The other day I was thinking about potato skins and stuffed potatoes. My family frequently orders them as an appetizer when we eat in restaurants. They are a tasty item to include on a menu when you have people over for a party or just to watch a game on TV. Potatoes, in my mind, are the ultimate comfort food. An idea suddenly popped into my head: why don’t I create a recipe that is stuffed with Indian spices?

Twice Baked Potatoes

This Twice Baked Masala Potatoes recipe combines comfort food and Indian spices for a change of pace from the traditional recipe.

It didn’t take long for Twice Baked Masala Potatoes to appear in my mind. Fortunately, it is a really easy recipe to make.

While baking four russet potatoes, I prepare the masala, spice mixture, which will be combined with the potatoes after they are cooked. In a seasoned oil, I fry a chopped onion, garlic and ginger until it turns golden brown. This brings out the sweetness from the onion and contrasts with the flavors of the spices.

Once the potatoes have baked and cooled enough so I can hold them in my hands, I cut them and scoop out the inner flesh, leaving the skins intact. I gently mash the potato flesh and mix in the masala I made while the potatoes were baking. I add a bit of milk and butter to add some richness.

Simply fill each skin with a generous amount of the spiced mashed potato. Bake them again until they are hot. Remove from the oven and top them with a sprinkle of paprika. Serve the Twice Baked Masala Potatoes with a dollop of plain yogurt and a spoonful of chopped green onions.

These are a great addition to any meal and are full of flavor without being spicy. Your family will love these potatoes. In fact, my Indian mother-in-law loves them!

I have always wondered about my husband’s curious love for cutlets. These are small patties that are made from mashed vegetables or meat and bound together with mashed potatoes into a small patty shape then breaded and pan fried. The most popular cutlets are vegetable (made with carrots, onion and beans), beet and potato, and chicken. In 2010 and 2015, I published tasty recipes for Salmon Cutlets and Purple Yam Cutlets.

Quinoa Cutlets

Quinoa Cutlets with Lemon Aioli

When making my Quinoa Cutlets, my first objective was to make them healthier. I cut the amount of starchy potatoes and increased rich nutrients and fiber by adding white quinoa which I cooked at the same time I boiled the remaining potato. The flavor is delicious! My husband loved them so they must be good. The quinoa makes them lighter and less filling.

The second objective was to make the cooking process easier by letting the food processor do my chopping work for me. While the potato and quinoa were cooking, I prepared the vegetables. Instead of chopping them finely, I just give them a rough chop, dumped them in the machine and gave the vegetables a few pulses until they were cut into small bits. I transferred them to a skillet and gave them a quick fry until they were tender.

Once all of the ingredients were ready, I combined them in a large bowl by hand before shaping them into patties. Before pan frying them in oil, I dipped them into a paste made with corn meal and then into bread crumbs so the outsides would be crispy.

I serve the Quinoa Cutlets with a zesty Lemon Aioli. Just drizzle a spoonful on each cutlet before eating it.

The cutlets are served on a bed of Sautéed Spiced Spinach for the dark green and texture contrast.

Try these cutlets today; they are delicious!

From the time that my children were young I would collect the seeds from their pumpkins and roast them in the oven for a tasty snack. A few years ago, after I started this blog, I modified my recipe to include some Indian spices to add more flavor. This is one of the easiest recipes to make. When they were younger, my kids loved to measure out the spices and mix them together.

After cleaning the pumpkin fibers off of the seeds, I let them dry out overnight.  The next day, I make a simple mixture of garlic powder, paprika, red chile powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the seeds then toss them with the spices. They roast in the oven for about 15 minutes or until they are toasty.

My kids love Masala Pumpkin Seeds as a snack. They also make a great accompaniment for your favorite evening beverage!

What is a Des-Mex Quesadilla? The name is based on the term Tex-Mex, Texas influenced Mexican cuisine. I modified it with the prefix, Des, based on its use in India. Desi (pronounced day’-see) is the casual term Indians call each other. A desi is an Indian person, a person from the country of India. It is derived from the Hindi word desha, meaning country. So my quesadilla recipe is an Indian-influenced Mexican recipe.

This recipe is based on street food sold in India. I use chapatis, the delicious thin wheat bread that is popular in south India, instead of tortillas. I buy readymade chapatis that I simply toast on a pan or tava until they are golden brown. Of course, they can be made from scratch but that takes more time that I want to spend on a simple recipe.

Des-Mex Quesadillas

Des-Mex Quesadillas

I season the quesadilla with an Onion Chutney spread that is a simplified version of my husband’s grandmother’s secret recipe from India. It is thick, rich and a bit spicy.

Des-Mex Quesadilla

Des-Mex Quesadilla

I fill the quesadilla with a generous amount of grated cheese, sliced tomatoes and sliced onion. It is toasted on a griddle until the cheese melts and the bread turns golden brown. I cut the quesadilla into into six wedges to make it easier to eat. Finally, the quesadilla is garnished with homemade Chopped Tomato Salsa and a bit of creamy yogurt.

Des-Mex Quesadilla Filling

Des-Mex Quesadilla Filling

 

Quesadilla Salsa

Quesadilla Salsa

These Des-Mex Quesadillas are very easy to make and will disappear in minutes.

My family loves hummus and I serve it often since it is healthy and easy to make. Once in a while I need to change up the recipe so we can enjoy different flavors and not get stuck in a rut.

This recipe for White Bean Hummus uses a can of well rinsed great northern beans to save prep time. It is seasoned with selected Indian spices for flavor and then blended to a creamy consistency in a food processor.

Northern Bean Hummus

White Bean Hummus

I serve my White Bean Hummus with my favorite vegetables, including carrots, celery, zucchini and cucumber for a healthy snack. My hungry kids love it when they arrive home after school or work. Of course, it can also be served with pita slices or chips.

Try this recipe on a sandwich instead of mayonnaise or dressing. It is delicious with a vegetable sandwich, a turkey sandwich or even a burger!

Have you ever been in the situation where you needed to have a snack prepared for guests who let you know they are on their way over to your house or just happened to arrive unannounced? Of course, they expect something to eat along with their beverage of choice. With a few easy ingredients that I always have on hand the problem is solved in a snap. My recipe for Roasted Red Bell Pepper Dip will solve your problem, or at least, one of them.

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Dip

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Dip

For a delicious yet quick, try this tasty recipe for Roasted Red Bell Pepper Dip. To make it as easy as possible, I use a jar of roasted peppers rather than roasting them myself in the oven. All I do is add the ingredients into a food processor or blender then purée everything together until it is thick and creamy. Place it in the refrigerator for a while so the flavors can blend then serve it with pita chips or tortilla chips. This Roasted Red Bell Pepper Dip will be a hit with no effort at all.

This time it was another ugly present, ratalu or purple yam. It is about as ugly as the chena. It also has a dark brown skin, similar to a potato but darker and about two times the size. My gift weighed 12 ounces.

ratalu, a purple yam, is high in nutritional value and tastes great in cutlets.

When I cut into this thing, I was awed at the beautiful purple color inside. As I cut it, a bit of sticky, white juice came out of it. The cubes were vibrant purple! The flavor was slightly sweet with the firm, starchy texture of most yams.

ratalu cubes

Since I wasn’t sure what to make with this yam, I decided that a cutlet would be the easiest thing to make. I simply boiled the yam pieces, mashed them and combined them with cooked onion and spices to make Ratalu Purple Yam Cutlets. Before I pan-fried them, I dipped them in an egg white bath and rice flour to give them a delicate crunch on the outside.

Ratalu Cutlets

These yam cutlets disappeared right away. They are so easy to make. Serve with mint or cilantro chutney for a tasty snack!

 

The other day my husband proudly announced that he had bought me something that I would love. He told me that his mother used to cook it to make his favorite snack. He proudly produced what, in my mind, was the ugliest thing I had ever seen. It was a called chena.

After doing a bit of research I learned that chena is actually an elephant foot yam since it does look like an elephant’s food. The outside is rough and dark brown, almost like a coconut, while the inside is smooth and fawn colored, like a potato with more character. Apparently they are very healthy with a lot of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. They are only available for a short period of time but last a while in the refrigerator.

I proceeded to cut off the ugly outside edge to reveal the beautiful flesh, then cut them into the shape of French fries, dipped them in a spice mix then roasted them in the oven. When they were done, I had the most delicious and healthy snack! Chena Fries are a bit firmer than potato fries and have a wonderful flavor. The entire batch disappeared before dinner.

 

Made with a yam from India, Roasted Chena Fries are delicious and tasty.

Made with a yam from India, Roasted Chena Fries are delicious and tasty.

This recipe is definitely one to keep and make as often as I can.

Find the recipe at for Chena Fries at KachisKitchen.com.

South India is known for its pancakes. Typically dosa are served as a snack, or tiffin, in the afternoon but they are also served for breakfast. Everyone who has eaten at an Indian restaurant has tried a dosa. You would remember it if you had because the flavor is incredible. It is made from a batter of rice flour and a bit of urad dal that is fermented overnight then cooked on a griddle or tava. It is served with Sambar, Red Coconut Chutney or Green Coconut Chutney and Mulaga Podi mixed with oil. The only problem is to remember to prepare the batter the night before you want to eat them.

Rava dosa are also pancakes that are cooked on a griddle but they have two very fundamental differences. First, the batter is made from ground semolina (coarsely ground wheat) and a bit of rice flour so the texture and flavor are more delicate. Second, the batter for rava dosa does not have to ferment so this recipe can be made on the spur of the moment. Using flour that is already ground instead of soaking and grinding it at home, also contributes to making this recipe a breeze.

Rava Dosa

Rava Dosa, hot off the griddle, are a delicious snack any time of day.

Several ingredients are added to the batter give this dosa its distinctive flavor. I like to add a bit of green chile, cilantro, chopped onion, chopped coconut and cashews. The last step of preparing the batter is adding a few spices that are tempered in hot oil to enhance the flavor. In this version I added green onions for more color and additional spices for even more flavor.

Rava dosa are also served with Sambar, Red Coconut Chutney or Green Coconut Chutney and Mulaga Podi  mixed with oil.

 

When cooking chickpeas I always use dried rather than the ones in cans because I think the canning process alters the flavor. Since soaking and boiling are so easy and can be done at the same time as many other tasks around the house I don’t mind the few extra hours that it takes to get them ready for use. However, there is a way to get even more flavor from chickpeas when buying fresh ones.

Last week I found a huge box of fresh chickpeas at my local Indian grocery store that I couldn’t resist so I bought a huge bag of them to bring home. There are so many uses for them that I knew they wouldn’t go to waste. Fresh ones are popular in north India as a snack when they are in season.

Green Chickpeas

Fresh green chickpeas that have been shelled and are ready to roast.

Green chickpeas are the same thing as the dried, brown ones but have been harvested while the pea and the pod are green, before they have matured on the vine and turned brown. They are more delicate in texture and sweeter than their dried counterparts. To use them, I simply pop the pods, yes they do make a popping sound, and remove the peas. Most of the peas are healthy and fully formed but a few are withered; those I discard. Shelling these chickpeas is best done with other people as it takes a while to work through an entire bag of chickpeas with one, and occasionally two, peas in each pod. At the end of the shelling process my fingers had turned black from the sap that stuck to me while crushing the pods. Don’t worry, it washes off very easily.

They are usually blanched in boiling water for about 3 or 4 minutes, dunked in ice water to stop the cooking process and are then ready to eat either by themselves or popping them into soups or salads. They can be used as substitutes for edamame. Add them to any rice recipe like Vegetable Pulau or any other vegetable dish.

Here is my recipe for a healthy snack of roasted chickpeas:

 

Simple Roasted Chickpea Recipe

Roasted Green Chickpeas

Hot roasted green chickpeas ready for tasting.

Ingredients:

1/2 tsp oil

1/8 tsp garam masala

1/8 tsp red chile powder

1/8 tsp salt

1 cup fresh green chickpeas

Steps:

  1. Mix the garam masala, cumin and salt together in a small bowl.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat then add the oil to the pan.
  3. Add the chickpeas to the skillet and dry roast them until they turn brown in spots. Take care to shake the skillet often so the chickpeas roast evenly and don’t burn.

    Roasted Green Chickpeas

    Fresh green chickpeas roasting in a pan.

  4. As soon as the chickpeas are done, remove from the skillet and toss in the spice mix to coat. Add more salt if needed. Serve while hot.

Tips:

– Shelling your chickpeas in advance is optional and based on your preferences.

– These Roasted Chickpeas are a perfect accompaniment to beer.