Friday, March 28, 2014

Haryala pulao

Green Rice / Haryali pulao
A comforting one pot dish for those days when you want quick hot meal in minutes. Loaded with the goodness of greens this is a great dish for lunch. You can add any combination of vegetables frozen of fresh, just make sure they are green ones (for this recipe). Mint adds the unique taste to the pulao. To get a green color, avoid adding any fried onions as they will color the pulao brown.   
Ingredients: (generously serves 4)
1 1/2 cup long grain Basmati rice, washed and drained
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
salt to taste
3 cups water
1 bunch spinach, washed and finely chopped
1 bunch fenugreek- methi, washed and finely chopped
1 inch ginger, thinly julienne
3 cups assorted green vegetables (peas, green beans, lima beans, broccoli, celery, zucchini, etc)
handful fresh mint, washed and finely chopped
  1. In a heavy bottomed pan heat oil and add cumin seeds. Roast for 30 seconds. Add rice and stir to coat each grain with oil. 
  2. Add all the leafy greens and cook for 2 minutes. Now add all the other veggies and water. 
  3. Cook on high till it reaches a rolling boil. Simmer and cook covered and undisturbed for 9-11 minutes, till all the liquid is absorbed and rice and veggies are cooked. 
  4. Now gently mix to evenly distribute the vegetables in the rice. Serve hot with green chili pickle and cucumber raita.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Tikki choley

Potato cutlets with curried chickpeas, mint chutney and tamarind chutney
The evergreen Indian street food, Aloo tikki is loved by all, big and small. Spiced potato cutlets fried to perfection to give a crispy exterior and a soft interior. Growing up it was mesmerizing to see these beauties being made on the street - on a large iron griddle with loads of oil in the center and the clanking of spatula, as the 'chaat waala bhaiya' quickly crisps them in the sizzling oil just before handing it to you with a generous helping of those tangy chutneys. 
This versatile dish can be served in several ways and is a real comfort food for those cold and wet evenings. I am serving it today with choley and two varieties of chutneys. A real feast for Holi this year.
Serving suggestions

  1. Serve as a starter with green and tamarind chutneys 
  2. Serve as a chaat sprinkled with the two chutneys and seviyan, onion, fresh coriander, green chilies. 
  3. Serve with choley and two chutneys. 
  4. Serve as a burger inside buns with onion rings and chutneys.

Pindi choley
Pindi choley
Ingredients: (serves 4)

1 cup Chickpeas soaked overnight and drained
3 cups water
salt to taste
2 tbsp coriander powder
1 tbsp anardana (pomegranate seeds) powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp black pepper powder
red chili powder to taste
1 tbsp oil
2 cloves whole
1 small cinnamon stick
1 black cardamom whole
  1. In a pressure cooker put soaked and drained chickpeas along with salt. Cook on high till the first whistle, then reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes. 
  2. While the chickpeas are boiling take the rest of the powered spices in a moderately hot pan and dry roast on medium high heat till the color changes to a darker brown and the spices impart a gentle roasted aroma. 
  3. Wait for 10 minutes before opening the pressure cooker. Now add the roasted spices to the boiled choley and mix well. Let stand for 5-10 minutes to let the flavors blend in. 
  4. In another pan heat oil and add the whole spices. Let sputter for 30 seconds and carefully add the spiced choley to it. 
  5. Cook on high while stirring constantly for about 5-7 minutes. If the dish looks too dry add some water. Remember that chickpeas are very high in fiber and absorb a lot of moisture. So if you serving the dish after some time make sure to adjust its consistency before serving by adding some boiling hot water. 
  6. Garnish with sliced red onions and slit green chilies.

Shallow fry Aloo tikki in a flat tava till golden and crisp

Aloo tikki with chana dal filling
Aloo tikki
Ingredients: (make 8 tikkis)
4 large russet potatoes
1 tsp each cumin powder, mango powder and garam masala
Salt and red chili powder to taste
1 tbsp grated ginger
handful fresh coriander chopped fine
2 green chilies chopped fine
2 slices bread OR dry bread crumbs
oil for frying
For filling
1/4 cup Chana dal soaked for 1 hour
salt and cumin powder to taste
Other accompaniments to serve
Tamarind chutney
Mint chutney

  1. Boil potatoes till soft. Drain.
  2. Peel and mash well while still warm.
  3. Dip bread slices in water and squeeze out all the liquid. Mash along with potato.
  4. Add all the other spices and fresh herbs and form a stiff dough. If dough seems too soft or watery, add some bread crumbs. Keep aside.
  5. Drain the chana dal and stir fry in a tsp oil with salt and cumin powder till cooked through but crisp.
  6. Take a portion of potato mixture in your greased palms and make a dent in the center. Put a tsp of stuffing in the center and close in the edges to enclose the stuffing. Press gently to form a cutlet. Repeat with all tikkis.
  7. Shallow fry these on medium high till crisp and brown on both sides.
  8. Serve hot.

Friday, March 14, 2014


Fully loaded nachos
We all really love nachos in our house. While it is not the best food option nutrition wise, indulging in it once in a while is not too bad. We like our nachos fully loaded. In an attempt to make it a little bit healthier, I avoid using sour cream and decrease the quantity of cheese. Flavor boost comes from the meat and beans sauce and spicy salsa, not to forget the creamy avocados and sharp olives. 
You can add any extras you like. All depends on what you desire. So here goes the recipe for fully loaded nachos as made in our house.  

Step 1: Place a layer of tortilla chips in an oven safe platter
For chicken and beans mixture:
1 lb ground chicken
1 can black beans drained
1/2 red onion diced
3-4 cloves garlic crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp cumin powder
salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a skillet over medium-high heat add olive oil, garlic and onions. Cook stirring till onions soften and become pink. 
  2. Add the ground chicken and cook breaking the lumps with your spatula till meat browns and cooks through.
  3. Add the drained beans, all the spices and stir to combine. Add 1/4 cup water and simmer covered for 5-7 minutes to let the flavors combine. Keep hot.
Step 2: Top with meat/beans mixture
For pico de gallo:
1 large diced tomato
1/2 diced medium sized red onion
1/4 bunch of cilantro (use more or less depending on your taste)
juice of half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 tsp of salt

1 jalapenos (or more if you prefer it hotter)
  1. Mix up all ingredients and keep at room temperature for half an hour to let flavors blend in.
Step 3: Top with shredded cheese
Other struff:
Corn tortilla chips
2 avocados diced
1-2 jalapenos diced fine
1 cup grated cheese (any one you have at hand) 
Handful olives sliced
Sour cream (optional)

Step 4: Top with pico de gallo, jalepenos and chopped olives

To Assemble:   
  1. Place a layer of tortilla chips in an oven safe platter. 
  2. Top with half of the meat/beans mixture, followed by 1/3 of pico de gallo and 1/2 the cheese. 
  3. Repeat layers and place the platter in the oven at 400 F till the cheese melts. 
  4. Alternatively you can microwave the platter in increments of 30 seconds till cheese melts.
  5. Sprinkle diced avocado, chopped olives, and the rest of of pico de gallo and serve immediately. 
  6. Upper chips crust will be crisp and lower ones will be hot and soft and yummy.  
Step 5: Melt the cheese, sprinkle diced avocado, enjoy

Friday, March 7, 2014

Italian meatballs

The classic Italian meatball recipe, served with a delectably spiced tomato sauce, makes for a crowd pleasing starter or a mouth-watering accompaniment to any meal. You can use any ground meat you like or a combination of them. Chicken meatballs as always can be fried or baked. Both turn out delicious. This is a great make ahead recipe for a party. Just cook and sprinkle the cheese on top and refrigerate. Before serving, pop it in the oven at 350 F for 15-20 minutes till bubbly and hot.

Ingredients: (generously serves a crowd)
For Chicken balls (makes about 60)
2 lb Minced chicken
2 egg
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dry Italian herb mix
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
Handful fresh parsley, chopped fine
salt to taste
  1. Mix all the ingredients till well combined. Cover and refrigerate for half an hour. 
  2. With moist palms, shape into small one inch diameter meatballs and place on a greased baking sheet. Spray with olive oil and bake at 400 F for 15-20 minutes till browned and cooked through. 
For tomato sauce
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 Red Onions chopped
3 Cloves of Garlic chopped
2 Bay leaves
4 large tomatoes chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp Sugar
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp each dry Basil and Oregano
  1. In a large pan heat olive oil and add onion, garlic and bay leaves. Cook till onions soften and turn pink. 
  2. Now add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and herbs, season with salt and pepper. Stir and bring to boil. 
  3. Boil for 2-3 minutes on high, then simmer covered for 20 minutes. 
  4. Add the cooked meatballs in the tomato sauce and bring to boil again. Simmer covered for 7-8 minutes till all the flavors of sauce are incorporated into the meatballs. 
  5. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan or sharp cheddar and serve hot.