Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Paneer Burger

On our last grocery trip, I saw B pick up two fat buns from our local baker. 
"I want a burger", he said. 
"Great! I have just soaked some soya nuggets ... will make some thick patties." 
He kept quiet. And then I noticed a big pack of paneer too. 
He hates hates soya nuggets while I try to sneak it into his food for the protein boost. 😊

"So how to do plan to add the paneer to the burger? Grate?", I keep on. 
"I haven't decided on it, yet". 

Today, he wanted his burgers for lunch. 
"I want a stir fry with lots of onions and garlic, some tomatoes for moisture and small pieces of paneer. 
And I want  Italian flavours. I will add the olives last. " 

So I made this stir fried Paneer with vegetables for the burger. 


Thickly sliced onions 
Sliced capsicums 
Paneer cut into small pieces 
Boiled potato cut into small pieces
Chopped garlic
Mixed Italian herbs - Thyme, Oregano, Basil, Celery etc. 
Olive oil
Red chilli flakes 

How to

Heat a little olive oil and add the garlic and the potatoes. 
Add a little salt and fry on high for a while. 

Now add the paneer and the rest of the ingredients. 
Stir fry on high heat till everything comes together. 

Heat the buns on a flat heavy pan .... I kept the base for a longish while so that it crisped up. 
Cut them in half but not all the way. 
Stuff with the filling and serve immediately. 

We are not eating deep fried right now ... so there was no potatoes chips on the side. 
( Guess it is high time I got that air fryer ..... what say? ) 
And also no soft drinks too. 
But B did make some Pomegranate juice for me. 

Lunch was good. A change from our regular meals was welcome since the weather has started to turn really hot these days. 

Take care all. 

Ps: B forgot to add his favourite olives after all. πŸ˜‰

Dal Torka or Torkar dal

Whatever the name, the rose smells just as sweet. 
Or, as here, the dal tastes just as good; as it did in my childhood. 

The highways in Odisha and Bengal are dotted with numerous Punjabi dhabas .... the perfect pit stop for tired and hungry travelers on long journeys. 
One of the excitements of our travels to Dadur bari / maternal grandfather's house was the stops on the highways for food.
Just as were the other trips to different places. One thing was guaranteed .... we will get to eat at a dhaba

Around noon, Bapi would turn the car into a bylane and halt in front of a dhaba. He always knew which one serves  the best food. We would stretch our legs. 
There would be at least one or two huge trees, usually the Neem or Banyan, with a shade all around. 
There would be charpais or woven cots underneath. 
Bapi would immediately lie down on one of them and close his eyes and rest in the gentle breeze. 
Ma would sit down and ask for a glass of lassi
I would sit at the end of the charpai .... I hated when I sat on it and the ropes sagged in, making it difficult for me to stand up again without struggling .... and watch all around. 
It seemed like a small haven , away from the highway in the blazing sun with vehicles speeding past. 

Bapi would  order the food first, since it took time to prepare .... especially the chicken. 
The dal torka was a major attraction .... dark, thick, earthy in taste with while blobs of scrambles eggs in it. Bapi always said that the secret to a great dal torka was the addition of some jhol from the mutton curry ... on the sly. 
He would always ask for a country chicken curry and Ma would ask for rice with it. 
Then there would be a hot omelette for me. With hot roti ... white, thin and all puffed up ... straight from the wood fired stove .... smelling of dry wheat and  wood smoke. 
And some fresh onions cut into largish pieces. 
Simple, fresh food, hot off the fire. 

Back on the road, I would promptly go off to sleep. 
Now I wonder how Bapi drove for the rest of the journey, without dozing. 

I had some soaked green moong dal and was waiting for them to sprout. 
Had some eggs at home too . 
And so made this Torkar dal for dinner. 
And was swamped with memories as I cooked it. 

This dal is usually made with the whole black Urad dal / the Biulir dal / Kolai dal. 
When I do not have it at home, I make do with the green moong dal. 


Whole green moong dal  - soaked at least for 8 - 10 hours
Onions - chopped 
Green chillies - chopped
Ginger - grated 
Ginger garlic paste 
Turmeric powder 
Red chilli powder 
Garam masala powder ( I use my homemade one )
Kasoori methi - crushed 
Jeera / Cumin seeds 

How to

Cook the dal with a little turmeric powder, the grated ginger and salt, in a pressure cooker for two whistles on low heat. 

Heat ghee in a kadahi or a pan. 

Add jeera and the onions. Fry till slightly brown. 
Add the ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and fry well. 

Add the dal and bring to a boil. 
Adjust water and salt and add the garam masala and the kasoori methi. 
Cover and simmer. 

In a different pan, scramble the eggs with a little salt and  add them to the dal. 

Give a good mix, add a dollop of ghee or butter and cover. 
Remove from heat and let it stand for at least 10 minutes. 

Serve hot. 

To complete the memory, I made some maida rotis to go with them ... just as they made in dhabas
I do not have a wooden stove though .... so missed the dusting the hot ash off the rotis part. 
But we did devour them just like I did back then. 

How I wish to live those days again. With Bapi's presence around me. 
Warm. Safe. Secure. Loved. 

Monday, 14 March 2022

Chicken Hakka Noodles

 ( I had made this post on my instagram page around two months back but never got around to posting it here. The weather is not exactly as described , right now. ) 

After four days of gloriously bright sunshine , a clear blue sky and crisp, cold breeze, the day started dull and gloomy and foggy again.
Though it is difficult to call this city's weather gloomy. Even cloudy foggy days are beautiful. I woke up late as I slept very late last night ... was at the fag end of a book and just didn't want to keep it away ... and even though I woke at my regular 6 am, seeing the weather outside, promptly buried myself back into the covers.
Skipped breakfast and just sipped on the hot kadha that I make everyday.
While both of us agreed that such a weather calls for some spicy, deep fried food, we decided we won't indulge in any.
But we did not want the regular meals of rice or roti too.

I had ordered vegetables yesterday and since had almost everything I needed, we zeroed in on some quick stir fried Hakka noodles .
I sliced the vegetables and brought out some frozen pieces of chicken that I had saved from an earlier stew.
Made B's vegetarian version first and then made mine.

Stir fried the shredded chicken with chopped ginger and garlic, green chillies and threw in the vegetables.
After tossing them together, added boiled noodles , a little vinegar, sliced onions and spring onions greens.
Added some crushed black pepper and mixed everything well.
I did not add any sauce as I have given up eating packaged products.
Would have loved some soy and chilli sauce with it😊.

Turned out great.
The noodles were perfectly al dente, the vegetables held their crunch since I cooked them on high heat and just for a little while .... never cover and cook vegetables for Chinese food ... nothing is worse than soft, sagging vegetables in a stir fry.... and the green chillies had the right zing for balance.

 Vegetarians can add paneer , tofu or soya chunks for the protein content. 
Or else, just the vegetables work fine too.