Friday, 30 September 2016

Jaipur Pyaaz ki Kachori Recipe (Spicy Snack with Onion Filling)

I wasn't much of a kachori maker unless you count the seasonal lilva or fresh toor kachoris (recipe here) we made once in winters. Why would I when I can step out of my home and get awesome kachoris around the corner? It is now when I have stopped getting kachoris at a wish that I have tried making them at home.

Jaipur Pyaaz Ki Kachori Recipe

Kachoris are a very popular snack in northern, western and eastern parts of India, particularly Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Mahrashtra, Each one has their own variations of the kachori.

Delhi and Uttar Pradesh have the pungent heeng kachoris which are filled with udad dal tempered with asafoetida are popular. Uttar Pradesh also boasts of badiyon ki kachori made from sun-dried lentil dumplings. Bihar's popular sattu (roasted gram flour) ki kachori is served with chutneys and a version of chokha of their favourite litthi-chokha combination. In Bengal you'll see people pairing rossogullas and sondesh at local sweet shops with radhaballabhi which are lentil kachoris served with a spicy potato gravy or gorging on koraishutir (peas) kachori in winters.

And a little further south on the map of India, you have some more variations of kachoris. Rajasthan's, especially Jaipur's, street food is dominated by the onion-filled pyaaz ki kachori and the sweet version mawa ki kachori. Gujaratis like their khasta kachori which is filled with tempered moong dal and served by popping open the top and filling it up with yoghurt, date-tamarind chutney (recipe here), corriander mint chutney (recipe here), chopped onions and sev and their liva or fresh toor kachori in winters. Maharashtrians like the fennel and green chilly flavoured lentil filled Shegaon kachori invented by a shop opposite the Shegaon railways station. I have seen people from these areas debate for hours about which of these is the best kind of kachori.

Jaipur Pyaaz Ki Kachori Recipe

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Makes: 3 kachoris


For the Cover:

1 cup maida (all-purpose flour)
1 tbsp vegetable oil (peanut or sunflower)
1/2 cup water
A pinch of salt

For the Filling:

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp asafoetida
1 small green chilly finely sliced
1 medium-sized potato boiled and mashed
2 medium-sized onions finely chopped
1 tsbp gram flour (besan)
1 tsps red chilly powder
2 tsps corriander powder
1 tsp dried mango (amchur) powder
1 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste

Vegetable oil for deep frying


For the Dough:

In a large bowl, take the flour, add a pinch of salt and 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Mix with light fingers.

Add in the water slowly and knead a stiff dough. Knead well for about 3-4 minutes.

Cover and keep for 10 minutes.

For the Filling:

Heat 1 tbsp oil in another pan.

Temper with the cumin and asafoetida.

Add in the sliced green chilly and fry for 30 seconds.

Now add the onions and saute them for 3-4 mins on a low flame.

Next add the dry spice powders, besan and salt and mix well.

Mix in the mashed potatoes and cook for about 3 minutes on a low flame. Keep aside to cool.

Making the Kachoris:

Keep the oil for frying to heat in a deep-frying pan.

Make 3 equal-sized balls of the prepared dough.

Roll out the dough into a poori of about 4 inches diameter.

Fill in about 1 tbsp of the prepared filling in the centre.

Pinch the sides together and make a filled ball of the dough.

Roll it out till it is about 5 inches in diameter.

Poke holes on both sides with a fork so that it doesn't fluff up during frying and becomes crispy.

Fry one kachori at a time in the heated oil.

Keep pressing with the slotted spoon allowing the air to escape as you fry it for about 4-5 minutes on each side on a low flame till it turns brown on both sides.

Serve hot with date-tamarind and corriander-mint chutneys.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Friendship and a Cup of Tea

Every time I make a cup of tea, I think of my two best friends Sanaya and Vidhi. And of course, our crazy families. Since my morning cup of tea is how I best start my day, I start my day with amazing memories of a friendship that's been around for 12 years.

Thinking of Sanaya when I make a cup of tea is a no-brainer. After all it was she (and daddy, her father) who got me hooked to tea. I still remember the day like it was yesterday. It was my first trip to Sanaya's bungalow in Matheran in the summer vacation of 2005. We'd taken the 6 kilometer long hike from Dasturi to the bungalow (and it was the first time for me). When we got there, Sanaya and daddy immediately expressed (in their very endearing way) their want (it was more like a need, really) for afternoon tea! While making tea, daddy took out a cup for me too and asked me how I'd like mine. I was a little scared and shy as I told him almost apologetically, "I don't have tea, uncle." You should've seen the way Sanaya and daddy whirled around to get an eyeful of me. It was almost like a Hindi movie, where you'd expect daddy to drop the plate in his hand with a loud crash and cover his ears with both his palms. While that (almost) didn't happen, I did get an exasperated "She DOESN'T drink tea?!" from daddy. Then he and Sanaya with their sense of humour and gentle coaxing convinced me to have a cup of the mint tea with lots of sugar (for my Gujju preferences) and without milk (daddy grudgingly caving into my intolerance of it). And till date, it's the best cup of tea I've ever had. Every time I have mint tea, I always think of this first cup (and their whirling!).

Sanu's and daddy's love for tea can be seen in the way how their days are planned around tea. Like when we'd walked through the market halfway between Dasturi and home, Sanaya had already asked daddy to buy some mint for afternoon tea. Then of course there always was the way Sanu, with her very Parsi sweet tooth, would plan what to buy for tea wherever we'd go. If we were at Colaba Causeway then it was Theobroma's, if we were at Churchgate, it as Gaylords, if we were around college, it was Kyani's or Paris bakery, RTI near Fountain, or Parsi General for their lemon tarts, or if we were near Malabar hills, it was Country of Origin. I have some very interesting memories of shopping with her for 'something sweet for tea'. We'd have all our other shopping in one hand and we'd be balancing the very delicate box of pastries, or biscuits, or tiramisu. And then there were those days we'd try to get into a crowded bus to get home. I believe a lot of my flexibility has come from delivering these 'sweets' for tea in one piece.

There are always the great number of teas we've had around the table at Sanu's home. We'd always time our stays  and visits so we could have tea together. There would be at least 4-5 people. And somehow the 3-chairs-on-one-side sized table (pushed up to the wall on one side) always managed to accommodate all of us comfortably. Uncle, Sanaya or me would put up a large 'tapeli' (there is no other word in my mind for it except the way Sanu and daddy call it tapeli) to boil the water. Then we'd ask the question, "How do you want your tea" and the chaos would unleash! Every one had their preferences, which also changed after hearing someone else's preference, or the choice of tea available, or the food that was there, or just simply because of a change of mind. Then there was the preference of sweetener (sugar or honey) and it's amount, other additions like milk or lemon and so on and so forth. Of course there was convincing people who generally did not drink tea to have some with us. This was accompanied by loud talking, general teasing (it was the boys who usually got it from us girls), demands for food (mostly from me or Sanu because we'd always be hungry), stories of the day, western classical music, discussions of books and movies, sarcastic comments, and hugs and love; all of which were freely available around the table. And when the cups of teas were poured, they simply joined the conversation.

Tea with Vidhi was always a new experience. In her well-travelled panache she'd always have a new tea to share with me. The first one I have to talk about is the one that will always be 'our' tea: the smoky Lapsang Souchong with it's fragrance like the fragrance of the dry earth after the first rains (I know the word for it is petrichor, but somehow it's doesn't sound poetic enough to me). Both of us hoard our stocks of good Lapsang Souchong. And when we are having one of 'those' days where we miss 'us' we'll make ourselves a cup of beautiful Lapsang and comfort ourselves. Then there is her obsession with Russian Caravan. Every time she hears of a rare place in Mumbai that serves Russian Caravan, she HAS to rush there (with me in tow, of course) and have a cup of it. How can I also forget running around with her to stock up on her always depleting stock of Typhoo's Orange Spicer every time she travels back home from Indonesia. And there is always going to be the very local (I swear to you looks like it has all the parts of tea plant including barks in it) Indonesian jasmine tea that she has introduced me to as a Christmas and now she keeps filling my stock of it. She travels, travels well and introduces me to so many new teas that keep my love for it going.

The ritual of making tea at Vidhi's home is always a private thing between the two of us even when the whole family would be there. Vidhu's mom, the quintessential Indian host, would leave her kitchen to us when it came to making tea with an exasperated, "I don't know how to make your tea, you girls make it yourself". It was a symbol of her 'give up' on trying to understand us in general. The last time I went to Vidhu's place was the morning of her engagement. Her aunt and mom were running around making sure the whole family was having tea and breakfast while still getting ready. And then when she saw me (one of her 'vavajhodu' or typhoon in Gujarati), she smiled fondly and told me, "go make it". It will always be the great bond between us that she loves us even though she never will fully understand us.

Tea and Vidhi are so many places. The seating by the window in her home that overlooks the small patch of greenery with the background noise of the school next door. Or the couch at Tea Trails at Viviana Mall where we'd grab a peaceful cup of tea before we'd rush to shop for whatever she needed shop for before she flew out. The window by the bed of my parents' old home or the balcony of our new home with conversations about food and menu planning, baking, Sanskrit literature, Hindi literature, books to read, growing up and travel, silliest board games, missing the three of us. We are at our happiest when we sit with each other with a cup of tea warming our hands and conversations warming our hearts.

Every cup of tea is a walk down memory lane for me, because tea is Sanu and Vidhu. Each cup of tea is a precious memory that makes me smile or sigh. Each cup of tea is friendship in all it's simple ever-presence.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Food Writing Going Pro!

Hi All,

It's been some time since I've posted something. You know how life tends to interfere with things you love to do. Well, if what comes as 'life' are still things you love to do, then it's okay! That's what's (thankfully) been happening for me. 

So the good news is that I have taken my food writing to a pro level. I am now a freelance restaurant reviewer with Know Your Town a monthly magazine that's dedicated to the lovely town I grew up in: Thane. 

Here's a preview of what I have been doing! 

So if you live in and around Thane and want to read up more: you can go to the website and subscribe to the magazine. A few clicks and it will be at your doorstep every month! 

Monday, 4 July 2016

Indian Style Masala Omelette Recipe

In my mother's vegetarian kitchen, eggs were the only non-vegetarian treat we were allowed to make. Of course, there was the no non-veg rule on Tuesdays and Fridays and mom fasted on Mondays and Thursdays. Somehow, some auspicious day or the other always fell on the intervening Wednesday. Invariably, then, the only days of the week we were actually allowed to make eggs were the weekends. Hence, our Sunday evening dinners would end up being masala omelettes.

Indian Style Masala Omelette Recipe
I still remember how much we'd look forward to these Sunday dinners. My mom absolutely refused to have anything to do with cooking eggs. So, dad would man the stove and make the omelettes. It was our family's version of the barbecue grill. My granny would chop up onions, green chillies and corriander. I got to help break the eggs. It was very satisfying to take a spoon or a fork and crack at the egg gently till it opened up and then whisk the yellow and white together till they became one yellow batter. Being able to help in my way in making our Sunday treat made me feel all grown up.

Indian Style Masala Omelette Recipe
We always ate the masala omelette with bread or pav and ketchup. My father and brother liked to put ketchup on one side of the pav or on one bread and make a sandwich out of it. I liked to make bite sized pieces of the bread, break a bite of the omelette with it and dip it in ketchup and eat it. You can also eat it rolled up in a paratha or roti. Any way you eat it, this little treat will not fail to satisfy your tastebuds!

Indian Style Masala Omelette Recipe

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 3 minutes per omelette

Makes: 4 omelettes


4 eggs (6 eggs if you're using only the egg white)
1 tsp garam masala or chicken masala
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp finely chopped green chilly
1 tsp finely chopped fresh corriander
4 tsps vegetable oil/ ghee
Salt to taste


In a large bowl, crack open the eggs. 

Add in the salt and garam masala and mix till it forms a uniform mixture. Use a fork and whisk vigorously to remove any lumps the masala might make.

To this add the chopped onions, chillies and corriander. Mix well.

Heat oil on a shallow frying pan. 

Pour about 1/4th of the egg mixture and spread till it forms a thin layer. Cook till golden brown on one side. It will easily come off the pan when you put in the spatula if it's done. 

Flip and cook for 30 seconds.

Serve hot with bread/ pav and ketchup.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Garlic Rosemary Roasted Potatoes Recipe

My potato-loving husband had a great time when we were travelling (and eating) through Europe last year. Every main course we ordered- be it fish or meat- had with it a side of potatoes. Roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, creamy potatoes, garlicky and herbed potatoes... ah potatoes!

Garlic Rosemary Roasted Potatoes Recipe
Roasted potatoes make for a great side dish with any continental dish. They take the dish to the next level and make a complete meal out of it.

Garlic Rosemary Roasted Potatoes Recipe

I always wanted to make roasted potatoes at home, but I was stumped by the lack of an oven. Yeah, well, moving on... I got over that when I got the new oven at home. I tried mixing up some rosemary and garlic with the traditional salt and olive oil tossed roasted potatoes. The results were just brilliant! And here I am typing away the recipe for all you lovely readers. Do try it at home, and let me know how it turns out for you!

Garlic Rosemary Roasted Potatoes Recipe

Garlic Rosemary Roasted Potatoes Recipe

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Serves: 2


300 gms potatoes diced into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tbsps olive oil+ additional for greasing
1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 tsps dried rosemary
Salt to taste


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius for 10-12 minutes.

In a bowl, mix the olive oil, salt, garlic and rosemary.

Put the diced potatoes in and toss them well with your hands. Make sure the potatoes are coated all over by the oil, garlic and herb mixture.

Grease a baking tray. Place the coated potatoes on it such that they form one across it.

Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes.

Serve as a side with grilled meats or pasta dishes.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

A Letter to Papa


I am writing this because I realised I have never said this: thank you for making me the cook and foodie I am today. I know you've never taught me how to cook. But all that you've done apart from that has made me what  I am in the kitchen today. 

Do you remember the first time I turned on the stove to cook by myself? I still remember it clearly. I must have been 11 or 12 years old. You had just come back from your site and were very tired. There was no one at home and I simply wanted to make tea for you. I don't remember how the tea turned out. It was probably not good. But I will always remember the joy I got out of making that tea for you. That joy was my first lesson in how wonderful it feels to cook for the people you love and care for. 

When I was learning how to cook, you've eaten some really terrible meals. I have lost count of the undercooked, overcooked, burnt, under-salted, very salty, bland and spicy meals I have cooked as a child. Or what I thought were 'creative' meals but were just disastrous experiments in cooking (remember the matar paneer at home with gravy of thin ketchup thickened with cornflour paste?) Mom would give me 'feedback'. Bhavya would simply look for alternatives to eat. But you ate each one of these meals quietly and finished what was on your plate without a  word. I've never said it, but that always gave me the encouragement to bounce back after a bad day. And to go on to planning the next meal. 

You've also made me the foodie I am today. You have always been someone who'd go to restaurants and try something different than what others of the group were eating.  My willingness to try new dishes comes from looking up to you and wanting to be like you. There were hits (Thai red curry at Moni's when they first introduced it in early 2000s) or misses (that bland white pasta we ordered at VS) but you were always my eating partner in these new dishes. 

And Rohan always tells everyone about how wonderful it was that despite being a Gujju you introduced me to eating egg and chicken. Trust me, he will always be grateful to you for that. Because he couldn't have married me na if I was a vegetarian! 

So thanks pappa for always being there for my love of cooking.


Monday, 9 May 2016

7 Quick Fix Meals for Hot Summer Afternoons

Summers are here. When I was a child, I really liked summers. They meant ripe mangoes, vacations, free time, playing all day, visits to my cousins and relatives and so much more. That perspective has cooking meals in a hot kitchen added to it now, and well things have changed.

Cooking  in Trichy, or even Thane (now that I am back home for the summers) in the afternoons is a real task! Hot weathers and then you spend hours cooking  in front of the gas with no fan. Nope, can't do it everyday. So I went back to my old recipes and tried to find a solution to this.

Background Image Courtesy:
Guess what? There are recipes I can use to make nutritious and wholesome meals for the family and me without literally sweating it out in the kitchen! Our mothers, grandmothers and even their mothers have been cooking in this summer heat for ages, and as always they've found solutions. I have taken them in, and added some modern twists to it.

1. Mixed Vegetable Thalipeeth

You can find the recipe here.

Mixed Vegetable Thalipeeth Recipe
 If there are only one or two people for a meal at home, then this is a great recipe to make. It takes literally 5-7 mins to grate the veggies and prepare the dough. And then about 3-5 minutes to make each thalipeeth. Loaded with veggies, these thalipeeths make for a complete meal. Serve with some yoghurt, and green chutney (recipe here), or til chutney (recipe here) or even this garlicky coconut chutney (recipe here).

2. Gujarati Osaman and Chhuti Dal

You can find the recipe here.

Osaman-Chhutti Dal- Bhaath Recipe
A one-bowl complete meal with rice. 15 minutes for the pressure cooker to cook the rice and dal and 10 minutes to flavour the osaman. Chop up some vegetables for a salad when the osaman is cooking and you have a complete meal that is flavourful, light and filling.

3. Fettucine in Pesto Sauce

You can find the recipe here.
Fettucine in Pesto Sauce Recipe

Italian is always a great option for summer. Light meals that cook quickly and are so flavourful without much ado. This recipe takes about 30 minutes end to end. Add in this light tomato and mozzarrella salad (recipe here) and you have a quick and complete meal.

4. Chicken Burger

You can find the recipe here.

Chicken Burger Recipe

A soft bun slathered with a mustard-mayo spread with a juicy chicken patty and crunchy lettuce. This amazingly quick-cooing burger is a delight for both children and adults.This burger only takes 10-15 minutes on the gas and the rest of the time, you can have the fan on as you assemble it! Add some more nutrients with this spiced lettuce, cherry tomato and olive salad (recipe here).

5.  Prawns in Thai Red Curry

You can find the recipe here.

Prawns in Thai Red Curry Recipe

Quick-cooking and tasty, prawns are another one of my summer favourite. This elegant and delicate curry of prawns is deceptive because it is absolutely simple and quick to cook. Grind the curry paste in 5 minutes and cook the prawns in another 10. Pair it with steamed rice and you have a winner. Try it and you'll love it!

6. Falafel Rolls

You can find the recipe here.

Falafel Rolls Recipe

Rolls are a great summer cooking option because once you cook the main filling, you can always assemble them out of the hot kitchen. Make them with rotis, add some vegetables for the crunch and some healthy sauces and you have one whole meal wrapped up!

7. Spicy Thai Rice Noodle Salad Recipe

You can find the recipe here.

Spicy Thai Rice Noodle Salad Recipe
If you like light meals like I do for summers, then this is a perfect dish for you. A delicious balance of spicy, salty, sweet, pungent and sour, this salad makes for a complete meal. I like pairing it with some soothing jasmine green tea. You can pair it with some lemon iced tea too (recipe here).

Monday, 25 April 2016

Chicken Sausage Lasagna Recipe

When we were shifting to Trichy, I was a little worried about how little we'll have our loved ones come over. It takes almost 8 hours and 2 flights from Mumbai to come to Trichy. But we have been lucky! In the last one month of being here, my husband's mama-mami (maternal uncle and his wife) and his best friend Mahesh have visited us from Mumbai and Singapore.

Chicken Sausage Lasagna Recipe

It is always so great to have your loved ones make the extra effort to come and visit you at your new home. The last two days Mahesh was here, our days were brightened by his fantastic stories. My contribution to making his visit memorable was (as it will always be) making good food. 

I made this chicken suasage lasagna for the last night of his stay with us. Soft pasta sheets dunked in a creamy white sauce, layered with a herbed red sauce with hidden chunks of chicken sausage. Add to it oodles of cheese on top and you have the perfect dish. It was truly appreciated, and here I am sharing the recipe with you.

Chicken Sausage Lasagna Recipe (With Step-by-Step Pictures)

Preparation Time: 30 minutes 
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Serves: 4


For the Creamy White Sauce:

2 tbsps butter
2 tbsps all purpose flour (maida)
500 ml milk
1 tsp mixed herbs (oregano, thyme, basil, pepper)
Salt to taste

For the Herbed Red Sauce:

2 tbsps olive oil
5 cloves of garlic finely chopped
3 medium onions 
6 tomatoes pureed
1/2 cup water
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsps tomato ketchup
Salt to taste

For the Lasagna:

2  tsps butter plus more for greasing the baking dish
8 lasagna sheets cooked as per packet instructions
2 cups white sauce
150 gms sausages cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 cups red sauce
100 gms mozzarella cheese
1 tsp mixed herbs for garnishing


For the White Sauce:

 Heat butter on a low flame in a pan. 

Add in the flour and roast as you keep stirring it. Once it starts releasing a roasted aroma, after about 2-3 minutes, add in the milk. Use a whisk and keep stirring so that no lumps are formed. 

Bring the milk to a boil on a high flame. Then lower the flame and cook for 2 minutes till it thickens a bit. 

Add in salt and the herbs and mix well. 

For the Red Sauce:

In a pan heat the olive oil. Add in the chopped garlic and fry for 30 seconds.

Add in the onions and fry till they soften and turn translucent. This will take about 1 minutes. 

Pour in the pureed tomatoes and cook on low flame for 5-7 minutes till tomatoes are done.

Add in the water.

Keeping the flame low, add in the salt, the herbs and tomato ketchup. Cook for 30 seconds.

For the Chicken Sausage Lasagna:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes.

Heat butter in a pan and cook the sausage pieces on a low flame both sides till slightly golden. 

Grease a glass baking dish with butter.

Step 1

Use half the white sauce to make a base layer.

Step 2

Make a layer of 4 cooked lasagna sheets on top. Pour the rest of the white sauce on top of the sheets and spread evenly.

Step 3

Layer with the cooked chicken sausage pieces.

Step 4

Put the remaining pasta sheets on top.

Step 5
Make the last layer of the herbed red sauce.

Step 6
Break the mozzarella into small chunks with your hand and layer evenly on top of the red sauce. 

Bake the lasagna for 15 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.

Sprinkle herbs on top for garnishing and serve. 

Monday, 18 April 2016

Shortbread Recipe

Imagine, a golden cookie. You take a bite and it simply melts in your mouth. And you feel the rich warmth of butter with hints of sweetness from sugar. Well, you can experience it too. How? Simply try this very easy recipe at home!

Shortbread Recipe

Shortbread, a cookie of Scottish origin, is a basic butter, flour and sugar cookie. It celebrates butter in ways that makes your tastebuds happy to join in!

Shortbread Recipe

Oh, I am not done counting it's pros (I know you're sold already, but still!). This is a no-egg, pure vegetarian recipe, which is perfect for a lot of Indian households. And it is so easy to make; you don't need very high level of skill. So if you are a new baker, like me, try out this recipe. Be prepared to collect praises like what my husband said, "it's better than some of the cookies I've had in Europe!"

Shortbread Recipe

Here's the recipe of this buttery delight.

Shortbread Recipe

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Makes: 12 cookies


100 gms butter plus more for greasing
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (maida) plus more for dusting
1/4 cup white sugar


In a bowl whisk the butter and sugar together till the sugar dissolves and the mixture becomes fluffy. It will turn whitish and increase in volume.

Add in the flour and fold it in lightly with a spatula or very light fingers.

Slightly dust a work surface with flour. Lightly roll out the prepared mixture into a 1 inch thick layer.

Cut into desired shape of cookies. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C for 10 minutes.

Lightly grease a baking tray. Arrange the refrigerated cut dough on it with a 1 inch space in between.

Bake at 180 degrees C for 12-15 minutes till they turn golden.

Remove onto a wire rack and cool.

Enjoy fresh!

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Cheesy Baked Paneer Burjee

If you're anything like me, you are constantly in search of new tastes and new recipes. It's quite common that everyday food gets boring. When these things happen, I like to spice things up!

Cheesy Baked Paneer Burjee Recipe

This dish is another one of my attempts to mix up things. The plan that Sunday morning was to make simple paneer burjee and parathas, And then I thought, nah! It's too bland for a Sunday dish. I was thinking when I saw the oven... and voila!

Cheesy Baked Paneer Burjee Recipe

I thought of how Rohan (my husband) loves these continental meat baked dishes, I thought why not do the same thing with paneer burjee. This cheesy dish combines the zing of paneer burjee with oodles of melted 'cheesy ness'. Try it, it is sure to become a hit with everyone from 6-60 years. It was a hit with us, for sure!

Cheesy  Baked Paneer Burjee Recipe

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Serves: 4


1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 green chillies thinly sliced
2 medium onions finely chopped
400 gms paneer grated
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 + 1 pinch tsps garam masala powder
1/2 cup + 2 tbsps milk
1 pinch red chilly powder
Salt to taste
4 cheese slices cut into half
Butter or oil to grease the baking dish


Preheat the oven to 150 deg C/ 300 deg F.

In a pan, heat oil and temper with the cumin seeds.

Add the green chillies and fry for 30 seconds.

Next, add in the onions and fry till they sweat (release their water) and become translucent.

Lower the flame and add in the grated paneer, the turmeric powder, 2 tbsps garam masla powder and salt to taste.

Pour in 1/2 cup milk and mix all of these well. Cook on low flame for about 1 1/2 minutes and take off. Take care  not to dry out the paneer burjee, the oven is very drying and will make it rubbery if it's too dry.

Grease a baking dish with the butter. Put in the paneer burjee and make an even layer with the spatula or your fingers.

Pour the remaining milk all across the layer to keep it moist while baking. Sprinkle a pinch of red chilly powder and garam masala on the burjee layer. You can skip this if you're making it for kids who prefer less spice levels.

Arrange the cut cheese slices on it in a criss-cross pattern (it just looks good!)

Bake for 10 minutes till the cheese melts beautifully.

Dig in and serve hot with bread or parathas.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Smoky Paneer Masala Recipe

Well, it has been quite some time since I blogged last. It has been a hectic month and thanks to lovely readers like you wait for me so patiently, I have been able to focus completely on all that needed to be done!

So, what's been up with me? My husband has recently joined IIM, Trichy as a Professor. We've moved base to this lovely city. I have been busy moving and setting up the house. My younger brother (the sweetheart that he is!) had come with me to help me set up. We travelled to pristine Rameswaram with him and explored the city too. Now, that I have settled in, I am back to my love, food writing.

Paneer Masala Recipe

It has been quite an interesting experience so far to manage my own kitchen (yes, I have my own kitchen now!). With the taste preferences (similar and very very disparate, both) that my husband and I have, planning menus has been an interesting challenge. What fun it is!

Paneer Masala Recipe

This is one of the recipes I have made that we both really liked (yay!) and has gone down on my menu permanently. I got the idea for the trick from this recipe from my paternal aunt (which doesn't sound as great as 'foi' does). We had gone to invite her for our wedding and invariably, as it does with foodie families, the conversation turned to food and sharing recipes.

Paneer Masala Recipe
We were having  a lovely paneer masala that we had ordered from a restaurant. She said if you liked this one, try  a little trick next time you make paneer. Roast the onions on the stovetop before you grind them for the gravy. And I did... oh, I am soooo glad I did!! This paneer masala not just has a smoky edge, the roasting of the onions also gives them a lovely caramelisation that just takes the gravy to another level! So, thank you foi for this trick, it worked out beautifully for us!

This recipe goes best with these parathas.

Smoky Paneer Masala Recipe

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Serves: 2


2 medium sized onions
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3-4 whole black peppecorns
1 dried bay leaf
2 tsps garlic paste
1/4 cup tomato puree
1 tsp red chilly powder
2 tsps garam masala
1 cup water
100 gms paneer cut  into 1/4 inch cubes
Salt to taste

Fresh corriander leaves to garnish


Peel the onion, keeping it whole. Take a  fork and insert it into the onion to be able to hold it while roasting. Turn on the stove top and roast the onion on the flame.

Keep turning. It should only char a little, not turn too black or you will get a burnt flavour in the gravy. And take care with your fingers, the fork can turn very hot if you don't pay attention!

Roughly chop up the charred onion and puree it in a mixer-grinder.

In a pan, heat oil on a low flame. While it's heating, add in the whole peppercorns and bay leaf. Add them in the warm oil, they release flavour better that way.

After about 30 seconds, add in the pureed onions. Cook on the low flame till the oil starts to separate. This will take some time- about 7 to 8 minutes. Do not turn up the flame to high or you will burn the onions before they are cooked through. Have patience, great rewards await you!

Next, turn up the flame to medium high and add the tomatoes. After about 30 seconds, turn the flame to simmer and let the tomatoes cook till the oil separates.

Add in the red chilly powder and the garam masala and roast them in the mixture on low flame for another minute.

Turn up the flame to high and pour in the water to get the gravy. Let it come to a boil.

Once the water comes to a boil, lower the flame to simmer. Add the paneer pieces and salt. Stir in gently or the paneer will break. Simmer for about a minute.

Garnish with corriander leaves and serve with hot parathas.

Relish the paneer masala and the compliments!

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Prawns in Thai Red Curry Recipe

Prawns have become my latest favourites. They're easy to cook and yummy to eat. How can you stop yourself from falling in love with them?

My latest attempt in the kitchen was making Prawns in Thai Red Curry. The curry is fragrant with lemongrass and kaffir lime and heat of chillies, garlic and galangal soothed by coconut milk. Prawns pair very well with it.

Have this flavourful curry with steamed rice (use jasmine rice if you can find it!) and have yourself a bowlful of comfort!

Prawns in Thai Red Curry Recipe

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes


2 tbsps peanut oil
200 gms prawns deshelled and deveined
4 tbsps Thai red curry paste (recipe here)
2 cups coconut milk
6-7 Thai basil leaves (optional)
Salt to taste


In a pan, heat the oil.

Add in the prawns and Thai basil leaves. Fry for about 30 seconds.

Next, add the thai curry paste and coat the prawns well with it.

Add in the coconut milk and salt and bring to a boil.

Lower the flame and simmer for a minute till prawns are done. Do not  boil the coconut milk too much or it will go bad in the curry.

Pour over steamed rice and relish!

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Cajun Spiced Grilled Prawns Recipe

I am getting more comfortable with cooking meats and seafood. Especially seafood. I am becoming a complete fish-eater like baba (my father-in-law). Since I have company now to eat all kinds of seafood, I am all for cooking different types of seafood.

Cajun Spiced Grilled Prawns Recipe

Cajun spiced grilled prawns is something I came up with because I had Cajun Spice in my pantry. It is easily available in India now. If you can't find it, you can try making it at home with this recipe (I haven't tried it, but it reads like it would taste like the one I have at home). I had some prawns in the fridge and I didn't want to cook them like always. I mixed the two and voila! Magic happened.

Cajun Spiced Grilled Prawns Recipe

This dish is a perfect weekday or weekend barbecue dish. You need to marinate the prawns in the spice rub for 15 minutes and throw it on the grill for another 5 minutes. It is juicy prawns coated in a spicy mix, served with a dash of lime. Do I have your attention yet?

Cajun Spiced Grilled Prawns 

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Serves: 4


200 gms prawns de-shelled and de-veined
1 tsp olive oil divided
3 tsps cajun spice
Salt to taste

Lime wedges to serve


Marinate the prawns with 1/2 tsp olive oil, cajun spice mix and salt. Rub the marinade well into the prawns.

Heat a grill pan (a normal tawa will do if you don't have one). When the pan is heated well, brush it with the rest of the oil.

Put the prawns on the pan. Cook for 2 minutes and turn them over. Cook for another minute.

Serve hot with lime wedges.  Squeeze the juice of the lemons on to the prawns and eat fresh.