Friday, 23 January 2015

Mushroom Cutlets

So my tryst with mushrooms continue and presenting today is a super yum yet super simple Mushroom Tikki/Cutlet which you can prepare in advance and serve it hot with any chutney of your choice. It is a wonderful party pleaser and filling too (have to prepare less for main course!! Lol!) and will serve as an excellent tiffin idea too!! My 3 yo loves it!! I made mine in the air fryer with just a minimal spray of oil but you can pan fry them or bake them as well.

400 gms mushrooms finely chopped  (it is best to use button mushrooms here and quantity depends on your requirement)
1 medium onion finely chopped 
2-3 cloves of garlic finely chopped or minced 
1" piece ginger finely chopped or minced 
Handful of fresh coriander leaves or parsley (whichever is available)
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs or as required to hold the mixture together (you can use regular breadcrumbs too; panko gives it an extra crunch but otherwise no difference in taste)
2 eggs (increase the quantity as you increase the quantity of mushrooms)
Salt and pepper to taste 
1 tsp any herb or spices of your choice
1 tsp oil 
Cooking oil spray if using the air fryer or baking 

Heat oil in a pan and add the mushrooms. Fry on a medium heat until the moisture from the mushrooms evaporate and they shrink in volume. Remove from heat and let it cool. 
Once cooled, transfer the mushrooms to a big bowl and add all the ingredients except the eggs and breadcrumbs. Now add the egg and half of the crumbs and start mixing. If the mixture comes together and holds its shape easily when made into a flat disc or tikki, then no need to add the remaining breadcrumbs. If not, add some more breadcrumbs till the mixture holds its shape. However, take care not to add too many breadcrumbs as it will result in a doughy tikki. Once refrigerated (our next step), the egg will anyway dry up the mixture a little more. 
Shape all the tikkis from the mixture and arrange on a plate. Cover the plate with a cling wrap and refrigerate until ready to fry. 
Take the tikkis out of the fridge 15 minutes prior to frying. 
If using an air fryer, pre heat at the maximum temperature for 10 minutes. Now arrange the tikkis in the basket (as many as it can hold without touching) and spray some cooking oil on top. Fry in the air fryer for 10-15 minutes on one side and an additional 5 minutes on the other side after flipping. Take care while flipping and use a fork or something similar to release the tikkis as they will tend to get stuck. The next batch of tikkis will take lesser time than the first and so adjust accordingly. 
If using the oven, pre heat at 175 degree celsius. Arrange the tikkis on a grill plate without touching or overlapping and spray some cooking oil. Bake in the grill mode for 10 minutes or until crispy and golden on one side. Flip and bake for an additional 5 minutes on the other side. 
If pan frying, heat oil and fry the tikkis till golden on both the sides. Take care while  flipping though. 
Enjoy these tikkis with any condiments of your choice. Serve hot!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Mushrooms in a Cottage Cheese (Paneer) Gravy

It is always a struggle for me whenever I have vegetarian guests over for dinner along with non vegetarians and the biggest challenge is to make something different with the regular vegetarian options that we commonly have. I had pinned this recipe from a fellow blogger and a very experienced chef, Jaspreet ji, but never really got around to making it. Last weekend I finally gave it a try for a vegetarian friend and it was an instant hit and was savored even by the non vegetarians !! I did a few changes to the recipe to adapt to my taste and it was such a delightfully yummy and different dish to serve your Vegetarian guests!!! 😊
So here it is, Mushrooms in a Paneer gravy/sauce!!

12-15 whole mushrooms (or as per your requirement)
200 gms paneer crumbled (I used homemade)
3 medium onions
3 fat cloves of garlic
1" piece ginger  
1 tsp cumin seeds 
2 tsp Kashmiri Mirch powder (non spicy)
2 tsp Roasted Coriander powder 
2 tsp Roasted Cumin powder 
2 tsp Garam Masala powder 
2 tbsp Cream 
Salt to taste
Fresh Coriander chopped 
Oil (usage is upon your discretion) 

For Tomato paste
2 medium Tomatoes blanched, skinned and pureed with 2-3 Kashmiri Whole Chilies  soaked in warm water
4 fat Garlic cloves minced
Oil (again use as per your discretion)
Salt to taste


Start with the mushrooms. Wash and clean the mushrooms nicely in tap water and wipe them dry. Keep them on a slotted bowl/plate so that the excess moisture dries out. 

Now start making the tomato paste. Heat oil in a pan and add the minced  garlic cloves and sauté for a minute. Now add the tomato puree along with salt. Cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes or until the oil leaves the masala. Keep it aside.

Make a smooth paste with the onions and ginger and garlic and keep aside. 

Take the same pan where you prepared the tomato paste and add some more oil. Add cumin seeds and let it crackle. Now add the onion paste and sauté. Keep stirring until golden brown. Now add the dry spices along with some water and mix well. Cook until oil leaves the masala. Now add the tomato paste and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Now crumble the paneer with hands and mix into the masala (keeping aside some paneer for garnish). Mix well and stir for a couple of minutes. Add water (I added about 1/2 cup as the mushrooms will also release some water) to liquidize the gravy. Now add the mushrooms and keep on low heat for 7-10 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked and shrunk in size. 

 Remove from flame and mix in cream. Stir nicely and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with green coriander and a little crumbled paneer. Serve hot with Rice or Roti.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Crispy Crunchy Yeast-Free Jalebis

One caution before I start this post. Hot Jalebis straight from the pan are highly addictive! Consumers are not to blame the recipe providers for any damage done to their waistline!! 😃
This is one recipe which will take you to seventh heaven after hearing the praises from your friends and family. Serve them hot at tea time or right after a meal and be ready to bask in glory. I like my Jalebis steaming hot and I am sure most of us like it that way too. The Jalebis however stay crunchy for long and so if you want a relaxed meal time you can keep them ready as well. 

1 cup all purpose flour or maida
2 tbsp cornflour 
3/4 cup yogurt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp ghee
1 1/2 tbsp water at room temperature (this is the quantity of water I used for the batter)
Oil for frying

For the sugar syrup 
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 cup sugar 
Few pods of cardamom 
1 tbsp rose essence 
Few drops of orange food color (optional)

It is advisable to prepare the jalebi batter one  night in advance so that it gets maximum time for fermentation. However, in case you forget or cannot go for overnight fermentation, make sure you make the batter first thing in the morning for making the Jalebis in the evening. 
Take a medium sized bowl and sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and mix well with a whisk. Next add the ghee and whisk further till the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Now whisk in the yogurt and stir with all your strength to incorporate the air and make the batter lump free. The batter will now be quite thick and whisking will seem quite a task. Time to add little water at a time. Start with 1 tbsp and add another 1/2 to 1 tbsp water at room temperature using your own judgement. The batter should be thick and the consistency should be the same as buttercream that we use for decorating cakes. Loose batter will prevent the Jalebis from taking shape and will break as soon as you put them to fry. Mix the batter till smooth and creamy. Cover and keep aside in one corner of the kitchen counter. 
By next afternoon, you can see the batter having a few bubbles and risen in volume. Time to fry the beauties. 

Slowly mix the batter with a spatula in cut and fold method taking care not to over mix or deflate the batter. Fill the entire batter into a piping bag fitted with a medium sized round nozzle. Keep aside. 
Prepare the sugar syrup either before filling the piping bag or after. I used a previously stored sugar syrup and had to  simply boil it. To prepare the fresh syrup, boil the sugar and the water together till the sugar dissolves and is of one string consistency. Remove from heat and keep it handy while you fry the Jalebis. In another side, prepare a tray to keep the Jalebis. Time to fry!
Heat oil in a pan and bring it to medium hot. Reduce the heat to lowest and pipe in the Jalebis in circular motion not exceeding three to four circles. Be sure to pipe the circles as close as possible as they tend to open up later and you will get a wide mouthed Jalebi. As soon as you pipe in the Jalebi, it will float to the top if the oil is perfectly hot. Also, pipe the Jalebis by simmering the flame to the lowest so that you get a chance to pipe them better. Once piped, increase the flame to medium low and fry till the Jalebis are browned on both the sides and crisp. Do not be in a hurry to flip the Jalebis from one side to the other. You might break the shape if they aren't crispy enough. 
Once browned, dip them straight into the hot syrup for a minute and place on the wire rack to cool. 

Repeat for the rest of the batter. Serve them hot to your friends and family, possibly within a couple of hours of frying and be sure to gulp down a few yourself while frying. They are simply irresistible!! 😋

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Veg Lasagna Roll-Ups

It was around June last year when we had invited some of my husband's German colleagues for a dinner. Considering their intolerance for spice levels, I decided to play safe and planned an Italian dinner complete with Lasagna et al. So on my holiday to Hong Kong prior to the dinner event, I bought some packets of Lasagna sheets as I wasn't too sure where I could get them here (although I could easily find them in my nearby grocery store later). However, at the last moment, my guests requested to be served an Indian fare as they, surprisingly, loved Indian food and would often eat out in Indian joints. My poor lasagna sheets did not get their due attention ever since and had been staring into my face every time I open my pantry and making me realize that they are soon reaching their expiry date. 
Finally, I got a chance to hold a High Tea get together at home to welcome some Indian friends in my neighborhood and I knew instantly what to serve them! As we were meeting over tea, I did not want to overdo the food and so prepared some lasagna roll-ups instead which are easy to serve, quick to make, good to eat, and perfect for the occasion without giving a mealtime effect!!! I happy, my Lasagna sheets happy, and my guests happy!! 😀
I completely forgot to take the picture of the ready lasagna as I took it out from the oven and served it to my guests. Luckily, there was just one piece left and that made for this picture!! 😛

8 sheets of lasagna
Shredded Mozzarella cheese
For the sauce
1 1/2 cups finely chopped mushrooms (you can increase or decrease the quantity depending on the quantity of other vegetables that you are going to use)
1/2 red bell pepper finely chopped 
1 big onion finely chopped 
3-4 cloves of garlic finely chopped 
1/2 carrot finely chopped 
Handful of peas
Handful of sweet corn kernels 
1 can whole plum tomatoes squashed (if you are using fresh, use 3 medium sized juicy red tomatoes blanched and skin removed)
Red chili flakes as per taste
Salt and pepper to taste 
2 tbsp olive oil 

For the filling 
1 1/2 cup cottage cheese grated/mashed (I used homemade paneer)
2 eggs
2-3 tbsp parmesan cheese 
Chopped fresh herbs like basil/oregano/parsley or similar (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste 

Start with making the sauce as it is the most time consuming part and needs to be cooled down before using. 
Heat  oil in a pan and fry the garlic till lightly browned. Follow up with the onions and fry till translucent. Now add the chopped veggies one by one frying for 3-5 minutes after each addition. Lastly squash the tomatoes, either canned or freshly blanched, and add it to the pan. If using canned tomatoes, there will also be some reserved liquid. Add it to the pan. In case of fresh tomatoes, add about 1/4 cup of the water in which you blanched the tomatoes. Stir well and season as per your taste. Do not add too much salt at this point as we need to reduce the sauce. Let the sauce simmer for 25-30 minutes till the veggies are all thoroughly cooked and there is just about 3-4 tbsp of liquid in the sauce. As I was making roll ups to go with evening tea or coffee, I did not want to make the lasagna too soupy and make it look like a main course rather than a snack. However, the sauce consistency is totally upto your liking and preference. 
Remove from heat and let it cool. 
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a bowl, take the mashed cottage cheese/ricotta cheese and all other ingredients and mix to a smooth paste. Cover and keep aside. 
Now boil some water in a wide pan, wide enough to hold the lasagna sheets without folding and bring it to a boil. Add the sheets and cook it till al dante. If you are making lasagna for the first time, I would suggest keeping a close look as the lasagna sheets are usually available as ready to bake and there is no need to cook them. However, for making the roll-ups this step is necessary. As such, the sheets will get tender within 5-6 minutes. Keep an aluminum foil ready to place the cooked lasagna on top without over lapping and prevent sticking. With the help of a pair of tongs, gently lift the sheets one by one from the water without breaking and place it on the prepared foil.
Let it cool. Now spread the filling on each cooked and cooled sheet and spread it out. Gently roll it up from one end to the other. Repeat for all the sheets. 
 Grease a baking dish big enough to hold all the rolls and spread a layer of the prepared and cooled sauce. Now place the roll ups one by one in a single layer  till all the space has been covered (I forgot to take a picture of this step). Follow up with another layer of the sauce till all the roll ups are well covered and spread out. Top with a generous amount of mozzarella cheese. 
If you are baking it right away, then pre-heat the oven at 175 degree celsius while  you are assembling the roll-ups. If you are baking it at a later time, you can keep it covered with foil in the refrigerator until half an hour before baking. Then bake it in the pre heated oven for 20 minutes till the cheese is bubbling and the sauce looks slightly reduced. Take care not to over bake else you will end up with dry rubbery roll ups. Remove from the oven and let it cool down to handling temperature. Serve warm! Sorry no picture of the final dish! 😔 But I plan to make it soon again and this time I won't forget! 😜


Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Sumac Spiced Grilled Chicken and Bread Salad

First of all, a very Happy New Year to all my readers and friends. Just back from my Middle Eastern sojourn and I must tell you, I had the most awesome time. Jordan is one of the most beautiful countries I have visited in the recent past. Breath taking views, superb food, good hospitality and some relaxed time with family. I was initially a bit skeptical about visiting an Islamic country considering the amount of tensions going on in its neighboring countries, but I was surprised to see how safe and liberal Jordan is. There are no strict rules for women and everyone has the freedom to do what is right and within the law. I would want to go back to Jordan again if given a chance! For now, here is a simple grilled chicken recipe prepared with Middle Eastern spices and some pictures of my amazingly wonderful trip!! Enjoy!

View from the airplane just before landing 
The start of our road trip 
The beautiful city of Petra, a land of hand carved Sand Rock Mountains and a World Heritage Site 
The Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth, with salinity 9.6% higher than normal ocean water. As such, no one can ever get drowned here!!
Now moving on to the recipe!! :)

7-8 chicken drumsticks or boneless chicken, whatever your choice
3-4 slices of dense bread ( I used whole wheat homemade bread; you can use store bought whole wheat bread)
1 medium onion sliced
1/2 cup mushroom sliced
1 tsp garlic minced
1/4 cup bell peppers chopped (you can use a mix for making the dish look interesting)
4-5 cherry tomatoes halved
1 tbsp sumac (it is a tart lemony herb from the Middle East; you can substitute it with 2 tsp lemon juice)
Herbs and spices of your choice ( I used a mix of cajun spicing, dried parsley, dried basil, and red chilli flakes)
Salt and pepper to taste 
2 tbsp olive oil divided

Wash and clean the chicken. Rub it with a little olive oil, lemon juice or Sumac, salt and pepper and keep aside overnight or for a minimum of 3-4 hours. If marinating overnight, be sure to bring it to room temperature before beginning the procedure. 
Heat oil (reserve some olive oil for later use) in a pan and add the garlic followed by the onions. Stir till the onions are translucent. Now add the mushrooms and the choice of herbs and spices and continue frying till just done. Check for seasoning and remove from heat and keep aside. 
Pre-heat the oven at 180 degree celsius and grease a baking dish. Spread the onion mushroom mixture in a single layer on the dish and arrange the chicken pieces on top of it. Sprinkle some pepper and garlic powder on top and grill the chicken for 20 minutes or till slightly browned. 

 Meanwhile, prepare the bread salad. Cut the bread into small chunks and keep it in a bowl (I had added the bread in the mushroom mixture and realized that some part of it became soggy and so suggest that you add it later). In the same bowl, add the bell peppers and tomatoes and olives (optional) and salt and pepper, sumac or lemon juice, and any other herbs and spices as you desire. Add the remaining olive oil and toss the salad well. 
Now take the chicken dish out and add the bread salad. Spread it out evenly and put it back in the oven for 10 more minutes till the bread chunks are toasted well. Remove from the oven and serve warm!