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Saturday, December 8, 2012

My Koobideh

My Koobideh call for no fat, absolutely no fat at all. Yet when I made them nobody could tell the difference! They were just as juicy as any other koubideh and everybody just enjoyed them asking for seconds and thirds.

I always wanted to make koobideh but without fat and each time I tried they turned out so dry and tasteless that it felt like eating a piece of cardboard. I got fed up and stopped trying altogether.

 It so happened that after making kibbeh there was so much extra lean finely ground beef left over and I had to use it all up (I never refreeze any food after partially or completely defrosting it). While I was just speculating on how I could make juicy kebabs with it, what I should add - eggs and cornstarch or  mushrooms, etc, etc, my eyes fell on the almond butter bottle in the shelf and lo and behold my juicy koobideh were born!

What can be a better substitute to fat other than almond butter? It not only gives a better taste but is a much better healthy choice as well. "Almond butter is not only a good source of protein but is packed with monounsaturated fats, which are good for the heart, and also helps to control blood sugar".

Some people might argue that the fat burns off when you grill them so why take the unnecessary expensive alternative of using almond butter. The fact is that the fat does not entirely burn off. When the kebabs cool down you can still see a film of fat sticking to them. And this fat can clog your arteries and give you a heart attack.

Here's the recipe!

1 kg Finely ground extra lean beef (no skin and 0% fat)
1 tbs Garlic paste                            
1 tsp Black pepper ground              
2 tbs Fried onions (either store bought or home made)
2 tsp Seven spices                          
1 tsp All spice                                
1 tsp Cumin powder                      
1 tsp Salt as per taste)
1/2 cup Fresh Parsley (chopped)
1/2 cup Almond butter                         -
1 tbs Vegetable oil (optional)
1-2 tbs Water                                      
4-6 Flat metal skewers                


1. Grind together fried onions, garlic paste and fresh parsley along with all the spices and 1 tblspn of water.  Add this paste to the ground beef.

2. Add the 1/2 a cup of almond butter with the almond oil to the beef. Keep kneading it like dough till it stops sticking and starts leaving the sides of the container.  If it is too sticky and dry add just 1/2 - 1tbs of water. The more you knead the lighter the kebab texture. The kebab dough should be moist and airy and should not stick to your hands. Knead well and leave to marinate in the fridge for an hour or two.

3. Do not add any extra vegetable oil if the almond butter is runny and if you can see the almond oil covering the top of the almond butter.

4. Brush the skewers with oil as this makes it easier to slide off the kebab when it is done. With clean wet hands take a golf size ball of the prepared ground beef and wrap it around the skewer till it holds together. Shape it into a nice, long, smooth and round sausage then with your index and middle finger mimicking scissors pinch both ends of the kebab alongside to form ridges.

5. Repeat the steps for all of them. Leave enough room on either side of the skewers so as to rest them on the grill.

6. Set your oven to broil on high (or 550 degrees fahrenheit).

7. Take an old cookie sheet and cover it with tin foil. Place the skewers on the cookie sheet. Then place it under the grill in the top position of the oven.

8. Broil for 3-4 mins on each side. Do not over cook as they would harden. When you see them turning golden brown turn over and cook for another 3- 4 mins till they are done. Keep some tin foil ready. Remove them from the oven. Slide them off with the help of salad tongs into the tin foil and wrap them up immediately.  This helps in retaining the moisture and heat till you serve them. You have to be very careful and use oven gloves while handling the skewers as they are very hot.

9. Serve them hot with persian or afghani rice and yoghurt mint chutney which you can make by adding 1 - 2 tsp dried mint leaves, 1/2 and inch chopped ginger, salt and pepper to 1/2 a cup yoghurt.

10. You may also grill some vegetables (tomatoes, green, red peppers, onions etc) in a skewer to eat with the kebabs.   Serve them hot on a bed of sliced onions and mint chutney with persian or afghani rice. Enjoy the koobideh and eat your way to health.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Crispy Onion Samosa Chaat

The Fresh Gourmet crispy onions from Costco are amazing. Their crunch and flavor gave a new dimension to the samosa chaat I made today. Unlike other fried onions we buy from Indian stores these are neither oily nor salty. I would say you could not only use them in some of your dishes but also eat them as a snack. I served my chaat with pomegranate seeds strewn on top, also some hickory sticks which made it even more tantalizing! And above all it takes only 2 mins to make this chaat.

Here's the recipe!

2 Samosas
1 cup Yoghurt
1/4 cup Onion chopped
1small Green chilli chopped
1/2 tsp Ginger chopped
1/2 tsp Chaat masala powder
1/4 cup Fresh Gourmet crispy onions
1 tbs Green Chutney
1 tbs Tamarina Chutney
Just a few Hickory sticks (optional)
Salt to taste
Fresh Cilantro chopped
A few Fresh pomegranate seeds


With these ready made ingredients make your chaat in no time. So quick and easy to make, so yummy to eat!

1. Whisk 3/4 cup of yoghurt in a bowl. Add chopped onions, green chillies, ginger and a little     cilantro, salt and chaat masala powder. Mix everything well. 

2. Break the samosas into bite size pieces and spread them in a layer over the yoghurt mixture.

3. Drop 1tbs each of the tamarina and green chutneys over the samosas as shown in the picture.

4. Spread the remaining yoghurt over the chutneys and sprinkle some chaat masala powder.

5. Layer the top generously with the Fresh Gourmet crispy onions. Add some Hickory sticks if you want more crunch and flavour.

6. Decorate with fresh pomegranate seeds and chopped cilantro. Enjoy your tongue tingling and mouth watering Chaat!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cheesy scalloped potatoes

I usually made scalloped potatoes in the traditional style which I found quite bland. So I gave a twist to the recipe by using caramelized onions and cheese in between the potato layers as well as at the top. It turned golden brown in the oven and the dish looked not only appealing but also very tasty. The caramelized onion enhanced the flavour and it was so yummy.

Potatoes - 6 medium size
Onions - 2 big ones
Brown sugar - 2 tspns
Milk - 1 cup
Butter - 2 tblspns
Olive oil - 2 tblspns
Dried chives - 1 tspn
Dried parsley - 1 tspn
Cheddar cheese - 1/4 cup
Mozzarella cheese 1/4 cup
Black pepper ground- 1 tspn

1. Boil the potatoes, peel, cut into slices and set aside.
2. Melt 1 tblspn of butter with 1 tblspn of olive oil in a pan.
3. Caramelize the onion slices by adding a little brown sugar. Remove from pan and set aside.
4. In the same pan add the remaining one tablespoon each butter and olive oil.
5. Stir in flour followed by milk and make a smooth white sauce.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Take a baking dish, grease the bottom and sides with butter. Put the caramelized onions at the bottom.
8. Spread the boiled potato slices in a layer over the onions.
9.Sprinkle some dried chives, dried parsley, salt and black pepper followed by grated cheddar cheese.
10. Spread one more layer of the boiled potato slices followed by the same herbs and spices.
11. Now pour in the hot white sauce over the potatoes and top with grated mozzarella cheese.
12. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 mins until it turns golden brown on top. Serve hot with beef ribs or chicken roast and salad. Enjoy!

Spicy Indian Sushi

Who says Sushi can be made with only uncooked sea-food or raw vegetables? My little parcels of joy can change the way we eat indian food. I feel I am down with Sushi mania now and I suppose my daughter Asma who is Sushi crazy has already infected me!! I enjoy eating all kinds of Sushi except the ones with the soft shell crab coz the whole crab is stuffed with its shell which I find unappetizing to my palate.                                                                                 
I always craved for some spicy Sushi and being a fond lover of Indian food I longed to indianize the Sushi. Asma's crazy culinary adventures dragged her away from Indian food altogether and she was beginning to develop a hatred for indian cuisine which really hurt me. Last week I packed the indian sushi stuffed with the fried chilly shrimp for her lunch expecting her to throw it away (usually she never touched the shrimp if I made them in indian style). But I was shocked with disbelief when she told me that it was delicious and that she not only ate it but enjoyed it too. 

Here's the Sushi and its Recipe!

2 cups Sushi Rice boiled / steamed
1 Pack Sea weed 
20 Jumbo Black Tiger Shrimp or any other variety but uncooked 
1 tsp Kashmiri Red chilly powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Ginger garlic paste
1 cup Shredded coconut
1/2 cup Cashew nuts 
2 tsp MTR chutney masala
2 tbs Vegetable oil 
Salt as per taste

Wasabi, pickled ginger, soy sauce with ginger and green chillies or frank's red hot sauce etc as condiments.

Sushi mat, Cutting board, Cling wrap for preparation. 


1.Peel, wash, devein and clean the shrimp.

2. Add salt, turmeric, red chilly powder and ginger garlic paste to the shrimp, mix well.

3. Fry them in a tbs of vegetable oil in a skillet or wok on both the sides and set aside.

4. Roast the shredded unsweetened coconut in a non stick pan. Add ground roasted cashews. mix well and let it cool down.

5. Spread the Sushi mat on a cutting board. Put a sheet of plastic wrap of the same size on the sushi mat. (You may also cover the sushi mat with plastic wrap on both the sides if you want).

6. Take a scoop of the boiled sticky sushi rice and with wet hands spread it on the saran wrap. Press it with your hands into a thin smooth layer.

7. Now put the sea weed on the rice layer.  This is for inside out sushi. For the regular sushi the rice is spread on the sea weed.

8. Cut the masala shrimp into small pieces. Add them in a horizontal line on one side on the sea weed  a little away from the edge from your side as shown in the picture.

9. Roll the free edge to envelop the shrimp filling with both the hands tightly. The mat helps you roll easily. As you are rolling with the help of the mat, take care to keep peeling off the plastic wrap from the rice. You don't need to do this if you have wrapped the mat with the plastic wrap on both the sides. Complete till the end as shown in the picture.

10. Now roll it in the roasted shredded coconut and cashew mixture till it sticks evenly throughout.

11. Cut into sushi rolls with a clean wet knife and serve with pickled ginger, wasabi sauce and soy sauce. Enjoy!


You can use different fillings for different flavours. I used eggplant filling, avocado mango filling for vegetarian sushis.

For traditional plain rice sushi, mix the rice with a tbs of rice vinegar and sugar. For extra flavour a little piece of the sea weed is soaked in the white vinegar for sometime and then removed before adding the vinegar to the rice. In Japanese "Su" means vinegar and "Shi" means rice. So Sushi is not complete without any vinegar in it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Smoked White Chicken

I have been looking for a good brand of garam masala powder for so long and only last week this new Zafrani Shaan garam masala attracted my attention and when I checked the ingredients, I knew this is it!

I am not a fan of Shaan spices at all and I hate them all except for one or two as they are all the same. But this one has just the garam masala spices and not cumin or coriander or anything else like other brands, plus it has saffron too.

I used it today in the marinade for smoked white chicken. The garam masala enhanced the taste and the smoky flavour in the chicken was awsome. Everybody just loved it. In fact they were all duped into believing that I barbequed the chicken when I didn't.Here's the recipe.

Chicken - one whole
Garlic paste - 1 tblspn
Dhania (coriander) powder - 1 tspn
White Chilly powder - 1 tspn
Shaan's Zafrani garam masala - 2 tspns
Yoghurt - 1/2 cup
Salt - 1/2 tspn
Lemon juice or red wine vinegar- 1 tblspn
Olive oil - 1 tblspn
Whipping cream - partially skimmed - 1-2 tblspns

1.Clean, wash and drain the chicken. Rub lemon juice or red wine vinegar (I used red wine vinegar this time) and leave for 15 mins.
2. For the marinade mix together garlic paste, dhania powder, white chilly powder, salt and shaan's zafrani garam masala with the yoghurt. Add salt and olive oil.
3. Rub the chicken pieces with the marinade and set aside for a couple of hrs.
4. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.
5. Put the chicken in a roaster pan and cook in the oven for 40 mins.
6. After 40 mins brush the chicken generously with the whipping cream and leave for 10 more mins.
7. Now light up a coal placed in a tin foil shaped like a tiny bowl, drop a blob of ghee or butter on the burning coal and immediately keep it in the center of the roasting pan on top of the chicken.
8. Turn off the oven. Cover the roaster pan with the lid and place it in the hot oven for another 10 mins.
9. The smoked creamy white chicken is now ready. Serve hot with rumali rotis (these rotis are as thin as a ladies handkerchief and so the name) green yoghurt chutney & some cucumber or radish etc.
10. For the green chutney, blend together two stalks of mint, a handful of coriander, 1 inch piece of ginger, 1 green chilly, salt to taste and 1 tblspn of yoghurt. When everything is well blended add more (1/2 cup) yoghurt to it. The chutney is ready.
11. The rumali rotis as seen in the picture above are home made. You can try them at home if you have a gas stove. Check out their recipe on He shows you how to make them on a flat skillet but I love to be traditional so I make mine on an inverted cast iron wok on the gas stove.
12. Enjoy the smoked white chicken with rice, rotis, parantas, dal and raitas of your choice. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Chicken Maqlooba

This is Chicken Maqluba - a popular Palestinian Arab dish which I made for dinner. Most people also think of it as the national dish of Palestine. It is made with lamb or chicken with vegetables and rice. It is basically a one pot dish of meat, vegetables and rice all layered and cooked together. Then the pot is flipped over on the serving platter to display the maqluba which is a sight to behold! I followed a recipe from You tube which I just tweaked a bit by using italian rice instead of falak basumati. Italian rice has that firm texture and nutty flavour which I thought would go well with the maqluba. Here's the recipe: 

Chicken - 1 Whole (1.5kgs)
Potatoes - 3-4 medium size
Egg plant - one large
Onion - 1 big
Butter - 1 tbs
Olive oil - 2 tbs
Vegetable oil for frying 
Italian Rice - 3 cups
ghee (clarified butter) 2 tbs

Spices for the chicken:
Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tsp
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
All spice -1 tsp
Seven spice -1 tsp

Spices for the rice: Salt and pepper- 1/2 tsp each; All spice - 1/2 tsp; turmeric - 1 tsp.

1. De-skin the chicken, cut into 12 pieces at the joints, clean, wash, drain and keep aside. 

2. Heat a tbs of butter in a big pot and add the diced onion to it. 

3. When the onions sweat a little add the chicken to the pan followed by the spices and mix well. Keep turning over and brown the chicken in the pan. 

3. Add 3 - 4 cups of water and let it cook for sometime till the chicken is done.

4.Slice the egg plants and potatoes separately. Rub a little salt and keep them aside for sometime. The egg plants sweat a little on rubbing salt. Press them gently to drain the water and wipe with paper towels. This way they don't absorb oil when frying.  

5. Deep fry them separately. Drain on paper towels.

6. Boil water in another pot. Add the rice. When the rice is 80% cooked, drain well, then add the spices to the rice, mix well and set aside.

7. Take a small round roaster and grease it with some clarified butter (1tsp) on the inside. Then sprinkle a little of the spiced rice at the bottom.

8. Now spread a layer of the chicken pieces (reserve the broth) on top of the sprinkled rice.

9. Then spread a layer of baked/fried egg plant on top of the chicken. Then a layer of potatoes on top of the egg plant or you can layer both together - one eggplant and one potato slice, all stacked together.

10. Finally add the spiced rice on top. Pour the reserved broth on top of the rice. Cover the roaster with the lid and place it in the pre-heated oven (at 350 degrees fahrenheit) for 15 mins till you see the steam gushing out as soon as you open the lid. Take care not to keep your face close to the roaster when you are uncovering the roaster. It is better to open it little by little. 

11. Keep a round serving platter ready. Remove roaster lid and close it with the serving platter.

12. Put your oven gloves on (thick insulated ones) and holding the roaster bottom with one hand and the top of the closed serving platter with the other, overturn the roaster carefully on to the serving platter and slowly rest the serving platter on the counter top. Remember it is very hot so you have to do it very carefully and tactfully balancing it really well. Otherwise ask someone to help you.

13. Let this rest for 2 mins. Take a serving spoon and tap the roaster's overturned  bottom and all the sides slowly to release the maqlooba from sticking to it.

14. Lift the roaster up slowly to display the maqluba sitting majestically on the serving platter like a queen. The chicken is crisp and golden which was steaming at the bottom of the pot now crowns the dish on the top.The fried egg plant and potato slices like hidden gems add more to the glory. It is a dish beautiful to behold and delicious to eat. There is aroma in the air and many hungry stomachs to feed. Serve hot with yoghurt and salad on the side.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Creamy Mushrooms

This is another quick recipe which is ready in no time and is very flavourful and light. The white mushrooms coated with flour and sauteed in olive oil gives a creamy texture to this dish.  


White button mushrooms (whole) - small size 1 box (1/2 lb)
Garlic - 1 big clove
Thai red chilly- 1
Fresh parsley chopped - 1 tbs
Butter/Olive oil - 2 tbs
Chopped onions - 2 tbs
Flour - 2 tbs
Soup stock - 1/2 cube (chicken or vegetable)

1. Clean, wash and dry the mushrooms with a paper towel. Dust the mushrooms with white flour.

2. Heat a tbs of butter/olive oil in a non-stick pan.

3. Lightly fry the mushrooms coated with flour till they moisten a bit. Do not add any salt yet. Remove and set aside.

3.Add another tbs of butter/olive oil to the pan and fry the chopped onions till golden brown.

4.Add chopped garlic followed by 1 tbs flour. Stir fry on medium heat till it changes colour. Add a little water, salt, pepper and chopped parsley. Mix well and let it simmer for 2 mins.

5. Add the fried mushrooms  Turn over and cook till the mixture thickens and the mushrooms are done.- hardly takes 2 mins. Sprinkle some black pepper on top. Serve hot and enjoy! 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Quick Creamy Chicken

I made this chicken for my son's lunch this morning. I was pressed for time and I could think of nothing better than this, considering his canadian taste buds. I packed this with some cooked pasta. 

Here's the recipe!

Chicken breast - 1 whole cut into bite size pieces.
Corn Flour - 2 tblspns
Salt to taste
Garlic cloves - 2 medium grated
Thyme- 1/4 tspn
Philadelphia cream cheese - 2 tblspns.
Black pepper - a pinch
Olive oil - 2 tblspns
White button mushrooms - a few

 1. Clean, wash and cut the chicken breast into bite size pieces. Drain, wipe with paper towels and toss the pieces in corn flour after rubbing them with salt. 
2. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan, add the coated chicken pieces and lightly fry them till they turn opaque. Do not brown them.
3. Slice the mushrooms and add them to the pan. Stir and toss them with the chicken pieces till they soften a bit. Add 1/2 - 1 cup of water, give it a stir and cook for 2 mins gently on medium heat. Now add the grated garlic and thyme followed by whipped philly cheese and a dash of black pepper. (Beat the philly cheese with a tblspn of milk or water to avoid lumps. Give it a good stir till it thickens a bit. If it is too runny add 1/2 a tspn corn flour mixed with water.
4. Remove from the stove and serve with rice or pasta. Enjoy!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Nargisi kofte

This recipe is a result of my passion for fusion cuisine. I am highly impressed and inspired by the idea of fusion cooking. It is nothing but a marriage of different cultures that gives you a single eating experience where imagination is the limit! 
The traditional nargisi kofta is usually stuffed with boiled eggs or onion chutney (chopped onions and green chillies mixed with yoghurt). I didn't like biting into a kofta and eating the boiled egg. It was like eating two different things in one. Anything stuffed I feel should give a unique combined taste. So I mixed mint chutney with the hard boiled yolks and stuffed the mixture in the boiled egg whites before enclosing them with the kofta dough. They were basically devilled eggs with the mint chutney egg yolk filling, stuffed inside the koftas - something different, yet a marriage of two different cultures - the East and the West! I also tried mixing mashed egg yolks with cheddar cheese and it tasted really good with the melted cheese inside. Well, you can go on trying different combinations and the sky is the limit!
          Here's the recipe.                                                                      


Lamb or Beef        - 1/2 kg
Channa dal            - 1/2 cup
Green chillies        - 4- 6 small
Cloves                   - 6
Green Cardamom-  6
Onion small             1
Garlic  cloves        - 4 medium
Turmeric                - 1/2 a tspn
Red chilly powder - 1/4 tspn
Salt to taste
Hard boiled eggs  - 4
Mint chutney - 2 tblspns
Cheddar cheese (grated) - 1/2 cup
1. Clean and wash the meat (lamb or beef), cut into cubes or chunks.
2. Clean and wash the channa dal.
3. Take a pot and add the washed dal and the meat cubes and all the other ingredients except the hard boiled eggs.
4. Cook on medium heat with the lid on till you see steam coming out.
5. Open the lid, give it a stir and check to see if the meat has stiffened a bit and is no longer pink.
6. Remove from the stove. Let it cool for a while.
7. Pick out the whole spices (cloves and cardamoms) from it and keep aside.
8. Pick out the meat pieces as well and set aside.
9 Grind the rest of the cooked ingredients in a wet grinder. If the dal is moist with a little water left at the bottom, then do not add any more water. This would be sufficient enough to grind the dal. Otherwise add 2 tblspns of water and grind the dal finely with the green chillies, onion and garlic.
10. Remove the dal mixture and set aside.
11.Now shred the meat pieces in the grinder by pulsing them 2 or 3 times.
12. Grind the cloves and cardamom finely in a dry grinder or use a mortar & pestle to crush them fine.
13. Add the ground dal mixture to the shreded meat in the wet grinder along with some cilantro (1/4 cup) salt and the ground whole spices and pulse till everything is well blended. The kofta dough is now ready. If the dough feels too dry sprinkle a little bit of water or knead it well with wet hands.
14. Take a little kofta dough the size of an egg and roll it into a small ball in the palm of your hand. Make small balls of the same size with the entire kofta dough.
15. Peel the hard boiled eggs, cut into two halves breadthwise and set aside.
16. Pick the hard boiled yolks from the halved eggs, mash them, sprinkle a litle salt & pepper then mix with 2 tblspns of the mint chutney. If you are not using chutney add the grated cheese to the mashed yolks, do not add salt as the cheese is salty enough.
17. Fill the hard boiled egg whites with the mashed yolk & mint chutney filling or cheese filling to make devilled egg halves.

18. Take one kofta dough ball, make a depression in the center, widen it so that it is big enough to hold the devilled egg half.
19. Cover it completely with the kofta dough. Repeat the same process for all of them.

20. Deep fry in hot oil till crispy and golden. Serve hot with ketchup or mint chutney. Enjoy!

Mint Chutney:
Fresh Mint leaves - 1 cup
Cilantro - 1/2 cup
Garlic - 2 cloves
Green chillies - 4 - 6 small ones
Tamarind (seedless) - size of 1/2 a lime
Salt to taste.

Method: Grind all the above ingredients together with a little salt. Your chutney is ready for the stuffing.
For serving the chutney with snacks add a small tomato and a small onion and pulse one or two times after grinding the above ingredients.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pepper Chicken

This recipe can be used for a whole chicken as well. For the whole chicken use the zafrani chicken baking technique by closing and cooking the chicken for 1 hr at 350 degrees fahrenheit and then roasting the chicken on convection roast in the last half hour. If you do not have convection roast setting in your oven then raise the temperature to 400 degrees fahrenheit and let it roast for 30 mins.

Whole Chicken- 1 cut into pieces at the joints.
Garlic cloves- 4 med size
Black Pepper corns - 1 tblspn
Cumin seeds - 1 tspn
Green chillies - 2 small size (optional)
Cloves - 6 (optional)
Green cardamoms - 6 (optional)
lemon juice - 2 tblspns
Salt to taste

1. Clean, wash and cut the chicken into 8-12 pieces at the joints only. If you cut the bones they not only bleed a lot while cooking but you will get small pieces of bones in your mouth when you eat the chicken which is really annoying.
2. Rub the chicken with 1/2 a tspn salt and lemon juice and set aside for 10 mins.
3.Grind together garlic, pepper, cumin and green chillies. For added flavour and spicy taste you can add the optional ingredients. Otherwise just keep it light to satisfy a western palette.
4. Rub the chicken with the ground masala, put them in the baking dish and let it rest for 1/2 an hour.
5.Bake the chicken in the preheated oven at 400 degrees fahrenheit for 45 mins.
6. Remove from the oven and serve hot with ghee rice or peas palao.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Spinach Dill Vadai (fritters)

These vadas smell great when frying and taste great too. They are very flavourful and make a good evening snack with tea. I made them for Ifthaar with ganji (a kind of flavourful rice porridge made in south India especially for ifthaars). They disappeared in no time.

Whole urad dal - 1 cup
Spinach chopped - 1 cup
Dill chopped - 1 cup
Onions chopped - 1/2 cup
Green chilles chopped - 4-6 small
Curry leaves chopped - 1/4 cup.
Cliantro chopped - 1/2 cup
Ginger chopped - 1 tbs
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil to deep fry - 2 cups

1.Clean, wash and soak the urad dal overnight or for atleast 4 hrs. Clean wash, drain and wipe dry the spinach and dill after picking the leaves from the stems. Then chop them well and set aside.

2. Take half the dal and grind it fine in a food processor. Remove and set aside.

3. Put the rest of the dal and pulse it just two or three times so that it breaks up a little. Remove and mix it with the finely ground dal to make a sticky dough. Do not add water while grinding. You could just sprinkle a little bit when you finely grind the first half.

4.Mix together chopped onions, green chillies, ginger and curry leaves and chop them all together on the cutting board with a little salt which is just enough for the onions.

5. Add a little salt to the ground urad dal and mix well. Now add the chopped spinach, dill, cilantro, curry leaves and onion mixture and mix everything well with the urad dal.

6.Take a lump of the vadai batter with wet hands press gently to give a flat shape and make a hole in the center using your fingers and thumb and gently immerse it in the oil. You have to be really very careful at this step. You can use a flat spatula to slowly drop the vadai in the oil if you are not confident.

7. When it turns golden brown at the bottom and crispy on the sides, it is time to turn it over and fry on the other side.

8. Fry in batches of 4 - 6 depending on the size of your frying pan till all of them are evenly browned and crisp.
9. Remove from frying pan, drain on paper towels and serve them hot with mint  or red coconut chutney.

10. Or you can enjoy them with ganji (rice porridge).  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Salmon Biryani

Yesterday I made Salmon biryani for Ifthaar. I had such a craving for fish biryani as I hadn't made it  in a long time. Unlike me, nobody loves fish in my family. It turned out delicious - just the way I imagined it! I did not touch any of the ifthaar snacks as I could not wait to enjoy it.  The mint and the yoghurt chutneys I made with it added the zing to it.

But one thing about fish biryani is that it has to be eaten fresh. Even a day old fish biryani does not taste the same as the fish smell becomes kind of over powering. So enjoy it fresh as it is delicious.

Salmon - 6-8 medium size pieces (1 lb)
Onions - 3 medium size
Tomatoes - 2 medium size
Green chillies - 4-6 small
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tblspn
Thick Yoghurt - 1/2 a cup
Mint leaves (Fresh) - a few
Cilantro - 1/2 cup chopped
Cinnamon stick - 1 inch
Cloves - 5
Green cardamom - 5
Red chilly Powder - 2 tspns
Turmeric - 1 1/2 tspns
Cumin - 1/2 tspn
Lemon juice - 1 tblspn
Saffron - a pinch
Warm milk - 2 tblspns
Basumati Rice - 1 1/2 cups
Vegetable oil - 1/4 cup + 2-3 tblspns for frying salmon.

1.Slice the onions and cut the tomatoes into quarters. Make fresh ginger garlic paste and set aside.

2.Wash the basumati rice and let it soak for 20 - 30 mins.

3. Rub the salmon pieces with salt, lemon juice, 1 1/2 tsp red chilly powder, 1 tsp turmeric and 1/2 tsp cumin. Marinate for half an hour and set aside.

4.  Fry the salmon in the vegetable oil for 2 or 3 mins on each side by turning over only once.

5. Heat the oil in a pot. add the whole spices - cinnamon, cloves and green cardamoms. Immediately add the   sliced onions to it and fry till golden brown.

6.Add the ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, 1/2 tspn red chilly powder and tomatoes and simmer till the tomatoes turn soft. Mix well.

7. Add the yoghurt followed by green chillies, mint and cilantro. Put the sauce in a roasting dish, then add  the fried salmon pieces to it and simmer for around 10 mins.

8. Meanwhile bring to boil 4 to 5 litres of water in a big pot. Add 2 tblspns of salt. Add rice and cook till half  done. The rice should be a little soft on the outside but still gritty on the inside. Drain well.

9. Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.

10. Now remove the fried salmon pieces from the sauce and set aside. Put the cooked rice into the roasting pan, add fresh mint leaves, cilantro, then saffron solution (saffron dissolved in warm milk). And layer the top with the fried salmon pieces that we removed from the sauce.

11. Close the lid and steam it in the oven for 10 mins.

12. Remove while it is steaming hot and serve with Mint chutney and Yoghurt chutney. Enjoy!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Stuffed Paneer Croquettes

This is one of my new creations. I had long been making different kinds of cutlets - salmon, tuna, beef & chicken cutlets and got fed up of them. I imagined a snack version of the malai kofta and came up with this - the paneer croquettes. I wanted them light and less spicy so that the kids could enjoy, but at the same time to add the zing I stuffed them with mint chutney mixed with walnuts and raisins.

Here's the recipe.............

Paneer grated - 1 cup (I used half of the 400gm pack of Baba Paneer)
Potatoes boiled and grated -1 cup
Onion chopped - 1 medium size
Green chillies - 2 small ones
Cilantro chopped - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Lemon juice - 1 tspn
Black Pepper - just to sprinkle
Beaten Eggs - 2
Corn Flour - 1/2 a cup
Corn flakes ground - 1 cup
Vegetable oil for deep frying

Mint chutney - 1 heaped tblspn (check recipe below)
Walnuts chopped - 1/4 cup
Golden raisins chopped - 1/4 cup


1.Mix together the grated paneer and potatoes.
2. Add lemon juice and salt to chopped onions and green chillies. Cut and chop them together again with the salt and lemon juice and then add to the potato paneer mixture. Add chopped cilantro, mix everything together and set aside.
3. Prepare the stuffing by mixing together the chopped walnuts and the chopped golden raisins with the mint chutney.The walnuts and raisins should be just coated with the chutney.
4. Make small portions of the stuffing.
5. Make small balls of the potato paneer mixture. Make a depression in the center, add a portion of the stuffing and close it.
6. Roll the ball in the corn flour, then dip it in the beaten eggs and then roll it again in the ground corn flakes and set aside.
7. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Once the oil is hot, set it on medium heat. Add the croquettes and fry them till golden brown. When they are done, you will see small white spots popping out. This means they are done.So remove immediately from the pan and drain on paper towels. If you delay any longer they would burst in the pan and the oil would splutter and make a mess. So please do not wait till this happens. Let them cool for a bit before you serve them with mint chutney. Their texture is much better when they cool  down a bit. And when you make them you can give them any shape. Enjoy with more mint chutney or ketchup.

Mint Chutney:
Mint leaves - 1 cup
Curry leaves - 1/2 cup
Cilantro - 1 cup
Tomato - 1 small or 1/2 a medium
Green chillies - 4
Tamarind - 1 big marble size
Garlic - 2 big cloves

Grind everything together in a blender or wet grinder without adding any water, add appropriate salt mix well  and serve with snacks.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Baked Pies

Flour - 4 cups
Yoghurt - 4 tblspns
Yeast - 1 tblspn
Warm water - 1/2 cup
Baking powder- 1 tspn
Olive oil - 1tblspn + enough for brushing

Method: Add yeast to 1/2 a cup of lukewarm water along with a pinch of sugar. Stir well and let it rest for 5 -10 mins till it rises. Meanwhile add 4 cups of all purpose flour to the processor, add salt, pulse once or twice so that the salt gets nicely mixed in the flour. Now add yoghurt and baking powder and pulse again., Pour in the yeast solution little by little while pulsing. Finally add the olive oil, and pulse again 2 or 3 times till the dough starts spinning. If the dough is dry, sprinkle a little more water and pulse again. The dough should be soft and spongy and a little bit gooey. Remove from the processor, form into a ball and let it rise in a covered greased bowl for atleast 2 hrs. The dough is now ready for making pies. Take small balls of dough shape them in the form of a circle with your palms and toast them on one side in a griddle or frying pan. Spread a mixture of olive oil and zavtar and keep it on broil for 3 - 4 mins till the pies are nicely done. You can use any kind of topping for these pies like meat mixture, cheese, veggies etc. You can even spread the dough on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle the top with olive oil and keep it in the lowest wrack of the oven for 10 mins and once the bottom is a bit brown, put it on broil for another 2- 3 mins till it is golden brown. Enjoy these with your favourite dips.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Crunchy fried banana

My son developed this craving for fried bananas after dining at a Carribean restaurant. I have never tried frying a banana before, because it never occured to me that fruits could be fried. Anyway it turned out mushy when I first fried it. I somehow managed to satisfy his palette by frying it again after rolling it in flour. It turned out well this time and he enjoyed it too. But my imagination by now had scaled to different heights I wanted to do much more than that. Being a south indian myself I was enamoured by stuffed banana recipes from Kerala and Thasneen's blog post on pan fried bananas stuffed with coconut and raisins, kind of inspired me. But no, coz my kids with their canadian taste buds would deem it too sweet. So I decided to stuff the bananas with a mixture of nuts and nutella and also give it a crunchy outer crust. So I did with success and served it with vanilla ice-cream. It turned out to be a big hit.!
Medium ripe bananas- 2
Nutella - 2 tblspns
Mixed nuts chopped (Almonds and pistachios or just walnuts) - 1/4 cup
Egg -1
White flour - 1/4cup
Corn flakes - 1/2 cup crushed
Enough Oil to deep fry

Peel the bananas, cut into 2 pieces hotizontally and set aside. Beat the egg and get two half plates ready - one with white flour and the other with corn flakes. Chop the nuts into small pieces, add nutella to it and mix well. Slit the bananas lengthwise, stuff them gently with the nutella nut mix and close them by pinching the opened edges together with your fingers and smoothen the closed slit well so that it is fully secured. Take each stuffed banana piece, roll it in flour, then roll it in beaten egg and finally roll it again in the crushed cornflakes. Repeat the same procedure for all the stuffed pieces and set aside. Put the oil in an electric deep fryer or frying pan and set it to medium heat. To test if the oil is hot enough just put a small crumb in the pan and if it sizzles it means it is ready for frying. Do not fry them on high heat, nor put them in the pan when the oil is not hot enugh. Deep fry two or three pieces at a time (not more than that as they might burst due to change in temperature). Drain them on paper towlels and seve them hot on a bed of cold vanilla ice-cream. You might think it is weird eating a hot and cold dessert. But it a great experience. Try it.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Happy Croissant Sandwich

I call it the happy sandwich because everybody loves it. Fast to make, good to eat - a yummy lunch for school kids! 


Frozen Croissants
Chicken breast
Romaine or Leaf Lettuce
Swiss cheese singles
Lemon pepper/Mango Chipotle powder or spices of your choice
Dijon Mustard sauce
Olive oil
Ketchup - optional

Method: Thaw the frozen croissants according to instructions and bake them till golden brown. Meanwhile cut the chicken breast into thin slices or strips. Rub with lemon pepper, or chipotle mango powder or any spices of your choice. (I used chipotle mango powder from Costco) Add some olive oil and roast or broil them in the oven till done. Remove from the oven and let it cool down to room temperature. Slice the tomatoes, wash, towel dry the lettuce and keep aside. When the croissants cool down a bit, slice them in the center with a bread knife more than half way through, without separating the two slices. Spread some mayo & dijon mustard lightly on the inside, add the chicken then top with swiss cheese, tomato slices and lettuce. Add some ketchup to the chicken if you want, just a few drops. Now close the sandwich and serve for lunch with some garden salad. You may also wrap it with cling wrap and pack it for lunch. The Happy Croissant Sandwich is ready to go!