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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Shahi Paneer

BM #115 : Week 4, Day 1
Theme : A-Z theme, Curries

I make quite a lot of paneer Curries, but I have never made Shahi Paneer before. I assumed it would be full of cream and cashews from the royal name it carries. I was surprised to know that it is yogurt that makes this curry smooth and creamy. There is a little bit of cream of course, and it does add a depth to the curry but you can omit it if you are short on it. I always substitute milk for cream if I don’t have it with me.

I followed this video recipe to prepare the curry and I have already made this a couple of times. I skipped all the initial spices of cloves, cinnamon and cardamom as my family is not too keen on it. But add it for a richer flavor if you like it. I was making this for a friend of mine who was visiting me. I was half way through cooking when she came and she helped me with the final part of the cooking. They make this curry often and I learnt two things from her. One, add more kasuri methi than what I usually add. I am a little scared of adding too much, so I stick with a teaspoon or so, but she added more than that and I loved it. And two, I didn’t realize that my homemade yogurt was sour and it needed a bit of sugar to balance it out. I do add a bit of honey to paneer gravies, but I don’t always taste test before serving. So it’s a good thing to do before serving the dish to your guests to make these adjustments.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe Source : Rajshri Foods

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons oil or ghee
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 2 green chilies, finely chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, optional
  • 1 tablespoon kasoori methi
  • 2 cups diced paneer cubes

Method:

  1. Heat oil or ghee in a pan. Sauté the onions. Add ginger garlic paste and green chilies. Sauté until onions turn soft. Add the chopped tomatoes and all the masala powders. Add half a cup of water if the curry is dry. Cover and cook until tomatoes are completely cooked and mushy.
  2. Turn of the heat and let the tomato mix cool completely. Once it’s cooled down, blend into a paste.
  3. Add it back to the same pan and heat it back again. Add half cup of yogurt and 2-3 tablespoon cream. Add about one cup of water to bring it to the consistency you prefer. Mix well. Once it starts to simmer, add crushed Kasuri methi and paneer cubes. Let it cook for a minute or two and turn off the heat.
  4. You can add a spoon of sugar if it’s too sour because of the tomatoes or homemade yogurt. Add a dash of cream at the time of serving.

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Nutella cake with Nutella frosting

BM #105: Week 2, Day 1
Theme : One country, One category

For this week’s theme, I have chosen three dessert recipes from USA. I am beginning the series with a Nutella cake. The recipe is from the book Erin Bakes Cake, which I borrowed from the library. It’s one of the best baking books I have come across. The book gives base recipes for cakes, but with numerous options to try different flavors. The recipe I am sharing is a base recipe for any “butter” cake (Nut based butter). The version here is for Nutella, but say if you want a peanut butter cake, make the substitution. You will also need to increase the sugar by one more cup as Nutella has sugar and peanut butter doesn’t.

I had made this cake last summer for a friend’s birthday. Between the cake and the frosting, there is some serious amount of Nutella here :-). The flavor was amazing and I decided to go for a very simple decoration with a chocolate drip and some cherries on top.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source: Erin Bakes Cake

Makes two 8″x3″ cakes

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups butter (~340 gms) , at room temp
  • 1.5 cups Nutella
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 9 eggs
  • 1.5 cups flour

Method:

  1. Pre Heat oven to 350F/ 180C. Grease and line two 8″ x 3″ pans.
  2. Beat the butter, Nutella, sugar, vanilla, baking powder and salt using a stand mixer or hand mixer. Beat until it’s a smooth and fluffy mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl in between to make sure everything mixes well.
  3. Add eggs one at a time and beat it in.
  4. Stop the mixer and add the flour in. Fold the flour in, using a rubber spatula. This prevents the flour from going all over the place.
  5. Divide the batter between the two greased pans. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, the cake is done when a skewer inserted to the middle comes free of crumbs.
  6. Take off the oven, let it rest in the pan for ten minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
  7. Once the cake is completely cooled down, prepare the frosting and decorate the cake as you wish.

For the Nutella buttercream,

  • Beat 4 sticks (16oz/450gms) softened butter and a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes in a stand mixer bowl.
  • Turn off the mixer, Add 7 1/2 cups (2 lbs bag) powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and 2-4 tablespoons milk. Mix it in with a spatula to prevent sugar flying all over the kitchen.
  • Switch the mixer ON at the lowest setting and beat it until it reaches a creamy consistency. To make Nutella buttercream, add 3/4 cup chilled Nutella. Beat it in until creamy. Makes about 6 cups of frosting.

Sending this entry to Kid’s Delight – Anniversary party.

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Instant Pot Nutella Bread Pudding

BM# 103: Week 2, Day 3
Theme : Recreate into a new dish

I always pack snacks for my son so that he has something to eat on the way back home after his practice or a match. He is very hungry at that time and can eat one or two sandwiches easily. Sometimes I pack a little more than what he needs as his hunger quotient cannot be exactly determined. So it’s not too uncommon to be left with some leftovers. Recently when I ended up with two extra Nutella sandwiches, instead of devouring it immediately, I decided to make bread pudding out of it.

I made some more sandwiches, cut it into big cubes and added a custard made with eggs and milk/cream to it. Traditionally bread pudding is made in oven, but I used the Instant Pot instead and the pudding was so moist and delicious! I loved the taste of it, it wasn’t too sweet and the Nutella tasted great in there. The next time, I might add some Nutella or chocolate chips to the custard as well, because everything tastes a little better with chocolate.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source : Nutella Croissant Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 6 Nutella sandwiches*, cut into cubes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Almond slices for serving, optional

*I used bakery bread with about 2 teaspoons of Nutella for each sandwich.

Method:

  1. Mix the eggs, cream, milk, vanilla and sugar in a bowl. Whisk well to combine.
  2. In a big tray or plate add the sandwich cubes and add 1/2 of the whisked custard. Let the bread absorb some of the custard.
  3. Now transfer this to a stainless pot or Pyrex bowl that fits well inside the Instant Pot and add the rest of the custard on top of it.
  4. Add one cup of water to instant pot bowl and place the trivet inside it. Place the bread pudding inside the Instant Pot bowl and cover it with a lid that fits or aluminum foil.
  5. Set instant pot to Manual mode and set timer to 25 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. Serve warm or cold with sliced almonds on top.

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