Tag Archives: Indian cooking

Potato Peels Pakoras

On 20 May 2020, I experimented with the idea of making pakoras of potato peels. They were ready in a jiffy without much effort and tasted heavenly. They were light on the stomach too and the best part was that they remained crisp even after cooling down; which was why I liked them more than the peels chips I made earlier, see link below. https://jasbirchatterjeephotoblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/16/lockdown-recipes/

With lockdown still going on in India and the need to minimise wastage, such recipes always come in handy. Another wonderful thing about potato peels is that they don’t spoil when kept in fridge. So you can keep collecting them and use them later as per your convenience.

Here are the step-by-step pics. Do try this out and let me know how it went.

1. First sprinkle salt and turmeric in the peels. Then add enough besan and rice powder to form a coating on the peels. Then sprinkle jeera powder, amchur, ajwain, a pinch of asafoetida, and dhania powder. I had some green coriander too, so I put that in as well. Mix with a spoon. No need to add water, as the peels also shed water.

2. Deep fry on medium heat in batches. Don’t put too much oil in karahi. Keep turning them over till they are golden brown all over.

3. Bring them out with a perforated handle and place them on tissue paper to drain out excess oil.

Yoghurt Setting Made Easy

Ever wondered why your yoghurt is so watery and not set properly?

Here is a tried and tested tip.

Just before keeping aside the warm milk-yoghurt mixture for setting, pour it into another container and then pour it back to the first one. Do this about 6 to 8 times.

The yoghurt or dahi, as we call it in India, will be far better and well-set.

Here are the pics.

The final stage is below, frothy and ready to be kept aside for setting.

Sweet-Sour Chutney – A Lockdown Recipe

Most Indian parties have a sweet-sour chutney as a side dish. It is usually made with imli (tamarind), which gives the sour taste, and gur or sugar or dates for the sweet taste. These ingredients are boiled together along with some water and spices including salt as per taste and the resulting concoction tastes great with snacks such as samosas, dhokla, and sandwiches.

On 2 May 2020, my daughter’s birthday, I wanted to make this chutney for our family celebration, but I couldn’t find the basic ingredient imli at our local grocery store because of lockdown.

So I experimented with amchur (dry mango powder), which was already available at home, as per the recipe from our microwave oven manual.

I was amazed to see how wonderful it tasted; and it was ready in a jiffy with no messy soaking, grinding, boiling, and repeated tasting and adjustments of ingredients to get the desired viscosity and sweet-sour taste.

Here is the recipe: Take a glass bowl, add one tablespoon of amchur, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and a small cup of water. Add salt as per your taste and about a quarter- teaspoonful each of your favorite spices, e.g. asafoetida, red chilli powder, jeera (cumin) powder, coriander powder, saunf, kalonji, etc, and microwave for 5 minutes. Voila! Your sweet-sour chutney is ready. See the pic above.

Keep it in a glass or porcelain jar. Once it cools down, keep it in the fridge. The chutney tends to get more viscous and darker in color after cooling down. So do add enough water, keeping this in mind.

Potato Peels Chips – A Lockdown Recipe

During lockdown, when nothing is certain, you need to be careful with food items and avoid wastage. What do you do with raw potato peels? Do you throw them? Don’t.

My friend Sampa Das recently told me about what how you can make chips with potato peels. My version is below with self-explanatory pics.

1. The smaller katori contains peels kept in fridge from the previous day.

2. Wash them properly and drain out excess water.

3. Sprinkle some salt, rice powder and besan on the peels to make them crisp.

4. Mix with your fingers.

5. Deep fry them on medium heat to prevent burning.

6. Once they turn brown all over, place them on tissue paper to absorb excess oil.

Beetroot Tikkis – II

Two years ago, I wrote about how my beetroot chutney evolved into beetroot tikkis. Click below.


And last Sunday, 9 February 2020, I made potato-beetroot Tikkis for breakfast. My family loved them and I was happy to see them disappear in a jiffy. But I got far greater satisfaction from the fact that I could finally put a jarful of corn flakes, which were close to their expiry date, to a good use.

Here are the step-by-step pics. They are self-explanatory.

1. First assemble all the ingredients, boiled potatoes, green coriander, curry leaves, grated beetroot, salt, coriander powder, jeera powder, red chilli powder, salt, ginger-garlic paste in a mixing utensil. Also add a handful of frozen peas and about 2 cups of corn flakes powder (not shown here) got after microwaving cornflakes and grinding them in a mixie.

2. Mash and gather it all into a soft dough.

3. Take out little rolls in your palm and shape them as Tikkis.

5. Deep fry the Tikkis in a karahi in batches. Don’t overcrowd them.

6. Once they turn brown all over, take them out and place them in a sieve. Don’t keep them on tissue paper, as they may become soggy and lose their crispiness.

Have them with a chutney or any other dip of your choice.

We had them with green chutney made from green mint and coriander leaves, green chillies, lemon juice, and peanuts. I removed the stalks of coriander twigs and put them into the Tikkis dough (see pic 1) instead of the chutney as they make the chutney bitter. See below.

Note: If you don’t have cornflakes, you can instead use rice powder, or soaked poha, or microwaved and powdered bread/oats, or semolina (sooji) as binding agent.


Green Chutney With Roasted Gram & Tulsi Leaves

Here are the step-by-step pics. They are self-explanatory. Next time, I will experiment with palak (spinach) leaves.

1. First assemble the ingredients, one onion, a small bunch each of leaves of mint (pudina), dhania (corriander), 3-4 green chillies, some curry leaves, Tulsi leaves, and half cup of roasted, de-skinned gram.

2. Wash all the leaves properly and grind them in a mixie with some salt as per taste.

3. Garnish.

Poha Cutlets, A 1-2-3-4 Recipe

As I mentioned in an earlier recipe too, what I enjoy most in cooking is ulilising leftover items to create a new food item that is tasty, nutritious, and gets consumed fast.

Apart from being environment friendly, there is always a sense of adventure and excitement associated with this exercise because you can’t be sure how the end product would be like. There is always the risk of ending up with another leftover item that no one wants to eat, that too, after an expenditure of precious time and other resources. But when it turns out well, you get a wonderful sense of achievement that stays with you for a long time.

On 29 September 2019, a Sunday, my weekly off, while rummaging through our fridge, I found some green chutney in a little katori, some cut paneer pieces, chopped carrots, and a 2-day old alu-baingan sabji which wasn’t such a big hit.

I had made the green chutney this time with roasted chana (whole gram) and Tulsi leaves, apart from green chillies, amchur, mint, coriander, and curry leaves. See here for recipe. https://jasbirchatterjeephotoblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/03/green-chutney-with-roasted-gram-tulsi-leaves/?preview=true

I took them all out and put them in a kneading bowl. I added a cupful of soaked poha (flattened rice), chopped onion, 2 tablespoons of besan (black gram powder) and salt. I didn’t need to add any spices as the chutney-Sabji combo was spicy enough by itself. I kneaded them all into a dough. Then I took out small balls from it and turned them into egg shaped rolls with my hands. After deep-frying them in batches tilll they were brown all over and placing them in tissue paper to drain out excess oil, I had a plateful of poha cutlets that disappeared quickly during our family breakfast!

Do try this out as a regular recipe and tell me how it works out. Here are the 4 pics. Because it is so easy to follow, I call it a 1-2-3-4 recipe.

Being a working woman, time is always a scarce resource and 1-2-3-4 recipes are the ones that suit me the most.

I Love Pumpkin, Why Don’t You?

Isn’t it tragic that in spite of being such a wonderful vegetable, pumpkin is not as popular as it deserves to be? Most people add a lot of spices while cooking it to make it more palatable.

I recently cooked pumpkin in two different ways with just the basic ingredients (salt, turmeric, mustard seeds, mustard oil, and one whole red chilli) and I was pleasantly surprised to find it so delicious! Well, that proves that food can be tasty even without too many spices.

Here are the step-by-step pics.

1. Pumpkin with Karela (bitter gourd): Pumpkin neutralizes the bitterness of Karela and the net effect is absolutely heavenly.

First chop the Karela into thin slices and soak them in salted water for about 30 minutes. Then wash them thoroughly and squeeze excess water from them. Deep fry these karela pieces in small batches in hot, smoking mustard oil till they turn light brown. Keep them aside in a plate.

Next, keep only 2 tablespoonfuls of mustard oil in Karachi and pour out the remaining hot muatard oil in a utensil. Heat the Karachi again and add 2 teaspoons of mustard seeds and one whole red chilli. Once spluttering starts, add chopped pumpkin, turmeric, and salt as per taste.

Once the pumpkin becomes a bit soft, add the fried karela pieces and put a cover after lowering the gas flame. This will prevent burning.

Keep checking every 2 minutes till the vegetables are tender without becoming mushy.

Your pumpkin-karela dish is ready. Bon Appetit!

2. Grated Pumpkin

Here, the method is same as above, except that this time you use the grated pumpkin.

Sprouts Salad

Courtesy photo: Suroshri Chatterjee

My daughter works these days in the night shift. The food I cook daily doesn’t always suit her, as she needs to eat things that keep her active and fresh during her working hours.

Last week, she made a sprouts salad for herself and she left behind some for me too. I found it extremely delicious. See its photo on top.

I had it for myself again for breakfast on the following day. I did not feel bloated, like I generally do whenever I eat sprouts. By lunch time, I was hungrier than usual!

It is commonly believed these days that fruits and vegetables must never be eaten together, but this particular sprouts salad that I am going to tell you more about now has both of them. It is healthy, light, nutritious, easy to make; doesn’t take much time.

Ingredients: one Apple, one pear, one cucumber, one small onion (optional), a small cup each of boiled sweet corn and sprouts, juice of one lemon, salt and chaat/raita masala/or any masala as per your taste.

Method: Chop the apple, pear, cucumber, and onion. Add sweet corn, sprouts, lemon juice, salt and raita masala. Mix well. Your sprouts salad is now ready.

Simple, isn’t it?

Enjoy! Bon Appetit!

Alu-Gobhi simplified

Alu-Gobhi (potatoes and cauliflower) sabji is a very popular dish in North India. It has to be made with great care as Gobhi (cauliflower) tends to soften faster than alu (potatoes) and you run the risk of ending up with mashed cauliflower with potatoes standing out, which doesn’t taste good.

In an ideal Alu-Gobhi Sabji sabji, alu and cauliflower pieces are soft without being mushy and have a spicy, crispy, fried taste.

A lot of chefs first deep fry the alu and cauliflower pieces separately and then cook them together in a karahi with the required spices, curd, tomatoes, and some more oil. This takes far too much time and oil.

On 28 July 2019, I discovered an easier, simpler, and far healthier method of cooking Alu-Gobhi without compromising on that typical restaurant-like taste.

Here are the step-by-step pics. Do try out this recipe and write back. I look forward to reading your comments.

1. Start off by steaming chopped potatoes and cauliflower in a pressure cooker. Be careful while you do this as there is a risk of overboiling. Usually, one whistle or just when the whistle is about to begin is sufficient cooking time. My mini pressure cooker is of Prestige and in one whistle, it parboils without making the items too soft. Once done, place the veggies on a sieve and let the excess water drain out into a container below. You can use it in making other dishes such as dals or soups, etc.

2. Grind ginger and make a rough paste.

3. Heat some oil in a thick-bottomed karahi. Once it is hot, lower the gas flame and add turmeric, chilli powder, whole Cummin seeds, and whole corriander seeds powder.

4. Then add the veggies, ginger paste, and one red chilli. Stir a few times and allow the veggies to fry properly. Mix well and add salt and amchur as per your taste. Your Alu-Gobhi bhaji is ready. Enjoy.

5. You can add grated paneer too in the end. I had some paneer-onion bhurji in the fridge, so I added this to the Sabji when it was done.

Read my other food recipes here. https://wordpress.com/page/jasbirchatterjeephotoblog.wordpress.com/8762