Tag Archives: brunch

Paalak Paneer Paratha

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Baby A started going to formal school in April and I continued my pursuit for nutritious food that I could put in her tiffin box – which keeps her full till she reaches her daycare. One advantage on my side is that A loves methi and everything green for her is methi – even if it is spinach/ paalak or dhania/ coriander. So while methi paratha remained her favorite in winters – spinach came to my rescue as soon as summers arrived and methi disappeared from the market. This one is a spinach paratha, to which I add in ‘ever-available-in-delhi’ paneer. This healthy paratha serves as our breakfast too. Just that we have it with dahi rather than butter – what is baby A’s favorite accompaniments to these or any other parathas.

Paratha and Butter  in tiffin

Paratha and Butter in tiffin

Ingredients –
Paalak/ Spinach – 1 cup (cleaned, washed , chopped fine).
Paneer – 1 cup (grated) – I used Mother Dairy brand.
Whole wheat flour – 2 cups
Salt – to taste
Haldi – a pinch
Ajwain – a pinch
Oil – to cook the parathas.
Water – to knead the dough

Method –
1. Take the wheat flour in a wide bowl.
2. Add the salt, haldi and ajwain . Mix well.
3. Add the spinach, grated paneer and mix.
4. Add water little by little and knead the dough. Remember that both paneer and spinach add moisture and you may need very less water to get a soft, pliable dough.
5. Let it rest for 5 mins. Meanwhile, heat a griddle/ tawa.
6. Pinch out a ball of dough and roll out round parathas . The thickness must be a bit more than rotis/ phulkas.
7. Put the paratha on the heated tawa. Once brown spots appear n one side – apply oil and turn the paratha. Cook the other side similarly.
8. Serve with dahi or butter. These are very soft due to the paneer and can be packed for lunch too.

Heap of paratha rolls - easy to eat between office meetings!

Heap of paratha rolls – easy to eat between office meetings!

Since this is a kid food, comprising of 3 main ingredients – wheat flour, Spinach and Paneer – I am sending this to the Kid’s delight event hosted by Pavani on her blog here. Also linking it to Valli’s announcement page.
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Poha – Subah ho gayi mamu!

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What do you do to ensure that a person is fully awake and his/her faculties are all up and running? Dash some water on his face? That may work for most of the people, but there are exceptions. Say…that person is an Indori. So? Water may work, but not as good as Poha ! Thrust a plateful of poha inside the Indori and you will notice a marked impact – not only will the person be wide awake, but joyful and jumping around! In words of a PG Wodehouse fan (me) , poha to an Indori is as stimulating as one of Jeeves’ pick-me-ups to dear Bertie. No wonder Wikipedia mentions Indore in ‘Poha’ and Tripadvisor mentions poha in ‘Indore’. Born and brought up in the city, I don’t even know how to start talking about the humble thing. We had it at home, as a simple breakfast and as a treat when guests arrived in the evening. We had it on family gatherings and picnics. We had it in the college canteen (We procured a pack of plastic spoons from our home just to be fully equipped to gobble down poha, though we are ill equipped at most times to attend labs and classes). We had it in the market, on the roadside, on shopping trips, on the railway station…In fact, I don’t remember a place or occasion where it did not fit in.

Poha – best breakfast ever!

While the home made one was OK, the best poha you could find in the town is on little stalls/ thelas on the roadside – heaped up in an iron wok, kept on a pot of boiling water to keep it warm. When required, the shopkeeper would pick up a newspaper square, fluff up a handful and thrust it into the paper, throw in a variety of condiments – onions, sev, namkeen, boondi, lemon juice and finally sprinkle a mysterious masala (mysterious because till date I have not been able to coax a single stall owner to divulge the ingredients of the masala, or give me a kilo of it). No, it does not take hours to do this, the shopkeeper is done in a matter of seconds. You can either have it or get a ‘to go’ parcel – neatly packed pudiya in a polythene bag.
About me, though I kept taking it for granted during all my life in the city, I realized I was missing it as soon as I landed in Bangalore. There were stalls and roadside carts still, but serving idlis and wadas! Thanks heavens for Indori roommates – dear N and J, who would cook up a heap every other weekend – plentiful for us and for all the friends and colleagues living nearby. And thank God I had enough sense to get the entire recipe from both of them – masters in their art, that stays with me till date – and I remember them every time I dish out this breakfast.
I would rather get down to the recipe before I end up writing an entire article in praise of poha – because the praise goes on an on, but the recipe is quick and simple – no fuss-n-frills!

sev – married to poha since eternity

Ingredients –
Poha/ Chooda/ Flattened rice – 3 fistfuls (1 for each person)
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For tempering –
Rai / Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Jeera / Cumin seeds – Half tsp
Saunf/ Fennel seeds – Half tsp
Heeng / Asafoetida powder – 1 tsp
Green chilies – 1, cut to half and slit lengthwise
Oil – 3 tsp
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Haldi / Turmeric powder – Half tsp
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Salt – as per taste
Sugar – half tsp / as pr taste
Lemon juice – of 1 lemon
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Aaloo / potato – 1 small (peeled and cut into very small pieces)
Pyaj / Onion – 1 big (peeled and cut into very small pieces)
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Sev / Bhujiya / Namkeen / Boondi/ chopped onion/ cilantro leaves – for garnishing (optional)

Method –
1. First Put the poha in a sieve/colander/ chalni and wash the poha gently. You don’t have to do this for more than a few seconds. Keep the colander in a tilted position so that excess water drains out and the poha is soft and soaked – but not soggy.
2. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed wok/ kadhai.
3. Once hot, throw in the ingredients in the ‘for tempering’ list.
4. Add in the very finely chopped pyaj. Let this cook till soft and starts to brown.
5. While the pyaj is cooking, add the salt, sugar and lemon juice to the soaked poha and mix gently with your fingers, lest it all breaks up all forms a lump. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
6. Once the pyaj is cooked, add in the potato pieces. Add in haldi at this stage too. Let the potato cook till soft.
7. Once done, switch off the gas and add the poha. Mix all of it till all the poha turns yellow – an indicator that all of it uniformly mixed up. Do this very gently, there is no rush anyways – the gas is off.
8. .Now, we cook this further on steam. Heat water in a bhagona/ patili / pot (water half filled). Once steam starts to come out, place the kadhai filled with poha on it. Cover the poha and let this cook for 10 minutes. Even if you want to keep it warm till the entire family has had it’s share of hot breakfast, you can keep the gas on on slow flame – this keeps the poha warm.
9. While serving, garnish with whatever you like. As the poha is as it is not very spicy, the bhujia/ sev adds the zing.
10. If you got jalebis as a side to this, you are either in heaven or in Indore. For mortals, a hot cup of tea works best.

Sending this to event ‘ Bon Vivant Moments Breakfast Ideas‘ on Sumee’s Culinary Bites.

Palak Poori – green and yummy!

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palak poori – ready to be savoured

It was Dusshera day and I had two things in mind when I entered the kitchen – I wanted to make something different, something festive. At the same time, it had to be equally palatable and appealing for baby A. After all it was a festival for her too and she deserved a break from her khichadi, dalia routine. After some thought, I decided on palak pooris – yummy, festive and healthy too. Loaded with goodness of spinach, with a dash of carom seeds and dried fenugreek leaves – these were enjoyed heartily by us and baby A. I have decided to make them more often and pack them for her daycare.

The leaning tower of pooris

Ingredients –
Palak/ Spinach leaves – 250 gms, washed and cleaned
Green chilies – 1 (increase if you want )
Adrak / ginger – half inch piece
Wheat flour – 4 cups
Salt – as per taste
Ajwain/ carom seeds – 1 tbsp
Haldi / turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Kasoori methi/ Dried fenugreek leaves – 1 tbsp , crushed
Oil – 2 tbsp to add to the flour, 2 cups for deep frying

Method –
1. Put spinach leaves, green chilies and ginger in a blender, add some water and blend together till they are all uniformly pureed.
2. Take flour in a wide bowl, add salt, ajwain, kasoori methi, haldi and 2 tbsp oil. Now, knead the dough using the palak puree. You should not require any water, but if the puree gets exhausted before the dough is formed, add in water too. You need a firm, pliable dough.
3. Heat oil in a wok/ kadhai.
4. Roll out pooris and deep fry them in hot oil.
5. Eat them with pickle/ ketchup or vegetable of choice (N made aaloo gobhi to go with these).