Aam Panna (Raw Mango Drink)

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Scorching heat, the summer holidays, a chilled glass of a tangy and sweet Raw Mango drink that mum used to make before I headed out to play – all that and more is so synonymous with Indian summer season. This Raw Mango Cooler aka Aam Panna is a summer to-do in almost every Indian household. It reminds me of my childhood in every way. Being a mum of a 2.5 year old makes me relive my summer childhood days with my son with this cooler almost every day.

This thirst quencher is made with green raw mangoes along with spices and tastes absolutely delish. Make a huge batch and you won’t be surprised that it will get over so soon.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 6 – 8 people)

  • 3 medium sized Raw Mangoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp roasted cumin powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar (you can adjust this depending on your preference)
  • 12 – 15 fresh mint leaves + extra for garnishing
  • 1/2 tsp rock salt (optional)
  • 8 – 9 ice cubes
  • chilled water (according to the consistency you desire)

METHOD:

  • Take the chopped and desseded raw mangoes along with some water and pressure cooker it for 3 – 4 whistles or until its tender and cooked.
  • Once done, let the steam escape and let the mixture cool down completely.
  • Take all the ingredients – cooked mangoes, cumin powder, sugar, rock salt, ice cubes and fresh mint leaves along with some water and blend it to make a puree. (You can store this puree for a couple of days).
  • Take the puree, add some water (depending on the consistency you like for your drink), mix it well and serve in glasses.
  • Garnish with fresh mint leaves, roasted cumin powder and ice cubes and serve.

 

 

Gharwali Khichdi

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Basic homestyle khichdi is my synonym for comfort food. There is nothing better that can remind you of clean and sumptuous home food than this Khichdi. A bowl of piping hot Mixed Dal Khichdi, a generous dollop of ghee and a fragrant tadka – a complete one pot meal and definitely your answer to a lazy day food.

 

Growing up in a Marwari family, khichdi was a pretty regular affair in the kitchen with so many different variations. Not only was it served with homemade ghee but also with kadhi, pickle, papad, fried munchies and curd. A simple dish was ornated and with that extra touch of love (read Ghee!) from grandmom made it even more delicious. Light on the tummy, nutritious and yummy, this lentil and rice concoction has been one of my all time favorite Indian meal. You definitely can’t go wrong with this one!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • 1/4 cup uncooked lentils, soaked in water for 30 minutes (I took half moong dal and half Toor dal)
  • 1 green chili, split lengthwise
  • 2 – 3 dried red chilli
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 cardamom pod, seeds removed
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ghee + extra for garnishing
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • hing, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • chopped cilantro leaves, for garnsihing
  • fried onion, for garnsihing

METHOD:

  • Take a saucepan and put it on medium heat. Meanwhile wash the lentils under water a couple of times.
  • Once the saucepan is heated, put ghee. Now add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, hing, green chili, red chilli, grated ginger, bay leaf, cloves and cardamom pod and saute for 10 seconds.
  • Now add the washed lentils and stir for 40 – 50 seconds.
  • Add some salt and turmeric powder and mix it well. Add 1 cup of water and mix it. Cover the saucepan and let the lentil for 10 minutes or so.
  • Once half done, add the washed rice into the saucepan and give it a good stir. Add more salt and around 2 1/2 cups of water and stir. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let the mix cook for 20 minutes or until the rice and lentil is perfectly cooked.
  • Once done, transfer it to a bowl, garnish with coriander leaves, fried onions and a generous dollop of ghee and dig in!

 

Fresh Sorghum/ Jowar Hummus

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Happy 2018 folks! A new year, new aspirations, new vigor and new learnings. The year gone by was a great year with continuous learning and unlearning. And as we have ushered into the new year, I want to make this year more memorable, more fun filled and more enlightening be it learning how to become a better person, a better cook and a better human. This is not a resolution for 2018, but a small effort to embark on a journey of perfection and happiness.

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When it comes to food, I want to explore different cuisines, understand the food culture, eat clean and enjoy. What better way to start learning and cooking with local Indian produce. Winters in Indian brings a plethora of fresh produce – lush green spinach, fresh turmeric, fresh garlic and fresh grains. Loaded with so much goodness, these fresh produce is a constant reminder how beautiful India is. And what happens when you take local produce and turn it into something as simple and lovely like a Hummus. This Homemade Fresh Jowar/ Sorghum Hummus lends an exotic flavor to the usual Hummus. Easy to make with some basic ingredients and a healthy snacking option. Get your creative juices flowing because you can do just so much more than the recipe shared below. Add your favorite herbs or slather it on your toast with some veggies, this recipe will surely win your hearts this winters!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Make 1.5 cups)

  • 1 1/2 cup fresh Jowar/ Sorghum
  • 2 1/2 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 4 – 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt, to taste

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METHOD:

  • Put a saucepan on medium-low heat and dry roast the white sesame seeds until fragrant. Once done, remove it from the heat and let it cool down.
  • In a food processor, add the toasted sesame seeds and 1 tbsp olive oil and grind it to a smooth paste. Once done keep it aside
  • Now take the fresh jowar, parsley leaves, garlic cloves, the toasted sesame paste and extra virgin olive oil in a food processor and grind the mixture into smooth paste.
  • Scrape down the sides, add lemon juice and splash of water (if needed) and blitz it to form an almost smooth paste. (it is okay if you feel the chewy texture of the jowar in the paste)
  • Transfer it to a serving bowl, drizzle some olive oil and dried mint leaves and serve with toast, crackers or crudites.

Enjoy!

Sooji Rava Dhoklas

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Everyone has their special time with their daily cup of coffee or tea. Its the most precious time. It rejuvenates you, gives you the necessary kick and you are back to your daily chores. And when you can pair something delicious and healthy with your cup of coffee or tea, its pure bliss. This fluffy suji dhokla is my all time favourite breakfast and snack. I remember mum making it so often – sometimes the basic ones and sometimes loaded with colorful veggies. I had an undying love for this dish and still love it. Lapping up with homemade tangy chutney – oh so yum! Never do I remember that a batch of these dhiklas lasted for more than 30 minutes. We literally gobbled up these pillow-y bites.

The fluffy dhoklas, tempered with basic Indian spices is delicious and my entire family loves it. Its a no brainer recipe and a perfect addition to your meal table.

RECIPE

METHOD: (For 3 – 4 people)

For the dhokla batter:

  • 2 cup semolina/ sooji
  • 1 cup curd (I used relatively thin curd)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 /2 tbsp oil + extra for brushing the plate
  • 1/4 tsp green chili paste
  • 1 packet eno
  • salt, to taste

For tempering:

  • 1 green chili, cut lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 10 – 12 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • coriander leaves, for garnishing

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METHOD:

  • In a bowl mix all the ingredients mentioned under the dhokla batter except Eno and whisk it until combined.
  • Now add some water so that it the batter is slightly thicker than the idli batter.
  • Meanwhile add water in the steamer base and ring it to oil. Grease the pan with oil and keep aside.
  • Now add eno to the batter and whisk it vigourously until evenly incorporated. Immediately transfer the batter to the pan and put it to steam until a tooth pick  inserted comes out clean. This would take about 15 – 18 minutes on a medium-high flame.
  • Once cooked allow it to cool for 10 minutes and then slice it up.
  • Meanwhile for tempering, take a saucepan on a medium flame. Add oil, curry leaves, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, sesame seeds and saute for 10 seconds.
  • Now add chili flakes and green chili and saute for 20 seconds.
  • Now add a couple of tablespoons of water and turn off the flame. Saute for 10 seconds and pour the tempering over the sliced pieces of dhokla.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with green coriander chutney.

Enjoy!

NOTE: Please note that in case you have to make this dhikla in 2 batches, add eno to the first batch and put it to steam immedaitely. Only when the next batch is ready to go inside the steamer is when you put eno to that batch.

Dal Makhani

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Dal is staple to almost every Indian household. With a myraid of options to choose from, every one in the house has their all time favorite Dal. My favourite being my mum’s Dal Makhani. Yes mum’s extra dose of love in anything she cooks is incomparable but when you eat her Dal Makhani you are bound to fall in love with it. Lentils cooked to perfection, the aroma of the Indian spices and that creaminess – you can’t resist it.

This recipe is a variation of her recipe but super simple to make and definitely delicious. With the nip in the air, a bowl of this famous Punjabi style Dal Makhani along with chopped onions and rice is along you need. So snuggle yourself in a cozy warm blanket with this bowl of deliciousness and savor the amazing desi flavors.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 -4  people)

  • 1 cup whole black lentils/ whole urad dal
  • 1/2 cup red kidney beans
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 large tomatoes, pureed
  • 3 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup cream + extra for garnishing (I usel Amul cream)
  • 1 green chili, split lengthwise
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 – 3 pieces of clove
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2 green (small) cardamom
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp shahi jeera or regular cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder (you can adjust in case you like it more spicy)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp dried kasuri methi leaves
  • salt, to taste
  • coriander leaves, to garnish

METHOD:

  • Soak whole black lentils and rajma overnight in water and in separate containers.
  • Next day, wash the lentils and rajma with fresh water a couple of times and put it in the separate pressure cookers.
  • Put 4 cups of water in the pressure cooker with black lentils with a bit of turmeric powder and salt and put the lid on. Allow it to cook on low-medium flame for around 12 whistles or until tender and cooked.
  • Put 2 cups of water in the pressure cooker with rajma along with salt and a pinch of turmeric powder and allow it to cook for 3 whistles on low-medium flame. Make sure the rajma is cooked but not completely masked inside the pressure cooker.
  • Let the steam escape on its own from both the pressure cookers.
  • Meanwhile take a saucepan and put it on low flame. Take cinnamon stick, black cardamom, small cardamom, cloves and bay leaf and dry roast it from 1 minute. Remove it and keep these condiments aside in a plate.
  • Take butter in the same saucepan and put it on medium flame. Once its melted add cumin seeds and green chili and saute for 10 seconds.
  • Now add the dry roasted condiments and saute for another 30 seconds. To this add tomato puree and let it cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add salt, turmeric powder and let the mixture cook for a couple of minutes. Now add red chili powder and ginger garlic paste and let the mixture cook for 4 – 5 minutes or until the mixture starts to leave oil from the side.
  • Now add garam masala and saute for 1 minute.
  • To this mixture add the cooked rajma and black lentils and saute for 1 minute. Add 1.5 – 2 cups of water and let the whole mixture simmer on medium flame for 4 – 5 minutes.
  • Once the mixture has cooked add dried kasuri methi and low fat cream and mix it.
  • Take it off the flame, garnish with coriander leaves and some cream and serve!

Enjoy!

Paneer Tikka Pizza Bites

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Explosion of firecrackers or explosion of flavors on your palate? I think I will choose the latter all the time. I love firecrackers too, but yes as a conscious citizen, I’ll settle for only a few of these crackers this year. Coming back to explosion of flavors, these Paneer Tikka Pizza Bites is what I call East meets West!

These bite sized pizzas is surely going to be Diwali party hotlist this year. Loaded with awesomeness of desi + videshi herbs and spices, this will surely brighten up your Diwali. Get some basic veggies, crank up the temperature of the oven and it will do its job rightly to get you the most flavorful oven roasted paneer tikka. That sizzling noise of the paneer tikka charring is therapeutic and the perfectly baked pizza crust adds a wonderful crunch to the entire dish.

With a gazillion version of pizzas now available, this one just adds to that mammoth list. Spiked with Indian flavors, this is sure to win everyone’s heart (and tummy too)!

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 5 – 6 people)

  • 250 grams paneer, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup mixed bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup onion, cut into small cubes
  • 2 1/2 tbsp gram flours (besan)
  • 3 tbsp plain greek yogurt/ hung curd
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp carom seeds (ajwain)
  • 1 tsp amchur powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 3/4 tsp dry fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tsp chaat masala
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbsp Fun Food pizza- pasta sauce
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 14 – 15 store bought mini pizzas
  • salt, to taste
  • coriander leaves, to garnish

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METHOD:

  • In a bowl mix all the veggies – paneer cubes, peppers and onion and keep aside.
  • In another bowl mix yogurt, besan, turmeric powder, chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, ginger garlic paste, carom seeds, garam masala, amchur powder, chaat masala, salt, lemon juice and dried fenugreek leaves and mix it.
  • Now put the mixed veggies into it and marinate it well. Make sure it coats evenly. Cover the bowl with a lid and keep it in the fridge for 10 – 12 hours.
  • Now take a griddle pan and put some oil on it. Put it on medium-high flame. Now take a small batch of the paneer and veggies and put it on the griddle pan and let it cook for 1 – 2 minutes on each side.
  • Once done remove it and keep aside. Repeat the process for the remaining batches.
  • Meanwhile preheat the oven to 220C for atleast 15 minutes
  • Mix chili flakes, tomato ketchup and pizza-pasta sauce in a bowl and keep aside.
  • Now take the mini pizza base. Apply the ketchup mix on it. (You can choose not to apply this and apply the leftover yogurt mixture on the pizza base.)
  • Evenly top it with the cooked paneer mixture. Transfer it on the wire rack and allow it to bake at 220C for 5 minutes. Lower the temperature to 180C and allow it cook for 8 – 10 minutes until the base turns light brown and the tikka chars.
  • Remove from oven, garnish with coriander leaves and serve!

Kheer – Diwali Special

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The quintessential Indian dessert made in every household is Kheer. I have grown up watching my grand mom and my mum making the most delicious Kheer ever. Patiently waiting for the milk to thicken, the rice to be perfectly cooked, the perfect amount of sugar and garnished with chopped dry fruits – already struck with nostalgia. Whether its a festival, any small function at home or an auspicious celebration – that Kheer is imperative.

Creamy and luscious, one spoon is never enough. Such a humble dish yet always a treat for your taste buds. A hot day and the chilled Kheer beckons and with the nip in the air, a bowl of hot Kheer is what is soul-satisfying. The aroma of the saffron and cardamom is quite inviting and the dried fruits adds the much needed richness and crunch to the dish.

With festivals just round the corner, this recipe is not to be missed. Made with basic pantry staples, this recipe is a no brainer. This recipe is a must in your repository. It’s easy to fall in love with it each and every time.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (for 3 – 4 people)

  • 1 litre full fat milk
  • 1/3 cup long grain basmati rice
  • 6 – 7 tbsp sugar (you can adjust the quantity as per your liking)
  • 5 – 6 saffron strands
  • 3 pieces green cardamom, powdered
  • 1 tbsp unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp blanced and slivered almonds
  • 1 tsp dried rose petals (optional)
  •  10 – 12 pieces cashew nut (optional)

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METHOD:

  • Soak the rice in water for 40 – 45 minutes and rinse it nicey with water several times to remove the starch.
  • Meanwhile put the milk to boil on low flame in a saucepan. Keep stirring it continuously to avoid it from sticking to the botton of the saucepan.
  • Once the milk is reduce to slighlty more than half the quantity, add the soaked rice. Make sure to drain the water and add the rice to the milk.
  • Keep stirring it intermittently and let the rice cook on low flame.
  • Once the rice is 80% cooked and the milk thickens, add sugar to the mixture and stir it.
  • Now once the rice is 95% cooked, add the cardamom powder, saffron strands, cashew nuts, almonds slivers and pistachios and mix it.
  • Remove it from the flame and garnish with dried rose petals. Serve it hot or chilled as you like it!