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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Beet-Aloo'r Torkari | Beetroot Stir Fry Recipe

As autumn is approaching, the variety and freshness of the veggies are gradually increasing in the markets. Now a days it’s more convenient to spend time in vegetable markets and fill my bags as quite a few good fresh vegetable shops have opened up near my place. What caught my attention is one of a recent article where it said that health benefits of beetroot includes lowering blood pressure, slowing progression of dementia, preventing constipation and increase blood flow. Excellent source of potassium and Vitamin A as well as Vitamin C. I remember first I had this at my friend Anindita's place along with paratha. The simplicity was having fresh , naturally colored side dish. So taking a cue from it and applying my foodie instincts, I prepared this fast to cook yet a little spicy stir fry so that it takes a tasty turn. The results were pretty decent, if I may say so. Thank you Anindita dear for sharing such simple yet tasty dish.

2 medium Beetroots
2 small Potatoes
1 Carrot
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds 
1 tsp finely chopped Ginger
2 Green Chilies
1/2 tsp Jeera powder (dry roast jeera on tawa and then grind to make a fine powder)
2 tsp Poppy seeds
Salt to taste
Oil to cook

Wash, peel the beetroot, potatoes, carrot into thin lengthy pieces. Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan or kadai and crackle mustard seeds. Immediately add finely chopped ginger and stir it for 1 minute. Add green chilies and add potatoes. Season with salt and fry for 2 minutes. Now add beetroot and stir it nicely. Cover the pan to cook and cook it for 5-6 minutes or until the beetroot is soft. The slightest bruise by stirring allows beetroot to bleed during cooking and leaves a nice color. Now add roasted jeera powder, poppy seeds and mix well. Remove it from flame and serve immediately with chapati or parota. 

read more.. "Beet-Aloo'r Torkari | Beetroot Stir Fry Recipe"

Monday, September 22, 2014

Stuffed Buns | Keema Buns

I make these buns whenever we buy Keema as they are filling and goes well with a movie on Saturday night. And if you are a vegetarian you can easily replace the stuffing with potato mixture / paneer bhurji. 

1 tbsp Active Dry Yeast
1/2 cup Warm Water
A big pinch of Sugar
2 1/2 cups will give you 6 big buns and 3 cups will give you 7
2-3 tbsp Olive oil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Milk, room temperature, keep aside 2-3 tsp milk for brushing on top just before baking.

For Keema mixture -
200 gm Chicken keema
2 medium sized onion finely chopped
3 tbsp Tomato puree1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp red chilli powder
3 finely chopped green chillies
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric (haldi)
salt to taste


Wash keema thoroughly and drain the water. Mix turmeric powder, salt and marinate for half an hour. Keep it aside. Put 2 tbsp oil in a pressure cooker and heat it. Add in bay leaf, chopped onions, ginger and garlic paste. Saute it till the onion turns brown. Add marinated keema in it. Fry on medium low heat for about 6-7 minutes. Now add tomato puree and mix together well. Pour 1/2 cup water and close the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook till you hear 1 whistle and remove it from the burner. Now open the lid to check if the water has dried up. In case there is any gravy, heat it till it dries up. Cool the mixture before you start the buns.

Water should be barely warm or lukewarm to the touch as too hot water may kill the yeast and cold water doesn't help to wake up. So ideal temperature should be 100-110F for proofing. Add a pinch of sugar and let this sit for few minutes (15 min). You will see these signs:

  • The water will dissolve the outer coating around the granules of active yeast inside.
  • Soon you will see bubbly foam on the surface, happens because the carbon dioxide being released.
  • The volume will double. 
  • Now you got proof that your yeast is active!

In a big mixing bowl take flour, salt and make a well in the center. Pour 2 tbsp of Olive oil, yeast liquid and start mixing it with your hands. Initially it will be sticky so don't worry! Keep adding milk in between to make a smooth dough. Add more milk if required. Keep kneading for next 10 minutes. Stop only when you reach a stage of non-sticky and smooth, soft dough. Slightly grease a deep bowl with olive oil and leave this dough covered with a cling film for an hour. I like to keep my dough rest in a casserole. 

 After an hour, once the dough has risen, sprinkle some flour on your kitchen counter and punch down to remove the air from the dough. Knead it again for 5 minutes. Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and roll them into smooth round balls. 

Roll the dough little flat and in the center place 2-3 tsp keema filling. Re-shape into a smooth ball and repeat the same with the remaining dough balls. 

Arrange it on a greased baking sheet. Cover the baking pan with a cling film and let it sit again for 35-40 minutes. Pre-heat Oven to 170 Degree Celsius.
Brush the top with milk and bake it for 15-20 minutes or till the buns give a shiny look on top. Remove from Oven and let it cool on. Rub butter when they are warm and serve. 


  • I have explained above that checking yeast condition is a must step. Just make sure your yeast is alive.
  • Punching down the dough in between is essential, so is leaving them on the counter for proof.
  • The stuffing is entirely your choice. Go for vegetarian filling if you want.
  • Instead of milk wash you can also apply egg wash. A layer just before baking gives the bun a nice finish.
read more.. "Stuffed Buns | Keema Buns"

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pearl Millet Sweet Balls | Bajra Ladoo

Certain recipes are close to your heart because they have connection with your childhood. This Bajra Ladoo is one of them. Ma used to make these ladoos during winter season to keep us warm. Not only bajra is good for health, ghee in it makes it nutritious. We sisters were as thin as paper wafers so on doctor's suggestion she used to prepare these delicious ladoos. I had made these again for Ganesh Chaturthi last month and distributed as prasad.

2 tbsp Sesame seeds to be roasted dry and keep aside
1 cup Bajra flour
1/4 cup Ghee
1/2 cup powdered Sugar or you can adjust the sweetness accordingly
1/2 cup Dried fruits, coarsely grin dry fruits in a grinder
1 tsp Cardamom powder

Take a heavy bottomed pan and add bajra flour and stir continuously till it is aromatic.

 Remove it from heat and transfer the mixture in a plate. Allow it to cool for few minutes. Just when the temperature of mixture is warm add sugar, sesame seeds, cinnamon and mix dried fruits. 

Mix well and add hot ghee in the center of the bowl, mix with a spatula. Take some mixture in your hand, press it with your palm to give a firm round shape. Shape into round balls, if you are not able to bind add 1 or 2 tsp of melted warm ghee and 

Shape them into ladoo by rotating inside your palm. Let them cool and then serve. Later store them in an air-tight container as this will stay for a week.

read more.. "Pearl Millet Sweet Balls | Bajra Ladoo "

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tofu Paratha | Indian Bread with Tofu

Tofu is one food that I started eating only 4 years back . Back then, after reading a lot about its nutritional benefits and testimonies from foodies, I thought why not give it a try? The most convenient is  making parathas with tofu stuffing as Tofu itself is tasteless. Let me tell you these parathas are very filling and healthy snack too.  I often pack it as lunch item for my little one for school. 
Needed for the dough
2 cups Whole wheat flour
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tbsp Oil
Water to knead the dough

For the Filling:
200 gms Tofu, grated
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 Green chilies, chopped
1/2 tsp Ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp Red chili powder
1/2 tsp Garam masala
Salt to taste (do keep in mind that I have added little salt in the dough as well)
2 tbsp fresh Coriander leaves, finely chopped
Oil for cooking 

Take a big bowl and mix flour, salt and mix well. Add oil and water simultaneously to knead the dough as you would do to make rotis. Cover and leave it for sometime to settle down.

To make the Filling:
In a large bowl crumble the tofu and add all the above ingredients under Filling. Mix thoroughly and keep aside the filling.

Assembling the paratha:
Now from the dough make two lime sized equal balls. Take a ball and flatten it on your palm and then by using a rolling pin roll out on a floured board to make a 5 inch disc.

 Shift this to another plate and make another 5 inch disc with another set of ball. Spread 2-3 tsp of filling on one roti and then cover it with the other roti. Press down the edges to seal firmly. Dust some flour on it and roll out slightly. 


Transfer the paratha on to the hot skillet / tawa. Cook for few minutes, flip in between, when brown spots appear drizzle with some oil. When both sides are done you may dab little butter on each paratha. Do the same with the rest of the dough. Serve hot with butter, pickle or with chilled curd. 

read more.. "Tofu Paratha | Indian Bread with Tofu"

Monday, September 8, 2014

Cute Pig Face Breads | Piglet Buns For Kids

Who doesn't like homemade breads?  I love the fresh smell of hot breads when taken out from hot oven. My son likes to eat breads when he returns from his school, so one fine day I thought of making these cute little pig face breads. Needless to say how happy he was ! These are very easy to follow, I made few piglet buns the very next day.

 There are times when I try adding fun factor in my baked items. For instance last week when I was playing Angry Birds in my phone, suddenly it struck me why not I prepare a bread which looks like piglets face? That moment onwards I started to work on it and by the time my child came home from school, the breads were ready?

2 tbsp Active dry yeast
2 tsp Granulated Sugar
2 cups of All purpose flour + little more for dusting
1/4 cup Milk or more if needed
2 tbsp Butter, melted
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp Olive oil + few tsp for greasing the tray
A big pinch of Salt

In a ceramic bowl add lukewarm water, sugar, yeast and mix together for a second. Leave this liquid for 15-18 minutes until slightly foamy and frothy, if not then your yeast is not alive and you need to start again with another packet of yeast.

Take a big mixing bowl and add flour, salt, melted butter and the yeast mixture and knead it until you have a smooth looking dough. Now add milk, chopped garlic and knead for another 10 minutes to make a smooth dough and elastic kind of dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface for another 2 minutes. Shape the dough into a neat ball and grease a separate big container to keep the dough (this step will ensure your dough will not stick to the container) and apply Olive oil from top. Cover the dough in a plastic wrap or with a clean kitchen towel and keep in a warm place for an hour.

Once doubled or tripled in size, deflat the dough  by punching down the dough and knead it for some time. This step is done to roll out the air bubbles. Now roll the dough on a lightly surfaced platform and cut with round cutters. Roll it from one side to get an oval shape. Make a small slit on top and fold them to make ears, use peppercorns for the eyes. To make the snouts, cut 1 inch wide small circle with the remaining dough and fix it with egg white (works like a glue). To complete the look, use toothpicks and leave them for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile pre-heat Oven to 375 Degrees Fahrenheit, line a baking tray about 1 inch apart. Place these pig faces carefully with a flat broad spatula. Brush each face with egg yolk and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are crisp. Wrap in a clean towel for another 10 minutes, by following this step, your buns will be very soft.

 He simply loved the look of the breads and innocently adds, “Ma, but where are the birds?” So I promised him that next time I’d prepare the birds as well and let him have them.
Next day on my son's request I had made them again but this time I made them in bun shapes and it took me 20 minutes to bake. 

read more.. " Cute Pig Face Breads | Piglet Buns For Kids"

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Arbi Ki Sabji |Kochur Torkari |Taro Root Curry

Before I come back to the subject of the day which is Arbi also known as Kochu in West Bengal, I would like to share my happy feedback about a spice store which is based in Chennai. My friend Anisa has a online Spice Store: Zaiqa- The Spice Store. A few days back she asked me if I could check out few of the spices that she prepares and give my opinion. I immediately agreed to it as earlier I tasted Chettiadu Masala, Chicken 65, Biryani Masala and really liked them.

So next day I received a package of three packs of spices. Tadoori masala, Chicken 65 and Noor-e-Samundar (Fish masala). Behaving like a true Bengali I opened the Fish Masala first and the 1st thing that struck me was the perfect aroma of the herbs and spices that a Fish masala should emit. Also I followed the instructions mentioned overleaf while preparing Fish Fry.

 To my delight the colour turned out to be excellent and when I tasted a piece, the spices blended with the fish as uniformly as it can. Later I made a batter fried fish that also was much appreciated. I feel the USP of the spice is the earthiness and well mixture of all the right quantities which makes it a must add for the relevant dishes. 

At the back of every packet there is a recipe and has details of reaching Zaiqa via Facebook page and by phone no. too. Packaging is wonderful, you can seal after every use. So do try her spices by ordering online.

Now coming back to our post, a vegetable which is abundantly available in Northern India, Arbi or Taro Root curry. A simple curry which is often made at home with roti. I try to select small size arbi as per my choice.

8-10 medium sized Arbi / Taro root
1/4 tsp Hing /Asafetida
1/2 tsp Whole jeera
1 tsp grated Ginger
2-3 Green chilies, chopped
2 big Tomatoes, puree
1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
1/2 tsp Amchur powder /dry mango powder
Coriander leaves for garnishing (optional)
Oil for frying
Salt to taste

Wash the arbi very well to remove any dirt. Pressure cook or microwave them till they are almost done (80% cooked). 

Do not let them sit in hot water for long, set them aside to drain and as soon as the steam goes start peeling them. Cut into cubes and  take a pan, shallow fry the arbis in low flame with just salt and turmeric powder {Do Not Overcook}. Keep aside.

In the same pan add little more oil and add jeera, when starts splattering add hing and ginger. Fry for a minute and add tomato puree. Fry till it starts leaving oil and then add turmeric and red chili powder. Make sure you do not burn the dry spices, another tip is to add a tsp water while frying dry spices. 

Now add the taro roots and gently toss them. Season with salt and amchur powder. Cook  till they nicely coated with the spices. Turn off the heat and garnish with coriander leaves. This dry preparation goes well with rice, dal combination.

read more.. "Arbi Ki Sabji |Kochur Torkari |Taro Root Curry"