Lifafa Paratha

Sometimes it is good to put a twist on the ordinary things. Same goes with Lifafa paratha. It is the same as a wrap but folded like an envelope and then cooked on a pan. The filling can be of your choice. I have used a mixed veg sabzi for the filling.

Ingredients – For Rotis

1 cup wheat flour

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp oil

Mix all the ingredients and knead with water to form a dough. Divide the dough into golf sized balls and roll them into rotis.

Cook the rotis on a pan without oil till brown spots form on both sides. Keep aside.

Lifafa Paratha

Ingredients – For Stuffing

1/2 cup cauliflower florets

1/2 cup sweet corn

1/2 cup green peas

1/2 cup chopped bell peppers

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tomato, chopped

1 tbsp oil

1 tsp kasuri methi

1 tsp dry mango powder

1 tsp cumin powder

Heat the oil in a pan and cool the tomatoes. Add the rest of the veggies with the spices and cook. The result should be a dry sabzi.

Lifafa Paratha

Assembly

2 tsp oil

Place sabzi on a roti. Fold the roti like an envelope so that opposite sides overlap each other.

Spread 1 tsp oil on the pan and cook the folded paratha. Press slightly to seal the edges. Flip and repeat.

Serve hot.

Paneer Stroganoff

Memories have a way of creeping back into your life. The best ones are those which transport you to another world and make you wish you were there. Needless to say, I am talking about a food memory. Hubby and I used to visit a small restaurant called Mash on the Chennai beach side. It was a ramshackle place filled with nicks and nacks and wooden furniture with hardly any place to move. Thankfully the place was air conditioned but one could look out on the beautiful sunny beach with the waves crashing against the shore. It was like being in heaven but a cool one (cos of the air conditioning…he he he). We loved the sandwiches there but we also had our favorite – paneer stroganoff. It was creamy and yummy and we could never get enough of it. Unfortunately, we moved from the city and stroganoff was a thing of the past…..until….I got loads of time on my hands with nothing to do but try all the recipes in the world.

There is always a roadblock though, isn’t it? I searched on the net but there is no paneer stroganoff recipe to be found. Moreover, no two recipes are the same. Some add vegetable stock and some use red wine. Some use creme fraiche and some use cream. Basically, I came to the conclusion that I will have to invent my own recipe. I used very few vegetables but more can be added depending on taste. Veggies like mushrooms, corn and bell peppers go well with this dish.

Ingredients

200g paneer

1 onion

2-3 garlic cloves

200ml creme fraiche

1 green bell pepper

1 red bell pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp flour

2 tbsp oil

Paneer Stroganoff served with rice

Cut the panner into cubes. Heat the oil in a pan and sear the paneer till browned on the sides. Remove from pan and keep aside.

Chop the onions and saute them in the same pan. Chop the garlic and saute with the onions.

Cut the bell peppers into juliennes. Saute with the onions.

Mix the creme fraiche with the flour. If it is too thick, add a little water or milk for more creaminess. Add the creme fraiche to the pan and bring to a boil.

Add paneer and salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve hot with rice or noodles.

Crispy Sabudana Vada

Potato might be a staple but it is very difficult to use it sometimes. Take the example of sabudana vada. Various recipes suggest using boiled and mashed potatoes but it is very difficult to form perfect vada with them. There are many problems. First of all, the vada sometimes breaks off in the oil and does not hold its shape. This dirties the oil and also spoils vada. Second, the vada ends up being very soggy and oily. Here is a recipe which rescues the vada and makes it crisp as well as makes sure the shape is held together.

Ingredients

1/2 cup soaked sabudana

1 medium potato

2 tbsp peanut powder

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp red chilli

1 tsp chaat masala

1 tbsp chopped coriander

Oil for frying

The recipe calls for 1/2 cup soaked sabudana and not the dry version. This will make around 10 vada. Squeeze out as much water as possible from the sabudana.

Peel and grate the potato. Again, squeeze out as much water as possible.

Mix sabudana, grated potato, peanut powder and the rest of the dry ingredients. Make 10 equal sized balls and press slightly to form disks.

Heat the oil in a skillet or a pan. Make sure the oil is boiling hot before frying the vada in it or they might break.

Fry the vada till golden brown turning once. Drain the vada on a tissue and serve hot.

The Perfect Sabudana Khichdi

It is truly said that cooking is an art. Everyone can do it but it takes time and patience to master it. Take the simple dish of sabudana khichdi. I learnt to make it 3 years ago and I have been beating my head as to how to get the perfect khichdi.

My sabudana khichdi used to be sticky and gooey. I had been told that peanut powder helps to separate the sago pearls but no matter how much peanut powder I added, it stayed that way. The worst thing is people rarely divulge their trade secrets so I had to go on my own quest to perfect my khichdi. Here are some tips to get it just right.

1. After soaking the sabudana, wash it in rice sieve to get rid of the small particles.

2. Squeeze the sabudana to remove as much water as possible.

3. Always prepare the khichdi in ghee to get the best results.

4. Saute the sabudana in ghee for a few minutes till it gets translucent. This will help in separating the pearls too. This will also ensure that a small quantity of peanut powder is required.

5. Now add the peanut powder and other spices and mix. Cover and simmer for 5 mins before serving.

Caramel Bread Pudding

Bread pudding is a classic British dessert and quite tasty of its own accord. However, with a little twist, it gets elevated to a dessert fit for angels. Just make some caramel sauce and add to the custard. It is beautiful and moist and titillating to the nose. If you are like me, I am sure you will finish off spoonfuls of the caramel sauce before proceeding on with the recipe.

The basic ingredient here is bread and you must use stale bread as it absorbs the liquid while holding its shape. Absolutely any bread will do. You can use plain white bread slices or challah bread or even a day old croissants. The main thing to remember is the placement of the bread. Challah bread has golden crust and that can be used as an advantage to beautify the pudding. Place the bread slices so that they overlap with the golden part on top. You can make any arrangement you like. I had a baguette lying around for a few days so I sliced it up and simply layered it. Rest assured, there is no difference to the taste.

Caramel Bread Pudding

Ingredients

4-5 bread slices of your choice

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup double cream

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla essence

Pour water in a vessel and heat it. Add the white and brown sugar to it. Do not stir or the sugar will crystallize. You are only allowed to swirl to aid the cooking process as of now. Once the sugar has dissolved and starts bubbling, do not move away from the vessel. The sugar syrup will thicken and turn amber. Switch off the gas.

Add the cream slowly while whisking the mixture. The syrup will bubble a little but keep whisking. Voila, you have caramel sauce ready. If you want, you can save some to pour on the pudding later on.

Add the milk slowly while whisking. Allow to cool a bit. Beat the egg and mix quickly with the caramel to avoid scrambled eggs. Add the vanilla essence.

Layer the bread in the baking dish. Alternatively, cut the bread into squares and toss them in the baking dish.

Pour the caramel custard on top. Allow to soak for 10 mins.

Bake in a pre-heated oven for 20 mins at 180C.

Sprinkle confectionery sugar or garnish with caramel sauce before serving.