**Original blog posted March 2020. Updated March 2022** Kali dal is a very popular Punjabi dish and one of those comfort food meals that my husband has grown up with. It has also become one of Sanaya’s favorite comfort foods too so of course I had to find a way to perfect this recipe for both of them. I would say this recipe rotates in our house at least every 2 weeks.
I love it for its nutritional content, loaded with protein, fiber and low in carbs and calories. With all the rainy days we’ve had recently, this is one recipe I can’t pass up. An easy, one-pot meal, this goes great with naan or rice.
Yep, I put a ton of jalapeños as a garnish. Traditionally, it’s cilantro. But, it actually tasted good with the extra jalapeños on top!
A while back, we had a potluck and playdate with my friend Janani and her family. I don’t remember what I made, but I do remember that both my husband and I fought for the last bite of her dal. It was A-MA-ZING! It had a burst of flavor to it that we were both impressed and he actually said it was one of the best dals he has had in his life…. that’s huge coming from a Punjabi!
Most recipes of this specific dal have a basic of three spices, and I’ve found pretty simple in flavor. Works great for many but Janani’s recipe just had this burst of flavor, you didn’t want to stop eating it.
I begged her for her recipe, tried making it and failed. I tried a few more times to the point my hubby was actually sick of seeing dal…….oops. So I went to Janani’s house, had her tell me exactly what to do while I made it with her watching over me. I’ve been using her recipe ever since, however, I did make a few changes to it. I know, I know, why? I changed a little of the technique on which ingredients she cooks in what order, and changed the ratio on some of the basic spices but they are all there. The changed version is what I have listed below but if you’re interested in her original version, message me and I will send it to you.
When I talked to Janani about her recipe, that’s when I figured out it’s the spices and the amount of tomatoes that she uses which give the dal its integrity in flavor. You really need to try out this recipe. It’s so delicious!
If you don’t have an instant pot, follow the same instructions for a slow cooker and set slow cooker time for 8 hours.
Crispy exterior with a soft interior made with ghee, thandai masala, sugar, and a little bit of milk. Nankhatai is a traditional Indian cookie similar in texture to shortbread. There are many variations of flavors and flours used based on where in India you are eating this delicious cookie. Continue reading “Nankhatai Bars”→
As I raise my girls, it has become very important to me that they keep connected to their roots and one of the ways I do this is through food. Lucky for me, they both love the typical comfort food fare of “Dal Chawal” or Lentils and Rice. A twist on the traditional Moong Dal Fry, this recipe adds zucchini and is low in calorie but nutrient dense.
Ready in just 15 minutes, this has become my latest go to recipe when I’m tight on time. Because moong dal cooks very quickly, I don’t soak them for more than 20 minutes.
Nutrition is also very important when I’m serving this dish as a main meal to the girls, and this dish doesn’t disappoint.
1 cup of zucchini moong dal gives you:
8.7 gm protein
7 gm fiber
As to cooking it over the stove versus the instant pot, traditionally, the dal was boiled first then added to the spices. I love just using one pot to make the whole dish so I usually add the uncooked dal into the spices/gravy mix then cook it in the instant pot.
I hope you get a chance to try out this delicious recipe and enjoy it as much as my family does.
Once it is heated, add cumin seeds and asafoetida.
When the cumin seeds start to sizzle, add the onions, garlic, and ginger and saute for 2-3 minutes until the onions have become translucent.
Add tomatoes, turmeric, cayenne, cumin, coriander, and salt. Mix well and saute for 2 minutes.
Add the washed dal and water. Mix well.
Press Cancel and close the lid with vent in sealing position.
Change the instant pot setting to manual or pressure cook mode at high pressure for 4 mins. After the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then release the pressure manually (5 minute NPR).
Once the pressure is released and you have opened the lid, in a tempering pan, heat oil. When it is heated through, add cayenne powder and dried red chili. When it starts to sizzle, add chili oil to cooked dal. Squeeze in lemon juice and give it a good stir.
**Originally published Jun 2017, edited and updated Feb 2021.
Poblano What?! A burger with Pav Bhaji?! Yep you heard it right. A Pav Bhaji Burger….. with Poblano Peppers. Pav Bhaji is a very popular dish in India and among Indians everywhere in the world. Back in the 1800’s, workers would take leftover veggies and turn it into a curry. These workers usually could not afford much so they became creative. I piggy backed on that creativity and put my own spin to a classic Indian dish. Continue reading “Poblano Pav Bhaji Burger Yum “→
Fish is a big staple in our home and I try to make it at least once a week for the girls. This Fish Tikka Masala is a great way to incorporate fish and the Indian flavors. I actually was able to make it in 30 minutes which I was surprised about. There is a little multitasking involved but don’t worry, I’ll walk you through it.
What is Fish Tikka Masala? Tikka basically indicates that there are going to be pieces of meat that are either pan seared or tandoor baked. Before searing the fish, I first let it sit in lemon juice to tenderize the meat, then I marinate it in yogurt and spices for added flavor.
The Masala is a delicious tomato cream gravy in which the fish then simmers and becomes juicy and flaky. This gravy is great because it’s not super creamy, filled with flavor without being overpowered by heat.
As to the type of fish, I used salmon as it holds really well in the simmering sauce but you can also use Tilapia if Salmon is not available. But just as important as the fish is the sauce. If the sauce is not good, it doesn’t matter how well you seared your fish. There are some recipes that I want that texture and chunkiness however, this tikka masala is not it, so once the sauce is pretty much ready to eat, blend it down to a creamy texture with a hand blender.
Serve it up with some warm Naan or Rice and have yourself a delicious meal. From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this Fish Tikka Masala!
In a bowl, combine the fish cubes and lemon juice. Toss well and set aside for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a wide saucepan, heat oil on a medium heat.
Add in bay leaf and let it cook for 1 minute.
Add in the onions and let it cook for 5-7 minutes until they are browned and slightly caramelized.
While the sauce is cooking, the fish tikka should be ready for the rest of the marinade. Add in the same bowl the remaining ingredients and mix well so all of the spices are properly mixed. Toss generously so that all of the fish is coated in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Returning to the the sauce, add in ginger and saute for 1-2 minutes.
Add in the turmeric, cayenne pepper, and coriander powder and mix well.
Add in the tomato paste and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. You'll notice the water separating just a bit. At this point, add in the tomato sauce and cashew butter. Mix well.
Reduce heat and cook for 4-5 minutes. Using a hand blender, blend down everything to a smooth, creamy texture.
Add in the water, lemon juice, cream, salt and garam masala. Mix well and let it simmer on low heat. If the sauce is too thick, add in water 1 Tbsp at a time. If it is too thin, let it simmer until is has thickened up a bit.
In a skillet, heat oil on medium flame. Add in the fish tikkas and let it cook about 3-4 minutes on each side to get a nice sear. Transfer them directly to the sauce.
Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with Rice or Naan and onion slices and lemon wedges.
The holidays this year have been as non-traditional as possible but that hasn’t kept many of us from cooking and baking our favorite foods. I have definitely been doing my share of baking, cooking and eating massive amounts of desserts, drinks, and carbs. As always, this leads me to making New Year’s resolutions which have standards that are set too high. Instead of setting impossible standards and going on an extreme diet, one of my resolutions is to eat healthy, nutrient dense foods. Less processed, more home made where I can control the ingredients, especially the salt and sugar.
To help “reboot” our bodies and cleanse it of the all the heavy (and mostly unhealthy) foods eaten over the holidays, I’ve compiled a list of 21 Healthy Recipes to Kick Start the New Year. It is my sincere hope that this list will help you eat healthier without having to sacrifice great taste. Welcome to 2021 everyone!
Breakfast Oat Muffins
An easy make ahead, these delicious oat muffins are versatile and fun to make with kids. Grab one on your way to work, school, or your home office!
Almond Coconut Porridge
A delicious porridge that you can make ahead the night before and add so many healthy toppings to, this Almond Coconut Porridge is the perfect healthy start to your day!
Apple Pie Oatmeal
Steel cut oats cooked with apples and cinnamon to give you a creamy apple pie taste are one of our favorite types of oats. Try them out and you will want a bowl of this Apple Pie Oatmeal over and over again!
Breakfast Soufflé Bites
These easy egg bites filled with fresh and healthy veggies. Perfect to make ahead, freeze and reheat for busy mornings.
Sweet Potato and Beet Hash with Fried Eggs
A superfood dish that can be used for breakfast or brunch, this delicious meal is the perfect start to any day. Packed with fiber, non-dairy calcium, beets help fight inflammation, detox the body, and boost energy!
Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad
The perfect winter salad that keeps you full, nourished and packs a punch with a variety of flavors and textures, this Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad is a great lunch or dinner option!
Rainbow Fajita Bowl
Filled with colorful and fresh veggies, this healthy bowl is low on carbs and calories but provides a good source of nutrition.
Paneer Cabbage Cups
A fun healthy option with a bit of Indian fusion, these Paneer Cabbage Cups are light and filling.
Adai Waffles / Lentil Waffles
Who says waffles have to be for breakfast only? Or that they have to be sweet? These savory lentil waffles are filled with 4 different types of lentils and lots of veggies. Have a couple with a side of Masala Salsa or Chutney, you can’t go wrong!
15 minute Masala Pasta
Make a batch of this pasta sauce filled with veggies and delicious spices to freeze and use for any meal. Combine it with your gluten free or fresh pasta and you will have a veggie loaded pasta that even fussy kids will eat in less than 15 minutes!
A light and healthy salad, this Carpaccio is very simple to make and disappears just as quickly! A great afternoon snack or side salad, you must try this!
Tomato Avocado Cucumber Salad
Packed with protein, healthy fats, and fresh fruit, this delicious salad is perfect to take to work or have on the side with a meal!
A nutrient-dense salad that is light to eat and will make you wanting more, it’s very simple and quick to put together.
Roasted Masala Chickpeas
A healthy snack that will keep you going when you have munchies in the afternoon. Store these in an air tight container and enjoy whenever your tummy desires!
Roasted Chili Almonds
Another great snack to have or one to add to a cheese board, these Roasted Chili Almonds take only 5 minutes to make. Store in an airtight container and enjoy for up to 2 weeks.
Rainbow Lentil Stew
This stew is filled with fresh, colorful veggies that are packed with nutrition and flavor. You can make it in a dutch oven or slow cooker and enjoy it for one of the many rainy days ahead this winter and spring.
Sweet & Spicy Harvest Bowl
Just as it’s name implies, there are plenty of sweet and spicy notes in this bowl. Beets, brussels sprouts, acorn squash, and pears over a bed of quinoa is just the beginning of the deliciousness here. The veggies are roasted with chipotle powder to give it hints of spicy and smoky that bring together the perfect amount of pepper.
On a consistent rotation in our home, this Spinach Dal has becoming popular. Taking only 10 minutes to make, you can’t go wrong with this delicious Indian lentil dish.
Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash
This Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash is filled with fruits and veggies and topped with a delicious Apple Cider Vinaigrette, every bite will burst with a multitude of flavors.
Easy Chicken Ramen with GF Noodles
For those rainy nights, this Ramen is the perfect way to cuddle up and enjoy a warm broth filled with veggies and gluten free fresh pasta noodles. The best part, it takes less than 30 minutes to make!
Tandoori Gobi (Cauliflower) Zucchini Boats
A fun fusion dish that is filled with the traditional Tandoori flavor. Roasted in the oven then broiled, the cauliflower give hints of the charred smoky flavor combined with the Tandoori marinade. Serve it with a side of cooling Mint-y Pomegranate Raita and be prepared to have your taste buds take a trip to India!
Well, I hope you enjoyed this list of healthy recipes to kick start your New Year! I’m going to be adding more to continue our journey of healthy eating. In the meantime, tag me when you make a recipe of mine on Facebook or Instagram or feel free to leave a comment below. Let me know what recipes you would like to see also.
I wish all of you a Happy New Year filled with lots of healthy eating (and a little not so healthy eating).
Can I just say Oh.My.God! This Raita is probably the most delicious I’ve ever had and to be honest I don’t think I can go back to the usual raita (with cucumbers).
So I just posted my Tandoori Gobi Zucchini Boat recipe a couple of days ago and I paired this with the boats. I could have gone the traditional route with a cucumber raita but I wanted something different and also, I’m really in the holiday mood right now so most of my food reflects that.
If you know me, you know I like the visuals of color in my food in addition to the taste. Well, this season, I’ve been obsessed with pomegranates. So in my obsession for colors, I played around with how I wanted this Raita to shine. After all, it was the most important finish to the Tandoori Boats.
In addition to the mint and pomegranates (the obvious), I included some serrano peppers to enhance the color and a few spices and garlic to give the flavor profile a boost.
Ok so, you don’t have to pair this raita with just the Tandoori Boats. Here are a few more dishes you can add this delicious Minty-y Raita to:
Every Indian household is sure to have samosas for any occasion. Whether we were visiting relatives or friends, at a wedding, holidays, celebrations of any kind…. well, you get the point! Samosas everywhere. When I went off to college, my mom used to make dozens and dozens and put them in large zip top bags that I would freeze and microwave them as I was in the mood for them.
My roommates and friends at college also benefited. There were many nights sitting in our common room studying over samosas, sharing heartbreaks or girl talk or just hanging out.
These samosa puffs are a fun twist to the traditional samosas that are usually filled in a cone made of freshly kneaded dough. The girls had fun with the flaky pastry and loved that I kept the filling with the traditional potatoes and peas that they are used to.
From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy these delicious Samosa Puffs!
Heat a nonstick pan on medium flame, and add oil to it.
Add the cumin seeds and wait for them to sizzle.
Add in the ginger and Serrano pepper and cook for 30 seconds.
Add in the peas and cook them for 2-3 minutes.
When the peas have a bright green color to them, add in the chaat masala, cayenne pepper, cumin powder, and fennel powder. Mix well and let the spices cook for an additional 30 seconds to bloom them and release the flavors.
Finally, add in the boiled, crumbled potatoes and salt and mix well. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside.
In each pastry square, fill about 1-2 Tbsp of filling in the center.
Brush the edges with milk and seal tightly. If needed, use a fork to seal the pastry.
Repeat until all the puff pastry sheets are filled.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Brush the Samosa Puffs with more milk on the outside to give it a crisp surface while it bakes.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and the pastry has cooked through.
Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
Serve hot with your favorite chutneys!
** If you don't have chaat masala or aamchur powder, you can replace it with equal amounts of lemon juice
Growing up, mango lassis were one of my favorite to order when we ate out at Indian restaurants. The sweet mangoes, the tangy yogurt, and the hint of rose at the end of each sip…. oh so delicious! The fact that mangoes are my absolute favorite fruit just adds to my love for this lassi!
A summer time must have, even my girls look forward to having a glass almost daily which just makes my heart happy. Easy to whip up, you don’t need much. A blender and the ingredients are all you have to use. I did use a dash of rose syrup to give it a summer-y floral hint which takes this lassi to a whole new level.
Have this delicious mango lassi as an afternoon snack to cool down in the heat, or pair it with some delicious Indian food. It pairs well with Masala Omelette for breakfast, or even a lunch time drink with a Desi Masala Bowl or with dinner when you try out this Instant Pot Chole.
From my kitchen to yours, enjoy this delicious treat!
Growing up in an Indian household, chutneys are a must. They are an integral part of any Indian household. Whether you are eating Dosa or Adai Waffles / Lentil Waffles with tomato or coconut chutney, or samosas with cilantro or tamarind chutney, or Kati Rolls or Bombay Masala Sandwiches with chutney used as a spread, it’s always prominent in Indian food.
There are so many different kinds of chutneys prepared so many different ways, I just love the versatility of these dips. I tried to a different approach to my Roasted Cilantro Mint Chutney by roasting the cilantro and mint with some cashews, chickpea flour, and plenty of spices.
As you roast the herbs, they develop a char which carries into the final product and gives it just a hint of smoky flavor and smell when you eat it.
When Sanaya, my eldest, was about 3 years old, we had gone to Pankaj’s cousin’s house for a play date. Sanaya and her cousin Aarya are besties. They’re only 2 months apart in age and our families have gone through the journey of parenting together since we were pregnant.
Anyways, this story is from a time when Sanaya was very picky about food, especially Indian food. Though I feel like in her short life, she’s either been picky or a proper foodie. Kids!
My sister-in-law, Aarya’s mother had made a black eyed peas curry. I remember growing up my mom making this often so I got excited but nervous also. Will Saanu eat it? Will she like it? I’m hoping she likes it because I’m really trying to get the girls to have an appreciation for Indian food.
Surprisingly, and luckily, she loved it and for once, ate most of her food without a fuss. I felt like I found a magical key. Since then, this is one recipe I make often for the girls, especially when I’m in a pinch as it takes less than 30 minutes to make.
These black eyed peas are perfect for a weeknight meal. Not only are they delicious and quick to make, they are also rich in fiber, protein and non-dairy calcium.
I soak them at the beginning of meal prep. If you don’t want to soak them, simply increase the cook time from 12 minutes to 20.
You can store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
For Stovetop: Soak black eyed peas for at least 1 hour. Then boil them in 4 cups of water for 45 minutes. Drain and add to spices as indicated in step 5. Add only 1 c water and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
For Slow Cooker: Follow directions below and cook on low for 6 hours.
From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this Dal (Lentil)!
The amazing taste of ground nuts, just a hint of sweet, and the nostalgic flavor of halwa that any Indian can recognize. This Pear Halwa Cake has become so popular in my household, I’ve actually been making it almost on a weekly basis. Continue reading “Pear Halwa Cake”→
Aloo parathas are a standard in any Indian household, especially for breakfast/brunch on the weekends. Traditionally a Punjabi dish, it is popular amongst everyone for its taste, and the nostalgic reminder of home. Continue reading “Aloo Paratha Yum “→
Both the girls need their dal (lentils) at least once a week and I love it! It makes me so happy that they turn to Indian food for comfort and norm. I try to vary out the dals that I feed them so they get a variety of nutrients and flavors and I get to rotate my lentils. Continue reading “Spinach Dal Yum “→
Growing up, one of my favorite North Indian dishes has always been Chole. Whether we were eating at a wedding, an Indian restaurant, or requesting it as my special birthday dinner, Chole has always been a constant and a comfort in my life. The aroma of it freshly made in the air, just pulls at you.
There are so many different versions of making this recipe based on where in North India you are. Sometimes, even in the same region, recipes differ vastly from home to home. I prefer mine to have a thick red gravy, which is best achieved I’ve found by adding an abundance of tomatoes (and I really mean A LOT) and spices. The best part is that this dish is such a classic, you can never go wrong. Serve it hot with rice, naan or Bhatura and be prepared to be wowed!
From my Kitchen to yours, I really hope you enjoy this.
1 c dried chickpeas, washed and soaked overnight (at least 4 hours)
1 ½ c water
1 Tbsp Olive or Avocado Oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1″ ginger, grated
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
3 med-large tomatoes, finely chopped
1 ¾ c tomato sauce
2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
2 tsp coriander powder
1 Tbsp Chole Masala
1 tsp aamchur (dry mango) powder
1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
2-3 bay leaves
½ tsp peppercorns
1″ cinnamon stick
cilantro to garnish
1. Start the instant pot on sauté mode. Add oil and let it heat up.
2. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter. Add in the cinnamon stick, peppercorns and bay leaf. Sauté for 30 seconds.
3. Add ginger and garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds.
4. Add in the onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes until they turn translucent and start shrinking.
5. Add in the tomatoes, cayenne pepper, coriander powder, chole masala, and salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the tomatoes start softening. Add in the tomato sauce and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
6. Drain the water from the chickpeas and add them to the instant pot. Mix well with the gravy and cook for 2-3 minutes.
7. Add in the water and mix well. Turn off the instant pot, cover with vent to sealing position and change setting to manual/pressure cook for 40 minutes.
8. When the instant pot beeps, do a 20 minute NPR (natural pressure release). If the pin has not dropped at this point, release the pressure and open the instant pot.
9. Change setting to sauté, add in the aamchur powder and let boil for 3-5 minutes. Taste and adjust for salt.
10. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot with rice, naan or bhature.
Lately, I’m hooked on salad bowls. They’re so delicious, easy to make, loaded with healthy foods and vibrant in color – ensuring you get a variety of nutrients.
I’ve been talking to my daughters about “eating the rainbow” and this was a fun way to help them do that.
Another reason I really like to do the salad bowls is because it’s so easy to play around with the cuisine type, the textures, and the flavors. I can add raw and roasted veggies, nuts, and choose whichever grain I want. There’s really no wrong way to make these and super easy to substitute an ingredient you may not have. Honestly, food can’t get easier than that!
We’ve been doing a lot of non-desi (non-Indian) foods lately and I wanted to get the girls into Indian spices without going over the top. Plus, I don’t think I can go without Indian food and spices for that long anyways.
For the sweet potatoes, I did a simple roast with an addition of paprika for color and flavor. I’m using paprika to gradually build up the girls to trying cayenne and other types of peppers and spices so this is especially great for those of you who prefer milder spices.
I also roasted some chickpeas as those are so easy and delicious to make. It made me proud that both my girls were eating them as soon as they cooled down from the oven. These turned out so good and honestly, I had to go back and make more because between the three of us, we snacked on most of the beans! I’m definitely adding it to my snack rotation list!
The dressing on here was probably the hardest to figure out as I wanted Indian flavors but nothing too intimidating. I used almond butter to give it a little bulk and the addition of a little protein is always appreciated. Because I had already used a lot of spices for the chickpeas, I fell back a little with the dressing and opted for curry powder, turmeric (for the color and my youngest happened to have a cold which needed some help) and some fresh garlic and ginger (which appears on 90% of Indian cooking!).
I left the quinoa simple by cooking it only in salt water as there are so many flavors going around, I felt if I added more, everything would get lost in a chaotic world of spice.
For the rest of the ingredients, it was nice to have the crunch from the vibrant red cabbage, the creaminess of the avocado, and oh! those toasted cashews were just the icing on top of a great salad!
Try it out! From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this one.
1 Sweet Potato, diced into 1″ cubes
1 avocado, sliced
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
1 cup baby spinach
½ c quinoa, rinsed
¼ c raw cashews
2 Tbsp & 1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
For the chickpeas:
1 15oz can chickpeas, rinsed, drained & dried with a paper towel
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp garam masala
¼ tsp salt
For the dressing:
¼ c almond butter
½ lemon, juiced
1 tsp lemon zest
1/3 c water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp honey
1 tsp curry powder
½ ginger, grated
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes, 1 Tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika. Mix well and roast for 20 minutes.
In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the chickpeas. Transfer to baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes.
In a medium pot, heat water and ½ tsp salt. When it comes to a boil, add the rinsed quinoa and reduce heat to medium low. Cover and cook quinoa for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and use a fork to fluff it.
In a small pan, mix ½ tsp olive oil and cashews. Toast on medium heat until they are a light golden red color. Turn off heat and remove pan. Set aside to use as topping.
For the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a mason jar and shake well.
Line a bowl with spinach and add the quinoa, sweet potatoes, avocado slices, shredded cabbage, toasted cashews, and drizzle with almond curry dressing. Enjoy!
Palak paneer is one of my husband’s favorite dishes, and recently becoming one of my daughter’s favorite dishes too. This is a win-win recipe for me because it’s full of iron. calcium, protein, and fiber. The fact that my toddler will gobble it up…. score for Mom!
Here’s my quick and easy version. Hope you enjoy it!
Blanching spinach is pretty easy (though I have to admit, I was intimidated the first time I heard of the process). Simply dunk the spinach leaves in boiling water for about 3 minutes and using a slotted spoon (so there’s not much excess hot water tagging along with the spinach), pull out the spinach and again dunk them in a bowl of ice water. This blanching process cooks the spinach without wilting it and keeping intact it’s beautiful, vibrant green color. Pretty cool, huh!
Tomatoes and onions are part of most Indian dishes. I love using this duo to test out various spice combinations for new or upgraded recipes!
For the Spinach Puree:
9 oz fresh spinach
1-2 green chilies (depending on your spice level)
3 garlic cloves
½” ginger knob
3c boiling water
For the Gravy:
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small tomato, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
½tsp cumin seeds
¼tsp turmeric powder
½tsp cayenne pepper
½tsp garam masala
pinch of hing
1 bay leaf
7oz paneer, cubed
Salt to taste
For the Spinach Pureé:
Blanch the spinach and make sure to drain it of any excess water. Add it to the blender with garlic cloves, ginger, and green chilies. Blend to a smooth puree and set aside.
For the gravy:
In a nonstick pot, heat oil and add cumin seeds. Once they start to splutter, add the hing (asafoetida) and bay leaf, and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the onions and sauté until they are lightly golden. Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Make sure you don’t brown the garlic as the aroma and the taste will cook off. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until the water starts to separate. At this point, add in cayenne pepper, garam masala and turmeric and mix well. Add in the spinach puree and mix well. Add in the salt and mix well. Cook for about 8-10 minutes to make sure the spinach is cooked, and the gravy thickens. Add in the paneer and mix well. Cook for 2 minutes so the paneer cubes can become softer.
I haven’t cooked Indian food in a while because it needs some good time and attention to come out perfect and those are two things I don’t have in abundance these days. So I decided that needed to change and I needed to create something easy but vibrant and delicious, with lots of flavor. The spices in this red chicken pack a great punch with an array of flavors and the meat is nice and tender from being marinated even for just a short time. The best part, the spice mix I used is the Butter Chicken spice mix you get at any Indian grocery store – so easy and time saving!
One of my favorite ways to prep meat is to marinate them. Did you know that marinating meats helps slow down the growth of bacteria? Also, based on the ingredient you’re marinating you’re meat with, it affects in a different way. For example, I’ve used citrus which is known to tenderize the meat and lock in the moisture when you’re cooking it. Hope your chicken turns out juicy like mine did!
Chop up a boneless, skinless, chicken breast into cubes. Set them in a container and add in a little spice mix, a splash of lemon juice, and some water. Mix the chicken well, cover it, and let it marinate for at least 1 hour. Doesn’t that just look gorgeous?!
When you’re ready to cook the chicken, heat a little oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add some red onions and sauté for a couple of minutes.
Add in some grated ginger and minced garlic. Oh, the smell of that garlic!
Sauté all of the above for a couple of minutes, then add in the tomatoes.
Mix well, and cook everything for 5-10 minutes. You’ll notice the tomatoes softening and the oil separating. They should look something like this:
Finally, add in the marinated chicken and mix well. Cook it for about 7 minutes or until done.
For the chicken marinade:
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast, chopped into 1 inch cubes
2Tbsp lemon juice
1Tbsp spice mix
In a bowl, mix together the chicken, lemon juice, butter chicken spice mix, and water. Toss well to coat all the chicken pieces evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
To cook the chicken, heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add in the garlic and ginger and cook for another couple of minutes. Finally, add in the tomatoes and mix well. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the oil separates from the tomatoes. Add in the marinated chicken with all the juices and cook for another 6-7 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through.
Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with Roti, Naan or Rice. Enjoy!