Category: Breakfast

Punjabi Chhole

Chhole makes it appearance on our table during weekends when the family craves for an exquisite breakfast. It is served with a bowl full of finely chopped onions along with  delicately chopped green chillies and lemon wedges. Hot puris land up on plates. Abbas also requires the bottle of green chilli sauce as the chopped green chillies fail to satiate his spice hunger… I feel so satisfied looking at Abbas as he indulges in one of his favourite breakfast platter ever! He would say “Seemu, I have overloaded myself. I think I’m gonna skip lunch today!!!” I smile to myself as I know he will be hungry by afternoon…
I had been making a ‘No-onion No-garlic Chhole’ for quite a long time and wanted a change of taste. Googling led me to the blog “A Mad Tea Party” and I instantly liked the recipe as it used roasted spices powder. I have always felt through my experience that freshly ground spices give a different dimension to any dish you cook. It’s calls for extra effort and time but then the end result would be simply worth it! I prepared this version of Chhole last Saturday and was happy with the outcome. We had some leftover Chhole which was consumed as Sunday brunch. Put Chhole in bowls and topped each bowl with onions, coriander leaves, green chillies, and Sev. We enjoyed it in the form of Chaat….
Here goes the recipe…

Kabuli Chana – 3 cup (chickpeas/garbanzo beans), soaked overnight in ½ tsp of cooking soda (or soak for 3-4 hours in hot water)
Ginger – 1”piece, peeled and grated (I used ginger paste)
Onion – 2 cups chopped
Tomato – 1 cup chopped
Oil – 2-3 Tbsp
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Garam masala – 1 tsp (optional)

For the masala
Coriander seeds – 2 tbsp heaped
Anardana  (seeds of wild pomegranate) – 1tbsp, (I did not have this, so omitted)
Cinnamon – 1” piece
Cloves – 4-5
Black peppercorns – 1 tsp
Black cardamom – 3-4
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Bay leaf – 1


1.      Pressure cook chana / chickpeas for about 20 mins with enough water to cover them. I generally keep the flame high till one or 2 whistles and then keep it on sim for rest of the duration.
2.      In a cast iron pan, roast all the spices. Keep tossing and till they are almost blackened. Cool and grind to a powder.
3.      Heat oil in a pan. Add ginger and stir till its fragrant. Now add onions and sauté till they turn translucent pink. Then add tomatoes and sauté till oil starts separating.
4.      Add fresh ground masala, garam masala powder (optional) and red chilli powder.
5.      Add green chillies, cooked chhole (along with water) and salt. SImemr for 10 mins or more till you get the desired consistency.
6.      Serve hot with Indian bread.

Sending this to Bookmarked Recipes Every Tuesday event hosted by Priya and Aipi.


Oats Puri

Remember my rant about using (sneaking in) oats in our day-to-day food here? I have found another way of using up oats. Yes it’s our very own Puri or Chapathi dough which gets kneaded every other day in Indian households Just add a fistful of oats while you are kneading the dough. It will not make any difference taste wise. But it does give me a satifaction of having consumed oats which I can never have in the conventional way….
Green peas are abundantly available during the winter and at throwaway prices. Green peas Kachori is made in Bengali households during this season accompanied by Alur Dom. The combo is truly a match made in heaven. Relishing hot kochuris along with the classic potato side dish is truly a bliss that words fail to describe. Friday was Bengali New Year and as it was a working day, I couldn’t prepare anything special. So Saturday morning saw me thaw my frozen green peas and I set out to prepare this much sought after combo. I made a Niramish (No-onion No-garlic) Alur Dom to go with these deep fried beauties. I’m gonna post it soon but if you’re looking for an Alur Dom recipe, I already have it in my archives here.
My Bong Hubby gave me a perfect 10 on the Kochuris!!! Yippee… Shubo Naba Barsho to all my readers.
For the stuffing:
Green peas – 1 cup
Green chillies – 2-3
Ginger – 1/2″ piece
Asafoetida – a pinch
Roasted cumin powder or Bhaja Masala* – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Sugar – 1/2 tsp (optional)
Oil – 1 tbsp
For the dough:
Maida – 2 cups
Oil – 1 tbsp
Baking soda – 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Sugar – 1/2 tsp

How to prepare the stuffing:

1. Grind the green peas, green chillies and ginger to make a fine paste. Add a little water if required.
2. Heat oil in a pan, add asafoetida. Now add the ground green peas, salt, sugar and saute it till there is no moisture left and there is a dry green mass. Sprinkle roasted cumin powder or bhaja masala and combine.
How to prepare the dough:
Knead maida, salt, sugar, oil, baking soda togther using enough water. Knead well to get a soft but firm dough. Instead of maida alone, you could also use maida and wheat flour in equal ratio.
How to make Kochuris:
1. Pinch lemon sized balls from the dough. Lightly flatten them and make deep holes by pressing the centre.
2. Stuff a tsp of grean peas stuffing and cover it by pleating the edges.
3. Dip the stuffed balls in flour and gently roll into discs.
4. Deep fry in oil and serve hot with Alur Dom.
I’m sending this to Flavours of Bengal event hosted by Priya and origintaed by Nayna
Did you know that a single bowl of oatmeal provides all essential nutrients like complex carbohydrates, B vitamins, fiber, and minerals such as phosphorous, iron, selenium, and calcium? Sounds like music to ears but a bowl of oats porridge is a torment to me. I can manage swallowing not more than a spoon with utmost disgust! I experimented on my kiddos and their reaction after the 1st spoon intake was sign enough for me to not give them the porridge again. I can’t torture the innocent souls with something that I myself detest…
But its health benefits haunt me all the time and I somehow wanna include oats in our diet. Best way is to sneak it in so that its presence is unknown and not felt. I started off by adding handfuls in my chapathi or puri doughs. I added them in my cookies. Now recently I came across instant oats idli in Madhuri’s blog and it was just the perfect breakfast for those lazy weekend mornings or for busy weekday mornings (if you have the mix preserved ahead). Accompanied with Coconut-Mint Chutney, it was a wholesome and at the same time yummy breakfast. Abbas who skips breakfast when there is idli or dosa (other than Masala Dosa) loved it so much that he said he would skip lunch as he had over-eaten his breakfast.
Here goes the recipe for Instant Oats Idli:
Rolled oats – ½ cup
Rava or Sooji – ½ cup
Baking soda – ½ tsp
Curd – ½ litre
Carrot – 1 medium sized, grated
Green chillies – 1, finely chopped (I skipped this for my kids)
Coriander leaves – a handful, finely chopped
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Asafoetida – a pinch
Oil – ¼ tsp
  1. Dry roast the oats for 2-3 minutes in a wok till they turn fragrant. Keep aside to cool.
  2. Repeat the same procedure with the soji and keep aside to cool.
  3. Once the oats have cooled, coarsely powder it in the mixer.
  4. Grease idli moulds with oil and put a spoonful of grated carrot in each of the moulds in the centre. Keep remaining carrot aside to be mixed with the idli batter.
  5. Make a tempering with asafoetida and mustard seeds.
  6. Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl. The curd goes in last. Blend the mixture well and allow the batter to rest for 15 minutes.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared idli moulds and steam cook for 15-20 minutes, like you would your normal idlis.
  8. De-mould once they are cool.
For the Coconut Mint Chutney:

Grind together the following ingredients with water as per required consistency
Coconut grated – ½ cup
Green chillies – 7-8 or as per spice tolerance
Tamarind – marble sized ball
Ginger – ½” piece
Mint leaves – about 15
Salt to taste
Temper the chutney with Coconut oil (1tbsp) + mustard seeds (1/2 tsp) + red chillies (1 or 2) + Curry leaves (10-12 sprigs)

This goes out to Bookmarkes recipes Every Tuesday hosted by Priya and Aipi

I found these Health Benefits of oats from here:
  • Lowers Cholestrol
  • Reduces high blood pressure
  • Boosts immune system
  • Reduces weight
  • Good source of protein
  • Improves digestion
  • Reduces the risk of cancer
  • Stronger bones
  • Excellent for pregnancy
  • Good for skin
  • Reduces stress
  • Energy booster

Methi Alu Parantha

Paranthas make for a filling and comforting meals. With a bowl of Curd and some pickle along their side, paranthas are very much relished by Abbas and I. My initial attempts at making them were super duper failures. As I would have the stuffing ooze out from all poosible nooks and corners of my paranthas. It would seem as though I was doing everything right but the outcome would turn out to be a disaster. In situations like these, marketing skills of Ma surface. She has the capability to promote anything under the sun but they never get sold. Even when it’s obvious that something is not good, she would sing praises to cover the loop holes. Coz she is a kind of person who can never speak ill about anyone in front of them (Behind their back is something else). I, on the other hand pass honest (at times, nasty) comments whether you like it or not. I know it’s not good always but I can’t help it. That’s the way I’m made!!!
There is this small outlet in my office cafeteria that has an open kitchen and sells paranthas. I would daily go there and order paranthas and watch them being made. They would make huge sized balls out of the dough, flatten them and place the stuffing, make pleats and cover the stuffing with the uncovered part of the dough. What I was doing wrong till then was I would make small balls and put lots of stuffing inside. Another thing I rectified was that I now saute the stuffing lighlty in a Kadai so that there is no moisture content in it. I have given a pictorial for people like me to overcome this parantha making barrier. Hope it helps!
For the dough:
Wheat flour
For the stuffing:
Fenugreek leaves – 1 cup (optional)
Onion – 1 medium finely chopped
Tomato kethcup – 1 tbsp
Potatoes – 2-3, boiled and mashed
Salt to taste
Red chilli powder – to taste
Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
Oil – 1 tbsp
1. Knead the wheat flour, salt and water together to make a soft but firm dough. Keep aside covered.
2. Heat oil in a pan. Add fenugreek leaves and saute till they turn crisp. Add onion and saute till they are transparent. Add tomato ketchup, all spice powders, salt and mashed potatoes. Keep stirring to combine well. The mixture must be dry and not watery.
3. Make a huge ball from the kneaded dough, flatten it digging the centre a bit. Place a ball of stuffing in the centre. Rest of the dough has to be pleated to cover the stuffing on top. Roll this ball in wheat flour and delicately roll it using a rolling pin. No need to apply pressure. Lightly rolling is sufficient.
4. Fry on a tawa applying oil on both sides. Make sure both sides are cooked well.
5. Serve hot with curd and pickle or with any curry of your choice.
Flattened ball with stuffing placed in the centre
Making pleats and covering the stuffing
Ball with stuffing secured inside
Delicately rolled
Roasted on a tawa

Masala Dosa

Lazily lying on my bed, I could hear the rhythmic whistles of pressure cooker boiling potatoes. Chutney being grounded in the mixie added melody. My lazy ass shot up from the bed out of excitement coz it was ‘Masala Dosa’ today! Amma would juggle between two Dosa tawas coz she had to keep up with the pace at which they were being consumed. Yet she could hear arguments on whose plate the next Dosa should land up. Poor her was blamed each time for being exhibiting favoritism! She would say I think I must upgrade to another two Dosa Tawas to satisfy you people…
Masala Dosa is undisputedly the King of all Dosas. Don’t you agree? And I regret to have introduced my Bong family to Masala Dosa first. Now they demand for Bhaji and Chutney with any other Dosa that I prepare. My Amma used to make dry chutney which she smeared on the Dosa before adding Bhaji, but Bongs like the Coconut Chutney to be served as a side… So I make a liquid version of chutney that is tempered.
Well here is my version of Masala Dosa:
Green Chutney:
Grind together the following ingredient with water as per required consistency
Coconut grated – ½ cup
Green chillies – 7-8 or as per spice tolerance
Tamarind – marble sized ball
Ginger – ½” piece
Salt to taste
Temper the chutney with Coconut oil (1tbsp) + mustard seeds (1/2 tsp) + red chillies (1 or 2) + Curry leaves (10-12 sprigs)
Potato bhaji:
Potatoes – 4-5, medium sized, boiled, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
Onion – 3, medium sized, but into cubes
Oil – 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp
Green chillies – 3-4 or as per spice tolerance, slit
Curry leaves – 10-15 sprigs
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Lemon juice – 1 tsp
Coriander leaves – handful, finely chopped
  1. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once they start spluttering add slit green chillies and stir till they change colour.
  2. Add curry leaves and turmeric powder and combine.
  3. Add chopped onion and sauté till they turn translucent.
  4. Add potato cubes, salt and ½ cup of water and combine well. Cook till the onion and potatoes are blended well together.
  5. Switch off the flame and add lemon juice and coriander leaves on top. Mix well.
Dosa batter:
Soak together for 5-6 hours
Boiled Rice / Idli Rice – 1 cup
Raw Rice – 1 cup
Black gram Lentil / Urad Dal – ¾ cup
Fenugreek seeds / Methi – ¼ tsp
Grind to smooth paste with little water and keep aside for overnight. (Not in refrigerator)
Next morning, add salt as per taste and water as per required consistency. (Make a small dosa initially to check the salt, also you would if you need to add more water if the batter is not spreading properly.)
Making Dosa:
  1. Heat Dosa Tawa by sprinkling few drops of oil.
  2. Once the Tawa is piping hot, take a ladle of dosa batter, pour it in the centre and spread it in a circular motion uniformly. (This comes with practice)
  3. Drizzle some more oil, reduce flame to sim, cover with lid. After a minute remove the lid, increase the flame. Once the Dosa is fried as desired, add Bhaji in the centre, fold it and serve with Chutney

Alu Kumro Tarkari

This is the first dish that got me hooked to Bong cuisine. My Bhabi (SIL) used to make it for breakfast as a side to go along with Puris or Parathas. It’s a simple and quick to prepare dish and I simply love it. Bhabi’s version had only potatoes but this time I added cubes of Pumpkin coz it was begging to be used while it lay abandoned in our refrigerator for a couple of weeks…With or without Pumpin, the dish wins over hearts…
Potatoes – 3, medium sized cut into 1cm cubes
Pumpkin – 1 cup, cup into 1cm cubes (optional)
Green chillies – 2, slit
Nigella seeds – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Red chilli powder – as per spice tolerance
Salt – to taste
Mustard oil – 1 tbsp (mandatory)
  1. Heat oil in a pan. Add nigella seeds and slit green chillies and sauté for a minute.
  2. Add cubed potatoes and pumpkins, salt and turmeric powder and sauté till the cubes get a golden exterior.
  3. Add a cup of water and  red chilli powder. Cover and cook till you potato-pumpkin cubes are cooked and you get a  gravy of desired consistency.
  4. Using the back of a spoon or a masher, mash lightly to get a beautiful texture.

This goes out to Veggie/Fruit of the month: Potato hosted by Divya

and also to Complete My Thali hosted by PJ and strated by Jagruti
I like my Dosas ‘Size 0’ in thickness, crisp and fiery hot right off the tawa. Post marriage, my in-laws wanted to try out Nayi Naveli South Indian Bahu’s ‘Dhosha’ (thats how Bengalis pronounce it and I scream in my mind on hearing the mis-pronunciation. One of the reasons why I always knew my kids’ names would begin with any alphabet but S or A, S would become Sh and A would be O, Phew!) The tawa they had was not anywhere near to the traditional flat Dosa tawa. It was the one in which they made Roti which was steep in between. The batter would go and settle in the centre as if in an Appam Kadai. Well then one of my closest friends got a Dosa Tawa shipped for me all the way to Kolkata and it is now one of my prized possessions. It always yields me fool-proof Dosas and earns me showers of appreciations.
Neer Dosa is very easy to prepare. I generally prepare it with Batata Song. You may also serve it with grated coconut + melted Jaggery combo, or simply melt some Jaggery and serve as a dip with the Dosa. Also another best accompaniment would be previous night’s left over chicken curry. Yummm!
Raw rice – 1 cup
Grated coconut – 1/2 cup
Salt to taste

1. Soak the raw rice overnight.
2. Grind it with coconut to a smooth batter.3. Add salt to taste and water if required.4. The texture should be a little more thinner than the regular dosa batter.
5. Once the dosa tawa is fuming hot, sprinkle the batter using a ladle all over. Add enough oil. Reduce flame to sim and close with lid. No need to roast on both sides. Open the lid after a minute or two. Increase flame and remove using a spatula (My daughter pronounces Pakula)
Speaking of Chhole reminds me of the lady with whom I stayed as a Paying Guest. When I first joined the corporate world as a Fresher, I was sent on an ‘On The Job training’ to an all new place. It was just few months after my marriage and a great oppurtunity not worth missing. Due to the support of my in-laws and the ever-supportive and loving Abbas by my side, I was all set to take a leap into the corporate world. Living away from family was unknown to me till then. It changed my life 360 degrees. Financial independence and no guardian to be answerable to, taking your own decisions, it was an experience of its kind. We were a group of six gals living in the same PG. We would sing, dance, study, wash clothes, go out together. Our take home was in 4 digit figure then. We succumbed while paying aunty the rent which at times was more than half of our poor salary. But we had fun for the entire 4 and a half months. Needless to mention how I missed being with Abbas and family.
We used to get a glass of milk every night after dinner. We would wait with our normal sized glasses and the caretaker would appear with a huge jug of milk and the smallest glass ever made by mandkind. She would pour milk from the jug into that measuring glass (in front of our hungry eyes and sinking hearts) and then pour into our individual glasses. We would drink it blessing aunty! Chicken was served once a week, and you would not be able to spot the chiecken pieces even with a microscope. Chhole was the only thing worth its salt. It was served once a week and I would wait for it. One day I ‘maskafied’ the caretaker saying the Chhole was very delicious. She proudly said I made it today. I asked for the recipe. She said the normal “Onion+ginger+garlic+tomato+saute” recipe. Only thing that caught my attention in her recipe is that she made a paste of a handful of boiled chick peas and added it to the gravy which gave it an excellent texture. I have been following that ever since…
Back from memory lane…
Puri or Luchi finds its place on our breakfast table on weekend mornings. It is generally accompanied by Chhole or Ghugni or Alur Tarkari. This is a Niramish Chhole meaning there is no onion or garlic used in this dish. Its my own recipe inspired by some Bong Niramish dishes and PG aunty’s Chhole. Whenever I’m in no mood to chop onions, I go the Niramish way. If you taste the outcome, you wouldnt mind the absence of garlic or onion.
Chickpeas – 1 cup
Potatoes – 1 medium sized, cut into small cubes (optional)
Tomatoes – 2 medium sized, finely chopped
Ginger paste – 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Red chillies – 1 large broken into 3-4 pieces
Bay leaves – 1 or 2
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Red chilli powder – to taste
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Suagr – 1 tsp
Oil – 1 tbsp
Baking soda – a pinch
For garnishing:
Coriander leaves – handful, finely chopped
Lemon juice – 2 tsp
Chhole masala / Garam masla / Bong bhaja masala – 1/2 tsp
1. Soak chickpeas in 3-4 cups of water mixed with baking soda. Let it sit overnight.
2. Pressuer cook the chickpeas and potato cubes for 3 whistles. I generally keep the flame on high for the first two whistles and cook on low flame till the 3rd whistle goes.
3. Drain the water and keep aside. If you have lexcess of water, you may store it and may be use while making dough for Puri or Roti.
4. Take a handful of the boiled chickpeas and make a paste of it.
5.Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds, red chillies and bay leaves.
6. Add ginger paste, you may lightly cover with a lid coz the oild would start spluttering making the surrounding a mess.
7. Add chopped tomatoes and saute till they are nicely smashed and oil starts oozing out from the sides.
8. Add the boiled chickpeas, potatoes, chickpea paste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and cumin powder, salt, sugar and combine.
9. Add a cup of water and boil till you get the desired consistency. (Please note that the gravy thickens if it is allowed to stand and consumed at a lter time)
10. Remove from heat. Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves, lemon juice and any of the spice powder mentioned in the garnish section and combine.
11. Serve hot with puri or luchi or any Indian bread.