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.

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!

Wellness Potion (Durga Puja and Navratri Special)

It has been long since I posted my last recipe. This one is very close to my heart and has had enough trials and tribulations in the past.

The name has been coined by me and this has been my tried and tested friend for over 30 years. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I mention that I never use any synthetic cleansers on my face. The much needed glow before any occasion comes from this wellness potion.

This is vegetarian and can be had steaming hot if you really want to shed the extra kilos along with the glow on your skin or chilled if you are just looking for the glow.

I make it in batches which serves a family of four for two days. The number of glasses of water added depends on how many people needs to served and over how many days. Though it is always advisable to cook and have it fresh every day but because of some constraints if it is not possible, it can be frozen in separate containers and can be had everyday. To get maximum results start having fifteen days before the occasion.

Continue reading “Wellness Potion (Durga Puja and Navratri Special)”

Mochar Ghonto(Banana flower cooked with aromatic spices)

This dish is very dear to Bengalis and though it takes long to remove the stamens and stigma and chop them fine,we still manage to go through all hurdles to endure the end result which is worth the wait. Thanks to the home delivery of vegetables, we now get it peeled and just ready to be chopped. This is eaten with plain rice and is little sweet which is not exactly new to Bengali cuisine. The sweetness balances the tartness of the banana flower.

Ingredients

  1. 1 banana flower (peeled, stamens removed and chopped)
  2. 4 tbsps of freshly grated coconut
  3. 1 cinnamon stick, 4 cloves, 2 green cardamoms, 2 bay leaves, 1 dried red chilli
  4. A pinch of turmeric powder
  5. 2 tbsps of ghee or clarified butter
  6. 1 small tablet sized tamarind ball (seedless)
  7. 1 tbsp of freshly squeezed ginger juice
  8. 2 tbsps of fresh cream
  9. Garam masala powder
  10. Slit green chillies
  11. Salt and sugar to taste.

Procedure

  1. Wash and drain the chopped banana flowers and transfer it to a pressure cooker with tamarind , salt and turmeric powder and half a cup of water.
  2. After one whistle, let it cool down and drain the water and slightly mash the flowers with a fork.
  3. Add ghee to a wok and put all the whole spices and once they start to crackle, add the flowers.
  4. Saute and keep adding all the ingredients except grated coconut.
  5. Stir fry on medium flame until the aroma of ghee, fresh cream and spices fill your kitchen.
  6. Once it is dry, transfer it to a plate and garnish it with grated coconut.
  7. It is ready to serve.
  8. Cooking of this recipe varies from kitchen to kitchen. Many add potatoes but I personally do not like potatoes in this dish.

French Beans with Grated Coconut

This recipe is one of the most satisfying and good looking vegetable dish.Cooking this recipe is very easy but cutting it takes time. When your table has all the colours and you need to add a green beauty then this comes to your rescue. To me it is very satisfying when combined with roti or rice.

Ingredients

  1. French beans (tender) – 250 gms
  2. Freshly grated coconut – 2 tbsps
  3. Black mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  4. Hing or asafoetida – a pinch
  5. Red chilli powder – 1/4 tsp
  6. Turmeric powder – 1/8 tsp
  7. Salt to taste
  8. 1 tbsp oil.

Procedure

  • Wash the beans and remove the side strings from beans if they are a bit mature and then cut.
  • If they are very tender they don’t have strings. Just cut them into half an inch pieces.
  • Add oil to the pan and add mustard seeds and hing. Let them crackle and then add the beans. Lower the flame.
  • Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt and cover and cook on low heat for ten minutes. Do not add water.
  • Remove the lid and stir. At this stage, add grated coconut and stir fry.
  • Your dish is ready to serve.

Potato and Cauliflower fry

This is a versatile recipe because I can combine this with rice and dal, make nice sandwiches, use this as a samosa filling (more of a bengali winter samosa with potato, cauliflower and green peas), have with parathas and of course with kurmura or puffed rice as well. This comes to my rescue even when I come back from weekend getaways and after having heavy meals for two days I look forward to this light and aromatic vegetable dish. Aroma comes in the form of roasted cumin powder, slit green chillies, red chilli flakes and coriander leaves – all of which is added right at the end.

Continue reading “Potato and Cauliflower fry”