Thursday, July 26, 2018

Kadai Paneer - a spicy Indian curry of cottage cheese

There are several popular Indian preparation for Paneer or cottage cheese like paneer butter masala or shahi paneer or kadai paneer. They all look almost same but they differ in taste and the spices. This one is the most spicy one and the distinct taste comes from the kadai masala which is nothing but ground coriander seeds and red Chilli. It is a semi dry preparation but you can increase the amount of gravy by adding water and the spices in proportion.

Preparation Time: - 15 min

Cooking Time: - 30~35 min

Servings: - 3~4 persons


  1. 250 gm Paneer or cottage cheese.
  2. 1 big Onion chopped
  3. 1 inch Ginger chopped
  4. 3 cloves of garlic crushed (You can use 1 tbsp Ginger garlic paste instead of chopped ginger and crushed garlic )
  5. 2 medium Tomato finely chopped
  6. 1 large Capsicum julienned or 1 cup Capsicum thinly sliced
  7. 1 ½ tbsp. Coriander seeds or 2 ½ tbsp. Coriander Powder
  8. 4 nos. Kashmiri Red Chilli or 3 tsp Kashmiri Red Chili powder
  9. 2 nos. slit Green Chili
  10. 1 tsp crushed and  dried fenugreek leaves (Kasuri Methi)
  11. ½  tsp Turmeric Powder
  12. 2 tbsp Fresh Cream or Malai
  13. 2 tsp Garam Masala powder
  14. ½ cup water
  15. 4~5 tbsp Vegetable Oil ( I used Sunflower oil but you can use Cranola or any vegetable oil )
  16. 2 tbsp Ghee (clarified butter)
  17. Salt to taste
  18. 2 tbsp Coriander leaves finely chopped


  1. Cut the Paneer into large cubes. The preferred size is 5 cm. x 5 cm. x 2 cm.
  2. In a grinder or pestle and mortar take the coriander seeds and red chilli. I used red chili powder instead of the actual chili. Grind them into semi-fine powder. Keep aside. This is called the kadai masala which is specific to this preparation.
  3. Chop onion and tomato. Keep aside. You need to crush garlic and ginger if you do not use ginger garlic paste like me.
  4. In a Kadai or deep bottomed frying pan, heat 4 tbsp oil in high heat. Add 2 tbsp Ghee to it and turn the burner to medium.
  5. Add finely chopped onion and sauté till they turn translucent.
  6. Then add ginger garlic paste and keep stirring till the aroma of garlic goes away.
  7. Add finely chopped tomatoes, stir and cook for 3~4 minutes.
  8. Now add the ground kadai masala and continue cooking till the juice of the tomato evaporates and start to leave oil.
  9. Now add the capsicum. Stir and mix well. Continue cooking for another couple of minutes.
  10. Now add the salt, green chili and turmeric powder. Continue cooking for 2 minutes
  11. Now sprinkle dried fenugreek leaves (Kasoori Methi) by crushing in hand.
  12. Pour ½ cup water and cook for about 3 minutes.
  13. Add Paneer cubes. Mix and cook for another couple of minutes.
  14. Add fresh cream or malai and garam masala.
  15. Mix everything well and continue cooking till the gravy becomes according to your liking.
  16. Turn off the burner – garnish with chopped coriander leaves and a green chili.
Serve hot as Side dish to Roti, Paratha or flavored/jeera rice.
As always please feel free to comment, criticize and seek if any help is required. I am all ears.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Dhaba Style Dal Tadka - A spicy North Indian vegan dish

This is one recipe which is originated from North India but it is so yummy that every Indian loves it. This was made popular in the street side dhabas of Punjab but now available in any good restaurant. Yes, I am talking about Dal Tadka. There are various ways to make this dish but this one maintains the thin balance between the tasty and healthy. As you know that is the motto of my blog. Now let’s start w/o boring you too much:-

Preparation Time: - 25~30 min

Cooking Time: - 10~15 min

Servings: - 4~5 persons (varies according to the capacity of consumption)


For the dal

  1. ½ cup split pigeon pea (Arhar Dal / Toor Dal/ Tuvar Dal)
  2. ½ cup Whole Green Mung / Moong Dal
  3. ½ cup split Bengal Gram ( Chana Dal )
  4. 1 small Onion chopped
  5. ¼ inch finely chopped Ginger
  6. 1 chopped or lengthwise slit Green Chili
  7. 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  8. Few chopped coriander leaves
  9. ½ tsp Garam Masala
  10. Salt as per taste
  11. 2 ½ cup water

For tempering tadka

  1. 3 tbsp Ghee / Butter. Alternatively you can use 3 ½ tbsp Vegetable oil (I prefer Sunflower oil but you can use Canola or any vegetable oil) I personally prefer to use a mixture of 1 tbsp Ghee and 1 tbsp oil to start with and then 1 more tbsp. of Ghee at the end
  2. 1 tsp Cumin seeds (Jeera)
  3. 5~6 cloves of Garlic finely chopped
  4. 1 mushy medium size Tomato chopped
  5. 1 medium chopped onion
  6. ¼ inch chopped / paste Ginger
  7. 2~3 red Chili ( I used slit green chilli)
  8. ½ tsp Red Chilli Powder ( I used Kashmiri red chili powder )
  9. 1 tbsp chopped Coriander leaves
  10. Pinch of hing /asafetida
  11. 1 tsp crushed Kasuri Methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
  12. ½ tsp Turmeric powder
  13. ½ tsp Cumin Powder
  14. ½ tsp Coriander Powder
  15. 1 tsp Garam Masala
  16. 1 tsp lemon juice
  17. Salt to taste


  1. Soak and drain all the lentils (Dal). The soaking should be for 1~2 hours if you plan to boil them in a vessel / pot. If you want to cook quickly please use pressure cooker as I did. In this case the soaking can be of 15 min or so.
  2. Chop onion, tomato, ginger and garlic.
  3. Take a medium size (at least 3 liter volume) pressure cooker and add all the lentils (dal). Add water.
  4. Add chopped onion, tomato, ginger, coriander leaves and green chilies.
  5. Mix well and pour turmeric powder, garam masala and asafetida.
  6. Boil the lentils in pressure cooker till 7 or 8 whistles or till it is soft and creamy. Stir with a big spoon and check the consistency of the mixture. If it becomes too thick you can add a little water and simmer for 2~3 minutes to arrive at your desired gravy level. Now keep aside.
  7. Take a non-stick tawa / frying pan and heat a mixture of 1 tbsp ghee and 1 tbsp vegetable oil. You can use 2 tbsp ghee or 2 ½ tbsp. vegetable oil if you prefer.
  8. When sufficiently heated add cumin seeds and green chili (if you do not use red chilli - I do not as I have kids as a target consumer of my recipes). When they crackle add garlic.
  9. Sauté for 1 min till the garlic turn brown.
  10. Add ginger, onion, tomatoes and coriander leaves in that order.
  11. Cook till the juice from tomatoes gets reduced and oil is separated.
  12. Now add asafetida, kasuri methi, turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, Kashmiri red chili.
  13. Sauté for couple of minutes.
  14. Now pour the already cooked lentils and mix it thoroughly.
  15. Let it cook for 3 minutes and adjust the salt level.
  16. You can add water if you need to dilute.
  17. Sprinkle few drops of lemon juice, add 1 tbsp Ghee and garam masala.
  18. Stir and mix thoroughly.
  19. Switch off the burner and garnish with green chili and coriander leaves.

Now your delicious Dal tadka is ready for you to consume. I have a special gourmet tip here:- sometimes  I fry a few cubes of Paneer and use it for garnishing. This makes it even yummier and my family loves it.

This goes well with any meal. I prefer it in dhaba style with Tandorri Roti / Naan but it goes as well with any flavored rice.

As always please feel free to comment, criticize and seek if any help is required. I am all ears.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Banana smoothie with Chia seeds - A nutritional breakfast


Few days back I have presented a Banana Milkshake in my blog and my husband commented that smoothie is better for breakfast. While Ice Cream is an important ingredient in Milkshake smoothie is more of fruit puree with milk and yogurt. Hence smoothie ideally is more nutritious. So I said ok I am going to make banana smoothie some day and that day is today. I have already described the benefits of Banana as a fruit in my earlier post. Chia seeds are very nutritious too. Its benefits are listed here.  Now let’s prepare the smoothie.

Preparation Time: - 10 min

Cooking Time (in fact blending time): - <5 min

Servings: - 3 persons


  1. 3 pieces ripe banana – I prefer bigger Robusta type but you can use smaller type Yalakki banana also.
  2. 1 ½ cup or approx 350 ml full cream milk. If you want a totally Vegan preparation you can use even Soya or Almond Milk. That way it would be casein free too. I used full cream milk as I want it to be a kid’s breakfast powerhouse.
  3. 2~3 tbsp of Peanut butter (optional – it can be used as a thickening agent for dairy-free option as above).
  4. 1 cup or approx 200 ml curd/yogurt
  5. 2 tsp Chia seeds
  6. Sugar or Honey or Jaggery or any sweetening agent you like. You may use Mapple Syrup if you want it totally sugar free. I personally used 4 tbsp of Honey + 2 tbsp sugar


  1. Peel the banana and cut into small pieces. Keep aside.
  2. Boil Milk and keep aside to cool down. Refrigerate if you want to drink the smoothie just after making it.
  3. Pour the milk and curd/yogurt in the blender. Blend it for approx half a minute.
  4. Now add the banana slowly. Pour honey and add sugar and Chia seeds.
  5. Blend for 1 minute.
  6. Drizzle with extra honey to serve

A yummy but healthy drink for kid’s breakfast is ready. Refrigerate and serve chilled.
As always please feel free to comment, criticize and seek if any help is required. I am all ears.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Bread Pakora / Fritters - A vegan and healthy kids' tiffin idea as well as evening snacks

This time I have prepared a healthy snacks which can be used for your kids’ school tiffin Bread Pakora is a fried snacks which is yummy but have good nutritional value. We can have it for evening snacks as well. Kids enjoy there tiffin pack with bread pakoda and tomato sauce. They are created by taking Main ingredients such as bread and dipping them in a batter of gram flour and then deep-frying them.Notably this is a vegan dish.

Preparation Time: - 30~35 min

Cooking Time: - 10~15 min

Servings: - 2~3 persons (varies according to the capacity of consumption)


  1. 6 breads (There are different bread type available in today’s  market – we need something firm not soft )
  2. ½ cup Vegetable oil (I prefer Sunflower oil but you can use Canola or any vegetable oil)

For bread pakora stuffing

  1. 2 large sized potatoes
  2. Handful green peas
  3. Pinch of hing /asafetida
  4. ½ tsp Ginger paste
  5. ¼ tsp Turmeric powder
  6. ½ tsp Cumin Powder
  7. ½ tsp Coriander Powder
  8. 1~2 chopped Green Chilli
  9. 2 tsp Coriander leaves
  10. ½ tsp Red Chilli Powder ( I used Kashmiri red chili powder )
  11. ½ tsp Garam Masala
  12. ¼ tsp Aamchur powder
  13. Salt to taste

For bread pakora batter

  1. ¾ cup Beson ( Gram Flour )
  2. 2~3 tbsp Rice flour
  3. ½ tsp Red Chili powder
  4. Pinch of Turmeric Powder
  5. 1 finely chopped Green Chilli
  6.  Pinch of asafetida
  7. 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  8. ¼ cup Cilantro (Green Coriander leaves)
  9. Salt as needed
  10. Water as needed


  1. Boil or steam the potatoes in pressure cooker / steamer till it is completely cooked.
  2. Peel the potato when it is still warm. Mash and keep aside. You can also grate and keep aside.
  3. Add green peas, coriander leaves, green chili, aamchur, cumin & coriander powder, ginger paste, hing, red chili powder, garam masala, salt and turmeric.
  4. Mix the spices and herbs very well with the mashed potatoes. Keep aside.
  5. Take a non-stick tawa / frying pan and heat 1 tbsp oil.
  6. When sufficiently heated add cumin seeds and when they crackle add the potato +spices mixture.
  7. Sauté for couple of minutes and switch off the burner and cool it down.
  8. Slice 6 bread pieces in pair to form a triangular pair on a chopping board.
  9. Evenly spread the stuffing inside the pair of triangular pieces by pressing gently if needed.
  10. Take a deep bottomed vessel for frying and heat rest of the oil.
  11. Simultaneously prepare the batter by first adding all the batter ingredients mentioned above with the beson. Pour sufficient water to the mixture so that the consistency should be such that it is not too thick or too thin.
  12. Take few drops of heated oil in the batter and mix well.
  13. Place each pair of bread pieces in the batter and drop gently in the hot oil.
  14. Deep fry the bread pakoras until golden on both the sides on a medium heat. Flip when one side is finished.
  15. Repeat this for all the pakoras.
  16. Remove excess oil by placing them on a kitchen towel.

Now your healthy but yummy snacks / kids tiffin is ready to consume. You may dip into tomato sauce and start eating.
As always please feel free to comment, criticize and seek if any help is required. I am all ears.