Featured

Malai Kofta

Malai Kofta is a popular North Indian vegetarian dish. Kofta can be vegetarian or non-vegetarian, made with meat, fish or in this case with homemade chenna. These Koftas are first deep fried and then served on a bed of smooth, sweet and creamy gravy. As you might imagine, there are a few steps to this recipe. The first step is making the paneer. The second step is making the mawa. The third step is making the garam masala. Fourth is boiling the potatoes. The good news is, all of these steps can be done a day or two ahead of time so the actual time you spend making this recipe is very significantly reduced. 

It has become increasingly difficult to get hold of store bought mawa these days. Here in Rochester, MN where we have about 3 Indian groceries, mawa was always difficult to get hold of to begin with. With the Covid situation and the changing times with supplies running low and people having difficulty transporting ingredients from different parts of the country and even internationally, getting hold of speciality items like mawa is an achievement in itself. So this homemade mawa recipe works like a charm. I learned about the quick homemade mawa recipe from my lovely talented friend Bina https://www.abitwholesomely.com. Mawa coincidentally and to the surprise of many, can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.

The ingredients in the garam masala powder might seem like it has everything except the kitchen sink but trust me, the end result is superb. You can do a big batch by doubling or tripling the amount and storing the mix in the fridge or freezer to keep it fresh for a long time. Of course you can also get store bought garam masala which works perfectly well @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 40 mins

PREP TIME: 80 mins

YIELDS: Makes for 5-6

For the Paneer  

  • Milk ½ gallon
  • Vinegar

Making the Paneer 

  • Heat milk till it boils. Add in vinegar. Turn the heat off. Stir.
  • Let the milk curdle and the whey separate. Strain.
  • Squeeze out all the water using a cheesecloth. Keep aside. 

For the Mawa  

  • Cream 2 cups
  • Evaporated milk 1 can 

Making the Mawa 

Using evaporated milk means you are about 40 mins ahead of the game as 60% of the water content from the milk has already been removed. In a heavy bottomed nonstick pan pour the cream. Mix in the evaporated milk and combine. Let this mixture cook on the gas till it becomes thick. Stir intermittently so that it does not burn or stick to the bottom. This is one of those recipes that you have to baby sit a bit. You cannot leave this and go. Notice the change in the mixture- from liquid it keeps getting thicker and finally also changes color. Stop when the mixture comes together in a soft lump. Let it cool down. We will need 1/2 cup of this mixture for this recipe. Store the rest in the freezer for later use. If you don’t fancy making mawa from scratch that will take more than an hour to prepare, there are other simple ways to prepare mawa at a fraction of the time. I will post those recipes very soon. Stay tuned. 

For the Garam Masala Powder 

  • Coriander seeds (dhania) 2 tbsp 
  • Cumin seeds (jeera) 1 tbsp 
  • Star anise (chakri phool)  ½ 
  • Dried red chilies 2, broken 
  • Bay leaf (tej patta) 1, broken 
  • Fennel seeds (saunf) 2 tsp 
  • Caraway seeds (shah jeera) 1 tsp 
  • Black cardamom (badi elaichi) 1 
  • Peppercorns (kali mirch) 2 tsp 
  • Green cardamoms  (elaichi) 3-4 
  • Cinnamon (dalchini) 1 inch 
  • Cloves  (laung) 3-4 
  • Mace (javitri) 2 stands 
  • Nutmeg (jaiphal)  ½ 
  • Dry ginger 1 tsp

Making the Garam Masala

  • Take a non stick pan. Dry roast the spices EXCEPT dry ginger on a low heat.
  • Cool completely before grinding into a fine powder with a coffee grinder.
  • Add the ginger powder. Store in a air tight container in the fridge. I store a lot of my homemade spices in the fridge or freezer. I find that they retain their fragrance and freshness really well that way. 

For the Malai Kofta 

  • Paneer 1 cup
  • Boiled potato 3, mashed 
  • Corn flour ¼ cup 
  • Garam masala powder 2 tsp 
  • Salt to taste 
  • Ginger 1 tbsp, grated 
  • Coriander powder 1 tbsp 
  • Turmeric 1 tbsp 
  • Red chili powder 1 tbsp 
  • Cashews a small handful, broken into bits 
  • Golden raisins a small handful
  • Oil for frying 

For the Gravy 

  • Onion 1 large, chopped 
  • Tomato 1 large, chopped 
  • Tomato paste 1 tbsp 
  • Turmeric 2 tsp 
  • Red chili powder 1 tbsp 
  • Oil 3 tbsp 
  • Sugar 2 tsp 
  • Garam masala powder 2 tsp 
  • Mawa- ½ cup 
  • Water 1 cup 
  • Kasuri methi 2 tsp 
  • Cream 2 tbsp 

Method

  • Add all the ingredients for the kofta in a large bowl. Make into round lemon sized balls with the palm of your hands.
  • Heat oil. Fry 6 koftas at a time taking care not to overcrowd the pan so the temperature does not drop. This prevents the koftas from absorbing too much oil and becoming soggy. Drain on kitchen towels. Keep aside.  
  • In a non stick pan pour 1 cup of water and onion slices. Let it cook covered for 10 mins. Turn the heat off. Cool the onion mixture. Grind the mixture to a smooth paste. Keep aside. 
  • Cut tomato into cubes. Put them in a blender and make a smooth purée. 
  • Heat 3 tbsp oil. Pour in the onion paste. Let it cook for a couple of minutes. Add the tomato purée and tomato paste. Season with salt, turmeric, red chili powder and garam masala powder. Let it cook on a low flame till the oil floats. 
  • Add the mawa. Let the mawa melt into the gravy. Add 1 cup of water. Cook covered for 10 mins or so till the oil floats. Turn the heat off. 
  • Put the Kofta balls on the gravy.  
  • Crush kasuri methi in your hands and sprinkle on the gravy. Drizzle with cream. Serve. 

 

Making the mawa
Mawa is ready
Making a paste of the boiled onions
Tomato purée
Kofta ingredients
The koftas
Frying the malai kofta
Koftas are fried
Cooking the onions
Adding the tomatoes
Adding the masalas
Adding the koftas: Malai Kofta is ready
Malai Kofta
Closeup
Featured

Whole Wheat Pizza with Truffle Oil

Truffle oil is made from infusing olive oil with truffles. I had some truffle oil that had been sitting in the cupboard for a while. So I was thinking of some ways to use this up. You don’t cook with truffle oil because then essentially you are just left with very expensive olive oil. You can use truffle oil as a drizzle on pasta or salad to give it that distinctive taste. It is an expensive item as the main ingredient truffle, is very hard to find. That said, there is some controversy about how much truffle is actually present in truffle oil and that it might be a big con. This pizza is made with whole wheat so it will not rise the way pizzas with AP flour does. However it is a healthier version of the regular pizza with very little extra ingredients. You can use store bought Alfredo sauce if you do not want to do the sauce from scratch @sarchakra

Pizza Crust Ingredients

  • Olive oil 1 tbsp
  • Whole wheat flour 2 cups
  • Instant yeast 1 sachet
  • Sugar 1 tbsp
  • Salt 1 tsp
  • Warm water 1 cup ( 110°F)

Pizza Crust Method

  • In a small bowl whisk together warm water, yeast, 1 tbsp olive oil and sugar till smooth. Let it rest for 5 mins.
  • In a large bowl mix together whole wheat flour and salt. Use a hand mixer to slowly add the water mixture till a soft dough forms. Take the dough on a floured surface on the kitchen worktop and knead the dough for a few minutes till it becomes smooth and pliable.
  • Grease the bowl and put the dough back in it covering the bowl with cling wrap. After 2 hours or so it should double in side. Divide the dough in two and put it back again in the bowl covered. After 20 mins or so it should become double the size. We will use one of the doughs so cling wrap the other one and pop it in the fridge for another day.

Alfredo Sauce Ingredients

  • Butter 1 tbsp
  • Cream 1 cup
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper 2 tsp
  • Nutmeg 1 tsp

Alfredo Sauce Method

  • In a non stick pan add butter.
  • Add cream and cheese. Combine till smooth.
  • Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove.

Assembly

  • Cheddar cheese ¼ cup
  • Spinach a handful
  • Truffle oil 1 tbsp
  • Alfredo sauce ¼ cup
  • Basil 2 tsp

Method

  • Heat oven to 450ºF.
  • With a fork, prick the pizza crust all over. Spread Alfredo sauce on it.
  • Top with spinach and cheddar cheese. Sprinkle some chopped basil.
  • Cook in the oven for 15 mins rotating once half way through. Drizzle truffle and serve.
Rapid yeast solution
The dry ingredients
Mixing the dough
Kneading the dough
Letting it rise
Dividing the dough and letting it rise
Kneading again
Spreading the dough thinly
Topping with Alfredo sauce, basil and spinach
Topping with cheddar
Drizzling with truffle oil
Closeup
Whole Wheat Pizza with Truffle Oil is ready

Featured

Thai Rice Noodle Salad

This is a vibrant Thai rice noodle salad using ingredients from your pantry and fridge. It is healthy and so flavorful you will want some more. You can eat this salad hot or cold @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 40 mins

PREP TIME: 15 mins

YIELDS: 5-6

Ingredients

  • A Taste of Thai Vermicelli Rice Noodles Angel Hair 8.8 oz
  • Oil 2 tbsp
  • Red pepper flakes 2 tsp
  • Garlic powder 1 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Paprika 1 tsp
  • Onion flakes 2 tsp
  • Oregano 2 tsp
  • Coriander seeds 1 tbsp, crushed
  • Light brown sugar 1 tbsp
  • Black pepper 1 tsp
  • Thyme 1 tsp
  • Red chili flakes 1 tsp
  • Shaan Ginger Garlic Paste
  • Marukan Seasoned Gourmet Rice Vinegar 4 tbsp
  • Kikkoman Soy Sauce 4 tbsp
  • Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter ½ cup
  • Lime juice 3 tbsp
  • Honey 1 tbsp
  • Red pepper ½ long sliced
  • Orange pepper ½ long sliced
  • Red cabbage ¼ cup, thinly sliced
  • Red onion ¼ cup, thinly sliced
  • Carrot 1, grated small
  • Spring onions a small handful, chopped
  • Zucchini 1, cut into strips with a peeler
  • Roasted peanuts ¼ cup, crushed

Method

  • Heat oven to 400°F.
  • In a small bowl mix onion flakes, garlic powder, paprika, red pepper flakes, coriander seeds, thyme, oregano, brown sugar and salt. Add 2 tbsp oil. Mix. Keep aside.
  • Press put all the water from the tofu using kitchen towels till dry. Cut into rectangles.
  • Rub the mixture on to the tofu pieces till coated all over.
  • Bake the seasoned tofu for 25 mins. Keep aside.
  • In the meantime, heat a pan full of water. Let it come to a boil. Turn off the heat. Soak the vermicelli rice noodles for 10 mins. Drain the water.
  • In a bowl whisk together crunchy peanut butter, soy sauce, red chili flakes, rice vinegar, sesame oil, lime juice, ginger and garlic paste, honey.
  • In a large serving bowl put noodles. Add in sliced onions, red peppers, orange peppers, red cabbage, zucchini strips and carrots. Top with the baked tofu.
  • Pour the dressing over the rice noodles, tofu and vegetables.
  • Top with spring onions and crushed roasted peanuts.
Coating the tofu with the spice mix
Baking the tofu
Tofu is ready
Dressing
Soaking the rice noodles
Salad and dressing
Salad
Closeup
With the dressing
Closeup
Featured

Ham Sandwich

Who doesn’t like a quick lunch especially now when we are cooking a lot more than usual? Grab a few ingredients from the fridge and we have a meal ready in minutes @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 1 min

PREP TIME: 5 mins

YIELDS: 1

Ingredients

  • Artisan bread 4 slices
  • Ham slices 12 slices
  • Lettuce a handful, sliced
  • Sour cream 3 tbsp
  • Mayonnaise 3 tbsp
  • Cracked black pepper 1 tsp
  • Onion flakes 1 tsp
  • Garlic powder 1 tsp
  • Cheddar cheese slices

Method

  • Toast the bread slices.
  • In a bowl add mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic powder, onion flakes and black pepper.
  • Spread the mixture on the toasted bread slices.
  • Top with ham slices, lettuce and cheddar slices. Cut in halves. Serve.
Making the spread
Assembly
Ham Sandwich is ready
Ham Sandwich
Closeup
Featured

Buttermilk Lemon Pepper Wings

Buttermilk soaked lemon pepper wings dredged in pepper mix, fried and then tossed with some lemon butter is like a triple whammy of tastes. What makes it even more flavorful is the fact that those wings were marinating in buttermilk for 48 hours. Yes that is a thing and it is entirely safe to do so. The enzymes in the buttermilk tenderizes the chicken wings and makes them soft, succulent and juicy. Both the butter and the buttermilk in this recipe was homemade so do you get extra brownie points for that? I’m not sure, but you are allowed to feel just a tad bit smug if you may. Take these wings to parties, barbecues or to your neighbor’s next gathering @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 30 mins

PREP TIME: 10 mins and overnight or 48 hours

YIELDS: 2-3

Ingredients

  • Chicken wings 6 (with drummettes and flaps) *
  • AP flour 1 cup 
  • Salt to taste 
  • Buttermilk 2 cups 
  • Pepper 1 tbsp 
  • Crisco for frying
  • Lemon pepper seasoning 1 tbsp 
  • Butter 5 tbsp 
  • Parsley 3 tbsp, finely chopped 

Method

  • Dip chicken wings in buttermilk and marinate overnight. 
  • Season AP flour with salt and pepper. 
  • Shake out the buttermilk and roll wings in seasoned flour mix. 
  • Heat crisco and fry in medium heat for 14 mins or so turning midway to cook the wings till they turn crispy golden. Use a candy thermometer to check that the oil is at 350º F. Use tongs to remove the wings when they are done. Transfer them to a plate with some paper towel to drain the oil.
  • In a microwaveable bowl melt butter for 20 seconds. Add the lemon pepper seasoning. Toss the fried wings in lemon pepper and butter seasoning till well coated. 
  • Serve with chopped parsley. 

Notes

I have left the wings with the drummettes and flaps but you can go ahead and cut them up if that is what you prefer.

I usually use 2 tongs to fry meat. One pair of tongs I use till the meat is nearly fried and then I switch to the next tong. So the first tongs I use to transfer and flip the raw meat when the meat is just starting off to be cooked. That way there is no possibility of contamination.

Soaking the wings in buttermilk
Coating with seasoned flour
Wings are ready to be fried
Frying
Ready to be coated with lemon butter
Buttermilk Lemon Pepper Wings are ready
Closeup
Featured

Roast Chicken and Bacon Tortillas

A five minute recipe with some leftover items is a no brainer. I am one of those people who always has some bacon in their fridge. Whenever I buy bacon I cook a big batch. When I have the time I cook it in the oven for 400°F for 20 mins. If I am rushed for time, I cook it on the hob top on a pan 4-5 rashers at a time on a low medium heat till cooked on both sides. I drain them on the kitchen towel, cool and put them in a covered tub and pop it in the fridge. That’s how I can add bacon to fried rice, wraps, sandwiches etc. The store bought cooked bacon bits in my opinion, tastes unappetizing to say the least and if you read the list of ingredients at the back, they don’t look like that’s what you should put in your food anyway 😕

I cook pasta a lot. There are basically 3 kinds of sauces that I use for pasta- marinara, Alfredo and pesto. At any given point of time I also would have had any of those stored in the fridge because when I meal prep I cook in large portions to use some for the recipe I am making and save some for another meal on another day. Today I had some leftover marinara from the pizza I did the other day so I used marinara. You could use store bought marinara too or even tomato ketchup.

COOK TIME: 0

PREP TIME: 5 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes 1-2

Ingredients

  • Tortillas 3
  • Spinach a small handful
  • Roast chicken deli slices 9 (3 for each tortilla)
  • Fried bacon 3 rashers
  • Marinara sauce 2 tbsp
  • Ranch dressing 2 tbsp

Method

  • Top each tortilla with deli roast chicken slices, one bacon rasher, spinach, ranch dressing and marinara sauce. Repeat for each tortilla.
  • Wrap each tortilla tightly, folding the sides and tucking in the filling as you go. Cut into halves. Serve.
Assembly
Closeup
Roast Chicken and Bacon tortilla is ready
Featured

Red Cabbage Salad

Who doesn’t like a good salad? This is a super healthy, vibrant, crunchy, tangy and sweet salad.  Use this to serve with any protein dish like fish or chicken. You can also use it in a wrap with tortilla as a cold lunch @sarchakra 

COOK TIME: 5 mins

PREP TIME: 10 mins

YIELDS: 4-5

Ingredients 

  • Red cabbage cut into strips 4 cups
  • Walnuts, a handful
  • Dried apricots 8-9, thinly sliced 
  • Golden raisins, a handful 
  • Spring onions 3 tbsp, chopped 
  • Cracked black pepper 2 tsp 

Dressing 

  • Sour cream 2 tbsp 
  • Mayonnaise 2tbsp 
  • Buttermilk 4 tbsp 
  • Sugar 2 tsp 
  • Salt to taste 
  • Black pepper 1 tsp 
  • Garlic powder 1 tsp 
  • Onion powder 2 tsp 
  • Red wine vinegar 1 tbsp 

Method 

Toasting the walnuts

  • Slightly break the walnuts into pieces.
  • On a microwave safe dish, spread out the walnuts on a single layer.
  • Microwave for 2 mins. Stir and cook again for a couple of more minutes till fragrant. Let it cool. 

Dressing Method

  • Mix together in a bowl the following: mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder.
  • Add red wine vinegar and sugar to combine. Set aside. 

Assembly 

  • In a serving plate put red cabbage, golden raisins, dried apricot strips, spring onions and toasted walnuts.
  • Drizzle the dressing on top and mix. 
The vegetables and the dressing
The dressing
Closeup
With the dressing

Featured

Labra (Bengali Mixed Vegetables)

Labra or ‘bhoger labra’ (offered to the Gods), is a mixed vegetable dish from West Bengal made during puja ceremonies and special occasions. No onion or garlic is used in this recipe and it has the two most flavorful spice mixes in Bengali cuisine- panch phoron ( Bengali Five Spice) and Bhaja Masala (Dry Roasted Masala). The use of mustard oil and ghee at the end makes this dish absolutely lip smacking delicious. Food is a huge part of festivities all over the world, and especially so in Bengali households and during festivals. I grew up in a household where my Mum used to make labra pretty often and particularly during festivities like Kali Puja and Durga Puja. Traditionally red cabbage is not used in labra but I added it here not only for vibrancy but also to give the dish a crunchy texture to balance the smoothness of the other vegetables in the dish @sarchakra

COOK TIME:30 mins

PREP TIME:10 mins

YIELDS: 4-5

Ingredients

  • Red cabbage 2 cups, chopped small
  • Eggplant 1, chopped small
  • Taro 1, chopped
  • Butternut squash 2 cups, chopped
  • Spinach 2 cups
  • Salt
  • Turmeric 1 tbsp
  • Grated ginger 1 tbsp
  • Coconut powder 2 tbsp
  • Red chili powder 1 tbsp
  • Panch phoron: * 2 tsp
  • Asafetida a pinch
  • Red chili 2, broken
  • Mustard oil 3 tbsp
  • Ghee 1 tbsp

Bhaja Masala

  • Cumin seeds 1 tbsp
  • Fennel seeds 1 tsp
  • Coriander seeds 1 tsp
  • Whole red chili 1
  • Bay leaf 1, broken

Bhaja Masala Method

  • On a non stick pan toast cumin seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, bay leaf and red chili on a slow flame till aromatic.
  • Let it cool down.
  • Grind. Keep aside.

Method for Labra

  • Heat oil. Add in panch phoron, whole red chilies and asafetida. Add all the vegetables except spinach.
  • Cook the vegetables for 5 minutes or so. Now add the spinach. Add salt and turmeric.
  • Put in coconut, red chili powder. Add grated ginger. Cook on a low medium heat covered. There is no need to add any water. Keep the gas on low.
  • When vegetables are done, sprinkle ghee and Bhaja masala powder. Mix. Serve with basmati rice.

Notes

Panch phoron is a mixture of five (‘paanch’) Bengali spices- mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek, fennel and nigella seeds.

Bhaja masala is integral to many Bengali dishes especially the vegetarian ones. This can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container.

Tempering the spices
Adding the vegetables
Adding the spinach
Adding the coconut and rest of the spices
Let it cook in the steam
Labra is ready
Labra
Featured

Squash Stuffed Corn Tortillas

This is a healthy, quick, and delicious recipe. It is a fusion of the Indian way of cooking squash with mustard seeds and curry leaves combined with the Mexican corn tortillas with avocado and lime- the best of both worlds. It combines two great cuisines to form a delectable mouthwatering recipe. It is ready within minutes and the sweetness of squash with the creaminess of the avocado pairs perfectly with the saltiness of the cheese. It is a pleasant burst of surprise to the taste buds @sarchakra 

COOK TIME: 20 mins

PREP TIME: 10 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes 2

Ingredients:

  • Corn tortillas 4 
  • Oil 1 tbsp 
  • Avocado 1 
  • Pepper jack Cheese 4 tbsp grated 
  • Squash 1 cup 
  • Dry chili 1, broken into bits 
  • Mustard seeds 2 tsp 
  • Curry leaves 8-9
  • Salt
  • Turmeric 1 tsp 
  • Onion small 1, chopped 
  • Black pepper 1 tsp 
  • Juice of a lime 

Method: 

  • Heat 1 tbsp oil. Put in mustard seeds, dry chili and curry leaves. Let that sizzle. Put in squash. Add salt and turmeric. Cook covered on a low heat for 10 mins. Turn the heat off. Keep aside. 
  • Mash avocado and mix with onion, salt, pepper and lime juice. 
  • Heat corn tortillas on a skillet. Remove. In each tortilla put in 1 tbsp of squash, a dollop of avocado and grated cheese.  
  • Fold the corn tortillas gently and put them in the panini press. Cook till the cheese melts.
  • Cut each tortilla into quarters and serve.
Filling the corn tortillas
Closeup
Squash Stuffed Corn Tortillas

Featured

Frittata

Frittata (meaning ‘fried’) is a delicious versatile Italian dish made with eggs and sautéed vegetables and can be eaten hot or cold. It is as the British celebrity chef Delia Smith calls it, an ‘open faced omelette’. Frittata is crustless and is similar to a quiche that has a crust. This recipe is a super handy one for cleaning out your fridge and using up your leftovers @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 5 mins

PREP TIME: 10 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes

Ingredients

  • Bread 2 slices
  • Butter 1 tbsp
  • Eggs 2
  • Orange Bell Pepper ¼, chopped small
  • Onion ¼ , sliced
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper 1 tsp
  • Parsley 1 tsp, chopped
  • Sage 1 tsp, chopped
  • Garlic 1 tbsp chopped
  • Olive oil 4 tbsp, divided
  • Spinach ½ cup
  • Mozzarella ¼ cup cubed
  • Cherry tomatoes a few

Method

  • Turn the oven on to BROIL mode.
  • Take a bowl and beat the eggs. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in an oven proof pan. Sauté garlic, onion, bell pepper and cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté the vegetables till they caramelize.
  • Add the spinach leaves. Let it cook for a few seconds till the leaves wilt.
  • Add the beaten eggs. Top with the mozzarella slices, chopped parsley and sage. Let the eggs cook on the bottom.
  • Drizzle the rest of the 2 tbsp olive oil on the eggs. Pop the pan in the oven for a couple of minutes till it turns golden on top with the mozzarella melted. It should not take more than 2 mins. Keep an eye that it does not get burnt.
  • Cut the frittata into quarters. Keep aside.
  • Toast the bread. Spread out butter. Top with two quarters of the frittata on each bread. Serve.

Notes

This recipe is for one person. Increase the amount for each individual person. I would add 2 eggs per person.

A cast iron pan is the best way to cook this especially if cooking for a crowd. You can make the frittata thick by adding more eggs and proportionately all the rest of the ingredients.

Frittatas work extremely well as cold lunches or picnics. It is full of color and healthy and nutritious.

Mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, scallions, potatoes, carrots, artichoke hearts, cauliflower, squash, olives can all be added as possible vegetables. Cooking the onions till they caramelize makes them sweet. Cooking the vegetables before adding the eggs is essential so that the vegetables do not release excess moisture and ruin the consistency of the frittata. Seasoning the vegetables is also important so the frittata does not taste bland when you bite into it.

Other meats like ham, sausages, turkey slices, cooked bacon or barbecued meat, can be used.

For vegetarian options turkey bacon or scrambled tofu can be used.

Substitute with herbs like chives, thyme, dill or rosemary.

Experiment with a variety of cheeses-goat cheese, fontina, cheddar, Gruyère, feta, blue cheese and Parmesan to name a few.

Do not overcook the frittata as that makes the dish dry.

Sautéing the vegetables
Adding the spinach
Adding the beaten eggs and mozzarella
Cooking till golden
Frittata is done
Serving with toasted buttered bread
Closeup
Featured

Watermelon Smoothie

Are you interested in a quick, healthy, refreshing 3 ingredient summer beverage that is ready in under 5 minutes? Look no further! Check out the notes section below for some more ideas @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 0

PREP TIME: 5 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes 2

Ingredients

  • Watermelon 2 cups, cubed
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Dried mint 2 tsp, divided

Method

  • In a blender blitz together watermelon cubes and 1 tsp dried mint.
  • Add in the lemon juice.
  • Strain the juice in a strainer.
  • Serve in a tumbler with some more mint.
Getting the ingredients ready
Blitz in the blender
Strain the mixture
Watermelon Smoothie is ready
Another view

Notes:

Fresh mint can be used to intensify the minty flavor.

If the watermelon is not sweet enough you can add some organic honey.

You can add some nut milk to it while blitzing making the smoothie more creamy.

Add in some berries like raspberries or strawberries to give it a tart taste in contrast to the sweetness of the watermelon.

To make a watermelon lemonade just add some soda water or store bought lemonade to this mix!

Featured

Cracked Wheat and Vermicelli Pulao

You know I love quick healthy meals. This is one of those meals that has some short cuts so it is ready to serve within minutes. Frozen vegetables are superb substitutes for reducing cooking time. They are already washed and cleaned for immediate use. They taste amazing as they are flash frozen to retain their taste, texture and color. Using frozen mixed vegetables in this recipe along with cooking in the pressure cooker makes this meal a start to finish under 25 minutes. If you want to do the spice mix beforehand, then it is under 15 minutes. Now that’s one heck of a deal right? Who doesn’t like the idea of being able to feed a crowd with a nutritious and flavorful meal within a jiffy? @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 15 mins

PREP TIME: 10 mins

YIELDS: 3-4

Ingredients

  • Ziyad Brand Cracked Wheat with Toasted Vermicelli 2 cups
  • Vegetable oil 3 tbsp
  • Dry plums 4
  • Kokum 3 -4
  • Ginger 2 tsp
  • Garlic 1 tbsp
  • Beans ¼ cup
  • Carrots ¼ cup
  • Peas ¼ cup
  • Sweet corn ¼ cup
  • Peppercorns 2 tsp
  • Coriander seeds 4 tsp
  • Cumin seeds 2 tbsp
  • Whole red chili 1
  • Salt
  • Turmeric 2 tbsp
  • Cardamom 2
  • Cinnamon 1 inch
  • Cloves 2
  • Bay leaf 1
  • Ghee 1 tbsp
  • Chopped coriander 2 tbsp, chopped

Method

  • Spice powder: in a non stick pan dry roast cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaf, cloves, red chili, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and peppercorns.
  • Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add the mixed vegetables. Cook for a minute or so.
  • Add in the cracked wheat and toasted vermicelli. Let everything cook, stirring intermittently so it doesn’t burn.
  • Next add in ginger and garlic paste. Cook for a minute or two. Add turmeric, spice powder and salt. Put in kokum and dry plums.
  • Add in 5 cups of water. Pressure cook for 1 whistle.
  • Open the pressure cooker and add in the ghee. Stir. Sprinkle with chopped coriander leaf. Serve on a plate.
Adding the frozen vegetables
Adding the cracked wheat and toasted Vermicelli
Adding the kokum and plums
Letting it all cook
Adding water
Cracked Wheat and Toasted Vermicelli is ready to eat
Closeup

Notes

I use this brand for the recipe https://www.amazon.com/Ziyad-Cracked-Wheat-Toasted-Vermicelli/dp/B014I0PBJ2

If you cannot get the cracked wheat and toasted vermicelli combo, juts toast some ½ cup of vermicelli and add to 1 & ½ cup of cracked wheat.

Aloo Bukhara is similar to prunes or plums. It can be eaten fresh or dried. It is tangy and perfect for biriyanis, pulao and stews when used as a dry fruit.

Kokum is the outer covering of the fruit Garcinia Indica. It is commonly used in Maharashtrian and Goan cuisine as a souring agent instead of tamarind. Substitute with tamarind or tomatoes or add some lemon juice to the finished dish.

Featured

Bhapa Doi (Baked Yogurt)

If you are a Bengali, bhapa doi is something you are most certainly familiar with. For the uninitiated, bhapa doi is like a mix of key lime pie, flan and a cheesecake. The yogurt makes the dish tangy but it is also very sweet. I love to use Greek yogurt in my cooking. It is heathy and is more dense in its texture and flavor which makes it intense in taste too. Straining the yogurt makes this dish even more creamy @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 45 mins

PREP TIME: 5 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes 2

Ingredients

  • Greek yogurt 1 cup
  • Condensed milk 1 cup
  • Milk ¼ cup
  • Pistachios 3 tbsp
  • Green cardamom 1 tsp, ground
  • Rose water 1 tbsp
  • Rose buds 1 tbsp
  • Butter for greasing 1 tsp

Method

  • Keep the Greek yogurt in a muslin cloth for a few hours so that all the water drains out. 
  • Put the drained yogurt in a blender. Mix the condensed milk, rose water and ground cardamom in. Blend till smooth. Mix in half the pistachios. Stir.
  • Take a couple of oven proof cups. Grease with butter.
  • Pour the mixture into cups. 
  • Put the oven proof cups on a large tray. Fill the tray with water up to half the level of the cups. Make sure the water does not get into the cups.
  • Cook in a preheated oven 170° C (338°F) for about 40 mins. 
  • Cool and refrigerate the bhapa doi a few hours before serving. Serve with the rest of the crushed pistachios and crushed rose buds. 
Getting the mix ready
Baked in a pan of water
Bhapa Doi is done
Closeup

Featured

Sun-dried Tomato Pizza

The pizza crust is from my previous recipe Mozzarella Tomato Pizza Once you have the crust ready, this is a super quick recipe. @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 15 mins

PREP TIME:0

YIELDS: SERVES 2-3

Ingredients

  • Pizza crust 1 (see above for the link) 
  • Baby spinach a handful 
  • Olive oil to drizzle
  • Sun dried tomatoes 4 tbsp 
  • Mozzarella discs

Method

  • Heat oven to 425°. 
  • Blitz the sun dried tomatoes in a blender. 
  • Take the pizza crust and spread it out as thin as possible on a greased pan. 
  • Spread out sun dried tomato paste on the pizza crust. Top with mozzarella and spinach. 
  • Cook pizza in the oven for 12-15 mins. Top with some more baby spinach and serve with a drizzle of olive oil. 
Topping the pizza
Sun-dried Tomato pizza with mozzarella and spinach is done
Cut to serve
Featured

Mozzarella Tomato Pizza

This is a simple mozzarella and tomato pizza with very minimal ingredients on the pizza itself. I used my KitchenAid hand mixer to do the pizza dough. It worked like a charm and made the process of kneading so much quicker. For the sauce on the crust of the pizza I used the fire roasted tomato sauce just before I added the cream @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 15 mins

PREP TIME: 2 hours 15 mins

YIELDS: 4-5

Ingredients

  • Bread flour 4 cups (for 2 pizzas) 
  • Yeast 1 tbsp  
  • Warm water 2 cups (110º)
  • Sea salt 2 tsp 
  • Sugar 1 tsp 
  • Olive oil 3 tbsp 
  • Fire roasted tomato sauce 4-5 tbsp
  • Mozzarella discs 6
  • Cherry tomatoes a small handful

Method

  • Put the following in the blender: bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, olive oil. Mix. Start adding water little by little until you form a dough. You may or may not need the entire 2 cups of water. Stop once you can form a round dough. 
  • Sprinkle some flour on to a clean kitchen countertop and knead the dough till it is nice and smooth. Grease a large bowl with 1 tbsp  olive oil and let the dough rest covering it with a cling wrap till it is double in size in about 2 hours. 
  • Take the dough out and knead it again on a floured surface. Divide the dough into 2 balls. Cover again with a cling wrap and let the two balls rest again for 30 mins. 
  • Take out one dough ball and spread it out with your fingers as flat as possible into a greased pizza pan. Top with some fire roasted tomato mixture. Top with mozzarella and cherry tomatoes. 
  • Heat oven to 425° . Cook for 12-15 minutes till the cheese melts and the pizza is cooked. 
The pizza dough ingredients
Make into a ball
Oil a large bowl and cover the dough to let it rise
The dough will rise and make two pizza doughs
Dough 1: spread out on a greased pizza pan
The toppings
Mozzarella Tomato Pizza is done
Closeup
Featured

Cantaloupe Salad

This recipe reminds me of summertime and lemon tea. A refreshing salad that balances out the floral sweetness of the cantaloupe with the citrus tones and hits you with just about enough spice. As with most salads this tastes best when it is done fresh. The spice mix you need can be done ahead of time which would make the recipe even quicker to put together. Pair it with some burgers or pizzas as a welcome end to a meal @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 10 mins

PREP TIME: 5 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes 3

Ingredients

  • Cantaloupe ½ cubed
  • Baby spinach 1 cup
  • Red cabbage 1 cup
  • Onion ½, sliced
  • Red wine vinegar 1 tbsp
  • Coriander seeds crushed 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon 1 inch
  • Star anise 1
  • Cloves 2
  • Fennel seeds 1 tsp
  • Sichuan peppercorns 1 tsp
  • Avocado oil 4 tbsp
  • Salt
  • Black pepper 1 tsp, crushed
  • Lemon juice 1 tbsp

Method

  • In a pan dry roast star anise, cloves, sichuan peppercorns, fennel and cinnamon on a low heat till aromatic. This should take about 2 minutes. Let it cool. Grind in a coffee grinder. You will only need about 1 tsp of this mixture. Store the rest in a sealed container to use later as a rub for chicken or pork dishes or even before roasting vegetables.
  • Wash the cantaloupe and pat dry. Cut in half and take out the seeds. Remove the rind with a knife and cut half the cantaloupe into cubes. We will only use half of the cantaloupe. Reserve the other half in the fridge for later use.
  • In a bowl whisk together the following: avocado oil, salt, lemon juice, black pepper, crushed coriander seeds, red wine vinegar and 1 tsp of the roasted spice mix.
  • In a large serving bowl put in cubed cantaloupe, sliced onions, spinach and red cabbage. Pour the dressing on top. Enjoy!
Prepping the ingredients
Cantaloupe Salad is ready
Closeup
Featured

Penne Rigate with Spinach and Peas

Penne is the plural of the Italian ‘penna’ which comes from the Latin ‘penna’ meaning ‘pen or feather’. So penne pasta is pasta like a pen or quill shape with a sharp nib. The shape of the penne works wonderfully well in retaining the sauces inside its cylinder shape. This creamy spinach and peas penne is ready within minutes and tastes absolutely delicious. I love fire roasted tomatoes. They have a smoky flavor that adds a level of depth to the dish which otherwise using regular tomatoes would not. This easy recipe can be doubled or tripled to feed a large crowd with minimal hassle @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 30 mins

PREP TIME: 5 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes 5

Ingredients

  • Penne pasta bronze cut 16 oz
  • Olive oil 3 tbsp and 1 tbsp (for when boiling the pasta)
  • Salt
  • Spinach 2 cups
  • Garlic 2 tbsp, finely chopped
  • Chipotle chili peppers 1 tbsp
  • Fire roasted tomato 1 can
  • Frozen peas 1 cup
  • Cream 5 tbsp
  • Cream cheese 4 oz

Method

  • Purée the fire roasted tomatoes in a blender. Set aside.
  • Heat water. Let it come to a boil. Add pasta, salt and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Cook pasta for 13 mins till el dente. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water. Drain the rest. Set the drained pasta aside.
  • Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a pan. Add the chopped garlic. Let it turn golden. Add the fire roasted tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add cream. Let it cook for 5 minutes till the oil starts to float. Add the spinach. Let it wilt.
  • Next, add in the cooked pasta. Put the cream cheese in a bowl and microwave it for 15 seconds. Add the cream cheese to the pasta along with the pasta water you reserved.
  • Season with chipotle chili peppers. Put in the frozen peas. Cook for 2-3 minutes on high heat. Remove from heat once the sauce comes together. Serve.
Frying the garlic golden
Fire roasted tomato puree and cream
Adding the spinach
Adding the cream cheese
Adding the chipotle peppers
Adding the frozen peas
Penne Rigate with Spinach and Peas is ready
Closeup
Featured

Chanar Dalna (Indian Cottage Cheese with Potato Curry)

Chanar Dalna is a delicious vegetarian ‘niramish’ (no onion or garlic) Bengali dish from West Bengal in India, cooked with freshly prepared Indian cottage cheese spiced and made into balls and then cooked in a curry base. The first step to this recipe is doing the chana. I usually do this step the day before I need it and store it in the fridge. This way it has a chance to dry out a bit which makes kneading it easier. You can also do it fresh and cook on the day. For that, make sure all the water has drained out and the mixture is nice and dry. Using a cheesecloth then would work better than a sieve as you could twist the cheese cloth to get all the water out @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 30 mins

PREP TIME: 30 mins

YIELDS: Serves 5-6 

Ingredients 

  • Milk ½ gallon
  • Vinegar 2 tbsp
  • AP flour 5 tbsp
  • Potato 1 large, cubed 
  • Salt
  • Sugar 1 tbsp
  • Bay leaf 1, broken 
  • Cumin seeds 1 tbsp
  • Asafetida a pinch
  • Red chili powder 1 tbsp
  • Cumin powder 1 tbsp
  • Coriander powder 1 tbsp
  • Tomato 1, chopped 
  • Oil 3 tbsp
  • Oil for frying
  • Ghee 1 tbsp
  • Garam masala powder 2 tsp
  • Water 1 cup 

Method

  • Heat the milk in a large pan. Let it come to a boil. Add vinegar. Stir. Let it cook for a minute or so till the milk begins to separate. Turn the heat off and let it rest. When the water separates from the milk sieve the milk on a strainer or a cheesecloth. Try to squeeze out all the moisture. 
  • Take out the chana and knead it on the clean surface or kitchen countertop for a few minutes till smooth. Add some flour, red chili powder and salt. Knead the mixture again till it is smooth. Take a portion of the mixture in your hands and shape them into balls. Keep aside.
  • Peel the potato and cut into cubes. Keep them submerged in water so they do not go dark. Chop the tomato. 
  • Heat oil. Add in 5-6 chana balls at a time. Fry both sides till golden. Keep the heat on medium. Drain on the kitchen towel. Keep aside. 
  • Remove most of the oil from the pan keeping 3 tbsp. Add the cubed potatoes. Fry for a couple of minutes before adding salt and turmeric. Let the potatoes cook till golden.
  • Temper the oil with asafetida, bay leaf and cumin seeds. Let it turn aromatic.
  • Add the chopped tomato, cumin powder, red chili powder and coriander powder. Cook till the tomato completely gets cooked and oil starts to float. Adjust salt and add 1 cup of  water. Cover and cook till potatoes are done.
  • In the last 5 minutes of cooking, gently add the chana balls into the sauce. Take care not to break them. Sprinkle ghee and garam masala powder. Turn the heat off. Serve with basmati rice. 
Making the Chana
Adding masala to the Chana
Making the Chana/paneer balls
Fry the paneer balls
Drain on the kitchen towel
Frying the potato with the tempering
Adding the tomatoes and the rest of the spices
Cooking the potatoes
Chanar Dalna is done
Featured

Fire Roasted Tomato Soup

One way of roasting tomatoes for this recipe is to rub some olive oil on the tomatoes and cook them on the open flame, on the griddle, in the oven on broil mode or a barbecue grill. The blackened bits on the tomatoes add to the intense smoky flavor. Or if you are rushed for time, you can do what I did here. Use a can of fire roasted tomatoes for a quick soup that is ready in minutes and is full of hearty flavor @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 15 mins

PREP TIME: 5 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes 4

Ingredients

  • Fire roasted tomatoes 793g (I used Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Crushed tomatoes)
  • Olive oil 3 tbsp 
  • Salt
  • Light brown sugar 1 tbsp 
  • Minced onion flakes 1 tbsp 
  • Garlic powder 2 tsp 
  • Black pepper 2 tsp 
  • Dried sweet basil 2 tsp 
  • Red pepper crushed 2 tsp 
  • Cream 4 tbsp 
  • Baby spinach few leaves cut into strips for garnish

Method

  • Heat olive oil. Add onion flakes, garlic powder and crushed red pepper. Let it sizzle. Add the can of fire roasted tomatoes.
  • Add salt, pepper, dried basil and cook covered in a simmering heat for 10-12 minutes.
  • Cool the mixture. Blitz in a blender.
  • Put the mixture back in the pan. Let it come to a boil. Mix in cream. Stir. Turn the heat off.
  • Serve with some strips of baby spinach.

Tips

This soup is best served with some crostini, bread sticks or some sourdough bread.

The sauce is great to use on pizza crust too. Just reserve some BEFORE you add the cream to use like you would use a marinara on pizza or in pasta.

This is a thick sauce. I personally like to have a thick soup. You can add some water to dilute it slightly if you want.

Getting the ingredients ready
Tempering the oil
Adding the tomatoes
Adding the spices
If you want to use this as a base sauce for pizzas or pasta, this is the stage where you reserve some.
Blending the sauce
Adding the cream
Serve in bowls with garnish
Closeup

Featured

Orange Marmalade

There is nothing like fresh homemade marmalade. Marmalade can be made with many winter citrus fruits like kumquats, grapefruits, blood oranges, tangerines or oranges. Store bought marmalade has pectin along with high fructose corn syrup, potassium sorbate, citric acid and orange flavor. This fruit preserve has none of that. It does require time and patience to make but the results are well worth it and tastes so much better than anything you can buy at the store. You will have to be mindful and attentive when you are making this so that the sugar does not burn or the mixture bubble over. There are many recipes of making marmalade on the web. The idea of boiling the rind a few times came from The Los Angeles Times Cookbook “1000 Recipes of Famous Pioneer Settlers” published in 1905. Marmalade is best enjoyed from the day after you make it as it firms up and becomes thicker when cooled @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 1 hour

PREP TIME: 20 mins

YIELDS: 1 jar

Ingredients

  • Navel oranges 2 (unwaxed)
  • Granulated sugar 2 cups 
  • Orange zest 1 tbsp (I had this leftover from another recipe so added this too)
  • Lemon zest 1 tbsp 
  • Juice of 1 lemon 
  • Water
  • Mason jar 

Method

  • Wash and dry the oranges. Using a vegetable peeler to peel the orange. Take care not to peel the white pith. 
  • Cut the peels into thin strips. Halve the strips. 
  • Cut the oranges in half. Using a juicer, juice the oranges. Keep aside. 
  • In a pan heat 2 cups of water. Let it come to a boil. Add the orange peel and let it cook for 10 mins. Discard the water reserving the peels. Repeat this process three times. 
  • On the fourth time, after you have discarded the water three times, put in two more cups of water, lemon juice, the orange juice, orange peel, sugar and orange rind. 
  • Cook on slow for about 50-55 minutes. Keep stirring every 5 minutes or so making sure the mixture does not burn at the bottom or bubble over. 
  • In the meantime while that is happening, heat a large pan of water. Let it come to a boil. Add the mason jar, the lid and the rings and let it boil for 10 mins. Turn off the heat and let it stay in the water for a while. After about minutes, take it out and dry on kitchen towels. 
  • Put a small plate in the freezer. To test if the marmalade is ready, put a dollop of the mixture on the cold plate and after a few seconds swirl it to see if it spreads out. If it runs easily, it is not ready yet. It should move slightly and stop. Then you know your marmalade is ready. 
  • Pour marmalade into the mason jar. Let it cool down before putting the lid on. Store in the fridge.  
Prepping the items
Getting the peels ready
Cutting the peel into thin strips
Boiling the peel
Repeating the process
Adding the rest of the ingredients and thickening
Prepping the mason jar
Orange Marmalade is ready
Pouring the marmalade in the mason jar
Serving orange marmalade with some brioche toast
Closeup
Featured

Coconut Pannacotta with Homemade Orange Marmalade

Panna cotta is an Italian dessert meaning ‘cooked cream’. It is a simple and easy to make recipe. It is sweet but not overwhelmingly sweet that overpowers your senses. Panna Cotta can be topped with any kind of berries or fruit purees. This is a light and creamy dessert with coconut milk topped with some orange marmalade I made the other day (see my previous post https://sarchakra.com/2020/05/18/orange-marmalade/ ) @sarchakra

Ingredients

  • Coconut milk 1 ½ cups 
  • Cream 1 ½ cups 
  • Vanilla 2 tsp
  • Gelatin 1 tbsp 
  • Sugar ⅓ cup 
  • Orange zest 2 tbsp, grated 
  • Orange marmalade 2 tbsp diluted with 1 tbsp of water 
  • Ramekins 3
  • Oil for greasing

Method

  • Grease 3 ramekins with oil. Wipe with a kitchen towel to spread a thin layer of oil all around the ramekins. 
  • In a pan mix in 2 tbsp of water and pour in the gelatin. Let it sit for a couple of minutes. Turn the heat on and gently melt the gelatin so that no lumps remain. Set aside. 
  • In another pan heat cream, coconut milk and sugar. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat off. Add vanilla and the gelatin. 
  • Divide the mixture into the greased ramekins and set it aside. Cool them. Cover with a clingwrap and place the ramekins in the fridge for a few hours. 
  • When ready to serve, dip each ramekin into a bowl of hot water for a couple of seconds, and invert in to a plate. 
  • Serve with orange marmalade and orange zest. 
Coconut Pannacotta with Orange Marmalade
Featured

Makai Jeera Aloo (Sweetcorn and Potatoes with Cumin)

This is the prime example of how the humble potato along with sweetcorn and some pantry spices makes one of the yummiest side dish. Serve this with puri or roti and you have a homemade delicious meal. Boiling the potatoes the day before definitely makes the dish easy to do on the day @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 40 mins

PREP TIME: 5 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes 5

Ingredients

  • Small potatoes (aloo) 1 lb 
  • Dry mango powder (amchur) 2 tsp 
  • Asafetida (hing) a pinch 
  • Cumin seeds (jeera) 1 tbsp 
  • Carom seeds (ajwain) 1 tsp 
  • Coriander (dhania) powder 1 tbsp 
  • Red chili flakes (lal mirch) 2 tsp 
  • Red chili powder 2 tsp 
  • Turmeric (haldi) 1 tbsp 
  • Sweet corn (makai)  1 cup 
  • Vegetable oil 2 tbsp 
  • Coriander leaf (dhania patta) 2 tbsp, chopped 
  • Ghee 1 tbsp 

Method

  • Wash potatoes. Cook them either in a pan with water till done or for one whistle in a pressure cooker. Let it cool. This step can also be done a day ahead which saves a lot of time. 
  • Peel potatoes and cut in quarters. 
  • Dry roast cumin seeds and crush them gently. 
  • Heat oil. Put in asafetida, crushed cumin seeds and red chili flakes. Let this sizzle. 
  • Add chopped potatoes. Put in salt and turmeric. Fry on medium heat for a few minutes. 
  • Add in the sweet corn. Next, put in red chili powder, carom seeds, coriander powder, turmeric, dry mango powder. Mix the spices with the potatoes and sweet corn. Turn the heat off. 
  • Sprinkle ghee and coriander leaf on top. Mix. Serve. 
Cubing the boiled potatoes
Tempering the oil
Sauteing the potatoes
Adding the sweetcorn and spices
Sprinkle coriander leaf and ghee
Makai Jeera Aloo is served
Closeup
Featured

Chaas

Chaas is watered down buttermilk with Indian spices that can be served after a hot spicy meal or on a hot day. The cold, savory drink is by no means just a drink. Each of the ingredients added in it has medicinal qualities and many digestive benefits. It is a source of vitamin B complex, proteins and potassium. It lowers cholesterol, relieves acidity and has antiviral, antibacterial, and anticancer properties. When I make butter the liquid leftover is buttermilk. That is what I use to make chaas @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 0

PREP TIME: 8 mins 

YIELDS: Serves or makes 3

Ingredients 

  • Buttermilk (chaas) 1 jar 
  • Cumin seeds (jeera)  1 tbsp 
  • Dry ginger powder (soonth) 2 tsp 
  • Red chili powder (lal mirchi) 2 tsp 
  • Black pepper powder (kala mirch) 1 tsp 
  • Black salt (kala namak) to taste 
  • Coriander leaf 2 tbsp, very finely chopped 

Method 

  • Dry roast cumin seeds till aromatic. Let it cool. Put the seeds in a mortar and pestle and crush it gently to break them. Keep aside. 
  • In a small bowl mix together dry ginger powder, crushed cumin seeds, black pepper, rock salt, red chili powder. 
  • Stir the mixture into the buttermilk and add in coriander leaf. Serve cold. 

Notes

I used very little water to mix into the buttermilk as it was already diluted from making the butter (see recipe . 

I like everything spicy so I’ve used red chili powder but you can omit or reduce the amount if you want. 

Featured

Baigan Bharta- Fire Roasted Spicy Eggplant

Baigan Bharta is a Punjabi dish where eggplant is roasted on an open flame or charcoal till charred and the flesh then cooked with mashed potatoes and spices. It is one of the most delicious North Indian vegetarian delicacy. Something happens to the eggplant when that smokiness goes into the dish and just elevates it to a different level. This is a rustic dish but don’t be fooled by the looks. Lots of garlic, onion, tomatoes with coriander and pretty much that’s about all you need for this dish but the result is lip smacking deliciousness @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 35 mins

PREP TIME: 10 mins

YIELDS: Serves 5

Ingredients

  • Eggplant 1
  • Potatoes 4
  • Onion 1, large, sliced
  • Green chilies 4, chopped
  • Tomatoes 2, chopped
  • Garlic 2 tbsp, chopped
  • Salt
  • Oil 2 tbsp and 1 tsp
  • Turmeric 1 tbsp
  • Red chili powder 1 tbsp
  • Coriander leaf 2 tbsp, chopped

Method

  • Heat water and put in potatoes. Cook the potatoes till done. Let it cool. Mash the potatoes. Keep aside.
  • Cut a large eggplant into half just ¾ of the way so that it is still intact in one piece at the top. Rub 1 tsp of oil on the eggplant. Cook the eggplant on the open fire for about 8-10 minutes using tongs to turn it till the flesh is soft.
  • Cool and skin the eggplant. Mash the flesh with a fork. Keep aside.
  • In 2 tbsp oil, cook chopped garlic for a minute. Add chopped onion, green chiles, red chili powder, chopped tomatoes, mashed potatoes, salt, turmeric and cook on medium heat till done.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander. Serve with rice.
Frying the garlic and onions
Adding the potatoes
Adding the tomatoes
Baigan Bharta is done
Baigan Bharta

Notes

There are many variations to the Punjabi version of baigan bharta. The Gujrati version has mustard, cumin and ginger. The Karnataka version uses yogurt and sesame oil. In the Maharashtrian version all the ingredients except the eggplant are raw and the dish is cooked in peanut oil. Whatever version you use, I promise you, it will be delicious.

Featured

Asparagus Quick Fry

This is a simple recipe ready in no time at all. The trick is to not overcook the asparagus. You should still feel the crunch when you bite into it. I like to serve this with a pasta dish. This recipe is super quick and I would suggest to not cook it until you are ready to serve or eat. It is best eaten and enjoyed when done fresh @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 5 mins

PREP TIME: 5 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes 2

Ingredients

  • Asparagus a bunch 
  • Olive oil 1 tbsp 
  • Garlic powder 2 tsp 
  • Onion powder 2 tsp 
  • Lemon zest 2 tsp 
  • Lemon juice 2 tbsp 
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper crushed 1 tbsp 
  • Dried thyme 2 tsp 
  • Dried sun dried tomato flakes 2 tsp 
  • Cheddar 2 tbsp, grated 

Method

  • Trim asparagus cutting the tough ends. 
  • Heat olive oil. Place asparagus in a single layer. Cook  for a couple of minutes on high heat turning halfway to char both sides.
  • Sprinkle lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, thyme, sun dried tomato flakes, salt and black pepper. Stir once to coat. Turn the heat off. 
  • Top with grated cheddar. Serve immediately.
Lining up the asparagus on the pan
Asparagus Quick Fry
Featured

Mushrooms and Spring Onions

This is a super quick stir fry using mushrooms and spring onions with minimal spices. It is the epitome of a simple but flavorful dish done within 10-15 minutes. Serve with cooked basmati rice. @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 15 mins

PREP TIME: 5 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes 4-5

Ingredients

  • Mushrooms 1 box chopped 
  • Oil 1 tbsp
  • Salt
  • Turmeric 2 tsp 
  • Red onions 1 chopped 
  • Spring onions 2 bunches chopped 
  • Tomato 1 chopped 
  • Whole Red chili 1 

Method 

  • Heat oil. Add red chili and cook for a few seconds.
  • Add in mushrooms, onions and spring onions. Stir fry for a few mins.
  • Add salt, turmeric and red chili powder.
  • Add in chopped tomato. Cover and cook for 10 mins till done. 
  • Serve with basmati or jasmine rice.
Mushrooms and Spring Onions
Featured

Salad Wrap

The base for the wrap is this amazing salad with a ton of fresh vegetables and some packed protein with black beans and sweet corn. You could put the wraps in the griddle and cook them till the cheese melts but I like it cold so I can enjoy the freshness of the crunchy vegetables. The salad itself stores well in the fridge as a next day lunch on the go. When making the wraps, if you’re going to eat it cold, it’s best done when you eat it @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 20 mins

PREP TIME:10 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes 4

Ingredients

  • Tortillas 8
  • Black beans 1 can, drained
  • Sweet corn 1 pack, drained
  • Red onion 1, chopped
  • Cherry tomatoes 1 tub, halved
  • Cucumber 1, chopped
  • Orange pepper 1, chopped
  • Avocado oil ¼ cup
  • Salt
  • Cumin powder 1 tbsp
  • Crushed black pepper 3 tsp
  • Red chili flakes 2 tsp
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • Rice wine vinegar 1 tbsp
  • Brown sugar 1 tbsp
  • Parsley 1 cup, chopped
  • Cheddar cheese 2 cups, grated

Method

  • In a small bowl mix together: avocado oil, black pepper, lemon zest and juice, rice wine vinegar, salt, brown sugar, cumin powder and red chili flakes.
  • In a big bowl, put in drained black beans, sweet corn, onions, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, chopped parsley and pepper.
  • Pour dressing over the vegetables. Mix.
  • Put a heap of the salad on each tortilla. Top with grated cheddar.
  • Roll the tortilla folding both ends as you go. Cut in half. Serve on a plate with some more of the salad.

Notes: any kinds of beans can be used for this salad. Pinto beans, kidney beans, black eyed peas, moth beans, cannelloni beans, white beans, fava beans- you name it, you can use it.

Broccoli, celery, cauliflower, artichokes and carrots are some vegetables you can use along with any others you can think of.

For herbs you can substitute with cilantro or kale but since kale does not have a lot of flavor, add in some dried herbs like basil or thyme.

I like avocado and add it to my potion at the end. But avocado tends to go brown if stored without enough lemon juice so I would suggest only use avocado when you are eating.

Prepping the ingredients
Salad is done
Closeup of the delicious salad
Assembly
Pile up salad and cheese on each tortilla
Form into tight wraps
I like to serve this halved with some more salad
Bean Salad Wrap is ready
Featured

Vegetable Penang Curry

Penang curry paste has spices like dried chilies, galangal, ginger, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, cinnamon, star anise, roasted peanuts, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds. You can definitely make your own paste and store it in the fridge or you can just buy it readymade in Asian groceries. This spicy Thai curry broth works great in using up any and every leftover vegetables in your fridge. Is there any better excuse to eat a ton of vegetables? I think not @sarchakra 

COOK TIME: 15 mins 

PREP TIME: 10 mins 

YIELDS: Serves or makes 3 

Ingredients

  • Sesame oil 2 tbsp 
  • Mushrooms 6 oz
  • Green beans ½ cup
  • Carrot 2, sliced 
  • Peppers 1, sliced 
  • Cucumber ½, chopped 
  • Broccoli florets  ½ cup 
  • Onion 1, sliced 
  • Garlic 1 tbsp
  • Brown sugar 1 tbsp 
  • Tomato 1, sliced
  • Cherry tomatoes 6 oz
  • Penang curry paste 2 tbsp
  • Peanut butter 2 tsp
  • Sambal olek 1 tbsp
  • Tamari 1 tbsp 
  • Salt 
  • Black pepper 2 tsp 
  • Fish sauce 1 tbsp
  • Lime juice 1 tbsp 
  • Coconut milk 1 can 

Method 

  • Heat oil. Saute garlic. Add in onions, carrot, green beans, mushrooms and tomato.
  • Add penang paste and let it cook for a minute.
  • Add bell pepper and broccoli and stir fry a minute or so.
  • Add sambal olek, fish sauce, black pepper, brown sugar, peanut butter, black pepper, tamari and salt.
  • Add coconut milk and let it simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  • Add cucumber and cherry tomatoes. Simmer for a minute. Turn the gas off. Add a generous squeeze of lime.  

Notes

If you are vegetarian, omit the fish sauce.

Vegetable Penang Curry
Featured

Creamy Mushrooms

This is a really simple and creamy mushroom dish with a little bit of pepper, a lot of garlic and a generous grating of nutmeg. I remember tasting this at my brother in law’s house years ago and I loved it.  Of course I asked for the recipe. This dish is extremely flavorful and I serve this with a pasta dish. You can definitely cook this with butter because everything tastes better with butter, right? However, to keep the calorie count low I have used vegetable oil and a little bit of butter after the cooking is done. The best part about this recipe is how quick it is. From start to finish you’re done in about 15 minutes @sarchakra 

COOK TIME: 10 mins

PREP TIME: 5 mins 

YIELDS: Serves or makes 3 

Ingredients 

  • Mushrooms 8 oz (227 g) sliced thinly 
  • Garlic 7-8 cloves, finely chopped 
  • Oil 1 tbsp 
  • Cream ¼ cup 
  • Salt 
  • Red chili flakes 2 tsp 
  • Black pepper 1 tsp 
  • Nutmeg ¼ tsp grated 
  • Butter 1 tbsp 

Method 

  • In a pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil. Saute chopped garlic. Let it slightly cook but not burn. Add in red pepper flakes if you like spicy food.
  • Cook for a few seconds. Add the mushrooms. Let it cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the cream. Simmer on low. Season with salt and pepper.  
  • In a few minutes the gravy becomes smooth and creamy.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of butter and some grated nutmeg to finish up the dish. Serve with a bowl of cooked pasta.
Sautéing the garlic and pepper flakes
Adding the sliced mushrooms
Adding cream
Serving with butter and grated nutmeg
Creamy Mushrooms closeup
Featured

Phulkopir Jhol (Aloo Gobi: Cauliflower in a thin gravy)

This is a simple hearty recipe with cauliflower and potatoes in a thin sauce, ie. jhol. It tastes best with some cooked basmati rice or luchi. Cauliflower is so readily available in Rochester I end up buying it every single week. Today’s recipe is a very popular dish in quintessential Bengali cuisine. Although this recipe is usually cooked in mustard oil, I’ve used regular vegetable oil here and added a bit of ghee at the end for that special flavor @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 29 mins

PREP TIME: 10 mins

YIELD: Serves or makes 5


Ingredients

  • Cauliflower 1, cut into florets
  • Potato 1, cubed
  • Vegetable oil 
  • Cumin seeds 1 tbsp 
  • Cumin powder 1 tbsp
  • Coriander powder 1 tbsp 
  • Asafetida a pinch 
  • Red chili powder 1 tbsp 
  • Tomato 1, chopped 
  • Bay leaf 1, broken 
  • Red chili 2, broken 
  • Fenugreek seeds ¼ tsp
  • Black mustard seeds 1 tsp 
  • Fennel seeds 1 tsp 
  • Nigella seeds (Kalonji) 1 tsp 
  • Ghee 1 tbsp 

Method

  • Heat oil. Temper fennel seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, bay leaf, red chilies, asafetida.
  • Add cauliflower and potatoes. Add in salt and turmeric. Sauté for a couple of minute before adding cumin powder, coriander powder, red chili powder.
  • Add tomato and cover. Keep cooking on low heat. Add ¼ water and let it simmer and cook till done.
  • Sprinkle ghee and serve. 
Tempering
Adding the vegetables
Adding tomatoes
Phulkopir Jhol is done
Featured

Mulo Saager Chorchori (Radish Greens with Vegetables)

What do you do with the greens that come with your radish? If you are like me, you do not throw it away. You combine it with a ton of vegetables and make a delicious meal out of it. This is an intelligent way to not waste any food. This is so ridiculously flavorsome with all the fresh vegetables I know you will want to make it every time, once you try it. Dry lentil dumplings are easily available in Indian groceries in the US and lends an enormous amount of flavor to this dish @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 20 mins

PREP TIME: 10 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes 3-4

Ingredients

  • Radish greens (Mooli ke patte) 1 cup, chopped  
  • Eggplant ¼ cup, chopped  
  • Sweet potato ½ cup, chopped 
  • Radish ¼ cup, chopped 
  • Cauliflower 1 cup 
  • Butternut squash ½ cup, chopped 
  • Lentil dumplings (bori), a handful 
  • Mustard oil 2 tbsp 
  • Whole red chilies 2, broken 
  • Cumin seeds 1 tbsp 
  • Salt 
  • Turmeric 1 tbsp 
  • Red chili powder 2 tsp 
  • Asafetida ¼ tsp 
  • Celery seeds (radhuni) ¼ tsp
  • Nigella seeds (kalonji) ¼ tsp
  • Cumin seeds powder 1 tbsp 
  • Mustard paste 2 tsp 
  • Ghee 1 tsp 
  • Coriander leaf 2 tbsp, chopped

Method

  • In a pan heat mustard oil. Fry the lentil dumplings till golden. This should take a minute or so. Keep aside. 
  • In the same oil, temper asafetida, nigella seeds, celery seeds, cumin seeds and red chilies. Let it cook for a minute or so till aromatic. Add all the vegetables.
  • Add salt, turmeric, red chili powder, cumin seed powder. Add the fried dumplings. Cover and cook till done. It should be done within 10 mins or so.
  • Add mustard paste, ghee and coriander leaf. Stir and serve with cooked basmati rice. 
Frying the dumplings
Tempering the seeds
Sauteing the mixture
Adding the fried dumplings
Radish Greens with Vegetables is done
Featured

Pearl Couscous Salad with Garlic Oil

This is a super healthy and absolutely delicious meal. It stores so well and tastes amazing the next day as a cold lunch too. This is one of those recipes that you can overeat without feeling guilty. Pearl couscous is a lot bigger than regular couscous and needs to be actually cooked unlike the regular one that you just soak in boiling water. There are three steps to this dish. First, the flavored garlic oil. The next step is cooking the couscous. The third step while the couscous is cooking, is getting the vegetables ready @sarchakra

PREP TIME: 20 mins

COOK TIME: 15 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes 4-5

Flavored oil

  • Garlic 5 cloves
  • Olive oil 3 tbsp 

Method

  • Heat 2 tbsp oil and sauté garlic on a low simmer till the garlic is cooked through. This should take 8 mins or so.
  • Turn off the heat. Cool and keep aside. 

Pearl Couscous 

  • Pearl Couscous 5 oz 
  • Water 1 & ¼ cups 
  • Garlic powder 2 tsp 
  • Onion flakes 1 tbsp 
  • Dried parsley 1 tbsp 
  • Sage 1 tsp 
  • Marjoram 1 tsp 
  • Romano cheese 3 tbsp 
  • Parmesan 2 tbsp 
  • Black peppercorns 1 tbsp, crushed 
  • Sea salt 

Method

  • Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil. Toast pearl couscous for a minute or so.
  • Add garlic powder, onion flakes, marjoram, sage and dried parsley. Add water. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Bring to simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Mix in grated Romano and Parmesan cheese. 

Vegetables 

  • Cucumber 1 cup 
  • Lettuce 1 cup 
  • Tomato 1, chopped 
  • Red pepper ½, chopped 
  • Yellow pepper, ½, chopped 
  • Lemon juice 1 tbsp 
  • Lemon wedges 2
  • Onion 1, chopped 

Method 

  • Mix in cucumber, lettuce, tomato, red pepper, yellow pepper, onion with the cooked couscous.
  • Sprinkle with lemon juice. Pour garlic oil and mix into the couscous. Serve with lemon wedges. 
Prepping the vegetables
Couscous Salad is ready
Featured

Buddha Bowl

The base for this Buddha bowl is brown rice cooked with onions and sweetcorn along with the pinto beans I did the other day. For the pinto beans recipe check this link https://sarchakra.com/2020/05/04/pinto-beans/ The spices used in this recipe are minimal because the taste would naturally come from all the fresh vegetables used @sarchakra 

Brown rice: 

  • Brown rice 1 cup 
  • Onion 1, sliced 
  • Black pepper 2 tsp crushed 
  • Avocado oil 2 tsp 
  • Salt 

Method

  • Rinse rice a few times. Keep aside. 
  • Heat 1 tsp oil. Sauté onions. Add rice followed by salt and crushed pepper. Add 2 cups of water and let it come to a boil. Lower heat, cover and let the rice cook till done. Keep aside. 

The Vegetables 

  • Oil 2 tsp 
  • Beans  1/2 cup cut into 2 inch pieces 
  • Cauliflower florets 1 cup 
  • Salt 
  • Turmeric 2 tsp 
  • Cumin powder 1 tsp 
  • Cherry tomatoes ½ cup halved 
  • Mushrooms 5-6, sliced thinly 
  • White onion 1, small, sliced 
  • Pepper Jack cheese 3 tbsp 
  • Curly leaf Parsley 2 tbsp 

Method

  • Heat oil. Sauté mushrooms on high heat for a couple of minutes. Remove. 
  • Add in beans and sauté for just a few seconds so it retains its crunchiness. Keep aside. 
  • In the same pan, sauté cauliflower. Season with salt, turmeric and cumin powder. 

Assembly 

  • In a bowl put in ½ a cup of brown rice.
  • Add in sautéd mushrooms, sautéd green beans, sliced onions, halved cherry tomatoes, sautéd cauliflower and pinto beans.
  • Serve with grated pepper jack cheese and chopped fresh parsley. Enjoy! 
Buddha Bowl
Featured

Chipotle Bowl

This is a super healthy recipe with a lot of vegetables and chipotle seasoned chicken breast cooked with a little bit of oil. I usually serve this with a small amount of chipotle ranch dressing @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 15 mins

PREP TIME: 10 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes 2

Ingredients

  • Chicken breast 1 cup, cut into small pieces 
  • Oil 1 tbsp 
  • Salt
  • Chipotle chili pepper 3 tsp 
  • Garlic flakes 1 tsp 
  • Ground coriander 1 tsp 
  • Carrots 1, small, sliced 
  • Cucumber ½, sliced 
  • Beans ½ cup 
  • Red onion 1, small, sliced 
  • Broccoli florets ½ cup 
  • Red cabbage 3 tbsp, sliced 
  • Cheddar cheese sliced 
  • Lettuce 2 tbsp, chopped  
  • Lemon wedge 1 
  • Ranch dressing 2 tbsp 
  • Parsley 1 tbsp chopped 

Method

  • Marinate chicken breast with oil, 2 tsp chipotle, garlic flakes, ground coriander and salt. Keep aside for ½ hour. 
  • Heat pan and add chicken. There is no need to add any more oil as the chicken already was marinated with oil. Cook chicken on both sides till cooked. Remove. 
  • Keep aside. In the same oil add in beans.  
  • Sauté beans. Sauté broccoli for a few seconds. Keep aside. 
  • In a bowl put in chipotle seasoned chicken, cucumber slices, red onion slices, carrot slices, sliced red cabbage, lettuce, cheddar slices, lemon wedge and parsley. 
  • Mix together 1 tsp chipotle with ranch dressing. Serve with the salad. 
Featured

Homemade Butter

Have you made butter at home? It is ridiculously easy to do and is ready in minutes. Your mixer does all the work and you practically get the credit! Pretty good, right? Once you actually make the butter, you can put any add ins, savory or sweet to take it to the next level. I have some suggestions in the Notes section, but there are many more combos you can do. Check out the recipe below @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 10 mins

PREP TIME: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • Heavy whipping cream 2 cups
  • Sea salt 2 tsp

Method:

  • In a large bowl, pour in heavy whipping cream (see notes). Set your mixer to medium and start whipping.
  • The different stages of the mixture will be soft, creamy, puffy and then the milk will separate from the fat turning the mixture sloshy. Keep going till the liquid separates into yellow, buttery solids.
  • Strain out the liquid with a sieve. Don’t throw it out- it’s buttermilk! Pour some cold water on the butter and rinse it out. Continue this till the water runs clear.
  • Press butter with the back of your ladle to squeeze out any remaining water. At this stage, mix in some sea salt. That’s it, fresh salted butter is ready.

Notes

When you start mixing, the cream has a tendency to splatter everywhere so put a paper plate on your hand mixer and then put the attachments on. That way all the craziness stays inside the bowl and does not adorn your kitchen or you!

You can use the delicious buttermilk to make crunchy chicken or cakes and cookies. Store in the fridge.

For a different flavor you can add honey to the butter for honey butter, some crushed black pepper, chipotle spice, red chili flakes or garlic grated. The choices are endless, so experiment with them. Happy cooking!

Gathering the ingredients
The mixture starts changing
Cover with a paper plate to prevent splatter
The butter separates
Strained butter
Butter is done
Closeup
Featured

Cashew Pesto Pizza

The crust recipe is the same as in the post https://sarchakra.com/2020/05/06/veggie-pizza/ The toppings are the only difference in this recipe. The cashew pesto recipe is the same as I used for the puff pastry swirls https://sarchakra.com/2020/04/18/cashew-pesto-salsa-twirls/ While the veggie pizza had a tomato salad base with lots of veggies, this one has a plain pesto, tomato and cheddar cheese topping @sarchakra

For the Pizza Crust: (this will make 2 pizza crusts) 

Ingredients

  • Bread flour 3 ¼ cups 
  • Yeast ¾ oz 
  • Warm water 1 ¼ cup 
  • Salt 1 tsp 
  • Sugar 1 tbsp 
  • Olive oil 1 tbsp plus more to coat the bowl 

Method

  • Dissolve yeast in warm water. 
  • In a bowl combine salt, sugar and flour. 
  • Add yeast mixture. Stir to combine. 
  • Add olive oil. Keep kneading till the dough becomes smooth. 
  • Coat a large bowl with olive oil. Put dough in the bowl. Spread olive oil on the dough. 
  • Cover with a kitchen towel for 2 hours. Divide dough into 2 portions. Cover with towel again. Let it rest for 20 mins. 
  • Press dough into pizza pans. Let it rest for 20 mins before topping with the rest of the ingredients. 

For Cashew Pesto:

  • Basil 1 cup
  • Parmesan ¼ cup
  • Olive oil ¼ cup
  • Salt
  • Black pepper 1 tbsp
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Cashews 3 tbsp

For Cashew Pesto: Blend together basil, parmesan, olive oil, salt, black pepper, juice of 1 lemon and cashews till smooth. Keep aside.

Toppings:

  • Cashew pesto 5 tbsp
  • Cheddar cheese 6 oz cut into rectangles
  • Tomatoes 2, cut into rounds

Assembly:

  • Heat oven to 425º.
  • Spread pizza crust on a pizza pan. Top with pesto, tomato and cheddar rectangles.
  • Cook for 25-30 minutes till golden.
Featured

Veggie Pizza

Homemade pizza is truly a guilt free indulgence that you can make with as many vegetables you want. My kids LOVE pizza. They wouldn’t mind having it everyday either. Once in a while I make pizza at home which becomes a good excuse for me to pile the pizza up with a ton of fresh veggies. I usually make the pizza base the night before. That way lunch is easy to get ready with just prepping the vegetables. This pizza has a base of tomato salad in sauce topped with even more veggies. If cooking for kids or adults who do not like spicy food, just omit the jalapeños @sarchakra 

COOK TIME: 30 mins

PREP TIME: 15 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes 4-5

For the pizza crust: (this will make 2 pizza crusts) 

Ingredients

  • Bread flour 3 ¼ cups 
  • Yeast ¾ oz 
  • Warm water 1 ¼ cup 
  • Salt 1 tsp 
  • Sugar 1 tbsp 
  • Olive oil 1 tbsp plus more to coat the bowl 

Method

  • Dissolve yeast in warm water. 
  • In a bowl combine salt, sugar and flour. 
  • Add yeast mixture. Stir to combine. 
  • Add olive oil. Keep kneading till the dough becomes smooth. 
  • Coat a large bowl with olive oil. Put dough in the bowl. Spread olive oil on the dough. 
  • Cover with a kitchen towel for 2 hours. Divide dough into 2 portions. Cover with towel again. Let it rest for 20 mins. 
  • Press dough into pizza pans. Let it rest for 20 mins before topping with the rest of the ingredients. 

For the Base Salad: 

Ingredients

  • Tomatoes 1, finely chopped
  • Onion 1, finely chopped 
  • Jalapeño 1, chopped 
  • Garlic 1, finely chopped 
  • Coriander 2 tbsp chopped 
  • Crushed tomatoes 1 can 
  • Cilantro 1 tbsp 
  • Crushed black pepper 2 tsp
  • Salt 

Method

Mix the above ingredients and let it rest for an hour. 

For the toppings: 

Ingredients

  • Broccoli shavings 2 tbsp 
  • Medley tomatoes 6 oz, halved 
  • Red onions 1, sliced 
  • Capote peppers 2 tbsp 
  • Pickled jalapeños 2 tbsp 
  • Pepper jack cheese 6 tbsp, divided 
  • Mushrooms 4-5, sliced 
  • Parsley 3 tbsp, divided 

Method 

  • Heat the oven to 425°. 
  • Place chopped salad on the base of the pizza. Top with sliced red onions, 4 tbsp pepper jack cheese, capote peppers, pickled jalapeños, medley tomatoes, mushrooms and 2 tbsp parsley. 
  • Bake pizza for 25-30 mins. 
  • Serve with shaved broccoli, 1 tbsp chopped parsley and a sprinkle of 2 tbsp of cheese. 
Making the crust
Resting the dough
Prepping the toppings
Preparing the pizza
Close up
Veggie pizza is done
Featured

Aquafaba Meringues

Aquafaba is the viscous water left from boiling chick peas or white beans. When you whip it up, it behaves exactly like egg whites which means you can cook with it like an egg  replacement. I learnt about aquafaba about a year ago when I was looking for more healthy and vegan options for baking. But it is only recently when in the difficult times that we are in right now with the Coronavirus pandemic raging and essentials like eggs and butter becoming scarce, that I decided was a good time to look into this. I must say I was quite surprised by how relatively simple it was to do. To make aquafaba from scratch requires a bit of advanced planning. You can use the liquid from the canned chick peas as a short cut to this recipe @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 90 mins

PREP TIME: 5 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes 3-4

Ingredients

  • Chick peas 2 cups (see notes)
  • Caster sugar ½ cup
  • Cream of tartar 1 tsp 
  • Vanilla extract 1 tsp 
  • Gel color couple of drops

Method

  • If making from scratch, put chick peas in a large pan and cover with water. Soak overnight. On the next day discard the water and wash the chickpeas. Put drained chick peas in a pressure cooker and cover with water. Cook till done for about 7-8 whistles. Let it cool. Drain the chickpeas and reserve the water. This is aquafaba. Reduce this water by boiling it for 20-30 mins so it is not too watery. If using the aquafaba from canned chickpeas omit this step. This entire step can be done the day before to reduce cooking time.
  • Preheat oven to 250 F. 
  • Measure out ½ cup of aquafaba in a bowl.
  • Using an electric mixer whip the aquafaba till it is foamy. Add the cream of tartar. 
  • Add the sugar little by little. Keep beating the meringue till peaks form that do not fall off. 
  • Put mixture in a piping bag. At this point put in a couple of drops of gel color in the piping bag. Do not mix it.
  • Pipe meringues on to a baking tray lined with parchment paper. 
  • Bake for 70-75 minutes. Keep the oven door closed for an hour before opening it. Let meringues cool down before storing in an air right container. 

Notes

We will only use ½ cup aquafaba for this recipe. If using more, double the ingredients accordingly. Reserve any leftover aquafaba in the fridge.

Starting to whisk the aquafaba
keep whisking
Stiff peaks
Baking
In the oven
Aquafaba Meringues
Featured

Shrimp in Coconut Cream (Chingri Malai Curry)

This is another Bengali recipe of shrimp or prawns delicately flavored and cooked in a coconut mustard broth with poppyseeds. Poppy seeds or ‘posto’ is a very special ingredient in Bengali cuisine. It comes up again and again in many recipes, both vegetarian and non vegetarian. The nuttiness of the ground poppyseeds adds another dimension to the dish cooked in steam. You could cook it in a pan too but the steaming method with the raw shrimp makes the dish really tasty. If you’ve never tried it before, I urge you to give it a go @sarchakra 

COOK TIME: 10 mins

PREP TIME: 15 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes 3

Ingredients

  • Shrimp/ Prawns 8 oz
  • Classic Yellow Mustard 1 tbsp
  • Yogurt 2 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder 1 tbsp
  • Red chili powder 1 tbsp
  • Coconut cream 4 tbsp 
  • Coconut paste 1 tbsp 
  • Poppyseed paste 2 tbsp 
  • Green cardamom powder 1 tsp 
  • Cinnamon stick 1 inch 
  • Cumin powder 1 tsp
  • Salt
  • Sugar 1 tbsp
  • Mustard oil 2 tbsp
  • Water 3 cups

Method

  • Grind the coconut into a smooth paste.
  • Mix all the ingredients in a steel container. Close the lid tightly. 
  • Heat water in a large pan that has a cover. Reduce the heat to medium low when the water starts boiling. 
  • Lower the covered container into the gently simmering water. Put a lid on the pan. Let it simmer for 10 mins.
  • Turn the heat off. Keep it covered for 10-15 mins before opening the container. Serve with plain basmati rice. 

Notes

Coconut cream can be substituted with canned unsweetened coconut milk. 

Use freshly grated or frozen coconut to make the coconut paste.

Getting the mix ready
Shrimp in Coconut Cream
Chingri Malai Curry
Featured

Pinto Beans

I cannot even begin to tell you how many recipes I make from this one recipe. This is the ultimate no fuss simple food. There is almost no prep work needed for this recipe. Taco seasoning is readily available everywhere in the US and almost no other effort is needed to put this recipe together. When I have the time I also make my own version of homemade taco seasoning which I will post in this blog soon. I make a huge tub of pinto beans and use this mixture to make stuffed tortillas, burritos, fried rice, sandwich fillings etc. At any one time I will have a couple of tub of boiled beans in my fridge to do a quick, healthy, wholesome meal for the kids. This stores in the freezer wonderfully well whether you store it simply boiled or after you make the recipe @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 50 mins

PREP TIME: 5 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes 4

Ingredients

  • Pinto beans 1 cup 
  • Oil 2 tbsp 
  • Salt
  • Turmeric 2 tsp 
  • Cumin seeds 1 tbsp 
  • Garlic powder 1 tbsp 
  • Onion flakes 2 tsp 
  • Taco seasoning 2 tbsp 
  • Tomato paste 3 tbsp 
  • Dried basil 1 tbsp 
  • Lime juice 3 tbsp 

Method

  • Cook pinto beans with salt, turmeric and water till done. This process will take sooner if you pressure cook. If you do not have a pressure cooker, any deep bottomed pan will do. Keep aside.
  • In a pan heat oil. Put in cumin seeds. Sauté for a minute and then add tomato paste. Cook the tomato paste in the oil for a couple of minutes.
  • Add onion flakes and garlic powder. Add the cooked beans. Check seasoning. Cook till desired consistency. Turn the heat off.
  • Add dried basil and lime juice.
Sauteing the tomato paste and spices
Cook till the tomato paste mixes in well in the oil
Add boiled beans
Pinto Beans is ready to serve
Pinto Beans
Featured

Kumro Chokka (Squash Stir Fry in Mustard Paste)

This is a very traditional no onion or garlic Bengali recipe. Sometimes black chick peas are used in this recipe although I have not used it this time. The key to this recipe is using minimal ingredients. It is simple, hassle free tasty cooking. Served with rice or roti, it is absolutely delicious @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 20 mins

PREP TIME: 10 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes 3-4

Ingredients

  • Squash 2 cups, cubed 
  • Red chilies 3, broken
  • Mustard seeds 1 tbsp 
  • Oil 1 tbsp 
  • Ginger paste 1 tbsp 
  • Salt
  • Sugar 1 tsp 
  • Coconut grated 2 tbsp 
  • Turmeric 1 tbsp 
  • Red chili powder 2 tsp
  • Yellow mustard paste 1 tbsp 
  • Heat oil. Temper mustard seeds and red chilies. Add in squash. Add salt and turmeric. Cook covered in low flame till nearly done.
  • Add mustard paste, red chili powder, ginger paste, sugar and stir. Add coconut. Cook for a couple of minutes till done. Serve.

Notes:

This recipe works with any pumpkin or squash. I’ve used acorn squash simply because I love it and it is very readily available here in Minnesota, but this would work with other kinds of squash too. 

I’ve used frozen grated coconut which works really well without going through the hassle of grating a fresh coconut. 

I love to cook with yellow mustard instead of preparing black mustard paste because I find sometimes the chaff can make the paste bitter if the mustard is not fresh. With the yellow mustard paste all the hard work is done for you and the strong pungent aroma of the mustard really helps bring out the flavor in this recipe. 

Squash with mustard seeds and red chilies
Keep frying till it is nearly done.
Add in spices and coconut
Kumro Chokka
Featured

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken needs no introduction. The key to a good tandoori chicken is marination and a tandoor. Cooking it at home without a tandoor you can get that charred effect by using the broil mode in the oven in the last few minutes of cooking @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 1 hr 10 minutes

PREP TIME: 10 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes 3

Ingredients

  • Chicken drumsticks 7
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Coriander powder 1 tbsp 
  • Cumin powder 1 tbsp
  • Cardamom powder 2 tsp 
  • Turmeric 1 tbsp
  • Garlic powder 1 tbsp 
  • Ginger ground 2 tsp 
  • Black pepper powder 2 tsp 
  • Fenugreek powder ¼ tsp 
  • Red chili powder 1 tbsp 
  • Cloves 5-6 
  • Mustard oil 2 tbsp 
  • Salt 
  • Greek Yogurt 3 tbsp 
  • Ghee 1 tbsp 

Method

  • Cut slits into chicken drumsticks. 
  • In a bowl mix all the ingredients except the ghee till smooth. Put in chicken drumsticks and rub the masala mixture into all the pieces. Cover with a cling wrap and refrigerate overnight. 
  • Heat oven to 350°. Cover a baking tray with aluminum foil. Put a rack on the tray and spray or brush the rack with some oil. Place chicken drumsticks on the rack and bake for 1 hour 10 mins. Depending on the size of the drumsticks you may need to adjust the time. In the last 3-4 mins when the chicken is done, crank up the heat to Broil mode to get that charred effect. Keep an eye on the chicken so it does not get burnt. Serve brushed with some ghee and a simple cucumber and onion salad. 

Notes

I strongly recommend overnight marination and possibly more than that.

Brushing the rack with oil ensures not only that the meat does not stick to the rack but also an easy no-stress cleanup. 

The Tandoori Masala
Setting the chicken to bake
Off the oven
Tandoori Chicken is ready
Tandoori Chicken

Featured

Southern Fried Chicken

Having lived in Atlanta, GA for many years has definitely made me a die hard fan of Southern food. What better Southern food is there than fried chicken? The slightly sour tones in the buttermilk makes the chicken soft and tender while the coating keeps it crunchy. This recipe needs some preparation and planning beforehand but is certainly worth it @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 45 mins 

PREP TIME: 15 mins 

YIELDS: Serves or makes 4 

Ingredients

  • Chicken drumsticks  6
  • Salt
  • Milk 1 cup 
  • Vinegar 2 tsp 
  • Black Pepper 2 tbsp 
  • Onion powder 2 tbsp 
  • Garlic powder 1 tbsp 
  • Black pepper 1 tbsp
  • All Purpose Flour 1 & ½ cups
  • Oregano 2 tsp 
  • Paprika 1 tbsp 
  • Dried basil 1 tbsp 
  • Dried thyme 2 tsp 
  • Egg 1
  • Crisco for frying
  • Mayonnaise ½ cup 
  • Sriracha sauce 2 tbsp 

Method

  • Get the chicken drumsticks ready in a bow. Rub salt all over the pieces and refrigerate overnight. Especially for bigger pieces, this is key.
  • Mix vinegar into the milk. Keep aside for 5 mins. Let it slightly curdle into buttermilk. Beat the egg into the mixture. 
  • Dip chicken into the buttermilk egg mixture.  
  • In a bowl mix in flour, onion flakes, garlic powder, dried oregano, basil, thyme, salt, black pepper and paprika. 
  • Shake each chicken piece off the egg mixture, and dredge in the flour mixture. 
  • Heat Crisco in a heavy Dutch oven. Fry on medium heat till the chicken is thoroughly cooked. This can take anywhere between 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the chicken drumsticks. Drain on kitchen towels. 
  • Mix mayonnaise and sriracha. Pour in serving cup. Serve with fried chicken. 
The seasoning
The buttermilk and egg mixture
Frying
Southern Fried Chicken is ready
Southern Fried Chicken
Featured

Moth Beans Dal with Fenugreek (Methi Matki)

This is a super healthy and nutritious dish with all the goodness of fenugreek leaves and moth beans. If using a pressure cooker or instant pot, it cooks super fast too @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 45 mins

PREP TIME: 15 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes 5-6

Ingredients

  • Moth beans (matki) 1 cup
  • Fenugreek leaves (methi saag) 1 cup, fresh or frozen-see notes
  • Oil 2 tbsp
  • Tomato 1, chopped
  • Whole red chilies 4
  • Garlic paste (lehsun) 2 tsp
  • Ginger (adrak) 1 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds 1 tbsp
  • Asafetida (hing) a pinch
  • Coriander powder (dhania) 1 tbsp
  • Red chili powder (lal mirch) 2 tsp
  • Salt
  • Turmeric (haldi) 1 tbsp
  • Bay leaf 1
  • Garam masala powder 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves 5-6
  • Ghee 1 tbsp

Method

Soak moth beans at least an hour in water. Discard the soaked water and add fresh water along with salt and turmeric and a bay leaf. Cook in the press cooker or a heavy buttoned pan till done. Set aside.

Heat oil in a pan. Add asafetida followed by garlic paste and cook a few seconds. Add ginger and tomatoes. cook for a few minutes till the oil floats. Add chopped fenugreek, coriander powder, garam masala powder, red chili powder and cook covered till the fenugreek is cooked. This should take about 5-6 minutes. Add cooked dal and cook for a further 5-56 minutes. Turn the heat off. Keep it covered.

Tadka: In a separate pan, heat 1 tbsp ghee. Put in cumin seeds, mustard seeds, curry leaves and red chilies. Let it cook a few seconds till aromatic. Pour tadka on the daal. Serve hot with chapati, roti or rice.

Notes:

If using fresh fenugreek leaves, wash thoroughly a few times till completely clean. Discard the stems and chop finely. Otherwise you can use frozen fenugreek straight from the freezer. Slightly increase the cooking time.

Featured

Paneer Chana Masala (Chick Peas with Indian Cottage Cheese)

Chana Masala with paneer is like two recipes in one place. Paneer usually is sufficient in itself as a curry but sometimes when you don’t have a lot of paneer in hand this is a good way of using it with another ingredient to make a new combo. The paneer here is not fried at all but just added towards the end. This keeps it soft and fresh. Store bought paneer can definitely be used but if doing chenna fresh, see the notes below @sarchakra 

COOK TIME: 50 mins 

PREP TIME: 10 mins 

Ingredients

  • Chana (chick peas) 1 cup 
  • Paneer 1 cup, cubed (see notes) 
  • Tomatoes 2, puréed
  • Ginger 1 tbsp 
  • Garlic paste 2 tsp 
  • Carrot 1, thinly chopped 
  • Dried mint 2 tsp 
  • Carom seeds 1 tsp 
  • Salt
  • Black salt 2 tsp 
  • Turmeric 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds 1 tsp 
  • Red chili powder 1 tbsp 
  • Dry mango powder 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder 1 tbsp
  • Cumin powder 2 tsp 
  • Cooking oil 2 tbsp
  • Onions 2 medium, chopped 
  • Green chilies 2, chopped

Method

  • Soak Chana overnight in a bowl. Make sure the Chana is completely submerged in water. 
  • Rinse the Chana in the morning and put in fresh water to cover it. Boil till soft. I used a pressure cooker but you can also cook it in a deep bottomed pan. 
  • Heat oil, add cumin seeds and carom seeds. Let it sizzle and then sauté onions and carrot till slightly golden. Add and cook chopped green chili. Add ginger paste and garlic paste. Sauté for a couple of minutes.
  • Add tomato puree, turmeric, coriander powder, cumin powder, red chili powder, dry mango, black salt and mint leaves. Add salt to taste. Add 1 cup of water and add paneer cubes. Simmer for 5 minutes till most of the water has soaked in and there is a saucy consistency. Serve with basmati rice. 

Notes: you can use store bought paneer for the recipe. For Paneer/ Chenna from scratch see below. 

Chenna/Paneer

Heat 1 liter of milk. When it starts boiling, put in 1 tbsp lemon juice (or vinegar). Let it boil for a few seconds, stir and cook till the milk curdles. Turn the gas off. Let it sit for 10 mins. Strain the mixture on a chess cloth. Twist the cheese cloth with the paneer inside to squeeze out all the water. Leave it for 10-15 mins. Take the mixture out, shape into a block and cut into cubes for the recipe. Store any leftovers in the fridge and use within 2-3 days. Uncooked china does not last very long. You can certainly freeze it wrapped in cling wrap and put it in the freezer. It stays very well in this manner.

Featured

Broken Wheat (Dalia) Pongal

I absolutely love simple, quick and healthy meals. I cook a lot at home and have family members with a whole gamut of varied dietary needs, personal taste and frankly fussy eating. Any recipe that is dump everything in and what comes out is amazing, works for me. This is one of those recipes. It is quick and so delicious it’s not even funny. Cracked wheat, sorghum, oat groats, brown rice, bulgar wheat, farro, freekeh- almost all and any heathy grains will work. This healthy substitute is high protein deliciousness at work with all the good things- lots of turmeric, black pepper, coconut, ghee.

COOK TIME: 5 mins

PREP TIME: 10 mins

YIELDS: 2-3

Ingredients

  • Cracked Wheat Pongal
  • Cracked Wheat ½ cup
  • Mung Dal ½ cup
  • Ghee 2 tbsp
  • Salt
  • Turmeric 1 tbsp
  • Ginger 1 tbsp
  • Cashews 2 tbsp, broken
  • Bay leaf 1, broken into pieces
  • Cumin seeds 1 tbsp
  • While peppercorns 1 tbsp
  • Red chili 1, broken into pieces
  • Fresh coconut grated 2 tbsp (see note)
  • Water 3 cups

Method

  • Take a pressure cooker. Dry roast the mung dal till aromatic and slightly golden. Keep aside.
  • In the same pressure cooker heat 1 tbsp ghee. Add in some broken cashews, cumin seeds, bay leaf, peppercorns, coconut, ginger, sautéd dal and cracked wheat. Add water. Season with salt and turmeric. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and cook for 1 whistle. Let the pressure release by itself.
  • In a small pan, heat the rest of the ghee and add the red chili broken into bits. Let its sizzle. Pour on top of the Pongal. Enjoy.

Notes:

  1. If you don’t have a pressure cooker use a heavy bottomed pan. It will work just fine. You will only need extra time to cook it. I find cooking in the pressure cooker significantly reduces the time it takes to cook most grains and since you are not throwing away the water from the grains, it is very healthy too.

2. If you do not like spicy food, omit the peppercorns and the red chili tadka at the end.

3. You can actually get freshly grated coconut from the frozen aisle in the Indian grocery. Store in the freezer all year long and break up about 2 inches of it and pop it into the khichdi.

4. To make it super healthy I’ve kept the proportions 1:1. You can play with the proportions if you want and add little or more of the two main Ingredients.

Featured

Bread Rolls with Paneer Bhaji Stuffing

There are a number of ways of making bread rolls with all kinds of creative fillings. The easiest filling of course is leftover vegetables. All the hard work is already done so this can be assembled in literally minutes. This recipe is from the leftover Paneer Bhaji (see my previous post for the Paneer Bhaji recipe. Link: https://sarchakra.com/2020/04/25/paneer-bhaji/) I did the next day.  This is not fancy food. This is hearty, wholesome and delicious food. I will post other recipes in the following days/months that will have different fillings but the general procedure will stay the same. Roll out the bread, stuff it in, tightly roll it into a log and then dip into a batter. Today I used egg as a batter but there are vegetarian options for that too and I will post some vegetarian alternatives in my future posts so keep watching this space. This recipe is great for lunches too and can be eaten hot or cold. The egg beautifully puffs up when cooking in the oil and is crunchy. Roughly two rolls for each person should suffice. Remember to tag me if you try my recipes @sarchakra

PREP TIME: 10 MINS

COOK TIME: 10 MINS

YIELDS: Serves or makes 3

Ingredients

  • Paneer Bhaji 1 cup 
  • Cheddar Cheese 6 tbsp grated 
  • Whole Wheat Bread 
  • Dried Mint 3 tbsp 
  • Eggs 3
  • Salt
  • Turmeric 2 tsp 
  • Red chili powder 1 tsp 
  • Red onion ½, chopped 
  • Oil for frying 

Method

  • Take the bread and cut around the brown edges. Using a rolling pin roll and flatten each bread. 
  • Take 2 tbsp of stuffing and put into one side of the bread. Top with 1 tbsp of cheese and a generous sprinkle of mint. 
  • Roll the bread tightly. Keep aside. 
  • In a bowl break the eggs. Mix in salt, turmeric, onion and chili powder. Beat the eggs. 
  • Heat oil. Lower the heat to medium. 
  • Dip each bread roll into the egg mixture, coat and drop it into the oil gently. Fry both sides till it turns golden. Drain on kitchen towels. Enjoy. 
Stuffing the rolled out bread with the filling
Rolling the stuffed bread
The egg mixture
Frying the rolls dipped in the egg batter
Bread Rolls with Paneer Bhaji Stuffing
Closeup
Featured

Bhapa Chingri/Steamed Prawns

This is the Bengali way of cooking prawns or shrimp in steam with mustard paste. Traditionally black or white mustard seeds are soaked and made into a paste but this is a super quick two-step recipe using yellow mustard. It works equally well with a fraction of the time. I bought shrimp that was already deveined and cleaned so the time taken will be slightly longer if you have to clean the shrimp yourself.

COOK TIME: 15 mins

PREP TIME: 5 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes 2-3

Ingredients

  • Tail off Large Shrimp/ Tiger Prawns 8 oz
  • Classic Yellow Mustard 3 tbsp
  • Yogurt 2 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder 1 tbsp
  • Red chili powder 1 tbsp
  • Garlic paste 1 tsp
  • Salt
  • Sugar 1 tbsp
  • Mustard oil 2 tbsp
  • Water 3 cups

Method:

  • In a bow mix salt, turmeric, sugar, red chili powder, yogurt, garlic paste and mustard paste. Mix shrimp into the mixture well. Drizzle mustard oil on top. Cover the lid.
  • In a large pan of water heat up water. Gently drop the covered bowl on to the boiling water. Make sure the boiled water does not seep into the lidded bowl. Lower the heat to medium and cover the pan with a lid. Let this cook for 15 mins. Turn off the heat and let it stay in the steam for 10 mins before opening the lid and the cover of the bowl. Serve with cooked basmati rice.
Mixing the ingredients
Bhapa Chingri
Featured

Indian Style Potatoes and Sweetcorn/ Aloo Makai ki Sabzi

This is a quick potato and sweetcorn dry curry done within minutes. Serve with roti, chapati or as a sandwich stuffing @sarchakra

PREP TIME: 5 mins

COOK TIME: 10 mins

YIELD: Serves or Makes 3-4

  • Potatoes 2, boiled and cubed
  • Sweetcorn 1 cup frozen
  • Cumin seeds 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds 1 tsp
  • Red chili 1 whole
  • Onion 1 small chopped
  • Garlic 1 tbsp paste
  • Ginger 1 tbsp paste
  • Tomato 2 tbsp paste
  • Cumin powder 1 tbsp
  • Coriander powder 1 tbsp
  • Fennel powder 1 tsp
  • Red chili/paprika 1 tsp powder
  • Dried fenugreek/kasuri methi 1 tsp toasted and crushed
  • Dried mint 1 tsp
  • Black pepper 1 tsp freshly cracked
  • Salt to taste

Method

  • In 1 tablespoon oil toast cumin seeds, mustard seeds and red chili for a minute or until fragrant.
  • Add chopped onion and cook until it softens.
  • Add ginger and garlic paste, turmeric, coriander, cumin, fennel powder, red chili powder, tomato paste and salt. Cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Add potatoes and sweetcorn and stir intermittently for about 5 minutes till everything comes together.
  • Sprinkle black pepper, mint and crushed dried fenugreek.
Featured

Pasta Ribbons with Kale in Garlic Parmesan Sauce

This is great as a lunch or dinner. One package of pasta ribbons is good for at least 5 servings. The recipe for the roasted garlic is in my post ‘Buddha Bowl with Pearl Couscous’ but I’ve added it here too for the sake of convenience. The roasted garlic requires some meal prep so if making from fresh, start with this step. I usually roast a few cloves of garlic every so often which means at any given time, it is likely that I would have a couple of roasted garlic in my fridge. It works wonders in mashed potatoes, soups and sauces @sarchakra 

PREP TIME: 10 mins

COOK TIME: 45 mins

YIELDS: Serves or makes 5

Roast Garlic

  • 1 garlic head
  • Salt
  • Pepper 1 tbsp
  • Olive oil 1 tbsp 

Method

Roasted garlic takes about 40 minutes in the oven at 400°.  You can substitute with garlic flakes if you don’t have the time to roast. Roasting itself is pretty simple. Heat the oven at 400° . Slice the top of the head of the garlic and drizzle some olive oil, salt and pepper. Wrap in a foil and put the garlic on a tray. Roast for 40 mins. That’s it, you’re done. When cooled, squeeze the soft garlic out and mix into the dish you are making.

For the Sauce 

  • Olive oil 1 tbsp
  • Tomato paste 2 tbsp
  • Sea salt
  • Tomatoes in juice 1 can
  • Onion flakes 1 tbsp
  • Water ½ cup 
  • Roasted garlic 1 tbsp
  • Parmesan 4 tbsp 

Method

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add canned tomato, tomato paste, salt, water, onion flakes and roasted garlic. Let it cook on medium for about 10 minutes till the sauce gets thick. Sprinkle Parmesan. Keep warm. 

For the Pasta

  • Kale 3 cups, chopped (stems off) 
  • Yolk Free Pasta Ribbons 1 package 
  • Thyme 2 tsp
  • Sea salt
  • Dried Basil 1 tbsp 
  • Black pepper 1 tbsp 
  • Paprika 2 tsp
  • Olive oil 2 tbsp 
  • Garlic 6-7 cloves  thinly chopped 
  • Parmesan grated, to serve

Method

Cook pasta according to box directions. In the last minute when pasta is cooking, drop in chopped kale. Let it come to a boil for a minute. Turn the heat off and drain. 

In a deep bottomed pan heat olive oil. Add chopped garlic. Let it cook for a few seconds till aromatic. Then add in the prepared sauce, salt, dried basil, black pepper, paprika and thyme. Add in cooked pasta and kale. Serve with grated Parmesan.

Chopping the kale
Adding the kale a minute before the pasta cooks
Sauteing the garlic
Adding the sauce
Mixing the pasta and kale with the sauce
Pasta Ribbons with Kale in Garlic Parmesan sauce

Homemade Pita Bread

Pita bread is a a type of flatbread from the Middle East. Baked at high temperatures to create that pocket in the pita means it can be used to either stuff or scoop up sauces and meats. Homemade pita bread is a lot easier to do than you think. This starts off like you would make a pizza crust but you add AP flour and some yogurt to get that spongy texture. Traditionally yogurt is not used to make pita bread. Serve this with hummus, curries, shawarma or kebabs. @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 20 mins

PREP TIME: 2 hours

YIELDS: Makes 8

Ingredients

  • Whole wheat flour 1 cup
  • All purpose flour 1 cup (plus extra for kneading and rolling)
  • Water 1 cup (110° F)
  • Yeast 1 sachet
  • Olive oil 1 tbsp
  • Kosher salt 1 tsp
  • Sugar 1 tsp
  • Yogurt 3 tbsp

Method

  • The Sponge: In a small bowl mix together- sugar, yeast and warm water. Rest it for 5 mins. It should turn frothy.
  • The Dough: In a large bowl mix the AP flour little by little together with the yeast solution and the yogurt. I find using my hand blender to do the initial mix till it forms a ball the best way to do this. It takes so little time and it works perfectly every single time.
  • Kneading: When you have a ball, put it in a clean work surface and with a little sprinkle of flour knead the dough to a smooth ball. Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover with cling wrap. Let this rest for an hour.
  • Dividing the dough: Knead the dough again and divide dough into small balls. Put dough balls on a greased tray. Cover with a cling wrap. Let it rest for an hour. The dough balls should double up in size.
  • While the dough balls are resting, turn the oven on to 450°F. Put a baking tray into the oven to heat it up.
  • Shaping: Sprinkle some flour on the counter top and roll each dough ball to a round and thin size.
  • Put a few (as many as your baking tray can hold without the rolled dough touching each other) pita bread doughs on the hot tray and put it in the oven. Set a timer for 4 mins till the pita bread balloons up. Repeat for the rest. Enjoy!

Notes

It is very essential to use a hot pan to ensure the pita bread puffs up.

When doing in batches make sure the oven returns to the required temperature in between bakes.

When you have fresh pitas off the oven keep them covered with a clean towel so they do not get exposed to air.

Do not roll the dough too thin otherwise you will not get the pockets you need for pita bread.

Do not overbake. Pita bread should not be brown, it should have just a slight color. It will get crispy if over baked and harden which is not what you want for pita bread.

Any leftovers can be wrapped up and kept in the fridge or freezer for later use.

The dough
Letting the dough rise
Dividing the dough
Making dough balls
Letting it rise again
Rolling the balls
Putting the rolled dough balls on a heated tray- it starts to cook immediately
All beautifully puffed up
Homemade Pita Bread is ready
Homemade Pita Bread