October 26, 2009

Indian Potatoes in Red Coriander Sauce {Recipe}

This is a quick and easy Potato Recipe from Complete Indian Cooking by Mridula Baljekar, et al. I have tried quite a few recipes from this book with good success and this one was a must-try for two reasons.

1. Its the simplest recipe in the book!
2. It has the least number of ingredients and still looks so good.

Actually, there's one more reason: I love coriander. I hardly ever use coriander seeds in anything other than vatha kozhambu and the like but this recipe calls for whole coriander seeds. The flavour was delightful.

Potatoes in Red Coriander Sauce
Serves: 2
Preparation time: 15-20 mins
Source: Complete Indian Cooking by Mridula Baljekar, et al.

What I Used:

A dozen baby potatoes (or 3 potatoes, cubed)
1.5 tsp coriander seeds / malli
1.5 tsp cumin seeds / jeera / jeerakam
4 garlic cloves
3 tbsp thick tamarind juice (or 1 tbsp readymade tamarind paste)
1 pureed tomato (or chopped fine)
A few curry leaves
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves / kothamalli to garnish

How I Made It:

1. Boil the potatoes in water until they are cooked yet not mushy. You can pressure cook for 1 whistle to make the job easier.

2. Grind the coriander seeds with the cumin seeds and garlic cloves to a coarse paste using a pestle and mortar or your small mixie jar.

3. Heat oil in a pan and add the ground paste with the tamarind juice, tomato puree, curry leaves, salt and sugar. Lower fire to medium-low and cook until the oil separates (about 7-10 mins)

4. Add the potatoes and stir well until coated with the sauce. Cover and simmer for about 5 mins. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot.


- Instead of using whole coriander and cumin seeds, their powders can also be used. This will help you avoid the grinding, although the flavour will change a bit. It still tastes good, I have tried it both ways :)

October 20, 2009

Masala Paniyaram Recipe - Chettinad Masala Paniyaram Recipe

Masala Paniyaram is a Chettinad recipe that starts off with an idli dosa batter as base. I usually make paniyaram at home for a quick breakfast or have slightly sour leftover dosa batter that needs to get used up. I have tried a few different variations of paniyaram by adding coconut, more chillies, no tempering, etc and this paniyaram recipe I am sharing today is my absolute favourite.

masala paniyaram recipe, kuzhi paniyaram recipe

To get started making your own paniyaram, you need a paniyaram pan which is very easily available in India and, of course, Amazon. While doing my own search to buy a paniyaram pan, I was quite intrigued by the fact that a few different cultures have snacks similar to paniyaram in their cuisine too - the popular aebleskiver from Denmark and Takoyaki from Japan. Takayoki usually has a filling but the concept of cooking or frying them is the same as making paniyaram.

masala paniyaram recipe, kuzhi paniyaram recipe

Anyway, on to our recipe now. Masala paniyaram is the simplest evening snack for me and I hope you get to make this soon and share with your loved ones too.

Check out recipe for dosa batter, Mysore vada, jowar dosa, and masala dosa too, if you are looking for some more recipe ideas and inspiration.


Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Makes 14 paniyaram

2.5 cups of dosa or idli batter
1.5 tsp of oil
1/4 tsp of mustard seeds
A generous pinch of hing (asafoetida)
2 tbsp of chopped onions or shallots (chinna vengayam)
2 tbsp of grated coconut (optional)
2 tbsp of chopped coriander leaves or curry leaves
4-5 tbsp of Indian sesame oil, for cooking
Salt to taste


Heat the 1.5 tsp oil and add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the hing and chopped onions or shallots. Fry until light golden brown.
masala paniyaram recipe, kuzhi paniyaram recipe

Turn off heat and add the coconut, if using.
masala paniyaram recipe, kuzhi paniyaram recipe-2

Let the coconut get lightly toasted in the remaining heat and add to the dosa batter along with the chopped coriander leaves and salt to taste.
masala paniyaram recipe, kuzhi paniyaram recipe-3

Mix well and set aside. The batter shouldn't be too runny, the consistency of batter for making idli is perfect.
masala paniyaram recipe, kuzhi paniyaram recipe-4

Heat the paniyaram pan and fill the each hole up to 1/3 with oil. You can add a bit less if using a non-stick pan.
masala paniyaram recipe, kuzhi paniyaram recipe-5

Once the oil is heated, pour enough batter into each hole to fill it. The oil will float to the top and spill over to the other holes. This is fine, paniyara pan is a way of deep frying the items and yet retaining the shape perfectly.
masala paniyaram recipe, kuzhi paniyaram recipe-6

Patience is required at this stage. On medium-low heat, cook the paniyaram for a good 3-4 mins until the bottom is nicely browned. Take care to regulate the heat properly otherwise the inside will not cook properly.
masala paniyaram recipe, kuzhi paniyaram recipe-8

Once the top of the paniyaram has risen a bit and is no longer too runny, gently flip them with a skewer. Take care while doing this. Once all are flipped over, let the other side cook for 2-3 mins.
masala paniyaram recipe, kuzhi paniyaram recipe-9

Once both sides are golden brown, gently remove using the skewer on to serving plates.

Serve paniyaram hot or warm with coconut chutney, tomato thokku (like I did), onion thokku, dosa podi, or even sugar. It's very versatile!

- Add a pinch or two of chilli powder if you want some heat in your paniyaram. I sometimes do this and sometimes don't
- This recipe was updated and re-posted on December 3, 2014. I also added step by step pictures. Drop me a note if you try to make masala paniyaram at home
- For paniyaram recipe in Tamil, please use the Google translate button in the sidebar

October 13, 2009

Thakkali Muringakka Aviyal Recipe / Tomato and Drumsticks in Coconut

I don't know if this a common Kerala recipe but ever since I can remember amma has been making this a quick side dish for Chicken Biryani. Her rationale is, biryani is intense and doesn't have coconut and any Malayali should know that we always pair curries with coconut and without coconut together, to balance the flavours.

Amma sent me the recipe through my uncle who typed it out while she listed the things to be done. The picture was taken in Kottayam when I was there this August and amma made it, not me :)

thakkali muringakka aviyal

Thakkali Muringakka Aviyal Recipe
Source: My mom
Preparation time: 30 mins

What Is Needed:

4 tomatoes, sliced into six long pieces
1 drumstick / muringakka, cut into 3" pieces
1/2 cup grated coconut
12 peeled shallots / chinna vengaayam / cheriya ulli
2 flakes garlic
1/4 tsp jeera / cumin seeds / jeerakam
1 tsp red chilly powder
A few curry leaves
1/4 tsp mustard seeds / kaduku
1 tbsp oil (preferably coconut oil)

How Its Made:

1. Add the chopped drumstick to about 1 cup water with with some salt and the chilly powder. Keep on a medium flame and cook until soft. The mixture shouldn't be too watery, so if it is, boil some more on a low flame.

2. To this, add the cut tomatoes and cook some more until the tomatoes begin to soften.

3. Grind together - coconut + jeera + garlic to a coarse paste.

4. Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the shallots and curry leaves. Fry for about 2 mins, until the shallots soften.

5. Next, add the ground coconut paste and fry for another 1 min. To this, add the drumstick and tomatoes. Mix well. Simmer for 2-3 mins until well combined. Adjust salt.

Serve hot with steamed white rice or chicken biryani.

October 9, 2009

Condensed Milk Pound Cake - Step by Step Recipe

Its Friday and I am quite exhausted. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind at work and I haven't been able to do things outside of it as much as I'd have liked to. But let's talk about some condensed milk goodness and work on the stress, shall we?

I can't begin to talk about how much I love condensed milk. When I was small, I used to add it to toast, dip plain vanilla cake in it, top my cupcakes with it, have it with roti, dosa, you name it! Even now, I almost always have a tin of condensed milk in the pantry, ready to get added to anything that takes my fancy.

That's a lot of talk for a tired girl so on to the recipe now. This condensed milk pound cake clearly won over a fool-proof one banana-banana bread I made recently, in this poll, so on to the recipe, one step at a time.

As always, a dish of the final good stuff. There's a reason why my cake looks a bit dense and hole-y. More about that in a bit.

Let's the flour first. 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour or maida.

Add that into a sieve with 3/4 tsp baking powder.

Sieve about thrice until the baking powder and the flour are well combined.

Bring together the sieved flour from all four corners of the paper. Yes, that's the paper we get every morning. TH and I can totally read Mandarin (not!).

Next, we need 1 cup powdered sugar. I used brown sugar but white will work just fine. Add this to a bowl.

Top this off with 1 cup soft butter. I slightly melted it because I forgot to keep it out before baking but butter at room temperature is what we need here.

Beat the butter-sugar mixture well using an electric beater for 2 mins until fluffy. If using hand, beat well for about 5 mins.

Open the milkmaid can. Lick off the excess on your fingers, smell it, lick some more. Come on, I insist.

Once you are done with the above, measure out 1 cup of it and add it to the butter-sugar mixture.

Beat for another 2 mins (or 5 mins by hand).

Break 2 eggs in another bowl and whisk for 2 mins using a fork. Set aside.

Add the whisked butter-sugar-condensed milk mixture to the flour mixture with one pinch salt. Mix until just combined.

Top it off with the whisked egg. Combine gently without beating.

Add 1 tsp vanilla essence to the batter and swirl around a few times.

There we have our batter.

Pour into to a greased loaf pan or cake tin.

All set to go into the oven. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for about 30 mins until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

The top will turn golden brown and the cake will rise to almost double the amount of batter.

Ok, now the story of my cake. I forgot to set my oven temp to 180C so the cake baked in a really hot 220C oven for 30 mins and the sides started burning while the center was still fudgy. I had to take it out at that time so the cake wasn't as soft as it can be.

Still, this was one good cake, have to say!

Here's the recipe, all in one place.
Condensed Milk Pound Cake
Recipe adapted from here.
Makes an 8" square cake or one standard sized loaf

What I Used:

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour or maida
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 scant cup powdered sugar (I used a little over 3/4 cup)
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
2 eggs
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essense
1 pinch salt

How I Made It:

1. Sieve the flour and baking powder until well combined. You can also whisk it well in a bowl until combined, if you don't have a sieve.

2. Beat butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy - 5 mins by hand, 2 mins by electric beater. Then add the condensed milk and repeat for the same time, until well combined.

3. Whisk eggs in a bowl for 2 mins with a fork and set aside.

4. Add the flour to the butter-sugar-condensed milk mixture and mix until just combined without beating too hard.

5. Add the eggs, vanilla essence and salt and combine well again.

6. Transfer to a greased cake tin or loaf pan and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C/325F for 30-35 mins. Insert a toothpick at the center to test if the cake is done.

7. Cool, slice and serve.
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October 5, 2009

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe | Restaurant-Style & Step by Step

Let's talk about Paneer Butter Masala today. Not just any kind, the kind that you get in Indian restaurants. Why? Well, I've already posted the Paneer Butter Masala Recipe I usually make, long back. Its also one of the most popular recipes on this site for two reasons:

- since its a popular Indian dish, a lot of people have tried it from my site and sent me feedback.
- this is the only recipe that has received as many good feedback as disappointing feedback.

Most people said this or a variation of this - "I tried your paneer butter masala recipe today. It came out nicely, I did everything you mentioned but it didn't come out like the one we had in that North Indian restaurant last weekend and my husband/wife/mom/dad/sibling loved! Help!"
I guess they found my Paneer Butter Masala Recipe too homely!

In most Indian restaurants, dishes are more creamy and have thicker gravy. The reason is very simple - they use cream. They use it as the base of every dish you order and it may make the dish arguably tastier. This is not hard to whip at home provided you have no qualms about adding that bit of cream and kicking up the amount of oil a notch.

So here it is, my second Paneer Butter Masala Recipe, like they serve in Indian restaurants!

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant Style
I'd say the only thing that's different from this dish and the one you get in Indian restaunts is the difference in the colour. That's because they add red food colour and I didn't. Note: I have updated the ingredients and measurements based on many trials of this paneer butter masala recipe, in case you have tried it before and can notice the changes.

You may also wish to try some of my other super popular paneer recipes - matar paneer, paneer jalfrezi, and paneer tikka.


Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves 4

2 cups of cubed paneer or tofu
1 cup of sliced onions
2 tsp of ginger garlic paste
1 tbsp of coriander powder
1 tsp of garam masala
1 tsp of red chilli powder (adjust to your taste)
1 tbsp of canned tomato paste (or 1 cup tomato puree)
2 tsp of tomato ketchup
1 large pinch kasuri methi
3/4 cup of milk
3/4 cup of cream
2 tbsp of butter or oil

  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan and fry the paneer/tofu cubes until golden brown. Drain and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add 1 more tbsp oil and fry the onions until golden brown.
  3. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for a minute.
  4. Next, add the dhania, garam masala, chilli powder and some salt. Fry for 30 seconds.
  5. To this, add the tomato paste/puree, tomato sauce and kasuri methi. Mix well and add the milk.
  6. Lower fire and cook covered for 5 mins.
  7. Open lid, add the fried paneer/tofu and the cream. Mix well and simmer for 3-4 mins.
  8. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with nan, roti, pulao, or jeera rice

Step by Step Pictures to make Paneer Butter Masala

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleAdd 2 tbsp oil to a hot pan and swirl around until the base of the pan is well coated.

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleAdd in cubed paneer pieces.

(Sidenote: Let's please pretend these are paneer pieces 'cuz its actually tofu. I was out of paneer and couldn't go all the way to get some. Also, it tastes as good with tofu, trust me!)

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleLightly fry the paneer cubes until golden brown on all sides.

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleDrain and set aside on a plate lined with a paper napkin.

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleAdd 1tbsp oil to the same pan and thrown 1 medium-sized chopped onion.

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleFry until golden brown. To this, add 1 tbsp freshly minced ginger-garlic paste. (Ok fine, use your bottled paste, it just doesn't taste as good)

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleFry for a minute.

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleTo this, add 1 tbsp dhania powder/malli podi, 1 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp garam masala and 1/2 tsp salt. Fry for 30 seconds until the masalas are well combined.

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleNext you need 1 tbsp tomato paste. I used the same kind I used for the Tomato Spinach Pulao. If you don't have tomato paste handy, just puree 1 medium-sized tomato and add it at this stage.
Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleNext we need tomato ketchup or tomato sauce, the bottled Maggi/Heinz kind. Add in an almost-1tbsp of this.

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleBring out your kasuri methi next. A generous pinch of this needs to go in.

(This picture makes my heart break, btw. The focus should've been on the kasuri methi but its actually on the blob of tomato sauce in the pan. Well, I took only one shot and my hands were smeared with oil and ketchup and I had to balance.. oh never mind!)

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleTo this mixture, add 1/2 cup milk. Mix well and cook covered for about 5 minutes on low fire.

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleMeanwhile, bring out the secret ingredient for making restaurant-style paneer butter masala (or any Indian curry for that matter). CREAM!

I used Nestle cream but if you have fresh cream, please oh please use that. Just open the can and set aside or get your fresh cream ready.

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleOnce the tomato sauce mixture has cooked covered for 5 mins, open and add the fried paneer.

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleTop this off with 1 cup cream. Mix well and simmer on low fire for 3-4 mins. Adjust salt.

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant Style
Serve paneer butter masala warm with nan / veg pulao / jeera rice, etc

Its yummy, no doubt. Probably not something you want to make every weekend but its good when you entertain guests and people end up having only 2-3 spoons of one dish anyway. Its also a good recipe to "wow" your non-Indian friends.

Because when they say Paneer Butter Masala, this is what they expect!

For Paneer Butter Masala recipe in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, please use the Google Translate button on the top right of this website.