Surkh Tandoori Aloo

Aloo or potato is a perfect addition to most meals. The perfect potato in this case is a baby yellow gold ,they are so creamy and melt in your mouth,which is great considering the spice used here is a blend available in most Indian stores called Kashmiri red chili paste ,it is hot,spicy and delicious. Once again this dish is prepared in a tandoor or placed in an oven to roast.

20 baby Yukon gold potatoes

2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus for deep-frying

1/2 cup plain Greek yoghurt

2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chili paste

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 tsp roasted ground cumin

4 tablespoons gram flour

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Heat plenty of oil in a pan and deep fry the potatoes till they are half-cooked. Drain on absorbent paper and set aside.

Place the yogurt in a bowl. Add ginger and garlic paste ,chili paste,dry spices,salt lemon juice, oil and gram flour.Mix well.

Add the fried potatoes to the marinade and stir gently. Set aside, refrigerated for about 1 hour.

Thread the potatoes a little apart onto skewers  and roast in a preheated 400*F for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

Serve hot


Hara Bhara Paneer Tikka

On a very recent visit to India I was enticed by all the tandoor cooking. Tandoor is a special oven mostly found in Indian restaurants,it gives a moist baked flavor to foods prepared in it including several Indian specialty breads. Paneer is an Indian cheese much like ricotta ,but compressed to remove all moisture and form into a cake. In this very flavorful recipe it is combined with yoghurt ,spices and herbs ….delicious!

1/2 lb Paneer,cut into 1  1/2 inch squares

1 bunch fresh cilantro, washed and roughly chopped

1 bunch fresh mint, washed and roughly chopped

2 to 4 green Serrano chilis, washed and roughly chopped

5 to 10 garlic cloves,peeled

1 cup Greek yoghurt

3 tbsp Gram flour

salt to taste

1 tsp Chaat masala

1/2 tsp garam masala

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tbsp vegetable oil

Grind cilantro, mint, green chilis and garlic to a paste. Scoop into a bowl and stir in yoghurt, spices, salt and lemon juice.

Stir in the oil and cubed paneer so that the paneer is well coated. Refrigerate and marinate for about half an hour.

Heat a pan. Cook the paneer pieces on a moderate flame turning frequently  until evenly cooked on all sides , about 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve hot with onion rings and lemon wedges

Thai crab salad with fresh mango

In the summer I am obsessed with freshness,from fruit to seafood. I adore the simple abundance of herbs in my small herb garden,especially the fresh green chilis,cilantro and Thai basil.Wish I could grow tropical fruit such as Lychees and Mangoes but….the market will have to supply those. While away at college,yearning for a home cooked meal,my son,Ashish e mailed me a list of items he would love to eat during his summer home,this crab salad was one of the first requests.It is best to prepare this with the freshest of ingredients,as it is a simple salad and each ingredient contributes to its explosion of taste in your mouth.

Chef Tony Wrigley,Rockfish restaurant,Phuket Thailand

Photograph by Ashish Mahtani

Serves 1

1/2 cup cooked crab meat

1/2 diced mango

2 to 3 sliced Thai chilis

2 green onions,sliced

a few sprigs cilantro,roughly torn

a few Thai basil leaves,roughly torn

1/4 cup ry roasted peanuts

2 tsp fish sauce

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp canola oil

juice of 1 fresh lime

some chili sauce for presentation

Gently toss all ingredients so as not to break the crab meat. Taste to adjust seasonings. Serve.

Easy grilled mint shrimp

These shrimp are as great to look at as to taste.Whenever the weather turns warmer we chose to grill,its easy clean up it the greatest incentive. I typically marinade these shrimp at least 1/2 an hour before grilling but no more than 1 hour.You could use either shelled or unshelled shrimp,but,I always find the shrimp to retain more moisture when grilled shell on.

1  1/2 lb  shell on jumbo shrimp (unshelled shrimp would be about 1  1/4 lb)

1/4 cup minced fresh mint leaves

1 to 2 serrano chillis,minced

4 cloves garlic,minced

juice of 1/2 small lime

1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper or white pepper

salt to taste

zest of 1 lime

1/8 cup canola oil.

Combine all ingredients together,except for shrimp, in a food processor to blend well.

Place shrimp in a plastic resealable bag and pour marinade over. Seal bag and gently massage marinade on to shrimp, making sure each piece is coated. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour.

Heat grill to medium hot. Grill shrimp about 2 minutes per side, DO NOT OVER COOK.

Place on serving dish and squeeze lemon or lime  before serving.

Pinchitos Morunos ( small spicy Moorish Kebabs)

Tonight we decided to have family Tapas night for dinner . Pinchitos are Spain’s answer to the kebab,typically made with lamb or pork,but turkey or chicken could work too. Pinchito spice powder is sold on the internet, but a mild curry powder with the addition of Spanish paprika and a few other herbs and spices and you have a close replica. We included Patatas Bravas, Spanish garlic shrimp and cilantro rice, Spain right here in my kitchen !!!

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

1 lb lean pork,cut into small cubes

2 garlic cloves,finely chopped

2 tsp salt

1 tsp mild curry powder or Pinchito spice mixture

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp Spanish paprika

1/4 tsp dried thyme

Freshly ground black pepper

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbps lemon juice

Bamboo skewers, soaked for half an hour.

Crush the garlic with the salt and work in the rest of the ingredients except the pork. Place pork in a non reactive dish and rub on the spice mixture . Cover and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours.

Skewer the meat onto the soaked skewers and place on hot grill,cook till done . Serve

Pork Satay with perfect peanut sauce

During the warmer spring months my family loves to spend time outdoors for various activities, especially grilling. Pork satay is a family favorite. I get my butcher to slice the meat as super thin as possible,then, once marinated,skewer the meat onto presoaked bamboo skewers and grill on a really hot flame of about 500*F. As you can see the family really loves slightly charred ,crisp satay, but you could easily flip them more frequently and,perhaps lower the heat if you prefer a less charred  satay. This recipe works on all kinds of meat, so do not feel compelled to use pork.

Serves 4

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

Adapted from Su-Mei-Yu

1 tbsp dry roasted cumin seed,ground

1 tbsp dry roasted coriander seed,ground

1 tsp dry roasted white pepper,ground

1 stalk lemongrass,green parts and hard outer leaves removed, minced

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp sea salt

1 cup fresh unsweetened coconut cream

1  1/2 lbs meat of your choice,sliced super thin,then cut into strips

Bamboo skewers soaked in water

one 6 oz can pineapple juice

Vegetable oil spray

Perfect peanut sauce, for serving (recipe found on

In a medium bowl combine spices,salt,lemongrass and coconut cream,stir to blend. Add meat and stir to coat . Cover well and refrigerate for 1 to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature prior to grilling.

Thread meat onto skewers, place on a platter as you fire up the grill.

Dip each meat skewer into the can of pineapple juice, then spray the meat generously with vegetable spray . Lay the skewers close to one another, to keep the meat moist, on the grill and cook,turning frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes, until well done.

Serve alongside Perfect peanut sauce

Bukhara Grill Tandoori Mushrooms

Grilling is such a great method of cooking that frankly involves the whole family. As a vegetarian I am always looking for fun, tasty ways to prepare food for the grill and ” tandoori” is both flavorful and nutritious, in addition it is very appealing to look at ,so great for entertaining. I love these mushrooms from Bukhara Grill in NYC. They are so quick to prepare as they only require half an hour of marinating and about 8 minutes of grilling.

Adapted from Bukhara Grill , Manhattan

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

1  2 inch piece peeled ginger,roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

1 tsp salt,more to taste

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp red chili powder or hot paprika

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp white pepper

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, from 2 lemons

2 tbsp vegetable oil

3/4 cup sour cream ( I just used Greek yogurt )

3 tbsp plain yogurt

12 oz cremini ,Portobello or other mushrooms trimmed

Place ginger,garlic,salt,cumin,chili powder,turmeric and white pepper in a food processor . Finely chop, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula . Add the lemon juice and 1 tbsp vegetable oil,and puree. Add the sour cream and yogurt, and pulse processor in short bursts,just to mix. Transfer marinade to a glass,ceramic or stainless steel mixing bowl.

Wipe mushrooms clean with damp paper towels. Stir mushrooms into the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

If using a tandoor,heat it to 500*F. If  using a grill or broiler,heat to high.

Thread mushrooms on bamboo or metal skewers. In tandoor, cook mushrooms until lightly browned on outside, 2 to 3 minutes . baste with 1 tbsp oil and continue cooking until golden brown and tender, 1 to 2 minutes more . if grilling or broiling, cook mushrooms until golden and tender, 3 to 4 minutes a side , 6 to 8 minutes total , basting with oil.