Paneer Jalfrazi

Not the traditional recipe, but one that is almost oil free and high on flavours
Not the traditional recipe, but one that is almost oil free and high on flavours

A quick fix hearty meal, is what this is. Jalfrezi is a type of Indian dish in which pieces of vegetables are fried in oil and spices to produce a dry, thick sauce. Since there is no gravvy involved, it can be stirred up in a matter of a few minutes. Jalfrezi can be made as spicy as you wish and in that lies its success to cater to different tastes. The other main ingredients include capsicums, onion and tomato. History dates the Jalfrezi back to the British Raj and  according to a new poll, the Jalfrezi is the most popular choice in Britain’s 10,000 Indian restaurants. This is not the traditional way of cooking this dish, but this quick fix recipe has all the flavours intact without being doused with oil.

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Dal Dhokli

Traditional Gujarati Dal Dhokli
Traditional Gujarati Dal Dhokli

This is as traditional as it gets! A Sunday afternoon lazy lunch with piping hot dal-dhokli. Its a perfect combination of proteins and carbs or rather dal and roti, but all mixed into one dish…the Indian pasta as my cousins often call it! Just like pasta, this dish needs to be made on the spot and served hot to really relish it. What’s more it can be enjoyed as a one-pot dish or you can enjoy it with some steamed basmati rice too. Either way, this is one dish that grows on you and can be made as festive as you wish–with simple easy additions of broken cashew nuts, raisins and dried dates (kharek).

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Sambhariya

Sambhariya, a speciality from Gujarat
Sambhariya, a speciality from Gujarat

It’s not often that I get into the mood of eating typical indian food but when i do a few dishes from my state always find their way into my kitchen. Sambhariya also known as olio is one such speciality of Gujarat. A winter food it is best eaten with bajra na rotla and khatta meetha moong, made with lots of garlic and yoghurt.

The flavours in this dish come from the marriage of coconut with coriander and the dry spices and of course lots of oil. Though the dish when presented seems like an awful lot of work, its the pre cooking that takes the longest. But if you can access grated coconut nothing like it.

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Baingan ka Bharta

Brinjal BhartaThis popular Indian dish is served in various ways. People from Gujarat blast the brinjals, skin and pulp them and serve it with chopped green onion, white onion, green garlic and raw powdered masalas with loads of oil. This is usually eaten on a cold day with bajra ka rotla and jaggery. Those in the north however cook the brinjal pulp yet again with onion and tomato and masalas. Some even add yoghurt. I prefer the double cooked version without the yoghurt.

What’s however interesting is that the roasted and pulped brinjal is also used for a lot of Mediterranean dishes, the closest rival is the classic Baba Ganoush or the egg plant dip!

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Khada Masala Aloo Sabji

khada masala alu sabjiAfter a hard day at work there’s nothing like coming back home to soul food. For me that’s absolutely basic indian food or ghar ka khanna. Hot roti’s with ghee, dal, potato sabji and a bowl full of yoghurt. Nothing and I mean nothing comes close to the happiness this simple meal gives my stomach.

I’ve cooked it in a earthern pot, but you could use any deep dish of your choice. If you want the potatoes to crisp up use a thinner base.

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Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict
Eggs Benedict perfect for a lazy weekend

Nothing lights up my husbands face on a weekend morning better than a breakfast of eggs Benedict. And yet it took me quite some time to master the Hollandaise sauce-the most important ingredient of this super awesome buttery sauce. It either went to sour or had raw egg yolks! Thankfully never got scrambled.
But once you’ve got the technique right, you’ve to stick to it and not try to many innovations except for flavour additions.

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Strawberry Chimichanga

Strawberry Chimichanga served with fresh cream
Strawberry Chimichanga served with fresh cream

When strawberries are in season, my fridge is always full of them. They go into my protein smoothie, in a pie, as a sauce with meats, into a spinach, onion and strawberry salad and now into these super crunchy chimichangas–inspired by Pinterest.

It’s not often that a deep fried product comes out of my kitchen. Actually except for the indian pakoras and festive time puris nothing sees oodles of oil. But this one time I decided to sin on a Sunday afternoon! Blame it on the luscious berries.

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Chicken with Green Garlic Cooked in an Earthen Pot

chicken in green garlic cooked in an earthen potI’ve always, always wanted to cook in an earthen pot. It’s almost like this kind of cooking takes you back in time, kind of connects you to your ancestors. And the flavours that seep into the entree….simply organic! This kind of a pot is not easy to get, and once you manage to buy it, it needs to be made ready for the process of cooking–a two to three day process. But once the pan is ready, you’re reading to go! What’s more you can use this pot on a gas top, in the oven on even on coals.

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Hot Dogs

 

Hot Dogs with crisp lettuce and homemade barbecue sauce
Hot Dogs with crisp lettuce and homemade barbecue sauce

The quintessential summer food, this is one of my favourite sandwich! Easy to make, meaty, with the right amount of fresh crispy veggies and barbecued ones and lots and lots of mustard. YUM! If I remember my history right, the dogs humble origins can be traced to Roman emperor Nero, whose cook Gaius may have created the first sausage, unknowingly. In Roman times, pigs were starved a week before they were slaughtered. While watching over the kitchen, Gaius realized that one of the pigs was roasted without cleaning. He stuck a knife into the belly to see if the roast was edible and out popped the intestines–empty because of the starvation diet but puffed from the heat. Gaius then stuffed the intestines with ground meats and spices the sausage was born!

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Healthy Apple Crumble

Sugar Free, Butter Free, Flour Free Apple, Cinnamon and Cranberry Crumble
Sugar Free, Butter Free, Flour Free Apple, Cinnamon and Cranberry Crumble

Of late all my food has the most important “free” word of which butter-free, sugar-free, oil-free and flour-free are my favourites. But to be able to use all these ‘frees” and turn around a traditional dessert into something refreshingly fabulous is an uphill task that requires several rounds of R&D.

For years together the apple pie has been my go to food. Be it a happy occasion or a pick me out of the dumps cooking session, the flavours wafting from the cinnammony-applee-buttery- pie cooking in the oven do things to the mind beyond one’s imagination. So to take this dish and convert it into something my diabetic husband could enjoy was always one of my goals. When we decided to cut away from self rising flour, I resorted to the humble oats and almonds to create the right bite. It tastes as good as the traditional version, what it lacks is the buttery crumble, but if you don’t mind add a dollop of butter when you bring the crumb together.

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