Masala Chaas

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Summer is incomplete without a chilled glass of delicious Buttermilk aka Masala Chaas. There are so many variations of this simple cooler and you can’t get enough of this throughout the summers. Every family has their own special (and favorite) Masala Chaas recipe and so is mine. Making a glass of buttermilk rekindles childhood memories every time. And now time had completed a full circle. After school routine at home was gulping down my mum’s special Chaas and she never failed to add her touch of love by making so many varieties. I thoroughly enjoyed it! And now when my son comes back from his school is when I serve him buttermilk during summers.

A classic Indian beverage with so many good properties that you need to include in your diet plan – aids good digestion, good for gut, body cooler and packed with flavor. Make your glass now!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 – 4 people)

  • 1 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cup chilled water
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin powder/ jeera powder
  • 8 – 9 curry leaves
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 green chillis, split lengthwise
  • 1/4 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cooking oil
  • 8 – 9 ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • salt for taste

METHOD:

  • In a blender put yogurt, chilled water, roasted cumin powder, salt and half of the ice cubes and blend it until it becomes slightly frothy.
  • Heat a tadka pan. Put oil, mustard seeds and let it crackle.
  • Add curry leaves, grated ginger and green chilli and saute for 10 seconds.
  • Put this tadka in the yogurt and water mix and stir it.
  • Now take serving glasses and divide the rwmaining ice cubes evenly between them. Equally divide the chaas amongst the serving glasses.
  • Generously garnish with coriander leaves and enjoy!

Methi Malai Paneer

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Its raining here incessantly in Bangalore and all I was craving was a bowl of comforting paneer curry with some fluffy rotis. And such delicious cravings need to get fulfilled and hence Methi Malai Paneer happened in my kitchen. Being an ardent fan of paneer, this recipe is one of my family favorites. A few handful basic ingredients in the kitchen come together beautifully to make a stunning curry. The lush methi leaves, the delectable gravy and my ever favorite grilled paneer cubes.

So just when you thought paneer dishes are all the same and quite boring, this recipe is a winner. Try it and you’ll fall in love with it.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 – 4 people)

  • 200 grams paneer, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups fresh fenugreek/ methi leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 15 – 16 cashew nuts, soaked in a small bowl of water
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 green chilli, split lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp dhaniya powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/3 cup fresh cream
  • 2 tbsp dried kasuri methi leaves

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METHOD:

  • In a kadhai take 1 tbsp oil and put it on medium flame. Add cumin seeds and saute it until it crackles.
  • Now add onion and saute until its translucent to light brown. This would take about 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Now add tomatoes, garlic, ginger, green chilli, cashews and a little bit of salt and saute it until the tomatoes are cooked and mushy.
  • Take it off the stove and allow it cool down completely.
  • Once cooled, mixer grind it into a smooth paste. You can add 1 – 2 tbsp of water if required.
  • Now take another kadhai on medium flame and take 1 tbsp of ghee in it. Add the tomato – onion puree in it. Add turmeric powder, dhaniya powder, red chilli powder, garam masala and a bit of salt and let the paste cook until its releases some oil.
  • Now add 1/3 cup water to this an let it cook for another 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Now add the fresh cream and keep stirring it until its well incporporated into the paste to avoid the cream from splitting.
  • Add methi/ fenugreek leaves to it and let it simmer for 4 – 5- minutes.
  • Now add paneer cubes and honey and let it simmer for 2 – 3 minutes. Alternatively you can grill the paneer cubes on a griddle pan and put it inside the gravy righe before serving.
  • Garnish with kasuri methi leaves and serve.

 

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.

 

 

Eggless Oat Cookies

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Usher into the cookie month with some simple Oat Cookies. Making batches after batches of cookies is indeed therapeutic. Warm spices to fresh herbs, chunks of butter to heaps of flour, beautiful little cookie cutters to perfectly baked cookies – the journey of making cookies is fun. Every cookie dough has exciting ingredients and its own story to tell.

These Oat Cookies were specially baked for my 2.5 year old lil one. He loves munching on homemade cookies during evenings and I love baking it for him. It allows me to introduce different flavor combinations in a beautiful way. Watching me bake so often, he loves taking part in the entire process, mixing ingredients to cutting the cookies. These classic cookies are super easy, fun to bake with kids and a total winner in my kitchen. The spice blend in the cookie dough lends a wonderful warmth to the cookie, while the oats make it chewy and addictive. Add this easy cookie recipe to your reportoire and you’ll never regret it!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 24 cookies)

  • 220 gms oat flour + extra for dusting
  • 40 gms rolled oats
  • 220 gms unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 70 gms icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 2 tbsp whole milk (optional)
  • pinch of salt

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METHOD:

  • In a bowl take unsalted butter and beat it until smooth. This will take around 30 – 40 seconds. Now add icing sugar and beat it until its smooth.
  • Now add vanilla extract and beat it for 20 – 25 seconds.
  • Add oat flour, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder and salt and fold in the mixture until well incorporated.
  • Add the remaining rolled oats and fold in until just incorporated. In case the dough is too thick, add 1 – 2 tbsp of whole milk and fold in gently.
  • Transfer the mixture to a well dusted surface and bring the dough together to form a disc. Do not knead it.
  • Wrap the dough with cling wrap and put it in the refrigerator for 40 – 45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile line the baking sheet with parchment paper and keep aside. Preheat your oven to 180 C for atleast 15 minutes.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 – 1/3 inch thick circle. Using cookie cutter cut the cookies into the desired shape and tranfer on the baking sheet.
  • Keep this baking sheet in the freezer for 10-15 minutes until its firm.
  • Now take it out and put it to bake for 15 – 17 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown.
  • Take it out of the oven and allow it to cool completely. Once its cools down, it firms up better.
  • Transfer it to an airtight container and enjoy these for a week.

 

 

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!

Overnight Pumpkin Pie Parfait

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The nip in the air, the beautiful color of the leaves, the pretty pumpkin decoration adorning everyone’s houses and not to forgot the aroma of the most delicious and comforting food wafting through my entire house – that’s absolutely dreamy! Yes Fall and Halloween is right here and so in my favorite Fall recipe of Overnight Pumpkin Pie Parfait!

While I was in the US, everyone eagerly waited for Fall. The most picturesque any city can get throughout the year. Perfect time to spend nestled in the blanket, sip on a cup of hot latte or warm soup and enjoy the scenic beauty. And then comes those pumpkin recipes – the delicious Pumpkin Spiced Latte or the Pumpkin Pies, you can’t stop but gorge on those. This Parfait is a twist on my favorite pumpkin pie which helps be indulge guilt free. The warmth from the fresh spices and the creaminess from the coconut milk and yogurt is the best thing to ask for every morning.

So just when you were thinking how to indulge in a pumpkin pie, you’ve got you covered!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

  • 1 1/2 cup diced pumpkin, seeds removed
  • 200 ml unsweetened coconut milk
  • 100 grams plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp black chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 3/4 cup almonds
  • 2 1/2 tbsp agave nectar (or honey)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1 – 2 cloves
  • 1 pod of cardamom
  • orange zest, for garnshing
  • edible flowers, for garnishing

METHOD:

  • In a bowl mix rolled oats, coconut milk, greek yogurt, 1 tbsp agave nectar, chia seeds and vanilla extract and whisk it under there are no lumps. Keep it in the refrigerator in a bowl overnight.
  • Take the diced pumpkin pieces in a pressure cooker with a bit of water and let it cook for about 3 – 4 whistles. Once its done let the steam escape on its own before you open it.
  • Once cooked to perfection and softened completely take the cooked pumpkin cubes and puree it along with cardamom, cloves, nutmeg powder, cinnamon powder, ginger powder and the remaining agave nectar.
  • Puree it completely (without water). In case you have a lot of water in the puree, you can cook the mixture on low-medium flame to let the moisture evaporate and then allow the puree to cook down completely.
  • Meanwhile take the walnuts and almonds and pulse it in a food processor until the big lumps don’t exist.
  • Use a couple of serving jars, layer each of them with equal amount of walnut and almond crumb.
  • Then evenly divide the the coconut-yogurt and chia mixture. Layer it with pumpkin spiced puree.
  • Finally garnish with orange zest strips and edible flowers. Allow it to cool for 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

Happy Fall!

 

Easy Rajma Masala (Kidney Beans Curry)

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When I think about Indian comfort food, Rajma Chawal tops my list every time. I am not the kind of person who loves to eat Indian food everyday, but eating different cuisines and combinations each day, Rajma Chawal provides that brief hiatus where I go back to my roots, simple home style food where the magic of spices is unparalleled.

As a child mum used to make different versions of Rajma – sometimes without onion garlic, sometimes with a bit of cream and sometimes with potatoes in it. I enjoyed all these different varieties, but my favorite was the one which my friend used to get in her lunch. I remember gobbling down her entire lunch in school on days she got Rajma. I often tried to replicate her recipe, but failed each time. I think that it is the world’s best Rajma chawal and my friend refuses to share the recipe.

Each bite of this curry unveils the perfect blend of Indian spices. The melt in your mouth rajma (kidney beans) along with a flavorful onion-tomato gravy instantly can win anyone’s heart. Pair it with basic steamed rice, pickled onions and papad – quick and easy meals are sorted!

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

  • 3/4 cup uncooked rajma (kidney beans), soaked overnight
  • 1 cup onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 4 – 5 -cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chili, cut lengthwise
  • 1 – 2 bay leaf
  • 4 – 5 curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp rajma masala powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp  garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp kasuri methi (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • pinch of baking soda (optional)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped for garnishing
  • lemon wedges, to serve

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METHOD:

  • Drain the water from the overnight soaked kidney beans and transfer the beans to a pressure cooker. Add 3 1/2 cups of water, bit of salt and baking soda in the pressure cooker and close the lid. Allow the kidney beans to cook on medium flame for atleast 4 – 5 whistles. (You can let it cook for more whistles until the beans is tender and cooked).
  • Once the whistles are done, allow the steam to escape on its own. Take the rajma out and drain the liquid. Do not throw it away since we will use it later.
  • Meanwhile take the chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, garlic cloves and ginger and make a fine paste using a mixer grinder.
  • Put a sauce pan on medium flame. Add ghee. Once hot add the cumin seeds and allow it to crackle. Add the green chili, curry leaves and bay leaf and saute for 10 – 15 seconds.
  • Now add the tomato- onion paste and cook it on low flame. After a minute or so add salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chili powder, half of rajma masala and let the mixture cook until all the moisture is evaporated. This will take about 8 – 10 minutes.
  • Once cooked add the cooked kidney beans along with the remaining rajma masala and give it a quick stir.
  • Add the rajma stock (and more water if you like it watery), cover it with a lid and bring the curry to boil.
  • Add kasuri methi and adjust for salt and spice levels and let it cook for another minute or so.
  • Now garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice.

Enjoy!