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Masala Chai – Chai Latte

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Ingredients to make 2 cups of Chai:
1 cup Water
1 cup 2% Milk (or any kind you prefer)
4 bags of Black Tea, or 2 teaspoons of Black Tea Dust
Sugar to Taste

Spice Mix:
3-4 whole Green Cardamom pods, smashed
1 pinch of Cinnamon
1 pinch of Ginger Powder
1 pinch of Tea Masala (Not necessary but increases flavor and aroma if added – You get this at the Indian Grocery store).
1 pinch of Black Pepper
Note: I add a bit of crushed Tulsi leaves (Holy Basil Leaves) in my tea as it is very soothing for the throat, but most people don’t on a general basis. It is very therapeutic when you have a cold or a cough.

Method:
In a pot add the water and the tea bags and the spice mix.
Let it come to a boil.
Add the milk.
If you are using tea dust let the milk come to a boil and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Do not over cook as it will turn bitter.
If you are using tea bags let it come to a boil and simmer for an additional 15-30 minutes (depending on the consistency of your choice, the longer you cook the thicker it gets).
Serve Hot with Cookies or Snacks.

Happy Chai Time 🙂

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Spinach Upma – Vegetarian South Indian Breakfast

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Ingredients:
1 cup Roasted Sooji (Semolina)
3-1/2 cups of Water
1 tbs Oil
¼ tsp Mustard Seeds
¼ tsp Cumin Seeds
3 to 4 Curry Leaves
1 Onion – Chopped
½ tsp Chana Daal – (Skinned Black Chick Peas)
1 Green Chili – Finely Chopped
1 tsp Ginger and Garlic Paste
½ cup Baby Spinach – Chopped
1 Carrot – Chopped
¼ tsp Red Chili Powder
¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
¼ tsp Cumin Powder
¼ tsp Coriander Powder
Salt to Taste

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Method:
Heat oil in a pan and add the Cumin Seeds and Mustard Seeds.
Wait till the seeds sputter and then add the chopped Onions.
Fry till Onions turn translucent.
Add the Curry Leaves.
Add Chana daal and cook for a minute.
Add the Ginger and Garlic Paste and fry for a few seconds.
Add the chopped Spinach and Green Chilies.
Add the chopped carrots.
Add the remaining spices (Red Chili, Turmeric, Cumin and Coriander powder).
Add the water and let it come to a boil.
Boil for 5 minutes.

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Add the Roasted Sooji very slowly while stirring continuously. (You need to be careful to avoid lumps).
Let the wet sooji simmer for 5 minutes in low heat while stirring occasionaly.
Once all the water is dried up, your Upma is ready, however let it sit for another 5 minutes with the heat turned off.

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Serve once the Upma looks ready as seen in the picture above.

Serve with Mint Chutney/Coriander Chutney/Coconut Chutney/or Pickle. (Different people like different combinations, I prefer the Mint Chutney).

Tips: You can add a bit of Lemon juice if you want your Upma to be a bit tangy.
If your Upma turns out spicier than you like, add ½ cup of well-beaten yogurt to your finished product and mix well. It will give it a bit of tangy delicious flavor.

Happy Breakfast! ☺

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Cucumber Raita – Cucumber Greek Yogurt

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Note: To remove bubbles as seen in the picture, mix the raita prior to serving.

Raita (traditional Indian/Pakistani condiment) is like Tzatziki sauce except it is much thinner.

Ingredients for Raita:
1 cup Greek Yogurt
1 cup Chopped Cucumbers
1 tsp Dill – (I had dried Dill at home, if you are using fresh Dill, use a handful)
¼ tsp Chopped Garlic or as per taste
Salt as per taste
A handful of Italian Parsley

Method:
Blend all the ingredients in a food processor till you reach a desired consistency.
Serve chilled.

Ingredients for Tzatziki sauce:
1 cup Greek Yogurt
1 cup Chopped Cucumbers
½ cup of Sour Cream
1 tsp Dill – (I had dried Dill at home, if you are using fresh Dill, use a handful)
¼ tsp Chopped Garlic or as per taste
Salt as per taste
A handful of Mint (if you like, this is not necessary for this recipe)
½ Lemon, juiced
1 tbs of Olive Oil (as per preference – I prefer using minimal amount of Oil in my cooking so I do not add it).

Method:
Remove the seeds from the Cucumber prior to chopping.
If you are using regular yogurt for Tzatziki, (which is a much thicker blend than raita) make sure you drain any or all water from the yogurt prior to mixing it up with the Seedless Cucumber.
Add all the ingredients together and blend in a food processor.

Serve chilled.

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Mexican and Desi Flavored Tacos

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Ingredients to serve TACO’s:
Hard Taco Shells
Salsa
Shredded Lettuce
Ground Meat
Sour Cream
Shredded Mexican Cheese

I made two different styles of minced beef, one was regularly flavored using a McCormick Taco mix and the other using a few Indian spices along with the necessary Taco spices.

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Ingredients for the Mexican Flavored Ground Meat:
1 pound of Lean Beef
1 pack of McCormick HOT Taco Seasoning Mix
¾ cups of Water
Cilantro for Garnish

Method:
Brown Meat
Add the Seasoning Mix
Add the water.

This recipe as you can see was super easy & found on the packet ☺

I just garnished it with a bit of Cilantro.

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Ingredients for the Desi Flavored Ground Meat:
1 pound of Lean Beef
1 Onion – Chopped
2 Tomatoes – Chopped
¼ tsp of Cumin Seeds
1-1/2 tsp Ginger and Garlic Paste
1 tsp Red Chili Powder
½ tsp Black Pepper Powder
½ tsp Cumin Powder
¼ tsp Paprika Powder
¼ tsp Garlic Powder
¼ tsp Onion Powder
¼ tsp Dried Oregano
½ cup of Water
Salt to Taste
Cilantro for Garnish

Method:
Heat1 tbs of Oil in a pan
Add the Cumin Seeds and let it sputter
Add the chopped Onions and cook till slightly browned on edges and onion pieces are opaque.
Add the chopped Tomatoes and cook till they become soft.
Add the Ginger/Garlic Paste and let it cook till the raw smell disappears.
Add the Ground Meat.
Cook till slightly brown.
Add the remaining spices and let it cook for 2 minutes.
Add desired amount of Salt.
Add the water and let it cook till water has almost dried up.
Simmer for another 5 minutes, or till all the water has been evaporated and your meat is cooked.
The end product should be fairly dry.
Garnish with Cilantro and serve Hot.

Happy Eating ☺

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Malai Kofta – Vegetarian Meatballs

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Ingredients for Kofta – Vegetarian Meatballs:
1 cup Paneer cubes
2 big Potatoes
1 pack of any Steamers vegetables, I used Valley Fresh Steamers – Valey Blend with Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflowers tossed in a garlic butter sauce.
½ a cup of Bread Crumbs
¼ tsp of Red Chili Powder
¼ tsp of Turmeric Powder
1 tsp of Coriander Powder
1 tsp of Cumin Powder
Salt to taste
A little bit of corn flour to coat prior to frying

Method:
Boil the Potatoes and cut in small cubes.
Steam the Vegetable packet.
Pulse the Paneer, Potatoes and Steamed Vegies in a food process till a nice texture is created. (Mix will be creamy but not watery).
Add the bread crumbs and spices and mix well.
Put a little bit of oil on your palm and make the meatball as shown in the picture above.

I used only half the mixture to make my meatballs and saved 1 tbs to add to the gravy, and the rest to make Cutlets.

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Once the meatballs are made, lightly coat the meatballs with corn flour. As shown in the picture above.

Shallow fry in oil till the meatballs turn reddish brown, (you can fry till golden brown if preferred).

Remove and let it rest on a paper towel.
If you see a little bit of the corn flour on the fried meatballs do not worry about it.

Ingredients for the gravy:
1-1/2 Onion – Chopped
2 Tomatoes – Chopped
2 Green Chilies – Chopped
1-1/2 tsp of Cumin Seeds
½ tsp of Red Chili Powder
¼ tsp of Turmeric Powder
½ tsp of Cumin Powder
½ tsp of Coriander Powder
(if you like Garam Masala, please add ¼ tsp of Garam Masala)
1 tsp of Ginger & Garlic Paste
½ a cup of Vegetable Broth
1tsp of butter
¾ cup of 2% Milk – (You can use Heavy cream if you like)
3 tbs of Oil
A pinch of Dried Kasoori Methi – Dried Fenugreek leavs

Method:
Heat 2 tbs of Oil in a pan
Add 1 tsp of Cumin Seeds
Let it sputter
Add the chopped Onions
Cook till golden brown
Add chopped Tomatoes and Green Chilies
Let it cook for 2 minutes till tomatoes become soft
Add the Ginger & Garlic paste and let it cook till the raw smell disappears
Add the remaining Spices – (Red Chili, Cumin, Coriander, Turmeric)
Add 1 tsp of the Kofta (Vegetable Meatball) mix to the gravy.
Cook for a few minutes.
Add the Vegetable Broth and let it cook for another minute.
If needed you can add some water to get desired consistency. (Gravy should be a little thick and not too watery).
Once a nice aroma begins to emit, pour the gravy into the food processor and create a nice blend (this is done to avoid having solid pieces of Onions, Tomatoes and Green Chilies).

In the same pan as before, add 1tbs of oil and another ½ tsp of Cumin Seeds.
Add 1 tsp of butter.
Once the butter has melted, add the gravy back to the pan and let it cook for a minute.
Add the milk.
Grind the dried Fenugreek leaves with your palm and add it to the gravy – This gives the gravy a nice buttery taste without too much fat.
Add the Kofta balls (Vegetarian Meatballs) to the gravy slowly and turn off the heat.
Let the gravy soak into the Meatballs for a few minutes before serving.

Garnish with Chopped Cilantro and eat with Rice or Hot Naan ☺

Paneer Cutlets:

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For the Cutlets:
To the remaining Kofta (Meatball) mixture,
Add 1 cup of Chopped Cilantro
½ a tsp of Ground Black Pepper
(Add a little extra salt if too much wasn’t added earlier)
Mix well
Make Cutlets (as per desired shape)
Dip in 1 egg (beaten)
Roll in Bread Crumbs
And shallow fry.
Please be very careful while frying as this mixture contains Paneer and is very delicate and can break easily.

Happy Eating ☺

Recipe for Malai Kofta adopted from VahRehVah Chef.

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Mixed Vegetable with Egg – Thai Fried Rice.

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Ingredients:

2 cups of white rice – a couple of days old works best.
½ a cup of Mixed Vegetables – if frozen – defrost in Microwave.
1 stalk of Green Onions
½ an Onion
1 tbs Kikkoman Soy Sauce
1 tbs Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce (Fish sauce is generally used to make Thai Fried Rice. Those (like me) who don’t like fish sauce – Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce is a great substitute – Tuong Gia Vi, can be found at your local Asian market).
1 tbs Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce – this can be reduced as per your taste. I like my food spicy.
1 tbs of Ginger and Garlic paste
1 tbs Olive Oil
2 Large Eggs
¼ tsp Black Pepper
¼ tsp of Red Chili powder
Salt to taste

Heat a non-stick wok with the Olive oil
Add chopped onions
Fry till opaque
Add the Ginger/Garlic paste
Add the Mixed vegetables
Let it stir-fry for a few minutes
Add the Hot sauce, Black Pepper, Red Chili powder, Soy Sauce and Seasoning Sauce and let it fry for a few minutes.
Add two eggs to the side as shown in the picture.

Make sure to push the vegetables to the side and then break the eggs and slowly mix the vegetables little by little into the egg.

Let it scramble for a minute

Add the cooked white rice
Add the Green Onions.

Mix well.

Serve Hot.

Happy Eating ☺

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Easy Sooji Ke Ladoo

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Ingredients:
1 cup roasted Sooji – (Semolina, Cream of Wheat, Farina)
14 oz Fat Free Condensed Milk
5-6 Saffron Strands
4 Cardamons
2 Splendas or 1 tsp regular sugar
1 tbs Ghee – (Clarified Butter)

(Please note: I did not have shredded Coconut powder: 1/2 cup – if you have that, please add it to the recipe after Roasting the Sooji).

Use a Mortar and Pestle to grind up the Sugar, Cardamons (remove the shell) and Saffron Strands.

Make sure it reaches a powdery consistency.

In a non-stick wok add 1 tbs of ghee and let the ghee melt.
Add the roasted Sooji and roast for another few minutes till golden brown and Sooji begins to emit a faint aroma.

Add the can of condensed milk and mix well

Add the Powdered Saffron, Sugar and Cardamon mix and cook till all the milk is absorbed.

It will be a very thick consistency.

Take a pie pan and apply 1/4 tsp butter all over the pan.

Remove the Sooji and place on the pie pan, let it cool for 10 minutes. (Don’t wait too long as it will be hard to make into balls then).

Make balls and place on a wax paper.

Let it cool down for a few minutes and eat 🙂 Please DO NOT over-eat this! As this is a very heavy recipe it may look light but it is not! I have to say this as it disappeared within minutes in my house, while I was rolling the dough into balls. I didn’t even have enough for the picture.

(Note: if Sooji is not Pre-roasted roast Sooji prior to adding Ghee).
(You can added shredded coconut to this recipe to get more texture and flavor).

If you do not wish to add condensed milk follow this recipe:
Roast the sooji for 5 to 10 minutes on a medium flame.
Once ready allow it to completely cool.
Grind the sooji into a fine powder along with 3/4 cup of sugar.
Add the cardamom, saffron powder at this stage and pulse once for even mixing.
Transfer this mixture to a wide bowl.
Melt the ghee and add this to the sooji sugar mixture.
Mix well and make balls.
Sprinkle 1 tbs of milk if balls are hard to prepare.

I will add a picture of this preparation asap.

Happy eating 🙂

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Chicken 65

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Ingredients for Chicken Marinade:
Chicken Breast – 2 large pieces cut in small cubes.
1 tsp of Red Chili Powder
¼ tsp of Garam Masala
Salt to taste
1 tsp of Ginger & Garlic paste
1 tsp Soy Sauce
1 tbs of Corn Starch
1 tbs All Purpose Flour
1 Egg
½ tsp Orange food coloring (not necessary)
1 tbs of Lemon Juice
2 tbs of Olive Oil

Prepare chicken as follows:
Marinate Chicken with the above ingredients.
Shallow Fry the marinated Chicken piece in Olive Oil
(Note: when you shallow fry always use a non-stick pan as the egg will stick to the bottom of the pan if you use an Aluminum or Steel pan).
Remove and place on a paper towel to remove excess oil.
Set the Chicken aside till you prepare the gravy.

Ingredients for Gravy:
1 tbs of Olive Oil
½ a cup of Non-fat Plain Yogurt
¼ tsp of Red Chili Powder
½ a tsp of All-Purpose Flour
¼ tsp of Cumin Seeds
¼ tsp of Mustard Seeds
3 – 4 Curry Leaves
2 Whole Red Chilies

Prepare the gravy as follows:
In a bowl mix the Yogurt, Red Chili Powder and All-Purpose Flour and set aside.
In the same pan you used to fry the chicken (add one spoon of Olive Oil if needed)
Add the Cumin seeds
Add the Mustard Seeds
Let the seeds sputter (pop).
Add 3 to 4 few Curry Leaves
2 Whole Red Chilies
Fry for a few seconds – DO NOT FRY FOR TOO LONG AS THE RED CHILI IS TOO HOT AND WILL CAUSE TOO MUCH SMOKE IN THE HOUSE & MAKE YOU COUGH!
Add the Yogurt Mixture
Let it sizzle for a few seconds
Add the chicken and let it absorb the yogurt.

Garnish with Green Onions.

Serve Hot.

Happy Cooking ☺

Recipe adopted from Sanjiv Kapoor’s Khana Khazana.

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Chili Paneer – Indo Chinese

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This dish in India is usually made with Chicken or Paneer. However you can substitute it with extra firm tofu if you like.

Ingredients:
For the Paneer marinade:
8 oz Paneer
1 and 1/2 tbs Corn Starch
1 Egg
1 tsp Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 tbs Soy Sauce

For Gravy:
Olive Oil
1 tbs Ginger & Garlic Paste
1/2 an Onion – cut in slices
1/2 a Green Pepper – cut in slices
2 Green Serrano Chilies – cut in 4 slices
Handful of Green Onions – diced
1 tsp Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
1/2 a cup Vegetable stock (you can use Chicken stock)
1 tbs Corn Starch mixed with 1/2 a cup of water (should be watery, you can use stock instead of water if you prefer)

Marinate the Paneer with the above listed marinade ingredients and set aside.
Heat a non-stick pan with 2 tbs of Olive Oil and add the marinated Paneer in the oil. (This is usually fried in a deep fryer but I don’t like to use much oil in my cooking).
Fry till Paneer turns golden brown and remove on a Paper towel to remove excess oil.

In the same wok add 1 tbs of extra Olive Oil and add the sliced Onions and fry for a few minutes.
Add the Green Peppers.
Quickly add the Green chilies, followed by the ginger garlic paste.
Add the Green Onions.
Add the Hot Sauce.
Cook the mixture for a minute.
Add the Vegetable stock followed by the Corn starch mixed with water.
Once the ingredients are all mixed well.
Add the Paneer pieces and let it soak up the gravy, till a thick consistency is reached.

(note if you are going to use chicken, add the chicken prior to the corn starch mixture as the mixture will thicken the gravy really quick).

Garnish with extra green onions.

Serve Hot.

I served this with Vegetable Fried Rice and Chicken 65. Recipe for Chicken 65 to follow.

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Happy Cooking!

Recipe adopted from Sanjiv Kapoor’s Khana Khazana.

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Kebab flavored Meatloaf

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Ingredients:
1-2 pounds Minced chicken
1 cup Bread crumbs
1-1/2 teaspoons Ginger/Garlic paste
1 teaspoon Swad Green Chili paste
1 teaspoon Swad Mint chutney
1 cup of green peas
1 cup chopped spinach
1 bunch of chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
1 teaspoon Shan Bihari kebab mix
1 teaspoon Shan Chapli kebab mix
Handful of fried onions
Salt as per taste

Mix above ingredients.

Spray the pan with olive oil, place the mixed ingredients in pan and level out the mixture.

Cover with Aluminum foil and bake at 350° for 40 minutes
Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 mins at 350°.

Wait for 10 minutes before slicing to let the meat rest.

Food served with curried couscous and salad with navy beans. Topped the meatloaf off with Maggi Tomato Chili sauce.

Happy Cooking!

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