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Paneer Masala Dosa

Masala dosa is a popular South Indian breakfast recipe. The stuffing for a regular masala dosa is made with a mildly spiced potato and onion filling. These days, hotels and road-side stalls are coming up with various kinds of stuffing. Paneer dosa is one such well liked masala dosa recipe.

I had this paneer masala dosa long time back in India and had loved it. I make potato masala dosa quite often, but this time I wanted to make this paneer dosa. I tweaked my usual potato masala stuffing and came up with a delicious paneer filling. Though nothing can beat the taste of the classic potato masala dosa, this paneer masala dosa is equally tasty and irresistible. Try this paneer dosa for a change or on a special occasion. Serve the dosa hot with coconut chutney.


{ Stuffed dosa with paneer (cottage cheese), onion and tomato filling }
Serves 2


Dosa or idli batter

For the stuffing:
1 cup heaped paneer, crumbled
1 medium onion, sliced
1-2 green chilly, finely chopped
½ tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 small tomato, chopped
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp red chilly powder
1 sprig coriander, chopped
2 tsp oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds / jeera
A pinch of asafoetida / hing
1 sprig curry leaves
Salt to taste


To make the stuffing:

1. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When it splutters, add hing, jeera and curry leaves. Add onion, green chillies and ginger-garlic paste. Fry until soft.

2. Add tomatoes and fry for 2-3 minutes or until they become soft. Add the paneer, turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilly powder and salt.

3. Sprinkle 1-2 tbsp water and mix well. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the coriander leaves.

To make dosa:

1. Heat a dosa tawa and take a laddle full of batter. Spread into a thin dosa and drizzle some oil. 

2. Once the dosa is cooked and turned brown and crisp, place some paneer filling and fold the dosa.

Notes and Tips
  • There is no need to flip the dosa. By the time bottom side gets browned and crisp, the top will also be cooked.
  • Thaw the paneer if frozen by either microwaving or immersing in warm water. Then crumble with hands.

Gobi Shimla Mirch Sabzi | Cauliflower Capsicum Fry

Making roti/chapathi is not a big task, but coming up with a side dish is indeed a task sometimes! Now if you are one who makes chapathi few times in a week, you have to come up with a different dish everyday. Plus it has to be delicious and healthy too. Here's a simple yet flavorful dry curry with cauliflower and capsicum that pairs well with chapathi.

Gobi shimla mirch sabzi is an easy and quick stir fry that goes well with roti, dal-rice and even parathas. Since it is a dry dish, it is suitable to pack for your lunch box too. Serve with a bowl of curd for a complete meal. Off to the recipe now!


{ Cauliflower and capsicum dry curry }
Serves 3


1 medium-sized cauliflower, cut into medium florets
1 large green capsicum, cut into cubes
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 medium tomato, chopped
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chilly powder
½ tsp kashmiri red chilly powder
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp garam masala
½ tbsp kasuri methi / dried fenugreek leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
1 tbsp + 1 tsp oil
Salt to taste


1. Soak cauliflower in hot water with salt and a pinch of turmeric powder for 2 minutes. Drain and wash well. Set aside in colander for 5 minutes.

2. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and add the cauliflower florets. Fry the florets in medium flame until half cooked. Set aside.

3. In the same pan, add capsicum and fry for 3-4 minutes or till slightly soft. Set aside.

4. In the same pan, heat remaining oil and add cumin seeds. When it crackles, add onion and fry until soft. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry for 2-3 minutes.

5. Add turmeric powder, red chilly powders, coriander powder and fry for 1-2 minutes. Then add the cauliflower florets and toss well with the masala.

6. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the florets are cooked. Add capsicum, tomato, salt and mix well. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes.

7. Add garam masala, kasuri methi and mix well. Cook for another minute and remove from heat.

Notes and Tips
  • Kasuri methi adds a good flavor, so do not skip it. If you don't have kasuri methi, add some finely chopped coriander leaves.
  • After adding tomatoes don't cook for long time and make it mushy.

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, is one of the oldest cultivated legumes from the Middle East. These little legumes are are high in fiber and protein, and low in GI and calories. Regular intake of chickpeas can lower your cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar levels. A little as half cup can keep you full longer and helps you to control your weight too.

I make sure to include chickpeas in my meals regularly either making a curry or my favorite channa kurma. Salads are a healthy and delicious way to incorporate this legume in our diet. This Mediterranean inspired chickpea salad is fresh, crunchy and delicious. It makes a light and filling meal and keep you full longer. Serve as a main meal or as a side with warm pita bread.


{ Chickpea salad with Mediterranean flavors }
Serves 2


1 ½ cup cooked chickpeas
1 small red onion, chopped
½ cup chopped cucumber
¼ cup chopped red capsicum
5-6 cherry tomatoes, chopped
4-5 olives, sliced
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
½ cup crumbled feta cheese

For the dressing:
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ tsp cayenne pepper / red chilly powder
½ tsp pepper powder (or to taste)
Salt to taste


1. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, add all the ingredients for the salad except feta and mix well.

3. Add the crumbled feta, dressing and combine well. Chill for 10-15 minutes and serve.

Notes and Tips
  • If you don't have parsley, replace it with coriander leaves.
  • If you are not having the salad immediately, refrigerate it until ready to serve.

Khasta Dhaniya Mathri | Flaky Coriander Mathri

Mathri is a deep fried savoury snack from North India. Its a flaky biscuit made of all-purpose flour and spices, served with tea, along with pickle or chutney. Mathri is prepared during festivals and served along with some sweet when guests arrive. There are two types of mathri -  one is thin, mildly spiced and crispy while the other is thick, spicier and flaky. 

I made the latter one as part of this month's SNC. South vs North Challenge is a monthly event where South and North teams challenge each other with traditional regional dishes. The theme for this month was snacks and Nupur of UK Rasoi challenged us with this dhaniya mathri and Priya challenged the North team with cashew pakoda. The mathris were delicious and we enjoyed with our evening tea with some pickle.


{ Deep-fried flaky biscuits with coriander and spices  }
Yields 15-18


2 cup all-purpose flour / maida
½ cup whole wheat flour / atta
¼ cup oil
2 tbsp ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
½ tsp black pepper, crushed
½ tsp carom seeds / ajwain
Salt to taste
½ cup tightly packed coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves / kasuri methi
Oil for deep frying


1. In a large bowl, add the maida, atta, coriander leaves, jeera, ajwain, black pepper and salt. Mix well.

2. Add oil, ghee and mix with hands until well combined. Now add warm water little by little and knead to a hard dough. Cover with a damp cloth and keep aside for 30 minutes.

3. Knead the dough again for a minute. Divide the dough into small lemon-sized balls. Flatten them gently between your palms. Repeat for all balls and keep them covered.

4. Now heat oil for deep frying. When the oil is hot, reduce the heat to low. Fry the flattened balls in small batches until all sides turn golden brown.

5. Drain the excess oil in a tissue paper. Once they are cool, store them in an air-tight container.

Notes and Tips
  • You can make mathri with all-purpose flour only. Also adding atta makes it less crumbly.
  • Since the dough is hard, there will be slight cracks on the sides while flattening them. If the dough is too soft, it might break apart while frying.
  • It is important to fry them in low heat otherwise they will be uncooked inside.

Karuveppilai Chutney | Curry Leaves Chutney

Curry leaves is one of the indispensable ingredients in South Indian cooking. They not only add flavor and aroma to a dish, but provide numerous health benefits. Curry leaves help to improve digestion and eyesight. They are packed with carbohydrates, fiber, antioxidants and vitamins. Curry leaves are known to prevent graying of the hair and aid in healthy hair growth.

Well, now that you know the goodness of curry leaves, we must try to include them regularly in our diet. Though its commonly used for seasoning, you can use it to make chutneys, kuzhambu (gravies) and podi (spice powder). Karuveppilai chutney is a healthy dish you can easily make using curry leaves. It goes well with most tiffin varieties, especially idli and dosa. Let's check out how to make this simple yet flavorful chutney.


{ Curry leaves chutney with coconut and green chillies }
Serves 2


½ cup tightly packed curry leaves
2 tsp urad dal / ulutham paruppu
A pinch of asafoetida / hing
¼ cup grated coconut
4-5 green chillies
½ tsp tamarind paste / marble-sized tamarind
Salt to taste
1 tsp oil

For the tempering:
1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds


1. Wash the curry and pat them dry completely. In a small pan, heat ½ tsp oil and fry the curry leaves until crispy. Set aside.

2. Add remaining oil in the same pan and add the urad dal. Fry till the dal turns golden. Then add asafoetida, coconut and green chillies. Fry for 30 seconds.

3. Cool everything and grind along with tamarind and salt to a smooth consistency adding little water.

4. In a small pan heat oil and add mustard seeds. Once it splutters, pour over the chutney and mix.

Notes and Tips
  • You can also add 1 tsp of roasted gram (pottukadalai) while grinding. No need to fry it.
  • Adjust the amount of chillies according to your spice level. You can also use red chillies instead of green chillies.
  • The chutney should be slightly thick in consistency, so add water accordingly while grinding.

Arabic Honey Almond Cake

The theme for this month's Home Bakers Challenge, a monthly baking group started by Priya, is Arabic Bakes. Rafeeda of The Big Sweet Tooth suggested both savory and sweet bakes for this challenge. Out of her wonderful choices, I baked this melt in mouth honey and almond cake.

Honey cake is very popular in Middle Eastern cuisine, with nearly every Middle Eastern country having a variation of their own. This Arabic inspired honey cake has a soft and fluffy base topped with honey and caramelized almonds. The half-baked cake absorbs all the syrup, turning the cake super soft and moist. This cake is perfect with a cup of tea or coffee.


Recipe Source ~ The Wanderlust Kitchen
Makes one 8-inch cake


For the cake:
⅓ cup butter, melted
3 eggs
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp baking powder
½ cup all-purpose flour

For the topping:
½ cup butter
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup honey
½ cup slivered almonds
½ tsp cinnamon


1. Preheat the oven to 190 C | 375 F. Grease a 8-inch spring form pan or line with parchment paper.

2. Beat the eggs, white sugar, brown sugar and vanilla together until it whitens. Add the melted butter and mix well.

3. Sift the flour and baking powder together and add to egg mixture and mix gently.

4. Pour into the prepared pan and bake 10 minutes.

5. Meanwhile prepare the topping. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.

6. Add the sugars, honey, almonds, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

7. Pour the topping gently on the cake and return the cake to the oven. Bake for another 15-20 minutes or until completely baked.

Notes and Tips
  • While pouring the syrup on the cake, start from the sides and pour slowly.

Sorakkai Kootu | Bottlegourd Lentil Stew

Kootu is a South Indian stew with vegetables and lentils simmered in a coconut base. Kootu is made with either chana dal or moong dal with vegetables like pumpkin, bottlegourd, chow chow, cabbage, spinach etc. Kootu makes a very healthy and light meal. Usually kootu is served as a side dish to rice, but it goes well with chapathi too.

Sorakkai kootu can be prepared either with chana dal (kadalai paruppu) or moong dal (paasi paruppu). Here I have made the kootu with yellow moong dal. You can cook the vegetable and lentil directly in a vessel, but pressure cooking is an easier method and saves time. Serve kootu with hot rice and any vegetable stir fry. I served the kootu with seppankizhangu roast for lunch and had the leftover with chapathi for dinner.


{ Bottlegourd and lentil simmered in a coconut, red chilly and cumin base }
Serves 3-4


1 medium sized bottlegourd / sorakkai / lauki
½ cup yellow moong dal / paasi paruppu
¼ tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste

To grind:
½ cup grated coconut
2 dry red chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
1 tsp rice flour

For the tempering:
1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp split urad dal
2 dry red chillies
1 sprig curry leaves


1. Peel the skin of bottlegourd. Scoop out the middle white part and seeds. Chop them into small cubes and transfer to a vessel.

2. Add washed moong dal, turmeric powder and enough water. Pressure cook for 1 whistle.

3. Meanwhile grind the coconut, red chillies, jeera and rice flour to a smooth paste adding little water.

4. Add the ground paste, salt to the bottlegourd- dal mixture and mix well. Simmer for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.

5. In a small pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds, When it splutters, add red chillies, curry leaves and pour into the kootu.

Notes and Tips
  • Instead of pressure cooking, you can cook the bottle gourd and dal together directly in a vessel. It will take around 15-20 minutes.
  • Kootu has a thick consistency, so add water just enough to immerse the bottlegourd and dal.

California Veggie Pizza

We are heading towards North American cuisine this month for the International Food Challenge, an event started by Shobana and Saras and we are cooking from the California region. As a result of varied range of micro-climates, the lifestyle in California promotes health conscious diets and use of fresh organic produce. This month's host Joanne of What's On The List suggested some classic recipes from the California cuisine and I picked the famous California pizza.

California-style pizza is a fusion of New York and Italian thin crust with toppings from the California cuisine cooking style. California-style pizza focuses on using nontraditional pizza ingredients and fresh produce. California Pizza Kitchen is one of the major pizza franchises associated with California-style pizza and this veggie pizza recipe is one on their menu. This pizza is laden with fresh vegetables, mozzarella and goat cheese on a honey wheat pizza crust. Let's see how to make this California-style veggie pizza.


Recipe Source ~ Tastebook | KKTV
{ Honey-wheat crust pizza with eggplant, broccoli, mushrooms, red onions, sun-dried tomato, corn and mozzarella }
Makes a 9" pizza


For the pizza:
½  tsp dried yeast
¼ cup + ½ tsp warm water
½ cup bread flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour
2 ½ tsp honey
½ tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil

For the toppings:
1 large Japanese eggplant
100 gms white mushroom
1 small bunch baby broccoli
¼ cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
½ a small red onion, thinly sliced
2 halves sun-dried tomatoes strips
4 tbsp marinara/pizza sauce
1 ½ cups grated Mozzarella cheese
Olive oil
Salt, pepper
¼ cup goat cheese (optional)


To make the dough:

1. Dissolve the yeast in the water and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Place the dry ingredients in a bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour the liquids. Combine the ingredients using a wooden spoon. Then lightly oil your hand and knead the dough for 5 minutes. The dough will be lightly sticky at this stage.

3. Lightly oil the dough ball and the interior of a bowl. Place the dough ball in the bowl and seal the bowl air tight with a cling wrap. Set aside at room temperature to rise until double in size, about 1 ½ - 2 hours.

4. After the dough had doubled, punch down the dough and form into a round ball. Place in the same bowl and cover with cling wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

5. Remove the dough from refrigerator 2 hours before assembling the pizza. Sprinkle flour on the dough and on the working surface. Roll the dough into 9-inch diameter, ½-inch thick circle.

6. Pinch the dough between your fingers all around the edge of the circle, forming a  rim that rises about 1/4-inch above the center surface of the dough.

To make the toppings:

1. Cut the eggplant into ¼-inch-thick slices. Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill them for 2 minutes or until tender.

2. Cut the mushrooms into ¼- inch thick slices. Heat oil in a pan and toss the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms on medium heat until all liquid has evaporated and the edges begin to brown. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Cut the broccoli into small florets and blanch them in boiling water for a minute. Drain and plunge into cold water. Once cool, drain and set aside.8. Use immediately, or cool and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

4. Heat a small pan over high heat and roast the corn kernels for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

To assemble the pizza:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 C | 400 F. Place the rolled pizza on a floured pizza pan. Spread the sauce to within 1 inch of the outer edge of the dough. Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.

2. Then place the eggplant, followed by mushrooms, onion and sun-dried tomato. Sprinkle corn and top with broccoli.

3. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella over the pizza. If using goat cheese, break it into small pieces and distribute over the pizza.

4. Transfer the pizza to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese at the center is melted.

Notes and Tips
  • Do not put salt directly into the yeast water because this would kill some of the yeast.
  • Do not over mix the dough as it will  produce tough and rubbery dough.
  • You can use the dough after the first rise. But keeping it overnight makes the dough more chewy and flavorful.
  • You can make the normal pizza dough recipe instead of honey wheat dough. Note that the honey wheat dough tends to rise more slowly.
  • You can use normal eggplant also. If using large ones, halve them and slice. Also go for normal broccoli if baby broccoli is not available.

Urulakizhangu Mezhukkupuratti | Potato Stir Fry

Mezhukkupuratti is a Kerala specialty prepared with vegetable stir-fried with garlic, onions or shallots and spices. Usually the dish is prepared with vegetables like koorka (chinese potato), raw banana (vazhakka/kaya), elephant foot yam (chena), bittergourd (pavakka), chakka kuru (jackfruit seeds) and yardlong beans (payar). Though the above vegetables are the traditional ones used to make mezhukkupuratti, we can use any vegetable available locally to make this stir fry. 

Potato mezhukkupuratti is one of my favorites and it goes well with any South Indian gravy and variety rice. Do not use boiled potato for this recipe. The real taste of this mezhukkupuratti comes when the potatoes are slow cooked with spices. By the time the potatoes are cooked, the onions get caramelized, adding a bit of sweetness which balances the spice. This stir fry not only goes well as a side dish to rice but can be served with chapathi too. 


{ Kerala style potato stir fry with garlic, onion and spices }
Serves 2-3


4 medium potatoes, cut into medium cubes
1 medium onion, sliced
5-6 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilly powder
1 tbsp + 2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp split urad dal
2-3 dry red chillies
1 sprig curry leaves
Salt to taste


1. In a pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds. When it crackles add urad dal, red chillies and curry leaves. Then add garlic and fry for few seconds.

2. Add onions and fry till they turn soft. Then add potatoes, turmeric powder, red chilly powder and salt. Sprinkle little water and mix well.

3. Cover and cook for around 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked, stirring in between.

4. Add remaining oil and fry the potatoes uncovered for another 4-5 minutes.

Notes and Tips
  • Make sure to stir the potatoes in between to avoid sticking to pan and burning.
  • You can reduce the amount of garlic, but do not skip it entirely.
  • Instead of normal onion, you can use shallots/small onion too.