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Cooking up Smiles..Across the Miles


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Baked Stuffed Tomatoes..The Indianised version.

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Hello everyone. I am so glad you have stopped by. Today I am sharing another beautiful dish for your next get-together. I like to call it Stuffed Tomatoes – Indian style. This is so versatile that it can be served as an appetizer or as a main course, dry or in a gravy. Also, the stuffing I have used here is the good old potato mix, but cottage cheese (or paneer) works great here. You can also use your choice of minced meat and make this a non-vegetarian version. Just use your creativity. I am sure you will love it and so will your guests.

Lets make some pretty looking stuffed tomatoes 🙂

Ingredients:

Firm Tomatoes – 8

Oil as needed to coat the tomatoes

Boiled and mashed potatoes – 3

Oil – 2 tbsp.

Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp

Frozen Corn – 1/2 cup (You can also use frozen peas if you like)

Onion – 1 medium, finely chopped

Green Chilies – 2 chopped, optional

Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp.

Red Chilly Powder – 1/2 tsp

Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp

Garam Masala Powder – 1/2 tsp

Salt to taste

Shredded Cheese and tomato ketchup – for garnish

Method:

  1. Cut a thick slice on top of each of the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds and pulp. If your tomatoes are not balancing, you can also cut a thin layer at the bottom to make sure they stand well.
  2. Coat the tomatoes well with oil and keep aside. We will make the stuffing now.
  3. Heat oil in a medium pan and add in the cumin seeds. Once they crackle, add the ginger garlic paste and the green chilies and cook for a minute or two. Now add the chopped onion and let them cook till they are nicely brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. Finally, add in the mashed potatoes and frozen corn and mix well. Mix in the dry spices – salt, red chilly powder, turmeric and garam masala. Make sure everything is well combined. Cook the stuffing on medium heat till its well heated through and all flavors have blended in, another 5 – 6 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow it to cool.
  5. Pre heat your oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place your tomato cups on that.
  6. Once the stuffing has cooled down to touch, fill it inside the tomatoes and cover the tomatoes with their tops. Bake them for about 20 minutes till the tomatoes are soft to touch. Make sure not to over bake them as the tomato skins will rupture.
  7. Take them out when done and garnish each of the tomatoes with some shredded cheese and some tomato ketchup. Serve hot.
  8. You can also make these on the stove top. Just cover and cook them till soft.

😛

So there was another gorgeous dish for you. I hope you will give it a try and let me know.

Thanks for stopping by.

Love,

Ritu. 🙂

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17 Comments

Dhaniya or Cilantro Paneer..Go Green.

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Paneer or Indian cottage cheese is a novelty for the vegetarians. It is widely loved by all age groups due to its varied uses. You can make appetizers, dry sabji or mouth watering curries with it and not to forget some very delicious desserts. A Paneer dish is a must when I am cooking some Indian cuisine for my guests.

Here is an interesting twist to the regular Paneer curries. Its flavored with cilantro leaves and brings a beautiful green color to your platter. And not to mention, its absolutely delicious. 😛

Lets cook up some greeny delight

Ingredients:

Paneer or Indian Cottage Cheese – 500 Grams

Chopped Cilantro leaves – 3/4 cup (Feel free to use some chopped stems as well here, so much better than throwing them away)

Green Chilies – 2, optional, to taste

Garlic – 3 cloves

Ginger – 1/2 inch stick

Oil – 2 tbsp.

Onion – 2 medium, Finely grated or pureed

tomatoes – 3 medium, pureed

Ginger Garlic paste – 2 tsp

Red Chilly Powder – 1 tsp, more or less per your spice levels

Coriander Powder – 1 tsp

Cumin Powder – 1/2 tsp

Garam Masala Powder – 1/2 tsp

Salt to taste

Fenugreek leaves powder or kasoori methi – 1 tsp

Cardamom Powder – 1/4 tsp

Cream – 1/2 cup

Procedure:

  1. If you are using fresh homemade paneer, cut it into small cubes and keep aside. You can also fry the paneer cubes if you like. I did not fry it. If you just took out the paneer from the fridge, cut the pieces and put them in a bowl of warm water until ready to use. That will ensure softer paneer cubes in your curry.
  2. Blend together the chopped cilantro, green chilies, garlic cloves and ginger to a fine paste and keep aside. Add some water if needed.
  3. Heat oil in a large pan and add in the ginger garlic paste and cook for a minute. Add in the finely grated onions and let it cook for at least 5 minutes till the onions are nicely browned.
  4. Mix in the tomato puree and cook till you see some oil separating from the tomatoes. Should take another 3 – 4 minutes.
  5. Its time to add in the cilantro leaves paste and mix everything well.
  6. Lets season our curry with salt, red chilly powder, coriander and cumin powder, mix well and add about 1/2 cup of water.
  7. Once, the water comes to boil, add in the paneer cubes and let it cook for a few more minutes. Add in the garam masala powder, the fenugreek leaves powder and the cardamom powder. These spices are added towards the end to retain their fragrance.
  8. Finally mix in the cream and switch off the gas.
  9. Garnish with a spring of cilantro and serve hot with your favorite Indian bread or rice.

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So there is an interesting way to cook the good old paneer. I hope you will give it a try and me know your thoughts.

Thanks so much for reading.

Love,

Ritu. 🙂


15 Comments

Whole Tandoori Cauliflower or Gobhi

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If you are looking for a show stopper dish, this is it. It has such a good presentation that whoever looks at it has only one word – Wow. Try it out on your next get together and get ready for compliments. I came across this recipe at Show me the Curry and it was love at first sight. And when I finally made it, I knew this love would last. You must try it out yourself to believe me.

The best thing is you can just serve the whole dish as an appetizer with a chutney or dip on the side or add some sautéed onion and tomatoes to go with it and serve as a dry dish, Or make a curry and dip the whole Cauliflower in it to make a meal. Either way, it looks and tastes awesome.

Choose your style and lets get cooking.

Ingredients:

Cauliflower – 1 whole, medium size

Greek Yogurt or hung curd – 1 cup

Garlic – 4 cloves, minced

Ginger paste – 1 tbsp

Lemon Juice – 2 tbsp.

Salt to Taste

Oil – 1 tbsp

Tandoori Masala * – 2 tbsp. (Feel free to increase or decrease the quantity per your preference )

Onions – 2 medium, finely sliced

Tomatoes – 2 medium, chopped

Garam Masala – 1/2 tsp

Red chilly powder – 1/4 tsp

Salt to taste

Amchur or Mango Powder – 1/2 tsp

Coriander Powder – 1/2 tsp

Oil – 1 tbsp (This is to Sautee the masala)

Method:

  1. Cut out the leaves and stalk of the cauliflower and wash it well under running water. Make sure to keep the shape. Let the gobhi dry for sometime to make sure the marinade sticks to it.
  2. In a bowl mix the hung yogurt, ginger and garlic, lemon juice, salt, 1 tbsp. oil and the Tandoori masala.
  3. Apply a thick coat all over the cauliflower making sure to cover it well and also in between for the flavors to blend in completely.
  4. Place the cauliflower to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour, more if time permits.
  5. Preheat your oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet and place your cauliflower and bake for about 45 minutes, till tender.
  6. Broil/Grill for the last few minutes to get a nice brown golden color on your dish.
  7. While the cauliflower is baking, lets make the onion tomato masala to go on the side.
  8. Heat the 1 tbsp. oil in a skillet and add in the onions. Cook them for a few minutes till nicely brown.
  9. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for about 2 – 3 minutes till the tomatoes are nicely mashed.
  10. Now add in the salt, garam masala, chilly powder, coriander powder and the mango powder. Mix well. Add a little water if needed.
  11. That’s it. Your masala is ready. Take out the baked Gobhi or cauliflower on a serving platter and spread this masala on the side. Garnish with cilantro or mint leaves. Enjoy

*  Notes:

Here is how you can make your own tandoori masala

Red Chilly Powder – 1 tsp

Coriander Seeds – 1 tsp

Cumin Seeds – 2 tsp

Nutmeg Powder – 1/2 tsp

Black pepper Corns – 1 tsp

Whole Cloves – 1 tsp

Cinnamon Stick – 1 inch piece

Paprika – 1 tsp

Red color – 1/4 tsp (optional)

Roast all these spices in a pan for a few minutes until fragrant and ground to a fine powder. Use as needed.

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So here in a interesting and beautiful dish for your next party. Do give it a try and let me know if you like it.

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Love, Ritu. 🙂


13 Comments

Punjabi Chole..A north Indian delight

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Everyone loves chole in my house. It is a gravy preparation made with chick peas or garbanzo beans that are spiced up and best enjoyed with naan or bhature. It is a famous breakfast item but seriously can be enjoyed anytime of the day. Many people have requested for my chole recipe and I am so glad to finally pen it down. Do give it a try, I am sure you will love it. 🙂

Here is how I make it.

Ingredients:

Chole or Chick Peas – 1 cup

Dried Amla – 2 or 3 pieces

Tea Bags – 2

Onion – 1 medium, finely chopped

Tomatoes – 2 medium, finely chopped

Garlic cloves – 3, finely chopped

Ginger – 1/2 inch, finely shredded

Oil – 2 tbsp.

Chole Masala – 1 tbsp.

Coriander Powder – 1 tbsp.

Pomegranate seeds powder – 1 tsp

Dry Mango Powder – 1 tsp

Red Chilly Powder – 1tsp

Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp

Salt to taste

Cumin Seeds – 1 tbsp

Bay Leaf – 1 medium

Cinnamon Stick – 1/2 inch

Cloves – 2

Black pepper Corns – 3

Black whole Cardamom – 1

Water – as needed

For final tempering

Ghee or clarified butter – 1 tbsp.

Ginger juliennes – 1 tbsp.

Green chilies – 2, slit

For Garnish:

Chopped cilantro leaves

Onion – finely chopped

lemon – cut into quarters

Method:

  1. Soak the chole overnight in water or for at least for 6 – 8 hours.
  2. Pressure cook the chole with amla, tea bags, salt and enough water until soft. This should take about 30 minutes. The tea bags give the chole a nice black color. Just make sure to discard the amla and tea bags after pressure cooking the Chole.
  3. While that is happening, lets make the masalas. Dry roast the following spices – Bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and black pepper corns. Keep stirring until fragrant. Once done, let it cool down and grind to a fine powder. All except the bay leaf.
  4. In a large pan, add the oil and let it heat up.  Add in the cumin seeds and let it crackle. Now add the ginger and garlic and let it cook for a min till lightly brown.
  5. Add the chopped onions and let it cook for about 5 minutes till they are cooked through and translucent. Finally mix in the chopped tomatoes and cook till they ooze out some oil. That’s when you know its done.
  6. Its time to add in all the dry spices – the powdered garam masala, chole masala, coriander powder, pomegranate seed powder, dry mango powder, red chilly powder, turmeric and salt. Remember that we have already salted the chole while pressure cooking. Add some water to make sure the dry spices do not burn. Mix well.
  7. Now add the pressure cooked chole to this masala and about 1.5 cups of the water in which we had boiled the chole. Cover and let it cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Once, all the flavors have blended through, take about 1/2 cup of the chole from that gravy and mash it well and add it back to the chole. This helps to thicken up the gravy as well as flavor it. Let it boil for another few minutes.
  9. Finally do a taste test to make sure its per your preference.
  10. For the final tempering, heat ghee in a small pan and add in the ginger juliennes and slit green chilies. Let it cook for a minute and add this to the chole gravy. Mix it well and turn off the flame. Cover it for a few minutes for the flavors to blend in.
  11. Finally garnish it with chopped cilantro leaves and enjoy it with your favorite naan, bhature or puri with a side of chopped onions and lemon wedges.

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So that is how I make my chole. You can also top it with some tamarind chutney and that takes it to an another level. 😀

Do give it a try and let me know. Thanks so much for reading.

See you soon.

Love,

Ritu. 🙂


21 Comments

Butter Chicken..Sinfully Delicious Recipe

IMG_1349IMG_1320Butter Chicken is probably one of the most well know dish in the Indian cuisine. It originated in North India but is made and enjoyed all over the world. It is made with marinated and grilled chicken that is finally cooked in a tomato based gravy. The traditional preparation is with chicken on bones and is generally more spicy. I however like it without bones and a little on the milder side as per my family preference. Feel free to change the spices as per your taste buds.

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Lets make some creamy and delicious butter chicken 😛

Ingredients:

For the First Marinade

Chicken thighs, cut into small bite sized pieces – 1 pound (Feel free to use chicken with bones or chicken breasts)

Lemon Juice – 1 tbsp.

Red chilly powder – 1 tsp, preferably the Kashmiri Red Chilly Powder

Salt to taste

For the Second Marinade

Hung Curd or Greek Yogurt – 1/2 cup

Ginger paste – 2 tsp

Garlic paste – 2 tsp

Garam Masala Powder – 1 tsp

Oil – 2 tsp

Red color – 1/2 tsp, optional

For the Gravy / Sauce

Butter – 2 tbsp.

Green Cardamom – 2

Cinnamon Stick – 1 inch piece

Black Cardamom – 1

Cloves – 2

Black pepper corns – about 3 – 4

Tomatoes – 4, medium, roughly chopped

Tomato Sauce – 1/4 cup, (And no, I am not referring to Ketchup here, this gives a good color)

Garlic paste – 1 tsp

Ginger paste – 1 tsp

Kashmiri Red Chilly Powder – 1/2 tsp

Salt to taste

Honey – 1 tbsp. (Can use Sugar, this is just to balance out the sourness of tomatoes and not to make a sweet gravy)

Kasoori Methi Powder or crushed dried fenugreek leaves – 1 tsp

Cream – 1/2 cup (more or less as per your preference)

For Garnish – Slit green chilies and ginger juliennes, chopped cilantro leaves

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Method:

  1. Lets start with the first marinade. Coat the chicken pieces well with lemon juice, salt and chilly powder and leave it aside for about an hour, preferably in the fridge.
  2. Now mix all the ingredients listed under the second marinade and coat the chicken well with it. Leave it in the fridge for at least 4 – 6 hours or overnight, if you have the time.
  3. Once the chicken has marinated well, its time to grill the chicken. Put the chicken pieces on the skewers and baste them with some oil or butter. This can be done in your oven or also in a skillet on the stove top. I usually broil them in my oven for about 20 – 25 minutes, turning midway, till I get a nice brown color on the chicken. You can also bake them at 400F. Just make sure to broil towards the end to get a nice color.
  4. It is very important to not over cook the chicken as it will get cooked in the gravy too.
  5. While the chicken is cooking, we can make the sauce. In a large pan, heat the oil and add the green and black cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves and black pepper corns. Sautee it for about 2 minutes.
  6. Add in the ginger and garlic paste and let it cook for another minute.
  7. Finally, add in the chopped tomatoes and let them cook for about 5 minutes. You will know its done when the tomatoes start leaving some oil or butter. You can also puree the tomatoes and add to this gravy but I feel the taste is better when we cook the tomatoes first and then puree it.
  8. Add in the tomato sauce, salt and red chilly powder and mix well. Add half cup of water and let it boil. Once everything is well mixed, transfer this to a blender including the whole spices and make a smooth paste. This ensures a silky gravy and also that you do not bite into the whole spices in your gravy.
  9. Once done, strain this sauce through a strainer to get a smooth and velvety gravy.
  10. Bring this gravy back to the pan and add in the chicken pieces. Cover and cook the chicken pieces in this gravy for about 10 minutes stirring in between. Add more water if needed.
  11. Once the chicken is well cooked, add in the honey and the kasoori methi powder and mix well.
  12. Finally add in the fresh cream, stir well and let it cook for a minute.
  13. Do a final taste test. Garnish it with slit green chilies, ginger juliennes and chopped cilantro leaves. Dig in.

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So there you have it, the recipe for the best tasting chicken dish in this world. Do give it a try and let me know if you like it.

Thanks so much for reading. See you again soon.

Love

Ritu. 🙂


3 Comments

Easy and Quick Chicken and Broccoli…Great weeknight dinner option

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I love Chinese takeout. Its quick and delicious, plus I get a break from cooking. We all have those busy weeknights when cooking is the last thing in our mind. So when I came across this quick Chicken and Broccoli recipe on Gimme Some Oven, I loved it. It was like bringing the takeout to your home. Its quick, easy and delicious. I wasted no time in trying it out and was amazed at how quickly it was ready. And the sauce was so delicious. 😛

If you are looking for an easy and quick dinner option, I highly recommend this. I tried it with broccoli just as the recipe suggested which turned out great but you can easily substitute it for any other vegetable of your choice, or make it just with chicken alone. It will taste delicious, I can assure you.

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Here is how I made it.

Ingredients:

Olive Oil – 2 tbsp

Chicken Breasts – boneless, skinless – 2, cut them into small pieces to speed up the cooking

broccoli – 1 medium size, cut into florets

Garlic cloves – 2, mined

Ginger – 1 tsp, finely chopped

Soy sauce – 3 tbsp.

vinegar – 2 tbsp.

honey or agave nectar – 2 tbsp.

Corn starch – 1 tbsp.

Salt and pepper to taste

For garnish – thinly sliced green onions and sesame seeds

Method:

  1. Lets start with cooking the chicken. Take 1 tbsp. of oil in a large skillet and add the chicken. Let it cook on medium heat till the chicken is cooked thoroughly. It would take about 5 – 7 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken pieces.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, we can make our sauce. In a mixing bowl add the remaining 1 tbsp. of oil, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, corn starch, garlic, ginger and the salt and pepper. Mix it well till everything is well combined.
  3. Once the chicken is almost done, add in the broccoli florets and let them cook for another 2 -3 minutes. Make sure to retain both the color and crunch of the broccoli.
  4. Its time to add in your sauce. Mix it well with the chicken and broccoli and let it cook for another minute or two. The sauce will thicken and coat the chicken well.
  5. That’s it done. Garnish it with some green onions and sesame seeds and enjoy it with some rice or noodles.

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So thanks again Gimme Some Oven for this delightful dish which I will make it again soon. 😀

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Do try it and let me know if you liked it. Thanks for reading. See you again soon.

Love,

Ritu. 🙂


7 Comments

Shrimp/Prawns Red Thai Curry..Can be made Vegetarian.

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Red curry is a popular Thai dish made with Thai paste and coconut milk. It can be made with your choice of meat or by adding veggies and tofu. Its like a soup, best had with jasmine rice. It comes together really quickly, especially if you use store bought red curry paste. However, sometimes the red curry paste also has shrimp or fish sauce, so just check the ingredients before buying, if you prefer a complete vegetarian curry. You can also make your own red curry paste. I have included the recipe below.

Here is how to make the red curry:

Ingredients:

Oil – 1 tbsp

Coconut Milk – 1 can 14 oz

Thai red curry paste – 2 tbsp. (Adjust based on spice preference)

Brown Sugar – 1 Tbsp

Large Shrimp – peeled and deveined – 1 Lb

Mixed vegetables of your choice – 1 cup, I have used onions, red & green pepper, carrots and baby corn. Feel free to use what you like here.

Fish Sauce or Soy Sauce – 1 tbsp

Fresh Thai basil – for garnish

Method:

  1. Heat oil in the big pan and add the red curry paste. Mix it well and make sure its heated through.
  2. Add in the can of coconut milk and let it come to a gentle simmer.
  3. Once the milk has come to a boil, add the sugar and soy sauce or fish sauce, if using. Mix well and let it cook for a minute.
  4. If you would like to make this with chicken, you can add bite sized chicken breasts here and let them cook before you add the veggies.
  5. Its time to add all the veggies. We need to make sure that the veggies are not over cooked. Mix everything well.
  6. Add the shrimp (or Tofu, if making the vegetarian version) now and allow it to cook. Be very gentle while mixing.
  7. Let the curry cook for about 3 – 4 minutes and make sure the shrimp is well cooked. (Or the Tofu is well heated)
  8. Check the seasoning to ensure it suits your taste buds.
  9. Finally garnish it with thai basil leaves and dig in. Its best enjoyed with some Jasmine Rice.

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