Indian Pepper Chicken

1 cup (240 ML) onions (finely chopped or pureed)
3/4 tsp ginger-garlic paste (or grated)
1 cup tomatoes or 3/4 cup tomato puree (optional)
salt as needed
1 to 1 1/2 tsp pepper corn or coarse crushed
1/4 tsp red chili powder (or paprika)
3/4 to 1 tsp garam masala powder
1 sprig curry leaves or bay leaf or few mint leaves
1/2 tsp cumin or jeera
2 to 3 green cardamoms
1 inch cinnamon or dalchini
3 cloves or laung
2 to 3 tbsp oil

Marinade:
500 grams chicken (bone-in or boneless)
3/4 tsp ginger-garlic paste (or grated)
1/8 tsp turmeric
salt
3 to 4 tbsp coconut milk (optional)

Marinate chicken with ingredients under marination. Keep it aside until needed.
Pour oil to a hot pan. Add cumin, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Allow them to sizzle.

Next add curry leaves and ginger garlic paste. Fry till the raw smell of ginger garlic goes off.

Add onions and fry till they turn golden.

Then add tomatoes and salt. Fry till the tomatoes turn mushy and soft.

Add red chili powder, garam masala and coarsely crushed pepper corn.

Fry everything well till the mixture looses all the moisture.

Add chicken and fry for about 3 to 4 minutes.

Cover and cook on a low flame till the chicken turns tender.

If the chicken doesn’t let out enough moisture to cook, then add little water.

Cover and cook until soft. If you want to have gravy, you can take it off while there is moisture. You can also pour 3 to 4 tbsp coconut milk.

If you prefer a dry version, cook without lid and evaporate the moisture in the chicken. fry till all the moisture dries up.

Serve pepper chicken hot with rice and rasam. Squeeze in some lemon juice before serving.

Chicken 65

250 grams CHICKEN boneless & tender
1 egg white (optional, see below)
2 tbsp Corn flour
1 tbsp rice flour or cornflour
oil for deep frying

Marinade
1/2 tbsp garlic-ginger paste
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1 1/2 tbsp yogurt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp turmeric
1 sprig curry leaves finely chopped
Salt to taste (about 1/8 tsp)

Seasoning:
1/2 tsp cumin
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 tsp garlic chopped
2 green chilies sliced
1/2 tsp pepper ground black pepper
3/4 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp sugar
2 cloves garlic paste or grated
1/4 tsp Salt – use as per your taste
1 tsp vinegar
2 tbsp water

Place marinade ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix & taste it. Add more salt if needed.

Then stir in the cubed boneless chicken. Mix well. Set aside for at least 45 mins to 1 hour. You can also marinate overnight & pop it in the fridge for best results.

Sprinkle the dry flour over the marinade. If you chose to use egg, you can add it now. Mix well. If not using egg the marinade may turn dry so sprinkle some water if needed to bind the flour well.

Heat oil in a deep pan until hot enough. Test if the oil is hot by dropping a small portion of the batter to the hot oil. The batter must rise without burning a lot.

Slide in the chicken pieces one by one. Fry on a medium high flame until crisp & golden. When the chicken is done cooking, the bubbles will begin to cease. Drain them on a kitchen tissue.

Wipe off any moisture on the curry leaves & fry them in the hot oil & set aside for garnishing.

Heat a pan with 1 tbsp oil. Add cumin, chopped garlic, curry leaves & green chilies. Fry till the leaves turn crisp. Then add garlic paste, red chilli powder, sugar, curd & salt. You can also skip curd & just add 1 tsp vinegar with 2 tbsp water.

Quickly stir everything well. When the mixture bubbles well & turns thick, add fried chicken and toss well.

Fry on medium heat till it absorbs all the moisture & coats the chicken. This just takes 2 minutes. Over frying can make the chicken hard. So turn off in time.

Serve chicken 65 with sliced onions & lemons. Garnish with curry leaves.

Kerala Chicken Curry

Marinade:
1/4 to 1/2 tsp red chili powder (less spicy variety like kashmiri or byadgi)
1/4 tsp salt as needed
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1/8 tsp pepper powder

1/2 kg chicken (500 grams)

Spices to roast (or use any garam masala):
1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 inch cinnamon piece
4 cloves
2 pods cardamom
1/4 tsp pepper corn
3/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp cumin (optional)
2 to 4 red chilies or 1/4 tsp red chili powder (less heat variety like kashmiri or byadgi)

For gravy:
1 1/2 tbsp Coconut oil
3/4 cup onions chopped finely (1 large)
1 tbsp garlic-ginger paste
3/4 cup coconut milk (thin milk)
1/2 cup tomatoes (pureed or chopped) (optional)

tempering (optional):
1 1/2 tsp coconut oil
1 red chili (break and remove the seeds)
3 to 4 pearl onions sliced thinly (Or shallots)
1 sprig curry leaves

Marinate chicken with chilli powder, salt, turmeric, pepper and garam masala.

Keep aside until you prepare the rest.

Make kerala masala (skip if using ready made masala)

On a low flame dry roast coriander seeds, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, pepper and red chilies until they begin to smell aromatic.

Remove them to a plate and roast fennel seeds along with cumin until both turn aromatic.

Blend all of these to a fine paste with little water. You can also make a fine powder and use.

Heat coconut oil in a pan, add onions and fry till they turn golden.

Add ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes off.

Add chicken and fry on a slightly high flame till it turns white in color, for about 3 to 4 mins.

Then add the ground spices or kerala masala & mix well.

Cover and cook on a low flame till the chicken is tender.

Keep stirring in between for even cooking.

Optional – If using tomatoes, then add at this stage and cook further until the tomatoes loose the raw flavor.

If needed add 1/4+cup water. I did not use additional water, the moisture in the chicken and was enough to cook.

Pour the coconut milk. Mix well. If using tinned coconut milk, shake it well and then use.

When the coconut milk begins to bubble cover and simmer for 5 mins. Check salt and adjust as needed.

Heat a small pan with coconut oil and fry onions till they turn pink. Then add curry leaves and red chili. When the leaves turn crisp.

Pour this over the curry.

Serve it with rice, roti or paratha.

Paratha

2 cups (480 ML) wheat flour or atta (substitute with all-purpose flour)
2 teaspoons oil for kneading (optional)
3/4 to 1 cup water (or luke warm water)
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
2 tablespoon ghee or oil as needed

Mix together wheat flour, salt, oil in a wide mixing bowl.

Pour water little by little as needed & make a stiff non sticky dough.

Knead well to make the dough soft and pliable.

If necessary knead with moist fingers.

When you press down the dough with a finger, you must feel it is soft and dent easily.

Wrap it in a moist cloth or cover it in a container and set aside for 30 mins.
You can also grease the ball with a few drops of oil and cover.

How to make paratha:

Knead the dough lightly & divide to 8 parts.

Then roll to balls & keep them covered.

Take a few tbsp of flour to a small bowl & flour the rolling area.

Dip a ball in the flour and dust off excess. Too much flour on the parathas can make them hard.

Place the ball on the rolling area and flatten it slightly with fingers.
With the help of a rolling pin begin to roll each ball to a round layer or roti of 7 inches.

Making square paratha:

Apply ghee all over the paratha and fold 1/3 part of it.

Then apply the ghee to the folded part as well & repeat folding the other 1/3 part.

Apply ghee over the 3 layered long strip and fold 1/3 part of it.

Then repeat the other 1/3 part & you will have a square.

Sprinkle little more flour if needed to prevent sticking.

Then roll the square further to make a 7 inch square paratha.

Making Triangle paratha:

Apply ghee all over the roti & fold it to half to make a half circle.

Next apply ghee over it & repeat folding it to get a triangle shape.

Sprinkle a bit of flour & begin to roll evenly to a triangle paratha.

Frying paratha:

Heat a griddle until hot on a medium high flame.

Transfer paratha to the griddle. Cook it until you begin to see bubbles, then flip it.

Fry on a medium high flame on the other side as well pressing down with a spatula.

Pressing down helps the parathas to puff up and the layers get separated and get cooked through.

Flip the parathas too and fro. Cook until brown spots appear on both the sides.
Drizzle ghee or oil on both sides.

Remove the paratha to a wired rack or plate lined with a clean cloth or kitchen tissue.

Stack them one over the other to keep them soft.

Serve paratha with curry or chutney or just yogurt.

Variations:

For vegetable paratha – Mash well 1½ cups of boiled mixed vegetables & add it to 1 cup flour along with half tsp garam masala and half tsp of red chilli powder & handful of coriander leaves.

To make spinach paratha – Blend 1 cup spinach with 2 to 3 tbsp water, 1 garlic clove, 1 chilli & ¼ tsp garam masala to a smooth paste. Mix this with 1 cup flour, salt & 1 tsp oil.

For spiced or masala paratha just add half tsp each of red chili powder, garam masala & handful of coriander leaves to 1 cup of flour. Mix the dough and make masala paratha. You can also sprinkle in between the layers.

To make methi paratha, just add half cup finely chopped methi leaves to 1 cup flour along with spices, ginger garlic & herbs.

Notes:
If the dough turns sticky, sprinkle some flour and knead it.

If the dough turns hard or too stiff, then moisten your fingers and knead the paratha dough.

You can also make the dough in a food processor or stand mixer.

Vegetable Paratha

1 cup (240 ML) atta / whole wheat flour
salt as needed
1/2-tsp grated ginger or ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (adjust as needed)
1/4 tsp GARAM MASALA
1/2 tsp ajwain / carom seeds/ vaamu
ghee or oil for frying
1 1/2 cup mix veggies (can substitute with other veggies)
1/2 cup potatoes or sweet potatoes, cubed
1/2 cup carrots cubed
1/4 cup cauliflower
1/4 cup green peas
1/4 cup methi or palak chopped finely(optional)
1 Handful coriander leaves (optional)

Steam or boil mix vegetables until just cooked.

When they are still hot, mash them well using a masher until smooth.

Add the rest of the ingredients except atta. Mix well.

Add the flour and mix. If needed add little water or vegetable stock if any left from boiling the veggies.

Knead well to make a soft non sticky dough. Divide the dough into 5 to 6 equal sized balls.

Dust the rolling board and a ball with little flour. Flatten and begin to roll evenly to a medium sized paratha of 6 to 7 inches.

Heat a roti tawa. When it is hot enough transfer the paratha gently to the tawa. After a minute flip it and spread ghee or oil.

Cook on both the sides until brown to golden spots appear, meaning the paratha is cooked.

Continue to make and fry all the parathas.

Stack mix vegetable paratha to keep them soft.

Panch Phoran Potatoes (Aloo Bhaji)

1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon panch phoron (see Note) or 1/4 teaspoon each of fennel, cumin, fenugreek and mustard seeds
2 dried red chiles
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch matchsticks
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt

In a medium skillet, heat the oil.

Add the panch phoron, cover and cook over high heat until the spices crackle, about 20 seconds.

Add the dried chiles and cook, shaking the pan, for 20 seconds longer.

Add the potatoes and cook, stirring, just until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes.

Add the turmeric and season with salt.

Cover tightly and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are cooked through and lightly browned, about 15 minutes longer.
Serve immediately.

Panch Phoran

Ingredients
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon nigella seeds (also called black cumin or kalonji)
1 1/2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds

Combine the seeds in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container.
Depending on what kind of dish you make with these seeds, they can either be fried briefly in oil or dry roasted to coax out their rich flavors.

Sunday Rice

3 tablespoons canola oil
One 1-inch piece cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
1 cup finely chopped white onion
4 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
2 bay leaves 2 cups white basmati rice, rinsed, soaked, and drained (see here)
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
2 small or 1 large chicken bouillon cube, preferably Maggi brand
3 cups boiling water
Kosher salt

Heat the oil in a 4-quart stew pot over medium heat until shimmering.

Add the cinnamon stick and cloves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the onion and scallions and cook, stirring, until softened (don’t let them color), about 3 minutes.

Add the bay leaves and drained rice, stirring to coat the rice with the oil. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice starts to stick to the bottom of the pot, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, bouillon cube, and water, taste, and add salt as necessary.

Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Gently stir the rice with a silicone spatula a couple of times and cover the pot.

Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let the pilaf stand, covered, for 15 minutes.

Paneer and Cauliflower Makhani

Ingredients send grocery list
3 quarts fresh tomatoes
1 serrano chilli
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon chili powder (he uses Kashmiri chilies)
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup honey
2 cups water, plus more according to preference
1 dash salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 piece 2-inch ginger knob, cut in 1/2-inch long julienne strips
1/4 cup toasted fenugreek leaves, crushed
4 cups roasted cauliflower florets
3 cups soft paneer, cut into cubes
2 handfuls cilantro, to stir in and for garnish
8 servings steamed long grain basmati rice
8 servings Indian flatbread like naan

In a large blender, puree tomatoes, garlic, and chili. If your blender won’t accommodate all the tomatoes at once, work in batches.

Add the ground spices and honey to the pureed tomato, garlic, and chili mixture.

Place a large pot on moderate heat. Add the puree, along with the water, and bring up to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 1 hour.

After an hour, strain the mixture into a pot. Season and add the heavy cream, butter, julienned ginger, and crushed fenugreek. (This sauce can be prepped a couple of days in advance. At this point, store in the refrigerator until ready, or proceed to next steps for serving).

For serving: Add the cauliflower to sauce and bring the sauce up to a boil. Lower the heat, add the paneer and continue to cook for a few minutes. Stir in the cilantro (and garnish on top), and serve with Indian flatbread and/or long grain basmati rice.

Scrambled Eggs Patia

For the spice paste:
1 jalapeño (less spicy) or serrano (more spicy), stem and seeds removed
2 garlic cloves
1-inch piece peeled ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground chile powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

For the finished dish:
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup canola or other neutral oil, divided
one 15-ounce canned diced tomatoes, drained
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar or jaggery
12 eggs
Black pepper
1 cup roughly chopped cilantro, plus more for garnishing

Combine all ingredients for the spice paste in a food processor or mini blender with 1/4 cup water.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of the oil and the onions. Cook until deeply golden but not yet brown, about 10 to 12 minutes, then add the spices and the rest of the oil and continue to cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and salt and cook for another 8 minutes, until the tomatoes juices are a bit reduced and thickened. Then add the tamarind paste, vinegar, and brown sugar and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a large bowl just to break up the whites and yolks.

Reduce the heat to the lowest possible sitting, add the eggs, salt, and pepper, and cilantro, and cook gently, stirring constantly with a Silicone spatula in a figure-8 motion, until the eggs thicken and are soft and silky, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot with more cilantro.

Note: Feel free to halve the recipe, but keep a close eye on the eggs, which will (obviously) cook in less time.

Bien Cuit’s Masala Pecan Sandies

150 grams (1 cup plus 3 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
125 grams (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at room temperature
90 grams (1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon) granulated sugar
90 grams (scant 1 cup) toasted, ground pecans (see Notes)
25 grams (1 1/2) egg yolks
5 grams (1 teaspoon) masala (see Notes)
3 grams (1/2 teaspoon) kosher salt
1/4 vanilla bean, scraped

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl by hand or in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until a dough just begins to form.

Transfer to a work surface and form into a rectangle, wrap with plastic or a reusable alternative, and refrigerate until chilled but still pliable enough to impress a dent when poked. (Alternatively, at this point you can refrigerate for up to a couple days, then let temp up on the counter until soft enough to roll.)

Using a rolling pin on a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough to about 1/2 inch thick, then cut into squares (figure 2×2-inch, or smaller if you’d like). Transfer to lined baking pans, evenly spaced out by a couple inches, and refrigerate or freeze until firm.

Bake at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes, or until deeply golden brown all over. Let cool completely until firm before digging in and dust with confectioners’ sugar, if you want.

Notes:

Bien Cuit chef and owner Zachary Golper uses the sweet masala (with cardamon, fennel, cinnamon, dates and vanilla) from Moji Masala, which sells small-batch Indian spice blends. You can either order it directly from their website, or go off-road with your own mix of two parts warming ground cardamom to two parts ground cozy cinnamon and one part earthy ground ginger. For even more flavor, try adding some smashed fennel seeds or freshly cracked black pepper or both. With all the butter, lots of spice blends will work beautifully here.

With respect to the pecans, put them on a sheet pan and toast in a 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until browned and fragrant (just check on them frequently toward the end, because nuts can burn quickly). Let them cool completely before grinding in a food processor, or mincing with a knife by hand; if you’re working with a food processor, opt for short bursts, so you don’t accidentally end up with nut butter. If you want to underscore the sweetness even more, Chef Golper likes to sift a little confectioners’ sugar on top of the cookies; you could even upgrade that dusting sugar with some of the masala spices, too.

Paneer (or Chicken) Tikka Masala

Paneer Tikka:

250 gms paneer (or chicken… see note)
3 tablespoons yogurt, preferably thick curd
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon paprika powder
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder, or to taste
salt, to taste

Masala/Curry:
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3-4 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 inch ginger, cut into small pieces
1.5 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cream
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves, and some more to garnish
1 cup water, or as required
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon salted butter
salt, to taste

Paneer Tikka:
Cut the paneer into small cubes, add in the chopped ginger, garlic, coriander powder, garam masala powder, paprika powder, salt and red chilli powder.

Add in the yogurt and mix till all the paneer pieces are well coated with the spices and yogurt.

Cover and keep this marinated paneer in the refrigerator for 30-40 minutes.

Masala/Curry:

Heat 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of oil in a pan. Once hot add cinnamon stick and cumin seeds.

Once the seeds crackle, add the chopped onions, crushed garlic pods and chopped ginger. Fry till onions turn golden brown in color.

Once onions are done, add the tomatoes and the curry powder and mix. Also add the the salt and sugar.

Cook the tomatoes on medium flame till they are soft, around 6-7 minutes.

Once the mixture is cooked, switch off the flame and allow it to cool a bit.

Pour the mixture into a blender and puree it. Set aside.

Roast (or grill… see note) the marinated paneer till golden brown in color from both sides.

Pour the pureed masala in a wok/kadhai and add water to it. Stir and add cream and chopped coriander leaves.

Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes on medium-low flame.

Add the roasted paneer pieces, let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Switch off the flame and garnish with chopped coriander leaves and cream.
Serve hot with butter naan or any bread of your choice.

Recipe Notes:

Use 1/2 teaspoon paprika powder in the curry for a deep red/orange color.

The quantity of butter and cream in the recipe depends on your taste and preference.

The paneer should ideally by grilled so in case you have a griller use that to make the tikka.

You can also drizzle around 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice on the curry once it’s done.

If you want, you can strain the pureed mixture before putting it back in the pan. This will just make the curry totally smooth.

You can make this recipe exactly the same, but with chicken.

Kadai Paneer

Kadai Masala:

2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 dried red chilies
4 green cardamom
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
3 cloves

Kadai Paneer:

1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
1 tablespoon oil, 15 ml, I used avocado oil
1 medium red onion, 150 grams, finely chopped
1 green chili, sliced
2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
3-4 medium tomatoes, 450 grams, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste, optional
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
3/4 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
1 inch ginger, julienned, divided
1/2 cup water, 4 oz/120 ml
2 tablespoons heavy cream, 30 ml
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large green bell pepper (capsicum), cut into 1-inch pieces
225 grams paneer, cubed, if using store-bought paneer soak it in warm water for 20-25 minutes before using
1 teaspoon kasuri methi, dried fenugreek leaves
cilantro, to garnish

Make the Kadai Masala:

To a small kadai or pan, dry roast the spices for kadai masala for 3 to 4 minutes on medium heat until fragrant. Add more red chilies for a spicier masala.

Remove kadai from heat and transfer the roasted spices to a spice grinder.
Let it cool down a bit and then grind to a fine powder. Set aside. You can also make this kadai masala in advance and store it.

Make the Kadai Paneer:

In a large kadai or any other pan, now melt butter with oil on medium heat.

Add the chopped onion and saute for 3 minutes until softened. Then add the sliced green chili and ginger garlic paste and saute for another 1 to 2 minutes.

Then add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste. Mix and cook for around 6 minutes until tomatoes are really soft.

Then add 3 to 4 teaspoons of the kadai masala that you prepared earlier (or add the whole thing if you like it spicy). Also add the garam masala, kashmiri red chili powder.

Add half of the ginger julienne. Stir the spices and cook for 30 seconds.
Then add 1/2 cup water and stir.

Add cream, salt and sugar and mix. Cook for one minute.

Add in the paneer and bell peppers (capsicum) and mix. Cover the pan or kadai with a lid and cook for 5 to 6 minutes on medium heat until bell peppers are slightly softened. You only want them half cooked here.

Crush kasuri methi and add to the pan.

Garnish with remaining ginger julienne and cilantro. Serve kadai paneer with naan or paratha.

To make this Kadai Paneer spicier:
• use double the amount of red chilies while making the kadai masala.
• use the entire kadai masala in the recipe. I have used 3 to 4 teaspoons of the masala and was left with some.
• use 1/2 teaspoon garam masala in place of 1/4.

Paneer Butter Masala (Paneer Makhani)

2 teaspoons oil, 10 ml, divided, (use any flavorless oil)
1 bay leaf
1/2 inch cinnamon stick
3-4 cloves
6-7 large garlic cloves, 25 grams, roughly chopped
1.5 inch ginger, 15 grams, roughly chopped
1 large white onion, 180 grams, roughly chopped
3-4 large tomatoes, 460 grams, roughly chopped
10-15 whole cashews, raw
1 cup water, 8 oz
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala, + 1/4 teaspoon, if needed
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 tablespoon tomato paste, optional
3-4 tablespoons cream, 45-60 ml
250 grams paneer, cut into cubes
2 teaspoons crushed kasuri methi, dried fenugreek leaves
chopped cilantro, to garnish

Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves and saute for few seconds.

Then add the the onion, garlic, ginger and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until the onion is translucent.

Add the tomatoes and cashews and mix. Then add 1 cup of water. Cover the pan and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, remove the pan from heat. Remove the bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cloves.

Let the mixture cool down a bit and then transfer to a blender. It’s important to let it cool down a bit else it will all blow up from the mixer. Grind the masala to a smooth paste and set aside.

To the same pan now add 2 tablespoons butter along with remaining 1 teaspoon oil on medium heat.

Once the butter melts, add the red chili powder and the Kashmiri red chili powder and fry for few seconds. This will give the curry a nice orange-red color.

Then add the ground paste back into the pan along with the garam masala (start with 1/2 teaspoon and add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon at the end only if you feel like the curry needs that extra bit of garam masala), cardamom powder, sugar, salt and tomato paste (if using). Mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Then add the cream and mix.

Add in the paneer and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat. Finally add crushed kasuri methi.

Garnish paneer butter masala with cilantro and serve hot with naan or rice!

Chana Masala

1 cup white chickpeas, raw, 200 grams, soaked overnight or use 2.5 cups canned chickpeas
3/4 + 1/8 teaspoon salt, or as needed, divided
2.5 cups water, to boil the chickpeas, skip if using canned chickpeas
1 inch ginger
3-4 large garlic cloves
1 green chili, or more to taste
2 tablespoons oil, 30 ml, I use avocado oil
1 bay leaf
4 whole green cardamoms
3 cloves
1 inch cinnamon stick
7-8 whole black peppercorns
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, pureed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon kasuri methi, crushed, dried fenugreek leaves
1-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Soak 1 cup raw white chickpeas (200 grams) overnight in 3 cups (24 oz) water. In the morning, drain the water and transfer the soaked chickpeas to a pressure cooker along with 1/2 teaspoon salt. After soaking overnight, the volume of chickpeas increased to 2.5 cups (425 grams)!

Instant Pot: Cook on high pressure for 25 minutes with natural pressure release.

Stove-top pressure cooker: cook on high heat for 2 whistles, them lower heat to medium and cook for additional 10 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.
Once pressure cooked, the chickpeas will break easily when pressed between your thumb and index finger.

If using canned chickpeas, you can skip these steps, use 2.5 cups canned chickpeas and directly move to cooking the chana masala in the pot.

Using a mortar and pestle, crush the ginger, garlic and green chili. Set it aside.

Heat a pot/pan over medium heat on stove-top. Once hot, add the oil and then add the whole spices- bay leaf, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns and cumin seeds.

Let the spices sizzle for 30 seconds and become fragrant.

Add the finely chopped onion and stir. Cook for 3 minutes until the onions soften. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt here so that onions cook a little faster. Meanwhile puree 2 tomatoes using a blender and set aside.

Add the crushed ginger-garlic and green chili. Stir and cook for a minute or two until the raw smell of the ginger-garlic goes away.

Add the pureed tomatoes along with 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. Stir and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring often.

Then add the ground spices- coriander powder, cumin powder, paprika, turmeric and garam masala. Cook the spices for 30 seconds. The oil should ooze out of the sides of the masala at this point.

Stir in the boiled chickpeas and mix. Also add 2 cups of water and stir. I used the same water in which the chickpeas were boiled. You can add more water here if you prefer more gravy in your chana masala.

Taste test and adjust the salt at this point, I added 1/8 teaspoon more salt here.

Cover the pot with a lid, set heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes for the flavors to mix-in together.

Stir in crushed kasuri methi and chopped cilantro.

Garnish with more cilantro and serve Chana Masala with rice or naan! You may also squeeze some fresh lemon juice if desired (see notes).

Recipe Notes:

You can use a can of diced tomatoes if you don’t have fresh tomatoes. Just cook the tomatoes for 2 minutes only then compared to 5 minutes with fresh pureed tomatoes. If your tomatoes aren’t that tangy, squeeze some lemon juice before serving.

If you prefer spicy food, add 1/4 teaspoon (or even more) of red chili powder for that extra-kick. You can even increase the green chilies in the recipe.

I haven’t done this in the recipe, but to elevate the flavors, you can do that extra-step of frying ginger julienne in ghee and adding it to the chana masala. Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee in a small pan on medium heat. Once hot, add sliced ginger julienne (from 1-inch ginger) to it. Fry until the ginger julienne starts changing color, then add this to the chana masala.

Chole

To pressure cook:

2 cups + 2 tablespoons raw chickpeas
5-6 green cardamom pods
4-5 black peppercorn
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tea bags
salt, to taste
5 cups water

For the chole masala:
1 tablespoon oil
3-4 cloves
3/4 cup pureed onion , from 2 small onions
2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
2.5 cups pureed tomatoes , from 4 medium tomatoes
3 teaspoons chole masala
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon paprika powder
3/4 teaspoon cumin powder
salt, to taste

To garnish:
1 tablespoon ghee
1 inch ginger, cut into julienne
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 tablespoon crushed kasuri methi, also known as dried fenugreek leaves
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Soak the chickpeas overnight in enough water to cover them. In the morning, drain the water.

In a pressure cooker add the soaked and drained chickpeas, 2 tea bags, bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon stick, salt and 4 to 5 cups water. Pressure cook at high flame till you get 1-2 whistles. After that lower the flame to medium and let the chickpeas cook for another 10-12 minutes.

In a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Once hot, add cloves and grated onions. Fry the onions till the raw smell goes away and they are light golden brown in color.

Add ginger-garlic paste and cook for 3-4 minutes till the smell of ginger-garlic goes away.

Now add the tomato puree , stir and let it cook for 12-15 minutes on medium-low flame. Cover the pan to prevent the splash all around.

Add the chole masala, red chilli powder, paprika powder, cumin powder, salt and mix for a 1-2 minutes.

Add the chickpeas next and stir will all the chickpeas are coated with the spices, around 2 minutes.

Add water (which was used for boiling the chickpeas), cover the pan and let it simmer at medium-low flame for around 30 minutes. The gravy will thicken after 30 minutes so add water accordingly.

To temper, heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a pan and the ginger julienne to it.
Fry till the juliennes are golden brown in color but do not burn them. Add to the chole curry, mix and switch off the flame.

Sprinkle some garam masala, kasuri methi and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve with roti, paratha or plain rice.

Notes: freezes well.

Gobi Matar Masala

1 cauliflower head, small
1/3 cup green peas
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
1/4 teaspoon paprika powder
1/3 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
1 teaspoon sugar [i used vegan granulated white sugar]
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
cilantro leaves, chopped
garam masala powder, to sprinkle [optional]
salt, to taste

To be roasted and ground
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 cloves
2 green cardamom
1 black cardamom
3 peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick, small
1 whole dry red chili
1/3 teaspoon ginger powder
Instructions

Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the cauliflower florets.

Cook the florets till they start turning very light golden brown in color. Remove from pan and set aside.

In another pan, dry roast all the spices listed under “To be roasted and ground”. Roast for 2-3 minutes till you start getting a nice aroma of all the spices.

Once the spices are roasted transfer the mixture to a spice grinder, add ground ginger and grind to a fine powder and set aside.

In the same pan heat 2 teaspoons of oil. Once the oil is hot, add sliced onions.

Saute till raw smell goes away and onions become translucent. Add the ginger garlic paste.

Cook the ginger garlic paste for 2-3 minutes till the raw smell goes away.
Add in the sliced tomatoes, mix and cover and cook for 5-6 minutes on medium flame till tomatoes are cooked and mushy.

Add the ground spices that we had kept aside +turmeric powder +paprika powder and mix.

Cover and cook again for 3-4 minutes. [Tip: Overall you should cook the tomatoes on medium heat for 10-15 minutes for best flavor]

After the spices are cooked, add the tomato ketchup, sugar and mix.

At this point add 1/2 cup of water and the half cooked cauliflower and blanched green peas and mix.

Cook the veggies on medium-flame for 5-8 minutes without covering it till cauliflower is cooked and soft but not mushy. You should still be able to bite it.

Add the salt now and mix. Also add in the fresh lemon juice and sprinkle some garam masala on top [optional].

Garnish with chopped coriander/cilantro leaves and serve hot with naan or roti.

Aloo Matar

2 medium boiled potatoes, cut into cubes
3 medium tomatoes, pureed
1/2 cup green peas, I used frozen green peas
2 teaspoons oil, use any oil of choice
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder, or adjust to taste
1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
1.5 teaspoon coriander powder
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 cups water
salt, to taste

Heat oil in pan on medium heat. Add cumin seeds and let them crackle.

Then add ginger garlic paste and cook for 1-2 minute till the raw smell goes away.

Add the pureed tomatoes. Add little salt, give a stir and cover and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.

Remove cover and add turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala, red chili powder. Adjust spice levels to taste.

Add more salt as required at this point. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes.
After the tomatoes have cooked for more than 10 minutes, add 2 cups water.

Let it all come to a boil and then add cubed boiled potatoes and green peas to it.

Cover the pan and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add chopped cilantro and mix.
Serve aloo matar with any bread of your choice. It’s also great with plain rice.

Chana Aloo

Ingredients

2 tablespoons oil, I used avocado oil
1 bay leaf
3 green cardamom pods
2 whole cloves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 large onion, 200 grams, finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 inch ginger, finely chopped
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, adjust to taste
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
30 oz can chickpeas, 850 grams/2 x 15 oz
1 large potato, 320 grams, cut into 1/2″ cubes, around 1.5 cups cubed potatoes
1.5-2 cups water
2 tablespoons cilantro, plus more to garnish
juice of 1/2 lime

Heat oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the bay leaf, cardamom pods, cloves and cumin seeds. Saute for few seconds until the cumin seeds sizzle and the spices are fragrant.

Add the chopped onion, garlic and ginger and cook for 4-5 minutes until the onions turn light golden brown in color.

Then add in a can of diced tomatoes and stir well.

Add the spices- coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, ground cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and stir. Also add the salt, mix well and let it all cook for 3-4 minutes.

Add in the chickpeas and cubed potatoes. Mix well until the chickpeas and the potatoes are coated with the masala.

Add 1.5 to 2 cups of water to the pan and stir.

Close the pan with its lid and let the curry cook on medium heat for around 12 to 15 minutes until the potatoes are cooked and the curry thickens up.

Once the curry is done, add in the cilantro and the lime juice and mix.
Serve chana aloo over rice for a comforting meal!

Jeera Aloo

3 medium potatoes
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1.5 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
generous pinch hing, optional, also known as asafoetida
2 green chilies, chopped
1 inch ginger, chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder, or adjust to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons chopped cilantro
Juice of half a lemon

Boil the potatoes until done – 7 to 8 whistles on high heat on regular pressure cooker or 10 mins on high pressure in Instant Pot with natural pressure release. You can also boil them on stove-top pan until done. They shouldn’t crumble once boiled and should still be able to hold their shape.

Once boiled, peel the potatoes and chop them into cubes. Set it aside.

Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot add the cumin seeds, let them sizzle. Immediately lower the heat so that cumin seeds don’t burn.

Then add the crushed coriander seeds and hing (if using) and saute for few seconds.

Add the green chili and ginger and saute for a minute until the ginger starts changing color.

Add in the boiled and cubed potatoes to the pan and toss with the spices.
Add turmeric, red chili powder and salt. Toss to combine potatoes with all the spices.

Let the potatoes cook for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat, then add the chopped cilantro.

Squeeze in fresh lemon juice to finish it off.

Garnish with more cilantro and serve jeera aloo with paratha or as a side dish with dal and rice.