Vegetable Jalfrezi Mixed Vegetables in a Spicy Masala

Vegetable Jalfrezy….This medley of vegetables in a spicy masala is a delicious option for an Indian meal. I was cleaning my refrigerator yesterday and that’s when I found half a capsicum, a few florets of cauliflower and a single carrot lying in the vegetable basket. These vegetables makes for a delicious mix vegetable curry and so without much brain storming, my dinner plan was ready. Frozen peas from the freezer and a packet of paneer added to this array of colorful veggies made into a lip smacking Vegetable Jalfrezi in no time. You can enjoy this dish with laccha Paratha or Naan. Here is the recipe to make it
All you need is

  • Ghee – 2 tbsp
  • Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Cumin Zeera – 12 tsp
  • Onion – 12 cup ( thinly sliced )
  • Ginger garlic paste – 2 tsp
  • Green chili – 2  ( slit into half )
  • Tomato puree – 3 tbsp
  • Tomato ketchup – 2 tbsp
  • Coriander powder – 2 tsp
  • Red chili powder – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 12 tsp
  • Garam masala powder – 12 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Paneer – 250 g ( cut into small pieces )
  • Mixed vegetables – 2 cups ( I used capsicum, cauliflower, carrot and peas )
  • Kasuri methi – 1 tbsp
  • Sugar – 12 tsp
  • Lemon juice – 2 tbsp
  • Fresh cream – 2 tbsp
  • Fresh coriander for garnishing

Vegetable Jalfrezi Recipe

  1. Heat oil in a pan.
  2. When the oil is hot, add cumin seeds.
  3. When the seeds starts to crackle, add onion and fry till slightly browned.
  4. Add ginger garlic paste and fry till the onions are nicely browned.
  5. Add green chili, tomato puree and tomato ketchup.
  6. Fry for a minute.
  7. Add coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder and salt.
  8. Add 2 tbsp water.
  9. Fry for 2-3 minutes.
  10. Add mixed vegetables and cover and cook till done.
  11. Add paneer, kasuri methi, sugar, lemon juice and fresh cream and cook for a minute.
  12. Garnish with fresh coriander.
  13. Serve hot with laccha paratha or Naan.

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Easy {30 Minute} Shrimp Pad Thai

My first real job was working in a Chinese restaurant. In fact I worked there for three years, straight through high school until I left for college. I started as a hostess and all I did was seat people. All. Night. Long. 

After some time I proved myself proficiently skilled in arranging tables and truly mastered the phrase, “Party of two? Right this way please.” It’s really an art. 
As much as I loved walking walking back and forth through the restaurant with stacks of menus, I was overjoyed when I was promoted to cashier. And it didn’t take long for me to tackle a second position, Chef To-Go. 

Okay that’s not actually a real title, I just took take-out orders and packed them in addition to my cashier duties. But man, I was one heck of a chinese-food-packer. Wrapping those foldable boxes in cellophane is trickier than it looks. Trust me, I know. 

And you would not believe how many people expect you to just know that they are allergic to peanuts and how dare you put them in my order
Eventually, I became a waitress. And that was my real time to shine. At one point I swear I could carry a full tray of water glasses in one hand and five fully-dressed salad plates on the other arm all at the same time. I considered joining the traveling circus, but when they couldn’t guarantee the income I was already generating in tips at the restaurant, I decided to let that dream go. 
Sometimes I still wonder if I passed up my true calling in life. 
I don’t know the name of the chef who worked in our restaurant. I should, but I don’t. Because we only called him X. I’m completely serious. X, I need a second order of the lo mein, but hold the onions! 

At the end of the night when the last customers had finally wandered out and we began cleaning and resetting the place for another day, X would fix us something delicious. Sometimes he’d ask what we wanted and we would request our favorites from the menu. But other times, he’d surprise us with new creations. 
One such night he presented us with a gigantic bowl of something I didn’t recognize, though many of my more Asian-cuisine-savvy coworkers apparently were familiar with and loved the dish. I dished it up. Ate it. (with chopsticks p.s.) And loooooved it. Turns out it was shrimp pad thai. 

Shrimp pad thai, come to mama. 
I left that phase of my life long ago when I left for college, and I’ve had several jobs since. Sometimes I think back though and remember some of the seriously amazing dishes that X would make for the crew each night. One thing is for sure, I’ll never forget that first time I tried shrimp pad thai. 

I’ve had it many times since and I just cannot get enough. I’ve been dying to have it for a while and finally decided it just needed to be done. I had to make it. With real fish sauce. Because that’s the legit way to do it. So I bought some fish sauce, and brought on a wave of nostalgia with this Asian beauty of a meal. If you like pad thai, you’ll love this. If you’ve never had pad thai? Well then it’s about dang time you tried it. 
*Recipe adapted from SkinnyTaste

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Best Hummus Middle Eastern Chickpea Dip

Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip made with chickpeas as the main ingredient.  I was introduced to this delicious dip a few years back by one of my husband’s aunt who had spent many years in middle east. I instantly fell in love with this versatile dip. Serve it with crackers or slather it over your bread slice to make sandwiches, it tastes lovely in all it’s avatars. Although the ingredients are very basic to make Hummus, a few tips and tricks takes it to another level. After making it innumerable times, I have come up with a recipe which tastes delicious each time. Here is the recipe to make the best Hummus.

All you need is

Chickpea – 1 cup
Garlic cloves – 12-14
Tahini – 4 tbsp ( mix 4 tbsp sesame seeds with 2 tbsp olive oil and little water and blend in a blender to make a smooth paste )
Extra virgin olive oil – 8 tbsp
Lemon juice – 5 tbsp
Salt to taste
Roasted cumin powder – 12 tsp
Chili flakes – 1 tsp
Warm water from boiled chickpeas – 3-4 tbsp


Method of preparation

Wash and soak chickpeas in enough water for 5-6 hours.
Drain the water.
Add chickpeas and 2 cups of water in a pressure cooker and pressure cook the chickpeas till done.
Drain the water reserving 3-4 tbsp for the hummus.
Add all the ingredients including the boiled chickpeas in a blender and blend to make a smooth hummus.
Serve with pita or any other crackers.


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Fifty Must-Make Fall Treats

It’s September people. 

As insanely weepy as I am to be letting go of Summer… I think it’s time to embrace the upcoming season. The one full of pumpkin pie, caramel apples, cinnamon everything, changing leaf colors, and riding boots.

Hello Autumn. I have missed you. And allow me to just take a moment to celebrate your return with this collection of absolutely MUST MAKE Fall Treats… 

Ummm…. Where on earth do I start???

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Muttabal Middle Eastern Eggplant Dip

Muttabal.. is a Middle eastern Dip made with eggplant. The eggplant is cooked on fire to give it a smoky flavor and it is then blended with other ingredients and spices to make Muttabal. Enjoy this delicious dip with Pita bread, crackers or as a sandwich spread. Here is how to make Muttabal


All you need is

Eggplant – 1
Onion – 14 cup ( finely chopped )
Tomato – 14 cup ( finely chopped )
Tahini – 2 tbsp
Lemon juice – 2 tbsp
Garlic – 6-8
Hung curd – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Olive oil – 2 tbsp
Chili flakes – 1 tsp
Fresh coriander – 1 tsp ( chopped )


Recipe of Muttabal

Wash the eggplant and pat dry.
Make a few incisions on the eggplant and roast directly on a gas stove or in an oven till the skin turns black and the flesh is softened.
Remove the blackened skin of the eggplant.
Add the flesh and remaining ingredients in a blender and just blend once or twice to make a coarse dip.
Serve with pita or any other crackers.


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White Chocolate Chip {Lime} Cookies

I can’t believe this holiday weekend is almost over. Just like Summer. Where does time go?  And how is it that I can never ever seem to catch up? Time moves forward at the same steady pace, second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour… while I keep upping my cruise control. Faster, faster, faster…. And still time eludes me. 

Remember in grade school, how the school year was forever long and seemed to drag by… Nine months felt like an eternity. And now that our years in the “real world” actually work according to the 12 full months, they just zoom by, like a car on the highway. 

It’s beyond me. 
But back to the holiday weekend. Happy Memoria Labor Day! (Oops… gotta get my holidays straight here.) We’ve spent most of the weekend at the lake with my husband’s family; boating, relaxing, eating, swimming, eating… (yes I intentionally said eating twice). (Did you see my instagram pics??)

But. My mother asked me to make cookies for the family Labor Day BBQ.  So before I ran out the door for the drive to the Lake (and I do mean ran since I’m always running about 7 minutes behind schedule) I busted out this batch of cookies. 
I’ve been on a lime kick. I just can’t get enough. And I think it may have started with that insane Coconut Lime {Greek Yogurt} Pound Cake. Followed shortly thereafter by the Blackberry Lime Layer Cake which nearly caused me to bleed to death, burn the house down, and give up cake-baking for eternity. 

We’ve repaired our relationship however and I will indeed be making more cakes in the future.
If you liked this, you’ll love…


Chef In Training

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Falafel Middle Eastern Deep Fried Chickpea Balls

Falafel is a very popular Middle Eastern street food. It is basically a deep fried ball or patty made with chickpeas and herbs and spices. Chickpeas are soaked for a few hours and then ground to a coarse paste along with herbs like parsley and coriander and then a few spices are added to the mixture to give it a lovely flavor. 
Making falafel is very easy and it can be eaten as is along with some dip or can also be stuffed inside a pita pocket along with some tomato slices, greens and onions to make a delicious sandwich.
Here is the recipe to make Falafel from scratch.

All you need is

  • Chole Chickpeas – 1 cup
  • Onion – 12 cup ( finely chopped )
  • Garlic – 6-8 cloves ( chopped )
  • Fresh parsley – 14 cup
  • Fresh coriander – 14 cup
  • Roasted cumin powder – 12 tsp
  • Red chili powder – 12 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper powder – 12 tsp
  • All purpose flour – 2 tbsp
  • Baking powder – 14 tsp
  • Baking soda – 14 tsp
  • Oil for frying


Falafel Recipe

  1. Wash and soak chickpeas in enough water for 5-6 hours.
  2. Drain the water.
  3. Add soaked chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley and coriander in a food processor and make a coarse paste.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  5. Make small balls from the mixture.
  6. Heat oil in a pan.
  7. When the oil is hot, lower the heat to medium.
  8. Deep fry the falafel on medium heat till nicely browned.
  9. Remove on a tissue lined plate.
  10. Serve hot with tahini dip or hummus.

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Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

This recipe is soooo easy and soooo so good. Basically a bunch of my favorite ingredients and flavors all piled on top of a bed of lettuce. Which makes it a salad. Which makes it healthy. Right? Right.
You already know I love cilantro with a passion unparalleled (just check out these quesadillas or this incredible 30 minute shrimp pad thai for proof!) and you are also aware of my fondness of avocados (enter tangy bacon feta quacamole here). 
But did you know that I crave black beans regularly? No, you probably didn’t. But one look at this Mexican Volcano Dip and these Pineapple Mesquite Chicken Wraps will tell all. 

And this summer I’ve fallen in love. With grilled corn. Ohhhh my. I’m not sure how I lived so many years of my life not grilling corn. I mean, how on earth was I eating it before?? I can’t even remember. All I can think is grill it grill it grill it…… 
And I really really like barbecue flavors. Remember those Chipotle BBQ Burgers? Yeah. Barbecue heaven. 

This salad has all of those flavors guys. So naturally it must be insanely delicious. And the best part is the slow cooker. Just threw it in the pot on my way out the door the other morning. Done deal. BBQ chicken salad for dinner. Loved it. Try it, you will too!!! 
*Dressing slightly adapted from Shared Appetite

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Keema Kaleji Mutton Mince and Liver in a Spicy Curry

Keema kaleji is one of the many Mutton recipes dad used to make on a regular basis. His Sunday morning ritual of going to the local butcher shop, getting the best cuts of meat  and then spending the morning frying the masala till perfection is till fresh in my mind. Oil and spices were lavishly used and no compromises were made in terms of time or ingredients to make the rich curries. 
Keema Kaleji is basically Mutton mince and livers cooked in a spicy Indian style curry. A masala of onion, tomato and spices is made and then mutton mince and livers are added to it. It can be enjoyed with either rice or any Indian bread. Here is the recipe to make Keema Kaleji

Keema Kaleji

All you need is

  • Oil – 4 tbsp
  • Black cardamom – 3-4
  • Onion – 1 and 12 cup ( finely chopped )
  • Ginger garlic paste – 2 tsp
  • Tomato puree – 3 tbsp
  • Coriander powder – 3 tsp
  • Kashmiri red chili powder – 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 12 tsp
  • Garam masala powder – 12 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Mutton mince Keema – 300 g
  • Mutton Liver Kaleji – 200 g
  • Lemon juice – 2 tsp
  • Fresh coriander for garnishing

Keema kaleji
Keema Kaleji

Recipe of Keema Kaleji

  1. Heat oil in a pan.
  2. Add crushed black cardamom.
  3. Fry for 20 seconds.
  4. Add onion and fry till slightly browned.
  5. Add ginger and garlic paste and fry till onions are nicely browned.
  6. Add tomato puree and cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Add coriander powder, kashmiri red chili powder, turmeric powder and garam masala powder.
  8. Fry for 2- 3 minutes.
  9. Add little water if required.
  10. Add keema and salt and fry on high heat for 3-4 minutes.
  11. Add 1 cup of water and simmer the heat to low.
  12. Cover and cook the keema on low heat for 20-25 minutes.
  13. Add kaleji and again cover and cook for 10-15 minutes.
  14. Adjust water as required.
  15. Add lemon juice and cook for a minute.
  16. Garnish with fresh coriander.
  17. Serve hot with rice or phulke.

Keema kaleji

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Chocolate Chip Bunt Cake

My mother has been making this cake forever. I mean for-ever. Or at least as long as I’ve been alive. So, she’s been making it for a while. And don’t get offended but we call it chocolate chip bum cake. Not bunt cake. I promise that it’s not what you think. Although this cake probably does have a few calories which might be attracted to that area of the body… but really. 

It’s my brother’s fault. He started calling it bum cake a long long long time ago and it stuck. From here on out on the blog, we’ll call it by its proper name though. Chocolate chip bunt cake. 

Mother probably makes this cake once a month. Which means I’ve easily had it over a hundred times. And I never get sick of it. There might be a little nostalgia played a role here but 99.9 percent of the love I have for this cake is due to the fact that it is just plain good. So so good. 

You most likely haven’t had a bunt cake like this. But you need it. 
I barely changed this recipe at all from my mothers’ version. She uses sour cream and half the amount of chocolate chips. If you have greek yogurt sitting in your fridge without plans, use it because I think it’s incredible. But if you just have sour cream, still make the cake and simply replace the greek yogurt with the same amount of sour cream and you’ll have yourself an incredibly moist bunt cake on your hands. 

But don’t skimp on the chocolate chips. Please. Keep the full two cups in there. One can never have enough chocolate chips. 

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