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.

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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.

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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 

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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.

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