Bourghul Upma

One of the best things about a holiday for me is the fact that I don’t have to drink cold Smoothies for breakfast. I mean I like Smoothies but if I have to choose between a chilled glass of fruits mushed up with Oats with some Almonds and water pretending to be Milk or a plate of a hot breakfast made fresh in the morning with a cup or two of Chai, guess what I will go for? Yes, you got it a hot breakfast it will be.

 

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Processed with VSCO with 8 preset

 

I have also found that I feel less grumpy or moody when I have started the day with a hot meal. Sadly the demands of corporate life don’t allow for the provision of a hot meal to start your working day, so weekends or holidays become the beacon of my desi breakfast blues. Maybe it is a childhood thing, waking up to the sounds and smells of Maa cooking something hot for you while shouting at you to get ready for school at the same time. We never started a day with a cold breakfast, never.

 

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Processed with VSCO with 6 preset

 

Infact I remember the first time my uncle got us a box of Cornflakes from Doha; it sat above the fridge for almost 3 months before we figured out what to do with it. One day I decided to self initiate myself into this world of western breakfast, so I put some chilled milk in a bowl, dropped a lot of Cornflakes in it with a few large teaspoons of Sugar because Cornflakes don’t have Sugar do they, and did not like it. So I transferred all the contents of the bowl in a pan and heated the mixture till it became a slushy mass of goop that was so inedible that I was put entirely off Cornflakes.

 

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Processed with VSCO with 8 preset

 

Thankfully, today is not the day to put off breakfast, especially when it is a hot savory breakfast; it is the day to make a delicious Bourghul Upma. Wikipedia states that Bourghul is a cereal food made from the cracked parboiled groats of several different wheat species, most often from durum wheat. I am not sure if this is the same as Daliya, but it looks like it. it is a naturally high-fiber, low-fat, low-calorie food that is also very easy to make. It also makes a great leftover which you can eat with some pickle and yogurt.

 

Here is the recipe (Serves 4, cooking time 30 minutes)

 

1 cup Bourghul soaked in water for atleast 1 hour

1 cup of chopped vegetables (I used Carrots & Capsicum)

1 chopped Onion

¼ cup Green Peas

7 – 8 Curry Leaves

1 tsp Mustard Seeds

2 tsp Urad Dal (White lentils)

1 tsp freshly chopped Ginger

Salt to taste

1 ½ tsp Turmeric powder

1 tsp Red Chilli powder

1 tsp Coriander powder

2 green chilies finely chopped

1 tbsp Vegetable oil

Freshly chopped Coriander for garnishing

3 cups of Water to cook

 

Wash the Bourghul properly a few times in water and then drain the water from the Bourghul and keep it aside

Heat oil in a pan and the Mustard seeds and Urad dal and cook on a low flame till the dal is slightly brown

Now add the Ginger, Green chilies and Curry leaves

Add the chopped Onion and cook till it is translucent

Then add the Carrots & Capsicum and saute for 5 – 7 minutes

Now add the Bourghul, all the spices and mix really well. The Bourghul needs to be coated really well with the masala. Keep stirring, or it will stick to the pan.

Add 3 cups of water and the green peas and let it come to a boil.

Cover and cook till the Bourghul is done. You will notice the texture becomes really soft when done.

Serve hot garnished with fresh Coriander and drizzle it with some Lemon Juice.

Hariyali Tofu Salad – Marinated Tofu in green Chutney with Salad

Someone told me the other day that, we should always remain positive and look at the bright side of things. So when I made terrible Rava Idlis on the weekend, the bright side became the delicious coriander chutney that I made with it, which thankfully was not that terrible.

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Not the one to give up, I wanted to put the chutney to good use. Luckily I had some Tofu in the fridge, and that meant I could combine them both and come up with some really tasty and healthy as well. As a rule, the Punjabi in me hates anything that pretends to be Paneer (Cottage Cheese) and Tofu in my books is an impostor trying hard to look like my favorite Paneer. But having said that it is a healthy option and one that is easily available in the markets of Sydney.

 

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Also lately I have been very inspired by BeerBiceps and his take on health and fitness. I love his straightforward and scientific approach to fitness and Indian food and find the information he shares easy to incorporate into my daily life (who thought I would be inspired by a health food blogger right). Hence this Hariyali Tofu salad came about. It was super easy to make and gave me the satisfaction of putting something good in my tummy. You can substitute the Tofu with Paneer or Chicken breast, and it is a great addition to be used in wraps, sandwiches, salads, Kababs and even to eat on its own.

 

Recipe: Cooking time 10 minutes

 

For the chutney

2 cups of Coriander leaves, washed and clean

1 tbsp desiccated Coconut

1 tbsp Curd (You can skip this for a dairy free version)

1 tbsp of peanuts (without skin) – You can skip Peanuts for a nut-free version

Salt to taste

4 – 5 Green chilies

Juice of a Lemon

Add all the ingredients in a grinder and blitz to a smooth paste. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

 

For the Salad:

250 Gms Tofu  (You can substitute Tofu with Paneer/Chicken breasts. The cooking time for the Chicken will be longer)

Salad leaves

Juice of half a lemon

1 tsp Olive oil

1 diced Tomato or Beetroot

Marinate the Tofu in the chutney for atleast 30 minutes or preferably overnight

Heat 1 tsp Olive oil in a pan and grill the Tofu on all sides till golden, drain on an absorbent kitchen towel

Mix the Olive Oil & Lemon juice together and drizzle on the Salad leaves with the Tomato or Beetroot

Add the Tofu

Serve it any way you like and enjoy, I served it with some Moong dal with a small teaspoon of Ghee and brown rice. It made for a very balanced lunch.

Hara Bhara Kabbab – Spinach and Potato Cakes, a vegetarian Indian starter

I am not very good at making starters, especially Indian ones. Not that we don’t serve starters in India, we have a huge variety to choose from. It’s just that I have this thing, yeah thing not sure what else to call it, that stops me from making them often. So when I had friends come over for lunch one Sunday afternoon I had to really challenge my grey cells to come up with something good to start the meals.

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And after thinking, looking at recipe blogs, checking my cook books all I could come up with was the boring “Hara Bhara Kabbab” which has to be the most eaten Vegetarian Indian starter in the world I guess. All restaurants have it on their menu and you would see it served for any Indian party you go to.

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Now the reason why I called it boring is usually it is only made with Potato and Spinach and I don’t enjoy the typical spinach taste that one gets after eating it. So I jazz it up a bit by adding some Ricotta or Cottage Cheese and Almond powder in it to make it softer and more delicious. The best thing about it that you can make it a day or 2 in advance and just shallow fry it when the guests arrive.

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It is a perfect option for vegetarians and also can be used for breakfast to stuff in wraps with some delicious spicy sauce. You can also roll it around Ice cream sticks and serve it for Cocktail parties as the perfect pick me up starter.

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Here is the recipe (Cooking time 10 mins, Preparation time 30 minutes, makes 15 medium sized kabbabs)

6 – 8 medium sized Potatoes

1 cup Spinach

1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese (drained of water) or crumbled Cottage Cheese (optional but tastes soooooo good)

1/4 cup Almond or Cashew nut powder

3 – 4 Green chillies

Salt to taste

1 tsp Cumin powder

1 cup Green peas

1/2 inch Ginger (Do not use store brought ginger paste)

1 tbsp Cornflour, you may need a bit more if your Potatoes are really watery.

1/2 cup Bread Crumbs

1 tbsp Vegetable oil to shallow fry

1) Boil the Potatoes, peel and mash them when they are hot so they are easier to handle. Let them cool.

2) While the Potatoes are boiling, heat some water and pour it in a bowl and add the Peas and Green Spinach and let them sit for atleast 10 minutes. Take a colander and drain all the water from the bowl and let the Spinach and Peas sit in the colander.

3) Once the Potatoes have cooled a bit, drain all the water away from the Spinach. Just hold the spinach in your hand and squeeze hard making sure there is no water left. Take a grinder and add the Green chillies, Ginger, Spinach and Peas in it and blitz to a paste without adding any extra water.

4) Add the Spinach and Peas paste, Almond or cashew powder, salt, cumin powder and the Ricotta/Cottage cheese on the Potatoes and gently mix everything.

5) Now add the Cornflour, which will dry up the Potatoes a bit. Take a portion of the Potatoes and try and roll it in a ball, if you find it difficult to roll them, add a little more cornflour to the mix.

6) If not making the Kabbas the same day, just put them in a dry plastic box and refrigerate. Do not freeze them.

7) When ready to cook sprinkle some Bread crumbs on a plate and roll the kabbabs on the crumb, coating them well.

8) Heat Oil in a non stick pan and once it is hot place the Kabbas on it and let them cook on a medium flame. on both sides till nice and golden.

9) Serve them hot with variety of chutneys or tomato sauce.

Say hello to Spring with some Strawberry slushie

I have always loved Winters. they are my favorite part of the year and I wish they would last forever. However nature has it’s own agenda and pattern and we Spring is almost at our doorstep.

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While I sat and pondered and wondered how hot it will get soon and the heat will be unbearable, I thought of doing something with the last packet of Strawberries left in my freezer and welcoming the beautiful Spring that had arrived in its full glory, making everything bright and beautiful.

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I wanted to make something easy and cold and a Strawberry slushie was the way to go. All I had to do was throw everything in the blender and blitz and done.

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This is a Non Alcoholic version but you can add a dash of Vodka to give it a kick if you wish to.

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Recipe (Ready in 10 minutes)

400 g Strawberries (I used frozen)

Juice of 1 Lemon

Ice Cubes

a few sprigs of Mint

1 cup water

2 tbsp Caster Sugar (use as per your taste)

1) Add the Strawberries and 1 tbsp of Caster Sugar in the blender and blitz.

2) Add 1 cup Water, Mint and the Ice and blitz again. Once done add the juice only of 1/2 a Lemon and blitz. If using Alcohol add it now.

3) If needed add the remaining Lemon juice and Sugar and blitz.

The slushie is not watery it is a bit thick because of all the Ice. Serve chilled with some mint leaves as garnish.

Recipe Courtesy : Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meals.

The unassuming vegetable – Patta Gobi aur aloo ki sabzi (Cabbage and Potato fry)

There are some things that a blogger cooks that are so unassuming and simple that you don’t want to write long stories around them and about them. You just want to present them as they are and hope that the readers understand the reason why you have posted this dish and not something fancy and good looking.

1-IMG_7339This Patta Gobi (Cabbage) and aloo (Potato) sabzi is one such dish. It is not a dinner party dish that your guests will crave for. But it is tasty and cooks well and fast especially after a long day at work. The best thing about it is that you can use it to stuff in bread and toast some sandwiches.I love eating this with some hot Ghee laden Rotis and plain dal or just make wraps with Rotis with this as the filling. Hope you enjoy making this.

Recipe: (Cooking time 25 minutes, serves 3 – 4 people)

3 cups Shredded cabbage

2 small Potatoes chopped into small pieces (the reason why we chop the Potatoes into small pieces is so they cook fast)

½ cup Green Peas

1 tsp Turmeric Powders

1 tbsp Vegetable Oil

4 – 5 Curry Leaves

1 tsp Mustard seed

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 – 3 Chopped Green Chillies

1 tbsp Urad dal (optional)

1 tsp Asafoetida (hing)

1) Boil the Potatoes in Water till almost cooked. As we have chopped the Potatoes I put them in a bowl full of water and just boil them in the microwave. Drain the water and keep it aside.

2) Heat oil in a pan add the Mustard seeds and Curry leaves. Once they start to splutter add the Urad dal and Asafoetida and let them cook on a medium flame for 2 – 3 minutes making sure the dal doesn’t burn.

3) Add the Potatoes and fry them a little before adding the Turmeric powder.

4) Add the shredded and washed Cabbage, Green chillies & Green Peas, mixing everything well. Cook on a medium flame for 10 – 15 minutes without covering. The Cabbage will release a lot of water which needs to evaporate or you will have a slush on your hands.

5) Try not to overcook the Cabbage and ensure there is a little bite. Turn the gas off and add the Salt and Pepper. Serve hot with Rotis.

The Paneer with a facelift – Paneer Lababdar (Cottage Cheese in a creamy tangy gravy)

We are a family that loves our Paneer (Cottage cheese), It is a regular guest on our dinning table which makes its appearance on a fortnightly basis.

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These soft fluffy pillow like Cheese is so delicious and versatile that I can try and do something different with it without making it too repetitive and boring.

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One of my favorite ways of making Paneer is is Paneer Lababdar or the facelift Paneer as we like to call it. By facelift I mean frying it before cooking it in a gravy full of Cream and Almonds.

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Yes this dish is not for the faint hearted as it has all the velvety creamy goodness in it which ofcourse is bad is for our health and so good for my taste buds. Hence I don’t make it often and when we do we just serve it on its own with some hot plain rotis and raita (yogurt dip), hoping to give our tummies a little respite.

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This is also a great vegetarian party dish and the gravy can be made in advanced and freezed to be used whenever you want it to. If you can’t find Paneer from your local Indian shop you can buy some low fat unsalted Ricotta cheese from your local store deli or roasted Chicken Breast with for a non vegetarian version and it tastes as delicious. It is almost like a cross between Shahi Paneer and Butter Paneer but none of those.

Here is the recipe (cooking time 40 – 45 minutes)

1 cup fresh or frozen Paneer

1 large Onion roughly chopped

2 medium Tomatoes blanched in hot water

2 Green chillies

1/3 cup Almonds ground to a paste

3 Garlic cloves

1 tsp Ginger paste

1 tbsp fresh Cream

1 tsp Cumin seeds

2 cloves

1 tbsp Butter

1 tbsp vegetable Oil

1 tsp Red chilli powder

Salt to taste

1 tsp crushed Fenugreek leaves (Kasuri Methi)

4 Cardamoms

1 small Cinnamon Stick

1/3 cup Peas (optional)

Cooking the Paneer:

1) Heat the oil in a pan and fry the Cottage cheese gently on all sides till it is a light Golden Brown in color. You need to be gentle as if the Cheese is cooked too long it will taste like rubber.

2) Remove the Paneer on a kitchen towel and let it stand till you get the gravy ready.

For the Gravy :

1) Heat Butter in a pan and add the Ginger, Garlic, Cardamom, Cinnamon & Cloves.

2) Add the Onion and Green chillies and saute till the Onions are almost translucent.

3) Add the blanched Tomatoes and let them cook till everything gets all mushy and soft.

4) Turn of the heat and let it cook before you blitz it to a fine paste.

Do not add Water, Cream and Almond paste if you are making this gravy to freeze.

5) Heat the same pan and add the Cumin seeds and the blitzed paste, cover and cook for a few minutes on a medium flame till the butter starts to leave the pan.

6) Add the Almond paste , Red Chilli powder and Salt and mix well.

7) Add the Cream, mix well and then add 1/2 or 1 cup of hot water to the pan and let it come to a boil. Add the green Peas and let them cook for 5 – 7 minutes and turn off the heat.

8) Add the fried Paneer to the gravy and sprinkle the fenugreek leaves. Cover and let it sit till you are ready to serve. The Paneer will soak up all the hot gravy thirstily but still hold its firmness. Garnish with some Cream is you wish (too much of Cream can never be bad can it)

Serve hot with steamed Rice or Rotis.

What does an Indian eat when we live abroad – Guvar (cluster beans) ki Sabzi

Sometimes living away from home can have its own downfall. You miss your family, your friends; you miss the luxury of having a maid, a laundry man and vegetables/fruits etc delivered to your doorstep at no extra charge. But most importantly you miss the food.

Not that we don’t cook Indian food here, we do almost on a daily basis. However there are a lot of vegetables that we don’t get here and I miss them. Vegetables like Small Brinjals (Baingan), Fresh Fenugreek (Methi), Cluster Beans (Guvar), Jackfruit (kathal) and a lot of other ones.

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So whenever I go for my monthly Indian food shopping I hunt for frozen vegetables to see if there is something good available and a lot of times I hit jackpot and come back home with packets of frozen goodies. I know they don’t taste the same but what the hell they look the same.

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My treasure box this month had a few packets of Cluster Beans or Guvar as we call them in India. These beans are a bit like French Beans but taste completely different, they are also a little bitter so somewhat of an acquired taste. D doesn’t really enjoy them so I try and avoid making them.

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But we have house guests at the moment R and M and M suggested we make them the Maharashtrian way with Peanuts and Coconut. I was a little skeptical at first but I gave it a try and they turned out to be smashing and went perfectly with hot Rotis. It is funny how we can use 1 main ingredient and cook it in so many ways to give it a completely different flavor.

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Hope you enjoy this recipe.

Recipe (Cooking time 30 minutes, serves 4)

350 Gms Chopped Cluster Beans

½ cup roasted unsalted Peanuts ground into paste

¼ cup fresh or frozen desiccated Coconut

1 Large Onion finely chopped

1 tsp Red Chilli powder

1 tsp Cumin Powder

½ tsp Turmeric powder

1 tsp Vegetable Oil

1 tsp Cumin seeds

1/2 tsp Sugar

Salt to taste

1) Heat oil in a non-stick pan and cumin seeds and chopped Onions, sauté till the onions have turned translucent.

2) Add the chopper Cluster beans to the Onion. If you are using frozen beans like I have just add them directly to the pan without thawing them.

3) Cover the pan and cook on a medium flame for 10 minutes you don’t want them to be really mushy.

4) Add the Peanuts, Salt, Cumin powder, Red Chili powder and Turmeric powder. Mix and cover cooking for another 7 – 10 minute on a slow flame.

5) Turn the gas off and add the dessicated Coconut and Sugar mixing well before you serve it hot.

How to sprout Moong Beans in winter – Sprouted Moong Beans Salad

I have no idea what got into me when I decided to sprout some Moong beans the other day in this cold Perth winter. So now that I had started the process I thought I should see it through.

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Now I have done a few posts on Moong Dal so won’t harp about how nutritious and delicious it is and will just get on with sharing the recipe.

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How to Sprout Moong Beans (Takes around 3 days during the winter months)

Just take 1 Coffee cup of Green Moong beans and wash them well. In a big bowl add just a handful of water and add the washed Beans. Cover with cling film and put the bowl in a dark and warm place.

Everyday remove the cling film add a little water to the Beans again and cover with fresh film and keep it back. You should see the sprouts appear in 2 days and by the 3rd day they would have totally sprouted.

Wash before you use them.

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To make an easy Indian style warm Salad, just heat 2 tsp Vegetable Oil in a pan. Add 1 tsp Cumin seeds, add 1 finely chopped Onion, 1 finely chopped Green chilli and saute till Onion has turned translucent.

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Add 2 finely chopped Tomatoes and saute. Once the tomatoes start getting mushy add the washed and drained Beans, salt to taste, 1 tsp Turmeric power, 1 tsp Red chilli powder and 1 tsp cumin powder.

Add 1/3 cup Water, cover and cook for 7 – 8 minutes. Sprinkle juice of half a Lemon and some freshly chopped Coriander. Serve warm.

From a Punjabi Kitchen – Baingan Bharta (Roasted Eggplant cooked Indian style)

They say you can take a Punjabi out of India but not India out of a Punjabi. I have been living in Perth for a few years now but the Punjabi in me refuses to loose my penchant for all things Punjabi. I cook the usual fare at home more often than not and usually on days when I miss home. And the dish that spells out home for me is “Baingan Bharta” which is roasted Eggplants cooked in the Punjabi way.

1-IMG_0447Being a very North Indian dish there a few variations to it but all of them ask for the Eggplant to be roasted on a bed of coals or for the modern woman on a gas. There is a beautiful smokiness that the Eggplant gets after roasting and for me that is what gives it the distinctive flavor that we Punjabis love.

ImageWhen I moved to Perth a few years ago I stayed in a rented apartment that had an Induction cook top which meant I could not roast the Eggplant. I had an Oven, but I find that the final dish never tastes the same. Now you can imagine how sad it made me knowing that I could not make this delicious dish.

ImageSo to take care of my Bharta blues  I had to resort to finding restaurants in Perth that served it. Every restaurant I visited claimed to have it as a house specialty. So my first question to them would always be “How do you make it? ” and ofcourse they all reassured me of the authenticity of the Bharta and everytime I would be sorely disappointed. Till I moved to my own place where I had a proper gas and could allow myself the luxury.

1-IMG_0468Let me tell you that roasting an Eggplant on the gas can be a messy business with all the juices bursting from the Eggplant and running over your gas, making it a task to clean it all up later. So I put a Aluminum Foil on the surface of my fob and then go about with all the roasting business. Which means any juices that release fall on the foil.

ImageIt surely holds a special place on a Punjabi dinner table and is enjoyed with some hot Rotis sprinkled with some Ghee. I use the Leftover Bharta as a sandwich filling and it tastes superb too. I am sure you have your own way of making this but I hope you will try my way too.

Recipe (Cooking time 40 minutes, serves 4)

1 Large Eggplant

1 Large Onion chopped really finely.

2 Large Tomatoes chopped finely

1 large Green Chilli, sliced thinly

1 tsp Red Chilli powder

1 tsp Cumin powder

Salt to taste

1/2 tbsp Vegetable Oil

1 tsp Cumin seeds

Freshly chopped Coriander

1/2 cup Green peas (boiled)

1/2 tsp Clove Powder (This is a tip that Anshie from Spiceroots gave me to enhance the smokiness of the Eggplant)

Roasting the Eggplant:

Wash the Eggplant and Pat dry. If you are a cleanliness freak like me, line the base of your gas with some Aluminum foil before you put the Eggplant to roast. Coat the Eggplant with a little Oil and roast it well on a medium flame keeping a close eye making sure it does not burn and turning it around after every few minutes so it is cooked through.

You can also Roast the Eggplant in an oven however you will have to prick it with a knife in several place so it does spurt the juices all over your oven. Also cover it with Aluminum foil else you will have a burned mess. Once the Eggplant is roasted well, let it cool for a few minutes before you remove the Skin.

Mash the Eggplant into a pulp using a fork. It is easier to do this when the Eggplant is warm.

Cooking the Bhartha:

Heat oil in a Kadhai or a pan and add the Cumin seeds. Once they Splutter add the Onion and the Green chillies and cook till the Onions have been translucent.

Add the Tomatoes and cook will till the the Tomatoes start to release Oil and have mashed completely.

Add the mashed Egg plant, Salt, Cumin powder and Red chilli powder and mix well. Let it cook on a low flame for 5 – 7 minutes.

Add the boiled Green peas and cook for another 7 – 10 minutes.

Once the dish is cooked sprinkle the Clove powder and Green coriander.

For the love of Parathas – Mozzarella & Parsley stuffed Paratha (Flatbread stuffed with Mozzarella & Parsley)

Paratha’s for a Punjabi are the epitome of our Punjabiness. We love to eat them for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner and if we have our own way we can also have them for snacks. The delicious flat bread filled with a variety of stuffing, lathered with a generous helping of homemade White Butter or Ghee is something we dream about all the time.

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Sadly I am a Punjabi who is not very good at making Rotis or Parathas. So when I first moved to Perth I had serious Paratha Pangs. I would seriously crave to eat them and spend many a gloomy mornings substituting them with some other Breakfast option.

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I soon discovered the Turkish Gozleme. Gozleme is the Turkish cousin of our humble paratha. It is flat bread with Plain Flour unlike the Wheat flour that we use and then stuffed with loads of delicious stuffing’s and pan fried with a light brushing of Butter and Eggs. It tastes heavenly with some Lemon Juice drizzled on top.So I soon started visited a local Kebab shop treating myself to unhealthy quantities of Gozleme.

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Then disaster stuck and the Kebab shop shut down leaving me at my own devices and forcing me to try and make Parathas at home. I successfully managed to make a Ricotta Cheese paratha which was delicious and is loved by everyone at home now.

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So this weekend when we were in a Paratha eating mood I decided to use Mozzarella Cheese instead of Ricotta and try a Indian style Gozleme. And we were pleasantly surprised at how good they tasted. The hot Parathas were a perfect accompaniment to the cold winter morning and left us happy and satisfied.

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Try and let me know what you think.

Recipe (Makes 6 – 7, cooking time 5 minutes for each Paratha)

For the Dough

3 cups Whole Wheat Flour (Atta)

Warm water to Knead the Dough

Pinch of Salt

1 tsp Oil

Some extra flour to dust the Parathas while rolling

For the Filling

1 1/2 cup Mozzarella or Goats Feta Cheese

1 small Onion really finely chopped

2 Green chillies finely Chopped

3/4 cup Chopped flat leaf Parsley

Salt & Pepper

Juice of 1/2 Lemon

Vegetable oil/Butter or Ghee to brush the Parathas.

1) To make the dough add Salt to the Flour and knead with some warm water till it becomes a soft dough and is easy to roll without sticking to the edges of the bowl. You may need to add extra Flour to get the right consistency. Add Oil at the end to bring it all together.

2) Mix all the ingredients for the filling except the Salt in a bowl. This filling has to be used immediately as the Onion will start to release Water if kept for too long. Also if you are using a Feta use a Turkish Feta which is not too Salty.

3) When ready to cook take a small portion of the dough and roll it a little with the rolling pin, adding a portion of the stuffing to it. Make sure the portion of your dough and stuffing is proportionate, you don’t want the paratha to be too doughy with less stuffing or have so much stuffing that it breaks when you roll it.

4) Before you seal the paratha for rolling sprinkle some salt over the stuffing. We do this at this stage as Salt would release the juices from the Onion if directly added to the stuffing earlier. Close the dough gently from all sides and start rolling, using some loose flour to dust your board so the paratha doesn’t stick.

5) Heat a Tawa or a non stick pan and add the Paratha grilling it on a medium flame on both sides till cooked. Add some Oil/Butter/Ghee as required.

Serve hot with some Indian Pickle and Lemon Wedges.  If you want to get creative you can add mashed Potatoes or cooked minced meat as well to make the Parathas even more delicious.

Another dal from the block – Simple Moong Dal fry

Moong Dal is a staple in my house, it is something I make religiously and can never get enough of. Not only is it super easy and simple to make, it is also extremely nutritious and healthy.

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The dal is not a very good looking one but It is an excellent source of Protein and recommended for weight loss and Diabetes. Since I am on a no carb kick of late, I have been making this Dal often and having bowlfuls of it for dinner and lunch.

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As for most things I cook, I usually chuck all the ingredients of this Dal, which are very few in the pressure cooker and let it do it’s own thing for sometime till it goes all mushy. And then I do a tempering with Ghee, Garlic and Red chilli powder to give it the lift that it so desperately needs and voila the not so good looking dal becomes a very scrumptious one in a jiffy.

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And because I love Ghee I usually sprinkle a little extra when I serve it. The warm Ghee is perfect for the winter months and makes the dal even more tasty.

Recipe (cooking time 45 minutes, serves 4 – 6)

1 Coffee cup Green Moong Dal

2 medium sized Tomatoes

3 – 4 Green Chillies

1 tsp freshly grated Ginger

1 tsp Red chilli Powder

1 1/2 tsp Amchur (Dry Mango) powder

1 tsp Cumin Seeds

3 – 4 cloves of Garlic finely chopped or thinly sliced

1 tbsp Ghee or unsalted Butter

1 tsp Turmeric powder

Salt to taste

freshly chopped Coriander and some Ginger to garnish

1) Wash the dal in running water several times before you put it in a pressure cooker with chopped Tomatoes, Turmeric powder, Green Chillies ,grated Ginger, Salt to taste  and 1 tsp of Ghee. Cover and let it cook on a high flame for the first 2 – 3 whistles. After that turn the heat to a medium flame and let the dal cook gently for 25 – 30 minutes. If you are not using a pressure cooker, cook the dal in a thick bottomed pan till it turns soft and mushy, throwing the scum that gets collected on top.

2) Once the dal is cooked let the steam release before you open the cooker.

3) Heat a pan and add the remaining Ghee and let it heat up. Add the cumin seeds and Garlic and let the garlic turn brown gently (the burnt taste of the Garlic goes well the dal). Add the Red chilli powder and let it heat for a minute till you transfer the tempering to the dal.

4) Mix everything well and add the Amchur powder as per your taste. Turn the heat off and serve the dal with some fresh Coriander and Ginger and maybe,  just maybe if you love Ghee as must as I do just add a little extra warm Ghee and see how the dal dances in your mouth.

Happy Cooking.

And life unravels itself – Potato fry with Peanuts (Warm Potato Salad wih Peanuts)

Life is mysterious and it always surprises us. We think we have everything together and then something happens or someone does something which makes you think and re-evaluate your life about where you are going and what you want to do with your life.

And I don’t know what this realization has done, it has turned a switch off in my life and I feel the need to take a step back and examine myself, my feelings, my life and my goals. One thing I am sure off is that I want to continue blogging because my love for food has not changed and will not change.

I want to keep this love growing and make me grow with it as well. So after almost 3 weeks of no posts I decided to do something today and it had to be easy. The Potato fry with Peanuts is simple and delicious. A perfect accompaniment with a vegetarian meal and goes particularly well with this Dal fry recipe.

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The crunchiness of the Peanuts matches well with the fried Potatoes. Infact you can sprinkle some Lemon juice once the Potatoes have cooled down and serve it like a salad.

Recipe (serves 4, cooking time 20 minutes)

4 large Potatoes

3/4 cup roasted unsalted Peanuts

5 -6 Curry leaves

4 Green chillies

1 tsp Turmeric powder

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp Asafoetida (hing)

1 tsp Mustard seeds

1 tbsp Vegetable Oil

Freshly chopped Coriander

1) Cut the Potatoes in small cubes with the skin on and boil them in water with Salt and Turmeric for 10 minutes. Drain the water and keep them aside.

2) While the Potatoes are boiling, blitz the Peanuts in a grinder. Don’t grind it into a fine powder. The Peanut pieces taste delicious with each bite.

3) Heat oil in a pan and the Mustard seeds, add Asafoetida and Curry leaves. Once the seeds start to splutter add the Potatoes and fry them on a medium flame.

4) Add the crushed Peanuts and Green chillies and cook for a few more minutes. As the Potatoes were boiled earlier they would already be cooked, however frying them in the oil and adding the Peanuts make the Potatoes really crispy.

Sprinkle some Coriander leaves before serving. Trust me this is one Potato dish you would love to have in your kitchen.

Recipe source : 50 Great Curries of India – Camilla Punjabi