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indian cuisine

Makki Ki Roti (Seasoned Cornmeal Flatbread)

Makki ki Roti, Garam Masala KitchenMakki ki Roti is a popular punjabi flat bread made from corn flour and generally served with Sarson Ka Saag. Fine yellow cornmeal is seasoned with salt, red chili powder, carom seeds (ajwain) and coriander powder. Using warm water, the cornmeal is kneaded into a semi-soft dough. And then flatbreads are rolled out using a small portion of this dough. The earthy flavors of this roti make this a perfect accompaniment for sarson ka saag.

Variations in recipe: Just like any traditional dish, every family has their own spin on it. My family has a few of them. Just like my grandmother, my mom would always make Makki ki Roti with seasoned cornmeal, nothing else added. One of my aunts adds freshly chopped fenugreek leaves to the dough. My mother-in-law always added shredded diakon-radish to her dough in addition to freshly chopped cilantro. I loved her version the best. To me, the radish acts as a great binder for the dough, plus enhances the flavor of this Roti so much. It goes so well with the creamy Sarson ka Saag.


Cornmeal/Flour: Makki ki Roti is made with fine-ground cornmeal or cornflour. This taste and consistency is close to the Mexican corn flour that is used for making corn tortillas. This flour has a very earthy and subtle sweet taste that makes it unique, which is why substituting any other flour may not give you the same results. You can find this flour at any Indian grocery store, or on amazon. Here is a picture of one of the brands that I like.

 

Flatbread making: The process of flattening the flatbread often intimidates people. It looked impossible to me. For the longest time, I thought that was something only Moms could make, and, that it was an art that one needed to master. And then I saw my mother-in-law make them one day. Since that day, I firmly believe, that you can science your way out of recipes, and make them work! I realized that, the consistency of the dough makes it tough to roll out, because it sticks and crumbles on you. So, I cut open a large ziplock bag, place the dough in between the two sides, and, use a heavy fry pan to press down on the dough a couple of times, till it becomes flat. Then, simply peel off the flatbread from the ziplock and place it on a hot griddle for cooking. As simple as that! Watch the video above and you’ll see how easy this process is.

Sarson ka Saag, Garam Masala KitchenServing Suggestion: Makki ki Roti is traditionally served with Sarson ka SaagHere is the recipe for creamy Sarson ka Saag. If for any reason, you cannot make makki ki roti, a close substitute would be stone-ground corn tortillas from your local supermarket, or, handmade corn tortillas from your favorite taqueria. To elevate the tortillas to another level, lightly grease a fry-pan, brush the corn tortillas with a little ghee, sprinkle a little cayenne on top, and lightly toast them. The end result gets pretty close to the classic Makki ki Roti. Serve this combo with some Sweet and Spicy lemon Pickle and you’ll thank me!

Makki Ki Roti (Seasoned Cornmeal Flatbread)

Print Recipe
Serves: Makes 8 Rotis Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Corn Meal/Flour , sifted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Carom/Ajwain Seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Chili Powder
  • 1 cup grated diakon radish (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro or fenugreek or spinach
  • 3 tablespoons ghee/malted butter
  • about 1 cup warm water (adjust while kneading)

Instructions

1

Make the dough In a large mixing bowl, mix in sifted cornmeal, salt, carom seeds and red chili powder. Add grated radish and cilantro and mix with a fork. Using a few tablespoons of warm water at a time, knead gently into a soft dough. Knead the melted ghee into the dough and divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Roll out those 8 portions into individual dough balls, about 2 inches in diameter.

2

Make Makki Rotis/Flatbreads To make rotis, cut open a gallon size ziploc bag on two ends and spread it open (like a book). Brush both inner sides with water. Wet your palms and gently flatten the dough ball with you fingers. Place the in the center of the ziplock and cover with the other side. Using a heavy bottom fry-pan, press down on the dough 2-3 times, till you have an even thickness flatbread.

3

Cook the Makki Roti Heat a skillet on medium-high heat. Peel off the roti from the ziplock and place it on the hot skillet. Cook for about 30 seconds, till it turns a shade darker. Flip it. Brush a little ghee on the other side and flip after 30 seconds. Repeat the process on the other side and cook till the flatbread turns golden in color.

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Sarson Ka Saag (Spiced Mustard Greens)

Sarson ka Saag, Garam Masala KitchenSarson ka Saag, or, as we say in my family, Sarson da saag,  is a leafy-vegetable preparation from Punjab, in the northern-Indian regions of India. Traditionally a winter-time speciality, it is prepared with mustard greens and spinach, that are seasoned with onions, ginger, garlic and warm Indian spices. Sarson ka Saag is usually served with makki ki roti, which is a flatbread prepared with fine-ground cornmeal.

Sarson ka Saag, Garam Masala KitchenIt’s a treat that I make for my family for Sunday brunches during winter-time. The rich and buttery Sarson ka Saag goes so well with the crisp and earthy Makki ki Roti, that my otherwise picky kids & hubby also forget that they’re eating healthy greens for a meal, and, enjoying them too:-) I like to serve it with Sweet & Spicy Lemon pickle and a boondi-raita. To me, this combination is at the top of my soul-food list!

Sarson ka Saag, Garam Masala KitchenPreserving the green color: Whenever I prepare any kind of green leafy vegetables, I like to preserve the bright green color and not have them turn ‘dark and brownish’ in the cooking process. The key is to not over-cook them, AND, not cover them while cooking. I have tried many different ways of making saag and have observed that if I flash cook (add them to boiling water, remove and put them in ice-bath), or, microwave the greens and then season them, it cooks them perfectly, and preserves the color beautifully. That is why I never pressure cook the greens. I pressure cook the masala (seasoning mix), and add the greens to that.

In this recipe, I have prepared my seasoning in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot, but this can be made on the stove-top too. Simply follow the steps and cook the masala in a heavy bottom chef’s Pan, cover and cook the masala for 10 minutes. Open the lid and follow the remaining instructions.

Makki ki Roti, Garam Masala KitchenServing Suggestion: Sarson ka Saag is traditionally served with Makki ki Roti, a flatbread made with cornmeal. Here is an easy recipe, with step-by-step video instructions for homemade Makki ki Roti. But, if you do not have the time to make those, pair them with stone-ground corn tortillas from your local supermarket, and you will enjoy that combination too! To elevate the tortillas to another level, lightly grease a fry-pan, brush the corn tortillas with a little ghee, sprinkle a little cayenne on top, and lightly toast them. The end result gets pretty close to the classic Makki ki Roti.

Sarson Ka Saag (Spiced Mustard Greens)

Print Recipe
Serves: 4-6 Cooking Time: Total: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • Greens(Rinse well, chop and microwave together for 2 mins)
  • 1 bunch Sarson (Mustard Greens),stems removed, chopped, about 6 cups chopped
  • 1 bunch spinach, stems removed and chopped, about 4 cups
  • 2 green chillies
  • Masala seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons ghee/butter
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste (1 inch ginger + 6 cloves garlic, grated/crushed)
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder (optional)
  • 2-3 teaspoons Coriander Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Chili Powder (adjust to taste)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons Corn Meal/Flour (Makki)

Instructions

1

Prepare the greens Rinse mustard greens and spinach leaves 2-3 times, to wash off any dirt. Remove the fibrous stems from mustard greens and chop the leaves roughly. Do the same for spinach leaves. In a microwave safe bowl, add chopped greens and 2 green chillies, and microwave for 2 minutes. Using a hand blender, puree the greens to a medium fine consistency, or according to your preference.

2

Prepare the masala Turn on Instant Pot/Pressure cooker. Heat oil on SAUTE mode. Add cumin and ginger-garlic paste and saute 30 seconds. Add chopped onion and saute another 30 seconds. Add salt, spices and water. Stir well. Cancel SAUTE. Close lid, valve set to sealing position and pressure cook for 2 minutes on Manual or Pressure Cook.

3

Season Saag/Greens Manually release pressure by turning the valve from Sealing to Venting position (QR). Open lid after pin drops. Turn on SAUTE. Add fine-ground cornmeal and saute for one minute, to cook the flour through. If the mix looks dry, add a little as needed. Add the pureed greens and saute for 2 minutes to blend the flavors together. Serve warm with Makki ki Roti (cornmeal flatbread), or Corn Tortillas or Naan.

Sarson ka Saag, Garam Masala Kitchen

Gujiya (Deep Fried Milk Fudge Turnovers)

Gujiya, Garam Masala Kitchen

Gujiya, or Milk Fudge Turnovers, are a popular Indian dessert commonly made in the northern part of India around the festivals of Holi and Diwali. It is a deep-fried sweet dumpling that is made by stuffing pastry dough with sweetened milk fudge (khoya), chopped nuts and coconut flakes and is glazed with a thick sugar syrup.

Traditionally, the process of making Gujiya requires making a dough with all-purpose flour, ghee (clarified butter) and water.  You combine all ingredients and make a soft dough, set it to rest while you prepare the filling. The filling is made with Khoya as a base. Khoya, also known as Mawa, is basically dried milk solids. It is available in the freezer aisle of your local Indian store, right next to the Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese).

Nanak Khoya Mawa Gujiya Recipe Garam Masala KitchenI personally like the brand Nanak for khoya. It comes in a 12 oz pack. This quantity of Khoya makes stuffing good for making 40 Gujiya. You can either divide the Khoya in half and freeze it, or, make the entire stuffing and freeze that for a later use. I always prefer to make the stuffing and freeze half for later use, for making Gujiya, or add it to my Gajar Halwa (Carrot Halwa) instead of Khoya!

 

Baked Gujiya, Garam Masala KitchenStuffing for Gujiya: This is my mother-in-law’s ‘family-famous’ Gujiya recipe. The Gujiya mix is made by crumbling khoya in a mildly warm skillet. (I do this step in the microwave now, saves so much time and effort). Chopped nut like cashews, almonds and pistachios are added along with desiccated coconut and freshly ground cardamom powder. When this mixture is cool, sugar is added. Now your Gujiya is ready to assemble.

Process: A small dough ball is rolled into a circular shaped disc, about 3-inch in diameter. About 1/2-3/4 tablespoon of khoya mixture goes in the center and then the dough is folded in a crescent shape and edges are sealed. That’s your Gujiya. Gujiya is then deep fried in medium warm oil till it turns golden in color. It is removed and put straight in a sugar syrup and tossed a few times and then set on a platter to crisp up. It is garnished with chopped pistachios. It is simply a bite of heaven!

Baked-Gujiya-Garam Masala Kitchen

Baked Gujiya

OVEN-BAKED Gujiya: I have an oven baked variation of this recipe that comes together in under 30 minutes. If you want to try Baked Gujiya, click here for the RECIPE!

Here are some more Indian Desserts that you may like:

instant pot Carrot-Burfi-gajar burfi, garam masala kitchen

Carrot Burfi- Gajar ki Burfi

Coconut Ladoos, Garam Masala Kitchen

Coconut Ladoo, Nariyal Ladoo

Besan ladoo, garam masala kitchen

Besan Ladoo, Chickpeas Flour Fudge

Sooji Sheera, rava kesari

Sooji Sheera, Halwa, Rava Kesari

Instant Pot Carrot Halwa GajarHalwa

Carrot Halwa, Gajar ka Halwa

Rice Pudding- Kheer in Instant Pot

Kheer, Rice Pudding

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Lemon Rice in Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker

Instant pot Lemon-Rice Pressure cooker Lemon Rice– fluffy grains of aromatic Basmati rice, flavored with mustard seeds and fresh lemon juice- this satisfying side is the perfect accompaniment to any protein you’re making.

Lemon rice pairs very well with Indian, middle-eastern or Greek entrees. I like to serve it with grilled chicken and vegetables, or with Lamb Chops, Salmon Tikki, Chicken Kebab etc. Pair it with a side of grilled or oven-roasted vegetables and you have a perfectly balanced meal in under 30 minutes.

Options: I like to make this recipe with long grain Basmati Rice, but this can work with Jasmine Rice as well. This recipe is traditionally made with split black gram lentils (urad), but sometimes, I skip that and add chopped cashews or almonds instead and it turns out great.

I usually make Lemon rice in my programmable pressure cooker, Instant Pot 6 Qt, but this dish can be made on the stove-top too. Here are the instructions:

Stove-Top: Rinse rice 2-3 times till the water runs clear. Drain and keep aside. Do the same with split lentils. Heat a sauce pot on medium-high heat. Wait till it’s hot, and add ghee/butter or oil. Add mustard seeds and split black gram lentils (urad). When the mustard seeds splutter, add green chilis, drained rice and spices. Add fried onions (optional). Saute for 1 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover the pan and cook for 10-12 minutes. Turn off the heat, open lid, fluff up the rice with a fork. Add fresh lemon juice and mix well. That’s it! Continue Reading…

Master Curry Sauce – Punjabi Gravy

Master Curry Sauce - Punjabi GravyEvery cuisine has some basic ingredients that form the ‘foundation’ of many dishes. Punjabi Gravy is a rich, aromatic and versatile master curry sauce in north-Indian cuisine, that is the base for a variety of delicious north Indian curries.

As with most recipes in Indian cuisine, this one also starts off with fresh produce. All it is, is onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes, simmered with warm Indian spices like garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder and of course, salt, turmeric and cayenne, which is the inseparable trio in Indian cuisine!

You can make a variety of curries with this master sauce. Some popular examples are Chana Masala, Kidney Beans curry (Rajma), Paneer Mutter (Cottage cheese and peas), Everyday Chicken Curry, and believe it or not, even Butter Chicken! Wait…What? Yup! All you have to do is add chicken and heavy cream or Greek yogurt to this sauce, add a pinch sugar and cook everything till the chicken is tender. Garnish with cilantro and no one will ever know:-)

Master Curry Sauce - Punjabi GravyThis Master Curry Sauce is a great make-ahead and freeze item. I always make a big batch of this sauce, cool it, and pour it in single-use mason jars, pop it in the freezer and pull it out on crazy weeknights. I add either lentils or canned chickpeas or Paneer & Frozen peas or even boneless chicken thighs, and we have a delicious dinner ready in minutes.

Party Planning: Whenever I am hosting a dinner party with an Indian menu, I always make this sauce a few days in advance. That makes cooking time so manageable and less exhausting for me, so I can enjoy my own party too:-) Continue Reading…