Mutton Pepper Fry

At the very beginning, know that this isn’t the classic recipe. Given the primary ingredients, I had no choice but to name it so.

I do like this recipe, because I used to look at such dishes and think it certainly must take quite a while to cook it and also need a load of preparation. As we found out, it doesn’t have to.


  • Boneless meat, 1 kg, soaked in mild brine for an hour
  • Dhania-Lal Mirch masala, 2 tbsp
  • Red Chilies, 2 – 3 pieces, dried
  • Mushrooms, 1 cup, finely chopped
  • Ginger garlic paste, 1 tbsp
  • Black peppercorns, 3 tbsp, pounded
  • Onions, 1 medium, finely sliced
  • Salt to taste
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • Oil to cook


  1. Add washed meat to a pressure cooker with a little salt and cook until tender. Use your own estimation please. I use a Hawkins Futura and it took about 20 minutes, though this will vary from cooker to cooker and meat to meat. Reserved drained meat, use water someplace else, like making rajma for instance.
  2. Fry onions, add the ginger garlic paste, fry a bit more, add the dhania-lal mirch masala and fry some more, add the mushrooms, red chilies and black pepper and fry for a bit more.
  3. Add the meat and keep frying on high heat until the color of the whole concoction deepens and the masala tastes cooked.
  4. Squeeze on a generous amount of lemon juice. Season.
  5. Serve hot


  • A bowl of thick (half hung, half normal) curd on the side will taste good.
  • If you’re going to use chicken, use thighs and skip pressure cooking. Instead, just keep going on a lower flame until the chicken is cooked. If you use breast in this process, it is likely to dry out.
  • Use any red meat you want.
  • If you want to lower the spice, start with reducing the dhania-lal mirch masala a bit, then the pepper, then the dhania-lal mirch masala again, and then the pepper. Reducing chili heat this way will keep the basic nature/flavour of the dish as well as bring down the spiciness.

Saunf + Kali Mirch

This is a simple blend of two spices that I use in various dishes. Instead of mentioning the spices in every dish, I thought I’d just list the basic combinations in their own posts and refer to them from other blog posts.

I use the fine saunf / aniseed for this one, with fresh, whole peppercorns that I hand pound to the required degree of coarseness. You could try it with the coarser variety of saunf too.


Hot & Spicy Baingan and Paneer

I’m trying to bring together lesser used combinations of main ingredients, such as baingan (aubergine) and paneer (cottage cheese). This is a fairly spicy dish, where it’s more about the complexity of interaction of the different types of chili heat in there than the quantum of chili itself. If you like your alcohol, I suggest a robust red or even better, a nice, strong beer to go with this dish.

If you want, you can also use cook this with chicken, both on and off the bone, though you’ll need to adjust the cooking times accordingly.

The thickness of the gravy comes from the combination of onion, tomato and mushrooms.

Please do try this one with onions and don’t forget to squeeze on a generous drizzle of lime- I thought they added great depth to the dish.

We ate this for dinner with wheat-jowar rotis.


  • Onion, 1 large, sliced
  • Tomatoes, 6 medium, pureed
  • Garlic, 8 cloves, sliced
  • Dhania-Lal Mirch Masala, 2 tbsp
  • Saunf-Kali Mirch Masala, 1 tbsp
  • Mushrooms, 1/2 cup, finely chopped
  • Green chillies, 2, finely chopped
  • Baingan, 150gm, diced
  • Paneer, 100gm, finely diced
  • Cream, 1/4 cup
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as required
  • Oil for frying


  1. Heat oil and saute onions till somewhat brown, lower heat, add green chilies and garlic then saute some more. Add dhania-lal mirch masala and keep sauteing, then the saunf-kali mirch masala and keep sauteing on low heat.
  2. Add the tomato puree and mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes until the oil begins to separate. Add a little water if the gravy is getting too thick.
  3. Blend to smoothness with immersion blender. (Optional)
  4. Mix in the cream, then add baingan and paneer. Mix well, simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Serve with rotis, wedges of lemon and raw onions.

Dhania, Lal Mirch Masala

Hand roasting and pounding your own masalas isn’t just extra aromatic and tasty, but also so very satisfying.

The aroma of fresh spices is awesome.

This is a classic combination, whole coriander seeds and dried red chilies, which are first roasted and then ground. This combination is the starting point for a classic version of kadhai gravy, which unfortunately isn’t very much in use these days.

I use a 50-50 combination of sabat dhania and lal mirch by weight and pound it to the required coarseness depending on what I’m cooking.

Needs a bit more pounding for that days dish.

The point of roasting is to activate certain aromatic compounds as well as to reduce moisture and making both dhania and mirch more brittle, allowing for easier pounding. Roast on a low-medium flame, preferably in a heavy bottomed pan, until your kitchen is full of their aroma, then pound away.

The finished product for that batch.

We use it for making both non-vegetarian and vegetarian preparations, dry and wet.

It took me the longest time to begin appreciating fresh spices, but once I started, there was just no comparison with readymade ones. There’s much I have to learn, and I’m happy to have begun the journey.


Tonkatsu Chicken, Mooli Fried Rice, Egg Salad

We’re trying to adhere to a certain meal protocol on weekdays, with a break on weekends. As per that protocol, there was to be no direct sugar or dairy, and this is what we made.

Each of our bowls had a portion of very crisp Tonkatsu chicken, sliced into pieces, atop some fried rice made with onions and mooli / radish leaves, accompanied by a dollop of creamy egg salad. I forgot to include the Tonkatsu sauce in the picture, which is really a variation of BBQ sauce at our place.

Tonkatsu Chicken

The chicken was made using Panko, flour and seasoned, beaten eggs. Panko refers to Japanese style bread crumbs that are chunkier than normal bread crumbs and result in crisper, coarser outcomes. Take some flour, some beaten eggs seasoned well with salt and pepper and anything else you like, and some panko. Keeping all three in plates is a good idea for easier coating.

I used chicken tenders for this. You could use sliced breast or tenders, whatever is available. Tenders are the pectoralis minor muscles which are located under the breast meat, on both sides of the breastbone.

Heat some oil to medium. Remember to keep the heat at medium as the panko browns really fast. If you’re using breast meat, slice it about 1 – 1.5 centimeters thick and 2 – 2.5 centimeters wide. If you want to use bigger pieces, adjust your oil temperature and cooking time accordingly, as we’d like the pieces to be golden brown when they exit the oil and cooked on the inside as well.

The process is simple. Coat the chicken in the flour first. This ensures a nice, even coating of the egg. Then dip the floured chicken in the egg, then place it atop the panko and coat well, and put it back into egg, then back into the panko, and then into the oil. So that’s flour, egg, panko, egg, panko, fry. Each time you’re out of the egg and panko, drip/shake off the excess egg and crumbs.

Fry for a few minutes on each side until golden brown then remove onto paper kitchen towels. Might be a good idea to slice the first one and confirm its fully cooked so you can confidently do the rest.

Serve with BBQ or Tonkatsu sauce drizzled over.

Mooli Fried Rice

I hate wasting mooli leaves and try to use them in different ways. We also love soy sauce and garlic at home, so that’s what this dish used as well as a dollop of Chua Hah Seng sweet chili paste.

A good soy sauce is a thing of beauty, far removed from the thick, dark crap sold by most Indian brands. We use different soy sauces at home – light, dark and one somewhere in between. Locally brewed ones are the nicest though brands like Kikkoman are delights too. I used Woh Hup Light Soy Sauce for this rice.

For the fried rice, I fried some onions in a little oil, then sliced garlic, then a few finely chopped green chilies, threw in finely chopped radish / mooli greens, added a bit of salt and let the mixture dry out a bit before adding the chili paste and mixing it well. Then came some rice (we cooked the rice a little while earlier, spread it on a plate, cooled it and then broke it up with our fingers), mixed the lot with some soy sauce and the rice was ready.

Egg Salad

For the egg salad, we hard boiled a few eggs, sliced them open and separated the yolks. The whites were chopped coarsely and set aside. The yolks were mashed with a little garlic infused olive oil and when smooth, blended with mustard sauce, mayonnaise, salt, pepper and a bit of milk to make it a little more fluid. A squeeze of lemon goes well, and so does a tablespoon or so of finely chopped raw onions. I also served pickled jalapenos on it, which made for a nice contrast.

And that’s that. This was a satisfying meal that all of us took second helpings for. :)


Vegetable and Corn Frittata

We strive towards low carb lunches that are quick and easy to prepare, and yet meet some level of nutritional content. These frittatas meet those requirements and taste great too. Here’s the recipe I used, for a single dish lunch for 6 people, cooked in a 10.5 inch cast iron pan.


  • Eggs, 14, beaten
  • Bell peppers, 1 medium, chopped
  • Onion, 1 medium, chopped
  • Green chilies, 2, finely chopped
  • Carrots, 1 large, finely chopped
  • Corn, 3/4 cup, boiled with a pinch of sugar
  • Coriander leaves and stems, handful, chopped
  • Salami, 6 slices, diced
  • Tomato, 1 medium, diced
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying


  1. Heat oil, fry onions and green chilies until onions are translucent.
  2. Add the rest of the vegetables and cook till the bell peppers are soft.
  3. Reduce heat. Add the beaten eggs, stir to mix the vegetables with the eggs, then cover and cook for 10 – 12 minutes.
  4. Take off the heat and pop into a medium-hot oven until cooked through. Test by inserting a knife. If the knife comes out clean, it’s cooked.
  5. Overturn on to a plate an serve hot.


  • Top with cheese if you like, and put back under a grill for a bit to melt the cheese.
  • Experiment with different vegetables. Keep in mind mushrooms will release plenty of liquid.
  • Add flavors in the form of basil leaves, ginger, garlic, curry leaves and more.
  • Sometimes, I like pouring on a tadka of hot oil, spluttered mustard seeds, ginger, kadi patta and a little urad dal.


Cinnamon Spiral

I’ve been cooking up little things for Indu’s birthday week and this was the first. I make all my bread and related stuff using the same bread recipe, which is fermented overnight or between 8 to 12 hours. It gives a very tasty, crusty outcome that all of us love.

This cinnamon spiral was crusty on the outside and soft, sweet and buttery and layered on the inside. We didn’t do the typical glaze and liked it just as much without it.

I don’t have specifics for this recipe, though here’s what I did. I’ve kind of rigged my oven to be hotter than it was designed for, and so don’t have temperature specifics. One of these days I’ll pick up an oven thermometer and re-do the thermostat markings.


  • Fermented bread dough – do a single batch, 2/3 of it should be just right for one big cinnamon spiral, or adjust.
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • Melted butter


  1. Roll out the dough into a rectangle that’s about 12 inches wide, 6 inches high and about 1/4 of an inch thick. You may need to add a little extra flour as the fermented mixture can be quite loose and sticky.
  2. Leaving about half an inch at the bottom, brush the rest with melted butter.
  3. Mix the sugars and cinnamon powder and sprinkle over the butter
  4. Starting from the top gently, but tightly roll the sheet into a log, sealing the unbuttered end with a little water. Then turn this into a spiral. Brush melted butter over the top and sprinkle more of the sugar-cinnamon mixture over.
  5. Place on to a buttered pan and allow it to rise until about doubled in size.
  6. Bake as you would bread.

Aromatic Chicken Keema

We’re eating a lot of chicken these days and need to figure out more ways of cooking the bird. We made this aromatic chicken keema using whatever we had at hand.

The main issue with chicken keema is that it can get a bit dry if even mildly overcooked. If you experience this with your keema, try this method of keeping minced chicken moist.


  • Chicken keema, 500gm
  • Onion, medium, one, chopped
  • Garlic, 4 large cloves, chopped
  • Tomato puree, 1 tbsp
  • Meat masala, 1 tbsp
  • Chili powder, 2 tsp
  • Salt, 1 tsp
  • Haldi, 2 tsp
  • Kewra water, 3 tbsp
  • Lemons, 2, juiced
  • Kasoori methi, 5gm/2 large pinches
  • Fat to cook


  1. Mildly brown the onions and garlic in hot oil/fat
  2. As that’s happening, mix the meat masala, chili powder, salt and haldi together with the tomato puree and a little water to form a paste. Add the paste to the pan and cook on medium till the fat separates from the mixture.
  3. Add the chicken keema, mix well (or it’ll clump up) and cook on medium, covered for about 7 – 10 minutes or until cooked.
  4. Add the kewra water, kasoori methi and lemon juice. Mix well and turn off the heat.
  5. Serve hot.


  • Adjust chili and salt per taste
  • Good kewra water (screwpine essence) is necessary for the aroma.
  • A pinch of sugar might be nice.

Vegetable Pakodas

We do like our vegetable pakodas (fritters) and every now and then we’ll binge on the stuff. This is one of the recipes we use. It’s a blend of different vegetables, is easy to make and the outcome is little, crisp bite sized pakodas that are great on their own as well as if put into a kadhi.


  • Aubergine, round, medium, diced
  • Bell pepper, medium, diced
  • Onion, medium, diced
  • Garlic, 6 small pods, minced
  • Green chilies, 2, minced with seeds
  • Basil leaves, handful, minced (we had some lying about)
  • Besan/chickpea flour, 2 cups
  • Red chili powder, 1 tbsp
  • Salt, 2 tsp
  • Kasuri methi, 2 loose pinches/2-3 gm
  • half to 1 cup water


  1. Mix everything together, going slow with the water as needed instead of pouring the whole lot in together; this should result in a fairly dense batter. These pakodas need to be small, and cooked on medium heat until they’re golden brown. Any bigger and they’ll be raw on the inside.
  2. I made them by scooping up a tablespoonful of the batter/dough, and then using another spoon, scraping parts of the dough from the first spoon into the oil; about 2 to 3 little pakodas per spoonful of dough.
  3. Another method would be to scoop up little bits of dough with wet hands, flatten it a bit with the thumb and then shove off the fingers it into the oil with the thumb.


  • Use as little besan as possible if you’re watching your carbs; just enough to bind the vegetables together.