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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Healthy 2015

Eyy it's Newsletter Wednesday, it's the last post of the year, and it's a healthy one! (I'll ruin all that with my butter chicken recipe this Friday)

Indian cream of spinach soup with skinny ham salad and crackers

This actually turned out to be a super yummy combination.


Saute garlic, ginger, onions, chilies and tomatoes in a little oil. Add a little cumin, coriander and garam masala powder with salt. Add spinach. Take the entire mixture and blend with a few pieces of paneer and a tiny bit of light cream. Drizzle olive oil on top while serving!


So typically, ham salad, like tuna salad and chicken salad, is made with mayonnaise. I replaced mayo with Greek yogurt. Yay.

Blend that leftover ham from Christmas till it's super-chopped. Add chopped celery, Greek yogurt, a little mustard, and whatever seasoning you want. I also added a barbecue sauce drizzle. Yum. Serve it up real nice with crackers of your choice.

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Bengali Scotch

Dim er devil = king of leftovers.

I had mashed potatoes from the Christmas dinner, and I always have boiled eggs. This is typically an evening snack, but since it's the long weekend here we had these for breakfast. Bad us.

Boil eggs. Boil, peel and mash potatoes with ginger-garlic paste and green chillies, and chat masala. Cut the boiled eggs in half. Make a ball of mashed potato mix (after it's dry and cooled) and flatten. Make a half egg sit in the potato flattened ball and have the potato cover the egg completely. Set up a breading station: roll the egg-potato ball in flour, then egg wash and then bread crumbs and deep-fry. Serve with kasundi!

PS: If you have minced meat left over, include that (cooked) in the potato mixture.

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Easy Christmas

Christmas dinners do NOT need to be complicated. Here's what we had:

Honey-barbeque glazed ham with mashed potatoes, salad and cinnamon cream cheese tarts.

Sounds like a mouthful, but it should take you no more than ONE HOUR.


Skin the giant leg of ham. Run knife in a criss-cross fashion on the surface and stick cloves in the Xs. Make a glaze of honey, barbeque sauce, mustard and a little olive oil. Baste half of the glaze on the ham and stick in the oven for 20 min. Baste again with the rest of the glaze and return to the oven for another 20 min.


Boil, peel and mash potatoes. Mix with butter and make it smooth. Season with salt and pepper and serve with gravy of your choice.


Mix a cup of softened cream cheese with 4 spoons of sugar and some cinnamon. Stuff into tart shells (got mine from store) and stick a half-strawberry on top. Refrigerate.

Serve with salad and wine and listen to Carol of the Bells!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Crumbling Muffin

Ugh, FINALLY, something sweet.

The main reason I don't post these is that I'm awful at keeping track of exactly how much of what I put in, and baking recipes usually require exact numbers of cups and spoonfuls that need to go in. So take my numbers with a pinch of salt and play around with them as required.

For 6 muffins I used: a cup of flour, a small spoon of baking powder, 1/4 cup of sugar, a pinch of ground cinnamon, close to half a cup of milk, one egg and some butter. Mix these ingredients properly in a bowl, and then fill muffin cups about 2/3s full. I fill mine just a little more than half because I don't like giant muffins that mushroom out the top. Throw a few blueberries in.

For the crumble: combine 2 parts flour to one part sugar with a pinch of cinnamon. Throw in cold butter and mix with your hand to create a crumble. Sprinkle some on top of each muffin mixture.

BAKE till you put in a toothpick and it comes out clean.

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Mid-Week Masala

Drumsticks masala with paratha

Perfect for a casual weeknight.

Skin chicken drumsticks. Roast ginger, garlic, cumin seeds and onions in a little mustard oil and add salt, turmeric, cumin and coriander powder. Grind the roasted mixture. Return to the pan, and add the drumsticks. Add some garam masala and tiny bit of soya sauce for color. Add water, cover, and cook till the masala is all dried up and clinging to the cooked chicken legs.

Garnish with coriander and serve with plain parathas.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Cheat-Day - Spaghetti Frittata

There's just always leftover spaghetti at home.

This is the easiest cheat-day recipe I know.


Make some béchamel sauce like mentioned in the lasagna recipe. (Butter, flour, milk, cheese, seasonings). Chop up whatever meats/veggies you might want for toppings, like bits of bacon or sausage or throw in olives or mushrooms.


Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan. Take any sauced dry al-dente spaghetti and put it in the pan, and don't stir it or move it around; pour some sauce and toppings on top and then just let it sit there like a cake until the bottom browns and becomes crispy.

Put a lid on the pan and flip the pan so that the cake thing is now on the lid. Slide the frittata back in to let the other side fry. Let it cook and brown till you can move the entire thing around in the pan smoothly.

Slide it out onto a plate and serve with greens!


Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Bombay

Yummiest vegetarian snack/dinner option ever.

Pav Bhaji

Boil, peel and mash potatoes. If you want you can boil peas and cauliflower and mash them in too. Grind onions into a pulp. Heat butter in a pan and add ginger, garlic, onion paste, and cook. Add salt and turmeric. Put in chopped or pulped tomatoes. Add chilli powder and pav bhaji masala (you get that in a store) and fry. Add mashed veggies, some water and kasuri methi. Simmer until it looks as thick or runny as you prefer it. Turn off the heat and add chopped coriander leaves, and top with raw chopped onions and a dollop of butter. Serve with butter-toasted pav (dinner roll) and lime.

Turn it into a cheese pav bhaji by garnishing with shredded cheese. Or not.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Night-In

Night-outs are overrated. :)


Marinate wings for a few hours in sauces of your choice. I used yogurt, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, chilli sauce, some of that awesome mango habanero I had at home, garlic or garlic powder and a tiny bit of mustard.

Bake in the oven till cooked, and toss in a mildly greased pan on medium heat for 2 minutes. Shake in a closed box with a tiny bit of sauce of your choice so all wings are fully coated. Serve with blue cheese. I served my wings this time with french onion dip.


Cut onions laterally and make rings about half an inch thick. Cover in a mixture of flour and baking soda. Make an egg wash (whisk 2 eggs and a spoon or two of milk) and a plate of bread crumbs ready, and heat oil. Dip flour-covered onion rings into the egg wash and then into the bread crumbs, and deep fry.

Plate up and Netflix.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Puri Sabzi

Because, I mean, puri sabzi!


Saute onions with ginger and garlic in a little oil. Add salt, turmeric, cumin and coriander powder, and then add tomatoes and a little garam masala. Take off the heat and grind for 2 seconds so it's still pulpy. Return to the pan and add paneer. Cook till done; garnish with coriander.


Puri dough is similar to rotis, except there's oil involved. Knead whole-wheat like you would for aata except throw in a little oil. Knead it to be smooth and stiff, not soft like for rotis.

When you roll these, make them smaller than you would for rotis. Roll in one direction, and roll with oil instead of dry flour. Make sure the oil is very hot before you fry these. Gently lay one in flat and let it puff up. Switch sides and take it out before it browns too much.

Stuff your face.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Tender Chipotle

A simple and healthy weekday dinner that we, later that night, followed with a double chocolate muffin because we are bad, bad people.


You could make a decent amount of this and refrigerate it for later use. Typically you'd use chipotles in adobo sauce for the recipe but only so many of us have that lying around at home. So here's a cheat recipe:

Throw into a blender chipotles (or chilli of your choice), garlic, vinegar, paprika, salt, cumin, some yogurt, and a little mayonnaise if you want, but I skipped the mayonnaise for a healthier sauce. I also kept the chilli amount to a low because my husband prefers less heat.


Coat tenderloins first in flour, then in beaten egg, and lastly in breadcrumbs, and bake in the oven till golden and cooked.


Combine your favorite bunch of superfoods (yes, there's kale in there, that's the only way you'll see me ever eat that stuff) and toss on low heat in a little olive oil and a few drops of soy sauce.

Plate up, and serve with a 7-seeds dinner roll for a healthy crunch :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Lollipop

Street food YAYYYY

These are my favorite, along with momos (which I'll also eventually make, probably). In Bangalore, some chicken shops actually sell lollipop-cut wings, but most places don't, so you have to make your own. 

Get chicken wings, and cut into two at the joint. Chop off the end bone, and pull/scrape all of the flesh up. There's two bones in the wing; take out the thin bone, and gather all the meat at the top to make the lollipop.

Sometimes frying these raw leaves the inside uncooked, so boil for 5-10 min and add some worcestershire sauce.

Separately mix egg, chillies, soy sauce, chilli sauce, ginger-garlic paste, salt & pepper, garam masala, ajinomoto, a drop or two of red food coloring, flour (and/or corn flour) and a little water and make a batter. Dip chicken in the batter and deep fry. Serve with chilli garlic or schezwan sauce! YUM.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Cheat-Day - Lasagna

Yay, more cheat days!

Not a quick recipe, but easy nevertheless, and totally worth it.


Saute onions and garlic in a little oil before adding minced meat. At this point I like to add a tiny pinch of cumin and paprika (my little touch), but that's optional. Then add tomatoes/tomato sauce, and season with salt, pepper and oregano, and simmer till it thickens.


Make a bechamel sauce. Melt some butter and add some flour. Take off the heat to add milk and put it back on the heat. Add loads of parmesan cheese. Season and thicken.


Check whether your lasagna sheets require pre-cooking or not. Spread some of the meat sauce. Arrange lasagna sheets on them, and then layer with the cheese. Repeat: meat, sheets, cheese. Finish the top layer with a last layer of lasagna sheets and then cheese sauce and finally, freshly grated mozzarella on the top and bake till you see all that cheese bubble and turn golden.

Die from too much cheese.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Rainy Day

Tea and pakoras, anyone?

Onions, chillies, paneer etc. are pretty common choices for pakoras. This time I gave mushrooms a shot.

Mix thickly sliced mushrooms with ginger/garlic paste, salt, any seasonings you want, an egg and besan (gram flour). I also threw in a little corn flower and baking soda for extra crunch and fluff.

Deep fry and serve with garlic chilli sauce and hot tea. Stare out the window at the rain and pretend to be Norah Jones.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Chili

It doesn't need to be foodball season for this to happen.

Fry garlic and onions oil. Add mince (I usually use mutton, but traditionally it would be beef) and brown. Stir in salt, cumin powder and paprika. Throw in a decent pile of chopped tomatoes and simmer. Add boiled beans and thicken. I like to add chopped coriander in the end. Garnish with cheese.

I prefer my chili with garlic toast and salad.

The Simple Saturday

Saturdays in our household are vegetarian days. I like to keep Saturday lunches simple. This is one of my favorites.

Baingan ka bharta

Take a nice fat eggplant and burn it directly on gas till the skin looks peelable. Take off the heat and peel. Mash the insides.

Put a little oil in a pan and heat. Sauté very little garlic and ginger, chopped onions and chilli. Throw in the eggplant mush. Toss in salt, turmeric, cumin and coriander powder. Add tomatoes and cook. Garnish with coriander and serve with hot rotis!

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Spicy Leg

Tandoori drumsticks for a Friday night. Get your beer out.

Skin chicken drumsticks. Marinate in a little yogurt, oil, salt/pepper, cumin, coriander and garam masala, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, and a little red food coloring. If you have tandoori masala use that. Grill in the oven or barbecue till a little blackened and the meat starts separating from the bone.

As usual, drown in lime.

The Bowl-Eater

Pretty sure I've ranted about how much I love muffin tins before, with the omelette muffin recipe I shared earlier. Here's another cool way to use that muffin pan.

Call it whatever you like. Edible bowls of goodness, pizza muffins, I don't know.

Knead and roll out some dough (with baking powder). I used whole-wheat. Cook up your favorite pizza ingredients. Onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, chorizo, garlic, whatever. Grease the muffin pans and line with circular pieces of dough. Put a chorizo/pepperoni/something on the bottom to hold the moisture in and not make the dough soggy on the bottom. Layer up, throw in some cheese. Bake!

Serve with salad and gloat about how healthy you are.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Cheat-Day - Biryani

Biryani. Need I say more?

I usually prefer mutton biryani, but this one is made with chicken.


Marinate chicken (with bone) in yogurt and spices for at least an hour. Saute chopped onions, ginger and garlic in mustard oil. Add the chicken (with bone) and salt and turmeric. Add the standard masalas - cumin, coriander, garam masala - and add water to cover and cook till the chicken is juuuust done. Don't overcook. Keep the curry thick and not very runny.


Cook rice with whole garam masalas - cloves, bay leaves, throw in a cinnamon stick - and cook until 80% done.


Slice onions and saute in very little oil and garam masala and cumin until almost burnt. Set aside.
Put a little saffron in a few spoonfuls of milk and set aside.


Grease the sides and bottom of a pot with ghee. Layer rice and chicken so that the top and bottom layers are rice. Pour the saffron milk all over the top layer and put the burnt onion garnish on top. Cover preferably with rolled out whole-wheat dough, or just a lid if you don't have dough, and slow-cook on low heat. The biryani should be ready in 15-20 minutes.

The Tiretti Bazaar

My husband is a Calcutta boy, born and raised. That basically means he needs that Indian soya sauce in his life about once a week. If you don't live in India, that means whipping up chilli chicken and fried rice at home. This is an old favorite that's been repeated more than once.


Coat boneless pieces of chicken in seasonings, egg and corn flour and deep fry. Set aside.
Toss garlic, dried red chillies and onions in oil. Add soya sauce and a little vinegar. Add the fried chicken and coat. Adjust sauce as per taste, add chilli sauce/schezwan sauce if you have any. Dry it up.

This is how you make dry chilli chicken. (For a little gravy, add water, put cornflour in the water and stir until the gravy is thick.) Garnish with spring onions.


Cook rice. In a wok, toss veggies and shredded chicken in a little oil. Add soya sauce. Toss in the freshly cooked rice. Serve!

The Meaty Paratha

Keema Parathas FOR THE WIN, am I right?


Very finely chop onions and saute with ginger and garlic. Add minced meat, either chicken or mutton, and cook with cumin powder, coriander powder, chilli and garam masala. If you have any sort of meat masala feel free to add. Take off the heat and allow to cool once cooked.


Knead aata. Roll into a ball and start rolling. Roll the sides more than the middle. Put some cooled keema in the middle and take the thin sides and cover up the meat like a parcel, squishing all ends together like a dumpling. Roll out this dumpling into a paratha with some dry aata, and be careful not to break the paratha surface. The surface will break if the keema is moist and/or warm.

Put the paratha on a dry tawa/pan. Let the bottom cook while you cover the top with ghee. Flip and repeat till cooked.

Once you are done fanning the fire alarm into silence, serve with a mad dollop of stuffed red chilli achar.

The Devil

Deviled eggs

Easiest. Appetizers. EVER. I'll be done explaining this before you can get to the kitchen and turn your stove on.

Boil eggs. Scoop out the yolks. Mix yolk with mayo, mustard, paprika, oregano, salt and coriander. Stuff the mixture back in. Refrigerate.


The Cheat-Day - Pie

Definitely did not make that crust. Store-bought. There's recipes out there; I don't have the patience for pie crusts to be honest. Just buy one, mkay?

You can use whatever ingredients you want for the pie. I made a Hungarian hot salami and spinach pie with mushrooms. Cook the salami separately, and wilt the spinach in hot water. Saute the mushrooms with cheese of your choice - my standard choice is Parmesan.

Bake the crust for 10 min before you begin layering. I covered the bottom with a layer of salami so it holds the moisture in. Fill the rest of the crust in with your fillings (spinach, salami, mushrooms and cheese). Pour a mix of whisked egg, milk and cheese on top. Bake till done - probably 10 min or less.

The Mini-Breakfast

Muffin pans are magical. Throw in a few ingredients, bake, and voila: parcels of goodness. This is my creative take on Sunday mornings.

Get a muffin pan. Throw sliced chorizo, bacon, onion, tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, bell peppers, cheese, beans, seasonings, WHATEVER you want your breakfast to contain, into each little muffin tin cup. Get creative! Pour whipped egg on top and bake till done. So yummy!

The Dilliwala

There isn't enough lime in the world to cover my love for chhole bhature. Buuuut that's later.


Let some cumin seeds sputter with chillies in heated oil, and then add ginger, garlic and onions. Add salt, turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder, chana masala and amchur. I usually don't have amchur so I replace it with a little achar. Add cooked chickpeas and tomato and water and simmer. Garnish with coriander. Additional tip: when you boil the chickpeas put in a teabag for extra color/flavor.


Knead maida with oil, yogurt, a little baking powder and a little warm water. Let it sit for a few hours in the fridge before you make the bhaturas. Once done, roll them into circles and deep-fry in very hot oil.

Drown your food in lime. I insist.

The Bird and the Nest

Spaghetti nests with turkey rissoles


I've always wondered what to do with leftover spaghetti. And then I discovered spaghetti nests. Put a little sauce in al dente cooked spaghetti, and take a fork and twirl a big chunk of spaghetti till it's all wrapped up around the fork. place the entire chunk on greased baking tray and remove the fork so that the spaghetti looks like a nest. Sprinkle breadcrumbs for extra crunch and some cheese, and drizzle olive oil. Make a few of these and bake at high for 10 minutes. You can't really see the nest here because I drowned the top with sauce. Speaking of sauce...


This is a basic bechamel sauce but without the parmesan. Add that in the end if you're feeling cheaty. Melt some butter and put two spoons of flour. Add milk. I also added garlic powder, salt and oregano because I put oregano in literally everything. That's it, stir, add the cheese in the end if you want. I didn't add any cheese.


You get turkey rissoles or whatever patties you want to use in the market. But you can make them at home. Mix mince, onions, whatever seasonings you want, and egg, and shape into patties or rissoles.
Put the rissoles on a greased pan and cook both sides. 

Plate up with a bed of rocket for the rissoles and sauce over everything/anything/on the side.

The Bengali

Alu posto and Chicken cashew curry

Sometimes you need to go hard or go home.
Haha. ANYWAY....


Soak posto in some water, and drain and grind. Cube peeled potatoes. Heat a little mustard oil and add slit chillies and cumin seeds, and then the potatoes. Add salt and turmeric. Then add drained posto. Coat the potatoes with the posto, and add water and cook till the potatoes are done but not mushy. You can sprinkle a little sugar but I don't usually. Garnish with coriander and green chilli and a drizzle of raw mustard oil.


Saute garlic, giner, chilli, onions, salt/pepper, cumin powder, coriander powder, and garam masala in mustard oil. Take off the heat and blend the mixture with some cashews in a blender. Leave the texture a little chunky; don't puree. Heat a little more mustard oil and pour the mixture back into the pot with boneless chicken. Add a little tandoori masala if you like, and mix. Add water and cook till done. Won't take very long.

Serve both with basmati rice.

Great for when you have guests coming over and you have to prove how Bengali you are in an hour.

The Guilt Day

 So you ate a lot. 
And now you feel guilty. 
And you don't want to compromise on the yum factor. 
Presenting, cajun shrimp and a weird tuna bruschetta thing. Shut up. It tasted good.


Saute shrimp in very little olive oil and cajun spices. Cajun = garlic powder, paprika, salt&pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano and chilli flakes. DONE.

Saute canned tuna with finely chopped mushrooms, and then mix with a little chilli mayo and garlic powder. Place on a toasted whole wheat bun with greens and sprinkle some parmesan cheese. DONE.

The Buffalo Wild

Call me trashy, but my favorite restaurant in the whole wide world (well, the States) is Buffalo Wild Wings. Every time I visit the US, the closest BWW to my hotel knows me by name by the end of the week. And I buy some of their wing sauces and bring them home with me. This is a tribute to their Mango Habenero boneless wings.

Cut boneless chicken into smaller pieces. Coat with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, egg and cornflower. Make sure each piece is properly coated. Deep fry. Take them out and put them in a bowl or box. Coat with your favorite spicy sauce (garlic chilli, buffalo, barbeque, whatever). Don't drown them in sauce; put some sauce in with the wings, put the lid on the box and shake shake shake. Serve with blue cheese and die of spicy bliss.

The Mejicano Con Leftovers

Enchiladas yayyyy

I made these with whole-wheat tortillas. They might as well have been rotis.

If you have leftover chicken, shred them and use in the stuffing, else cut up small pieces of boneless chicken toss them with mushrooms, onions, garlic, peppers, corn, whatever rocks your boat. Add some cheddar cheese, salt, pepper, parsley, oregano, cayenne pepper, tomato sauce.

Put the stuffing mixture in a tortilla and roll. Add sauce and cheese for topping, easy on the cheese. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Voila!

The Festive - Milk Peda

This is my mother's recipe, and it can't get easier than this.

3 cups milk powder, 1 cup condensed milk, 2 spoons of sugar, 1 spoon of ghee.
Heat the mixture for 2 minutes in microwave or until mixture becomes dry and sticky. Roll into pedas of whatever shape. To impress whoever, stick a cashew or raisin or something on top.

The Festive - Namak Pare/Nimki

My thama (grandma) made these every time we visited, and even seeing them reminds me of her still. Super easy to make.

Mix 3 parts maida and 2 parts aata with salt and kalonji. Knead with a decent bit of oil and water.
Separate into balls.
Roll each ball out and cut into diamond shapes. Deep fry in VERY HOT OIL. Let cool.
Seriously. That's it.

The Brunch

Some dishes don't require an explanation. I'm going to assume you know how to toast bread and cook bacon/sausage. But my husband likes his scrambled eggs soft, and he didn't know what made them soft and non-crispy... so this is what I do.

I don't like to whip up the eggs before I put them into the pan. I like little coagulated chunks of yolk or white here and there.
Heat up a pan with a little oil. Break 2 eggs and immediately start scrambling them with your spatula. Take the pan off the heat while still semi-raw. Add a little cheese and drown in milk and return pan to heat and scramble and mix some more till the milk is all gone. Salt/pepper to taste.

Mix chopped or blended onions, tomatoes and garlic with cumin, paprika and lime. And maybe a little coriander. Add beans. Salt to taste.

Plate up!

The Moroccan

I'm not going to lie: I didn't make that hummus. If you know where to get hummus, great, or skip it. Or make your own; it's a ten minute thing, really.

Blend chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, tahini paste, cumin and lemon juice. Add water as required.
You thought it would be harder.

Rub the lamb with salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, lemon zest, and maybe a little mint. Marinate for an hour or more, then grill in the oven (or barbeque, whatever).

Cook rice. Heat up a little oil, add garlic/ginger, cayenne pepper, cumin and coriander (aka cilantro). Throw in the rice and toss. If you want to get fancy, add almonds. 

Plate up with a bed of rocket and spinach, and find yourself a nice dry Cabernet to go with it :D Coriander makes for a great garnish. On EVERYTHING.

The Cheat-Day - Pizza

It's so much easier, healthier and cheaper to just make a pizza at home, especially for people with weaknesses for pizzas like me!

If you're lazy, get a pizza base, or make your own, it doesn't take very long. Same goes for the sauce.

Knead the dough with a sprinkle of yeast, sugar, salt and a little oil. Keep it soft and a little sticky.
Roll the dough out to the desired shape and size.

Any tomato pasta sauce works, if you're not fussy. Or:
Combine tomatoes, garlic, salt&pepper, a little vinegar and a little olive oil. Puree in a blender.

Spread sauce generously on the base. I like to put a little oregano on the sauce. Easy on the parmesan cheese on top. Add toppings - I put pepperoni, spinach leaves and mushrooms. I also drizzled a little barbeque sauce twirl on top.