Matar chaat / Mutter Chaat or Pigeon Peas Dip is one of the most popular street food you’ll find in New Delhi. This quick and tasty dish is served as a chaat (snack), and also makes for a fulfilling meal when served with a side of Naan orKulcha.
Pigeon Peas belong to the family of legumes, and carry the same great advantages of being high in fiber and protein. They are somewhat similar in looks to Chickpeas or Garbanzo Beans. There are two varieties of Pigeon peas, white (more like beige), and green. I prefer the taste of the white ones as they tend to be more on the creamier side. Just like chickpeas, Pigeon Peas also have to be rehydrated before cooking. Soaking them overnight allows them to rehydrate and also fastens the cooking process. I cook these in my electrical pressure cooker, Instant Pot, and they are perfect when cooked for 15 minutes on the Bean/Chili mode.
Carrot Burfi or Gajar ki Burfi can be best described as Carrot Fudge. It is a fudge-like variation of the classic sweet-dish, called Gajar Halwa, from the region of Punjab, in the Indian subcontinent. It is made by slow-cooking grated carrots with ghee, milk, nuts and sugar.
In this recipe, I have made this dessert healthier(and guilt-free), by substituting half the milk power with Almond Flour. Adding almond meal, boosts the protein content of the dish and makes this dessert lighter as compared to the full-dairy version. You can customize it further, and make this dairy-free by substituting ‘milk with Almond Milk’, ‘milk powder with Almond Flour‘, and, ‘ghee with coconut or refined olive oil’. The best part of making this Carrot Burfi, is that it is a finger-food, no utensils required to eat this, which makes this great for serving at parties. This can be made a few days in advance and refrigerated. The bigger advantage for me is, that these small individual size squares work great for portion control for me. It lets me enjoy this delicacy without over-indulging, which is really easy in this case 😉
Quick’n’Easy way: Normally, this dessert would take much longer on the stove-top, plus I would have to baby-sit this dish the whole time. By using my electrical pressure cooker, Instant Pot, I have cut that time in half, and I don’t have to stand by it for most of the cooking process. The traditional recipe calls for an equal amount of milk and carrots. The milk is reduced on slow heat, till it dries up, leaving behind the fudgy creamy milk solids, which add to the richness of the halwa. The end result is divine, but it does take a fair amount of time, babysitting and muscle power:-) By substituting most of that milk with dried milk powder and Almond meal, I am able to cut down on that active cooking time, without losing the texture and taste. Dare I mention, I used non-fat milk powder, so I saved a few calories too 🙂 Almond meal is available at most supermarkets and on amazon too. But, if you cannot find it, simply grind whole almonds into a powder, using a spice or Coffee Bean Grinder.
If you like this recipe, you might enjoy the Gajar ka Halwa / Carrol Halwa recipe too! Slight variation in the recipe, but the end result is too hard to resist!
Stove-Top Method: You could follow this recipe steps and cook this halwa on medium heat, till the liquid dries up and you get a fudge-like consistency. It can take around 25-30 minutes. This time can vary, depending on the quantity you’re making.
1/4 cup chopped cashews and almonds + 2-3 tablespoons for garnish
Prep: Wash, peel and grate carrots. If using a Box Grater, use the large side. I use my Food Processor to shred the carrots. Chop cashews and almonds and keep aside.
Turn on SAUTE mode, when it displays "hot", add ghee or butter. Add chopped nuts and carrots and saute for 2-3 minutes. This prevents the carrots from turning mushy later. Add warm milk and sugar, stir well. Adding warm milk ensures that the milk won't curdle under pressure, and, speeds up the pressure building time significantly. Close lid and cook on Manual/Pressure Cook for 5 minutes. Set the valve to Sealing position.
Manually release pressure (QR) and open the lid after the pin drops. Turn on SAUTE (normal). Add milk powder and almond flour, and stir. Cook off the liquid, stirring every few minutes initially, and then every 30 seconds or so towards the end. This takes around 8-10 minutes. The actual time depends on the quantity you're making. For this quantity, it took me 9 minutes to reach my desired consistency.
Add cardamom powder and stir. Remove the carrot mix (fudge) in a parchment lined pan. Using the back of a spoon, or an Offset Spatula, spread it evenly and smoothen the top. Garnish with chopped nuts and gently press into the fudge, so that the nuts stick to the fudge. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. Remove and cut into shapes of your choice. Enjoy with a cup of tea!
Kadhi Chawal is an all-time favorite, comfort food in many Punjabi homes. It’s a traditional dish from the northern region of India (Punjab), in which a yogurt and chickpeas-flour based curry, called Kadhi, and chickpeas-flour fritters, called Pakoras, is served over aromatic basmati rice! There are several variations of this dish all over northern India, but this recipe is close to my heart, as it’s been passed on through many generations in my family.
Even though the recipe for Kadhi Chawal is fairly generic, everyone has their own spin on it. My grandmother always cooked the kadhi and pakoras in mustard oil. My mom substitutes mustard oil with ghee, and also adds chopped onions to her pakoras, and sliced onions in the kadhi. I customized it further and started adding chopped spinach to my pakoras in addition to the shallots/onions. I also started pan-frying the pakoras versus deep-frying them. This is my quick and healthy twist on this family favorite. Here’s the detailed recipe for No-Fry Pakoras (Fritters).
Stove-top Recipe: In the video above, I have made this recipe in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot, but this recipe can be made on the stove-top too. Here’s how: Continue Reading…
Warm, flaky and crispy on the outside, buttery and delicious from within, these Vegetables Puffs are great as a tea-time snack, or, as a lunch surprise for kids! Making these is ever so simple. A healthy assortment of vegetables is tossed in an aromatic Indian masala and stuffed inside a golden-brown baked puff pastry shell. These puffs can be easily customized with your choice of filling- sweet or savory. Using store-bought pastry dough makes this a weeknight treat for me.
I make this recipe with store-bought puff pastry shells. These ‘pre-shaped’ shells are pretty versatile and can be used for both, sweet and savory dishes. It is really easy to put these puffs together. Simply bake the shells in the oven as per package directions. Prepare your filling and then stuff the filling in the shells- that’s it!
Tip for a flaky Puff pastry: Keep the pastry dough cold. Remove from refrigerator just before baking. This ensured a flaky pastry. Softer or room temperature dough, doesn’t puff up and tends to becomes too dense.
For this recipe, I make a mixed vegetable filling in a Fry-pan or Skillet on the stove -top, or my electric pressure cooker,Instant Pot. I combine assorted vegetables like bell pepper, frozen peas, frozen corn, gold potatoes and cook them with aromatics and Indian spices. I like to add paneer to this mix. It not only adds protein to the dish, but the creamy paneer goes really well with the flaky puff pastry. I use this filling to make Vegetable Panini too.
Serving suggestion: I make these puffs as appetizers, or as tea-time snacks, and, they make for great school lunches for kids too. I keep switching the filling though. I serve them as-is, or with tomato ketchup, Sriracha or cilantro chutney. There are endless possibilities for the filling. Some of the common ones in my home are:
Pizza puffs: I saute sausage, onions and peppers with Italian seasoning. Add a couple of teaspoons of marinara sauce to the baked shells, add sausage mix, top it with mozzarella cheese and garnish with basil.
Parmesan Mushroom & Peas Puffs: Saute crimini mushrooms in olive oil, salt and pepper. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and cook till mushrooms are nice and brown. Add thawed peas to this mix. Turn off the flame and mix in some grated parmesan cheese. Stuff the baked shells. The remaining heat from the mushrooms melts the parmesan cheese and binds the mix really well. Garnish with chopped parsley.
Keema Puffs: I make keema (ground meat) using this recipe: Keema Mutter. Bake the shells and fill them with the keema mix. Garnish with chopped cilantro!
Berries & Cream: Sprinkle some sugar and zest of a lemon on mixed berries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries. Toss well. Sprinkle some sugar on the pastry before baking. Bake shells and cool them for 10 minutes. Stuff the berries in the shells, and top with sweetened whipped cream.
Here’s how easy it is to make these Vegetable Puffs:
My family loves Korean food! Two dishes that we regularly order at a Korean restaurant are Bibimbap, which is a rice bowl with sautéed vegetables, meat and Gochujang (chili pepper paste), and, Bulgogi, which is basically Korean grilled meat, served with rice or lettuce cups. This recipe for Korean Spice Chicken is my weeknight, and pressure cooker friendly combination of the two.
I start by marinating the chicken with ingredients that I use for making Bulgogi– some Gochujang (Korean chili pepper paste), ginger-garlic, honey, onion and ground or grated pear. The pear tenderizes the meat and provides a subtle sweet flavor, which balances the heat from the Gochujang really well. Then I pressure cook the meat in my programmable pressure cooker, Instant Pot. Any pressure cooker would work great for this recipe. You can even do this in a skillet on the stove-top. Marinate the meat. Heat a heavy bottom skillet on medium high heat and dump everything in. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, remove lid and cook till chicken is tender and the sauce is thick to your liking.
My kids like having rice with Korean Spice Chicken, so, I make it in the same pot using pot-in-pot method. My husband and I like to have it over lettuce cups. The crisp lettuce contrasts really well with the spicy chicken. I have to tell you, that this is one of the tastiest low-carb meals we make at home.
Korean food is almost incomplete without an assortment of side dishes called Banchan. I make a few of them at home, including the Spicy Cucumber Salad called Oi Muchim. Persian cucumbers or English cucumbers work great for this dish. The fresh and crunchy cucumbers, marinated in Gochujang, salt, vinegar and sesame oil, are a perfect match for this chicken. They being this meal together beautifully! Try this recipe and let me know how it works for you by leaving a comment. Continue Reading…
In my home, the ultimate indulgence is warm -gooey Salted Caramel Molten Lava Cakes. Rich dark chocolate, blended with salted caramel, topped with salted caramel ice-cream, it is a match made in dessert-heaven. It’s our go-to dessert for family game nights or any instant celebrations in the house.
Since this is a decadent dessert, I like to make individual portions using these Silicone Cupcake Liners. These liners serve three great purposes in my home: First, the silicone molds don’t get hot to the touch after baking, so handling is super easy, my kids bake with these often. Second, taking the lava cakes out of these molds is a breeze. Simply, invert them on to your serving dish, and they slip out nice and easy. Third, it does portion control for me. I take one, finish it and feel satisfied that I had a full dessert. I don’t feel like going for seconds, like I would be tempted to, if it were a cake:-)
I make these lava cakes in the Instant Pot DUO and they turn out really moist and delicious. But this cake can be made in the oven as well. Here’s how:
Oven Recipe: Pre-heat oven to 425°F. Follow step 1 and 2. Place the cakes on a cookie sheet and bake for 11-13 minutes, depending on how gooey you want the center to be.
This recipe for Mutton Curry or Mutton Masala Curry (goat curry) brings back childhood memories for me. Growing up, even though my mom was the head-chef of the house, Mutton Curry was always my Dad’s speciality. Right from buying the meat, to roasting and grinding fresh spices for it, he would totally own this dish. The result was juicy, tender and delicious mutton, which had simmered in aromatics and a homemade yogurt sauce. To me, this will always be the best homestyle mutton curry recipe!
Mutton is the meat of a younger goat, much like lamb, only healthier and tastier, in my opinion. It is considered a healthier ‘red-meat’ as compared to beef and lamb, due to it’s lower saturated-fat content. The same recipe can be used for regular Goat-meat by increasing cook time to 25-30 minutes, depending on the size and meat-to-bone ratio of the pieces.
Super Easy Recipe: This recipe ends up taking about 40 minutes, from start to finish, but most of it is hands-off cooking time. You marinate the meat with spices and aromatics (onion, ginger, garlic), saute it for a few minutes, add yogurt, pressure cook it, wait for 10-15 minutes before releasing the pressure, and voila, Homestyle Mutton Curry is done! I make this in my programmable pressure cooker, Instant Pot, so all I have to do is push a few buttons and the cooker does the rest. Watch the video on this page to see how easy the process is! That being said, this recipe can be made in any pressure cooker. Just follow the settings for meat and set a 15 minute cook time. For a stove-top pressure cooker like Hawkins, after the first whistle, reduce heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes.
Stove-Top Method: It is possible to make this on the stove-top too, but it would require some baby-sitting. Start with heating a wide bottom pan, like a Dutch Oven/ Casserole or a Nonstick Pasta Pot. Marinate the meat and saute it for a few minutes. Add yogurt and potatoes, stir well, cover it and simmer it on medium heat for 20-25 minutes, or till the meat is tender. You have to keep stirring every 5 minutes or so to prevent the gravy or the meat from sticking to the bottom and burning.
Crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, here’s a delicious vegetarian twist to your classic hamburgers… Quinoa Veggie Burger!
I developed this recipe accidentally. Once, I had plenty leftovers for Quinoa Veggie Pilaf from the previous night, and neither of us felt like having Pilaf again. My kids were in the mood for ‘burgers’. So, I took the leftover Pilaf, which had potatoes and peas, mashed the potatoes well, added some shredded cheese (for binding) and chopped cilantro, formed them into tight 1/2-inch thick patties, dusted them with AP flour, and pan-fried them till they were crispy brown. I have to tell you, that this is the tastiest leftover-hack I have ever done, if I may say so myself.
Serving Suggestions: You can serve these patties with your favorite choice of burger buns– sesame, honey-wheat, potato buns or any other flavor you prefer. In terms of condiments, we love these with Sriracha-Mayo (recipe in ingredients section) and some spicy arugula. If my husband and I are watching our carbs, we have these bun-less, with a large arugula & cucumber salad. They are so satisfying in flavor, that we don’t miss the bun! They are a great make-ahead vegetarian choices for a BBQ party too! You can prepare the quinoa, or even make the patties, a day before and refrigerate them. On the day off, take them out an hour before cooking.
Add-ons: This a very kid-friendly recipe, that is Mom & Dad-approved! Kids love burgers! The amount of nutrition that you can sneak in to these patties, is a work of a genius. Quinoa and cheese add a good amount of protein and the veggies give the “green balance” to these patties. I keep switching the veggies in this recipe and add chopped spinach, frozen corn, shredded carrots, shredded zucchini, so you can easily customize this recipe to your preferences. I even add a couple of tablespoons of Almond meal in it sometimes. It helps in binding and boosts the protein content.
Smart Tip: If you’re adding more than one freshly grated vegetable, you may want to add 1 tbsp. of cornflour, or 1 egg, so that the patties bind easily. Continue Reading…
Super Bowl LII is finally here! According to Wikipedia, Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest food consumption day in America, after Thanksgiving. It is said that roughly 28,000,000 pounds of chips, 1.25 billion chicken wings, and 8,000,000 pounds of guacamole are consumed during the Super Bowl.
Here are some super-hit Game-Day foods, that’ll keep you entertained and fed while the two teams fight it out. So, here are the recipes. Good Eatings to you all…. and may the best team win!
Tzatziki is a creamy and delicious Mediterranean sauce or a dip that is seasoned with salt, lime juice, garlic and in some cases, paprika! It’s a great party dip, which can be made very easily and ahead of time. You can pair it with assorted vegetables like cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, peppers, carrots, snow peas etc. You can even cut up pita bread in four or more slices, and use that for dipping as well.
Tzatziki is typically made with Greek yogurt, which is a thicker yogurt as compared to the regular one. But feel free to use any yogurt that you like. If your yogurt isn’t thick to begin with, be sure to squeeze out the extra juice from the grated cucumber. I make this dip a lot with my homemade yogurt that I make in my pressure cooker, Instant Pot. The consistency of my homemade yogurt is in between of a greek yogurt and regular one, so, using two paper towels, I squeeze out some juices from the grated cucumber and the result is perfect!
This is how simple it is to put it together:
Garlic and spices
Mix together and Done!
I always make Tzatziki sauce whenever I make Chicken Shawarma. I make a greek salad and humus, get some store-bought Pita bread and we enjoy our Greek Feast! My kids love dipping their Shawarma wrap in the Tzatziki!