Sunday, July 29, 2012

Spinach and Pistachio Kofta

A crunchy take on the soft and tender fried paneer. This is a classic recipe that I have seen many bloggers retell since there is not much to the recipe. 

I added spinach since paneer is a cheese and I LOVE spinach and cheese combinations. 

And, I added Pistachios after I saw a few bloggers adding ground almonds and peanuts to their recipes. I figured pistachios are a soft nut like the other two and it sounded right together with cheese and spinach.

The combination of all three ingredients went so well together. The gravy was rich and the added crunch of the pistachios with the soft paneer was simply sublime.

I am so happy with this recipe. Not only is it filling, but it's healthy too!

I am most pleased because this recipe leaves a lot of room to come back and play with different flavor combinations to make another (different), healthy dinner, delicious.

Spinach and Pistachio Koftas                                       Serves 4

For Koftas

1 package of paneer, crumbled
1/2 c frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 tbl finely chopped pistachios
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp Kitchen King
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 tbl flour
2 tbl fine breadcrumbs (optional)
Oil for frying

1. Crumble the paneer on a wide plate, top with remaining ingredients, except breadcrumbs and oil; mix until combined.

2. Take a handful of mix at a time and create 5-8 balls, formed tightly. Roll in breadcrumbs if desired.  As I tried both techniques, breadcrumbs and without, and the balls tasted the same either way. The only difference is, the ones coated in crumbs were much more uniform in color.

3. Heat up a wok or fryer and deep fry koftas for 5-8 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel.  

For Curry

2 tbls oil Oil
3 whole cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon or 1 in stick
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 onion, chopped
1/2 can chopped tomatoes or 2 whole tomatoes chopped
1 tbl salt
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp Kitchen king
1/2 tsp Garam masala
3/4 c milk (I used 1% fat) 
1 tbl chopped pistachios (Garnish)

1. In a wide saute pan, heat up the oil and add the cumin seeds, cloves and cinnamon, let cook on medium until aromatic and cumin seeds begin to pop. 

2. Fry the onion and garlic until onions are tender and slightly brown. Coat well with the sweet spices.

3. Add the tomatoes and the remaining spices; mix well. Let vegetables cook for 5 minutes or until tomatoes fall apart. 

4. Slowly add the milk to the curry until thoroughly mixed. Add the fried koftas, coat in the curry sauce; cover and let simmer on low for 10 minutes. Curry will thicken quickly, add more milk to reach desired consistency. 


5. Serve koftas and curry over herbed rice, garnish with chopped pistachios. 

Calories calculated using Sparkrecipes calculator: 158.5 calories per serving. This count does not include calories included if eaten with rice or oil absorbed while frying. The calculation was also made with the assumption the reader is using breadcrumbs.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Aloo Paratha Wrapped Lamb Rolls

This post is inspired by a myriad of blogs I was reading today. I wanted to make something different with my lamb shoulder. Not lamb curry...not Moroccan lamb..etc, we've all seen those posts. I wanted but what?

I searched around and behold; this wonderful video by Chef Mark Miller. A yummy, beautiful Lamb Wrapped in a Pueblo Flat bread.

It sounded delicious, but I didn't have all the ingredients he required. You chefs!

Here is my version of Mark's lamb recipe IDEA, but instead of a soft flat bread, I made a : potato stuffed, pan fried, flat bread- also known popularly as aloo paratha.

The aloo paratha wrapped lamb was simply delicious. I will be making this again. It turned out perfect and was very filling, with a crunchy outer layer and tender spiced lamb inside. Perfect for taking on a picnic or a garden party where everyone is outside. 

Aloo Paratha Wrapped Lamb Rolls
                                                                                   Serves 4
                                                                                   Time: 3 hours


1-2 lb Lamb Shoulder, loin, or boneless chops; fat trimmed, sliced into 4 rounds
1/2 lemon, juice
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp honey
1 tbl olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Pre-heat the oven to 450F/230C. Trim as much fat from the lamb as possible. Lamb fat is 'gamey' and doesn't do much to add flavor so you are better off with a nice lean cut of meat. Cut it into 1.25cm thick rounds.

2. Measure a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to wrap lamb slices and place in a roasting tin. Arrange the pieces of meat in the center of the foil.

3. Next, using the tip of a sharp knife, make incisions in the lamb and insert the pieces of sliced garlic, distributing them as evenly as possible. Make a paste out of the remaining ingredients and rub all over lamb slices.

4. Let sit for 30 minutes to marinate. Roast lamb for 30 minutes or until a crust forms. Fold up the foil to make a parcel, place the roasting pan back in the oven and cook at 300F/150C for 1-2 hours.

Begin making Aloo Paratha a half hour before ready to serve.


1 large boiled potato, peeled and mashed
1/2 onion, shredded
1/4 c coriander leaves
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
Other half of lemon, juice

1. Mix the mashed potato, onion, spices and lemon until combined.

Paratha Dough

2 c flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp pepper 
water as needed
2 tbl butter or oil

1. Mix the flour and spices evenly with a whisk, add water slowly, mixing as you go until a dough forms. Knead the dough with your fist until it becomes soft, about 6 turns or 5 minutes.

Assembling Aloo Paratha Lamb Rolls

1. Remove cooked lamb from the oven, set aside on a rack for 5 minutes to cool and juices to drain off. Divide the Paratha dough into eight balls. Roll each ball one at a time, into a 1/4 in thick circle. 

2. Add some of the potato mixture and top with another rolled circle. Sprinkle with more flour and roll the sandwiched dough very thin, enough where you can see the filling slightly through the dough; careful not to break the 'skin' as I did in this pic.

3. Fold each lamb slice in the dough, and fold gently underneath to hide the seams. 

Prepared Lamb rolls

4. Heat a skillet with 2 tablespoons of butter on medium-low heat. Place the lamb rolls seam side down first and cook until dough becomes deep golden brown, flip and cook again until crispy and brown. This is not like original parathas because you will only be cooking one side of the dough, so you have to make sure the outside is cooked low and long enough to cook the dough inside touching the lamb. Sorry no pic of this step. 

5. Serve lamb rolls with a simple red onion salad and yogurt sprinkled with salt and pepper.  


Calories calculated using Sparkrecipes calculator: 568.8 Calories per serving.

Peach Cinnamon Rolls

A fresh swirl of peach in every cinnamon soft bite.

1/4 c sugar
3-4 small peaches, skins removed

3/4 cup milk
1/3 c melted butter
2 1/2 teaspoon yeast
1/3 c sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3 1/2-4 c wheat flour
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup natural sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg, fresh grated or ground


1. Chop up peaches, throw out the pits, and cook in a saucepan over med-low with sugar for 10 minutes or until peaches are soft and fall apart. Set aside to cool.

2. Heat milk (either in a sauce pan or microwave) until milk begins to simmer- add butter. Let cool until at warm temperature (about 120˚).
3. In a deep bowl, add milk mixture, yeast, and sugar. Let sit for five minutes to let the yeast do it's work. Add 3 1/2 cups of flour, salt, eggs, 2 tablespoons of the cooled peaches- mix until combined. Add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time until the dough forms a nice ball and pulls away from the bowl. Turn out the dough onto a clean surface and knead the dough until smooth and elastic- at least eight minutes.
4. Grab a clean separate bowl, lightly spray the dough with cooking oil and place in a warm draft free spot until dough has doubled in size (around an hour and a half.)
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 10 by 14 rectangle.

6. Rub room temperature butter over entire surface and cover with sugar and spice mixture. Top with cooled peaches-reserve 2 tablespoons of peaches for glaze.
7. Carefully roll the dough into a log, some peach filling may want to fall out, just tuck it back in. Cut into 12-16 1 inch thick pieces. Place pieces, cut side down in a sprayed 9x13in pan. Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for another hour or until rolls are the size you like.

8. Preheat the oven to 350˚ and bake 20-25 minutes until cinnamon rolls are golden in color. Let cool slightly then slather on your favorite cream cheese glaze mixed with remaining cooked peaches.

Calories calculated using Sparkrecipes Calculator: 262 calories per roll (out of 12)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Vegetable Pot Pie

Quick and easy dinner to make for your loved ones or just for you and leftovers!

Vegetable Pot Pie

Pie crust
1/4 c butter, cold
2 c flour
1/4 tsp salt

1/4 c (half a stick) of butter
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (optional, can also use fennel or cumin seeds)
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 med carrot, diced
1 med potato, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 leek, sliced in half and sliced in pieces
1/2 c peas
1/2 c green beans
2 tsp parsley
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 c white wine
1 c vegetable broth
3 tbl flour
1/2 c milk

1. Make your pie crust by combining butter, flour and salt until crumbly. Add just enough water to mix and form a dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge while you make the filling.

2. Pre-heat oven to 350F.  In a saute pan, melt butter and add seeds. Let the seeds pop and when you smell the aroma add the onion, carrot, potato, leek, garlic and onion all at once. Saute on low and let the vegetables sweat for five to ten minutes or until onions are translucent.

3. Mix in parsley. thyme, pepper, and salt. Add wine, peas, green beans, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and let simmer until liquid is reduced by half- carrots and potatoes should now be tender.

4. Add flour and mix until all the liquid is absorbed, add more flour if necessary. Stir in milk and combine to create your gravy. Turn off heat and let stand for 5 mins.

5. In a 9 in pie plate or individual oven proof dishes, ladle mixture evenly into each one. Take out your pie crust and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Cut out a shape slightly larger than the pan(s) you are using. Roll crust on top of the prepared pan(s), prick with fork to create vents for steam.

6. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Eggplant Rice

This is a simply simple recipe to mix up your regular rice routine.

I have become a really big fan of eggplant recently now that I know how to use it. Before it was this scary purple vegetable (which was strange in itself) that no one I knew would eat regularly. Now I buy 2-3 every shopping trip, I can't imagine not eating them!

The eggplant cooks down into a sort of tender blob that tastes perfect with the flavorful rice.

Added bonus- it's a sneaky way to eat your veggies.

Eggplant Rice                                                 Serves 4


1 c Basmati rice
1 1/2 c water
salt to taste

Eggplant mixture

1 tbl oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 cloves
3 green chilies, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tomato, chopped
1 American eggplant, diced into cubes
1 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1/8 tsp nutmeg, ground
2 tsp coriander powder
salt to taste
coriander/cilantro leaves (garnish)

1. Cook the rice in the microwave on med-med/high for 15-18 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. meanwhile make the eggplant mixture.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil then add the mustard seeds and cloves. Let them heat up until they pop and you can smell their aromas. Add the onions and chilies, fry until onions are soft and slightly pink in color.
3. Mix in the garlic and ginger paste, cook for another minute stirring occasionally.
4. Add the remaining spices, tomato and eggplant to the pan, mix well and cover with a lid. Let vegetables cook, stirring occasionally until eggplant is soft and tomato has broken down.
5. Add the cooked rice to the pan, mix to combine evenly, cover with the lid. Keep rice hot in the pan until ready to serve.
6. Garnish with fresh coriander/cilantro leaves if desired.

Calories calculated using Sparkrecipes Calculator: 104.7 calories per 1 cup serving

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Leek and Chickpea Curry

I have never had leeks before. I bought them just for that fact. 

If YOU have never had leeks before, then I think you will be pleasantly surprised at their taste and, in this curry. You never can go wrong making a curry out of the vegetables you have on hand.

The flavors meld. They compliment.

If you are thinking 'curry,' that must be spicy! It's only as spicy as you want it to be. I like things with a good kick, but also have deep flavors that keep your tongue busy with each bite as it recognizes all the spices you add. A curry combines these two food loves in one.

Curry doesn't mean just spicy. It means a lot of things. But, as it was explained to me, curry usually is defined as anything cooked with water. Read this interesting wiki definition if you want to get some more ideas. Think about it this way. If you like to curl up with a warm bowl of soup on a chilly day, a curry gives you just that.

This will be my first of many curries I hope to post on this blog. I won't post about regular curries; that you can Google, but the ones I put my own spin on.

Leek and Chickpea Curry                                        serves 4

2 tbl vegetable oil or ghee
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 in ginger, peeled and chopped
2 leeks, trimmed. Here is a helpful video how to prepare leeks for us beginners
2 c cooked chickpeas, 1 can
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
1 tsp EACH ground cumin, ground coriander, salt, garam masala, tumeric
1 tbl EACH chili powder, Kitchen King (available in Indian, Punjabi, Pakistani stores)- KK is optional
1/2 can chopped tomatoes
1/2 can coconut milk
coriander/cilantro, fresh, chopped

1. In a saute pan, heat the oil and on low saute onion, garlic, ginger and leeks for 5 minutes, letting leeks and onions sweat.
2. When leeks and onions are tender, add all the spices listed, mix well and let cook another 5 minutes.
3. Add chopped potato, tomatoes, coconut milk and one cup of water. Mix well. Bring to a boil and let simmer on low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary.
4. Garnish with fresh coriander, serve with wheat tortillas, wheat pita bread or rice.

Calories calculated with Sparkrecipes calculator: 241 calories per serving. *Does not include calories of anything served alongside (tortilla/rice)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Quick Apple Cheese Danish

I made this danish on a whim after craving something sweet that would also use up my purchase of too many apples and puff pastry. Result of my whim? LOVE! I simply love this recipe over and over again. I have made this danish about four times now in the last two months. It's addicting. REALLY addicting. 

If you love: Lemon, Cheese, Apples, Cinnamon, or Pastry, this danish will hit the spot in a fraction of the time it would take to make a complicated old fashioned one. 

As for the 'cheese' part of this danish, there are two kinds hidden in here, cream cheese and cheddar. I got the idea of adding the cheddar because I recently heard some people love a slice of apple pie with melted cheddar cheese on top! This is not 'cheesy' in that way, but sweet and tart from the baked apples and lemon. 

Quick Apple Cheese Danish                                   Makes 8 slices
1/2 package of puff pastry (8oz/250g)
1/2 c cream cheese
1 whole lemon, small
4 tbl granulated sugar
1-2 apples, any kind-the more tart, the better
2 oz? cheddar cheese (I measured by eye and used a piece the size of my thumb, thus the '?')
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon + a dash
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg + a dash
1 tbl white flour for dusting
1 egg

1.  Pre heat the oven to 420F or 220C OR whatever your Puff Pastry Package says to bake at! Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil. Take out your puff pastry out of the refrigerator and leave on the counter to soften while you make the filling.

Put 1/2 cup of cream cheese in a bowl, mix in 2 tbl of sugar, and zest of entire lemon. Cut lemon and add juice of one half, save the other half for later. Grate the cheddar cheese and join with the cream cheese, add a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. Combine until mixture is creamy and soft. Salt to taste.

 2. Cut your apples in half and core; I like to cut a 'V' shape out, it's quickest. Then peel the skin and slice to make arches, rainbows, semi-circle, crescents, etc...  I do not recommend you peel first then core, as the apple will be slippery and you may hurt yourself.

3. Place slices in a container, cover with remaining 2 tbl of sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix and set aside. You can add the juice of the other half of your lemon if you want. Set aside.

4. Sprinkle flour on the work space and roll out puff pastry into a roughly 15x10 rectangle. I rolled my puff pastry the length of my cookie sheet and then as wide as it would go. I mean, you're smart people, you can figure it out without using a ruler. Just eyeball it. Don't make it complicated.

5. Using your thumb, start from the side and mark in on the left then right, measure down and mark on both sides of the pastry, cut a diagonal obtuse angle and remove. I scored a little to make my angles as even as possible. You want to end up with sort of a head in the center.

Then using your thumb again for measurement, cut diagonal lines all the way down the pastry. You can cut off the tips of longer braids, but that is just wasteful and the pastry looks good no matter what.

6. Carefully spread your filling down the middle of the pastry and layer the apple slices on top.

Now, Braid! 
Fold down the top pastry flap, then fold one side over the filling, alternating each side to make a pretty braid.

7. Move your danish carefully to your prepared pan. Mix an egg and give the whole thing an egg wash to make it golden brown. Bake 20-25 minutes.

8. Enjoy warm for breakfast or as dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

Calories calculated using Sparkrecipes Calculator: 282 calories per slice

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Eggplant BLT

Yesterday I was craving eggplant (aubergine, brinjal, whatever you like to call them). And when you have a craving it seems to be all you think about. But I was reluctant to cook any, I was getting bored with the perennial plant. I have prepared them baked, in lasagna, covered in sauce, fried and spicy, cooked like a twice baked potato etc...- Change was needed. Something new.

Googling around (That's a word, right?), I simply wrote, 'creative uses for eggplant' and I found a post by Real Simple who breaded the slices and fried them until crispy, (OK yawn, been there, done that), THEN, he used the crispy slices like 'bread' to make a sandwich! Ugh! So creative!

The chef's recipe didn't sound appetizing, and I didn't have half the ingredients anyways so I adopted it into the classic, and Real Simple Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato sandwich.

This is possibly one of my top ten favorite recipes for 2012. 
It is seriously good food.

Here is Matt Romero's recipe with some adaptation by me.

Ingredients                                                         Time: 30 minutes, serves 2
                                                                                          Makes approx six 'sandwiches'
5-10 slices of bacon (however much bacon you like)
1/3 c flour
1/3 c cornstarch
1 large egg beaten
1/2 c fine breadcrumbs
1 medium/ large eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
1/2 c vegetable oil
kosher salt 
leaves romaine lettuce, torn in half 
small tomatoes, sliced



  1.  Line a plate with paper towels and place the eggplant slices on top, sprinkle with salt and let sit for 15-30minutes, here's why. Rinse and pat dry.
  2. In a frying skillet, cook bacon like normal until done to your liking, drain on paper towels and keep warm in the microwave. Drain bacon grease if you'd like or use it for step 4.
  3. Mix the flour and cornstarch together. Place the flour mix, eggs, and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dip the eggplant slices in the flour mix, then in the eggs (letting any excess drip off), and finally in the bread crumbs, pressing gently to help them adhere completely coating. Don't worry about the sides being coated.  
  4. In the same skillet, heat half the oil over medium-high heat. Cook half the eggplant until golden brown and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes per side; transfer to a paper towel–lined plate, repeat with the remaining oil and eggplant. Sprinkle the hot eggplant with ½ teaspoon salt.
  5. Layer the eggplant, bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes, to form  "sandwiches," with the eggplant on the top and bottom of each stack. 
  6. Eat and enjoy!

Calories calculated using Sparkrecipe Calculator: 471.2 calories per serving (3 sandwiches), *Calories calculated with 5 slices of bacon

The tiny ends can be made like 'sliders' Love it.