Posts Tagged ‘Potatoes’

Vegetable Biryani- Chettinad Style



Known to be the spiciest and the most aromatic cuisine of India, the Chettinad cuisine is one of my favorites. I’ve spent many glorious evenings in Chennai wiping away plates of Biryani and sucking on spicy succulent crab meat while my totally vegetarian best friend V, looked on with great amusing interest. I’m sure her smirk would disappear in a tick had she only known the great void (tragedy) her vegetarian life had conferred on her.

Anyway, coming back to serious cooking,  here’s a vegetarian version of the popular Chettinad biryani which is so flavorful that I’m sure even a die hard meat eater would easily go for a second helping :) .

1 lb veggies of your choice. (I used, cauliflower and broccoli florets, diced bell peppers and carrots, peas and  potatoes cut into long strip like fries)
3 cups basmati rice
1 large  or 2 medium sized red onions finely sliced
3 large tomatoes, diced in chunks 
2 tbsp chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
11/2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tbsp chopped mint 
5 cloves
4, 1/4 inch pieces of cinnamon
2 bruised whole cardamom
1/2 tsp red chili powder, alter this based on tolerable spice level
2 tsp paprika, for color
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric powder  
refined vegetable oil
2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
3/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup curd
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt to taste

Spices for Grinding

3 cloves
2,1/4 inch pieces of cinnamon
seeds from 1 cardamom
1 tsp of fennel seeds


  • Soak washed basmati rice with 4 cups of water and set aside for an hour. 
  • Dry roast the spices mentioned for grinding and grind to a semi coarse powder
  • Heat refined oil in a wide bottomed pan that can be fitted with a tight lid and doesn’t let steam escape and fry the veggies one at a time until almost cooked and set aside.
  • In the same pan add ghee and  add more oil if necessary,
  • When hot, add the whole cloves, cinnamon and cardamom and let them puff up.
  • Add the chopped onions and sauté until deep brown (the onions should look fried).
  • When the oil comes clear, move the onions to the sides of the pan and add turmeric and the ground spices to the oil accumulated at the center of the pan and sauté for 30 secs.
  • Add remaining ginger-garlic and sauté for a minute.
  • Add in the diced tomatoes, chili powders and sauté until oil separates.
  • Reduce the flame to low and add the coconut milk, curd, lemon, salt, cilantro and mint and let it simmer.
  • Add 1 tbsp of ghee, salt and cook the rice until the water boils and the rice is only  3/4 done.
  • Drop in the fried veggies into the masala mixture mix well and flatten it at he bottom of the pan
  • Pour in the boiling rice into the pan making the rice form a layer on top of the masala and veggie mixture and has no direct contact to the bottom of the pan.
  • Close the pan tight shut and let it sit on the very low flame for 15 – 20 min or until the rice at the top is done.
  • Remove from the stove and mix in the rice and masala
  • Serve with raitha and mango pickles.
  • Navratan Korma


    Navratan Korma, meaning a mixture of nine gems is a delicious vegetarian dish from the Mughlai cuisine. The nine gems indicate the nine veggies, fruits and nuts that go into the dish. Influenced by the imperial kitchens of the Mughal empire this is as grand and as rich as any vegetarian dish can get.



    10 oz of paneer/cottage cheese
    1/2 cup cashew nuts 
    1 large onion chopped
    1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
    1/2 tsp cumin powder
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    1/2 tsp white pepper powder
    1 tsp punjabi garam masala
    1 1″ piece of cinnamon
    2 bay leaves
    1 pod of bruised cardamom
    4 cloves
    3-4 cups mixed veggies(I used cubed potatoes, chopped French beans, diced carrots,green peas,cauliflower florets, diced bell pepper)
    1/4 cup pineapple chunks
    10-12 raisins
    2-3 tbsp heavy cream
    2-3 tbsp refined oil
    Salt to taste


  • Cut the paneer into slabs (not cubes) and toast them on both sides in a non stick pan in 1 tbsp of oil. Make sure you don’t over do it. Both the sides should have just a slight hint of brown to bring out the nutty flavor of the paneer.
  • When all the slabs of paneer are toasted cut them up into small cubes, sprinkle a little salt and set aside.
  • Grind 1/4th cup of the cashews along with the onions.
  • Parboil with salt all the veggies individually (cooking time for each varies) and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan.
  • Add turmeric and cumin powder and sautéfor 30 secs.
  • Add the remaining cashew nuts and the whole spices.
  • When the spices puff up add the cashew onion paste and the ginger garlic paste and sauté until oil separates.
  • Add the garam masala and pepper powder.
  • .Add one cup of water and bring to boil.
  • Add the the veggies, paneer, raisins and pine apple and let it simmer until the veggies are cooked.
  • Garnish with heavy cream
  • Server hot with Indian breads
  • Aloo Gobi


    Since I could never bend it like Beckham, I chose the easier alternative and learnt to make a killer Aloo Gobi. I consider a bowl of Aloo Gobi perfect when the potatoes and the cauliflowers remain intact in shape and size but are yet cooked thoroughly through. And of course the cauliflower florets shouldn’t be giving off that God-awful gaseous stench.  Over the years I figured the best way not to stink up your kitchen while cooking cauliflower and the like (cabbage, kohlrabi etc) was to cook them dry. And the easiest was to cook them dry is to deep fry them (tastier option) or broil/bake them (healthier option). You of course can cook them dry directly in the pan too. But that requires frequent stirring and totally depends on how patient you are willing to be. I’ve detailed all four techniques here. Follow what ever floats your boat.



    2 cups cauliflower florets
    1 cup quartered potatoes
    1 small onion chopped fine
    1 tsp grated ginger
    1 medium tomato chopped into chunks
    3/4 tsp amchoor /dry mango powder
    1/2 tsp turmeric 
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1 tsp katoori methi / dried fenugreek leaves
    pinch of asafoetida
    1 tbsp coriander powder
    1 tsp chopped green chilies
    1 tsp red chili powder
    1 tsp punjabi garam masala
    2 bay leaves
    2 tbsp chopped cilantro
    refined oil
    salt to taste


    If deep frying – Heat refined oil in a deep pan. Sprinkle salt on the cauliflower and potatoes and deep fry them until they are cooked through and light golden brown in color.  Set them aside on paper towels to drain out the excess oil.

    If broiling – Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a shallow pan. Add cumin seeds, asafoetida and turmeric. When the cumin seeds are roasted switch off the flame.  Spread out the cauliflower and potatoes on a flat dish. Sprinkle salt  and drizzle the hot seasoned oil on all the veggies. Broil until cooked through to a golden brown color tossing it every 8 minutes.

    If baking – Preaheat oven to 350 F. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a shallow pan. Add cumin seeds, asafoetida and turmeric. When the cumin seeds are roasted switch off the flame.  Spread out the cauliflower and potatoes on a flat dish. Sprinkle salt  and drizzle the hot seasoned oil on all the veggies. Bake on 350F until the veggies are cooked through.

    If stir-frying in a shallow pan with no water – Follow the instructions below to make the masala. When done, add the veggies and mix well into the masala. Close the pan and let is simmer on medium heat. Stir every 5 minutes and close the pan with a tight lid when left to simmer.

    Making it all come together –

  • Heat 2 tbsp of oil in shallow pan
  • Add cumin seeds, asafoetida and turmeric, sauté until the cumin is roasted. (omit this step is broiling or baking)
  • Add bay leaf and saute for 30 secs.
  • Add ginger and onions and sauté until onions are golden brown
  • Add tomatoes, coriander powder, green chilies, red chili powder,garam masala,  kastoori methi, amchoor and sauté until oil separates. 
  • Add the cooked veggies and mix them well into the masala until they come together.
  • If adding uncooked veggies follow stir-frying directions.
  • Garnish with cilantro. Switch off the flame.
  • Server hot with Indian breads 
  • Mushrooms And Potatoes in Coconut Milk Gravy



    This simple dish goes amazingly well with Indian breads. I’ve used Portobello mushrooms here. But, you can use any kind you like. The mushrooms and the potatoes so readily absorb the sweetness of the coconut milk that every bite of it leaves you wanting more. Though you can make this dish with just mushrooms I’ve added potatoes too, only because I wanted more volume and they being the most versatile of the veggies I knew would remain subtle and not over shadow the mushrooms in this dish.


    1 lb Portobello mushrooms chopped into chunks
    3 red potatoes
    1 large onion finely chopped
    1tbsp ginger-garlic paste
    3 –4 green chilies chopped
    2 tomatoes chopped into chunks
    1 sprig of curry leaves
    1/2 tsp cinnamon-clove spice mix
    1/4 tsp turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
    1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    1 cup canned coconut milk
    1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
    2-3 shallots finely sliced
    1/2 tsp red chili powder
    1 tsp of lemon zest
    1 tsp black mustard seeds
    1 tsp coriander powder
    1 tbsp chopped cilantro


  • Cook potatoes in a pressure cooker or boiling water.  Chop into big chunks and keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a wok.
  • Add cumin and sauté for a few seconds.
  • Add onions and sauté until golden brown.
  • Add green chilies and ginger-garlic paste until you get rid of the raw smell.
  • Add tomatoes, turmeric, black pepper, chili, coriander and cinnamon-clove spice mix and sauté until the oil separates.
  • Add the mushrooms and sauté until they are cooked.
  • Add the potatoes, salt  and mix it into the dish.
  • Reduce the flame, pour in the coconut milk and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes
  • Heat a tsp oil in another pan.
  • Add mustard seeds and when they pop, throw in the curry leaves and the shallots and sauté until the shallots are fried.
  • Pour the mustard seasoning over the curry.
  • Garnish with lemon zest and cilantro.
  • Serve hot with hot Indian breads.
  • Aloo Tikki / Spicy Potato Patties


    These are just about the easiest patties to put together. They make amazing appetizers when served with a combination of meetha chutney (tamarind and sugar),  green chutney (cilantro, green chilies and lime) and chole.



    3 large potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
    1 tsp corn flour
    1/4 cup green peas, boiled
    2 green chilies, chopped
    3 tbsp lemon juice
    1 tsp cumin powder
    1 tsp red chili powder
    salt to taste
    2 tbsp chopped cilantro
    1 tbsp chopped mint leaves
    pinch of asafoetida
    refined vegetable oil for frying


  • Thoroughly mix all the ingredients except the oil.
  • Divide into 10 to 12 equal portions and shape them into flat patties
  • Heat oil in a fry pan and shallow fry over medium heat until golden brown and crisp on both sides.
  • Drain and pat dry on absorbent paper.
  • Serve hot with chutneys and chole.
  • Aloo Bhaji and Puris / Spiced Potatoes with Fried Indian Bread



    Nish: Mama, whatcha doin?

    Me: I’m making Puris for you, baby.

    Nish: Poowwis? Why?

    Me: Because, Puris are your favorite.

    Nish: Mama, you making Poowwis with Macaroni and Cheese?

    Me: Yes, I am.

    Nish: Thaaeenks Mama, Macaroni aaend Cheese poowwis are my favorite!

    What can I say?  The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree? Like his Dad, Nish, will eat anything when he’s assured, what’s in it, is what he likes. Truth be told, my droll little man, likes Puris more than he does Mac and Cheese. But, prefers to believe other wise. Idlis, dosas, rotis are all his favorite when he is guaranteed, they are made form Mac and Cheese :). Oh, bless!!.

    Puri and Bhaji is to India, what Mac and Cheese is to America. A child’s delight and an adult’s I-Dont-Care-If-I-Die-Young food. Interestingly, in spite of all the diversity in the Indian sub continent, this combination of food is similar and popular through out the country.


    For the Puri
    1 cup whole wheat flour
    1/2 cup water
    1/4 tsp of salt
    refined oil for deep frying

    For the Bhaji
    4 medium sized Potatoes peeled and diced into chunks
    1 tsp ginger garlic paste
    2-3 Green chilies chopped
    1 med sized onion chopped
    1/4 tsp turmeric powder
    1/4 tsp cumin seeds (optional)
    1/2 tsp mustard seeds
    pinch of asafoetida
    1/2 tsp bengal gram/channa dal
    3-4 tbsp curd or 2 tsp lemon juice
    salt to taste
    2 tbsp cilantro chopped
    1 sprig curry leaves (optional)
    2 tbsp refined oil


    For the Puri

  • Mix dough, salt and water, and knead well to make a smooth and firm dough
  • Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for 30 – 45 minutes.
  • Take a tablespoon of dough (I prefer making small Puris) each time, mold it into a smooth ball and then roll it out into thin neat circles. Sprinkle flour or oil if the dough sticks while rolling it out.
  • Heat oil in a deep frying pan. To test the temperature, drop a pinch of dough into the oil, if the temperature is right if it rises up immediately. If it stays sunk below let the oil heat for some more time.
  • Drop in one rolled out circle of dough at each time. When the edges begin to fluff up, gently press the Puri down at the center into the oil with a skimmer, this makes it fluff up into a nice ball. Turn over. When the Puri acquires a very slight tinge of brown, remove and place on paper towels to blot out the excess oil
  • Serve hot with Chole or Aloo Bhaji

    For the Aloo Bhaji 

  • Heat oil in a pan.
  • Add asafoetida, cumin, mustard, channa dal and curry leaves.
  • When the mustard pops and the dal turns slightly brown, add onions and sauté until they are translucent and tender.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and sauté for another minute.
  • Add the potatoes, salt, turmeric, sauté for a minute or two.
  • Reduce the flame to medium low, close the pan and let the potatoes cook. Add water if needed for the cooking.
  • When the potatoes are cooked add curd (or lemon juice) and mix well for a minute or two.
  • Transfer to bowl, garnish with chopped cilantro.
  • Serve hot with Puris.
  • IMG_5662

    Aloo Paratha / Flatbread Stuffed with Spiced Potatoes



    I watched my friend K make some really scrumptious Aloo Parathas when she had us over for dinner the other day, and I just couldn’t get past this week without trying them out myself at home. I’ve always been a big fan of stuffed parathas, but there was something that held me back when it came to making them on my own. I being a hard core Mallu and all, with minimal experience in making Indian breads thought it was beyond me to keep the stuffing inside while I rolled out the dough. So, when I saw K , facilely flatten out the stuffed balls and  later when the parathas hissed and billowed into big swollen puffs on the flame, my lifelong intimidation disappeared and I couldn’t wait to get to my kitchen and do some show and tell 😀

    Very much unlike me, K loves to slow dance in the kitchen. She finds cooking at a slow pace therapeutic. And that day, this worked perfectly  for me.. It gave me ample time to make mental notes while watching her cook in spite of being busy in an intense, persisting gossip session. Thanks for letting me plonk my base on your counter top while you did all the cooking, K. You are the best ;).

    You can spice up the stuffing any which way you want. Some like to add garam masala, others add chaat masala and some sauté the onions with the spices until they are cooked, before mixing it into the potatoes. I did mine simple with spring onions, cilantro, cumin and amchoor (dried mango powder). Go ahead, modify and alter it to your tastes. There is no right or wrong.

    Making the stuffing as dry as possible allows you to roll out the parathas evenly thin and keeps the stuffing from breaking out. For this, ensure the potatoes are thoroughly cooked but not soggy. 


    The below recipe makes around 5 – 6 medium sized parathas.


    alooparatha2For the dough
    1 cup wheat flour
    1/2 – 3/4 cup water (sufficient to knead the flour together)
    salt to taste
    alooparatha3For the stuffing
    2 large potatoes thoroughly cooked
    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 tsp green chili finely chopped
    4 -5 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
    1/2 teaspoon amchoor (dried mango)
    1/4 cup onions finely chopped
    1/2 tsp grated ginger
    pinch of crushed ajwain
    pinch of turmeric
    salt to taste
    ghee /oil



  • Knead the flour with salt and water together to make a soft non sticky dough.
  •  Cover and set aside.
  • Peel and mash the cooked potatoes, using a grater ensures there are no lumps.
  • Mix onions, chilies, cilantro, cumin, amchoor and salt to the mashed potatoes.
  • Divide the dough and potato mixture into 6 equal parts each. I like my parathas with lots of stuffing so, I used stuffing, twice the size of the dough.
  • Roll out the dough into small circles, place a ball of stuffing in the center of each circle of dough, gather the edges of the dough together and seal with a twist on top. Press down the protruding bit and let them be for a minute or two.
  • alooparatha6

  • Pat the stuffed balls with dry flour before beginning to roll them out.
  • Keeping the seal on top, gently press down the ball with your fingers.
  • When they are as flat as your fingers could get them to be, use a rolling pin and gently roll out the paratha to the thickness you desire. I like mine very thin.
  • Heat a skillet on high.
  • Place the paratha over the skillet.
  • When the paratha begins to puff up on the edges turn it over.
  • When the paratha billows into a big balloon apply 1/2 – 1 tsp of ghee to the surface and turn over.
  • Press down using a spatula and apply ghee similarly on this side too.
  • Take off the flame when cooked thoroughly on both sides.
  • Serve hot with, curd, pickles or butter.
  • Cool completely in the open if you want to box them for later.


    Lamb Cutlets – Kerala style


    In Kerala these cutlets are ideally made with minced beef. Since most of my Christmas party guests were non beef eaters, I substituted beef with lamb. It turned out pretty authentic in taste and, a hard core mallu friend of mine couldn’t tell the difference. So my take – you could use any sort of red meat in this recipe and it wont be easy to tell. What does make a difference however, is what you serve them with. To bring out the actual  flavor or these savories you have to, I cannot stress this more, serve these with the Malayalee Charlasthin slices of onions and finely diced green chilies soaked in white vinegar with a dash of salt.



    1 lb very lean ground/minced beef or lamb
    3 medium sized Yukon white potatoes, cooked pealed and mashed
    1 very large  or 2 medium sized onions finely chopped
    5- 6 green chilies, finely diced
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    2 tbsp grated ginger
    2 tbsp diced garlic
    2 tsp Black pepper powder
    1/2 tsp kerala garam masala
    refined vegetable oil
    1 beaten egg
    1 cup bread crumbs
    2 tsp whole coriander seeds, dry roasted and crushed
    Salt to taste


  • Sauté the chopped onions in a tsp of oil  in a shallow pan  until golden brown
  • Crush the grated ginger and garlic and add them to the pan along with the green chilies and continue to sauté until oil separates
  • Add in the ground meat, turmeric powder, garam masala, pepper powder and  crushed coriander seeds and let it cook on high flame for 10 – 15 mins, mix occasionally with a spatula to prevent clumping to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add salt to taste
  • When the meat is well cooked take it off the flame and mix in the mashed potatoes
  • Roll the mixture it into lemon sized balls and shape them into round or oval patties
  • Dip each patty one at a time into the beaten egg and coat with bread crumbs
  • Refrigerate them for an hour or 2 or overnight. (This step prevents the patties from breaking apart while frying)
  • Heat oil on high flame and shallow fry them until brown on both the sides

    Serve with sliced onions and minced green chilies soaked in vinegar  with a dash of salt.