Nov 27, 2012

Baked Christmasy French Toast

Recipe of baked French toastIn India we do not usually make French toasts for breakfast. The ones we do are the savory ones with egg usually. This classical ‘Baked’ French toast recipe will surely win your hearts and will tempt you to try this for the lazy Sunday breakfasts! The recipe can also be made by pan frying the bread slices dipped in French toast batter instead of baking, but baking just makes them melt in your mouth and you must try both varieties infact of this awesome American favorite breakfast dish!
Serves 6
Preparation Time 1 hour
Recipe of baked French ToastINGREDIENTS
1 loaf whole wheat French bread, sliced
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (75 g) dried raisins or currants or prunes
6 large eggs
1 ½ cup (350 mL) whole milk (do not use toned or skimmed milk preferably )
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt        
  • Combine brown sugar, butter and cinnamon and pour this mixture in a 13 X 9 inch (33 x 23 cm) baking pan.
  • Add dried raisins or currants to the pan and toss until coated well. Arrange slices of bread on top of this mixture.
  • Mix the eggs, milk, vanilla, pinch of salt and remaining cinnamon.
  • Pour the above mixture over the bread to cover completely. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • Bake it covered in a 375F (190C) oven for approximately 40-50 minutes.
  • Uncover and bake another 5 minutes to lightly brown the top.
  • Remove from oven, cool for about 5 minutes and serve warm.

Beetroot Pulao

This is something I invented when I was thinking about colors! We often add saffron to the pulao and other dishes for that amazing orange yellowish color and flavour, so why not some purple this time! Beetroot as we know is very rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. It’s often used in salads and juices, and it tastes equally yummy in a rice dish. We’ll prepare it in such a way that you don’t get that crunch or the slightly bitter sweet taste of beetroot directly, but you’ll get all the goodness of it in full form. Try this pulao the next time you making rice, and I guarantee you and your family will fall in love with it!

Serves 4
Making time 40 mins
Basmati or Normal Rice 1 ½ cups
Peas 1 cup
2 tomatoes
1 big onion
1 medium potato
1 big or 2 small beetroot
Cumin/ jeera  1 tsp
Red chili powder ½ tsp
Turmeric ¼ tsp
Garam Masala ½ tsp
Bay leaf 1
Cloves 4-5
Green chili 1
Cinnamon 1 inch
Ghee 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

  • Recipe
  • Peel and grate the beetroot. Keep aside.
  • Dice the potato and tomatoes.
  • Cut the onion in half and slice it thin.
  • Chop the green chili.
  • Wash the rice 2-3 times, and soak in water till needed.
  • In a deep wok/pan take the ghee on medium flame.
  • Once hot, add cumin, bay leaf, cloves and cinnamon.
  • When cumin crackles, add the onions and stir. When they turn light golden brown, add the potatoes and green chilies, and mix well.
  •  After 5 mins, add peas, tomatoes, and grated beetroot. Mix well.
  • Reduce the flame to low and let it cook for 5-7 mins.
  • Now add all the dry spices and mix well. Keep cooking for another 5 mins.
  • Drain the rice and add to the wok. Mix well. Cook for 2 mins and add 5 cups of water and salt to taste.
  • Put the flame on high. When the water starts to boil, reduce it to low and cover with a lid leaving a small opening for steam to escape. Do not put whistle as it’ll mash the rice and make it pasty.
  • Let it cook for 15 mins. You can check in 10 mins to see how much water is left and if rice is done by pressing one rice grain between fingers.
  • Once done, take the wok off the flame and keep the lid on, and let it rest for 5 mins before serving hot with gravy, curd or raita.

Nov 23, 2012

Namkeen Savoury Daliya (Broken Wheat) with Vegetables

Namkeen Daliya with vegetables (Broken wheat with veggies)Namkeen Daliya with vegetables
(Broken wheat with veggies)
This is by far one of the healthiest breakfasts you can have after of course salad or oats! Broken wheat or Daliya is something we usually associate with the meals for the sick or when someone is down with bad digestion. Well, it’s only partly true! Dailya is usually made in the sweeter version with sugar and cardamom and dry fruits in many Indian homes, but it’s savory version is not that popular. I got this recipe from my nutritionist when I was trying to shed some weight for my wedding.(that’s a universal phenomenon I guess!) Over the years as I travelled to southern parts of India, I added a few of the local ingredients to this yummy breakfast and trust me it’s more delicious than you can ever imagine daliya to be! It looks and tastes a lot like pulao or vegetable khichdi, and can be a great way to feed it to the kids. So here’s to good health, let’s get on with the recipe.

Serves 4
Cooking time 30 mins
Daliya or Broken wheat 2 cups
Peas ¾ cup
Tomato 1
Cauliflower ½ flower medium (can also use broccoli)
Potato 1 (omit this if you’re on a weightloss diet)
Carrot 1
Cumin/jeera 1 tsp
Red Chili powder ¼ tsp
Garam masala/ all spice powder ½ tsp
Turmeric powder ¼ tsp
Curry leaf 5-6
Mustard seeds ½ tsp

Salt to taste
Canola Oil / Olive oil 2 tsp (you can use refined oil also but canola is healthier option))
Water for boiling

  • Dice the carrot, cauliflower, potato and tomato into small pieces.
  • In a pressure cooker, heat the oil.
  • Add the cumin and mustard seeds when oil is hot.
  • When it splutters, add all the veggies, curry leaves and peas and stir well on medium heat.
  • After 5 mins, add all the spices except salt. Mix well.
  • After 5 mins, add the dailya. Keep stirring occasionally for 5-6 mins.
  • Add 5 cups water and then add salt to taste. Once the water starts to boil, close the lid and keep the whistle. Keep the flame on medium.
  • After 2 whistles, turn off the heat and let it sit for a few mins.
  • Open the lid and check the consistency. It should be like a very thick porridge or thick khichdi. (not like pulao nor very runny). You can add more water and heat for few more mins, to adjust that.
  • Serve hot with curd. (It tastes good with ketchup or chutney too, but best with fresh curd!)

Nov 21, 2012

Aloo Parantha

Recipe of Aloo Parantha - Yummy Punjabi Breakfast - Dhaba StyleAloo ka Parantha (Flatbread with Potato stuffing)
The typical Punjabi Breakfast! The highlight of all menus in all dhabas! The trademark brunch made whenever we Indians have many guests over for breakfast (along with aloo poori) Even Ram Kapoor and Pihu love this! (From the very popular show Bade ache lagte hain!) Well for my friends abroad, parantha is in Indian flatbread made with lots of different varieties of stuffing. Much like an Indian pizza, with the stuffing inside rather than on top, and cooked on a skillet instead of baking! I’ll be posting many different varieties of Paranthas on this website, with detailed steps. You can refer to this section on Paranthas for more recipes.
Let’s get started with making this yummy Parantha!

Makes 4
Cooking Time 30 mins

5 medium potatoes
1 onion
½ cup of fresh copped coriander
Carom seeds/ ajwain ½ tsp
Amchoor powder / dry mango powder ½ tsp
Anardana ¼ tsp [optional]
Red chili powder ½ tsp
Garam masala ½ tsp
Dry coriander powder ¼ tsp
Green chili chopped 1
Salt to taste
Wheat Dough to make 4 paranthas (make it with 3 cups wheat and ½ cup water and little ghee)
Ghee to cook

  • Boil the potatoes. Peel and keep aside.
  • Chop the onion and green chili.
  • In a big plate or bowl, take the peeled potatoes. Mash them with the back of a fork. 
  • Add the onions, green chili, chopped coriander and all the spices and salt. Taste the mixture and adjust the salt. Keep the salt just a pinch more, as this mixture will also get a coating of dough.
  • Now knead this mixture well and make small balls (size of a table tennis ball). Wet your hands with little water so it doesn’t stick.
  • Now heat the skillet, tawa or a non stick pan.
  • Take a small amount of dough and roll it into a small thick round on a chakla or any flour dusted flat surface.
  • Now place the potato mixture ball into the flat dough and collect all the sides at one point and secure it by pressing the dough so there’s no space for the mixture to ooze out when we roll it flat.
  • Now dust the chakla or any flat surface, and with a belan/rolling pin, make a flatbread/parantha of this ball. Make sure to roll very gently so the parantha doesn’t break. Dust it with dry flour to prevent it from sticking.
  • Put it on the hot pan once done. Cook for 2 mins then flip it to other side.
  • Now spread a spoonful of ghee on the top side and after 2 mins turn the side again and let it crisp up.
  • Turn to the other side. Cook for 1 more minute and take it out in a plate.
  • Serve hot with a cube of butter on it, pickle on the side and fresh yoghurt.

Chef’s Tip: To make the Jain or pure veg variety, you can omit the onions. This same mixture can be rolled into balls, gently flattened, coated with corn flour and fried to make aloo tikkis for yummy chaat!

Nov 20, 2012

Christmas Salad

Broccoli & Beetroot Salad
Healthy Broccoli and Beetroot Salad with fat free low calorie salad dressing.As the winter approaches, we tend to get too cozy with our food! The temperature drops and the fat content in the food goes up! Comfort food is good once in a while, but what if our salads could be as filling and satisfying? (Both literally as well as emotionally!) Who says salads can’t be tasty?  I’ll show you today how to make a yummy broccoli salad with the healthiest, lightest and least calorie salad dressing ever. It’s my take on the Greek salad dressing, but that one’s too heavy on the calorie-meter! So the weight watchers try this new salad and you can easily lose pounds while gaining praises from your taste buds.

Fat-free low calorie salad dressing with curd/yoghurtI call this the Christmas salad simply cos it has the main winter ingredients and it has the colors of Christmas - Green and Red!

Preparation time 15 mins
Serves 3-4
Hung curd/Greek Yoghurt or any thick variety of curd ½ cup
Mustard sauce 2 tsp
White pepper ½ tsp
Black pepper ¼ tsp or to taste
Salt to taste
Olive oil 1 tsp
Broccoli 1 flower
Beetroot 1
Tomato 1
Apple 1
Chopped fresh Coriander and Mint 2 tsp

  • For the dressing, take the curd, mustard, salt and pepper, and olive oil in a bowl. Mix well. Keep aside. (Yes, it’s that simple and yummy!)
  • Boil 3-4 cups of water in a pan.
  • Wash the broccoli and beetroot well. Break the broccoli into flowerets. Cut the beetroot into half.
  • Add the broccoli flowerets and the beetroot to boiling water. Blanch for 10 mins.
  • Dice the tomato and the apple.
  • Drain the broccoli and beetroot. Peel the beetroot and chop into small pieces.
  • In a big bowl, put the Broccoli, Beetroot, Tomatoes, Apples and Chopped fresh Coriander and Mint. Pour the dressing on the top.
  • Now mix gently with 2 spatulas or salads tongs so that the dressing coats the veggies nicely.
  • The salad is ready! Serve in small bowls.

Chef’s Tip: The salad dressing is the star of the dish. You can make hundreds of variations with this. You can also add grapes, or blanched peas and carrots to this salad. Always add atleast one fruit to your salads to break the monotony of veggies if you like.

Nov 17, 2012

Pesto : The Versatile

Pesto is a typical Italian sauce or more of an accompaniment. It’s usually freshly made as you need it, and is a really healthy option because it needs no processed ingredients or cooking. It’s just basil, garlic, olive oil and walnuts! Yet, it’s so versatile that you can have it with almost anything not just in the Italian cuisine!

Here’s a list of ways Pesto can be used: (the recipes for all would follow soon!)
  • Penne pasta in pesto sauce
  • Spaghetti in pesto (also called angel hair)
  • Grilled chicken with pesto
  • Salmon with pesto
  • Pesto in chicken or veg cold salads (instead of mayo or heavy dressings)
  • Pesto and chicken Panini
  • Pesto in veg sandwiches instead of mint chutneys
  • Pesto in Mexican wraps

The list is endless and you can create you own versions!

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Makes 1 cup
2 cups fresh basil leaves, picked
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts (Chilgoza or Akhrot)
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
A food processor/Blender/Grinder
  • If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse/grind them a few times first.
  • Add the basil with the pine nuts/walnuts, pulse a few times in a food processor.
  • Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
  • Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on.
  • Stop and scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula/spoon.
  • Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended.
  • Take out in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Mix well. Pesto is ready!

Nov 14, 2012

Amritsari Methi Chicken

Chicken is undoubtedly the ultimate favorite of all Punjabis, and what better way to make it then the Amritsari style! This is an Indian version, and all my readers abroad, should also try this even if it asks for some Indian spice mixes. You’ll be so happy you tried it, I guarantee! I never read this recipe anywhere, and it just got created out of the blue. We had a few chicken wings in the freezer, and I simply didn’t wanna make butter chicken or grilled chicken. So instead on using the over or griller, I created it in a similar way to a tandoori chicken , but in a wok, and it came out delicious. Two main things to remember here – use only mustard oil, and make sure the chicken is good quality.

This chicken proclaims the supremacy of methi/fenugreek as the ultimate chicken companion in a dish!

Preparation Time = 40 Mins
Chicken drumsticks 8 pieces
Ginger garlic paste 1 tsp
Ginger 1 inch piece
Red chilli powder 1 tsp
Turmeric powder 1 tsp
Garam masala 1 tsp (or allspice)
2 green chilies
Tandoori chicken masala 2 tsp (preferably MDH or Everest)
Chicken Vindaloo spice( optional) ½ tsp
Mustard oil (to shallow fry) 2 tbsp
Dry coriander powder 1 tsp
Bay leaf 1
Cinammon stick 1 inch
Black pepper 6-8
Cloves 4-5
Cumin ½ tsp
Hing A pinch
Kasoori Methi / Dry fenugreek leaves 1 tbsp
Red Onion 2 medium
Coriander leaves To garnish
Lemon 2
Salt To taste

  • Wash the chicken pieces well, dry and keep aside.
  • Heat mustard oil in a large wok on high flame till oil reaches its smoking point.
  • Then reduce flame to low, and add Hing, Cumin seeds, bay leaf, cloves, pepper seeds, and cinnamon.
  • Chop the onions and ginger and one green chili, and make a fine paste in a grinder/mixer.
  • Add this paste to the wok. Mix well. Keep the flame on low.
  • Cook for 5 mins, then add kasoori methi, and all the dry spices and salt.
  • Mix well so that mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom. When the onions are cooked and the whole masala starts to separate from the oil, add the drumsticks.
  • Keep the flame on low, Mix well so that the masala coast the chicken properly. Cover the wok with a large plate or a lid, and leave for 10 mins.
  • After 10 mins, the stir again. The chicken will release water and the wok will have a little gravy too now. Mix well so that chicken remains coated. Taste the masala, and adjust seasoning and salt as needed.
  • Prick all the chicken pieces with a sharp knife in the middle, so that the masala now will seep deep in it. This will also tell you how much more time the chicken will take to cook.
  • Keep the flame on low, again cover the lid and let it cook for 10 more mins.
  • Now add chopped coriander and mix well. Prick with a knife/fork. If the chicken is soft and cuts easily that means it’s cooked. If not, add ¼ cup water, mix well, cover the wok, and let it simmer for 10 more mins. Otherwise, if it’s cooked, then remove the lid, and let it cook last 5 mins so that the gravy dries up and a masala coats the chicken evenly.
  • Serve hot as a starter with onion rings and tomato slices.

Chef’s tip: You can leave the gravy in, instead of drying it and serve this as a main course. 1 tbsp Tomato puree can also be added to the onion paste in the beginning to create a variation.

Nov 12, 2012

Appy Diwali - Festive Apple Drink

Happy Diwali! Or Appy Diwali with this awesome drink!
Tomorrow is the festival of lights, and guests would be coming and going all day! The table would be laid with sweets and dry fruits and most probably with tea or soft drinks. Why not give our friends something different? Let’s make a cool apple beverage today and surprise our families and friends. It used all the winter ingredients readily available, esp. during the Diwali week! Friends, do try it, and let us all know about the compliments you received.

You can double the quantities for more people.

Serves 4

Time 20 mins

Chilling time in Refrigerator 1 hour

1 Large Apple
4 ½ Cups Milk
¼ cup sugar
6-8 Almonds
6-8 Pistachios
1 tsp Kewra water or rose essence
½ tsp cinnamon powder

Directions for the Recipe
  • Bring milk to a boil in thick bottomed saucepan.
  • Lower the heat, add sugar and let it simmer for 10-15 mins.
  • Meanwhile, blanch the almonds and pistachios in boiling water for 5 mins. Drain, peel and cut into slivers/thin slices.
  • Peel, core and grate the apple. Add it to the milk. Simmer for 5 mins more.
  • Remove from heat. Cool and chill in fridge for 1 hour.
  •  Add the slivered nuts, cinnamon powder and Kewra water to the milk and mix well.
  • Pour into small shot glasses, garnish with slivered nuts and serve cold.

Chef’s tip: You can also garnish it with silver vark/paper, or pomegranate seeds.

Nov 9, 2012

Chocolate Laddoo

This is probably the fastest and easiest recipe in the world for making any yummy dessert! It just needs a very few simple everyday ingredients, and this Diwali, you can make laddoos yourself at home, and really surprise your guests! And the best part is it’s going to save you lots of money as well. Let’s get started.

Makes 10-12 pieces
Making Time 15 mins
Biscuits (preferably Marie or Good day) 5 pieces
Milk ¼ cup
Almonds 1 cup
5-6 almonds halved, for garnishing
Cocoa Powder 1 tbsp
Sugar 3 tbsp
Milk powder 2 tsp


  • In a blender, grind together the biscuits, sugar and almonds.
  • Take this out in a bowl. Mix in the cocoa powder and milk powder.
  • Add milk one spoonful at a time, and make tight dough with this mixture. You can wet your hands with little water so that the mixture doesn’t stick.
  • Make small peda or laddoos (balls) with the dough.
  • Press one half of almond on top of each laddoo.
  • Arrange in a plate and refrigerate for 15 mins before serving. Awesomely quick and delicious chocolate laddoos are ready!
Chef’s Tip: As a variation, you can also roll the balls in powdered almonds before refrigerating. You can also add crushed cashew nuts to this. For diabetics and weight watchers, you can make this with artificial sweeteners as well.

Nov 4, 2012

Shahi Paneer

Cottage Cheese in mildly spiced buttery tomato gravy
This is the ultimate favorite dish for main course, of all the vegetarians I know of! We also know this as a corresponding of the butter chicken of the vegan friends. I love Paneer, and no other gravy to cook it in than this one. Let’s forget about ordering this yummy dish from any restaurant from now on, cos I’ll show you how to make it at home – the true Punjabi style!

Serves 4-5
Cooking time 30 mins
Paneer 500 gms
2 medium red onions
5 medium tomatoes
1 inch ginger
10-12 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
100 gms cream
1 tsp kasuri methi(dried fenugreek leaves)
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 green cardamoms
5-6 cloves
2 inch stick of cinnamon
1 whole green chili
½ tsp garam Masala
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp red chili powder
1 tsp dry coriander powder
A pinch of hing (asafetida)
A pinch of nutmeg
Salt to taste
1 tbsp oil
Chopped coriander for garnishing

  • Slice the onions thinly.
  • Chop the chili, ginger and garlic.
  • Make the puree of the tomatoes by using a mixer or blender.
  • Now take a wok and heat 1 tbsp oil.
  • Add hing, jeera(cumin), bay leaf, cloves, beaten cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon stick.
  • After 30 seconds, add chopped ginger, garlic and chili.
  • Just toss for 30 seconds and add the onions and kasuri methi.
  • Mix well and heat on medium flame till onions get light brown.
  • Now add the tomato puree and reduce the flame to lowest.
  • Keep stirring every 1-2 mins so it does not stick to bottom.
  • Once the whole mixture or tadka, gets thick and oil starts leaving the edges slightly, add the powdered spices – turmeric powder, chili powder, garam Masala, coriander powder and chicken Masala.
  • Mix well for another 3-4 mins so all the spices get cooked and mixture becomes uniform.
  • Turn off the gas, and put this mixture ina blender or mixer and make a fine paste of it. This paste will be of dark orange color.
  • Now turn the gas to low flame and put this paste back in the wok.
  • Add 3-4 cups of the vegetable stock if you have or water.
  • Keep stirring gently till the whole gravy becomes homogenous.
  • Now add the cream to this and mix gently for 2-3 mins.
  • Dice the paneer or cut into triangles and add in the gravy.
  • Then add water to adjust the quantity of gravy you need and add salt accordingly. Cover the wok and let it simmer for 10 mins.
  • Turn off the gas. Garnish with chopped coriander and a few drops of cream and serve hot with roti, naan or rice.


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