Rasmalai Tres Leches Cake

This fusion Rasmalai Tres Leches Cake will be the star of your Diwali menu!

Rasmalai Tres Leches Cake

Hello, my lovelies! Let me start off by wishing you and yours a very Happy Diwali! May peace, love and joy always reign in your lives, and may you find prosperity everywhere you go. ❤

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Kori Rotti

My lovelies, say hello to traditional Mangalorean Kori Rotti, one of my favourite childhood indulgences! 🙂

Kori Rotti

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Kadhi Chawal

Growing up, my mum cooked all kinds of awesome food. So, we had the pleasure of enjoying amazing food from all over India and the world, all with my mum’s loving spin on it. She would try to make everything healthier, less oily and more attuned to our palates. And there was NEVER a bad meal. This Dahi Kadhi (yogurt curry) paired with Basmati Rice and spicy fried fish was one of the many amazing meals she cooked for us quite often. If only I could go back for more…

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Shahi Tukra

The past week, Indians all over the world celebrated Diwali, the festival of lights! And we celebrated it in our little way. Well, we didn’t play host and invite relatives, friends and neighbours over. Instead, we celebrated it, just the two of us. We decorated the house, lit diyas (tiny oil lamps made with clay), bought some delicious sweets from the local halwai  (sweet shop) and I cooked some to-die-for Paneer Butter Masala (roasted cottage cheese cooked in a buttery tomato gravy) and this incredible sweet dish – Shahi Tukra.

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Literally translated, the name Shahi Tukra means ‘regal slice or royal piece’. It is rich and indulging; what with the crisp of the bread and the sweetness of the sugar syrup, finished off with the soothing yet oozing-with-flavour rabdi (an Indian or Pakistani milk-based sweet dish). It is delicious. And it is aptly named, for it is the food of the royals, if not the food of the Gods! 😀

On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the lowest and 10, the highest), the difficulty level of this dish would be a 2. There are a lot of elements that need to be taken care of, but in no way are any of the processes difficult. Time consuming, yes; and they require your full attention. So, here’s how to put together this taste-bud-tickling desi dessert! 🙂

IMG_7546Here’s what you need:

For the Rabdi:

  • Full Fat Milk – 1 litre
  • Cardamom – 2 tsp, seeds crushed with a mortar and pestle
  • Granulated Sugar – 3 tbsp
  • A few Saffron strands (optional)
  • A handful of Pistachios and Almonds, blanched, skinned and chopped

For the Sugar Syrup:

  • Granulated Sugar – 3/4 cup
  • Water – 1/2 cup
  • A few Cardamom seeds, crushed

For the Fried Bread:

  • White Bread – a loaf, chop off the crusts and cut each slice into two triangles.
  • Ghee (clarified butter) – 1 cup

Here’s how to make Shahi Tukra. 🙂

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Step 1: Make the Rabdi

Step 1: To make the Rabdi, set a heavy bottom pot on low flame and pour the milk into it. After it comes to its first boil, add in the crushed cardamom seeds and saffron. Continue cooking, making sure to collect and add the cream formed on top after every boil back into the milk. Scrape the sides and stir regularly to ensure that the milk doesn’t brown at the bottom. After cooking for a half hour, mix in the sugar and leave to boil. Keep stirring and adding in the formed cream. After about an hour and 20 minutes, when the milk has reduced well and the texture is coarse, add the chopped pistachios and almonds and leave on the heat for another five minutes. Take it off the heat and leave to cool.

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Step 2: Crispy fry the bread

Step 2: Pan fry the bread slices in ghee until both sides are golden and crispy.

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Step 3: Make the sugar syrup and soak the bread in it.

Step 3: To make the sugar syrup, boil the water and sugar till it comes to one-thread consistency. Add in the crushed cardamom seeds and give it a good mix. Immerse each piece of crispy fried bread into the sugar syrup. Soak on both sides and then remove. Pour cooled rabdi over the slices and gobble them up to your heart’s content!

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With that, you have the most amazing Shahi Tukra ready to eat! What I love about this recipe is that the bread remains crispy even after about a half hour of pouring rabdi over it. This renders the dessert a lot of texture; well, so do the coarse creamyness of the rabdi and the crunch of the nuts. Rich, full of flavour, fragrant and sweet; it is everything you want in a lip-smacking Shahi Tukra!

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I hope you had a Happy Diwali! But Diwali or not, your loved ones are going to love you for making them this delicious desi dessert. Go ahead, try this recipe, NOW!

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Food Review – The Yellow Chilli, Muscat

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On August 30, (clearly, this review has been a long time coming!) I had the pleasure of attending a bloggers’ food tasting at The Yellow Chilli in Muscat. Located at Al Mouj, Muscat (previously called The Wave), this newly opened restaurant serving Indian cuisine is a branch of The Yellow Chilli chain set up by one of the most famous Indian chefs and TV hosts – Sanjeev Kapoor.

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Peru Pyaala

Growing up, I watched a lot of Khana Khazana. On the show, Sanjeev Kapoor whipped up one delicacy after another; blending cuisines and creating fusion dishes which looked pretty simple to replicate in the home kitchen. While I watched in wonder when he cooked up dishes that I thought back then were the kind that were only served in restaurants and couldn’t be made at home (yea, silly me), I sometimes cringed when a food combination he came up with didn’t appeal to my senses. I must be honest though, I was far too young to try out any of his recipes back then; and when the cooking bug bit me in my late teens, I had long since grown out of my enthusiasm to watch Khana Khazana.

My evening at The Yellow Chilli was quite delightful. Simple ambiences, casual atmospheres and fun company always make my foodie adventures so fun. But of course, the most important part is the food… 😉

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Peru Pyaala in a mason jar

First up, we were served the signature Peru Pyaala – a sweet and tangy guava drink with a hit of red chilli on the rim of the tumbler. I must tell you, this was the perfect welcome. The flavours were aptly blended, and the real hero was the kick of the chilli powder complementing the drink! It was pure bliss to my very Indian taste buds. Simply refreshing!

Warning: If your palate is not accustomed to high levels of spice, please be informed that the chilli in the Peru Pyaala brings with it quite a distinct punch.

When ordered off the menu, the Peru Pyaala is served in mason jars. I would have loved it if we were served a regular serving  (yes, I could drink all of that!) but I think, with the chilli on the rim, it is incredibly hard to drink directly out of a mason jar and if you use a straw, you would miss out on the chilli kick! Dilemma! :-/

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Dahi Puri

We were then served two kinds of soups – a Coconut and Shrimp Shorba and Tomato Basil Shorba. While the former was creamy and coconuty with a succulent shrimp on a stick, the latter is among the most loved dishes on the menu. Light and healthy, the Tomato Basil Shorba is bursting with flavour. Definitely a must-try!

Next up was the Dahi Puri. A less messy take on the Mumbai street-food classic, these little crispy puris were filled with mashed potatoes, yogurt and a minty and sweet chutney. A great combination of flavours and textures.

And then came my favourite dish of the evening. The Palak Pattha Chaat! This was simply amazing. An appetizer of crispy fried spinach topped with a yogurt sauce, mint chutney, date chutney and garnished with pomegranate seeds, the Palak Pattha Chaat was out-of-this-world-delicious. The crackly crunch of the spinach paired with the the creaminess and tang of the yogurt and the sweet and spicy chutneys not to mention the little pomegranate pearls was a mesmerising dance of flavours and textures on my taste buds – an experience I very much enjoyed! 😀

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Palak Pattha Chaat

Here’s another look at my favourite dish at The Yellow Chilli… 🙂

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We were then served a host of other appetisers. Here are a few that I enjoyed. 🙂

Chana Jor Garam Tikki – Mildly spiced yet flavourful, these tikkis were crispy on the outside and mushy on the inside. Quite yum!

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Chana Jor Garam Tikki

Lemon Grass Chicken Tikka – Succulent cubes of chicken marinated in fragrant lemon grass and yogurt; reminded me of a comforting Thai curry. 🙂

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Lemon Grass Chicken Tikka

Papaya Peanut Kachumber – Sweet, tangy and crunchy, this salad was heartening! 🙂

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Papaya Peanut Kachumber

Khastha Kaju Chicken – This was another appetizer that I really loved. These little chicken patties were coated with crushed cashews and tossed in Indo-Chinese spices; sweet, zesty and delicious! 🙂

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Khastha Kaju Chicken

Raan Buzzkazi – This dish tasted wonderful – slices of lamb leg cooked well until tender and bursting with flavours. The downside, I felt it was too heavy for a starter.

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Raan Buzzkazi

By the end of the starters, I was near full and I could barely stomach the idea of eating main course. But I tried my best to get a taste of everything. We had the Mangalorean Fish Curry that I did not enjoy very much owing to the fact that I’ve had plenty of that over the years, thanks to my Mangalorean roots. The Lalla Mussa Dal (black lentil gravy) was just okay; a little too sweet and overly creamy for my liking. While the Mushroom Mutter Hara Pyaaz (mixed vegetables cooked in spices) was quite nice, I found the Shaam Savera (spinach koftas stuffed with creamed cottage cheese in a buttery gravy) to be a little odd tasting. Being a The Yellow Chilli signature, I expected to love it, but I didn’t enjoy it; the texture of the koftas didn’t appeal to me and the gravy was too sweet. The Murgh Noormahal Biryani (chicken biryani) was okay; the saffron was a tad bit overpowering and since I love myself a good spicy biryani, I was not very pleased by it.

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Shaam Savera

While I did have a great time at The Yellow Chilli, I was a little disappointed by how uninspired the main course seemed as compared to the appetizers. While the first course was an array of innovative takes on Indian classics, the main course didn’t wow me. As for dessert, well, I missed out. By the end of main course, we had already been two-and-a-half hours into the dinner and it was late, hence I couldn’t stay. I will be back though, hopefully…

The Foodscape’s quick take…

Location: Al Mouj – since I live all the way in Wadi Kabir, it’s much too far. But for those living around Seeb, it’s great.

Cuisine: Indian   Food:3.5/5   Ambience: 3/5

Recommended: Peru pyala, palak pattha chaat, khasta kaju chicken, lemon grass chicken and raan buzzkazi.

Potato Chops

Back when I was away at college in India, evening coffees were something of a ritual. My flatmates and I would get back around 4 pm and on our way home we would pick up samosasvada pav (buns stuffed with spicy chutney and potato fritters), chaat, or some biscuits and a pack of fresh milk. Tea and coffee ready and the snacks laid out, we would park ourselves in front of the TV watching Fabulous Cakes reruns or repeat telecasts of travel shows. Rainy days were the best. We would sit out on the balcony and watch as the rain poured over Manipal while we guzzled something piping hot and sipped on our coffees. Ahh, life’s simply pleasures! (How I wish I could rewind time!)

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In India, come rain, hail or sunshine, there will always be little clusters of people gathered around street food kiosks, munching on savoury delicacies. And that’s one of things I loved most about living in India. Street food! Easy on the wallet, yet delicious! 🙂

When I first decided to make Potato Chops (the Indian version of Croquettes) as part of my ‘Masterclass with Winola Peris’ series in The Woman magazine, I couldn’t help wishing I had known how to make them back when I was in college. How awesome it would have been! 😀 Potato Chops are a street food classic much loved in Goa and Maharashtra; and I recently found out that they are a savoury favourite among the people across the border in Pakistan as well!

Without further ado, here’s what you need to make these lip-smacking Potato Chops!

  • Potatoes – 1 kg, boiled and mashed
  • Beef Mince – 500 g
  • Onion – 1, finely diced
  • Ginger-Garlic Paste – 1 tbsp
  • A handful of coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
  • Cumin Powder – 1 tsp
  • Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Chilli Powder – 1 tsp (plus more if you prefer spicy food)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil – 5 tbsp for frying
  • Egg – 1, roughly beaten
  • Bread Crumbs – 300 g

This is how you whip up a batch of these delicious munchies.

Step 1: In a shallow pan placed on low flame, sauté onion, beef mince, ginger-garlic paste and coriander leaves until the mince is cooked through and the mixture becomes dry. Add salt, cumin, coriander, turmeric and chilli powders and sauté for five minutes. Then take it off the heat and keep aside.

Step 1

Step 2: Roll the mashed potatoes into little rounds with the palms of your hand. Make a hollow in the round with your thumb and fill it with the minced meat mixture. Then with a small amount of mashed potato, make a flap to cover the hollow, set it in place and lightly press it to seal it. Make sure that the edges of the Potato Chops are not cracked.

Step 2

Step 3: Heat oil in a shallow skillet. Dip each Potato Chop into the beaten egg, coating it well; then roll it in the bread crumbs to coat it further. Place it in the hot oil and fry on each side for about 30 seconds or until golden brown. Serve hot.

Step 3

These Potato Chops are little fried pockets of yumminess – mashed potatoes filled with spicy minced meat and fried until just golden brown and crispy on the outside. The many textures and flavours that you experience when you take a bite will leave you craving for more!

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Everyone at home thoroughly enjoyed these little pouches of deliciousness. Mom and Dad gorged on them happily. And the boyfriend, though he prefers not to eat beef, gobbled up a Potato Chop with a huge smile plastered across his face! If you ask me what I thought, I would have to say that Potato Chops are my favourite among the many Indian snacks that I enjoy and I eagerly await the next rainy day to cook up a batch and indulge in these beauties! 😀

Trust me, once these Potato Chops make their way to your plate, it won’t be long before they disappear and you end up with a happy tummy! Happy Cooking! 🙂

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Tips: Potato Chops are normally deep fried, but I prefer this shallow fried version because the bread crumbs soak in a lot less oil compared to the deep fried version. Also, Potato Chops can be filled with just about anything you prefer. Crumbled paneer (cottage cheese), mint chutney, crushed peas and shredded chicken make for delicious fillings.

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Biryani Paradise – Qureshi Bab Al-Hind

IMG_0822To food connoisseurs and food lovers around the world, Bukhara is a well known brand that specializes in Awadhi and Dum-Pukht cuisines. It has become so popular all over the world that in some places, Indian cuisine is identified by it. I was extremely fortunate to meet the man behind it all, Masterchef Imtiaz Qureshi. (For me, a 21 year old foodie+food-writer, this is a huuuuuge deal!) He also gave the world his amazing lineage. His sons went on to set up Grande Cuisines of India and have also branched out around the world with several other restaurant chains; Qureshi Bab Al-Hind is one of them.

A couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to meet with Ashfaque Qureshi, son of Imtiaz Qureshi, at the opening of their restaurant Qureshi Bab Al-Hind in Hormuz Grand, Muscat. That lunch was a meal I will never forget – the conversation was bubbling with enthusiasm and love for food and the delectable fare did not disappoint. Ashfaque spoke about food with a deep love for his roots and pride in his father’s success in taking Dum-Pukht beyond the borders of India. I’ve been to Qureshi twice since, and I’ve found that the food just keeps getting better.

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A few days back I received a call to attend a food-bloggers meet which was to be held at Qureshi. (My first ever invite to a bloggers meet 😀 )However, even before the meet could take place, I had the opportunity to accompany a colleague to an interview with Imtiaz Qureshi.

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My colleague Basim Maharbi and I with Masterchef Imtiaz Qureshi

We were invited to be part of the Jashn-e-Biryani, a Biryani festival at Qureshi which coincided with the visit of the Masterchef himself to Muscat. Meeting Imtiaz Qureshi was wonderful, to say the least. He spoke fondly of Awadhi cuisine in his deep baritone, about how it was the food of the kings, compared how food was enjoyed back in his day and how it has come to be a whole new experience. He shed light on his journey, shared anecdotes about recipes gone wrong and talked endlessly about his love for his country and his desire for his food to make his country proud. Needless to say, his food has been an ambassador of India to the world for a really long time. In fact, we all have him to thank for keeping the art of Dum Pukht alive.

What really touched me about Masterchef Imtiaz Qureshi is that he has immense pride in the recipes he has created and the line of restaurants he has brought to life, yet he so humbly looks after his guests while they enjoy the entire Qureshi experience. During lunch, he sat down with us, coaxed us to eat while the food was still hot and made sure that we ate until we couldn’t move. Such is the kind of hospitality you will receive at Qureshi Bab  Al-Hind.

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Awadhi Fish, Spicy Prawn and Lamb Galouti Kebab

For the first course, we were served a kebab platter of Awadhi Fish, Spicy Prawn and a Lamb Galouti Kebab served with mint chutney and some sweet relish. The fish was mildly spiced, perfectly cooked and simply succulent. The prawn was seasoned beautifully, soft and mushy and spicy all at once. The Galouti Kebab was so delicious, I wanted to ask for a repeat! It was crumbly, creamy, tangy and spicy – exactly the way I love it! Interesting fact – when I met Ashfaque Qureshi for the first time, he told us that the Galouti Kebab at Qureshi is made with a blend of 78 spices!

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The Biryani waiting to be unveiled!

Then came the Biryanis! I truly believe that when you’re in doubt about what to eat, you should always opt for Biryani – a good Biryani will surely leave you content! We were served three Biryanis – Kacchi Ghosht Biryani, Chicken Biryani and Zeer-E-Multan Biryani. The Kacchi Ghosht Biryani is a lamb biryani flavoured with aromatic herbs, mint and the flavour of the yoghurt marinade. The meat was soft and not too heavy and the mild subtle spices did a splendid dance on my taste buds. The Chicken Biryani had me bowled over! (My mouth is watering now 😦 ) But the Zeer-E-Multan Biryani took the show. It was a Biryani cooked with Portobello mushrooms, Button mushrooms and Truffles. Oh my, it felt like a delicacy sent down from the heavens! *Drooooolll* (Sorry, I didn’t click pictures, I was too busy eating!)

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The Dessert Platter

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Gajar Ka Halwa

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Kheer

Then came my favourite part of every meal – Dessert! We were served Gajar ka Halwa (an Indian sweet made with grated carrots, clarified butter and dried fruits) and Kheer (an Indian sweet made with milk and rice, flavoured with cardamom, saffron and garnished with dried fruits) with Berries and compote! This dessert platter was awesome – the Kheer was not too sweet, the Gajar Ka Halwa was crunchy and yummm and the berries cut through the sweetness and brought forth their signature tang.

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In all, it was another beautiful experience at Quresh Bab Al-Hind. The ambience was breath-taking, the food lip-smacking and the company, amazing. If you love Biryani as much as I do, go check out the Jashn-e-Biryani at Qureshi. The festival ends on April 30, 2015. And if you wish to have some delicious Indian food with a home-cooked air to it, Qureshi Bab Al-Hind is the place to visit.

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Meet the Qureshis – (From left) Irfan, Imran, Masterchef Imtiaz and Ashfaque

Mixed Vegetable Makhani

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It’s been almost a month since this blog has been left unattended and for that I apologize. Between lending my hand in the organisation of a work event, Diwali preparations and celebrations and closing the November issue of my magazine, I barely had a second to breathe. Though severely sleep deprived and exhausted, here I am, back to doing what I love most – food blogging!

Diwali is one of the best times of the year. It’s when most Indian households are illuminated with traditional diyas and lanterns signifying the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair. I absolutely love Diwali – the interiors of the house lit up in warm hues by lamps, diyas, candles and lanterns, balconies and windows embellished with sparkly lighting, rangolis ( artistic designs made with colored powder) decorating the entry-way to the home, dressing up in your Desi best, family and friends gathering to celebrate and the delicious spicy and tangy savory goodies and the host of sweets everywhere!

I had a fabulous Diwali this year; I spent it with the boyfriend and we had a few friends over. The house was decorated beautifully, the refrigerator was overflowing with sweets, I cooked Chole Masala and Mixed Vegetable Makhani for dinner and I tried my hand at making Malpua (a very popular Indian sweet) – quite the perfect Diwali. 🙂

Vegetable Makhani is one of my favorite Indian dishes. In very simple terms,  it is beans, carrots, peas and cubes of paneer (cottage cheese) cooked in a creamy luscious gravy made with freshly ground cashews, yogurt, cream and whole spices. You can very well imagine just how amazingly creamy and rich that gravy is – absolutely  unparalleled in flavor and texture!

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Here’s what you need:

For the gravy:

  • Tomatoes – 2 cups, chopped
  • Onions – 1 cup, sliced
  • Cashew nuts – 1/2 cup, soaked in warm water
  • Dry Kashmiri Chillies – 4, broken into small pieces

Other Ingredients:

  • Beans – 250 g, chopped into one inch pieces
  • Peas – 150 g
  • Carrots – 2, sliced into bite size pieces
  • Paneer (Cottage cheese) – 200 g, chopped into bite size pieces and shallow fried until slightly golden
  • Butter – 3 tbsp
  • Garlic paste – 2 tsp
  • Cinnamon stick – 1 inch-long piece
  • Cloves – 3
  • Cardamom – 2 pods
  • Bay leaves – 2
  • Dried Fenugreek leaves (Kasuri Methi) – 1 tbsp
  • Garam Masala – 2 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Yogurt – 1/4 cup, whisked
  • Tomato Puree – 1/2 cup
  • Sugar – 1 tsp
  • Fresh Cream – 2 tbsp

Here’s how you make it:

  • In a skillet, heat oil and fry onions and tomatoes till well cooked through. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
  • Grind onion, tomatoes, cashew nuts and kashmiri chillies with half cup of water into a paste. Keep aside.
  • In a large wok, heat butter. Add garlic paste, cinnamon stick, cloves, bay leaves and cardamom and fry till their aromas blend.
  • Add the vegetables and saute until the carrots and beans are almost cooked through.
  • Mix in the cashew mixture and stir to combine.  Add in the kasuri methi and garam masala.
  • Mix in the tomato puree, whisked curd and cream until well combined.
  • Add the paneer. Cover the wok with a lid and cook on low flame for 15 minutes or until all the vegetables are well cooked.
  • Take off the heat and serve with naan.

This was probably the best Mixed Vegetable Makhani I have ever tasted. The gravy was oh so lush, the sweetness of the ground cashews with a dash of spice from the garam masala and kashmiri chillies, the tang of the curd and tomato puree and the richness of the cream is a winning combination. The crunchiness of the carrots and beans and the soft gooey-ness of the paneer add oodles of texture to the dish as well. Taking a bite of this Mixed Vegetable Makhani is a rich, delicious and enveloping experience.

Everyone loved it, some of our guests thought we had ordered it from a restaurant! The boyfriend absolutely enjoyed it and my mum found it a tad bit sweet – too rich, she said. I really liked the flavors and textures and I am incredibly proud of the way my first attempt at making Mixed Vegetable Makhani turned out. If you like mildly spicy Indian dishes, this is a must-try for you; but then again, you can regulate the spice as per your liking.

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So if you’re gearing up for a get-together at home and your menu is Indian, try this recipe out – your guests will surely love it!

Spicy Prawn Gravy

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I am a huge fan of seafood. I absolutely love prawns and crabs and I like fish cooked in unique styles too. To me, seafood is the epitome of exotic on a plate. Growing up in a house where fish was an integral part of our meals all week round, I began to dislike the traditional Mangalorean way that it is generally cooked  and hence cut down on eating fish all through my college years (there’s only so much fish curry I can handle.) However, I absolutely cannot resist a good prawn or shrimp dish.

My mom was coming to town and I wanted to cook a nice lunch for my parents, and I had a pack of frozen prawns lying in the freezer. My first instinct was to maybe try cooking a Thai curry with coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves, but I didn’t have any Thai curry paste at home nor could I find kaffir lime leaves anywhere. After a long search on the internet, I stumbled upon a recipe for a quick easy prawn gravy that has really distinct flavors and has the wholeness of a well-spiced, well-seasoned dish.

This gravy has plenty of ingredients lending it gorgeous flavors and textures. I have never tasted anything like it; I’ve had prawns cooked by my mom in the traditional Mangalorean way (absolutely yummy!) and numerous prawn and shrimp dishes in restaurants cooked in Thai gravies and Chinese sauces, grilled and crispy fried, but this gravy was different. It satisfied my want for a really tantalizing prawn dish packed with flavors and all the goodness of a home-cooked meal.

Here’s what you’re going to need:

  • Prawns – 500 g
  • Turmeric Powder – 3/4 tsp
  • Lemon Juice – 1 and 1/2 tbsp
  • Oil – 3 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
  • Black Peppercorns – 1/2 tsp, crushed
  • Onion – 1, chopped finely
  • Garlic – 4 cloves, chopped
  • Tomato – 1, cubed
  • Red Chilly Powder – 1 and 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander Powder – 2 and 1/2 tsp
  • Curry Leaves – 6 to 8
  • Salt – to taste
  • Coriander leaves – for garnish

Here’s how you prepare the Spicy Prawn Gravy:

  • Marinate the cleaned prawns with the turmeric powder, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pop them into the fridge.
  • Heat the oil and fry the mustard seeds. When they start to splutter, add the fennel seeds, crushed black peppercorns, onion and garlic. Fry till onions are translucent and have a golden tinge.
  • Then add the tomatoes, red chilly and coriander powders and fry for 2 minutes.
  • Add the salt and curry leaves; cook for one minute.
  • Add in the marinated prawns and cook for 3 minutes on low heat.
  • Turn off heat and garnish with fresh coriander.

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There you go! A super easy and super delicious spicy prawn gravy that is sure to satisfy your seafood craving.

This dish is a showstopper in itself; it does not need another side dish to accompany it. Serve this up with some fragrant Basmati rice or with chapatis, rotis or parathas and your meal is ready. My mom loved this gravy, but we all found it a little too spicy – the original recipe called for 1 and 1/2 tbsp of red chilly powder! Though I reduced it by a bit, it was a tad bit spicier than our liking. (don’t worry, I’ve written the revised quantity in the recipe above) Also, don’t cook the prawns for longer than 3 minutes or until they can be pricked through. I kept my prawns cooking for about 4 minutes and they ended up being a little tough.

So if you’re a seafood lover and you want to put together an aromatic flavorful prawn dish for your loved ones, and if you like your food to be ready quickly, like I do (it’s not that I don’t have patience, I just can’t wait for a long while to taste the food I’m cooking!) then this is the perfect Spicy Prawn Gravy for you. Try it out, you will not regret it.

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Kashmiri Mushroom Gravy

IMG_2336Mushrooms have always been exciting to my palate. I do not know too many people who like them – I’ve heard pure vegetarians find the texture of mushrooms to be meaty – but my family absolutely loves them! I have a fabulous cook for a mom and she has cooked many a delicious preparation with Mushrooms, but now since she’s not in town and I have taken over the cooking department for my dad and I, I’m the one who accompanies dad to the market, gets excited about fresh vegetables and fruits and decides what yummy dish to serve up next.

So a few days ago, we picked up a pack of fresh white button mushrooms, and ever since I put them into the refrigerator, I’ve been tense about what to cook with them. You see, I had never cooked mushrooms before. As always, when I have kitchen woes, I called up my mum and asked to give me her recipe, and she in turn guided me to look for a recipe in a cookbook she had lying on a shelf here. This led to me hunting down the cookbook and spending the next two hours gawking at all the delicious recipes while my stomach did somersaults and back-flips!

This Kashmiri style Mushroom gravy is absolutely delicious – the strong flavors of the fried cumin seeds and black peppercorns and the sweet aroma of the cardamom pods uplift the dish, the crispy onions add texture while the tomatoes give the gravy the much needed sourness – and as the mushrooms cook in this gravy and soak in all the flavors, the end product is well-spiced and rich in flavor.

This is what you’ll need:

  • Vegetable Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
  • Black Peppercorns – 1/2 tsp
  • Cardamom pods – 6
  • Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
  • Cumin Powder – 2 tsp
  • Coriander Powder – 2 tsp
  • Garam Masala Powder* – 1 tsp
  • Onions – 2 (finely chopped)
  • Garlic cloves – 3 (chopped)
  • Ginger – 1 inch piece (finely chopped)
  • Green Chilly – 1
  • Tomatoes – 2 large ( diced)
  • Salt – to taste
  • White Button Mushrooms – 450g
  • Coriander leaves – for garnish

*Garam Masala powder is a spice that you will find in every Indian home. It is a blend of turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, black and white peppercorns and other hot spices and just a pinch of this in a dal or vegetable gravy is enough to make the dish a star.

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Here’s how you cook this gravy

  • Heat the oil in a wok and fry the cumin seeds, black peppercorns, cardamom pods and turmeric for two minutes.
  • Fry the onions till golden brown. Stir in the cumin, coriander and garam masala powders and fry for another two minutes.
  • Add the chilly, garlic and ginger and fry, stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes and salt and cook on low flame for five minutes until the tomatoes mush up.
  • Add the chopped mushrooms, then cover the wok and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
  • Serve hot with chapati, parathas or naan. Personally, I love this gravy with a clove and raisin flavored Pulao.

Go on, mix things up in the kitchen and try this recipe out – it’s not everyday you get a delicious Mushroom dish to enjoy.

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