Chapli Kabab

Chapli Kabab4Chicken Chapli Kababs are a great alternative to the all time favorite American burger. I first tasted Chapli Kabab in a Pakistani restaurant in Washington, D.C. You can use minced beef, lamb or chicken to make these spicy and delicious kababs.

This recipe makes about 40 chapli kababs but you can easily halve the recipe. I was cooking for a large crowd and hence the larger amount. I bought two pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thigh meat and two pounds of chicken breast meat and put it in the freezer for about an hour before I minced it in a food processor. Using dark and white meat kept the kababs moist. You can also buy minced chicken at the grocery store. I used gram flour in this recipe which is called “besan” in Hindi. Besan is made from ground, dried chickpeas, a legume known as chana dal in India. The gram flour can be purchased from an Indian grocery store.

I was lucky to have my daughter in the kitchen helping me fry the chapli kababs, while I formed the balls, flattened them, and put them in the pan. Since I had help, we put three pans on the stove and that made the job of frying the kababs much faster. You might also want to enlist some help when you make them. The chapli kababs freeze well and all you need to do is microwave them for a few minutes before serving. Try them on buns or sandwich thins with a little mayo. That’s how my kids like to eat them.

Chapli Kababs
4 pounds minced chicken
2 cups roughly chopped spring onion (white and green parts)
2 tablespoons grated garlic
2 tablespoons roughly chopped ginger
2 tablespoons roughly chopped green chillies (optional)
2 roughly chopped roma tomatoes
½ cup roughly chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chilli flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons roasted and crushed coriander seeds
3 teaspoons gram flour (besan)
Kosher salt to taste
Oil for shallow frying

In a small pan, over low heat, roast the coriander seeds. Crush them in a motar and pestle and set aside.

Put the spring onions, garlic, ginger, chillies, tomatoes, cilantro, and chilli flakes into a food processor and blend until they are finely chopped.

In a large bowl, put minced chicken, the chopped ingredients, the gram flour, the roasted and crushed coriander seeds, and salt. Using your hands mix until just combined. Make 40 balls and place them on two parchment lined trays. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. (I found that using a bowl of water and dipping my hands in them made it easier to make the balls and also in flattening them. You might want to try that.)

Heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot add two tablespoons of oil and gently swirl the oil in the pan so that it coats the whole surface of the pan. Flatten each ball into a large, thin cutlet or chapli kabab – as thin as you can make them. Fry in batches. Put only two or three kababs at a time in the pan. Fry each side for about three minutes or until they get nicely browned and then turn them over and fry the other side as well. Remove them on to paper towel lined trays. Make the rest of the chapli kababs in the same manner. Garnish the chapli kababs with coriander and mint leaves, spring onions and lemon wedges. Serve them with wheat thins, mayo or cilantro and mint chutney. The recipe for the cilantro and mint chutney can be found at the bottom of the Bangalore Vadais post.

Mattar Paneer Curry

Muttar Paneer2

Mattar Paneer Curry is a North Indian dish made with paneer and peas. The sauce is spicy, creamy and slightly sweet. Mattar Paneer is a dish I make frequently when I entertain, especially when my guests are vegetarian.

To keep the paneer soft and moist, fry the pieces until they turn light brown, remove with a slotted spoon, and put them directly into warm water. Just before they go into the curry, gently dab them with paper towels, to remove as much water as possible.

I think this recipe comes pretty close the popular Indian restaurant versions. I hope you will try it and give me your feedback. You can buy paneer and kasoori methi at Indian grocery stores.

Mattar Paneer
To be ground in a blender
1 cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
½ cup chopped cilantro

To fry the paneer
14 oz paneer (400 grams)
3 tablespoons oil
5 cups warm water

To make the mattar paneer curry
3 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ cup chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons coriander powder
2 teaspoons Kashmiri chilli powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon cumin powder
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
2 cups water
2 teaspoons kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
2 tablespoons cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice

To be ground in a blender
Grind chopped onion, ginger, garlic, and cilantro in a blender. Set aside.

To fry the paneer
Cut the paneer into small pieces. I cut my paneer into small rectangular pieces. In a non-stick frying pan, over medium heat, add one tablespoon of oil and then add a few pieces of paneer at a time and fry until light brown. Remove and put them directly into warm water. Repeat with the rest of the oil and paneer. Set aside.

To make the mattar paneer curry
Heat three tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers add cumin seeds. When they splutter add the ground onion, ginger, garlic, and cilantro. Sauté until it turns light brown and begins to stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, scrape the bottom of the pan well, and fry until the oil separates. Add the coriander, chilli, turmeric and cumin powder. Sauté for one minute and then add the peas. Add water, cover and cook until the peas are done.

In the mean time, drain the paneer pieces and with paper towels gently remove excess water. Add the paneer to the curry. Crush kasoori methi in the palm of your hand and add it to the curry. Add cream and lemon juice. Stir gently and cook for five minutes. Serve mattar paneer with rice, chapatis or naan.

Mint Limeade

Mint Limeade9Are you excited about the upcoming 4th of July celebrations? I am, because this year we will spend the day with our dear friends, the Davids, the Samuels, and the Johns. They know how to put on a show with great food, patriotic decorations, and sparklers.

Last week I shared a simple potato salad recipe that you can make for your 4th of July picnic or barbecue. This week I thought I would share my recipe for Mint Limeade – something to cool you down on a hot summer afternoon.

Whatever your plans may be this 4th of July – have fun and be safe. Happy Birthday, America!

Mint Limeade
For the Simple Syrup
1½ cups granulated sugar
1½ cups water
1 tablespoon lime zest

For the Mint Limeade
40 mint leaves
1 cup fresh lime juice
2 cups simple syrup
4 cups cold water
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups ice cubes (or crushed ice)
sprigs of mint leaves and lime wedges for garnish

For the Simple Syrup
Bring sugar, water and lime zest to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. As soon as the sugar dissolves, remove from heat and cool. Stain and discard lime zest. Refrigerate until chilled.

For the Mint Limeade
In a large pitcher, add mint leaves. Take the handle of a wooden spoon and gently bruise mint leaves to open it up and let their natural oils give flavor to the drink. Add lime juice, 2 cups simple syrup, 4 cups cold water, salt and ice cubes or crushed ice. Stir and taste for sweet and sour balance. Chill, strain and serve over ice. Garnish each glass with mint leaves and lime wedges.

Potato Salad

Potato Salad3America’s independence day is around the corner and one of our family favorites for 4th of July celebrations is potato salad. I usually use Russet potatoes for my salad but this time I experimented with Yukon gold potatoes instead. I’m happy to report that I really liked the flavor and texture it added to my otherwise simple recipe. The smoked paprika also added great depth of flavor. Try it and let me know if you feel the same as I do.

Happy 4th of July.

Potato Salad
12 medium Yukon gold potatoes (about 3 lbs)
5 eggs
6 cornichons (small pickled gherkins), chopped
3 whole green onions, chopped (use white and light green parts only)
2 stalks celery, chopped
1¼ cups mayonnaise
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon black pepper

Wash and boil potatoes in salted water until they are tender when tested with a fork. Drain, cool, peel and chop into bite sized cubes.

Place the eggs in a pot and cover them with cold water. Once the water comes to a boil, cover the pot with a lid and turn off the heat. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Cool, peel and chop them into bite size pieces.

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, eggs, cornichons, green onion and celery. Add mayonnaise, salt, paprika, and black pepper. Gently stir so that it coats the potatoes, eggs and other ingredients evenly. Refrigerate for at least three hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Tuna Cutlets

Tuna Cutlet3Tuna cutlets used to be a popular item on my menu several years ago. I made some over the weekend so I thought I would share my recipe with you. The list of ingredients may look daunting but this recipe is a keeper and you will be happy you tried it. Sometimes I add a handful of chopped walnuts into the mix and it adds a great crunch to the cutlet.

You can use these cutlets as a side dish, an appetizer, or a snack. I have used them in sandwiches with a chipolte mayonnaise spread or cilantro and mint chutney. I’ve also eaten them just rolled up with some chopped onions in a naan or paratha. Eat them any way you please!

Tuna Cutlets
3 7oz cans (I used white tuna in water)
2 medium potatoes, boiled and mashed
2 cups finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
6 finely chopped green chillies, optional
½ cup finely chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon chilli powder
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon pepper powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
Salt
2 tablespoons lime juice
½ cup all purpose flour
3 eggs
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Oil for seasoning and shallow frying

Drain and flake the tuna using a fork. Set aside.

Heat a non stick pan over medium high heat. Add three tablespoons of oil and when it shimmers add the chopped onion and fry until the onions turn light brown. Add ginger, garlic, and green chillies. Sauté for two minutes. Turn the heat to low and add the chilli powder, pepper, turmeric, garam masala and two teaspoons of salt. Sauté for a minute and then add the tuna. Fry until the pieces of tuna turn light brown. Add chopped cilantro and lemon juice and turn off the heat. Let the tuna mixture cool for 10-15 minutes and then add the mashed potato. Mix well with a potato masher. At this point you might want to taste to see if you need more salt. Form the cutlets into whatever shape you desire.

Arrange the breading ingredients in an assembly-line fashion. First, in a shallow dish season flour with ¼ teaspoon salt. In another shallow dish, whisk eggs with one tablespoon water and ¼ teaspoon salt. In a third shallow dish put the panko bread crumbs. Working with one piece at a time, dredge both sides of the cutlet in the flour, knocking off the excess. Then dip both sides of floured cutlet in the egg mixture. Finally, coat both sides of the cutlet with panko bread crumbs.

Set a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat and pour in enough oil for shallow frying, about one and a half inches. When the oil is hot, about five minutes, add the cutlets. Fry them in batches rather than over crowding the skillet. Fry the cutlets until golden brown on both sides. Transfer them to a paper towel-lined tray. These cutlets can be served with a cilantro and mint chutney. The recipe for the cilantro and mint chutney can be found at the bottom of the Bangalore Vadais post.

Vegetable Biriyani with Quinoa

quinoa5
The UN declared 2013 as the “International Year of Quinoa” in recognition of ancestral practices of the Andean people, who preserved quinoa as food for our generation and for generations to come.

I found quinoa at my local Costco and thought I would feature this grain-like seed in my blog today. Quinoa is considered a superfood and valued for it high protein content. It is a good source of dietary fiber and calcium and thus great for vegans who are lactose intolerant. It is also gluten-free.

Wash the quinoa in several changes of water and soak it for 20-30 minutes before you cook with it. It cooks really well in a rice cooker and I use a ratio of one cup quinoa to one and a half cups of water.

Vegetable Biriyani with Quinoa
For the masala mix
2 teaspoons coconut oil
1 inch piece cinnamon, broken into small bits
4 cloves
2 cardamoms
½ cup grated coconut
1 large red onion, roughly chopped
10 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons roughly chopped ginger
3 green chillies, roughly chopped
½ cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped

For the quinoa
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups quinoa, washed in several changes of water
, soaked for 30 minutes and drained
1 medium carrot, cubed
1 small red capsicum, cubed
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup cashew nuts, fried in a little oil

For the masala mix
In a small frying pan, over medium-high heat, add coconut oil and lightly fry cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Remove and cool. Grind the fried spices and the rest of the ingredients for the masala mix in a blender. Set aside.

For the quinoa
Heat coconut oil in a large pot. Add the masala mix and fry for about five minutes. Add turmeric and the quinoa and fry for another three minutes. Add the vegetables, salt and water and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, turn heat to low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff up the quinoa with a fork. Add lemon juice, garnish with fried cashew nuts and serve. Alternately, you can cook the quinoa in a rice cooker.

Potato, Leek, and Jalapeno Frittata

Potato, Leek and Jalapeno Frittata2

This is an easy egg dish to make when you have guests for breakfast or brunch. The recipe is so versatile, you can add just about any ingredient you fancy and it makes an impressive main dish or side for your table. In fact, the combination of eggs, grated potatoes, and cheese, makes this an all-in-one full breakfast. Add some blueberry pancakes, and you can skip the trip the your local diner!

If you try this recipe with a combination of ingredients that you love, please share the recipe with me and the rest your fellow readers.

Potato, Leek, and Jalapeno Frittata
3 tablespoon butter
3 cups grated potatoes
3 cups sliced leeks, white and light-green parts thinly sliced
3 jalapeno peppers, seeds and membranes removed and finely chopped
8 eggs
¾ cup grated mozzarella cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Grease a nine-inch pie dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Heat butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add potato, leek, and jalapeno. Stir and cook for about eight minutes, until potatoes are softened. Cool for a few minutes and then spread evenly on the bottom of the pie dish. You can even do this a day ahead. Cover with a saran wrap and keep refrigerated until you are ready to make the frittata.

In a large bowl beat eggs, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, salt, and pepper. Pour egg mixture over the potato, leek and jalapeno mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Test to make sure that the eggs are set and the top is golden brown. Garnish each slice with a leek knot as seen in the picture. This frittata makes a beautiful dish for brunch.

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Blueberry Coffee cake6I hope all of you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! My daughter-in-law, Dharti, graduated with a Masters in Psychology so our family and friends celebrated all weekend. The blueberry coffee cake was part of brunch on Monday morning and one of my toughest food critics, my son, said this was his new favorite cake. I hope it will become one of your favorites too.

Here’s a quick tip before you dive in: Dust the blueberries with flour before you fold them into the cake and also when you scatter them on top. This keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the cake while it bakes.

Blueberry Coffee Cake
Adapted from The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook

For the Cake
2 cups flour plus 1 teaspoon
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
½ cup fresh blueberries

For the Topping
½ cup fresh blueberries
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan.

For the Cake
Sift two cups of flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy. It will take about two minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated. Turn the mixer to low speed, add one-third of the flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Then beat in half of the milk. Add half of the remaining flour, beating until incorporated and then add the remaining half cup of milk. Finally add the remaining flour and beat until incorporated.

Toss the blueberries in a small bowl with half a teaspoon of flour. Make sure that the blueberries are coated with flour before you gently fold them into the batter. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and make the topping.

For the Topping
Toss the blueberries with the remaining half teaspoon of flour and scatter them over the top of the batter. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the batter. Bake on the middle rack of your oven for 45 minutes. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes and then cut and arrange them on a cake platter. They taste heavenly when eaten warm.

Thai Salad

Thai salad1Last year I visited my brother and sister-in-law in Thailand. The food was incredible and they made sure that I had an opportunity to taste everything. The only fruit I didn’t taste was durian. Maybe next time!

I thought I would share with you a Thai inspired salad. It’s 100% vegetarian – no fish sauce. The dressing is easy to make and my family loved it. I use maple syrup which gives the dressing an unusual flavor. It’s a great companion to your favorite fiery Thai dish, but compliments non-Thai dishes as well.

Thai Salad
1 head Napa cabbage, shredded (6-7 cups)
1 head purple cabbage, shredded (6-7 cups)
1 large English cucumber, julienned
3 small carrots, peeled and grated
2 cups shelled edamame, cooked
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 cup roasted peanuts to garnish

Put all the above ingredients, except the peanuts, in a large salad bowl. The recipe for the cilantro and lime dressing is given below.

For the Cilantro and lime dressing:
1 cup lime juice
¼ cup Turbinado sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
2 cups roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, grated
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ cup olive oil
2 teaspoons finely grated lime rind

Blend lime juice, sugar, maple syrup, cilantro, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a blender until smooth. Remove the dressing into a small bowl and stir in the grated lime rind. Top each serving of salad with two tablespoons of dressing and garnish with roasted peanuts. Serve the remaining dressing on the side, because people always ask for more!

Bombay Toast with Yoghurt Topping and Strawberry Jam

Bombay Toast5The smell of Bombay Toast wafting up from the kitchen is a delightful memory that I have from my childhood. Thick slices of white bread from Kayani bakery, dipped in a batter of eggs, sugar and milk and shallow fried in Amul butter – yum!

Well, here is a bumped up version that I recently made for brunch with two of my friends. The yoghurt topping is easy to make and goes well with pancakes and waffles too. My homemade strawberry jam added a touch of color to this composition. Enjoy!

Bombay Toast with Yoghurt and Strawberry Topping
8 eggs
1½ cups half-and-half or milk
1 teaspoon orange zest
½ teaspoon vanilla
1½ tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon salt
1 large loaf challah or brioche bread, cut into ¾ inch slices
Vegetable oil and butter for shallow frying

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and set it aside. Whisk eggs, half-and-half, orange zest, vanilla, honey, and salt in a large, wide-mouth bowl. Soak two or three slices of bread, at a time, in the egg mixture for two minutes on one side. Turn them over and soak the other side for two minutes.

Place a large frying pan over medium heat. Add one tablespoon oil and one tablespoon butter. When the butter melts, gently add the soaked slices of bread. Cook for two to three minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Fry the remaining soaked slices of bread, adding oil and butter as needed. Place the prepared Bombay toast on the sheet pan and keep them warm in the oven until ready to serve. Serve with maple syrup, yoghurt topping and jam of your choice.

Yoghurt Topping
1 cup yoghurt
½ cup cool whip
¼ cup maple syrup

Whisk the yoghurt, cool whip and maple syrup in a small bowl until creamy and smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.