Easy chilli paneer frankie

The weather has been playing havoc in Los Angeles. After weeks of sunshine and really good weather, this morning I woke up to some gloomy, moody weather. You know the days when you want to curl up in bed, watch a couple of episodes of your favorite TV show, and drink some hot coffee. Such days for me are the days I miss my comfort food. These are generally comprised of Indian street food, ranging from samosas, chaat, vada pav, to my all time favorite dosas and coconut chutney. Today I decided to experiment making some chilli paneer frankies. I've always wondered about the origin of the word "frankie" for this famous Indian street food. Popularly known as 'Kati roll'  in Kolkata, this form of paratha or roti wrapped in different kinds of meat or vegetables with spices originated in 1932 at Nizam hotel (Hogg Street, New Market, Kolkata), a popular eating joint for the British babus. The original Kati roll was made with kati kebab rolled up in a paratha. This kind of roll had its origin in Mughlai traditions, heavily influenced by Central Asian cuisine, particularly Afghani cuisine which had a tradition of making meat wraps with Afghani bread or Naan-e-Afghani. The roots of the Mughals in Kolkata (then called Bengal) can be traced back to 12th century when Bakhtiyar Khilji a military general in King Qutub-ud-din Aybak's regime conquered Bengal and other parts of Eastern India, thus spreading Islamic rule to these parts of the country. The Kati roll must have began as an Indian version of a wrap commonly found in Central Asian cuisine (modern day döner kebab). 

Now you must be wondering what is the connection between a 'Kati roll' and a 'Frankie'. Well, they are essentially the same except, according to me, the paratha in the Kati roll is first partly fried in oil on a tawa and then cooked with an egg. This egg is broken onto the tawa, and the semi-cooked paratha is cooked on it. Hence one side of the paratha gets coated with the egg. In a frankie, the egg is mostly avoided. However, there is also another story for the origin of the frankie. This version appeared first in 1967 in Mumbai (then Bombay), in the Western part of India, when Amarjit Tibbs an Indian businessman returned back to India after being sent to London on some work. He stopped over at Beirut, Lebanon where he encountered the Wimpy's burger. According to Mr. Tibbs, a frankie is a mix between the German Frankfurter, a British Wimpy's beef burger and a Beirut boti kebab. The name 'frankie' is supposed to be based on his favorite cricketer Frank Worrell who passed away in 1967. It could also have been a short form of the German Frankfurter.

Today, the Kati roll or Frankie has become a popular food item with many variations and innovative fillings. My favorite version of this is made with paneer. You can try different fillings too, scrambled eggs, spicy potatoes, cauliflower etc. The idea is to innovate and come up with something sumptuous.

Easy chilli paneer frankie Serves 2

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Ingredients

Roti/Paratha-- 4 (I used roti bought from the Indian store. It's called 'desi roti' and comes in packets of 12 available for $2.99) Paneer- 1, chopped Onion - 1 medium, chopped Tomato- 1 medium, chopped Bell pepper- 1 medium, chopped Thai green chillies- 4, chopped Cilantro- a bunch, chopped Oil- 2 tbsp Chilli sauce- 2 tbsp Jalapeño sauce- 2 tbsp Soya sauce- 2 tbsp Ketchup- 2 tbsp Salt- to taste

Method

1. Finely chop the onion, tomato, bell pepper, chillies, and cilantro and keep aside.

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2. This is the easy version of making chilly paneer, so you need atleast 3 sauces- soya sauce, chilli sauce, and spicy jalapeño sauce. Ketchup is optional. If you use tomatoes, you can avoid the ketchup. If you want it only mildly spicy, you can add both tomatoes and ketchup.

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3. Heat up oil. Add in onions. Fry till they are translucent. Add in chillies, bell peppers. Saute for 2 minutes and add the tomatoes. Next add in the cilantro. When the tomato gets all mushy, add in the sauces and saute till the mixture becomes dry. Chop up the paneer into smaller pieces and mix it into the mixture. Add salt. Simmer on fire for about 5 minutes and keep aside.

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4. Heat up the rotis on a hot griddle. Keep aside.

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5. For garnishing, chop up some onions and grate some parmesan or cheddar cheese. This is optional. You can also optional use chopped chilli pieces.

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6. Now to make the frankie. On a roti, spread the chilli paneer mixture in the middle. Garnish with onions and cheese. Roll it up from side to side. Cover it up in tissue or cellophane foil. Yummy frankies are now ready!

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Serve this hot with some piping hot Indian masala tea. Perfect for a cloudy and gloomy day!

Blueberry cupcakes

I haven't had the time to blog for a bit due to some academic commitments and deadlines and I've been really missing making all those sumptuous food. Well, the semester has finally ended and I can now get back to all that cooking and baking I've been keeping for summer. To celebrate the end of semester, my friends decided to have a coffee and cake party today at their place. Even though they are from Austria and you really don't want to compete against the Austrians in baking, I thought I'll put my baker's hat and bake up some blueberry cupcakes! And the result was this: photo (2)

Ingredients Makes 24

For the batter

All purpose flour- 3 cups Butter- 2 sticks (unsalted) Salt- 1/2 tsp Low fat Buttermilk- 3/4 cup Baking powder- 1 tbsp Fresh blueberry- 1/2 cup pureed Freeze dried blueberry- 1.2 oz (34 grams), blended into a paste in a food processor Eggs- 2 Sugar- 2 cups Lemon zest- 1 tbsp Vanilla extract- 1 tsp

For the frosting

Butter- 1 cup Cream cheese- 8 oz Freeze dried blueberry- 1.2 oz (34 grams), blended into a paste in a food processor Sugar- 2 cups

Method

1. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together and keep aside.

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2. Pulverize the freeze dried blueberries.

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You can pulverize the fresh blueberries as well and keep them both aside.

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3. Mix together the buttermilk, vanilla extract, and the fresh blueberry puree.

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4. In a big bowl, add the softened butter, sugar and lemon zest. I used lemons plucked fresh from a lemon tree and that made a lot of difference. Beat using an electric mixture. Add in eggs, one by one and beat thoroughly. Follow with the pulverized freeze dried blueberries.

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5. Now mix in the flour and the buttermilk mixtures in batches of three, by alternating between the two. Mix thoroughly and scrape down the bowl to see that all parts get mixed well.

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6. Now comes the fun part! Pick up those colorful cupcake liners and place them in the cupcake racks. Scoop the batter and put in the cupcake liners. Preheat the oven till 350 F. Put them in the oven for about 20 minutes. Check using toothpick to see if the insides are done. Take them out and let them cool.

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7. While we wait for the cupcakes to bake, let's make the frosting. I'm not so fond of thick frosting, so I made mine a little watery. If you want a slightly thicker icing, just add 2-3 cups more sugar. In a bowl, add the softened butter, cream cheese, and the pulverized freeze dried blueberries. Beat a little and then add in the 2 cups of sugar. Beat till creamy.

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8. By the time this gets done, the cupcakes should be ready. So let's go get them out of the oven!

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Don't they look delicious? Now, let's frost them and decorate them and then munch on them :)

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Bread upma

I get bored of bread very easily and often look for ways to spice it up and make it interesting. As a kid, my mom used to make this delicious form of bread upma which I used to pack and take to school. It is an easy breakfast item, or a quick snack for tea time. I made some this morning and it was so delish.

20140420-210822.jpg Ingredients Serves 2

Bread- 6 pieces, cubed Onion- 1 cup Tomato- 2 Chillies- 1 Turmeric powder- a pinch Oil- 2 tsp Salt- to taste

Method

1. Slice the bread and cut into cubes. I like the crusts but some people don't. If you like it, keep them, or else remove the crusts.

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2. Cut the onion, tomato, and chilli.

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3. Heat oil, add the onion and fry. Add the chillies and the tomatoes. Next, add the turmeric and fry for a minute. Now, add the bread. Coat the mixture on bread and serve hot with a cuppa tea or coffee.

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Kotthu roti

There are days when you still want to eat healthy but you are just too tired to spend more than ten minutes making dinner. Today was one such day. That's when I decided to make 'Kotthu roti'. There are different avatars of this dish which originated among the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. The one I made today is the simplest of all. photo (8)

Recipe: Kotthu roti

Ingredients Serves 2

Roti                   6 numbers Onion               1 cup Green chilli    2-3 Eggs                  3 Minced garlic 1 tsp Oil                       1 tbsp Curry leaf        1 sprig Red chilli         2-3 Salt

Method

1. Make the rotis on a flat skillet.

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Once you are done with the 6 rotis, stack them up and cut them into thin, long strips.

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2. In a saucepan, heat oil and add the onions and green chillies.

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3. Once the onions begin to brown, add the curry leaf, red chilli, and minced garlic.

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4. Saute for a couple of minutes, and add the eggs.

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5. Scramble them, add the roti and mix well. Add in salt.

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This dish can be served as a tea time snack, or as a light dinner along with a red kidney bean curry as accompaniment.