Appetizers

Labaneh Dip with Green Chili Thecha

Introducing my Labneh Dip with Green Chili Thecha – it’s spicy but also cooling at the same time.  The yogurt and chilli come together beautifully to challenge your taste buds – making it a delicious summer time dip!

I often make this dip when I entertain friends and family for two reasons – Firstly, this dip is delicious and gets my guests hooked.  Secondly, it is easy to prepare everything you need for this dip, is sitting right in your pantry- Hung curd, cloves, chilli, garlic, coriander, lemons and salt.

It’s also a versatile dip to serve as a snack, it goes well with bread, veggies and kebabs.

Servings 3 – 4 persons
Course Appetizer
Preparation Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute

Ingredients for the Labaneh Dip

(1 cup=200 ml, 1 tbsp=15 ml)

1 cup Hung curd (2-3 cups of curd hung overnight gives 1 cup of hung curd)
Salt to taste
1 No. Lemon juice

Ingredients for the Green Chili Thecha

(1 cup=200 ml, 1 tbsp=15 ml)

6 – 8 Green chilies
5 – 6 Cloves of garlic

Ingredients for Garnish

(1 cup=200 ml, 1 tbsp=15 ml)

1 – 2 tbsp Oil
A handful of Mint leaves
A handful of Coriander leaves with thin stems
2 – 3 Green chilies

Instructions for the Green Chili Thecha

1 Pound the green chili and garlic cloves together. (It should be coarsely ground).  Alternatively you can use a blender and coarsely grind the same.

Instructions for the Labaneh

1 Mix the hung curd, salt and lemon juice.
2 Add in 1 – 2 tbsp of the thecha prepared above.  (increase or decrease quantity as per your taste)
3 Chill the labaneh for 1 – 2 hours.

Instructions  to serve

1 Heat oil in a tadka pan.
2 Fry the coriander and mint leaves.
3 Fry the green chilies.
4 Garnish the thecha labaneh before serving with the friend green chilies and fried leaves.  Serve with pita bread.  Chips and crudités.

 

Drinks

Aam Panna

Rehydrate the desi way with Aam Panna!

A classic Indian summer drink, Aam Panna is renowned for its thirst-quenching and hydrating properties.  This flavoursome drink is super refreshing and is ideal for hot sunny afternoons.

Aam Panna reminds me of my summer break as we would live off this drink and beat the heat.  It’s a quick and delicious recipe.  All you need is some raw green mangoes, spices, water and sugar.  Viola! You have a perfect drink to beat this scorching heat.

Pro-tip- Serve it super chilled and garnish it with mint leaves.

Swipe right for detailed recipe and instructions.  Save this recipe for the incoming heat and share it with your friends and family.

PS: Cocktail enthusiasts, this might be your favourite summer mixer!
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Drinks / Soup

Bloody Mary Gazpacho

Who said soups are not for summer?  Bloody Mary Gazpacho is summertime soup that is simply delightful.  To make things interesting, I have infused this recipe with some vodka, however you can omit it for a non-alcoholic version.

Gazpacho is quintessionally, an Andalusian dish, hailing from Spain.  This fresh and energizing drink is all you need on a lazy sunny afternoon.

Servings Makes 4 cups
Course Drink / Soup
Preparation Time 10 minutes
Cook Time Nil

Ingredients for the Bloody Mary Gazpacho

(One glass = 200 ml; 1 tsp = 5 ml)

6 Nos Fresh red tomatoes, diced
½ cup Cucumber, diced
½ cup Red pepper, diced
1 – 2 Celery sticks
½ cup Red onion diced
½ cup Green capsicum diced
2 Garlic cloves
2 – 3 Green chilies
1 Toasted baguette slice (bread slice)
1 – 2 tbsp Olive oil
1½ tbsp Red wine vinegar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
A few drops Tabasco
60 – 90 ml Vodka
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
½ – 1 cup Tomato juice (real brand)
1 cup Ice cubes

Ingredients for Rimming

(One glass = 200 ml; 1 tsp = 5 ml)

A wedge of Lemon
1 tbsp Salt
A few Celery sticks to serve

Instructions for the Bloody Mary Gazpacho

1 Blend all ingredients for the bloody mary gazpacho in a blender until smooth.
2 In case the mixture is too thick, add more tomato juice and ice, and blend again.
3 Taste and adjust the seasonings as per your choice.
4 Chill in refrigerator for 2 – 3 hours.
5 Rim the glasses with salt and lemon wedge.  Add in crushed ice.  Pour the gazpacho and serve each glass with a celery stick.

Notes:

  1. You could omit the vodka for a non-alcoholic version.
  2. The gazpacho should not be too thick, nor thin. In case you prefer, you can strain it down too. Some prefer it chunky.
  3. In case you find it too tart (sour), you could add sugar as per taste.

 

Soups & Salads

Mango Salad

A quick delicious salad in under ten minutes?  Let’s make my go-to summer Mango Salar.

Toss some mangoes, capsicum, onion, coriander, and mint leaves in a bowl.   Drizzle some salad dressing made of lemon, sugar, chilli flakes, vegetable oil, and salt.  Lastly, munch on this beauty while you watch your favourite show or serve it to friends you dropped by for a drink.

Servings 2 – 4 persons
Course Salads
Preparation Time 5 minutes
Cook Time Nil

Ingredients for the Mango Salad

(1 cup=200 ml, 1 tbsp=15 ml)

2 Nos. Ripe Alphonso mangoes, peeled and thinly sliced
½ No. Red capsicum, thinly sliced
½ No. Red onion, thinly sliced
A few Basil leaves
A few Coriander leaves
A few Mint leaves

Ingredients for the Salad Dressing

(1 cup=200 ml, 1 tbsp=15 ml)

1 – 1½ Nos. Lemon Juice
2 tsp Caster sugar
½ tsp Red chili flakes
1 – 2 tbsp Vegetable oil
Salt to taste
Zest of a lime

Instructions for Mango Salad

1. Combine all ingredients for the salad in a bowl.  Mix well and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Mix all ingredients for the dressing.  Whisk well to combine.
3. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.
Mains

Pav Bhaji Pasta

Hear me out before you disregard it: the best things in life are unexpected, and this recipe embodies this saying.  I thoroughly enjoy fusing unexpected flavours.  Adding a desi twist to western dishes has been an integral part of my gastronomical journey.  This recipe is surprisingly yummy and has the right amount of spice you need in life.

It’s perfect for kids during their summer vacation. What do you think about this recipe? Do try and let me know in the comments section.

Servings 3 – 4 pax
Course Main Course
Preparation Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes

Ingredients for the Pav Bhaji Pasta

(1 cup=200 ml, 1 tbsp=15 ml)

2 cups Boiled pasta (Farfalle or Penne)
2 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Finely chopped garlic
2 – 3 tbsp Chopped onion
2 tbsp Red capsicum, chopped
2 tbsp Green capsicum, chopped
2 tbsp Carrots, blanched and then chopped
2 tbsp Tomatoes, chopped
1 – 2 tsp Green chili, finely chopped
1 tbsp Pav Bhaji masala
½ tsp Turmeric powder
2 cups Milk
1/3 rd cup Grated Amul cheese
½ cup Fresh cream
Salt to taste
Red chili flakes to taste
Basil leaves for garnish
4 – 5 Slices grilled buttered pav to serve

Instructions for the Pav Bhaji Pasta

1. Heat butter in a pan.  Sauté the onion and garlic until translucent.
2. Add in all vegetables one by one and sauté.
3. Add in the turmeric powder and pav bhaji masala and sauté well.
4. Add milk (at room temperature). Add in the cheese and stir on a low flame.  Do not let it curdle.

5. Add in the boiled pasta and cream.  Mix well. Season with salt and chili flakes. Don’t let the sauce dry out.  (adjust by adding a little pasta water or milk if required).

6. Serve at once garnished with basil leaves and buttered pav slices.
Mains

Raw Mango & Pomegranate Raita

With the onset of summer comes the need for tasty, easy and light dishes!

Presenting our summer staple: raw mango and pomegranate raita!

It’s really easy to assemble and tastes great with just about anything: roti sabzi, kadhi chawal, chole bhature, biryani and more.

Servings 2 persons
Course Main Course
Preparation Time 5 minutes
Cook Time Nil

Ingredients for the Raw Mango & Pomegranate Raita

(1 cup=200 ml, 1 tbsp=15 ml)

2 cups Beaten yogurt
¾th  cup Grated raw mango
¾th  cup Pomegranate kernels
2 – 3 Green chilies finely chopped
Salt to taste
Roasted cumin powder to taste
Red chili powder to taste
A handful of Mint leaves

Instructions for the Raita

1. Mix all ingredients for the raita and keep in the refrigerator to chill for an hour or two.  Serve chilled.
Notes:
  1. The acidity (sourness) of the raw mango is beautifully balanced with the sweetness of pomegranate kernels. Ensure to choose dark red sweet pomegranates for this recipe.
  2. I have skipped sugar deliberately from this raita; however, feel free to add ½ tsp in case you prefer it sweeter.
Appetizers

Tex Mex Papdi Chaat

What’s so Mexican about this papdi chaat recipe, you ask? It starts right from tortillas as papdi to a whole range of Mexican flavours that you will discover in the recipe!

This is a fairly simple and easy-to-follow recipe. The chaat is all about the coming together of various elements so it might seem like a lot of prep work but again, channel the love for fusion food and you are good to go. Best served and savoured immediately but since some components can be made ahead in time, this makes for a go-to appetiser for parties and get-togethers.

The green and red chutneys can be made two days ahead and so can the bean mixture with olive oil. The assembly part of adding sour cream, shredded cheese, and other garnish ingredients should be done fresh right before you serve.

Try this desi chaat with a Mexican flair at home!

Servings 8 – 10 persons
Course Appetizer / Snack
Preparation Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 – 25 minutes

Ingredients for Tex Mex Papdi Chaat

(1 cup = 200 ml, 1 tbsp = 15 ml)

6 – 7 Nos. Ready tortilla wraps (flour ones)
Oil for frying
2 cups Boiled kidney beans (rajma) (crush it coarsely)
½ cup Boiled corn kernels
½ no. Red pepper, chopped
½ no. Green pepper, chopped
½ cup Spring onions, finely chopped
1-2 tbsp Taco seasoning
2 tbsp Olive oil for cooking
1 tbsp Cumin powder
1-2 tsp Red chili powder
¼th  cup Salsa sauce
Salt to taste
6 – Nos Jalapenos chopped
1 tbsp Sriracha hot sauce or any Mexican hot sauce

Ingredients for Green Chutney 

( 1 cup=200 ml, 1 tbsp=15 ml)

1 bunch Green coriander leaves
6 cloves Garlic
3 – 4 Fresh jalapenos (seeds removed)
1 – 2 Green chilies
1 tsp Cumin powder
3 tbsp Peanuts (skin removed, plain unsalted)
Salt to taste
Lemon as per taste
1 tsp Sugar

Ingredients for Red Chutney

(1 cup = 200 ml, 1 tbsp = 15 ml)

12 nos Dried Kashmiri chilies (soak for ½ hour in hot water and then drain.  Remove seeds)
6 colves Garlic, peeled
2 small Tomatoes
Salt to taste
½ tsp Cumin seeds
1 tbsp Oil for cooking

Ingredients for Sour Cream

(1 cup = 200 ml, 1 tbsp = 15 ml)

½ cup Hung yogurt
½ cup Cream
Salt to taste
½ Lemon squeezed
1 clove 1 clove
1-2 tbsp Water to thin it down

Additional Ingredients

(1 cup = 200 ml, 1 tbsp = 15 ml)

½ cup Yellow cheddar or Montrey Jack Cheese, shredded
A few Jalapeno slices
A few Coriander leaves for garnish
A few Spring onion greens

Instructions for the Flour Tortillas

1. Cut the ready flour tortillas with a cookie cutter into round disc.
2. Deep fry in hot oil.  Keep aside.  They should be very crisp.

Instructions for the for the Bean Mixture

1. Mix the boiled rajma (crushed coarsely), corn, spring onions, taco seasoning, cumin powder, chili powder, salt, sriracha, jalapenos and salsa.  Check the seasonings and add as per your taste.
2. Heat olive oil and sauté the above mixture for 2 minutes or so. Keep aside to cool.

Instructions for Green Chutney

1. Blend all ingredients in a blender.  Add the chilies to suit your taste buds.
2. Blend with very little water. Keep aside for further use.

Desserts

Thandai Tres Leches Cake

“In honour of the true Holi festive spirit + endless possibilities of the ‘east meets west’ fusion mithai trend – here’s presenting the Thandai Tres Leches Cake recipe!

This recipe takes the national Holi drink of Thandai and uses its rich and refreshing flavours in a decadent dessert that takes inspiration from the Latin American soaked cake known as “tres leches” (meaning three milks).

My desi dessert version is a basic vanilla eggless sponge cake soaked with the goodness of the wonderfully flavoured thandai milk. The thandai milk mixture of this recipe is a combination of coconut milk, regular milk, and condensed milk with added thandai syrup and masala milk powder.

Sponge cake prep, milk mixture prep and assembling the cake – By breaking it down into 3 parts, you will be able to easily follow this simple recipe. Please note that you can make this also with a ready-made sponge cake as per your preference.

Thandai Tres Leches Cake could easily be the highlight of any Holi spread with its vibrant look and deliciously rich taste. Don’t forget to tag me in your renditions of this fusion dessert and have a happy Holi everybody!

Servings 6 – 8 pax
Course Dessert
Preparation Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes

Ingredients for the Thandai Tres Leches Cake

(1 cup = 200 ml, 1 tbsp = 15 ml)

200 gms All purpose flour (Maida)
160 gms Caster sugar
1¼ tsp Baking powder
½ tsp Baking soda
½ tsp Elaichi powder
A pinch Of salt
200 gms Yogurt (at room temperature)
70 gms Refined oil
1 tsp Vanilla essence

Ingredients for the Milk Mixture

( 1 cup=200 ml, 1 tbsp=15 ml)

120 gms Coconut milk
120 gms Regular milk
80 gms Condensed milk (Nestle)
2 tbsp Thandai syrup (Guruji Brand)
1 tsp Masala milk powder

Ingredients to Garnish

(1 cup = 200 ml, 1 tbsp = 15 ml)

Whipped cream
Saffron strands
Pistachio slivers
½ tsp Milk masala powder

Instructions for the Basic Sponge Cake

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.  Grease and line a square 8” cake tin with parchment paper or foil.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, caster sugar, baking powder, soda, salt & elaichi powder.
3. Add in oil and vanilla essence and mix again.
4. Sift in the flour and fold gently until it is combined.
5. Transfer the batter to the cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for 20 – 22 minutes until a skewer, inserted into the center of the cake, comes out clean.  Remove cake and cool completely.

Instructions for the Milk Mixture

1. Mix all ingredients and keep aside.

Assembling the Cake

1. Now, once the cake is cooled, poke the cake with a fork all over the top.
2. Pour half of the thandai-milk mixture.  Let the sponge absorb it.
3. Decorate the cake with whipped cream, masala milk powder, saffron strands and pistachio slivers.  Cool the cake in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
4. When you serve the cake drizzle the remaining milk mixture on top and serve chilled.

Notes:
1.  The above recipe is of a basic vanilla eggless sponge cake (you can omit elaichi powder in case you want to use for any other western purpose).

2.  You can make this also with a ready-made sponge cake too.

Breakfast

Dutch Pancakes

Dutch Pancakes, traditionally called Pannenkoek are typically large, whole-pan size and are much thinner than a typical American pancake (but not quite as thin as a French crepe).

All you need: flour, milk, eggs, a pinch of salt, and some oil.  Optionally you can add a little bit of sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon to the batter, and even fill the pancakes with slices of fresh fruits like apples and bananas, or cut berries.

One thing to be mindful of in this simple recipe: – it is super important to make sure that there are no lumps in the batter.  You could use a hand blender to get a smooth batter.

Once the edges puff up and turn golden, and you can’t resist the sweet aroma of your pancake1

Serve the pancake hot or cold with syrup; dust it with powdered sugar, or any other topping of your choice.  Traditionally these Dutch pancakes, filled or not are rolled and then eaten – perfect to eat on the go!

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Breakfast

Chocolate Peanut Butter Baked Oats

Here’s your slice of March motivation: An old fashioned Oatmeal Cake!

The oatmeal-based cake recipe uses gluten-free oats, sugar + pantry staples and brings the healthy goodness of oats while satiating your dessert cravings, all-in-one.

You are familiar with oats as a healthy breakfast fix but this simple and modest cake truly delivers more than it promises, and is sure to become a new family favourite.

Did you know? Oats contain more protein than any other cereal grain and are also super-rich in healthy carbs and dietary fibers leading to a better digestive system workload. Not to forget, the taste is simply divine – talk about savoring every bite of your newfound guilt-free indulgence.

Try this recipe at home and share your versions with me.

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