Friday, February 25, 2011

Masala Chai: Indian Spiced Tea

Masala Chai or Spiced tea  has medicinal benefits for cold, sinus and itchy throat. It helps relieving congested sinus and soothes irritated throats.

Benefits of Tea:
The antioxidant properties in tea are well known. Whether you choose black or green tea for your chai, you'll still benefit from a beverage rich in antioxidants.

Digestive Aid
Ayurveda asserts that poor digestion contributes to or causes many ailments. For that reason, strong digestion is vitally important. The Pacific College of Oriental medicine states that the basic spices in chai help stimulate, balance and support digestion. Cinnamon helps to calm the stomach and combat nausea and diarrhea. Ginger also soothes the stomach. Black pepper stimulates digestive fire as soon as it touches the taste buds. Cloves stimulate digestion. Fennel helps disperse flatulence.

With its powerful antioxidant properties, tea helps reduce inflammation. Chai/ tea's anti-inflammatory star is ginger. Ayurveda frequently recommends ginger for inflammatory conditions like arthritis.

Reduced Caffeine
Chai tea provides a robust, satisfying beverage that can substitute for some of your daily coffee consumption. Caffeinated tea has less caffeine than coffee, and decaffeinated tea has almost none. Having chai instead of coffee provides health benefits and satisfies the taste buds.

: For approx. 2 servings

Spices (Masala):
Cardamom pods (elaichi) – 4
Cloves (laung)– 2
Cinnamon stick small (dalchini)– 1
Black pepper corns (kali mirch)- 6
Bay leaves (tej patta) – 2
Fennel seeds (saunf)– 1 tsp
Ginger root (adarak)– 1 inch crushed

Other ingredients:
Water – 2 cups
Loose Tea – 1.5 tbsp
Milk – 1.5 cups
Sugar/Honey/ Sugar Substitute – 2 tbsp

  • Add all the above spices to water and boil for 3 minutes.
  • Add loose tea to it. Boil for 2 more minutes.
  • Now add milk and sugar/honey, bring it to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Strain the tea through tea-strainer in tea cups. Serve immediately.
Enjoy masala tea with your favorite snack.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Paneer Tikka: Tandoori Paneer

For approx. 5 Servings
Paneer - 1 lb
Bell Pepper (red, green or yellow) - 2
Mushrooms small whole – 20
Pineapple chunks – 2 cups
Sweet onions – 1

For Marinade:
Ginger minced - 1 tbsp
garlic minced - 1 tbsp
Green chili paste - 1 tbsp
Roasted cumin powder – 1 tsp
Thick yogurt – 2 cups
Lemon juice – 2 tbsp
Honey - 1 tbsp
Tandoori masala - 1 tbsp
Tandoori food color – 1 pinch
Salt to taste

  • Cut paneer into 1 inch by 1 inch cubes. Keep aside. Cut bell peppers and onions in big chunks.
  • To prepare marinade, add all the ingredients in a bowl. Mix well.  Now add all the cut vegetables and paneer to the marinade. Gently mix well.
  • Cover it with plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator for couple of hours.
  • Soak the bamboo skewers in water for 5 minutes. Take them out and wipe them. Keep aside. Or you can use metal skewers without soaking them in the water.
  • Preheat oven on 375 degrees.
  • Arrange paneer pieces on skewers alternately with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and pineapple.
  • Place the skewers on a grill or wire rack brushed with some oil. Grill for 15 minutes turning once in between.
  • Cook till paneer pieces get golden brown on all the sides.
Serve hot with mint cilantro green chutney or Maggie hot and ketchup.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Special: Royal pink drink

Approx. 12 servings
  • Pomegranate juice – 1 cup
  • Guava juice – 2 cups
  • Club soda – 1 cup
  • Simple syrup – 1/2 cup
  • Fresh lime juice – 4 tbsp
  • Fresh mint leaves – 1/4 cup
  • Ice cubes - 2 cups
  • Rum – 1.5 cups (10 oz.) [OPTIONAL]
In a blender add all of the above, except half mint leaves. Blend for few minutes. Pour in chilled glasses. Garnish with remaining fresh mint leaves and lime slices and serve. 
Note: For non-alcoholic drink, leave rum out.
Simple Syrup: 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar, boil until sugar is completely dissolved. Cool it and use it in preparing  beverages.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hari Mirch ka Achaar (Green Chili Pickle)

For Green chili pickle

Green chilies - 25
Lemon juice - 1/4 cup
Mustard seeds (yellow split) - 1/2 cup
Coriander seeds - 1/4 cup
Asafetida (Hing) - 1/4 tsp
Cumin (Jeera) - 2 tsp
Fennel seeds - 2 tbsp
Red chili powder - 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tbsp
Salt - 3 tbsp
Vinegar - 2 tbsp
Cooking oil - 1 cup

  • Wash and dry green chilies thoroughly.
  • Cut green chilies into small pieces. Be careful to either wear gloves while cutting green chilies or use a pair of scissors instead of knife.
  • In a pan, dry roast cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds. Grind the roasted spices in grinder and keep aside.
  • In a large bowl, take the above roasted spice powder and also add red chili powder, turmeric powder and asafetida powder to it.
  • Heat oil in a separate pan and add it to the spice mix. Mix well.
  • Add all the above mixture to the green chilies. Once again mix well.
  • Now add lemon juice and vinegar. Mix again.
  • Take a clean jar; fill it up with the above pickle. Also add some hot oil on the top.  So the pickle is completely submerged in the oil.
  • Store it in a clean and dry place. Pickle is ready to eat in a week.
Serving suggestions:
Enjoy green chili pickle with garma garam parathas (Indian bread) anytime of the day.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sparkling Pear Colada

Serves: Approx. 2-3 
  • Coconut Juice – 1 cup
  • Sparkling pear juice – 1 cup
  • Fresh pear slices – 8
  • Ice cubes – 1 cup
In a shaker, mix coconut juice, sparkling pear juice and Ice. Shake for couple of minutes. Pour in tall glasses. Add 3 slice of fresh pears in each glass and garnish with one slice.
Enjoy this refreshing drink in a sunny afternoon on your porch.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Tricolor Bread Pakora



Ingredients : For bread pakoras : 8 pieces

For stuffing:
Potatoes  - 2 boiled and peeled
Onion -  finely chopped
Green chilies  - 1 finely chopped
Cilantro - 2 tbsp finely chopped
Roasted Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Amchur powder - 1 tsp
Chaat masala - 1 tsp
Salt as per taste

To make cover:
Bread   -  4 slices
Besan (gram flour)   - 1.5 cup
Red chili powder  - 1/2  tsp
Turmeric  powder  - 1/2  tsp
salt as per taste

For pakora assembly:
Tomato Ketchup  - 1/2 cup
Green chutney -1/2 cup
Cooking oil for deep frying



  • In a bowl, prepare stuffing, by adding boiled and peeled potatoes, Onions, green chilies, cilantro, roasted cumin powder, red chili powder, amchur powder, chaat masala and salt. Mash it all together. Keep aside.
  • Take one bread slice, apply a thin layer of ketchup on it . Cover it with another bread slice. Now apply a layer of potato stuffing on it. Cover with another bread slice. On this slice apply a thin layer of green chutney and finally cover it with a bread slice.
  • The whole sandwich should have following layers:  Bread  - ketchup - Bread  - Potato stuffing - Bread  - Green chutney - bread .
  • Cut the whole sandwich in 4 quarters. Quarters are easy to manage while frying. Keep them aside.
  • For the covering batter: In a bowl, take besan, red chili powder, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well. Now add some water to make a smooth batter. Batter should not be runny.
  • Now take each sandwich quarter, dip evenly in the above batter and fry it in medium hot oil.
  • When the pakoda looks evenly golden on all sides, take it out and drain it on the kitchen towel.
  • Let it cool a bit. Now cut it diagonally to reveal all the layers.
Enjoy with a cup of hot tea or cool lemonade.