24 March 2015

Recipe for Saffron Warqi Parathas from Chef Saransh Goila

A few days ago, I saw an Instagram video from +Saransh Goila  making a Saffron Warqi Paratha. In keeping with the theme of recipes from Awadh and Lucknow on SaffronTrail blog all March, I was excited to share it with my readers and Saransh was generous to share his recipe. For those who don't know him, Chef Saransh Goila is considered India's youngest celebrity chef and has anchored a show that took across to the length and breadth of India, called Roti, Rasta aur India. You can read more about him here

Warq parathas or Warqui parathas are one of the popular breads featured in Awadhi cuisine. Just like any other Awadhi dish, they are rich (read that as lots of butter and ghee) and they take their own sweet time in the making, thanks to elaborate preparation methods. 
Addition of saffron to the parathas takes it a few notches up in terms of flavour and regalness. 

These parathas need quite a bit of time and patience, almost like making a puff pastry. If you like elaborate cooking projects, then this one is for you. Given the presence of saffron, a spice that makes itself home in both savoury and sweet dishes with equal ease, this Indian bread is quite versatile. Pair it with a curry or a korma or even as a shortbread substitute in an elaborate dessert or just with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to provide a crunch to your dessert.

Recipe for Saffron Warqi / Warq Parantha [Flaky Indian flatbread with saffron]
Recipe & photos courtesy: Saransh Goila

1 gram saffron
100 ml milk
500g refined flour (Maida)
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp ghee
100g butter
Water for kneading (approximately 100 ml)


Crush and mix Saffron in warm milk. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
Add salt and sugar to the flour (maida) in a large, deep bowl or on a clean kitchen counter.  Now rub the flour with ghee, until the texture is like breadcrumbs or sand. This is the shortening process to get a flaky end product.

 Create a well in this flour, add saffron milk and some water in this well to bind the flour. Then slowly add more water, little by little and knead well, until a semi soft, pliable dough is formed, say about 3 minutes. The dough will acquire a golden colour from the saffron. Cover with a moist cloth and keep aside to rest in a warm place for at least 15-20 minutes.

Divide the dough into 2 parts, working with one part at a time. Lightly coat the dough with a little dry flour and place it on floured work surface, flatten it slightly and roll it out into a big rectangle sheet (24" by 12") (preferably use a roller pin, if not, a regular belan will do). Now rub a layer of butter all over on this rolled dough. 

Fold the right side of 1/3rd of dough in and then cover it (overlap) with the leftover 1/3rd left side of the dough.  Pinch the loose ends, rub some butter on the top again. 
Now fold this folded dough upwards in half again (it will be square now). Cover with moist cloth and place in the fridge for 15 minutes. 
After 15 minutes, roll this folded dough out again and repeat the whole folding and chilling process again. 
This whole process needs to be repeated thrice.

After being folded, rolled and chilled thrice. Roll it out one last time into a big rectangle and cut it out in square or circle  paranthas (any size you prefer). Use a cutter for circles or a knife for the squares.

On a hot non stick pan, place the cut out paranthas. Cook them evenly on low heat on both the sides. You’ll notice it’ll start to flake up, smear with some ghee or butter now. If the tava is too hot, it will brown quickly and not become flaky, so be careful. When both sides of parantha are crisp and flaky, remove it from the tava. 

Lightly crush it with your hand for the flakes to be visible. 

You can enjoy these warqi parathas with kababs, kormas or as it is, with some chai. 

Vegetarian Awadhi Menu:
Warqi Parathas
Badinjan Burani
Awadhi Arbi ka Korma
Badiyan aur Aloo ki Tehari (Coming soon)

You can even cut out bite sized parathas as serve them as a base for appetisers or even to add a crunch factor to desserts, similar to a shortbread.

You can follow Chef Saransh Goila on Youtube , Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

21 March 2015

Recipe for Awadhi Arbi Ka Korma

Awadhi Arbi Korma - Authentic Indian curry from saffrontrail.com

This is the second of the three recipes that Atiya was generous to share with me. The first one was Badinjan Burani, a Persian dish that traveled to India. This arbi Korma or colocassia curry is one of the other vegetarian dishes popular in Jaunpur. According to Wikipedia, "for about eighty-four years (from 1394 to 1478) Awadh was part of the Sharqi Sultanate of Jaunpur". So there is a fair bit of overlap between Jaunpuri cuisine and Awadhi cuisine. 

Awadhi cuisine is hugely influenced by Mughlai style of cooking, which is rich, elaborate and complex. The cuisine is famous for its kababs, kormas and biryanis, among others. Korma in Awadhi cuisine is the term for braising meat. In this vegetarian korma, the colocassia or arbi loses all its sliminess because of the frying and it gets a very meaty texture. Traditionally kormas do not have any chillies or chili powder. I have added a touch of chilli powder in this recipe, which you can avoid. Atiya also tells me that traditionally, tomatoes were never used in this cuisine. The yogurt gives it the required tanginess. She also shares that the korma are not garnished with coriander, that pretty much features as a garnish in every Indian curry.

Awadhi Arbi Korma - Authentic Indian curry from saffrontrail.com

While I'm a fan of slam-bang quick curries with absolutely no prep time, everything going into the pressure cooker and cooking itself, the taste of this curry is well worth the preparation that goes into it. I have tried to make it a little healthier by not deep frying either the onions or arbi, but you can go the traditional route. I'm sure the taste can only get better.

Awadhi Arbi Korma - Authentic Indian curry from saffrontrail.com

Recipe for Avadhi Arbi Ka Korma / Qorma
Source: Atiya Zaidi

Prep time: 30-45 minutes 
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves 3-4

Equipment required:

12-16 pieces of arbi / colocassia (uniformly sized)
3 tbsp oil, divided
1 tbsp ghee
whole garam masalas (1 bay leaf, 3-4 cloves, 1 small piece cinnamon, 1 green cardamom)
1 cup fresh yogurt
1 onion, finely sliced
1 tbsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (not in the original recipe)
1.5 tsp salt
For paste:
1 onion, roughly chopped
1/2 inch piece of ginger, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled

This recipe requires a fair bit of preparation and then it is just a matter of putting everything together.
The original recipe calls for cleaning, peeling the colocassia, cutting them in half lengthwise and deep frying them. As I chose not to deep fry, I had a couple of steps extra here.

Preparing the arbi for the curry / korma
Wash the colocassia well. Place some water in a pressure cooker. Place the colocassia in a bowl that fits into the cooker with 1/4 cup water. Pressure cook for 2 whistles and then on sim for 5 minutes. This also depends on the size of the colocassia so choose medium sized ones and all roughly the same size.
Once the cooker cools, open and allow the cooked colocassia to cool.
Peel and cut in half, lengthwise.
Toss them in a bowl gently with 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tsp oil.
In a preheated oven or airfryer (200°C) bake them until golden brown outside. This will take roughly 10 minutes in airfryer and 20-30 minutes in an oven.
Once done, remove from airfryer / oven and keep aside.

Frying the onions
Finely slice an onion and chop it into very thin slices. Separate each slice so as to get thin segments of onion. In a pan, take enough oil and deep fry the onion segments on a low heat until golden brown. This is a time consuming process and takes up to 20 minutes for one onion. 
Airfryer recipe for fried onions: 
Toss onion segments in few drops of oil and place them in preheated airfryer (180°C) for 6-8 minutes until golden brown and crisp.
Once the 'fried' onions are cooled, crush or blend the 'fried' onion segments to a fine powder. 

Preparing the paste
In a small jar of the mixer, puree the ginger, garlic and roughly chopped onion to a fine puree. Keep aside.

Toasting the coriander powder
On a tava or in a small pan, toast the coriander powder until aromatic and keep aside.

Making the korma
  1. In a heavy bottomed pan, place the remaining oil along with the ghee. Immediately add the whole spices, even before the oil is hot. You don't want the spices to puff up in this recipe. 
  2. Add the onion-ginger-garlic paste and fry on a medium heat for 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add the toasted coriander powder and fry for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Whisk the crushed fried onion powder along with the yogurt and add it to the pan, with the flame on minimum setting or the yogurt will separate. 
  5. Add the salt, red chilli powder and bring to a gentle simmer.
  6. At this stage add the 'fried' arbi halves, add 1/4 cup water if the sauce is too thick, and bring to a gentle simmer.
  7. Traditionally, these kormas are not garnished with coriander, you may garnished with a few fried onion segments. Serve with parathas. 
The recipe for Awadhi Arbi Ka Korma is part of the endeavor to create a collection of recipes of Traditional Indian Cuisines in collaboration with a few bloggers who share the same passion of cooking. 
Find more Traditional Recipes from Uttar Pradesh - Lucknowi / Avadhi cuisine by #TheKichenDivas

Bhakarkhani Roti - Whisk Affair
Tikia Aloo - Sinamon Tales
Shahi Dal- Fun Food & Frolic
Broccoli Malai Kofta - Archana's Kitchen

20 March 2015

Desi Health Bites : Recipe for Healthy Kadhi Pakodi

This is the second and final post in the FRBH oil series. You'll find my first recipe for Baked Sweet Potato Sticks.

Like I said in my earlier post, I use a variety of oils in my kitchen, each one having its specific use. I cannot dream of having my favourite idlis and molaga podi without gingelly (sesame oil). Likewise, extra virgin olive oil adds the best flavour to salads.

Healthy kadhi pakodi -Indian curry recipe from saffrontrail.com
Pakodi prepared in Appam pan

Whenever cooking at high temperatures as in deep frying, pan frying or stir frying, it is best to use oils with high smoking point. This is where a rice bran oil like Fortune Rice Bran Health - FRBH plays the perfect role. It's neutral flavour also makes sure that the food doesn't have any residual taste from the oil used. If you check the chart that lists the smoking points of commonly used oils, you'll find that Rice Bran oil has a smoking point of 254°C making it the best option for high temperature cooking. Studies also show that including rice bran oil in the diet improves the blood cholesterol picture by reducing total cholesterol and increasing HDL, the good cholesterol. 

Kadhi Pakodi is one of my favourite Punjabi dishes. There's no onion-tomato to be fried, just a handful of ingredients and you have a perfect dish ready to be slurped up with some steaming hot basmati rice. But hey, the deep frying of the pakodas does add to the clean up work and the calories make a dent in a person's healthy eating plans. Since I'd also at #getFitMarch, I'd love to present to you this classic Indian dish, with my own healthy twist.
Here, I have used the appam pan to 'fry' the pakodas. You can also use my airfryer recipe for onion pakodas and use them in the kadhi instead. 

Healthy kadhi pakodi -Indian curry recipe from saffrontrail.com

Recipe for Healthy Kadhi Pakodi (Gram flour fritters in a yogurt sauce)
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: Under 30 minutes
Serves 2-3

Equipment Required:

For Pakodi
3/4 cup besan (gram flour)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
pinch of asafoetida
¼ tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp slightly sour yogurt
¼ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
2 tbsp FRBH Oil

For Kadhi
1 cup yogurt
1.5 cups water
1 tbsp besan (gram flour)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp FRBH Oil
2 dried red chillies
pinch of asafoetida
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp garam masala powder
coriander leaves for garnish

1.     In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients for the pakodi, except the oil.
2.     Add up to 1/3 cup water to make a thick batter.
3.     Grease the holes of an appam pan / Abelskeiverpan with some oil using fingertips or kitchen paper.
4.     Pour a tablespoon of batter into each hole. Add a few drops of oil around each pakodi. Cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes. Flip over using a skewer or a chopstick.
5.     Add a few drops oil in each pakodi once again. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes until outside is golden and crisp and inside is cooked through.
6.     You can prepare the kadhi while the pakodis are getting cooked. Whisk the yogurt with water and besan.
7.     Heat the FRBH oil in a heavy bottomed pan.
8.     Add the red chillies, asafoetida to the oil, immediately add cumin seeds. Once they splutter, add the yogurt mix. Keep the flame on low. Add salt, garam masala powder, and keep stirring on a low flame, until it comes to a simmer. This may take up to 8 minutes or so.
9.     Just before serving add the pakodis to the kadhi and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with hot steamed rice.

This blogpost is in association with Fortune Foods as a part of their Desi Health Bites activity– The Hunt for the Best Rice Bran Oil Recipes. For more updates and healthy recipes using Fortune Rice Bran Health Oil, follow Fortune Foods on Facebook and on Twitter as @fortunefoods.

18 March 2015

Recipe for One Bowl Healthy Coconut Cookies

healthy coconut cookies, eggless coconut cookies

I'm a bigger fan of coconut cookies, than I am of chocolate cookies. Blame it on the South Indian gene in me or the fact that coconut has such a full bodied flavour that stands head and shoulders above chocolate. Okay, chocolate lovers, this is not your cue to lynch me. 

I usually make these cookies by using one part desiccated coconut and one part all purpose flour. This time, I tried substituting 2/3rd of the all purpose flour with alternate flours and it worked out beautifully. The desiccated coconut and the jowar flour gives it a lightness and crumbliness. I used sugar here because I didn't have powdered jaggery on hand. But feel free to try the same with jaggery (may be reduce the quantity a little) and do let me know how they turned out. Also, for those who keep asking me to post eggless recipes, this eggless coconut cookie recipe is for you. 

If you are a coconut cookie lover, you'll LOVE the taste of this one so much that you need a restraining order, not to finish all of them at one go. I have meticulously calculated the calories of all the ingredients used, so for the calorie counting people, it comes to 88 calories per cookie, if you follow the recipe to the T and make 20 portions out of this. 

healthy coconut cookies, eggless coconut cookies

Recipe for Healthy Coconut Cookies (EGGLESS)
Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: less than 20 minutes
Makes 20 cookies 
88 calories per cookie / 1764 calories for the whole batch


3/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup jowar flour
1/4 cup ragi flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp ghee or coconut oil 
1 tspvanilla extract or use 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
3 tbsp milk


  1. Preheat the oven at 180°C.
  2. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with baking paper and keep aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the desiccated coconut and the flours.
  4. Add the baking powder, sugar and mix the dry ingredients well with a whisk or fork.
  5. Add the ghee. At room temperature, the ghee was kind of soft but not melted to a liquid. [You can also use butter straight from the fridge, cut into small cubes. You can even use coconut oil keep at room temperature or refrigerated until slightly solidified. This will give a more pronounced coconut flavour]
  6. With finger tips, mix in the ghee into the rest of the ingredients, until you get a sandy / bread crumbs texture.
  7. Add the vanilla or cardamom powder. Mix well with fingers.
  8. To this add the milk, one tablespoon at a time, and try to bring together into a dough. Make sure it is soft and comes together into a ball but not too sticky.
  9. Divide into 20 portions, each roughly the size of a tablespoon.
  10. Roll between palms, lightly flatten and place on prepared baking sheet.
  11. Bake in two batches if your baking sheet will not accommodate 20 cookies.
  12. Bake at 180°C for 15-17 minutes, until the edges turn golden brown. 

I baked them for a little longer such that the whole cookie gets a uniform browning. This makes it crisper and sturdier to be dunked into tea or coffee, which is my favourite way to eat a cookie.
Remove the tray from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes.
Remove the cookies from the tray and place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. They will crisp up further on cooling
Store in airtight container.
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