Samosa Puffs

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!

Mango Lassi

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!
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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.
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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.

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From my kitchen to yours, enjoy this delicious treat!


Roasted Cilantro Mint Chutney

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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.
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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.
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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.
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I’ve used this chutney recipe to eat with Adai Waffles / Lentil Waffles, Paneer Cabbage Cups, Spinach Dal Paratha, Aloo Paratha, and Avocado Roti.  What will you eat it with?
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From my kitchen to yours, I hope this chutney becomes a staple for you!

Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas Curry

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!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Notes:
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)!


Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas Curry

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients:

1 c dried black eyed peas, soaked

1 onion, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1″ ginger knob, grated

1 bay leaf

1 tsp cayenne pepper

½ tsp turmeric

2 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp salt

2 c water for cooking

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp hing (asafoetida)

Directions:

1. Set Instant pot to saute mode.  Add oil and let heat.

2. Add cumin seeds and hing.

3. When the cumin seeds start to splutter, add in onions, ginger and garlic.  Saute for 3-5 minutes, until the onions are tender and translucent.

4. Add in the tomatoes and spices and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the oil starts separating from the tomatoes.

5. Drain the water from the black eyed peas and add to the instant pot.  Add the 2 c water and mix well.

6. Cover instant pot and set vent to sealing postion.

7. Change setting to manual/pressure cook mode and set timer for 12 minutes.

8. When the timer goes off, let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure.

9. Add lemon juice and give a quick stir before serving.

Serve with Naan or Rice.

Instant Pot Kali Dal Yum

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 ever 2 weeks.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.

From my kitchen to yours, I really hope you enjoy this one!

Ingredients:
1 c black gram lentils (sabut urad dal)
¼ c dry kidney beans
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 med onion, finely chopped
1 ½ Tbsp grated ginger or ginger paste
1 ½ Tbsp garlic, minced
½ tsp asafoetida (hing)
1 tsp coriander powder
1-2 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you want it)
½ tsp dry mango powder (aamchur)
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Avocado Oil or EVOO
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp ghee (use oil to make this vegan)
cilantro to garnish

Directions:
Mix the lentils and kidney beans together, wash them 2-3 times then leave water in to soak while you prepare the gravy.
Set instant pot to sauté mode.  Add oil and let heat up.  Add hing and let it bloom for 30 seconds.  Add in the onions and sauté 5-7 minutes until translucent.  Add in 1 Tbsp each of ginger and garlic.  Mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add in the tomatoes, coriander powder, dry mango powder, cayenne pepper and ½ tsp of salt.  Mix well and cook for 8-10 minutes until the tomatoes have mostly melted and the spices have cooked through.
Drain the water from the lentils/beans.  Add them to the gravy along with remaining ½ Tbsp of ginger and garlic, and ½ tsp of salt.  Mix well, and cook for another 3-5 minutes.  Add 3 cups water and cover the instant pot lid with vent in sealing position.  Turn off the instant pot and change setting to pressure cook or manual setting.  Set time for 40 minutes.  When the time is done, release the pressure, open the lid and mix the dal.
On med heat, in a small pan, heat ghee.  When it’s melted and heated, add in cumin seeds and garam masala.  Let them splutter and bloom for 30 seconds then add to the dal.  Mix everything and change setting on instant pot to sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Serve hot with rice or naan.  Enjoy!

Instant Pot Chole 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.
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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!
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From my Kitchen to yours, I really hope you enjoy this.

Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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.

Enjoy!

Desi Masala Bowl Yum

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.
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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!
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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!).
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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.
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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!
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Try it out!  From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this one.

Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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.

To assemble:
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

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!

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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!

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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!

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Ingredients:
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
1Tbsp EVOO
Salt to taste

Directions:
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.

Serve hot with Naan or Rice.  Enjoy!

Poblano Pav Bhaji Burger Yum

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

Lal Murgh (Red Chicken)

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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?!
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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.
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Add in some grated ginger and minced garlic.  Oh, the smell of that garlic!
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Sauté all of the above for a couple of minutes, then add in the tomatoes.
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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:
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Finally, add in the marinated chicken and mix well.  Cook it for about 7 minutes or until done.
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For the chicken marinade:
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast, chopped into 1 inch cubes
2Tbsp lemon juice
1Tbsp spice mix
1/3c water

To cook the chicken:
1Tbsp EVOO
1/3c finely chopped onions
1 garlic clove, minced
2tsp grated ginger
2 tomatoes, chopped finely

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!