Mughlai Kadhai Paneer

450 gms paneer diced in bite size chunks
3 tbsp vegetable oil
120 gms white onion finely chopped
4 garlic cloves finely chopped
400 gms tomato roughly chopped
3 tbsp tomato puree
1 heaped tsp kashmiri chilli powder (or mild paprika)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
3 tbsp greek yoghurt
200 mls water
2 medium size peppers diced in squares
80gms red onion diced in squares
Salt to taste
2 tbsp kasoori methi/ dried crushed fenugreek leaves
1 inch ginger juliennes
Coriander to garnish

For the Kadhai Masala:
2 dried mild kashmiri chillies
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black pepper
8 green cardamom (seeds only)

In a dry frying pan add the kadhai masala spices and heat over a low flame. Give the pan a shake every few seconds. Roast for a 2-3 minutes. Cool and grind to a coarse powder and set aside.

Add the tomatoes and tomato puree to a blender and blitz to a smooth paste.

In a heavy bottom non stick sauce pan or kadhai heat the oil over a medium flame. Add 1 tablespoon of the ground kadhai masala and fry for a few seconds. Add the onions and fry for 12 minutes. Make sure to stir well and scrap the bottom of the pan.

Add the garlic and continue to fry for a minute. Add the tomato paste and fry over a medium heat for 12-14 minutes. You want the sauce to reduce slightly and thicken. Add the kashmiri chilli powder and turmeric powder stir well for a minute.

Now turn the heat to a low setting and add the yoghurt a little at a time. Stir well continuously for 4 minutes

Turn the heat back to a medium and add the water followed by the peppers and red onion and fry for 6-7 minutes. Add another tablespoon of the kadhai masala and crushed kasoori methi. Season to taste

Add the paneer and stir well coating the paneer in the gravy. Cook for 3 minutes as the paneer begins to soften. Turn the heat off and garnish with ginger and coriander. Serve with naan and salad

Bengali Phulkopir Aloo Dalna (Cauliflower, Potatoes, and Peas)

420 gms Cauliflower florets
280 gms potato boiled and cut to chunks
60 gms frozen green peas
3 tbsp vegetable oil
Pinch of asafoetida/ hing
2 dried bay leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp nigella seeds
4 green cardamom pods
1 dried mild red
1 heaped tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp mild chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp caster sugar
Salt to taste
100 mls water
1/4 tsp garam masala powder

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan. Add the asafoetida along with all the whole spices. Fry for a minute on low heat. Add the ginger paste and fry for a few seconds.

Now add the chilli powder and turmeric powder along with the cauliflower florets. Mix well and sauté the florets for 2-3 minutes.

Add the sugar, season to taste and add water. Stir well and cook with a lid on for 10 minutes. Now stir and add the potato continue cooking for 5 minutes with a lid on.

Add the green peas and simmer for a minute. Turn the heat off and add garam masala. Stir well and serve warm with paratha or rice.

Grilled Cheese with Mango Chutney

1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small onion, minced
Kosher salt
Black pepper
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 ripe mangoes, chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
1 jalapeño, minced
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
Eight 1/2-inch-thick slices of sourdough boule
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

In a medium saucepan, toast the seeds over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Coarsely crush.

In the same saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onion, season with salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 minutes. Add the vinegar, sugar and 1 tablespoon of the ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vinegar is slightly reduced, 2 minutes. Add the mangoes, crushed seeds and crushed red pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the mixture resembles jam, 5 minutes. Scrape the chutney into a small bowl and let cool. Season with salt.

Heat a griddle over moderately low heat. In a large bowl, toss both cheeses with the jalapeño, cilantro and remaining 2 teaspoons of ginger. Season with salt and black pepper.

Brush 1 side of each bread slice with butter. Arrange 4 slices buttered side down on the griddle. Top each with one-fourth of the cheese mixture and 3 tablespoons of the chutney. Close the sandwiches and cook until golden, 3 minutes per side. Let rest for 2 minutes, then cut in half and serve.
Make Ahead

The mango-ginger chutney can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Grilled Cheese with Gruyere and Sweet Onion

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced crosswise (4 cups)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Eight 1/2-inch-thick slices of whole-grain bread
Dijon mustard 8 ounces imported Gruyère cheese, thinly sliced
2 half-sour pickles, thinly sliced lengthwise

In a deep skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the oil. Add the onion, cover and cook over high heat, stirring once or twice, until softened, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very tender and caramelized, about 25 minutes longer. Add water to the skillet as necessary, 1/4 cup at a time, to prevent the onion from scorching. Season the caramelized onion with salt and pepper.

Spread the bread with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and arrange, buttered side down, on a work surface. Spread a thin layer of mustard on each slice. Top half of the slices with the onion, Gruyère and pickles and close the sandwiches.

Preheat a skillet or panini press. Grill the sandwiches over low heat until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, 10 minutes. If using a skillet, press the sandwiches with a spatula and flip them halfway through. Cut in half and serve right away.

Grilled Cheese with Antipasti

8 1/2-inch-thick slices of peasant bread
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces imported Fontina, thinly sliced
1/2 cup roasted red peppers (4 ounces), finely chopped
1/2 cup marinated artichokes (4 ounces), drained and finely chopped
2 pickled jalapeños, seeded and thinly sliced

Brush the bread with the olive oil and arrange, oiled side down, on a work surface. Top half of the slices with the Fontina, red peppers, artichokes and pickled jalapeños. Close the sandwiches.

Preheat a skillet or panini press. Grill the sandwiches over low heat until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, 10 minutes. If using a skillet, press the sandwiches with a spatula and flip them halfway through. Cut in half and serve right away.

Grilled Ham and Gruyere Cheese

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
8 slices of bakery Pullman bread
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 pound sliced Swiss cheese, preferably Gruyère
8 ounces thinly sliced ham
Dill pickle slices (optional)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup apricot preserves

Butter each slice of bread and sprinkle with Parmigiano, pressing to help it adhere. Invert the slices onto a work surface, cheese side down. Top 4 of the slices with the Swiss cheese, ham and pickles. Mix the mustard and preserves and spread on the remaining 4 slices of bread. Close the sandwiches and griddle over moderate heat, turning, until golden, crisp on the outside and melted inside, about 3 minutes. Cut in half and serve right away.

Masala Grilled Cheese

Onions – 1/4 Cups
Red Capsicum / Bell Peppers – 1/4 Cup
Green Capsicum / Bell Peppers – 1/4 Cup
Salt – 2 Pinch
Black Pepper – 2 Pinch
Red Chilli Powder – 2 Pinch
Chaat Masala – 2 Pinch
Butter – 2 Tbsp
Mozzarella Cheese – 6 Tbsp
Bread Slices – 4 Slices

Heat a pan on medium heat and add butter.

Add Onions, Red Capsicum and Green Capsicum and saute for 3 minutes.

Add Salt, Black Pepper, Red Pepper and Chaat Masala. Saute for 2 to 3 more minutes then keep the it aside.

Heat the same pan on low and add butter, once the butter starts to melt put a bread slice on it and move the bread around so the bread absorbs all the butter.

Top the Bread on pan with 3 tbsp Mozzarella Cheese.

Add the onion and pepper mix on the bread slice.

Cover it with another slice of bread.

Add butter on the top bread slice and flip. Move the sanwich around on the pan so that the butter spreads evenly.

Cook on low for few minutes until light golden brown.

Flip and cook the other side as well until light golden brown.
Cut diagonally and Serve!!

Mumbai Grilled Vegetable Cheese

For sandwich masala:
2 tablespoons Cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon Cloves
1/2 inch Cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon Black peppercorns
1 teaspoon Fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Black salt (Kala namak)
1/2 teaspoon Amchur powder (dried mango powder)

For green chutney:
1 cup Mint leaves
1 cup Cilantro or coriander leaves
2-3 Green chilies or to taste
1/4 inch Ginger
1/4 teaspoon Black salt (Kala namak)
1/2 teaspoon Chaat masala
1 1/2 teaspoon Lemon juice

For grilled sandwich recipe:
12 slices Bread
Butter as required
2 small Potatoes boiled and sliced
1 medium Cucumber sliced
1 medium Onion sliced
1/2 medium Capsicum (Green bell pepper) sliced
2 small Tomato sliced
1 cup Cheese grated (optional

Making sandwich masala:

Dry roast the whole spices for masala on medium-low heat with stirring constantly.

As you get the nice aroma of the roasted spices, turn off the stove and remove it to plate to cool completely.

Once cooled take into the grinder jar along with black salt and amchur powder and make into fine powder. Keep it aside.

Making chutney:

Take all the chutney ingredients in the grinder along with very little water and make smooth puree.

Remove it to a bowl and keep it aside.

Making veg grilled sandwich recipe:

Keep all the veggies, cheese, chutney, bread, butter and sandwich masala ready before start assembling it.

Heat the grill pan on medium heat. While it is heating assemble the sandwich.

take 3 bread slices for one sandwich. Spread butter and chutney on each slices.

Now place the vegetables in this order: potato, cucumber, onion, second bread slice, capsicum, tomato, cheese. Don’t forget to sprinkle sandwich masala on each and every vegetable layer.

Lastly close with last bread slice, chutney side down.
Place the sandwich carefully on the grill pan or machine and grill till it is crispy and golden brown.

Then flip and grill other side as well. If using machine then no need to flip as it grills both sides at the same time.
Remove it to a plate and slice into half serve.

Repeat the same for rest sandwiches.

Mumbai Grilled Chilli Cheese

4 slices of soft white bread
2 tbsp softened butter
70gms cheddar cheese coarsely grated (for a gooey sandwich Swiss gruyere would be a good alternative)
1 medium red onion thinly sliced
2 medium tomatoes sliced
3 green chillies finely chopped (or less if you prefer it mild)

The spice masala mix, an equal pinch of:
cumin powder
ground cinnamon
dry mango powder
black pepper

For the green chutney;
200gms of mint leaves
100gms of coriander
juice of half a lemon
1 green chilli
1/2 red onion
1/2 inch piece of ginger
Pinch of salt & sugar

Blend all the ingredients for the green chutney with a little water and set aside. Pile all the slices of bread together and trim off the edges. Make sure you don’t take all the crust off; just even out the edges.

Place the slices over a flat plate and apply butter. Now spread the green chutney on evenly and top with the sliced red onion followed by a sprinkle of the spice masala mix. Add the tomato with a little more of the spice masala mix and finally the chopped chillies. Add the cheese and close each sandwich pressing down lightly.

If there is any leftover butter spread on the outer side of the sandwich. Place in a toasted sandwich maker until crisp and light brown. Cut into four and serve warm with extra chutney and ketchup.

Parippu Curry (Sri Lankan Dal)

8 oz. red lentils (masoor dal)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 onions, chopped
4 leaves curry, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon saffron powder
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 whole cloves
1 cup coconut milk
1 1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 lime
1 green hot pepper

Wash the lentils well by changing the water at least three times.

Boil them in the water with the saffron, chili powder, turmeric, curry and cloves.
After about 15 minutes, when the color of the lentils changes from red to yellow, remove from the heat and pour into a large bowl.

Heat the oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add the mustard, fenugreek, and cumin seeds and fry for 20 seconds.
Add the onion and garlic and mix well for 20 seconds.

Add the boiled lentils and mix well. Cook for 5 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and salt to taste. Cook until the curry begins to boil.
Remove from heat and add the lime juice.
Add the raw or fried green hot pepper on top (optional).

Serve hot with rice or bread.

Tofu Skin Stir Fry

3 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon minced ginger
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 pound bok choy, thoroughly washed and drained (or vegetables of choice)
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 tablespoons water
1/2 pack of fresh tofu skin, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the ginger, and cook for about 30 seconds before adding the garlic.

After a few seconds, turn up the heat to high, and add the bok choy. Stir-fry everything together. When the bok choy has begun to wilt, stir in the salt, sugar, sesame oil, and white pepper.
Now add the water and fresh tofu skins. Do not stir! It’s important to keep the tofu skin on top of the bok choy so that it doesn’t touch the wok (or it will stick). Cover the wok with the lid, and steam for a minute.

Then open the lid, drizzle in the cornstarch mixture, and stir-fry gently to mix everything together.

Dahi Toast (Indian Grilled Cheese)

1/4 cup plus 6 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. black mustard seeds
24–30 fresh curry leaves
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 small Indian green chiles or serrano chiles, finely chopped
1 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of red chili powder
Kosher salt
12 large slices sourdough bread
Cilantro Chutney or store-bought chutney and/or ketchup, preferably Heinz (for serving; optional)

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a small saucepan over low heat until just warm. Add mustard seeds and cook until they start to pop and sputter, which should be a matter of seconds.

Quickly remove pan from heat, add curry leaves, and toss to coat—they should crisp immediately from the residual heat. Set spiced oil aside.

Mix together onion, green chiles, yogurt, cilantro, black pepper, and chili powder in a small bowl; season with salt. Spread yogurt mixture over 6 slices of bread and top with remaining slices to make 6 sandwiches.

Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Reduce heat to low and cook 2 sandwiches until undersides are crisp and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn, add another 1 tsp. olive oil to skillet, and cook until the second side is crisp and golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Transfer sandwiches to a platter or plates; repeat with remaining sandwiches and 4 tsp. oil.

Drizzle reserved spiced oil evenly over sandwiches. Cut in half and serve with chutney and/or ketchup alongside if desired.

Do Ahead: Yogurt filling can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Vegetable Stew with Coconut Milk

Oil – 2 tbsp
Whole spices – Cinnamon – a long piece, green cardamom pods – 3, cloves – 3, bay leaves – 2
Curry leaves – a few
Onion – 1 small, finely chopped
Ginger – 2 tsp, chopped
Garlic – 2 small cloves, minced
Black pepper – 1/2 tsp, freshly cracked
Potatoes – 1 large, diced
Carrot – 1, diced
Green beans – 3-4, cut into 1 inch pieces
Green peas – 1/2 cup
Thin coconut milk – 1 1/2 cups
Salt – to taste
Thick coconut milk – 1/2 cup

You will need:
Heat oil in a large pan. Add the whole spices and curry leaves, and let them sputter. (You can crush the whole spices for more flavor, but my hubby hates finding cardamom seeds in his curry, so I leave it whole.)

Add the onions, ginger and garlic. Saute well till the onions turn soft and translucent. Do not brown them. Add cracked black pepper and mix well.

Add the vegetables, thin coconut milk and salt to taste. Cover and cook till the vegetables are soft, around 10 minutes.
Open the lid, check seasoning and add the thick coconut milk. Let it simmer for a couple more minutes or till heated through, but do not boil the stew after adding thick coconut milk.
A simple trick I learned from my mom, is to mash a couple of the potatoes cubes to add some thickness to the gravy.
Serve hot with bread or Indian breakfast breads like puttu, appam or idiyappam.

1. If using dried peas, soak them in water and pressure cook them first. If using fresh or frozen green peas, you can simply cook them along with the other vegetables.

2. If using canned coconut milk, open the can without shaking and skim off ½ cup of thick milk collected at the top to use as thick coconut milk. If using coconut powder, prepare thin and thick milks as per package instructions. But of course, nothing beats the real deal. Freshly squeezed coconut milk is always the best!

3. An easy variation of this recipe is to cook the vegetables in a little water and finish off with some heavy cream. While it looks the same, the flavor is different from that of the original recipe with coconut milk and of course, it will no longer be vegan. But this can be an easy substitution if you run out of coconut milk.

Paneer Butter Masala

Oil – 3 tbsp
Paneer – around 300g, cubed
Whole spices – 1? piece of cinnamon, 3 cloves, 2 cardamom pods, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
Onion – 1 large, finely chopped or ground to a paste
Ginger and garlic paste – 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Garam masala – 1/2 tsp
Tomatoes – 2 large, pureed
Cilantro leaves – 2 tbsp, chopped (plus a little extra for the garnish)
Cream or milk – 3-4 tbsp
Butter – 1 tbsp
Kasuri methi or dried fenugreek leaves – 1 tsp, crushed

Heat oil in a pan. Fry the paneer pieces lightly on all sides. Remove and keep aside.

In the same pan (there should be some oil left), add the whole spices and allow them to sputter and become fragrant.

Add onion and saute till golden. Add ginger and garlic pastes and saute well till the raw smell goes away.

Add the masala powders and mix well.

Add the pureed tomatoes. Cook till the oil separates and the gravy becomes thick. At this stage, you can blend the gravy, if you want a really smooth paneer masala.

Return the blended gravy to the pan. Add 1/2 – 1 cup water and salt and bring to a boil. Add the fried paneer cubes and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Finally, add the dried fenugreek leaves, cream and butter and mix gently. Do this on a low heat, so as not to curdle the cream.

Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve hot.

Paneer butter masala goes excellently well with a light pulao or Indian flat breads like rotis, naan or chapatis. Slice some onions and lemon wedges for a fresh side.

Cauliflower Coconut Milk Curry (with Variations)

Oil – 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – a few
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Whole spices – a small piece of cinnamon, 2-3 cloves, 4-5 black pepper corns, 1-2 whole cardamom pods
Onion – 1 medium, finely chopped
Ginger – a 1? piece, finely chopped
Green chili – 2, chopped
Tomato – 1 large, chopped
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder – 1/2 tsp
Coconut milk – 1 cup
Cauliflower – 1 small head, cut into florets
Salt – as per taste
Water – as needed

Coarsely grind the cumin seeds and whole spices in a mortar and pestle. Keep aside. (Alternately, you can use half a teaspoon of garam masala powder, but I highly recommend that you grind your own spices.)

Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. When they start to sputter, add the ground spices and allow them to become fragrant.

Add the onion and ginger and saute till the onions are soft and start changing color, but do not allow them to brown.
Now add the tomatoes and chopped green chilis and cook till the tomatoes are mushy.

Add the masala powders and mix well. To this, add the coconut milk and bring to a gentle boil.

Add the cauliflower florets and season with salt. Add about a quarter cup of water, cover and cook. Once the cauliflower is cooked, open the lid and boil the curry further so that it thickens slightly. You could also mash a couple of the florets with the back of a spoon.

Garnish with more curry leaves (or maybe some cilantro) and serve with the lemon rice. This curry goes excellently with almost any kind of Indian flat bread too.

Substitute cauliflower with potatoes, green peas or a mix of vegetables like carrots and green beans. Adjust the liquid and cooking time accordingly.

Any curry cooked with coconut milk will further thicken upon standing. Keep this in mind while reducing the curry in the end.

Serve with Lemon Rice.

Kadai Fish (or Chicken, Shrimp, or Paneer)

Whole spices – 1? piece of cinnamon, 3 cloves, 3 pods of green cardamom, a tiny piece of mace and 8-10 black pepper corns
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder – 2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Oil – 3 tbsp
Dry bay leaf – 1-2
Red or green bell pepper – 1, de-seeded and cut into thick strips
Onions -1 large, finely chopped
Ginger-garlic paste – 2 tbsp (made from a 2? knob of ginger and 8-10 cloves of garlic)
Green chilies – 2-3, chopped
Tomato – 2 large ones, chopped
Fish – 1 lb, boneless and cut into chunks (any white fish will do)
Water – 1 cup
Salt – to taste
Garam masala powder – a generous pinch
Fresh ginger – 1? piece, julienned, for garnish
Cilantro leaves – a few, for garnish

Dry roast the whole spices on low heat till they are fragrant, cool slightly and coarsely grind them in a mortar-pestle or spice grinder. Keep aside.

Dry roast the masala powders on low heat and keep aside.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a kadai/wok and saute the bell peppers for a minute or two. They must be just cooked and not turn mushy. Remove and keep aside. We will add it to the curry only at the end so that they still retain their texture.

Heat the remaining oil in the same pan. Add the onions and saute till lightly golden.Then add the ginger-garlic paste and green chilies and saute till the raw smell goes away.

Add the tomatoes and saute till they turn mushy. Now add the ground whole spices and the roasted masala powders and saute for another minute. Add a cup of water and bring the gravy to a boil.

Add the fish pieces and mix lightly to coat well in the gravy. Season with salt, cover and simmer to cook the fish, maybe 5-7 minutes.

Open the lid and simmer further to thicken the gravy to your liking. Mix in the previously sauteed bell peppers, sprinkle garam masala powder on top and remove from heat.
Serve hot, garnished with thin slices of ginger and some torn cilantro leaves.

You can use prawns, chicken or lamb instead of fish, though chicken and lamb will require a longer cooking time.
Try paneer or tofu for a vegetarian version.

Pineapple Pachadi

To grind to a paste:
Coconut – 1/2 cup, grated
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Green chilies – 2-3

For pineapple pachadi:
Pineapple – 2 cups, finely chopped
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder – 1 tsp
Sugar – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
Water – 1/2 cup
Yogurt – 1/2 cup, whisked

For tempering (tadka):
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 3-4
Curry leaves – a sprig
Whole dried red chilies – 3
Shallots – 2 tbsp, thinly sliced

Grind coconut, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and green chilies to a paste with very little water. Set aside.

Take pineapple, turmeric powder, red chili powder, sugar, 1/2 tsp salt and water in a pan. Cook pineapple on medium heat till the pieces are soft.

Add prepared coconut paste and boil for a few minutes till coconut is cooked and the curry is fragrant and thick.

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, 3-4 minutes. Whisk in the yogurt, check seasoning and add salt to taste.

Heat coconut oil in a small pan. Add the rest of the tempering (tadka) ingredients and allow the mustard seeds to crackle and the shallots to brown slightly. Pour hot tadka over pachadi. Stir well and keep covered until serving time.

Leftover pachadi can be refrigerated. Bring pachadi to room temperature before serving. Do not boil pachadi in which yogurt has been added, to prevent curdling.

Pachadi should not be boiled after yogurt is added, otherwise the curry may curdle or split. If you are confident enough, you can add yogurt while the pachadi is still on the stove, whisk vigorously and remove it promptly before it starts to boil again. Otherwise, follow the method in my recipe here. Remove the pachadi from stove-top and add yogurt after it has rested for a couple of minutes.

Paneer Dahi Pulao

To marinate:
Paneer – 250gm, cut into small cubes
Yogurt – 1/4 cup
Ginger and garlic paste – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder – 1 tsp
Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1/2 tsp

For Pulao:
Basmati rice – 1 cup
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Cinnamon – 2″ stick
Cloves – 2
Cardamom – 3 pods
Bay leaves – 2, dried
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Red onion – 1 large, finely chopped
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tsp
Tomato paste – 1 tsp
Water – 1 1/2 cups
Salt – to taste
Cilantro leaves – 1 tbsp, chopped

For garnish:
Ghee or oil – 2 tbsp
Cashew nuts – 5-6
Golden raisins – 8-10
Onion – 1/4 cup, thinly sliced

Marinating paneer: In a small bowl, mix together paneer and other marinade ingredients. Set aside while you prep the pulao.

Making pulao: Wash and soak rice in water for 15-20 minutes.
In a large pan or pressure cooker, heat ghee. Add whole spices (cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, bay leaves and cumin seeds) and allow them to sputter.

Now add onions and saute till lightly golden. Then add ginger-garlic paste and saute till raw smell goes away.

Add tomato paste, if using, and saute for a few more seconds.
Now add the paneer cubes, shaking off excess marinade and mix well.

Add drained rice and mix well to coat with the spices.
Add water to the bowl with leftover marinade and mix well. Add 1½ cups of liquid to the pan along with salt and cilantro. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook covered till rice is done. This takes around 20 minutes for a covered pan. If using a pressure cooker, cook on medium-high heat for 2 whistles and allow steam to be released naturally before opening the lid.
Open the lid and gently fluff the pulao.

Garnish: In a small pan, heat ghee. Add cashews and raisins and fry till golden. Drain and set aside. Then add onions to the ghee and fry them a dark brown color.

Garnish prepared pulao with fried cashews, raisins and onions just before serving. Serve with raita or curry of choice.

South Indian Vegetable Curry

1 tablespoon oil
pinch of hing or asafetida (optional)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped fine
1 carrot, chopped into 1/4 inch rounds
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch ginger, grated
2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons coriander powder
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch squares
1 bunch broccoli, broken into florets
1 yellow zucchini, chopped into 1/4 inch rounds
1 can coconut milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 package of baked tofu, cubed
juice of 1/2 lime
cilantro, handful chopped
salt to taste

Heat oil under medium-low heat. Throw in a pinch of hing and shake up a bit. Throw in onions, leeks and carrot and fry until onions are translucent. Add in ginger and garlic and mix well. Throw in the spices and mix well, frying for a minute or so. Next throw in the rest of the vegetables and make sure to coat them in the spices. Mix in the brown sugar and salt. Pour in coconut milk and bring to a boil and simmer until the vegetables are cooked. Mix in the tofu until heated and turn off stove. Mix in the lime juice and chopped cilantro.

Serve with rice and hot Indian pickle.

South Indian Dal

3 tbsp. ghee (or vegetable oil and you’ll keep the whole thing vegan)
2 small red onions or 1 large one, roughly chopped
1 tbsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. chili powder
Pinch of ground cardamon
3 dried red chilies, chopped into 1/4? pieces
1 tsp. salt
A few dashes of pepper
8 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch nub ginger, minced
1 1/2 cups masoor dahl (orange lentils)
4 medium sized tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
Juice from 1 lime
For garnish: Lime, cilantro, toasted cashews

Heat ghee on medium heat and add spices and onion, stirring continuously for about five minutes.

Add garlic and ginger and cook for another one or two minutes.

Then, add lentils, tomatoes and liquids. Crank up the heat to medium-high and stir continuously, until all liquid is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve hot with rice, naan or a crusty roll. Garnish with toasted cashews and cilantro, and extra lime wedges for squeezing on top, as well as extra salt and pepper.