Friday, November 28, 2014

DIY Movie Basket |Personalized Gift Idea For Valentine Day, Anniversary, Birthday|

Deciding what to gift your husband on anniversary, birthday or any special occasion is a confusing task. I on the other hand always like to gift something that is personalized and romantic. 27th November was our 5th marriage anniversary and I wanted it to be special. It was on a weekday and the weather was going to be rainy, thus I planned a movie night at home.

The idea is simple yet very interesting and innovative. I decided to make a movie basket that can be fun and full on entertaining. Here is how to make our own DIY Movie Basket.

Things you will need:
  • Basket or a tub: - A container where you would like to arrange all the things. A tray, bucket or any plate will also do the trick. I got this popcorn tub.
  • Movie DVD: - Think which movie you both can enjoy together. If you have Netflix or Amazon prime good enough. You can also download a movie, store in pen drive and then pack it the basket.
  • Movie tickets: - That’s where you will need to be creative. Take any scrap paper and make your own movie ticket-it is kind of cute and personalized.
  • Beer bottles: - Ofcourse you need something to drink, I chose our favourite beer. You can also opt for soda, coke cans, cider or even a bottle of wine or champagne. Add in some classy wine glasses for more fun.
  • Popcorn: - No movie is a movie without popcorn. Make your own popcorn, which ever flavour you like. I made caramel and slated popcorn and put in the ziploc bag, you can buy popcorn bags also.
  • Nachos/chips and dips: - We both love tortilla chips. Just add in your favorite bag of chips and you are good to go. By the way Indian papads are also work fine. Hot salsa or creamy mayonnaise in must have for chips.
  • Candies or chocolates: - Something sweet will balance the whole basket ;). I chose mini mars chocolates bars. You can add candies, smarties, mints or any candies you like. Some cupcakes, cookies will also be great.
  • Throw blanket: - A wintry night movie- trust me a throw blanket will be nice ;).  If you don’t want to spend money use any shawl.
  • Pyjamas: - I saw cute red pjs in the market and it was love at first sight. You can also add a cute pair of night suit, or sweatshirts or hoodies.
  • Warm cosy socks: - Cosy feet while watching a movie is a dream, so just add in any socks or cosy slippers.
  • Final touch: Just arrange everything thing in the tub and wrap it up with any paper or colorful ribbon :)
Other things that can be added:

  • Cosy pillows
  • Scented candles
  • 3D glasses (for 3D movie ofcourse)
  • Pack of nuts
  • If you love to watch movies then Netflix or Amazon gist card is a good gift idea.


  • It is ofcourse a special occasion, so you will need to cook something nice. Don’t slave yourself in the kitchen- order a pizza, or cook something quick like pasta or noodles or French fries- the ideas are endless.
  • Be organised and write down all your ideas and things you will need. Decide the budget: Match the list with the budget and shop smartly. Buy things that can be used later.
  • You can plan a movie night even for the whole family. Just add in some movie DVD that your kids and you can enjoy. Add more sweets and candies, some diet soda or lemonade.
Let me know if you have any questions. Do try this :) Leave your comments and feedback:)

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Sambhar Chutney, Best Chutney For South Indian Dishes

Christmas is in full swing, everything is sparkling red and I have been just walking around on the streets of London doing some window shopping for checking out cute stores. If you wish to see the pictures do follow me on instagram. I wanted to buy a red winter coat and tanned boots but I will be waiting for the end of season sale. So what’s keeping you busy, how is Christmas happening in your part of the world?

Today’s recipe is to please my south Indian friends and readers. I hardly post south Indian recipes on the blog, okay let me count- yeah there are 2 south Indian post, one being south Indian flavored rice and second the capsicum massala. No it’s not that I don’t like south Indian cuisine, in fact we both love it so much that we eat it every two weeks-but always in restaurants. Soaking, grinding and fermenting the batter to perfection is what I lack- I can blame the cold weather in London or just my patience level. Anyways once a while on my visit to East Ham (south Indian place of London) I pick up the readymade batter.

With that batter I make some crispy dosas, uttapam, toast sandwiches or idlis. Hot and fluffy steamed idlis-oh they are awesome and escort it with spicy sambhar (south Indian daal)-what else would you need. What if I tell you that you forget the sambhar and instead pair it with the chutney that taste like sambhar...shocked or curious??

Yeah I am going to tell you a recipe that is truly my innovation and now I can claim it is a must try recipe- The Sambhar Chutney. The recipe needs all the ingredients that you would put in the regular sambhar but no daal-yes no boiled lentils. You just add bay leaf, mustard seeds and sambhar massala; cook it on slow flame with chunks of tomato and dash of tamarind pulp- the perfect climax. Trust me this chutney taste like sambhar- imitated flavours but easy and quick. You MUST try this.

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds/rai
1 tablespoon oil
1 bay leaf/tej patta
4-5 curry leaves
1 and 1/2 tablespoon sambhar massala (see notes)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder/haldi
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder/lal mirch
Pinch aseofetida/hing
1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp/imli (see notes)
1 large tomato/Tamatar


  1. Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add in mustard seeds, curry leaves aseofetida and bay leaf.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients with 1/2 cup of water and keep aside.
  3. Chop tomatoes finely and add in the pan with the above spice paste. Cover and let it cook  on a slow heat for 5 minutes.
  4. Open the lip and mash the tomatoes with the back of the spoon. Mix in tamarind paste and cook covered again for 2 minutes.
  5. The consistency should be semi liquid. Serve.

Boil the tamarind in little water, apply pressure and remove the pulp. Sieve and use.
Sambhar massala/powder is easily available in any Indian grocery stores.
You can use lemon juice instead of tamarind pulp, only the colour will be slightly different.
Chopped onions, garlic and ginger can also be used.

Serving suggestions:
Taste well when served with south Indian dishes like dosa, uttapam, idli.
Great accompaniment with sandwiches and rolls and savory snacks like pakodas, dhoklas, momos or tikkis.
You can also serve as a dip for bread, nachos or crackers.
This goes well as a spread for tacos, enchiladas, frankies or pitta pockets.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Eggless Vanilla Cupcakes With Flaxseeds, Without Yogurt And Condense Milk

Good news everyone. I am happy to share that post of Sprouts Paratha is featured in Indus Ladies Kids' Lunch Box Recipes Ebook. There are 100 recipes in the book be it- sandwiches, parathas, pasta or healthy substitutes . You can download this ebook free of cost, here is the link

It’s always overwhelming to be appreciated or to see your blog’s recipes being published on another platforms-isn't it? And when such accomplishments happens a sweet celebration is a must.  This time it is Eggless Vanilla Cupcakes With Flaxseeds. Yum!!

Before I move ahead do take a look at my other eggless bakes:
Eggless Almond Chocolate Cake (without condensed milk and yogurt)

Today’s recipe is more royal and rich, more elegant and classy. It happened 2 weeks back when I laid my eyes on this square cupcake moulds  and these liners from wilton- oh it was an instant love. If you like new shapes and designs then buying these moulds is a good idea- a great alternative to old round cupcakes. Next, I used flaxseeds as eggs substitutes in this recipe and oh my god (very loudly) why dint I do that before.

Flax seeds are economical, easy, quick and very healthy. Those of you who are vegans, vegetarians or just don’t like the egg smell in the cakes then you have to try and use flaxseeds meal. If you want to know more about it read How to make flaxseeds as egg replacer in the bakes and how to include flaxseeds in the Indian diet.

3/4 Cup - All purpose flour/Maida
3/4 Cup - Milk
1 tablespoon - Flax Seed Meal (see notes)
3/4 cup - Sugar
1/4 teaspoon - Baking soda
1/2 teaspoon - Baking Powder
1/8 teaspoon - Salt
1 tablespoon - Oil
2 teaspoons - Vanilla Extract

Mix one tablespoons of flax seeds powder with 3 tablespoons of water. Let it stand for 10 minutes. The mixture will become thick paste.
Preheat the oven at 180C and line the cupcake moulds with cupcake liners.
Mix all the dry ingredients together- all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a larger bowl, mix the oil, sugar, flax seed-water mixture and vanilla extract. Mix for 5-8 minutes.
Slowly sieve the dry ingredients mixture with the wet mixture and beat alternating the milk. 
Fill the cupcakes liner with the batter and bake till 35-40 minutes or till toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let the pan sit on the rack for 10 minutes and let the cake cool down completely before frosting.

Flaxseed is commonly known as Alsi (Gujrati, Hindi Punjabi), Jawas (Marathi), Tishi (Bengali) and Agasi (Kannada).
I buy the milled ones- but do check the label, you must buy good quality ones. I use this organic Linwoods Organic Flax
If you want square moulds in India you can buy from here.

Serving suggestions:
Just dust some icing sugar and serve plain.

Mutter Paneer Bhurji, Quick Side Dish

The cursor is blinking and I have no thoughts in my mind that I can type. So before I began to talk about the winter moods or the same basic old stuff, I would like to share the pictures of Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London, marking 100 years of World War. Each ‪‎poppy represents a British military fatality during the war. Crowds were crazy out there and we went on Sunday (Remembrance Day) but it was so much worth it. To find out more read here.

Moving straight to the recipe of Mutter Paneer Bhurji. When you are in hurry then this subji comes handy. I have made palak mutter paneer bhurji before-it was the combination of two classic paneer dishes- mutter paneer and palak paneer.

Burji means scrambled –yes just like scrambled eggs. Resembling corn paneer bhurji recipe, this too is very simple and quick. Boil up the milk; curdle with lemon juice; strain the water and you are good to go. On weekends when we want to enjoy the royalty of paneer without wasting lot of time and energy I head on and prepare paneer bhurji. Add in any vegetables of your choice, some basic Indian spices and dash of homemade garam massala- that’s it- a quick and creamy side curry is ready.

2 cups milk
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup frozen peas/mutter
1/2 teaspoon turmeric/haldi
1/2 tablespoon coriander powder/dhaniya
1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder/lal mirch
1 tablespoon oil/tel
1/4 teaspoon carom seeds/ajwain
Pinch asafoetida/hing
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera
1 finely chopped onion/pyaz
2 chopped green chillies/hari mirch
1 tablespoon garlic-ginger paste/adrak lehsun
1 teaspoon dry mango powder/amchur
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste

  1. Boil milk in a heavy bottom pan. When it bubbles appear add in lemon juice. The whey and fat will be separated. Take a sieve or a piece of cloth and strain the water of the fat. Add cold water so that lemony taste of paneer is faded. Keep pressing the cloth till no water is left.
  2. Heat oil in a pan. When hot add in asafoetida, carom seeds and cumin seeds. Add ginger garlic paste, green chillies and onions. Cook till onions are cooked and raw smell remains.
  3. Add in frozen peas and half cup of water. Cover and cook till peas are soft.
  4. Mix in all the spices and paneer. Mix and cook cover for 8-10 minutes.
  5. Finally garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

I used full fat milk you can use anyone you like.
Replace lemon juice with vinegar or yogurt to curdle the milk.
You can add any veggies in this curry, like tomatoes, carrots, corn, bell peppers or even spinach.
I used frozen peas, go ahead and use fresh peas as well.

Serving suggestions:
Serve with any Indian bread or rice.
You can make the complete Punjabi thali- , aloo chole, dal makhani, jeera rice and kulchas.
For rajasthani thali pair it with aloo pyaz ki subjimarwadi lehsun ki chutney and marwadi Bharwa Bhindi.
For gujarati thali, serve it with aloo tamatar nu shaak, khamman dhokla and keri nu ras.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bombay Sandwich

After vada pav and pav bhaji the street food that I completely love and find irresistible is Bombay Sandwich. These sandwiches are sold in every nook and corner of Mumbai, near offices, colleges, shopping malls –oh I said everywhere-dint I? The thing is Mumbai is always hot and humid and one cannot have fried snacks like vada pav, samosa or pav bhaji; When heat waves are in full swing and sweat has snapped all your energy. Thus you tend to look for cold snacks – like chilled water pani puri, shakes, gola, bhel puri etc.

Bombay sandwiches are also cold and raw-making it perfect for a hot sunny day. Lavishly buttered white bread and sandwiched between them are the thin slices of boiled potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, onion rings, and spicy mint chutney. All the vegetables layers are tossed with chaat massala. Finally the sandwich is chopped into 6 pieces and each one of it is served with extra drops of chutney and tomato ketchup for more zing and kick.

Ladies, for authentic taste please do not use brown bread, seeded bread-use plain simple white bread. Do not be stingy while spreading butter, I have tried it with no or less butter and trust me it’s of no use. Think positive, think about the goodness of raw vegetables you will be indulging in, think about peppery chutney and totally overlook the calories of butter and white bread ;-). Bombay sandwich is the perfect balance of taste- spicy, tangy, sweet, crunchy.....yumm....No one can eat just one.

Ingredients (for 2 sandwiches)
4 slices of white bread
1 tomato
1 onion
1 boiled potato
1 small cucumber
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons green chutney (see notes)
1/2 tablespoon chaat massala
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup (optional)

Chop tomato, cucumber, onion and potato into thin rings.
Spread 1 tablespoon of butter on each bread slice.
Apply 1 teaspoon on green chutney on each slice.
Arrange vegetable rings on 2 slices of bread and sprinkle chaat massala after every layered vegetable.
Cover the vegetable slices with other bread slices.
Cut into desired shapes and serve with drops of tomato ketchup or chutney.

You can use green chutney, mint chilli chutney or coriander chutney in this recipe. However mint chutney will give you authentic Mumbai taste.
You can also add rings of beetroot in this sandwich.
Do not avoid chaat massala.
Chop into triangles or squares.

Serving suggestions:
Serve with chips on side.
Serve these mini sandwiches on kids’ party or any get together.
Perfect for picnics and luchbox.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Besan Vali Shimla Mirchi, Marwadi Style

Have you ever experienced a feeling when you are sad and happy at the same time? That is what I am feeling these days. I was flying for India by the end of this month and now I have to postpone my trip for another 2 months because my little brother is getting married in January. I am very happy and excited to attend the wedding-the Indian wedding-my brother’s wedding but another 2 months extension is kind of making me sad.

We will have to be here in the UK for the whole December, the depressing weather, and the gloomy streets, when all our friends will be having fun time with their families in India. Yeah there are Christmas lights to cheer you up, lots of discounts and sale in the stores but damn I am just missing my family a lot.

Why do you love to visit your family? Well, the warmth that your loved ones shower on you , the late night chit chats with your cousins, the mom cooked food,  pampering, your old room.....oh everything about meeting your family is great- isn’t it?

When nothing can cheer you up, your mom’s special dishes can only come to rescue. My husband called my maa and asked her for the recipe that is easy and one of favourite. After a lot of thinking he tried to make Besan Vali Shimla Mirchi to make me happy :) His gesture and attempt did wonders and I realized how immature and kiddish I was behaving. One needs to be happy in life no matter what- lesson learnt :)

Besan vali mirchi is one of the most popular marwadi dishes in Rajasthan. Besan that is chickpea flour is roasted on slow flame to release amazing aroma, which is later mixed with Indian spices, homemade garam massala and finally coated over huge chunks of capsicum. Fennel seeds (saunf) give authentic marwadi touch to the subji and this is probably the easiest vegetarian side dish -c’mon my husband cooked it to perfection.

2 capsicums/shimla mirch
1 green chilli/hari mirchi
2 tablespoons gram flour/chickpea flour/besan
2 tablespoons oil/tel
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder/haldi
1 teaspoon coriander powder/dhaniya
1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds/saunf
Pinch of Asafoetida/hing
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger/adrak
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice/nimbu ka ras

Take a non stick pan and roast gram flour and fennel seeds on a slow flame. Roast till gram flour gives nice aroma/smell.
Chop capsicum into bite size chunks. Also chop green chilli finely.
Heat oil in a pan, to it add aseofetida and cumin seeds.
Mix in chopped ginger and green chilli, mix and let it cook.
Add in capsicum, corineder powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt. Mix and cook it covered on a slow flame for 2 minutes or till capsicum is half done.
Add roasted gram flour, garam massala and 1/4 cup of water. Mix and cook covered for another 1 minute. Serve hot.

I have used coloured capsicum, but feel free to you use any kind.
The consistency is semi dry, just that capsicum is coated with spices.
Make sure that capsicum is not over cooked; else the subji will turn soggy.

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot with any Indian bread- parathas, roti, kulchas or puri.
Serve as a side with rice and daal.
Just roll up in the parathas, or rotis. Great for tiffins and lunch boxes.
This will make a great stuffing for sandwiches too.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pop Up Event | My Dairy Free Dream Ice Cream

Every man thinks every girls’ dream is to find the perfect guy; psshhh, every girls’ dream is to eat without getting fat. And that is why when I read the words lowfat, guilt free, non dairy and icecream it was a dream come true. Last Friday Sandhya of Sandhya’s kitchen and me attended a pop up My Dairy Free Dream Ice cream event. Thanks Sandhya for tagging me along, it was so much worth it.

The event was held at Good House Keeping Institute in the heart of London. When we entered, the team gave us a warm welcome followed by short introduction about the My Dairy Free Dream Icecreams. Everything was pink- the posters, the bean bags, napkins but the pink ice cream cart was the cutest.  For those living lactose free, non dairy lifestyle, Dream products are the best alternative, find more information here-

Ice cream but non dairy, ice creams but fewer calories.....but no compromise in the taste, texture and flavours. Dream Ice Cream are made using almonds as the base to deliver the bang on creamy, velvety and smooth feel. We were spoilt with the choices given to make our own ice cream concoction using flavours including Salted Caramel, Praline Crunch, Velvety Vanilla and Mint Chocolate Chips.

To tell you a little secret, all the flavours were great, and I dint even bothered to have some syrup over it, it was yummy as it is. Mint Chocolate Chip was a remarkable blend of chocolate and the minty kick was the perfect climax. Praline crunch was a smooth with tiny bits of nuts to give the missing crunch. Velvety vanilla was rich and will be a great accompaniment with brownies, cakes or even on cold coffee.  Salted Caramel was the yummiest and my favourite among all-Creamy, lashings of sweet caramel with the hint of salt- a taste bud teasing experience.  Do try these icecreams, available exclusively at Waitrose costing £4.99

Over all I was so happy to end my week guilt free over a sweet note with My Dairy Free Dream Ice Cream. Thanks to this wonderful team :)

After the event we caught a glimpse of Christmas lights at Oxford Circus.

Disclaimer: I was not paid or told to write positive review. The post is based on my experience and is unbiased. Thanking Dream and Havasww for inviting me for this event.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Autumn is second spring where every leaf is a flower-Albert Camus

Hello autumn!! Get ready for golden leaves, crisp air, sweaters and boots. Get ready to warm up your home, light the scented candles and coziness.

Butternut squash also known as butternut pumpkin is a winter must have- it is sweet, nutty and has beautiful yellowish orange colour (like autumn leaves). To tell you the truth, I saw this squash many times in the market and stores but never ever brought it. After a lot of nagging by Mr. Husband I had to pick this up.

The decision that I need to make soup out of it was mutual and quick, after all the novelty of the numb fingers and the comfort of soup are basic requirements in the fall. To bring the best outcome in the soup I always prefer roasting some elements,  roasted tomato garlic soup was peppery and aromatic; or the roasted bell pepper basil soup that I posted was mildly sweet with strong flavours. And not to forget the makeover of old tomato soup which was infused with roasted chilli.

Roasting-my favourite thing in the kitchen. The fact is, when you roast any fruit or vegetable, it releases its own juice and fragrant due to which the overall profile value intensifies. Also, after roasting you are left with strong smoked burnt flavour which is so sharp and intelligent that you will be hooked forever. So as you must have guessed, I did roast the butternut squash-I don’t want to break the tradition ;)

Black pepper, olive oil and little salt was all what I mingled while roasting-oh the house smelt amazing! Later I discard the skin and I was left with smoked and juicy flesh which was then slow cooked for some time with yogurt, lime and cream. A hint of garam massala gives the perfect climax to this soup-soooo Indian!! Serve on a rainy lazy day, or cold winter night with bits of roughly broken toasted bread. Do make this and you thank me later ;-)

1/2 kg butternut squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
4-5 whole black peppercorns
2 tablespoons yogurt
1 tablespoon limejuice
2 tablespoons cream
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon garam massala powder
Pinch red chilli flakes

Preheat the oven at 200C. Line a baking tray with foil.
Remove the seeds and in a bowl chop the butternut squash into big chunks. Drizzle olive oil, salt and black peppercorns on it. Mix well.
Spread this mixture over the lined tray. Put in oven and cook till 10-15 minutes. The skin of the squash will shrink and flesh will become soft. Let it cool.
Discard the skin and peel the flesh. Heat a heavy bottom pan on slow heat.  Add 2 cups of water and let it simmer.
To it add roasted squash and all the remaining ingredients. Mix and mash the squash with the back of the spoon. Taste and add little salt.
Cover and cook for 10 minutes, mixing in between.
Let it cool down and blend it in the mixer to smooth paste.
Boil before serving.

This serves 2 people.
You can also follow the same recipe for pumpkin.
This is spicy and has Indian flavours. You can omit garam massala and add oregano and basil.

Serving suggestions:
Serve with croutons or toasted bread.
You can also serve the soup with crackers or soup sticks.
If you don’t want to serve with bread, throw in some boiled pasta or corn in the soup.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Red Chilli Pesto Sauce

Cooking is love made visible- you agree? I was not always interested in cooking, neither do boredom nor passing my time led me to the kitchen- it’s the colours, the spices, the taste and the aroma that attracted me towards the kitchen. Like all the kids, I too had curious mind loaded with questions and imagination. A little girl sitting on kitchen platform would add mustard seeds in the hot oil and notice how it splutters all over. How when you add little water at a time to a dry flour  would turn it into thick smooth dough. All these little genius things and ideas made me hooked in the kitchen. Bombarding questions to maa- why you add garam massala in the end, why you garnish every subji with coriander leaves, why you add cumin in some dishes while mustard in some....with a smile she would patiently answer all my questions...and that’s how I got my basics right and strong.

That was a recap...a recap to the kitchen where I grew up helping my mom! Today I love my kitchen-I feel it is the heart of every home. Cooking is creating something new, something delicious but for someone else and cooking from scratch is an achievement. Buying preservatives loaded canned food or sauces is not my idea. Pasta sauce cooked in red wine, roasted bell pepper sauce, hummus, pani puri are some of the best things that I prepared from scratch.

Pasta is once a weekly affair for us and trying out different flavours is always welcomed. We tried pesto sandwich a week before and even though I loved the taste of basil in pesto sauce I still wanted to give it some Indian touch. It was then when Red Chilli Pesto Sauce was discovered. In simple words it is the blend of red chilli chutney and the regular pesto.

Handful of dry red chillies are soaked overnight, the other day it is grinded with the bunch of fresh basil leaves and olive oil. Little parmesan cheese, oregano, black pepper and lemon juice are used to give the perfect climax to this sauce.

1 and 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
12 dry red chillies
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/4 olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper powder
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Juice from 1 lemon
Salt to taste

Remove the seeds and soak red chillies in half a cup of water overnight.
On a slow flame dry roast the pine nuts.
In the grinder or a food processor grind everything together to a fine paste.

You can also use almonds in place of pine nuts. I have tried it taste good.
I have used black pepper powder, red chilli powder and dried red chillies thus this pesto sauce is very spicy and hot. Adjust the heat as per your taste; feel free to remove any chillies.
You can also add vegetables like bellpeppers, onions in the final pasta dish.

Serving suggestions:
Just boil any pasta of your choice and add in dollops of this sauce on it.
This goes well as a spread for your sandwiches, toastier, Frankie or rolls.
Try it as a dip for crackers, chips or nachos.
You can also use this as a marinate for tandori dishes- be it paneer, potatoes or meat.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Palak Ki Chuntey, Healthy Spinach Dip

Whether you want to stay fit or wish to have a glowing skin the solution is to include greens in your diet.  Last year Kale leaves became very popular just like some trend and everyone tried it, talked about it and blogged about it. I too wanted to include atleast one Kale recipe in my vegetarian blog but I just couldn't stand the taste of kale- the colour, the flavour, the texture nothing impressed me. So I decided to part my way with kale and became friendlier with spinach. 

Spinach or as we say palak or saag in hindi is my favorite green. The crisp and bright green spinach is not just appealing to eyes, but is a home for lot of nutrients. It is low in fat and even lower in cholesterol, spinach is high in niacin and zinc, as well as protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. And another jewel in the crown is its price and availability- available throughout the year in every part of the world and is very much affordable. So to simplify-include spinach in your daily diets as it is loaded with goodness for every part of your body and pocket.

On a friendlier note with spinach I share with you one great dip recipe- Palak Ki Chuntey/ Spinach dip. It is not only easy peasy but indeed very delicious and a sure shot crowd pleaser.  Indian spices, lentils and curry leaves are roasted on tava with spinach, and finally grinding to a smooth paste.  Now it is versatile recipe and you can do whatever you wish to do with it. I like to use it as a marinate for tandori panner tikka or even have it as pasta sauce. Use it as a spread, a dip for spicy daal pakodas, or as a side with tawa pulav or aloo parathas.

2 cups spinach/palak
1 tomato/tamatar
1/4 cup chopped coriander/dhaniya
1 teaspoon oil
2 teaspoon white gram/Urad dal
2 teaspoon Split Bengal Gram/Chana dal
2-3 green chillies/hari mirch
1/2 inch peiece ginger/adrak
8-10 curry leaves
2 cloves garlic/lehsun
Juice from one lemon/nimbu
1 teaspoon mustard seeds/rai/sarso
Pinch Asafoetida/hing
Salt to taste

  1. Chop ginger, garlic, green chillies, tomato and spinach leaves finely.
  2. Heat oil in a pan, and on slow flame add mustard seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida, garlic, ginger and green chillies.
  3. When the raw smell fades away, add in chopped spinach. Let spinach cook for 5 minutes or till it turns mushy and leaves water.
  4. Add chopped tomato and cook till it becomes soft and mushy.
  5. Grind the above vegetable mixture with coriander leaves in the mixer to a smooth paste.
  6. Mix all the remaining spices and serve.

This chutney will keep well in the fridge for 1 week. Keep in air tight container.
I used baby spinach, but use any kind you want.
Never ever cover the pot when cooking spinach. Leaving the pot uncovered helps to release more of the acids with the rising steam. 
Remember spinach is bit salty due to sodium content, so add little salt first. Taste and then adjust.

Serving suggestions:
Serve as a side with dosa, idli or cheelas.
Great accompaniment with sandwiches and rolls and savory snacks like pakodas, dhoklas, momos or tikkis.
Serve the Indian way with daal and rice or parathas.
You can also serve as a dip for bread, nachos or crackers.
This goes well as a spread  frankies or pitta pockets.