Aloo Paratha (Flatbread with Potato Stuffing)

This is one of the most loved Indian recipes and I have always been asked for the recipe. Today I am sharing my way of making this. This particular recipe varies from kitchen to kitchen as to how many spices to be added or how to knead the dough. It would actually depend on your scale of measuring your spice level. People in some states India like it very flavoursome and spicy while some like to keep it mild. Likewise, when I recently made it for a few non- Indians, I kept it really mild with salt, pepper, butter and a few Indian herbs namely mint, coriander leaves and kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves). The result was awesome and people loved it.

Preparing this recipe will come in three stages namely kneading the dough, making the potato filling and final assembly.

Makes 8 parathas

Ingredients for the filling

1/2 kg potatoes boiled, drained and mashed without lumps

2 tbsps Tomato paste

1 tbsp of Spice blend of dry roasted and powdered spices namely cumin seeds, coriander seeds, red chillies(Combine and roast all the spices in a wok, powder them and take one tbsp of the powdered spice)

1 tbsp each of finely chopped coriander leaves, green chillies finely chopped, freshly grated ginger, fresh mint leaves.

I have tried making this with dried coriander leaves, mint leaves and green chillies. You can always use dried herbs if you don’t find the fresh ones.

1 tbsp lemon juice

Salt to taste

1 tsp Butter

Procedure for the filling

Take a micro waveable glass bowl. Peel the boiled potatoes and mash them with a fork till there are no lumps. Now add all the spices that suit you. Omit the ones you dont have or don’t want to incorporate. Add tomato paste, butter and salt and if you are adding dried herbs this is the time to do so. But don’t add the fresh ones at this stage. Mix them well. Microwave on high for two to three minutes by pausing after a minute and mixing again with a fork to ensure uniformity in cooking. Add fresh herbs now. Mix well and keep aside.

For the Parathas

Ingredients

250 gms of wheat flour

100 gms of refined flour

2 tbsps of oil or ghee (clarified butter)

1 tsp salt

Water as required to knead.

Procedure:

Add the dry ingredients to the kneader and run it once to mix everything. Now, add water and run it. The kneaded dough is ready. Cover it and keep it.

The final assembly

  1. Take your dough and roll two rotis half the size of normal roti.
  2. Keep one aside and the other on the rolling board.
  3. Take out two tbsps of stuffing and spread on the roti on the rolling board leaving the sides.
  4. Take the second roti and put on top of the stuffing sealing all the sides with your hands.
  5. Then roll both the rotis together dusting it with flour so that they dont stick to the rolling board.
  6. Put the non- stick tawa on the burner and let it get adequately hot.
  7. Keep oil or ghee or melted butter in a bowl with basting brush .
  8. When hot, turn the flame to medium and put the paratha on it.
  9. Press gently with a spatula to make sure every part of the paratha is cooked uniformly.
  10. This should take you around 3-4 mins.
  11. Flip it and let it cook on the other side too.
  12. When both the sides look cooked(when there are brown spots on both surfaces), brush oil or butter or ghee on both the sides and fry on high.
  13. It will puff up, once it is cooked.Take it off the heat and serve or store in a bowl with lid. Make sure to line the bowl with a padded cloth in the bottom and on top.This prevents the parathas from turning soggy.
  14. Serve with pickle and yogurt.

I have an easier version though. Knead 500gms of flour with grated boiled potato, finely chopped coriander, green chillies, ajwain powder, red chilli powder, salt to taste, oil and garam masala powder and water. Let the dough rest for a while. Roll the chapatis and cook on a tawa .

Caviar on Crackers

This is a very easy snack and my family’s favourite. I had crackers with me but toasted bread also works well. I made the creamy white layer by beating hung curd with a whisk and added salt and white pepper powder. I chopped an onion, a tomato and coriander leaves for the topping. I had two types of caviar : red and black. I layered the crackers with hung curd, topped it with caviar and chopped veggies. It tastes heavenly.

Crabmeat Filling for Sandwiches, Wraps and Canapes

In these rationing and trying days, my pantry gives me the pleasure of my lifetime. I found some crabmeat in my freezer and I had fresh bread with me.

And here was the heavenly combination that I made earlier and had made wraps and canapes also. Actually speaking, this is just a filling or can work as a dip with nachos or fries.

Makes 10 sandwiches

Ingredients

1/2 a cup of crabmeat

2 tbsps of mayonnaise

2 tbsps of cream cheese

Few sprigs of herb of your choice. I used finely chopped coriander leaves.

1/2 of an onion finely chopped

1/4 of a tomato (seeds removed) finely chopped

1/2 if a spring onion green chopped

1 tsp each of mustard sauce, tomato sauce, any hot sauce

A squirt of wasabi paste (optional)

1/4 tsp of black pepper powder

Salt to taste

1 tsp of olive oil.

Procedure

Combine all the ingredients except onion, tomatoes, spring onion green and olive oil.

Mix it well and keep it aside.

Take olive oil in a small shallow pan and once hot, add onion and fry till translucent. Then add tomatoes and saute. Now add spring onion greens and turn off the flame.

Add this to the mixture in the bowl. Mix well and store it in a box. Use it when required. Spread it on a slice of bread and cover it with another slice.

Or let a dollop of it sit on a cracker or canape. This looks very decorative as a snack on a platter.

Or spread it on a tortilla and make a wrap. Let your imagination run wild.

Beetroot Delight

This recipe is one of my favourites. When it comes to beetroot, people especially children don’t seem to like it. But the preparation I am sharing with you now, is one of the best tasting vegetarian food ever. This is also offered to Gods in temples in South of India. I have added a few things of my choice in this recipe.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 beetroots (peeled and grated)

1 green chilli chopped very fine

2 tbsps of freshly grated coconut

1 tbsp of oil

1/2 a tsp of mustard seeds

1 tbsp of mixed pulses like chana dal, split urad dal and tur dal

A pinch of asafoetida

2 cloves of garlic peeled and finely chopped

Salt to taste.

Procedure

Take a shallow pan with lid and put it on the flame.

Add oil and once hot, add mustard seeds. Let them crackle and then add asfoetida and chopped garlic.

Now add the mixed dals and then add grated beetroot. Saute and now cover and cook for ten minutes on low heat. Don’t add water.

After 10 minutes remove the lid and mix everything and now add grated coconut and green chillies.

Mix everything well and let it cook uncovered for a few more minutes. You can add red chilli powder if you want it hot because beetroot tends to tender a sweet taste which is why it isy not like by many.

This is usually served with plain rice. If there are leftovers, this can be used as an excellent colourful dip or raita when combined with hung curd or thick creamy yogurt.

Daliya(Broken Wheat) Khichdi

This is very filling and has all the benefits of dal, wheat and vegetables. It is normally had with dahi as accompaniment and of course, ghee. Today is Ashok Shoshti for Bengalis that is the sixth day of Chaitra Navratri. Women fast on this day for the welfare of their children. But since I cannot observe fast rigidly, I came up with this idea. Soak Daliya and yellow split mung dal overnight. In the morning, add cumin seeds, hing, red chillies, cinnamon stick and bay leaf in hot oil. Add whatever veggies you like. I added, green peas , carrots and potatoes. Saute well and the add tomatoes. Add haldi, garam masala powder, dhania powder, salt and when everything blends well, add soaked daliya and dal. Add water, pressure cook for two whistles. Your healthy khichdi is ready.

Chicken Seekh Kabab Curry


In times of rationing my pantry, I came up with something I would like to share with you. I had some Meatzaa Chicken kababs in my freezer and a tomato gravy with garlic. I sliced an onion, sauteed it, added sliced kababs and cooked for five minutes. Then I added my tomato paste and garam masala powder. Covered and cooked for a while and added freshly crushed kasoori methi and some cream before finishing it.Add salt to taste.

Patate Douce(Sweet Potato) with Cream

This is a very humble sweet potato that my daughter introduced me to, in Paris. I tried many simple recipes such as steamed patate douce, boiled, sauteed and deep fried version. Believe me, it tasted heavenly in every possible way I tried. The recipe I am sharing today is the sauteed one with butter and sugar. I peeled and cut the vegetable into strips like the way we cut french fries. Soak it in water and keep it aside. Take a tsp of butter for 200 gms of patate douce and heat it. Once done drain water and sautee it. Cover and cook till fully cooked. Raise the heat and sprinkle a tsp of sugar on top. Fry it for a while. Serve it with a dollop of fresh cream or ice cream. The same can be done with boiled, steamed and deep fried version as well. A very simple yet sweet and satisfying end to a meal. Since this vegetable is not available everywhere, it can be made with our own sweet potato.

Sauteed Vegetables with Garlic and Sesame Seeds

This colourful vegetarian dish is my personal favourite. It is simple, yummy, healthy and filling and also can be a complete meal if fish, chicken or any protein is included in the platter.

You can take any vegetables of your choice. I took french beans, carrots and baby corn and cut them into small pieces. Chop garlic very fine and once your oil gets hot, add garlic and the add all the veggies. Stir well and cover and cook on medium heat for three minutes. Remove the lid, stir and now add salt, pepper powder and sesame seeds. Stir fry and serve hot. I do not want to lose the crunch of the vegetables. Hence the hurry!

Easy Fish Curry

This tasty recipe is fuss free and fast and goes very well with plain rice. It is a delight for everyone begining from kids to old and is a very good quality protein. It cooks in a jiffy and can be cooked in large batches and stored in the freezer. If cooked for kids, chillies can be omitted altogether.

Serves 2

Ingredients

300 gms boneless basa fish (any boneless fish can be used)

1 medium onion sliced finely

1 tbsp of ginger garlic paste

1/2 a lemon

4 lime leaves

2 fat sticks of lemon grass (bruised)

1 cinnamon stick

2 Bay leaves

1 dried red chilli (cut into thin roundels)

1 tbsp of coriander powder

1/2 tsp of turmeric powder

1/2 tsp of red chilli powder

1/2 tsp of garam masala powder

100 ml of thick coconut milk

2 green chillies cut into thin long strips

2 tbsps oil

Salt to taste.

Procedure

Cut the fish into bite sized pieces. Marinate with ginger, garlic paste. Squeeze in juice of 1/4 lemon and keep it aside for ten minutes.

Cut onions into thin long slices. Cut 1/2 lemon into a wedge.

Take 1 tbsp oil in a wok. When hot, add 2 lime leaves and 1 stick of bruised lemon grass. Add the marinated fish and fry on high heat for a minute or so.

Take it out and keep aside. Add the remaining oil to the wok and add all the whole spices. Then add onions and fry till translucent.

Now add the powdered spices and stir fry. Then lower the heat and add coconut milk, salt, lime leaves , cut wedge, lemon grass, green chilli and cover and cook for two to three mins. It is ready to serve.