring till the mixture is completely dry
  • Take it off the heat and keep it aside to let it cool
  • Meanwhile in another bowl, take the grated paneer. Add salt and cardamom powder and mix it well
  • Divide this paneer mixture in 8 equal portions and roll them into balls and keep it aside
  • Now divide the spinach mixture in 8 equal portions. 
  • To make the koftas, take one portion of spinach mixture, flatten it in your palms. Place the paneer ball in the center of it. Take the edges and roll it to make a ball.

  • Roll the ball in corn flour and keep it aside. Repeat the process for the remaining mixture
  • Heat sufficient oil in a pan. Deep fry the stuffed koftas on a low heat till they are golden brown.
  • Drain on absorbent paper.

For the Gravy
  •  Heat some oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds.
  • Once the seeds start to crackle, add the ginger-chili-garlic paste and saute it for a minute.
  • Then add the tomato puree, salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder and mix it well.
  • Then add the butter and fenugreek leaves and cook for another 2 minutes and take it off the heat
  • In a serving bowl, pour the gravy. Cut the koftas into halves and place them on the gravy
  • Serve immediately with your favorite roti/naan or rice

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Eggplant Parmigiana

                     Eggplant Parmigiana is one of my husband's favorite Italian dishes. He always wants to order it, especially at Olive Garden, but since we usually share the entrees and I don't like eggplants, he can't order it most of the time. So I made a plan to make it for him.
                   The Eggplant Parmigiana that you get in restaurants are extremely greasy and cheesy and so I decided to try to instead bake it without oil and minimal cheese. Also, traditional Eggplant Parmigiana recipes use egg yolks to stick the bread crumbs to the eggplants, but since we don't eat eggs, I used rice flour paste instead.
                  So, here is a healthier version of the Olive garden styled Eggplant Parmigiana. Hope you all like it.

  • 1 big Eggplant
  • 1 cup Bread Crumbs
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper powder
  • 1 tsp Basil leaves
  • 1 tsp Parsley leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon Pepper Seasoning
  • 1 cup Marinara Sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp Rice flour
  • 1/4 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (Optional)
  • Take the bread crumbs in the bowl. Add salt, pepper, basil leaves, parsley leaves and lemon pepper and mix it well. Keep it aside.
  • Slice the eggplant into slices, of about 1/2 inch width.
  • Sprinkle some salt and pepper on both sides of eggplant and place them on the baking tray.
  • Roast the eggplants in pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes at 400 F. 
  • In the mean time, dissolve the rice flour in 1/2 cup water and make it like thin paste.
  • Place the rice flour paste and bread crumbs mix next to each other.
  • Once the eggplants are well done, remove them from oven.
  • Soak the roasted eggplants in the rice flour paste to wet them nicely and then dip them in the bread crumbs mix. 
  • Make sure the eggplants are coated properly on both sides.
  • Continue the same process for all the eggplants and again place them on the baking tray
  • Cover the tray with the foil and bake again for 20 minutes at 400F.
  • Once it is done, spread about 1-2 spoons of marinara sauce on each slice. You may use as much sauce as you want, but excess sauce may make it a bit soggy.
  • Sprinkle some cheese on top of it.
  • And bake uncovered for another 2-3 minutes, till the cheese is nicely melted
  • Serve hot and enjoy.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Roasted Chivda

             Who doesn't like snacks! The only problem associated with loving snacks is the calories that come with it. Most Indian snacks are deep-fried which make them very unhealthy. But here is a healthy twist on a popular Indian snack for you to indulge guilt-free - Roasted Poha Chivda.

              I used a different kind of Poha, which are very similar to puffed rice in looks. They are little thicker and puffier than our regular poha and are much easier to roast. Just a little oil and in 6-8 minutes you will have nice crispy poha.

  • 4 cups Puffed Flattened Rice (Poha
  • 1/2 cup Cashews
  • 1/2 cup Peanuts
  • 1/2 cup Daria (Roasted Chana Dal)
  • 3-4 Chilies
  • 1 tbsp Red Chili powder
  • 1 cup thick Sev (Crunchy Chickpea Noodles)
  • 8-10 Curry Leaves (optional)
  • 2 tsp Dried Mango powder
  • 2 tsp Rock Salt 
  • 2 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 2 tsp Sesame Seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • Heat little oil in a pan. 

  • Add the cashews and fry them for couple of minutes. Remove them from oil and place on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.
  • Repeat the same process for peanuts and Chana dal.
  • In the remaining oil, add the curry leaves and green chilies.
  • Then add the cumin seeds and sesame seeds.
  • Once the seeds start to crackle, add the poha to the pan.
  • Roast it on medium flame for about 6-8 minutes or till the Poha is crisp, stirring continuously
  • Take it from the flame, add red chili powder, rock salt, mango powder and salt and mix it well.
  • Then add the thick Sev. I used a mix of tomato, mint and plain Sev. Mix the chivda well and let it cool.
  • Once it is completely cooled, store in an air tight container.
  • Enjoy your guilt-free delicious snack!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Paneer Hariyali Pizza

                       Every one around me seems to have caught the football fever. Everyone is only talking about the matches, teams and the excitement of the goals. And, so in the spirit of the ongoing FIFA World Cup, let us have a look at a common sport snack, Pizza. But, like the recent matches which have been full of excitement and unexpected twists, this pizza is also with a twist.
                    Instead of the traditional Italian pizza with subtle herb flavors, this one is loaded with Indian flavors and some heat. The pizza is loaded with greens and the sauce has a beautiful green color and hence the name, Hariyali. I hope you all enjoy it.

  • 1 cup cubed Paneer
  • 1/2 cup Mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup Spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup chopped Onions
  • 2 Tbsp Ginger-Garlic-Chili paste
  • 1/4 cup Yogurt
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Dry Mango (Amchur) powder
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Oil
  • 3 Pizza Base/Crust
  • 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese
  • Heat some oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds.
  • Once the seeds starts to crackle, add the garlic-ginger-chili paste and saute it for a minute.
  • Now add the onions and saute them. Once the onions are translucent, add the yogurt and mix it well.
  • Meanwhile, puree the mint and spinach leaves and add to the pan and mix well.
  • Then add the red chilli powder, turmeric powder, dried mango powder and salt.
  • Let it cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the paneer to the gravy.
  • Finally add the lemon juice and mix it lightly. 
  • Cover and let it cook for additional 2-3 minutes.
  • Now take the pizza crust/base. I used a ready base from a local baker.
  • Brush the base lightly with Olive Oil.
  • Spread the prepared Hariyali Paneer on the base.
  • Sprinkle some cilantro and cheese.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 12-15 minutes at 425o F or as per the package instructions
  • You should bake till the cheese is melted and turns golden brown
  • Serve hot and enjoy the best combination, pizza and football

Monday, June 9, 2014

Bombay Grill Sandwich

         Bombay Grill Sandwich reminds me of my college days. I used to hang out with friends and usually end up having a quick snack, usually a grilled sandwich from a roadside stall. It is one of the favorite snacks of every Mumbaikar, and is ubiquitous throughout Mumbai.
        The double-layer grilled sandwich is loaded with vegetables and flavors. The first layer is usually either boiled potatoes or spiced potatoes stuffing and the second layer is all vegetables and cheese. The heart of the sandwich is the chutney, which can either make it or break it. I always use my homemade chutney, but you can choose to get one from the stores, but make sure it has a fresh taste to it.
        After coming here, I got to try numerous varieties of sandwiches, but I would still say nothing can beat this grilled sandwich. So today I decided to make this sandwich at home, and walk down the memory lanes of those golden days.
           [UPDATE] This was the winning recipe at the recently held Vegan Sammich Throwdown in Berkeley. For the competition, I made some tweaks to this recipe. The changes are highlighted below.

  • 6 Bread Slices of your choice.
  • 1 cup Cilantro-Mint chutney
  • 1/4 tbsp softened Butter (Used Earth Balance Vegan Butter)
  • 1 Cucumber sliced
  • 2 Tomatoes sliced
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper Sliced
  • 1 Onion Sliced
  • 2 cheese slices (Used Daiya Vegan Cheddar Cheese) 
  • 1 cup spiced potato stuffing (Recipe Below)
  • 2 tbsp Sandwich Masala. I used the store bought Spicezza sandwich masala. You can make it at home too. I will post the recipe for the same later.
  • To make the spiced potatoes stuffing. Boil 2 potatoes and mash them. Add some green chili paste, salt, Black pepper and garam masala to it. Add some chopped cilantro leaves and mix it well. The stuffing is ready
  • The stuffing for the competition was same as above except that I also added some grated beetroot and crushed green peas which gave the stuffing a lovely red-purple color
  • Keep all the vegetables and ingredients ready before starting to assemble the sandwich.
  • Take 3 bread slices and apply butter. Then apply the cilantro-mint chutney generously to the bread.
  • Sprinkle some sandwich masala on all the 3 slices.
  • Then, take about 2 spoons of potato stuffing and spread properly on 1 slice and sprinkle some masala on it.
  • For the second layer, place a couple of slices of all the vegetables and cheese slices on the second bread and again sprinkle some masala
  • Place the third bread on it with the chutney side down. 
  • Once this double layer sandwich is assembled, place it carefully on a preheated sandwich grill machine or a panini press. 
  • If your grill is not nonstick, you might want to apply some butter on the top of the sandwich. It also makes it more crispy and tasty.
  • Grill for about 30-45 seconds or depending upon your machine.
  • Once it is done nicely from both sides, cut it in half
  • Serve with chutney or tomato ketchup of your choice
  • Enjoy! 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Noodle Pizza

          As you might have figured out, I love experimenting with food and love to mix different cuisines to create Fusion foods. It doesn't always turn out to be good and some just don't blend with each other nicely. But I can definitely say, most of the times its a huge success.
        So today I am back with one of my fusion dish. A couple of weeks back, I had some noodles leftover in my fridge and I wasn't too sure what to do with that. We just didn't like eating it as it is as we had chinese dinner the previous day itself. Then I saw some bread and thought to try something new.  It turned out to be a hit and we make these pizzas pretty regularly now. We have tried it with vegetable noodles, Schezwan noodles and sometimes just plain noodles.

      So here is an quick dinner idea, Noodle Pizza.

  • 4 Slices of Bread
  • 1 cup Noodles
  • 2 tbsp Schezwan Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Pizza Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Oregon
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp Chaat Masala (Optional)
  • Take a small bowl, mix the pizza sauce, schezwan sauce and oregano and keep it aside.
  • Heat some butter in a pan.
  • Place a bread slice and toast it. Once it turns golden brown, take the slice in the plate.
  • Spread the sauce mixture on the toasted side.
  • Add some noodles and sprinkle some chaat masala and cheese on it.
  • Now, place it on the pan and cover with lid. Cook till the cheese melts and the bread is toasted properly.
  • Serve hot and enjoy the Noodle Pizza

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Vegetable Paneer Samosa

                  Samosa is one of the most common and popular snacks in India. They are found everywhere, from small road side stalls to 5-star restaurants. Samosa is the savory comfort food at its best, that goes well on all days, be it a rainy day to a chilly winter evening.
                  Samosas are essentially deep-fried triangular flour pastries stuffed with potatoes. The stuffing can be anything, though traditionally spiced mashed potatoes and peas are used.
                I tried a slightly different version of it, since didn't feel having a whole of potatoes. Also, instead of using the commonly used refined flour, I opted for the whole wheat flour.
                  So here is my recipe, to satisfy that craving with lesser amount of guilt.

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup Refined flour (Maida)
  • 4 tsp Oil
  • 1 cup grated Paneer
  • 1 cup coarsely crushed Green Peas
  • 1/2 cup boiled and mashed potatoes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Bell Peppers
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Onions
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp Ginger-Chilies paste
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Dry Mango powder (Amchur powder)
  • 2 tsp Garam Masala ( A mixture of spices)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying
  • Sieve both the flours and mix them
  • Add 2 tsp Oil, salt and water to make a smooth semi-soft dough. Cover with a damp cloth and keep it aside
  • Now, heat 2 tsp oil in a pan. Add Cumin seeds to it.
  • Once the seeds starts to crackle, add the ginger-chili paste, onions, bell peppers and saute it for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add salt and mix it well.
  • Now add the green peas, potatoes, mango powder and garam masala and mix it well.
  • Let it cook for another couple of minutes. Make sure to stir it continuously.
  • Then add cilantro and mix it well and take it off the heat.
  • Now, take the grated paneer in a big bowl. Add the hot mixture and mix it well
  • Now, to make Samosa knead the dough properly and divide into smaller portions.
  • Roll out each portion into a disc. It should be of medium thickness
  • Divide the rolled disc into half. Take each half and shape it into a cone. 
  • Take about 1.5 spoon of mixture and stuff the cone. 

  • Damp the edges of cone with water and seal it properly.

  • Repeat the process with remaining dough
  • Now slide each of these samosas in a pre-heated oil and fry it till they are golden brown.
  • As a healthier alternative, can also bake them for 25 minutes at 400 F in a preheated oven. Make sure to turn them every 10 minutes.
  • Serve with your favorite chutney and/or ketchup