February 24, 2011

Palak Paneer

Today, my blog completes a month. !! I wanted to make something special today, but last few days have been very tiring at office , so I am sharing Palak Paneer recipe which I made few days back.  But before I begin that,I must thank all my friends who encouraged me with their facebook likes,comments ,gracious compliments and suggested me to start blogging.Since the time I have started blogging I have tried some recipes which otherwise I wouldn't have ever tried or maybe I would have taken years to decide to make them. I hope this passion continues to grow and I keep making something new every other day :D

Palak Paneer is a very common dish in Indian homes. It  is simple to make and is filled with the nutrients. 
There are many versions of Palak Paneer, and every version tastes good. The only problem few people face is that their spinach gravy turns dark. Well, the secret is to let the Palak/Spinach blanch in an open pan. Do not cover it anytime during the cooking process.

Serves 2

1 bunch Spinach Leaves
2 green chillies
2 tsp clarified butter/ghee
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
6-7 cloves of garlic chopped
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 medium-large onion, very  finely chopped
1 medium tomato, very  finely chopped
3/4 tsp coriander powder
3/4 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp Garam masala 
100gms Paneer/Cottage cheese,Cubed
Salt  1 tsp or less
Cream 1/4th cup [optional]

  1. Wash Spinach properly. Remove the thick stems.
  2. Blanch the wet Spinach in an uncovered pan  with 2-3 tablespoon of water for 3-4 minutes until the spinach release its own water.
  3. Once cooled, Puree the Spinach along with the water it was blanched and green chilies in a mixer grinder. Keep aside.
  4. In a separate pan, heat some ghee/butter. Add cumin seeds.Add chopped garlic once the cumin seeds splutters and changes color. Fry for a minute till the garlic turns slightly red.
  5. Add onions and ginger-garlic paste. fry till onions are transparent.
  6. Add Tomato,Coriander Powder,Cumin powder and fry till tomatoes turns into a puree.for 5-6 minutes
  7. Add Pureed Spinach. Add few tablespoons of water if the paste is too dry.
  8. Add salt. Note that Spinach already has salt in it, so less salt is needed. Cook for 5 minutes.
  9. Add cubed Paneer/Cottage cheese. Some recipes call for frying the paneer beforehand, but I am not fond of the fried paneer. Unfried paneer is more soft and tastier.
  10. Cook for 3-4 minutes after adding the Paneer. Before turning the stove off , add garam masala.
  11. Add cream if you want richer gravy.

February 21, 2011


Donuts were alien to the place where I spent my childhood, a quaint little town. They have become popular in India only  in last couple of years when Mad Over Donuts chain opened. But, still the first donuts I had was  almost 2 decades back in my school fete. I knew what it was called, but didn't know how it was made. Our Schools "Sisters"[Nuns] had made them , so there was no chance of finding them in shops.
The taste of those donuts remained forever with me and I was really delighted when Mad Over Donuts opened. This weekend ,I was in no mood to cook anything special, but when I saw how easy it is to make them, I thought to give it a try.

For 10 small size donuts
2 1/2  teaspoons dry yeast
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Oil for frying.
1 medium potato
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup All purpose flour
1tsp baking powder

  1. Mash boiled potato.
  2. Mix yeast with 1/2 cup warm milk.Set aside till it froths.
  3. Mix yeast-milk, oil, potato, salt,  flour and baking powder. Knead the dough. Add more milk or water if it is too dry
  4. Roll out dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut a bigger circle using a donuts cutter/cookie cutter/drinking glass. Cut a smaller circle inside it.
  5. Lay the donuts on a deep plate and cover it with a wet dish cloth so that donuts don't dry. Let it sit for an hour and half or till it doubles.
  6. Heat oil to 375F.
  7. Fry the donuts for 2-3 minutes frequently turning, so that it not too brown and still cooked. Check one  first to get an idea for how much time you need to fry it. Drain well while taking it out .Keep on a paper towel for any excess oil to be soaked.
  8. When the donuts are cooled , apply the glaze of your choice. I have used 4oz melted chocolate + 1/4th cup warmed cream mixed till smooth. And added chocolate sprinklers.

February 18, 2011


        Behind Every Successful Bread is a supporting Yeast :)
Today I am not sharing any recipe , just sharing the lessons I have learned while working with yeast .Almost everything that could go wrong went wrong yesterday when I tried to bake french bread.
Beginning with yeast:-

  • Never use expired yeast. It is really expired-DEAD! 
  • The water temperature should be exact. Neither hot nor cold. If it is hot, yeast gets killed and if it is cold, it won't get activated.
  • Follow the instructions given on your package of  yeast. Don't follow what's given on internet, because every yeast gets activated differently.
  • Yeasts feed on sugar, if your package says add sugar, you need to add it.
  • And finally, if the yeast hasn't frothed even though it is well within expiry date, begin again . Don't use the yeast that hasn't frothed because it is never going to make the flour rise.

         When the yeast didn't froth yesterday,I knew it in my mind that I am going to have troubles ahead. But then ,I didn't heed to it and went ahead and poured it into the flour. The second mistake I did was that I poured the entire quantity of water as  was said in the recipe. So,instead of a dough, what I had was a slimy mess.Lesson learnt- Never pour all the water once. Go by the feel of how it is shaping up. To bring that slimy mess into a manageable dough,I had to add almost double the quantity of flour.
         Finally after hours of waiting, as expected the flour didn't rise. I had to think, what could be done with the double the quantity of dough that I now had. So I started searching the net for what to do in case the bread doesn't rise. Nothing.. try again. This was what most of the sites had.  After a lot and lot of searching I finally found somewhere that don't waste the dough, instead make crackers out of it. Thank God !! 

          But my heart still wanted to make the french bread and not crackers. Better sense prevailed and I divided the dough into two halves, one for the bread and one for crackers. I mixed another 1/2 tbsp  of yeast in warm water and this time it did froth. I realized that the first time water was too hot. By this time it was already midnight. I did not have patience to let the bread rise for another 2-3 hours. So, I let it rise only till the crackers were rolled and made , an hour maybe. The bread came out okay. It would have been better if the flour had risen more. Lesson learned-  Have Patience while cooking. 
        When everything was going wrong, at last few things went well, The crackers were extremely tasty. I had added lots of herbs in it and it worked very well. And the second thing that was good was that the bread got a nice crust which is how the french bread should have. So, I am going to make another French bread soon!!

February 15, 2011

Chicken Shawarma

On public demand here comes the first recipe from Animesh. Not that he hasn't cooked  all this while since the blog has started, but it is very difficult to coax him to  photograph and compile his recipes. Finally after lot of pestering he agreed. And just after the photo-shoot ended, the duration of which was only 5 minutes , both of us attacked the dish and within minutes we ate up all that was made and were still licking our fingers. For a long time we avoided the plain looking hummus available in the food-courts. But it took us one bite to become ardent fans. Since it is something that is made from ingredients very common in India, we had to make this and the results were great.All the flavors of the Shawarma were distinct and very close to the authentic Mideastern food that you get in restaurants here. This recipe is adapted from the here


      Before cooking this you need to plan ahead. Soak the chickpeas in advance ,marinate the chicken overnight[optional] and you can even make hummus one day before. 

                                                   Enjoy the recipe :)

 Chicken Shawarma Ingredients

  • 250gms boneless chicken cut into thin stripes
  • 3-4 TBSP plain curd/yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 small cardamom pods
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP Olive Oil  
Hummus: See recipe Hummus and Tahini Sauce Recipe:

For Bread and Vegetables
  • 2 large Pita bread or flat homemade bread[ slighter thicker than rotis]
  • chopped/sliced capsicum
  • thinly sliced Onions
  • chopped/thinly sliced tomatoes
  • chopped  coriander leaves/parsley
  • salt as per taste


  1. Combine all ingredients under Chicken Stuffing and marinate for minimum an hour and maximum overnight.Cover and refrigerate for marination.
  2. In a pan, cook marinated chicken over medium heat for 45 minutes or until done.Add a tbsp of water if it is too dry whenever needed.
  3. Mix the capsicum,onions, tomatoes,coriander leaves/parsley  and salt and mix well.
Assembling the Shawarma
  1. Warm the bread.
  2. Place chicken on the bread.
  3. Add veggies and pour Hummus over it. 
  4. Roll and serve with a bowl of hummus.

Hummus and Tahini Sauce

 Tahini Sauce:
  • 2 TBSP sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Olive oil [Add more as needed to have paste like consistency]
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • Roast sesame seeds in a pan for 5 to10 minutes . Toss the seeds frequently without browning them.Browning will make the sauce bitter. Let it cool for 30 mins.
  • Pour sesame seeds into food processor and add oil and salt. Blend for 2 minutes to get thick and pourable paste.Add more oil if needed.
  • 2 cups chickpeas [chole chana],  soaked overnight and boiled
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1/2 Cup yogurt/curd
  • 1 TBSP Tahini Sauce 
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin seeds powder
  • water as needed


Place all ingredients in a mixer-grinder/blender and add little water to make a smooth paste.Chill before serving.


February 13, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcake

Finally, I have made it !!!

     This cupcake was on my agenda since a very long long time. I was looking for a suitable occasion. Had earlier planned to bake this for Animesh's birthday, but at that time I didn't get time to shop for the red food colour and cream cheese, so settled for Devilish Chocolate Cake then. And I didn't want to miss Valentine's day, because this is the perfect occasion, even though we no longer celebrate this day. 
   I started the preparation with a lot of fear as many things go wrong for people while making this cake. Either the the cake doesn't turn to have the required red colour ,or it becomes dense. Thankfully, nothing went wrong . Though, I gave a scare to Animesh with red colur on my hand. He almost rushed to get me some bandage :D .
    The cupcake came out soft and moist and with a beautiful red colour. The white cream-cheese adds to the beauty,though it is bit sweet.The recipe is adapted from the blog Apple A day mainly and some steps from Purplefoodie ..The ingredients from AAD have been halved to make 12 cupcakes.Amount of cocoa has been increased. Chocolate hearts are my own creation :)

And before I start my recipe, Happy Valentine's Day to all those who celebrate and Happy 14th Feb to those who don't. :-)
Cupcake  Ingredients

1 and 1/4 cup All purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar [ I used powdered Sugar]
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 and 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Egg
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk [ For making the buttermilk look at Devilish Chocolate Cake recipe]
1 tbsp red food coloring [ good quality- have used Wilton Paste]
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. white distilled vinegar
  1. Prepare the cupcake pan by placing paper liners and applying a little butter.Keep aside.
  2. Preheat Oven to 170 C.
  3. Sift flour, baking soda and salt.Keep aside.
  4. Beat oil and sugar till light and fluffy.Add eggs and beat at high speed till incorporated.
  5.  In another bowl, make a paste of vanilla extract,cocoa and red colour.
  6. Add this paste and vinegar to the oil mix and mix till evenly combined.
  7. Add the flour mixture [1/3rd at a time] and the buttermilk [1/2 at a time] alternately, beginning and ending with the flour mixture (3 flour, 2 buttermilk). Let the mixture absorb the flour before adding more buttermilk. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl after the last addition of flour. No whites should be seen,
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan or pans and smooth the top of the batter.
  9. Bake for 18 -20 mins or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Mine were done in 18 mins. Don't overbake it as it will become dry.
Cream cheese and White chocolate Frosting

4 oz cream cheese
2 1/2 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup icing sugar sifted
4 oz while chocolate melted  smooth by heating in microwave at 30 sec interval

  1. Beat Cream cheese and butter till light
  2. Add vanilla extract
  3. Add icing sugar and beat till smooth.
  4. Add melted white chocolate and beat till it is smooth.
Assembling the cupcake
  1. Apply the frosting on the cupcake by cutting the tip of a plastic icing bag . Apply less if your not too fond of icing sugar taste. 
  2. I made the chocolate hearts by adding red colour to melted white chocolate and cutting heart shapes.

February 11, 2011

Creamy Corn Chicken

Guess what!! This is the first time I cooked chicken independently. If I recall well, the last time was when I must have assisted my mom around,  15 years back. Then I moved to PGs and hostels and later on I turned vegetarian for around 8 or 9 years. I have started eating chicken again since last 2 years but never cooked it as it has been Animesh's specialty :-) Yesterday night he thawed the chicken ,but was very tired after office. And as blogging has invigorated me, I want to try my hand at everything I can eat and taste . So,I ruffled through the easy chicken recipe booklet ,rejected most of the recipes outright,because the ingredients were not at home and some of them might not be even available easily in market. I modified this recipe according to what was at home.I have used coriander leaves instead of Parsley as it was not available at home but Parsley is any day more flavorful than coriander. The original recipe has bacon too.But  I don't eat bacon,mutton ,lamb..etc etc. The original recipe didn't have any salt,oregano,pepper,chili too!! 


2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 Chicken breasts
30 gm Butter
1 Onion finely chopped
6-7 Garlic cloves crushed
1 Red pepper,chopped [I have used yellow]
1 and 1/2 tbsp All purpose flour
200 ml Milk
50 ml Cream
200 gms Corn kernels boiled
Handful of  Parsley [I have used  coriander leaves]
1tbsp Oregano
1 tsp Chili flakes
Salt  as per taste
1 tsp Freshly ground peppercorns
  1. Marinade chicken in salt ,half of crushed garlic,1 tbsp oil for 30 mins.
  2. Preheat Oven to 200 C.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
  4. Add chicken breast and cook till it is golden on on  both the sides. Set aside.
  5. Clean /wipe the pan and add butter.
  6. Add onions and leftover garlic. Cook till it softens
  7. Add red/yellow pepper and fry for 2-3 mins till it softens.
  8. Add flour and cook for 1 min. Add milk slowly and keep stirring so that no lumps are formed.
  9. Add cream.
  10. If the mixture is too runny,increase the heat,it will eventually become thick.
  11. Add corn kernels,parsley,oregano,some more salt and ground peppercorns.
  12. Pour this mixture in a baking dish and place chicken on top of it.
  13. Bake for 25 mins till the chicken is cooked.
  14. Sprinkle more oregano and chili flakes before you serve.
  15. I served it with spaghetti.

February 8, 2011

Dahi wale Baingan

Brinjal in Curd /Dahi wale baingan
The vegetarians love it. The non-vegetarians don't mind it, the brinjal haters [My father-in-law] become a convert and the allergic[my sister] would eat this dahi alone. I am honestly not exaggerating. This recipe is really a hit. It is such an easy side dish. Though I prefer to have it as a main dish served with hot rotis at dinner time alone. The bhaghaar or the chaunk and the saltiness of the curd is what  makes this so special. Salt should be added on the higher side,because less salt makes a huge difference to the taste.

1 medium size round brinjal
250gms fresh curd
Ideal size of the Brinjal for this recipe
3/4 tbsp Ghee [Clarified butter]
Turmeric powder
Chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp nigella seeds [kalonji or mangrail]
1 tsp fennel seeds [ must] [bada saunf]
2 small dried red chillies
1/4th cup water


  1. Slice the brinjal in round slices.Coat the pieces with turmeric and salt.
  2. Shallow fry the slices in oil till it is brown.
  3. In a separate bowl,whisk the curd smooth. Add water to make it slightly thinner. Put aside.
  4. In a small pan heat ghee, put the cumin seed, mustard seed, nigella seeds, fennel seeds and dried red chillies and fry till brown. This is called a bhaghaar or  chaunk.
  5. Pour this mixture over the curd.
  6. Add salt little by little and mix till it salty enough. 
  7.  Place the brinjal pieces in the curd mixure.
  8. Top it up with red chilli powder.
  9. Serve cooled.

For those who are new to the process of  bhaghaar or  chaunk [Tempering], best results come when you do it in smallest pan u can get[ size of small bowl] .

This recipe of mine is a slightly modified version of the recipe at this site .

February 6, 2011

Roasted Almond Brownies

Can't See Eye to Eye-Take a Good Look at urself !!
This is for those who love brownies . I have never been particularly fond of them, but couldn't miss a chance to bake something new.  Though, I had planned to bake them on Friday night, but  that night we went to watch Biutiful- the spanish movie directed by Inarritu , and has the best actor of this generation Javier Bardem[IMO :)].  It is a very touching movie with brilliant acting by Bardem. Movies are ours [Animesh's and mine] other love apart from cooking  :) . So the baking was put on hold and I woke up early morning to make these brownies for my dearest friend Kshipra and her husband Hemant. Kshipra and I are soul-sisters. Our friendship is a decade long and when we were in a hostel together,many people mistook us for sisters.So, the first brownie experiment is on them :)  
My new cute little recipe diary is also going to be inaugurated today. I had been eyeing it secretly in Animesh's office bag and was thrilled when he gave me that.

The recipe is taken from PAB,who has taken it from Faith Heller Willinger’s cookbook,Adventures of an Italian Food Lover.PAB is a very famous blog by a very inspiring Indian woman who bakes most of the things from scratch, because of the lack of ingredients here in India. But that doesn't make any difference to the kind of cakes she bakes. It is world class,absolutely top-notch.

4oz dark chocolate
1/3 cup Olive Oil
3 large Eggs
1  cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 heaped tbsp Cocoa
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup chopped roasted Almonds

  1. Preheat the oven to 185C. 
  2. Line a  8 x 8 baking dish with parchment paper. Let the parchment paper overhang so that it is easy to pull the brownies when baked.
  3.  In a small bowl melt the dark chocolate till smooth.
  4. Whisk olive oil with melted chocolate and set aside.
  5. Sift the flour, cocoa and salt.
  6. In a large bowl,beat eggs, sugar and vanilla for 5 minutes, until nice and fluffy.
  7. Fold in the chocolate mixture with a spatula. 
  8. Fold in the sifted flour until just incorporated.
  9. Add roasted almonds and mix.
  10. Pour the batter into baking dish.
  11. Sprinkle over with a few roasted almonds.
  12. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean with few wet crumbs. Mine were done in 22 minutes. Since the brownies are supposed to be moist so you shouldn 't overbake them.
  13. Cut them in squares once it is completely cooled.
  14. Make a sizzling brownie by warming it and serving it with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. 
I am sending this to Divya for her Brownie event

February 2, 2011

Paneer Pasanda

There are so many different versions of Paneer Pasanda by popular chefs.I don't even know which one of them is the authentic one. I mysellf make two versions one with red gravy and the other one in white gravy. Both of them are very easy to make and yet very delicious.Here follows the recipe with tomato gravy.Addition of cashew-nuts makes this gravy rich and thick.


For 2 people
150 grams paneer
1 small onion grated fine
1 medium tomato grated fine
7-8 cashewnuts
2 chopped green chilies [optional]
1 tbsp kashsmiri red chili powder [ This is not hot it only adds colour]
3/4 tsp cumin seeds [jeera]
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp kasoori methi
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 tsp.oil
Salt according to taste


  1. Grind cashew-nuts with 2-3 tsp water  to a fine paste.
  2. Cut the paneer into small cubes.
  3. Heat oil and add cumin seed.
  4. When the cumin seed browns add  grated onions. Fry till light brown.
  5. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for 1 minute.
  6. Add the cashew-nut paste and the green chilies and fry for little while.
  7. Add grated tomatoes,cumin powder and fry for 3-4 mins.
  8. Add kashmiri chili powder and stir for 1 minute
  9. Add milk and cook for few minutes.
  10. Add  water and bring it to a boil.
  11. Finally, when the gravy is thick ,add the paneer  and salt and cook for one boil.
  12. Add kasoori methi towards the end and Serve!.

Notes :
  1. You can omit water and just add extra milk instead. I prefer adding water as adding more milk takes away the vibrant colour.
  2. I didn't emphasize enough earlier on  grating the onions. You have to grate it fine and not grind it or cut it. This is a trick I have learned from my mom-in-law and always follow it whenever I have to make a thick gravy.

Chocolate Cupcake

I love cupcakes. Since they are small,you can pretend that you are taking in less calories. Though, this doesn't hold true for me because once I begin eating them I can't stop picking up the next one. I have begun my baking journey by baking the simplest of them, the chocolate cupcake. I had planned to use a chocolate frosting but was in hurry the day these were made, so finally settled for the simplest buttercream frosting. If you look at the cupcake recipes online, plenty of frosting is used , But I have used it miserly as this frosting is very sweet.
As my learning process continues ,I have learned of many other kind of frosting techniques like Italian meringue buttercream , Swiss meringue buttercream  .I am yet to  try them.
For 16 cupcakes.
 1/2 cup  Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup  hot water
1 1/3 cups  all purpose flour [maida]
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp  vanilla extract OR 1 tsp vanilla essense [Preferably use vanilla extract]

  1. Preheat oven to 185 degrees C. 
  2. Line and butter cupcake pan with paper liners. 
  3. In a small bowl stir  boiling water and cocoa powder till it is smooth.No lumps should remain. Cool it to room temperature. 
  4. In a separate bowl whisk  flour, baking powder and salt. 
  5. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  6. Add eggs, one at a time, beat till smooth.
  7. Beat in the vanilla extract/essence.
  8. Add the flour mixture and beat only until incorporated
  9. Add the cooled cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.
  10. Fill each cup about two-thirds full with batter .Don't fill it to the full as the batter will rise it will overflow and lose its shape.
  11. Bake for about 16-18minutes or until risen and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.
  12. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  13. Start frosting when the cupcake is completely cooled.
Buttercream Frosting

2 cups sifted Icing or powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract OR 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
2 tablespoons milk or light cream
  1. Cream butter till smooth.
  2. Add the vanilla extract.
  3. Gradually beat in the sugar. Add the milk or cream and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy.
  4. If you want coloured buttercream add some food colour.
The Recipe has been followed from JoyofBaking

To make it more chocolaty add some melted chocolate in the cupcake batter. I felt a bit more chocolate flavor was needed.

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