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 .

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.

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.

Egg Fried Rice

This recipe is my way of having a very tasty, hassle-free and filling meal without much preparation. In fact it is an excellent recipe for beginners in cookery world. I wouldn’t claim that this is a very healthy recipe because I have used soup cubes and some people do not like to use soup cubes but, once in a while it is okay to cheat. Moreover seeing the youngsters relying so much on outside food, I believe this is a healthier option. This recipe doesn’t require any accompaniments if you are in a hurry. But I add a few things like soy sauce, rice vinegar with fresh green chillies or schezwan sauce as accompaniments. To give it a healthy angle, at times I serve this with fresh green salad or thick creamy yogurt.

Serves 2

  • 125 gms or 1 cup of basmati rice or Chinese rice
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 to 5 stalks of spring onions (green and bulbs included)
  • 3 – 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 crushed maggi soup cubes either vegetarian or chicken
  • 2 and 1/2 tbsps of oil
  • Salt to taste.

Procedure

  1. Cook rice with a tsp of salt in an open vessel.
  2. Once cooked, drain and keep aside. Make sure it is neither undercooked nor overcooked.
  3. Seperate the green part and white part of the spring onions. Chop them fine. Finely chop the garlic cloves.
  4. Take 1/2 tbsp oil in an omlette pan.
  5. Beat the eggs and make a large omlette and take it out on a kitchen board.
  6. Once it is easy to handle, cut it into tiny squares. Do not add salt to the beaten eggs.
  7. Take a wok and add the remaining oil. Heat it and now add chopped white part of the onions and the garlic.
  8. Saute till transparent and now add the green part.
  9. Immediately add the drained rice, crushed maggi soup cubes and fry the rice till all the grains become oil slicked.
  10. Now add the chopped omlette pieces and mix.
  11. Remove from heat and let it rest for a few minutes.
  12. Serve hot. If you want to pack it for your lunch box, let it cool and pack. Make it piping hot before having. It tastes good even when it is cold.

Chicken Biryani

This is my easy biryani recipe and has always been a favourite with my guests. I marinate the chicken with all the required ingredients and leave it overnight in the fridge but it works well even if it is marinated for an hour. The more the merrier though.If I have too many items to cook, then I make the rice beforehand and keep. But, freshly cooked one is always the best. I use either chicken thighs or chicken legs to ensure uniformity in cooking time.

Continue reading “Chicken Biryani”

My Macher Jhol (Bengali Fish Curry)

The word curry or jhol implies slow cooking with spices wherein each spice has a role to play. Few of them impart their flavour, some render their sweetness and some give the required consistency to the curries. For bengalis, macher jhol and rice combo is comfort food. In earlier times, fish was deep fried before putting into jhol which made it tastier. Nowadays keeping health factor in mind, we shallow fry or at times even grill before putting into the already simmering curry. We add vegetables as per season and availability but believe me there nothing can stop us from cooking macher jhol. If our pantry runs barren we cook it with only potatoes and dal kisses(bori). Today I have shared the recipe of aloo(potatoes), phoolkopi(cauliflower) and bori(dal kisses) jhol cooked the traditional way. Each and every household have their own recipe.

Continue reading “My Macher Jhol (Bengali Fish Curry)”

Carrot and Cashew Pulao

This recipe is very easy  and goes really well with all types of Indian spicy to very spicy curries because of its subtle yet sweet after taste. At times, I use pistachios instead of cashews and there is not too much change of taste but, the green of pistachios makes the dish look prettier. The balance  of sweet from onions, carrots and sugar, sour from lemon juice and mild heat from black  pepper is what I like the most. 

Continue reading “Carrot and Cashew Pulao”