Spicy Kheema puffs

 in Hindi Kheema can be any type of minced or ground meat, so I have used minced lamb, but have prepared the same puffs using chicken or even turkey . Once the filling is prepared and cooled it is filled into store-bought puff pastry. this is delicious served for high tea or even a light sunday dinner.The great this is the puffs can be assembled and refrigerated until ready to bake.

12 puffs

Photograph by rahul Mahtani

1 lb ground lamb or any ground meat of your choice

2 tsp vegetable or canola oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 ” fresh ginger root , minced

4 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp each ground coriander and cumin seed

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp red chili powder

a small bunch fresh mint , finely chopped

salt to taste

Heat oil and saute onion with salt on medium heat till soft and lightly brown.Add ginger and garlic, fry for 1 more minute.

Stir in the tomato paste and fry for 1 minute.

Stir in all the spices and fry for 30 seconds.

Add in the minced meat and fry, breaking up the lumps . Keep frying till the meat is well browned and the oil separates to the sides. Stir in the mint. Tilt the pan so that any excess fat is easy to pour off into a separate bowl,discard this. Allow the meat to cool.

Preheat oven to 425*F

Roll out puff pastry sheet and cut desired shape . Place meat filling in the center of the pastry and brush edges with egg wash. Fold over and press to seal. With the tines of a fork make a design on the border,this will ensure the pastry is well sealed.

Make slight slits in the top to allow excess air to escape.Brush tops with egg wash and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden.Serve immediately.


Paneer Makhani

Butter Paneer , as this dish is more commonly referred to is a scrumptious , rich and deeply fulfilling dish . It is an Indian cheese , very much like Italian rikotta , just compressed into a cube , so a lot of the moisture is extracted . it is then cubed and fried slightly to take waay the raw taste . The cheese is really there to compliment this amazing sauce , made with tomatoes and spices that are cooked down and thickened with heavy cream and butter …o yum !

Serves 4

12  oz   store bought or home made paneer, lightly pan fried

1 tbs vegetable or canola oil

4 tbs butter , divided

4 garlic cloves , grated

1 inch piece grated fresh ginger

14  oz  crushed canned tomatoes ( about 1/2 of a 28 oz can )  Plus water to dilute

1/2 tsp each corriander powder , garam masala , paprika , ground cardamon and red chili powder

1 tbs dry fenugreek , crushed  between palms

salt to taste

1/2  cup heavy cream , divided

Heat oil and butter in a heavy based saucepan . Add ginger and garlic and saute on a very low heat for a few minutes .

Add spices and dried fenugreek.

Add in  tomatoes and water about 1/2 a cup . Cook , on low flame , stirring occassionally , till thick and oil seperates . ( this could take about 15 minutes ). Add in a little sugar to adjust the tartness of the sauce .

Add in 1/4  cup heavy cream and fried paneer . Allow to simmer for a few minutes . Check for seasoning and adjust with salt , as needed. Off the heat.

Stir in the last 2 tablespoons of butter . Serve hot drizzling on the rest of the cream.

Hariyali Chicken

Hariyali actually means green .I have seen this chicken prepared in a number of ways to achieve the green color , but basically it is prepared with both mint and cilantro in a base of thick plain yogurt . Some recipes call for pureeing the herbs before adding them to the thickened yoghurt , this gives an intense green color to the chicken , I prefer to chop the herbs finely and have little specks show up throughout .

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

1 lb boneless chicken breast , cubed

1/2 cup thick plain yoghurt , whole milk or Greek yoghurt work great

2 tbsp finely chopped mint

2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

1 tbsp grated fresh ginger root

1 green chili (Serrano or jalapeno ) minced well.

salt to taste

1/2 tsp lemon pepper

1 tsp ground cumin seed

1 small onion cut into cubes

1 small red pepper , cut into cubes ( optional )

1 tbsp butter , melted .

Bamboo skewers .

Marinate the chicken in the yoghurt , herbs , cumin, chili , ginger , salt and lemon pepper . Allow to marinate up to 4 hours , refrigerated .

Thread chicken on to skewers , alternating with the red pepper and onion .

Brush on melted butter .

Grill or bake at 350 * for 25 minutes or until juices run clear .

Serve  with a wedge of fresh lemon and a sprinkling of salt.

Vegetable seekh Kabab

Ever wondered what to throw on the grill as a vegan or vegetarian besides a veggie burger ? This well flavored loaded kabab is just the thing , from acclaimed chef Sanjeev Kapoor. He suggests grilling these on a stone , but honestly I do them directly on the grill as I am not sure what stone he is talking about . Alternatively I have placed them in the oven on a preheated pizza stone….just delicious. I serve them with a green salad   and sliced red onions.

15 -20 French beans , chopped

    1/4 cup          Cabbage , finely chopped

    4      Medium carrots chopped

3/4 cup green peas , blanched

2 Tbs plus more for basting

3  1/2 tbs  gram flour (available in Indian stores or health food stores)

1 tsp Caraway seed ground

2 tbs Ginger and garlic grated

4 green serrano chillies chopped

3 medium potatoes , boiled and mashed

1  1/2 corn kernels , boiled

salt to taste

3 tsp Chaat masala ( available from Indian markets )

2 tbs ground cashewnuts

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan , add french beans , cabbage and carrots and mix . Push to one side. Add green peas on the other side and mash them . Mix everything together and cook for 3 to 4 minutes . Push to one side of the pan . On the other side of the pan , roast the gram flour and caraway powder for 2 minutes. Mix the vegetable and gram flour mixture and stir in the ginger and garlicthe green chilis and mix well and saute for 30 seconds . Place the potatoes in a bowl, corn , salt , 2 tsp chaat masala , cashewnut powder and the vegetables in the pan , MIX WELL.

Divide into 16 equal portions . Holding up a bamboo skewer Pree each potion on the sticks pressing onto the stick till it is evenly latered.Press the ends to seal firmly. Season the grill ( or grill stone ) with oil and heat . Place kebabs on grill and cook, basting with oil on each side , for about 3 minutes or until lightly colored all around .

Serve hot sprinkled with the remaing chaat masala.

Spinach and potato fritters

Palak aloo Bhajias are some of the most delicious fritters from India. Indian fritters are made with chickpea flour which , to me , has a warm nutty flavor. You can find this flour in Indian markets or a store like Whole Foods. Either way they are too good to pass up. For a little added spice add in 1/4 tsp or more of cayenne pepper , optional , ofcourse.

8 oz fresh spinch leaves , chopped

1 cup grated potato

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

3/4 cup chickpea flour

Salt and pepper , to taste

Sunflower oil for deep -frying

Combine all the ingredients except the oil in a bowl , add enough water to make a thick batter.

Heat the oil in a large , heavy frying pan and drop in a tablespoon of mixture. Cook , turning , until lightly browned on both sides. Drain on paper towels and keep warm while you make the rest.

Continue to fry the fritters in batches until the batter is used up , and serve hot.

Ratnagiri garlic pepper crab

This simple to prepare crab dish is serve simply and elegantly in crab shells. Ratnagiri , a little distance from Mumbai , is lush with coconut trees and seafood. Buy your crabs cooked to save the bother of cleaning fresh ones.

Monisha bharadwaj

4 freshly cooked crabs , shells set aside

2 tbs sunflower oil

1/4 tsp mustard seed

1 medium onion, finely chopped

5 curry leaves

1/2 tsp garlic paste

1 tbs dry coconut

salt and freshly ground pepper

Finely chopped cilantro (optional)

Lettuce leaves

Remove all the crabmeat from the shells and pincers, taking care to extract any tiny bits of shell. Mix together the white and brown meats . Throughly rinse the shells and let drain.

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add the onion and stir until translucent.

Add the curry leaves and garlic paste. Stir.

Add the coconut and crabmeat and stir lightly until heated through. Season to taste.

Pile the mixture into the cleaned crab shells , garnish with some chopped cilantro if you like, and serve warm on a bed of lettuce.

Shrimp in green herbs

Shrimps are universally loved in India. There are several varieties , which , I was surprised to see when I went to the wharf with my cousin Suzy , who lives in Mumbai. These shrimp , or prawns , as they are called are so fresh and succulent. Some of them are 6 to 8 inches long!!! The green sauce is called Hara Masala and is my husband’s favorite. Use bread or naan to soak up the sauce.


1 bunch cilantro

2 fresh green chilis

2 tsp ginger garlic paste

Salt to taste


2 tbs sunflower oil

1/2 tsp cumin seed

1 1/4 lbs jumbo shrimp ,shelled and deveined

Salt to taste

Put ingredients for masala in a blender , puree till smooth.

Heat oil in a wok and tip in cumin seeds

Add green masala and fry 1 -2 minutes.

Add shrimp and salt. Reduce heat and cook until shrimp are done, adding a little water if necessary. The sauce should be thick and smooth . Serve immediately.