CHANA MASALA

When I was growing up, I always thought cooking Indian food was complicated. I’d always watch my mom and be amazed at how she never used anything to measure and essentially just ‘eyeballed’ it. All the different spices. All the different vegetables. And of course, all the different ways to cook it! Since then, I’ve learned the basics but I’ve also realized there’s no ‘right’ way to cook Indian food. It all comes from experimenting, smelling and tasting to adjust to your perfect dish.

Once kitchen staple we absolutely need to have is a mortar and pestle. The way it just crushes and grinds ingredients together…the flavours are literally infused into one another! You can buy one at any home store and IKEA even sells it. But beware, one stop at IKEA and I’ll be leaving with a whole cart full of things.

When I put together this recipe, I wanted something simple to follow. Nothing too crazy. This dish is so easy to make on any weeknight and the ingredients are super easy to find! My rotis may not be round but this dish is the bomb!! 🙂

CHANA MASALA

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20 Minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS: 


  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 green chili, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp of canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • ¼ tsp of turmeric
  • ½ tsp of chili powder
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of garam masala
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 15oz cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

DIRECTIONS


  1. Grind the ginger, garlic and fresh green chili in a mortar and pestle until a paste has developed
  2. Heat oil over medium heat in a large fry pan. Add in chopped onions and cook until golden brown.
  3. Add in ginger,garlic and chili paste. Stir until combined. Add in fresh tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir and cook for 8 minutes. Thick sauce will develop.
  4. Add in the remaining spices (turmeric, chili powder, cumin, garam masala) and salt. Simmer for a minute or two.
  5. Add in the chickpeas. Cook for another 5 minutes. Top with fresh cilantro.
  6. Enjoy with some piping hot rotis,some fluffy naan and of course some basmati rice 😀

Chana Masala

CHILLI PANEER

Paneer is so common in South Asian dishes especially in Indian dishes. I’ve heard that you can make paneer at home but sometimes I can’t be bothered, since it’s relatively cheap to buy in stores 🙂 This chilli paneer was absolutely delicious! I started off by cubing the paneer into bite sized pieces and lightly pan fried them. I then combined the spices and formed a sauce for the paneer and literally just combined it together…that’s how easy it was 🙂

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CHILLI PANEER

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 Minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


  • 1 14 ounce pkg of paneer (cut into ¼ inch pieces)
  • 5 tbsp of canola oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 green chilli, such as Serrano, minced
  • 1 tbsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • ½ tsp of ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • ½ tsp of sugar
  • 2 green onions for garnishing

DIRECTIONS:


  1. In a medium fry pan over medium heat, heat 3 tbsp of oil. Fry the paneer in batches until golden brown on each side. Once cooked, remove and set aside on a plate lined with paper towel.
  2. Put the remaining oil into the fry pan and reduce the heat to low. Add the garlic, green chili, salt and pepper. Stir for about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste and sugar. Stir until just combined. Add in the cooked paneer with about a spoonful of water. Cover the fry pan and cook for another 5 minutes or until there is no water left.
  4. Remove from the heat and garnish with green onions and Enjoy! 🙂

PAV BHAJI

Pav Bhaji has been one of my favourite Indian food dishes of all time! You could say that it’s an Indian vegetarian version of a Sloppy Joe. It’s this amazing one-pot meal. Which is essentially a vegetable curry served on a hot buttery dinner roll. Since all of the vegetables are mashed up, its a great way to get your kids to eat their veggies! 

One of the major things that I’ve learned while making this dish is the use of butter. Butter plays an essential role in this dish! My family has been making pav bhaji for years and they’ve always used canola oil. I on the other hand, have found that by replacing the oil with butter, you’ll end up with a more richer and creamier dish 🙂

You can totally make this using premade store bought mix (all you need to do is add the veggies). But I would totally make this from scratch! Trust me, not only will your dish be more flavourful but you’ll also feel good about making it on your own 🙂

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PAV BHAJI

  • Servings: 5 People
  • Time: 45 Minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


  • 3 medium potatoes (peeled and cubed)
  • ¼ head of cauliflower (chopped)
  • 5 tbsp of butter
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 5 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 tbsp of ginger (grated)
  • 1 green chili – I use Serrano (minced)
  • 2 long eggplants or 1 eggplant (cubed)
  • 3 tomatoes (cubed)
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 12 dinner rolls
  • butter
  • 1 small red onion (chopped)
  • ¼ cup cilantro (chopped)

DIRECTIONS:


  1. Boil water in a large pot.Once the water has boiled, add the potatoes and cauliflower. Simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain, mash and set aside
  2. In the large pot, over medium heat, add 4 tbsp of butter and onions. Saute for about 8-10 minutes
  3. Add in garlic, ginger, green chili and eggplants. Cover and cook until soft 10-12 minutes. Stir every couple of minutes.
  4. Add in tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook for another 5 minutes
  5. Add in the ground cumin, garam masala, ground turmeric, chili powder, salt and the mashed potato/cauliflower mixture. Cook for 10 minutes or until soft.
  6. Remove pot from heat and add in the remaining tbsp of butter. Mash the mixture until the consistency is like mashed potatoes.
  7. Cut the dinner rolls in half and toast until golden brown. Spread generously with butter. Add a layer of the pav bhaji. Top with some red onion and cilantro
  8. Enjoy! 🙂

 

PENDAS

Growing up with a nut allergy was very difficult. Peanuts, coconuts and all other types of nuts were my worst enemy. Many people did not understand the severity of this allergy. Most of the time I am able to control it with Benadryl or an EpiPen but there have been times where I have started hyperventilating and gone into anaphylactic shock..which was definitely not fun! Depending on the type of nut I eat, touch or inhale I will either start to get itchy at the area that has touched/inhaled it. That area will then go swollen and I will start getting hives and start to vomit.

Being Indian, It was extremely hard to eat outside of the house. Many many Indian foods had nuts in them. More importantly, Indian sweets had LOTS of nuts! For the longest time, the only sweets that I would eat were Gulab Jamun, Jalebi and of course homemade Pendas! That meant no Rasgulla, Kheer, Kulfi, Barfi, Ras Malai, Halwa, Shrikhand and Doodhpak. Whenever my grandma made sweets at home, she would always set a bowl aside for me without nuts. That was such a nice feeling 🙂

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This Penda recipe originated from her. It’s super easy to make and in my opinion the hardest thing to do is to keep stirring the pot. This recipe calls for unsalted butter, skim milk powder, sugar, whipped cream, saffron and cardamom. A couple of great facts I’ve learnt about cardamom is that it helps with digestion, is an antioxidant, gets rid of hiccups and even helps with depression!

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This recipe is super easy to make! All you do is take a big pot, melt the butter and add the skim milk powder, sugar and whipped cream. Stir until the powder has completed dissolved and add in the saffron and cardamom. Grease your hands and roll out small circles on either wax paper or parchment paper. FullSizeRender (8) FullSizeRender (9)

One of my best memories was stamping the pendas with my grandmothers sewing spool. As a kid, I would anxiously wait for her to make a batch and roll the dough into circles that I would proudly stamp. That stamp is now a signature look for all the pendas made in the Nagla household 🙂

PENDAS

  • Servings: 55-60 pieces
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


 – ¹⁄³ cup of unsalted butter
– 3 ½ cups of skim milk powder
– 1 cup of sugar
– 1 cup of whipped cream
– 1 tbsp of cardamom
– 4-5 pieces of saffron

DIRECTIONS:


 

1) In a large pot, melt the unsalted butter over medium heat
2) Add the skim milk powder, sugar and whipped cream
3) Stir over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes. The goal here is to really keep stirring the mixture because we do not want clumps and we want the powder to dissolve completely
4) Add the saffron and cardamom
5) Remove from heat, grease hands and roll into desired size balls on either parchment paper or wax paper
6) Stamp dough (optional)
7) ENJOY!!
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BUTTER CHICKEN WRAPS

I’ve been wanting to learn how to make butter chicken for quite some time now. I finally sat down with my mom and learned how to make it. The funny thing is that all of the measurements in any dishes she makes is through her memory. After many tweaks, this recipe turned out amazing!!!

BUTTER CHICKEN WRAPS

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


– 4 chicken breasts, cubed
– ½ onion, chopped
– 2 tbsp of butter
– 4/5 cloves
– 1 cinnamon bark
– 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
– 2 tbsp of grated ginger
– 3 tbsp of cilantro, chopped
– 1 tsp of salt
– 3-4 tbsp of tomato paste
– 1 tsp of chili powder
– ½ tsp of garam masala
– 1 cup of half & half

DIRECTIONS:


BUTTER CHICKEN
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1) In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat.
2) Add in cloves, cinnamon bark, garlic and ginger and stir for 3 minutes.
3) Add in onion and cook until soft.
4) Add in chicken.
5) Add in cilantro and salt. Cook for 5 minutes
6) Add in tomato paste, chili powder and garam masala. Cook over medium low heat for 5 minutes
7) Add in half & half and cook until desired consistency is achieved.
8) Garnish with cilantrophoto 3

WRAPS
Using the Naan and Jeera (cumin) rice recipe, prepare the naan and add a layer of rice.
Top with butter chicken and serve warm 🙂

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JEERA (CUMIN) RICE

My favourite rice is jeera rice 🙂 It’s just so light and fluffy and tastes amazing every time I eat it 🙂

JEERA (CUMIN) RICE

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


– 2 cups of basmati rice (with extra water to soak the rice)
– 3 tbsp of oil
– 1 tsp of whole jeera (cumin)
– 1½ cups of water
– 1 tsp salt
– fresh chopped coriander

DIRECTIONS:


photo (4)1) In a medium bowl, soak the rice in water for 10 minutes. Drain.
2) Preheat a pot over medium heat. Add the oil, jeera (cumin), water and salt.
3) Bring to a boil.
4) Add the rice and stir.
5) Lower heat to medium low heat and cover.
6) Rice will be ready in 20 minutes. Garnish with chopped coriander.

 

HOMEMADE NAAN

This homemade naan is super good and easy to make!! It tastes so much better than the store bought naans. The store naans, I find have no flavour and are super hard. This naan recipe makes the naans I make super light, fluffy and flavourful 🙂

HOMEMADE NAAN

  • Servings: 8 pieces
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


– 3 cups of all purpose flour
– 1 tbsp of salt
-¼ cup of dried fenugreek
– 5 tbsp of plain yogurt
– ½ tsp of baking powder
– 4 tbsp of oil
– 1 cup lukewarm water
– ¼ cup of fresh cilantro (chopped)

DIRECTIONS:


1) In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, dried fenugreek, yogurt and baking powder.
2) Add in oil and let sit for 10 minutes.
3) Add the lukewarm water and mix until dough forms. Knead this dough for about 10 minutes. Cover until ready to use.photo 2photo 1

4) Mix in cilantro and separate dough into 8 balls.
5) Pre heat a large fry pan over medium heat
6) Roll out naan balls into desired shapes
7) Cook naan on heated fry pan (4-5 minutes on each side)
8) Serve with butter on top 🙂
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CURRY CHICKEN

photo 5I decided to go ahead and make my first curry 🙂 After much research, I’ve found that cinnamon bark is used for upset stomach, diarrhea, menstrual cramps, colds and the flu. Cumin helps our immune system, gives us energy and better digestion. I started with a basic curry served with basmati rice 🙂

CURRY CHICKEN

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


– 4 chicken legs
– 4 tbsp oil
– 4/5 cloves
– 1 cinnamon bark
– 1 tsp of whole cumin
– 4 garlic cloves, minced
– 2 tsp of grated ginger
– ½ onion (chopped)
– 1 tsp of salt
– 1 tsp of turmeric
– t tsp of chili powder
– 1 tsp of ground cumin
– 1 tsp of garam masala
– 2 large potatoes (peeled and cubed)
– ½ can of diced tomatoes
– 400 ml of chicken broth
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DIRECTIONS:


1) In a large pot over medium/high heat, add oil.
2) Add the cloves and cinnamon bark to the heated oil.
3) Once the cloves have opened up, add the whole cumin. Add the garlic, ginger and onions. Stir over medium heat until golden brown.
4) Add chicken legs, salt and turmeric.

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5)Stir, cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes.
6) Over medium heat, add the chili powder, ground cumin, garam masala and potatoes. Stir until well combined
7) Add the diced tomatoes. Stir, cover and cook for 10 minutesphoto 3 (2) photo 4 (2)
8) Add the chicken broth. Stir, cover and cook for 25 minutes
9) Once the 25 minutes have been up, the sauce will have thickened. Serve with warm basmati rice 🙂photo 5 (2)