Monday, November 28, 2016


Cheela is a quick breakfast option and a vegetarian alternative for an omelette. It can be prepared with any flour either plain or with the addition of some vegetables of your liking.
This month in our group "Shhhhhhh Cooking Secretly" the theme is "Breakfast" and I am paired with Avin S Kohli. She gave me two ingredients - Spinach and Tomatoes. I have made besan ka cheela adding these to the batter.

Gram flour / besan ..... 1 cup
Whole wheat flour ..... 1 tbsp (optional)
Onion ......................... 1 small (finely chopped)
Tomato ....................... 1 small (cut into small pieces)
Green chillies ........... 2-3 (chopped or crushed)
Spinach ..................... 1/2 cup (chopped finely)
Coriander leaves ........ handful
Yogurt ....................... 1-2 tbsps (optional)
Cumin seeds ......... 1 tsp
Carom seeds / ajwain ... 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder .......... 1/4 tsp
Cumin powder ............. 1/2 tsp
Salt ................................ to taste
Oil or ghee .................  as needed


1. Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. Tip in the onion and sate for a minute until translucent.

2. Now add the spinach, tomato, green chillies and coriander. Simmer for half a minute. Let it cool.

3. In a large bowl take the gram flour, whole wheat flour. Mix the sauteed onion, and the rest of the ingredients mentioned in the list except oil.

4. To make cheelas, pour a spoonful of batter on a griddle, spread it and fry spooning a little oil or ghee on both sides until done.

Serve with chutney/ pickle / raita.

Note: For better results prepare the batter at least one hour ahead so that the flavours blend together.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Birista or crisp deep fried onions are really handy to have them in your kitchen. You can quickly prepare your meats and curries using them. You can also use them as a garnish on rice dishes. Biriyani is incomplete without the garnish of birista.
You can prepare a large quantity when you have some free time and refrigerate in an air tight jar. You may even freeze them in zip lock bags. For better result you can spread the sliced onions on a plastic sheet and dry them in the sunlight for a couple of hours if you have the facility, which we miss living in apartments.

Onions .... 1 kg or as needed
Oil ......... 3 cups

1. Peel and slice the onions finely.
2. Heat oil and fry the onion on high flame for 8-10 minutes.
3. Now reduce to medium and continue to fry stirring the onion from time to time.
4. When it gets a nice golden colour and is crisp enough drain it in a sieve and spread it on a kitchen paper towels. (avoid using news papers)
5. When it is cool enough, fill it in an air tight container or jar. You can also freeze it in zip lock bags.
I usually prepare enough to last for a month and just refrigerate it.

Saturday, November 5, 2016


Surti Butter or Batasa or Jeera butter biscuit are a popular tea time snack sold in most bakeries or Irani tea houses in India. These are small, crisp,dried bread buns (or savoury cookies) with a light texture. The rich cookies are a great accompaniment to Indian masala Chai or go well with soups. Rehydrated with water they are also a great substitute for Dahi vada.
For best results it is best to measure the ingredients in grams as suggested in the recipe. I have given approximate conversions for those who wish to use alternate measurements. The content of butter is quite a lot in these but do not reduce it. The only minor change I made to the recipe is adding caraway seeds also as I like the taste. The original recipe has only cumin seeds. 

This recipe is adapted from the book:
Crumbs! Bread Stories and Recipes for the Indian Kitchen by Saee Koranne-Khandekar

Instant yeast ... 20 grms (5 tsps)
Sugar .............. 7.5 gms (1 tsp)
APF / maida ... 500 gms (4 cups)
Lukewarm water ... 300 ml (about 1 cup)
Salt ..................... 7.5 gms (1 tsp ... I added less as the butter is salted)
Cumin seeds ...... 5 gms (2 tsps)
Caraway seeds ... 5 gms (2 tsps)
Butter or margarine ... 275 gms


1. Take half cup luke warm water abd add the sugar and yeast. Leave it in a warm place for 5-7 minutes until it is frothy.

2. Take all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.. Knead adding the yeast and the remaining water to make a soft dough. Knead well for few minutes until the dough is nice and light.

3. Place it in a greased bowl covered with a cling flim and set aside in a warm place to rise for 1 hour. In winters it takes more time.

4. Knock down the risen dough lightly. Make lemon sized roundels. Place them in a baking tray lined with butter paper. Allow them to rise for 1 hour.

5. Preheat the oven to 2oo deg C. When the balls have risen sufficiently, place them in the hot oven and bake for initial 20 mins. Then reduce the temperature to 120 deg C and continue to bake for another 30-40 minutes or until crisp.(This time may change depending on your oven or the size of the cookies)

 Cool completely on a wire rack and store in an airtight jar for up to 3 weeks.

Yield - about 30 cookies. If you want to make half the quantity reduce the ingredients accordingly.

Recipe by Madhuli Ajay for the group - We Knead To Bake - Bread # 44 

Friday, November 4, 2016


Lachcha paratha is a crispy, layered Indian flat bread made with wheat flour and ghee. This is popular in North India. In winters you can also add a little ajwain. Down South it is made with maida and is known as barotta or parotta.
There are many ways of rolling out these parathas. Just make sure you roll out very lightly the second time so that the layers remain intact and do not use flour for rolling.

The first method is - cut out strips, brush with ghee, sprinkle some flour and make a roll joining each strip and roll out carefully.

The second method is roll out a paratha, brush ghee and sprinkle some flour and then start folding it like a fan. Then you carefully fold it into a round shape and roll out again with light hands.

 The third method is roll out a paratha, brush the ghee and sprinkle the flour. Give a cut half way through and roll it like a cone. Flatten it lightly placing the tip at the bottom and roll again carefully.

Wheat flour ... 2 cups or as needed
Ajwain ........ 1/2 tsp (optional)
Salt ........... to taste
Ghee ........ 2 tsps for the dough
Ghee ....... as needed for brushing and roasting.


1. Knead the flour adding salt, ghee and ajwain (if you like it) using sufficient water. Rest the dough for 10 minutes.

2. Roll out a roti. Brush a little ghee and sprinkle some flour over it. Cut it into strips.

 3.Start rolling the strips joining each strip. Make like a Swiss Roll.

4. Roll it out carefully with light hands. Do not use flour to roll the second time.

5. Roast it flipping the sides brushing a little ghee to make it crisp.

Note: This paratha is perfect for parties. You can make them half done and store them ahead. You can freeze them as well.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Festive season is here and we have so many friends and relatives visiting us. Here is a nice appetizer / snack to serve along with many other goodies. Crispy corn cutlets stuffed with paneer and dry fruits, coated with oats for crunchiness is perfect for the occasion.

Corn kernels .... 2 cups
Boiled and mashed potato... 1 cup
Ginger paste ..... 1 tsp
Garlic paste .... 1 tsp
Green chilli paste .. 1 tsp
Milk ............... 1/2 cup
Salt .............. to taste
Roasted and crushed oats ... 1-2 tbsps
Kasoori methi powder ....  1/2 tsp
Roasted cumin powder .... 1/2 tsp
Oil .... for frying

For the stuffing:
Crumbled paneer .. 1/2 cup
Raisins .......... 1 tbsp (chopped)
Almonds ........ 1 tbsp (chopped)
Pistachios ....... 1 tbsp (chopped)
Cashew nuts ..... 1 tbsp (chopped)
Salt ................ to taste
White pepper ... 1/4 tsp (optional)
(Mix everything together)

For Coating:
Oats ..... 1/2 cup or as needed
Flour ..... 1 tbsp
Corn starch .. 1 tbsp

1. Grind the corn kernels coarsely adding milk.
2. In a pan heat a tbsp of oil and add the ginger garlic paste.
3. Saute and add the green chilli paste and corn paste. Cook it stirring continuously until it becomes thick. It takes about 5 minutes. Season with salt, roasted cumin powder and crushed kasoori methi.
4. Allow it to cool. Now mix the boiled and mashed potato, roasted and crushed oats for binding. Check the salt.
5. Now take a small portion of this dough and flatten it. Place a little dry fruit and paneer mix and seal it well. Make all the cutlets similarly in an oval or any other shape you like.
6. Mix the flour and corn starch with half cup milk or water to make a thin slurry.
7. Take the oats in a flat plate.
8. Dip the prepared cutlets in the flour slurry and coat them with oats.
9. Heat oil in a pan and fry the cutlets until golden brown.
10. Serve with any sauce of your choice.

Friday, October 28, 2016


Gujiya is a sweet usually made during Holi festival. Traditionally sweets are made in India on any auspicious occasion, be it a festival or a celebration or a family re-union.. sweet is a must. Gujiyas are made with a variety of fillings like dessicated coconut, dry fruits, mawa etc etc....
My favourite sweet is mawa gujiya from Pulla Reddy Sweets in Andhra Pradesh which is a speciality Nothing can beat the taste of this gujiya. I am so happy that my gujiyas were quite similar in taste.

Mawa .... 1 cup or as required
APF / maida ...... 2-3 cups
Milk ................ 1/4 cup or as needed to knead the dough.
Cardamom powder .... 1/4 tsp
Desi ghee ........... 2 tbsps for moin (mixing in the dough)
Salt .................... 1 pinch
Icing sugar ........ 2 tsps
Sugar .............. 1 cup for making the syrup
Desi ghee or oil ... for frying the gujiyas.
Rose petals .. fresh or dry (optional)
Silver Varq ... for garnishing
I have used ready mawa. If you want to make it at home see the recipe - HERE


1.Take the flour in a large bowl and mix a pinch of salt, 2 tsps icing sugar, 2 tbsps desi ghee.

2. Knead it with milk to make a soft dough. Cover and set aside at least for an hour.

3. Take small portion of dough and roll it into a round shape.

4. Spoon a little mawa as required and fold it into a semi circle.

5. Press the sides well to seal. Using your finger tips start pinching and folding the edge to make a design.

6. Heat ghee or oil and fry the gujiyas on medium flame to a light golden colour and they should be nice and crunchy.

7. While you fry the gujiyas make a thick sugar syrup with one cup sugar and half cup water. Flavour the syrup with cardamom powder.You can also add rose petals if you have them.

8. When the sugar syrup is boiled to one string consistency, tip in the fried gujiyas. Let them soak for few minutes until well coated.

9. Remove them on a serving platter and garnish with silver varq and rose petals.

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Dal is such a versatile dish that can be made with endless variations. This is a recipe from Andhra. Pappu means thick dal. This can be made plain or with the addition of any greens or vegetables to it. Today's recipe is with brinjals.

 Toor dal .......... 1 cup
Brinjals / eggplant.. 1/4 cup (cut into pieces)
Tomato .................... 1
Green chilli .............. 1
 Methi leaves ... handful (optional)
Coriander leaves .... handful
 Turmeric powder .... 1/4 th tsp.
 Tamarind juice ....... 2-3 tbsps.
 Ginger - garlic paste ... 1 tbsp.
Salt .............................. to taste

For Tempering:
Mustard seeds .... 1/2 tsp
 Dry red chillies .... 2-3
Curry leaves ....... few
Asafoetida ........... a pinch.

 1. Wash and soak toor dal for 2-3 hours.
2. Boil dal with 2 cups water, salt, turmeric powder and ginger garlic paste.
3. When it is half done add the tomatoes, green chillies, methi and coriander leaves and brinjal pieces.
4. When the brinjals are done stir in the tamarind juice finally and check the thickness of dal. Add water if needed and just mash lightly with the ladle.
5. Heat a little oil and add the tempering ingredients.
6. When they crackle stir them into the prepared dal.
Serve with plain boiled rice and any poriyal. Pour a spoonful of desi ghee on the rice.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Mutton or chicken cooked with aloo bukharas (Indian plums) is a Royal dish which originates from Nizam province. It is quite popular in Awadhi Cuisine too. Usually dry and fresh plums both are used in this preparation but I have used only fresh plums which have given the curry a lovely golden colour and a mild sweet and tangy flavour. I skipped adding the dried plums as they make the gravy more sweeter.

Chicken .... 1/2 kg
Aloo bukhara .... 2  (sliced)
Aloo bukhara puree .. 2 tbsps
Curd / yogurt .. 1/4 cup
Ginger paste ... 1 tbsp
Garlic paste ... 1 tbsp
Green chilli paste .. 1 tsp
Onion paste ....... 1/2 cup
Coriander powder ... 1 tbsp
Cumin powder ........ 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder .. 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder ... 1/4 tsp
Salt ............ to taste
Ghee or oil .... 1/4 cup

Whole spices:
Black cardamom ... 1
Green cardamoms .. 2-3
Bay leaf ........ 1
Cinnamon ..... 1" piece
Cloves ..... 2-3
Black pepper corns ... few


1. Wash the chicken pieces. Marinate them with half the quantity of curd, ginger garlic paste, aloo bukhara paste and spices. Set aside for few hours.

2. In a pan heat the ghee or oil and tip in the whole spices.

3. When they give out a nice aroma, add the remaining ginger garlic paste and onion paste.

4. Saute until the smell from the onion goes away and it turns into golden colour.

5. Now add the marinated chicken pieces.

6. Stir fry for few minutes and add the spice powders and salt. Cover the pan and simmer the chicken after adding half cup water until the oil separates.

 7. When it is almost done, add the aloo bukhara slices and simmer for few minutes. Adjust the consistency of the gravy as per your liking.

Garnish and serve with rotis, naans or plain rice.

Recipe Credits - Spoon Fork and Food

Monday, October 24, 2016


Crumpets are griddle/ skillet cooked leavened and spongy round breads which are an English tea-time favourite. These are very different from English muffins. "Classic crumpets have a smooth round bottom, and a top riddled with small holes. They are served fresh from the griddle or toasted, and can be topped in jam or clotted cream, although butter is the traditional crumpet topping.
 Crumpets are never split, unlike English muffins, and they have a slightly bland flavor and spongy texture which absorbs butter remarkably well. The concept of toasting crumpets over a fire is often associated with companionable rainy days in British fiction.
 For people who are still confused about the differences between crumpets and English muffins, remember that crumpets have a holey top, they are not split, and they are far less "bready" than English muffins tend to be. It is believed that the English muffin may have been invented by someone who was trying to replicate the crumpet, which explains the commonalities between the two. The recipes for English muffins and crumpets are also very different, with crumpets being made from batter and English muffins being made from a dough."

 (Information Source: Wisegeek)
 Recipe adapted from -  Not Quite Nigella and A Life (Time) of Cooking.

 Milk ......  1 and 1/2 cups
Sugar .....1 and 1/2 tbsps
Active dry yeast.... 1 and 1/2 tsps
All purpose flour .....1 and 3/4 cups
Softened butter .....1 and 1/2 tbsps
 Salt ....1/2 tsp
Baking powder .....3/4 tsp
Water (if necessary) 1/4 cup
Butter or oil to make the crumpets 1 tsp


Warm 1/4th cup of milk and dissolve the yeast and sugar. Set aside until it bubbles.

Now add the flour, butter, salt and the remaining milk.

Whisk to make a smooth batter of pancake consistency.

Cover and let it rise again for about 45 minutes.

Check the thickness of the batter and add a little milk if needed. It should be of pouring consistency. Add the baking powder and mix well.

Grease the edges of a ring mould (cutter). Spoon a tsp of oil on the griddle and place the mould on it. Spoon the batter into it until 3/4th high as it will rise while cooking.

Cover the skillet and allow to cook on medium flame. It takes about 5 minutes.When done the crumpets should have holes on them and look dry while the bottom is golden brown.

Now carefully remove them from the rings using a sharp knife and cook the other side lightly for about a minute or so. Repeat this process to make all the crumpets.

Serve with butter at tea time.

You may serve them with any other topping also if you like. I have served them with berry compote and cream.

This recipe makes about 12 crumpets of 3' size

Recipe by Aparna Balasubramanian - We Knead To Bake # 43

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