Category Archives: Recipes- Side Dish

Paneer Mushroom Mattar Masala

Who doesn’t love paneer? Besides being a good source of protein, paneer also contains calcium and phosphorus. Since paneer is high in protein and low in calories, it is often recommended for weight loss as several studies indicate that eating high protein foods tends to increase feelings of fullness and help decrease overall calorie intake, which in turn may lead to weight loss.

Try out this yummy recipe with mushrooms and red bell peppers. Mushrooms are high in antioxidants, selenium and low in fat, and calories while the red peppers(red capsicum) is optional, they do add loads of flavour to the dish while also adding antioxidants and Vitamin A to the dish.

Paneer Mushroom Mattar Masala

Ingredients for Paneer Mushroom Mattar Masala:

  • Mushrooms: 1 packet (sliced)
  • Capsicum(optional): 1 big (cubed)
  • Peas: 100g
  • Paneer: 250g (cut into cubes)
  • Tomatoes: 3 big
  • Onions: 1 big (2 medium)
  • Cashew nut: 8-10 nos.
  • Ginger Garlic paste: 1 tbsp
  • Green chili: 1-2 nos. according to spice tolerance( slit lengthwise)
  • Red Chili Powder: 1 -1.5 tbsp(as per spice tolerance)
  • Garam Masala: 1/4 tsp
  • Coriander powder: 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
  • Bay leaf: 1
  • Cardamom: 3nos.
  • Cinnamon: 1″
  • Jeera: 1 tsp
  • Coriander leaves: 2 tbsp – finely chopped
  • Oil/ghee: 2tbsp
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Heat oil/ ghee in a kadai and add the cubed capsicum and saute for 5-8mins. Keep aside.
  2. In the same kadai, add the onions and saute till translucent. Then add the chopped tomatoes and cashews and saute for about 5 mins till the tomatoes look cooked. Switch off and let this cool.Then puree this in a blender.
  3. In the same kadai add a little more oil, then add the turmeric powder,green chili, jeera, bay leaves, cardamom and cinnamon stick and saute for a few seconds.
  4. Add the puree, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala and stir fry till the oil separates.
  5. Add the peas and mushrooms and saute for a few seconds. Add a cup of water and mix well.
  6. After it starts to boil,let it simmer till the gravy has thickened.
  7. Add the paneer and the sauteed paneer and mix well.
  8. Switch off and garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves.
  9. Serve hot with rotis or even with jeera rice.

Cabbage Zunka/ Junka (Cabbage and Besan/Chickpea flour stir-fry)

Zunka/Junka is a common Maharashtrian dish which is also known as pitle/pitla in some places. The basic dish is made with besan/chickpea flour and water with a tempering of onions, ginger and garlic. This simple and quick dish is mostly eaten with bakhri made from either rice or jowar.

Kobiachi(Cabbage) Zunka is a variation of this dish by first adding cabbage and then the rest of the Zunka ingredients.

Cabbage Zunka/Junka

Ingredients for Cabbage Zunka:

  • Cabbage- 2 cups (finely chopped)
  • Onion- 1 cup (finely chopped)
  • Besan(chickpea flour)- 1/2 to 3/4 cup
  • Garlic pods: 3-4
  • Turmeric- 1/4 tsp
  • Hing/Asafoetida: a pinch (optional)
  • Chili powder- 1-2 tsp(as per your spice tolerance)
  • Garam masala- 1/4 tsp
  • Coriander leaves : 3 -4 tbsp (finely chopped)
  • Oil- 2-3 tbsp

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a kadai and add the smashed garlic and hing(optional). When it turns slightly brown, add the onions and saute till the onions turn translucent.
  2.  Then add turmeric, chili powder, salt and stir fry for a few seconds.
  3. Add the cabbage and mix well such that the spices coat the cabbage evenly.
  4. Cover and cook. The cabbage will go soft and release its own juices after about 7-10 minutes.
  5. Now quickly stir in the besan/chickpea flour and saute gently on medium heat. Make sure there are no lumps of the flour. The besan will absorb the juices and cook.
  6. Cover and cook on low heat for another 4-5 minutes.
  7. Now open the cover, check that everything has been cooked well and mixed. The besan should give out a wonderful cooked aroma.
  8. Garnish with lots of chopped coriander and serve hot with rotis or even hot rice, dal and pickle.

 


Dry Bhindi Sabzi (Spiced Okra recipe-Indian Style)

Do your kids turn their nose up at the mention of ladiesfinger/Okra/bhindi? Try out this tasty and easy recipe of dry bhindi sabji (Dry okra recipe) and watch them gobble it all up. This recipe is something I learnt from my friend Rohini’s mom, Meghana Ghatpande. Meghana aunty-thanks a ton for making this one of the kids favorite recipes 🙂
Okra is rich in both soluble and insoluble fibers which may help in lowering cholesterol, aid in digestion and also have folate and vitamin K along with Vitamin A, B&C.
Ladiesfinger Sabzi
Ladiesfinger Sabzi with Phulkas
Ingredients for the dry bhindi sabzi:
  • Okra/ladies finger/bhindi: 250gms
  • Cumin powder: 1tsp
  • Chilly powder: 1/4th tsp (optional)
  • Lemon: a dash
  • Cilantro/Coriander leaves: 1-2tbsp chopped(for garnish)
  • Salt: to taste
  • Oil: 1tbsp

Method:

  1. Wash, pat dry and cut the okra.
  2. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and add the okra slices.
  3. Stir occasionally till the okra is almost done (the slimy part goes away) .
  4. Add the cumin powder , salt and/or red chilly powder and mix well.
  5. Stir fry till done.
  6. Switch off. Squeeze a dash of lime and garnish with cilantro.
  7. Serve the dry bhindi sabzi as a side with rice and dal or with phulkas.

Dal Makhani (low-cal version)

Pulses are a great source of protein. This means they can be particularly important for people who don’t get protein by eating meat, fish or dairy products. Pulses are a good source of iron.Pulses are also a starchy food and add fibre to your meal. Eating a diet high in fibre is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes.

Nothing beats eating dal makhani (with the oodles of butter and cream) with hot rice or chapathis or even naan. We always ate it in restaurants as I had no clue how to make it.I had to try out an alternative way which didn’t have so much butter or cream so that we could enjoy it regularly instead of eating it once in a way. The “better-half” warned that if it doesn’t taste like the restaurant stuff,he wasn’t going to touch it(so much for a supportive husband!).Anyway,I substituted the cream and butter with low-fat milk . I must warn you here-it takes me a good 2 hours to make this dish,but it’s worth the effort every time.Suffice to say that it was eaten by the fussy hubby and it’s been added to his list of dishes that turns out well even without the extra fat!

Some call it Dal Makhani, some say this is Maa ki dal. Well, what’s in a name-it still tastes great 🙂
Here’s the recipe:
Ingredients for Dal Makhani (low-calorie version):

  • Whole urad (black matpe beans): 1 cup(soaked overnight)
  • Split bengal gram dal: 1 tablespoon OR 1/2 cup red beans(soaked overnight)
  • Tomatoes: 3 nos.(pureed)
  • Onion: 1/2 medium (preferably red onions),finely chopped
  • Garlic: 2 flakes (finely chopped)
  • Green chilies or 2 nos(slit lengthwise)
  • Low fat milk: 1 and 1/2 cups
  • Red chilly powder: 1 or 2 teaspoon(according to taste)
  • Coriander/cilantro leaves-2 tablespoon
  • Curd: 1 tablespoon (whipped)
  • Sugar: 1 teaspoon (optional)
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Discard the water used for soaking the beans/dal overnight.
  2. Put 6 cups of water into a pressure cooker and add Urad,split gram(or red beans),chopped onion,garlic.Cook till one whistle then let it cook on a low flame for about half an hour.( If you don’t have a pressure cooker,cook in a closed saucepan for at least 40-45 minutes).
  3. After half an hour,switch off and let the pressure drop.Then,open and add the tomato puree and the slit green chilies.Cook, stirring occasionally for 20 mins on reduced flame.
  4. Add the milk and cook for 8-10 mins.
  5. Add the red chilly powder,sugar(optional) and salt. Let it cook on low flame for a further 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Garnish with chopped cilantro/coriander leaves and whipped curd.

Question:Which is your favourite high-cal dish that you would love to have in a low-cal version?


Mooli Ki Sabzi (Dry Radish curry with leaves)

The recipe and photographs for this simple yet tasty ‘Mooli ki Sabzi’ (Red Radish Curry) are again courtesy Taranjeet Kaur!! Thanks TJ-and thanks Prateek for tasting and giving a ‘thumbs-up’ for this recipe. Coming from a person who normally isn’t too fond of radish speaks volumes about this dish and Taranjeet’s culinary skills 🙂

MooliSabzi

Mooli ki sabzi (with leaves)/Radish sabzi with leaves

 

Taranjeet’s Recipe for ‘Mooli ki Sabzi’:

Ingredients for Mooli ki Sabzi:

  • 2-3 bunches of red radish with leaves
  • 1 green chili
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (smashed)
  •  1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Oil: 1tsp (enough to sauté the garlic)
  • Salt: to taste       

 Method:

  1. Wash and chop the radish and greens.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan ,add garlic,sauté for a minute and add turmeric powder.
  3. Add the chopped radish .Let it cook for a couple of minutes .
  4. Add the leaves and mix it well.
  5. Sprinkle salt as per taste. Cook covered for 5 mins.
  6. Serve the ‘mooli ki sabzi’  hot with roti. This also goes well with rice and moong dal.

Tofu Bhurji (Scrambled tofu)

Soya or Soy is originally from East Asia, but has recently gained popularity all over the world ever since it’s health benefits were discovered. Recently though, it has been getting some negative reports,but I personally feel that soy in moderation is fine.
The protein in soy is complete(equal to meat) and hence is better than other beans and legumes. There are many products that are made from soy,like soy flour,roasted soy nuts,soy milk, tofu,soy nuggets,etc.
This recipe is from Ms.Meghana Ghatpande(my friend Rohini’s mom and Meghana aunty to the rest of us).
Tofu is just like paneer to see and taste, but more nutritious and healthier as it’s a plant product and made by coagulating soy milk. This makes a good side dish with phulkas and can also be used as a filling inside a sandwich/wrap. It’s basically a protein packed dish,and the mustard,cumin and coriander make this dish oh-so Indian!!

Tofu Bhurji(Scrambled Tofu): Serves 4
Ingredients for Tofu Bhurji:

  • Firm tofu*: 350 gms, cut into small squares or crumbled
  • Onion: 1 medium, finely sliced
  • Tomato: 2 big,finely chopped
  • Mustard seeds:1/2 teaspoon
  • Jeera/Cumin seeds:1/2 teaspoon
  • Dhaniya/Coriander seeds powder: 1teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder:1/4 teaspoon
  • Green chilli: 1 no. (slit length wise)
  • Oil:1 teaspoon
  • Coriander leaves/Cilantro:a handful(finely chopped for the garnish)
  • Salt:to taste

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a non-stick kadai/pan.
  2. Add the mustard and cumin seeds.
  3. When it starts to crackle and pop,add the sliced onions,salt and saute till it becomes translucent.
  4. Add the turmeric, cumin powder,slit green chilli,tomato pieces and saute till it gets cooked.
  5. Add the tofu,stir for a couple of minutes.
  6. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with phulkas.

*While buying the tofu for this dish,pick up the firm tofu if possible(as the silken/soft tofu are more suited for making dips).


Microwave Cauliflower Sabzi (No Oil)

 The Microwave version of the Gobi/Cauliflower sabzi was inspired by my mother-in-law who uses the microwave daily for her cooking (and not just for reheating stuff). I’ve tried making it with absolutely no oil, but you could add a teaspoon if you want. The resulting “No-oil, Microwave Gobi/Cauliflower ka sabzi” is not only easy to make but also turned out pretty good. You could even try the same recipe with broccoli(or any other vegetable) in lieu of the cauliflower.
Ingredients for Microwave Cauliflower Sabzi:
  • Cauliflower: 1 (washed and cut into tiny florets)
  • Red chilli powder: 1-2tsp (or according to your spice tolerance)
  • Turmeric powder: 1/4th tsp
  • Cumin powder: 1 tsp
  • Salt: to taste
  • Cilantro/Coriander leaves: 3tbsp (finely chopped)
  • Lime juice: 1 tsp 

Cauliflower Sabzi Microwave

Microwave Cauliflower Sabzi (No Oil)

Method:
  1. Put the cauliflower florets in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 5 mins.
  2. Then sprinkle some salt on it and mix-well.
  3. Microwave again for 2-3 mins. Mix well. Repeat this procedure every 2-3 mins, till the cauliflower is almost cooked.Test for salt(add more if needed).
  4. Sprinkle the red chilly powder, turmeric and the cumin powder and mix well. Microwave again (mixing every 2-3 minutes) till the cauliflower gets cooked.
  5. Add the lime juice and mix well.
  6. Garnish with the cilantro leaves.
  7. Serve the “No-oil, Microwave Gobi/Cauliflower ka sabzi” with phulkas or as a side with rice and dal.

Baingan Bharta/ Brinjal Bharta (Roasted Eggplant Curry)

For the Baingan bharta, the brinjal is usually first roasted whole over a fire (since we have an electric cooktop here, I had to bake it) . Once roasted,the brinjal pulp is then cooked with chopped onions,tomatoes and garnished with chopped cilantro. The Brinjal bharta goes well with ‘phulkas/roti’ or with steamed rice and dal.Here are the ingredients for Brinjal Bharta:

Baingan Bharta Recipe
Ingredients for Baingan Bharta:

  • Eggplant/brinjal: 1 big
  • Onion: 2 medium, finely chopped
  • Tomatoes: 2 small ,diced
  • Green chillies: 1-2,slit lengthwise
  • Ginger: 1 tsp, finely chopped
  • Garlic: 4-5, finely chopped
  • Garam masala: 1tsp
  • Cilantro/coriander leaves: 5 tbsp, finely chopped
  • Salt: to taste
  • Oil: 1tsp

Method:

  1. Spread a little oil over the skin of the eggplant/brinjal and roast over an open flame till it gets cooked(or you could bake it in the oven for 20-30mins).
  2. After it cools a bit, remove the skin (the oil applied on the skin makes it easy) and coarsely chop the eggplant pulp. Keep aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan,then add the chopped ginger and garlic. Let it fry for about a minute,then add the chopped onions and salt.
  4. Saute till the onions become translucent, then add the slit green chillies, diced tomatoes and garam masala powder. Stir for about 5-6 minutes till the tomatoes are cooked.
  5. Add the pulp of the brinjal and cook for another 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  6. Garnish the brinjal bharta with chopped cilantro and serve hot with phulkas.

Turnip leaves Mallung/Mallum (Sri Lankan simple stir-fry with greens)

I love trying out different cuisines and have been lucky to have wonderful neighbours from whom I have learnt different cooking styles. My love for Sri Lankan cuisine started back in the US when we lived in Minnesota for a brief period. There was one Sri Lankan restaurant in the neighbourhood and we loved the fiery food there. Though it is similar to South Indian cuisine(especially Kerala cuisine), they are heavy on the spices and it’s definitely not for those who have a weak stomach.

When we moved to Sydney, I was lucky to have a Sri Lankan neighbour who (once she got to know my love for Sri Lankan food) is always sending over food. This ‘mallung’ or mallum recipe I learnt from her. It’s a quick and easy stir-fry recipe for greens, where you have to finely chop/shred the greens. Since green leafy vegetables tend to reduce in quantity when cooked-don’t be disappointed if you end up with very little mallung.

I try to experiment with different greens and try to buy radish/turnips/beetroot with the leaves. And yes-please don’t throw the leaves of these vegetables as they are edible. Add them to your dals or make this Sri Lankan ‘mallung’ recipe 🙂

Turnip Leaves are a rich source of Vitamins K, A folate and minerals like calcium, copper and also fibre. So STOP throwing away the leaves and use them in your cooking.

Ingredients for Sri Lankan Mallung: Serves 4

  • Green leafy veg: 1 big bunch (kale, turnip greens, moringa leaves, amaranth, lal saag)
  • Red chili flakes: 1 tsp (or green chili paste)
  • Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
  • Mustard leaves: 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves: 3-4 nos.
  • Grated coconut: 1-2 tbsp (fresh or desiccated)
  • Lemon juice: 2tsp
  • Oil: 1 tsp
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Wash the greens and chiffonade (roll the leaves and cut them finely) them.
  2. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan, add the mustard and cumin seeds.
  3. When it starts to pop, add the curry leaves, turmeric powder and the red chili flakes (or green chili paste)
  4. Then add the greens and stir-fry for 5-6 mins.
  5. Add the salt and the grated coconut and mix well.
  6. Swith off and squeeze a dash of lime/lemon juice.
  7. Serve with rice and dal/sambar.

Note:

  1. Experiment with different greens. Cooking times will differ for different greens: like moringa(drumstick) leaves need more time to cook (and you may have to cover and cook for sometime).
  2. The red chili flakes add a unique taste to the dish, you can chop the dry red chilies and use that or use green chili paste.
  3. Always remember to squeeze some lemon/lime juice before you serve greens as the vitamin C will help in the absorption of the iron found in green leafy vegetables.

Sri Lankan mallung

Sri Lankan Greens Mallung/Mallum Recipe


Chicken Saagwala /Palak (Spinach) Chicken

Palak chicken or Chicken saagwala is a not just a great tasting dish but the addition of greens(spinach) increases the nutrient content of the dish. Palak is loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals and is also:

  • low in calories
  • good source of iron, but to be absorbed by the body you need to team it with a source of vitamin C (like squeezing a dash of lime over the dish, or having a citrus fruit after your meal).

Ingredients for Chicken Saagwala: Serves 4

  • Chicken: 800 gms (with bones or boneless)
  • Palak (spinach): 1 big bunch ( washed, blanched and pureed)
  • Onion: 1 big (cubed)
  • Tomatoes: 3 medium (cubed)
  • Ginger: 1″ (grated)
  • Garlic: 3-4nos.(chopped)
  • Green chili: 1-2 nos. (use more if you want it spicier)
  • Red chili powder: 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder: 1tbsp
  • Cumin powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Garam masala: 1 tsp
  • Bay leaf: 1 no.
  • Pepper corns: 3-4nos.
  • Oil: 2tsp
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Heat one teaspoon oil in a kadai ,add the onions and green chillies and stir fry till translucent.
  2. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for another minute, then add the tomatoes and stir till the tomatoes are cooked.
  3. Switch off and cool. Once cooled, puree in a blender.
  4. Heat another teaspoon of oil in the kadai, add the cumin seeds, bay leaf and pepper corns.
  5. Add the tomato+onion puree, the spice powders(red chili, coriander, cumin, garam masala) and fry till the raw smell disappears and the oil leaves the sides.
  6. Add salt and the chicken pieces and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add the palak puree, mix well and cover and cook on low flame till the chicken is cooked.
  8. Serve hot garnished with rice and dal or roti.

Note: If you want it a little creamier, then mix a tablespoon of whole wheat flour(atta) in 1/2 cup milk and add this mixture after you add the palak puree (step 7), mix well and then cover and cook.

Palak Chicken

Chicken Saagwala /Palak Chicken