Saturday, November 21, 2015

Pepita (Pumpkin Seeds) Spice Mix


Pigeon Peas (Toor Dal) - 3 tablespoons
Bengal Gram (Chana Dal) - 2 1/2 tablespoons)
Dry Red Chilli - 30
Coriander Seeds - 1 1/2 tablespoon
Cumin Seeds - 3/4 teaspoon
Flaxmeal - 1/2 cup
Asafoetida Paste - 1/4 teaspoon
Curry Leaves - 15 stalks
Tamarind, dry pulp - 2 tablespoon scoop-size (do not use tamarind extract that is wet)
Garlic Cloves - 8, chopped (not minced)
Pepita (Pumpkin Seeds) - 14 oz (approx. 400 gms)
Peanuts, roasted and de-skinned - 3/4 cup
Salt to taste


  1. Dry roast pigeon peas and bengal gram separately on low flame until they turn slightly brown and you get a nutty aroma. Transfer into a wide bowl/plate.
  2. Now dry roast dry red chillis on low flame until they turn crisp.Transfer into the same wide bowl/plate.
  3. Dry roast coriander seeds and cumin seeds separately on low flame until they splutter, turning slightly brown. Transfer into the same wide bowl/plate.
  4. Now dry roast flaxmeal for about 3 mins. Since this is powder, take care not to burn, ensure the flame is set to low and keep stirring continuously. Transfer into the same wide bowl/plate.
  5. Dry roast asafoetida paste on low flame, until it turns brown and loses the stickiness.
  6. Pull out curry leaves from their stalks and dry roast the leaves on low flame until they turn crisp. Transfer into the same wide bowl/plate.
  7. Dry roast tamarind dry pulp for 2-3 minutes on low flame. Transfer into the same wide bowl/plate.
  8. Finally, dry roast chopped garlic cloves, on low flame until they turn slightly brown and lose the moisture. Transfer into the same wide bowl/plate.
  9. Allow all the dry roasted ingredients to cool down to room temperature.
  10. Coarsely blend all the dry roasted ingredients. 
  11. Add pepita, peanuts and salt. Blend into coarse powder. You might need to do this in two batches depending on the size of the blender/mixer/spice grinder.
  12. Transfer all the ingredients into a wide bowl and mix until well combined. 
  13. Serve with steamed rice, curd rice, dosa, idli etc. While serving with dosa or idli, you could drizzle some olive oil or ghee on the spice mix or serve as is.
  14. Once cooled to room temperature, this spice mix can be preserved in air tight jar for over a month.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Forbidden Rice / Black Rice Pudding

Forbidden Rice? Yes, Forbidden! Black Rice is also called as Forbidden Rice or Emperor's Rice. The rice is said to be majorly cultivated in China and eaten exclusively by the emperors of China to ensure their good health and longevity. The uncooked grains have a smooth texture with deep purple-blackish colored bran. When cooked they turn chewy and taste nutty. Rich in fiber, they contain powerful antioxidants.

Black rice is a type of heirloom rice, meaning it is grown in limited quantities in small family farms. 

One source, ( says that "Forbidden rice may have gotten its name because only emperors in ancient China were allowed to eat it, due to its rarity and high nutritional value. Another possibility for the origin of its name is the possibility that the Greeks banned the rice when they conquered the Middle East. They may have done this believing that the rice somehow helped their enemies in battle."

Serves: 6 to 8


Black Rice - 1 1/2 cups
Water - 4 cups
White/Brown Sugar - 1 cup (add more if required)
Coconut Milk (thick extract) - 500 ml 
Cardamom Powder - 1 teaspoon
Salt - 1/8 teaspoon 
Cashew nuts, chopped - 1/2 cup
Almond slivered - 1/4 cup


  1. Wash the black rice thoroughly in water and soak in water for about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile bring 4 cups of water to rolling boil in a thick bottomed pot, add the rice grains.
  3. Cover the pot and let the rice cook until it soft. The rice will not be as soft as the regular polished/basmati/sona masoori rice. On the outside the grains might seem to be hard but as you press the grain, you will feel that they are soft inside. This rice is very chewy!
  4. Add sugar. Let it cook until the sugar melts and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes. Please note the grains do not cook or get softer after adding sugar. So make sure the grains are cooked before adding sugar.
  5. Pour coconut milk.
  6. Add cardamom powder. Let it simmer until it thickens. The pudding should not have a lot of milk remaining. The pudding will get a little thicker on cooling too. So adjust the consistency accordingly.
  7. Add salt, mix well.
  8. Add cashew nuts, mix well.
  9. Serve topped with slivered almonds. Remember, the grains are chewy!
  10. The pudding tastes great when served chilled too. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Paneer Tikka Masala

Serves: 6


For Spice Mix: (makes more than required for this recipe, store for use in other recipes)

Cinnamon - 2" stick
Cardamom seeds - 1 1/2 teaspoons
Clove - 20
Star Anise -1
Peppercorns - 2 teaspoons
Cumin - 1 teaspoon

For Marinade:

Paneer, cubed - 600 grams
Curd/Yogurt - 1/4 cup
Cumin Powder  - 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander Powder - 1 1/2 teaspoons
Red Chili Powder - 1 tablespoon
Salt - 1 teaspoon
Nutmeg Powder - 1/8 teaspoon
Cinnamon Powder - 1/8 teaspoon
Cardamom Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Lemon Juice - 1 teaspoon
Oil - 1 tablespoon

For Gravy:

Oil - 2 teaspoons + 1 teaspoon
Onions - 2
Tomatoes - 2
Red Bell pepper - 1 small
Ginger - 1" long piece
Garlic Cloves - 5
Cashew Nuts - 8
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Butter - 2 tablespoons
Green Chili - 2
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 1/2 teaspoons
Nut meg Powder - 1/8 teaspoon
Paprika Powder  - 2 teaspoons (optional - for bright red color, this does not add much hotness)
Red Chili Powder  - 2 teaspoons
Salt to taste
Sugar - 2 teaspoons
Spice Mix - 1 1/2 tablespoons
Kasuri Methi - 3 tablespoon


Onion - 1
Green Bell Pepper - 1 small
Red Bell Pepper - 1 small

For Garnishing:

Coriander Leaves, chopped

For Aids:

Skewers - 8


  1. Dry roast all the ingredients for spice mix until a nice aroma comes out. Take care not to burn them. Set aside to cool down to room temperature.
  2. Once cooled, blend them into fine powder.
  3. Slice 2 onions, garlic cloves and ginger.
  4. Chop 2 tomatoes and 1 red bell pepper.
  5. Except paneer cubes, whisk together all the ingredients thoroughly to prepare the marinade. 
  6. Add paneer cubes and set it aside, covered for 30 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a pan.
  8. Add onion slices and saute for a minute.
  9. Add garlic and ginger slices. Saute until onion turns translucent in color.
  10. Add chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder and cashew nuts. Saute until tomatoes turn soft and mushy. Turn off the flame and let it cool down.
  11. Arrange all the marinated paneer cubes in the skewers, leaving half a centimeter gap between each cube.
  12. Place the skewers on a grill or a heated griddle and roast them slightly on all the sides by turning the skewer.
  13. Meanwhile, cut 1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper and onion into 1" squares. Toss them into the remaining marinade mix. Mix well.
  14. Mince green chilies, set aside
  15. When the paneer cubes are roasted on all sides, pick the onion, red and green bell pepper squares and roast them on both sides on the same grill or griddle. Keep aside.
  16. Grind the sauteed onion+ tomatoes mixture into a smooth puree. Keep aside.
  17. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan.
  18. Add butter.
  19. When the butter melts, add minced green chili. Saute for a minute.
  20. Add ginger garlic paste, saute until the raw smell disappears.
  21. Now add nutmeg powder and spice mix. Saute for a few seconds.
  22. Add the onion+tomato puree. Mix well.
  23. Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, paprika powder, sugar and salt. Cook for 5-7 minutes.
  24. Crush kasoori methi between your palms, add it to the cooking gravy. Cook for a minute.
  25. Add grilled paneer cubes, red and green bell peppers and onions. Mix well, cook for 2-3 minutes.
  26. Turn off the heat.
  27. Garnish with coriander leaves.
  28. Serve.