Mezze platter

BM #116 : Week 2, Day 2
Theme : Platters

Mezze is a collection of small dishes served as a light meal or appetizers in the Mediterranean area. It can be a meal in itself too depending on what’s being served as part of it. It’s food meant for sharing, so these are food platters that’s existed for a long long time now!

For the platter here, I was looking for dips that would be in red color family. So I chose muhammara (a roasted pepper and walnut based dip), tzatziki – a yogurt based dip with beetroot instead of the traditional cucumber and red kidney beans instead of chickpeas for hummus. Hummus turned out more of a very light brown than red, but that’s fine.

I used store bought pita bread for this and served a small loaf of bread from the farmers market also. It paired really well with the dips as well as the bread dipping oil (olive oil flavored with zaatar). My son was not a fan of both the salads in the platter, but I liked it. The beet tzatziki tasted okay, but I like the traditional tzatziki a lot more. My son and my husband feasted on the bread and pita with the dips and olive oil. It turned out to be our dinner that day even though I had meant this as an appetizer.

Read on for the recipes and to see what’s served on the platter.

The platter has

  1. Red kidney beans hummus
  2. Grapes
  3. Olive oil with zaatar
  4. Beetroot Tzatziki
  5. Dates
  6. Muhammara
  7. Walnuts
  8. Watercress salad
  9. Bread
  10. Rice tabbouli
  11. Baby carrots
  12. Pita bread (readymade)
  13. Olives
  14. Feta cheese

Beetroot tzatziki: Grind or grate one cooked medium beetroot once it’s cooled down. I used 1 tablespoon beetroot powder, I rehydrated it with hot water. Add 1/2 cup of yogurt to the beetroot along with a finely minced clove of garlic, a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. You can add a spoon of lemon juice if you like. Taste test and adjust seasonings. Add more yogurt if needed to bring it to the consistency you prefer.

Watercress salad: I mixed a readymade vinaigrette for this salad. Add the watercress, a little feta cheese, sliced olives in a bowl. Add vinaigrette, salt and pepper to taste. Toss carefully for an even mix. Serve immediately.

Red kidney beans hummus: In a food processor, add 1.5 cups of cooked and drained red kidney beans, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 teaspoon ground cumin, 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice, one tablespoon olive oil and salt as needed. Process until you get a hummus of your preferred consistency. Taste test and adjust seasonings if needed.

Rice tabbouleh : In a large bowl, add one small bunch of chopped parsley leaves, a handful of chopped mint leaves and one small chopped tomato. Add 1/4 cup of cooked rice. In a small bowl, mix in 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 1 teaspoon lemon juice and salt as needed for the salad. Add this to the salad, toss carefully and taste test to adjust seasonings if needed.

Flavored Olive oil is a good dip for bread. You can flavor it using a whole lot of seasonings or dried herbs of your choice. In this platter I have used zaatar as the seasoning.

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Chaat Platter

BM #116 : Week 2, Day 1
Theme : Platters

I have a picture of a chaat lunch in my drafts folder, I had taken the picture because it was filling out our dining table with the various chutneys and yogurt and the fillings and everything. I actually had to stand on top of a chair to take a picture of the whole meal. It looked nice and so I had planned a chaat platter for the mega marathon.

Once I had the recipes in place (ragda patties, Chole tikki and pani puri as bass recipes), I happened upon the world of food boards/ charcuterie boards. You have to look up that hashtag in Instagram or give a google search to see what a visual treat that it is!! It’s chopping boards or cheese boards or trays completely filled with food. I have seen Charcuterie or cheese boards before, but the boards can be of any theme of your choice. And so I decided to do a chaat platter like a food board.

The biggest advantage of serving a food board is that you can choose and make whatever combination you like. With these base recipes of Chole, ragda and pani puri, you can make a whole lot of chaat recipes. The same patti can be used for ragda patties, Aloo tikki Chole and Aloo tikki chaat. For pani poori, you can have variations like boondi pani puri, Dahi poori, Chole pani puri, ragda pani puri on top of the regular potato and Chana filling. You can try any combination you want. Usually I make a couple of different kinds of pani, but with so many options, I decided to stick with just the regular pani.

I usually make the chutneys too at home, but this time I had some readymade chutneys and so used that. I have linked the recipes that I use below, but the platter has the readymade one. The puris are also readymade. The chaat masala is homemade, mine finished during the peak coronavirus times, so made it at home since I had all the individual spices.

The platter has

  1. Aloo tikki / Patties
  2. Ragda
  3. Chole
  4. Yogurt
  5. Green chutney for chaat (readymade)
  6. Tamarind chutney for chaat
  7. Coriander leaves
  8. Chaat Masala (recipe below)
  9. Chopped onions
  10. Panipuri pooris (readymade)
  11. Panipuri Paani
  12. Boondi (readymade)
  13. Potato filling for pani puri (recipe below)
  14. Chole filling for panipuri(recipe below)
  15. Lime wedges

Potato filling for pani puri

  • Mash one boiled potato with salt and chili powder to taste. Sprinkle chaat masala and some finely chopped coriander leaves, if preferred. Use as stuffing for pani puri.

Chana filling for pani puri

  • In a bowl, add half cup of cooked chana. Add some chopped onions, chaat masala, chili powder and salt to taste. Mash with a fork but leaving some Chana in chunks and some mashed. This helps it to hold together well making it easy to scoop and fill the Puris.

Chaat masala recipe:

  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ajwain seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoons dried mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3 tablespoons amchur
  • 2 tablespoons kala namak

Method: Dry roast coriander, cumin and fennel seeds over medium heat until it turns a little darker. Once it’s cooled down, grind into a powder with the rest of the ingredients. Store in a dry airtight jar.

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Misal Pav

BM #113 : Week 4, Day 1
Theme : A-Z Curries

Have I ever mentioned that the Indian stores in US has a lot more variety in terms of grocery than the local stores in India? Since the stores here cater to all Indians, they are stocked up in stuff from all parts of India use. Where as a local South Indian store won’t stock up on an item like Goda Masala that’s not part of the South Indian lifestyle. They won’t be able to sell it and so naturally they won’t stock it up too.

The reason for me saying that is because I have never had Misal Pav at Trivandrum or Chennai. The first time I had this was at a chaat place couple of years back. It was here in US that I tried this popular recipe from Maharashtra!!

Anyway I was happy I had the opportunity to try it, because oh boy!! It was so delicious! I have already made the authentic version from scratch a couple of times, but I was not able to click pictures then. The recipe here is not the authentic version, it’s a shortcut all in one version from here. But this also tastes good, so now this is my go to recipe if I am not in a mood to make the masalas from scratch.

Read on for the recipe.


  • 2-3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 4 green chilies or per taste
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2” piece of ginger
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes , chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon goda masala/garam masala/achar masala
  • 2 cups moong or moth sprouts
  • Coriander leaves to garnish
  • Salt to Taste


  1. In a small blender jar, make a coarse paste of green chilies, garlic and ginger. Keep aside.
  2. Pressure cook the sprouts with 4 cups of water for one whistle. Let the pressure release naturally.
  3. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once the mustard crackles, add the onions and sauté until pink. Add the ground chili paste and cook for a minute more. Add the tomatoes and mix it in. Now add all the masalas- turmeric, chili, coriander, cumin and goda masala (or it’s substitutes). Cover and cook until the tomatoes are mushy. Add a tablespoon or two of water if it’s too dry.
  4. Once everything is cooked through , add the sprouts along with the water it’s cooked in. Let it come to a boil and cover and cook for about ten minutes or until the oil floats on top. Turn off the heat.
  5. Sprinkle chopped coriander on top.
  6. To serve, add this curry to a bowl, add some farsan and finely chopped onions on top and serve with pav bread. I didn’t have any pav left, so I served with regular bread.

Roasted Makhana/ flavored Fox Nuts

BM# 102: Week 4, Day 2
Theme :
One bowl recipes

Makhana / Foxnut / lotus seeds make a tasty and healthy snack. Though you can find flavored ones from Indian stores, it’s very easy to make it at home. The advantage is that you can try more flavor options per your taste.

When I saw Priya Srinivasan’s post, I knew have to give it a try. I have never made these at home before. The effort is minimal, especially if you are roasting the makhana in microwave. I don’t think you save a lot of time when it comes to stovetop vs microwave, since you will have to do multiple batches in microwave to avoid overcrowding. But there is more ease to doing this in a microwave than stovetop.

The flavor options are up to your imagination, it can be as simple as salt and pepper or you can make even caramel or wasabi makhana version. Anything that works with popcorn, would work here as well. So it’s all up to you.

Read on for the recipe.


    100 grams makhana
    1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
    1 teaspoon oil
    Salt as needed

Stovetop method:

  1. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a pan. Add makhana, lower the heat and roast makhana for about 10 minutes or until makhana is crispy and crunchy. You’ll have to keep stirring in between to prevent burning.
  2. Add the chili powder and salt and mix it in. Remove from heat and serve in a bowl.

Microwave Method:

  1. In a microwave proof plate, layer the makhana without crowding. I had to do the 100gm packet in three batches.
  2. Microwave for one minute, stop and mix everything and microwave for another minute. Repeat this two more times until all the makhana is roasted.
  3. Now heat oil in a deep pan. Add the salt and chili powder. Add the roasted makhana and mix carefully. Since it’s weightless, it tends to jump off the pan, so use a deep pan or be careful while stirring/mixing.
  4. After a minute of sautéing, turn off the heat. Let it cool in the same pan before storing in an airtight container.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#100