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Saturday, 30 March 2019

Panch Phoran Tarkari From Mizoram

Panch Phoran Tarkari is a scrumptious mixed vegetable dish seasoned with a special five-seed blend , the Panch Phoran. This is a simple and comforting yet flavorful one-pot dish from the North -Eastern Indian state of Mizoram. In Mizo Cuisine Panch Phoran tarkari can be prepared in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian way. Here I have made a vegetarian onion-garlic free version which uses potatoes, pumpkin and brinjal. The non-vegetarian version is mostly made using chicken. This aromatic and flavorful sabji or tarkari is basically a mildly spicy dry vegetable dish which can be served as appetizer or as a side dish with rice or poori. Goes well in lunch box as well. The recipe is very simple and easy to follow and the dish is ready under 20 minutes.


Panch Phoran is a whole spice blend, originating from the Indian subcontinent, used especially in the cuisine of Eastern India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. The 5 spices used in Panch Phoran are seeds. Typically Panch Phoran consists of fenugreek seeds, nigella seed, cumin seed, black mustard seed and fennel seed in equal parts. Unlike most spice mixes, panch phoran is always used whole and never ground. Traditionally panch phoran is used with vegetables, lentils, chicken or mutton curry, fish, shukto(a mix of cooked vegetables topped with a coconut sauce) and in pickles. When added to the mustard oil or ghee tempering, it lends a strong flavor and aroma to the dish.

Mizoram is a beautiful North-Eastern Indian state with Aizwal as its capital city. The word Mizoram can be split as Mizo which is the name of its native inhabitants and ram means land, so Mizoram is  "the land of the Mizos". Mizoram has the highest concentration of tribal people among all states in India. One of the seven sisters, Mizoram is blessed with mesmerizing natural beauty and pleasant climate. Mizo cuisine is the traditional cuisine of the Mizo people. Like most states of North east region, rice is the staple food of Mizoram and the Mizos love to add non-vegetarian ingredients in every dish. Fish, chicken, pork, and beef are popular meats among Mizos. They love to eat boiled veggies with rice. Food is mostly cooked in mustard oil with very little spices levels and plenty of vegetables and typically served on fresh banana leaf. Some of the popular dishes of this cuisine are Koat Pitha (fried fritter with rice flour and jaggery), Misa Mach Poora (grilled Shrimp dish), Panch Phoran Tarkari (one of the most popular dish with special five-seed seasoning), Mizo Vawksa ( smoked pork dish), Chhum Han ( vegetarian dish with mixed steamed vegetables), Hmarcha rawt ( a spicy green chili chutney), Bai ( steamed vegetables with pork). Apart from these delicacies, Zu is the local tea which is a part of every meal in Mizoram. Lubrusca grape wine is another favorite among locals.


It is month end and the time when I post for the  Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge Facebook group. For the month of Marc,h we are on our virtual trip to the beautiful North-Eastern Mizoram state of India. My partner for this month is Priya Mahesh who blogs  @200deg.com. She thoughtfully gave me nigella seeds and fennel seeds, a part of panch phoran as my two secret ingredients and i cooked this flavorful panch phoran tarkari from Mizo cuisine using it. In retur, I gave her oil and rice flour and she made the popular sweet fritters, the Kaot Pitha. meanwhile, do check out her blog for some interesting recipes from around the globe and lovely bakes.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

  • 150 grams Pumpkin , peeled and diced
  • 2 large potatoes , peeled and diced
  • 1 large or 3 small brinjal, diced
  • 2 green chilies slit
  • 2 red chilies , broken
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon 5-spice mix / Panch Phoran*
  • 2 tablespoon mustard oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup cold milk
  • Salt to taste
* To make the Panch Phoran, take equal quantity of Cumin seeds (jeera), Mustard Seeds (Rai), Nigella seeds (onion seeds or kalonji), fennel seeds (saunf) and Fenugreek seeds (methi dana) and mix them together. Use 1 teaspoon of this spice blend as seasoning)

  1. Heat a sauce pan. Add oil to it. Once the oil is hot, lower the flame and add the bay leaf followed by the 5 spice mix (Panch Phoran). Let the seeds crackle. Next tip in red and green chilies and fry for about 30 seconds.

2. To this seasoning add the diced veggies and stir fry for 2-3 minutes on medium flame.

3. Next add turmeric powder, salt and sugar and mix everything well.

4. Lastly, add the milk , give a quick stir and cover cook for 5-7 minutes or until the veggies are cooked well. Keep stirring occasionally to avoid the veggies sticking to  the bottom of the pan. Once all the moisture is evaporated and the veggies are done, put off the flame.

 5. Serve the delicious Panch Phoran Tarkari with poori or rice and enjoy the flavors !

 Recipe Notes:
  • To make the Panch Phoran, take equal quantity of Cumin seeds (jeera), Mustard Seeds (Rai), Nigella seeds (onion seeds or kalonji), fennel seeds (saunf) and Fenugreek seeds (methi dana) and mix them together. Use 1 teaspoon of this spice blend as seasoning).
  • Adjust the amount of green and red chilies as per your spice tolerance.
  • Add cold milk or else there are chances of milk splitting.
  • Try to dice all the veggies to same size pieces for even cooking.
  • You may use any cooking oil if you are not used to the strong flavors of mustard oil.
  • Vegans can simply skip the milk and sprinkle some water instead.
Linking this flavorful Panch Phoran Tarkari recipe to the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group where the theme for the month is Mizoram Cuisine. 

Ssshhh Cooking Secretly

If you ever try this recipe, do share your feedback with us in the comment section below.
Follow us on #Facebook  #Instagram ,  #Twitter#Pinterest and #Google+  for more recipes and new updates. 

For more recipes from the North-East Indian states from this blog , do check out the following 

    Thursday, 28 March 2019

    Whole Wheat Vegetable Stuffed Buns

    Vegetable stuffed buns are delicious appetisers where soft buns are stuffed with spicy veggie filling . These homemade stuffed buns are healthy , wholesome and loaded with fresh vegetables. Best part is that the buns are egg less and made with 100 % whole wheat flour. Soft , fluffy vegetable stuffed buns topped with sesame seeds make up for a perfect party starter. These can be made ahead of time and served as filling breakfast or packed into kids lunch boxes or served at any time of the day as snack with your favourite drink. I love to have them at tea time with my Masala Chai. The stuffed buns taste great on their own but you may serve them with ketchup or mayonnaise and some salad if you wish.

    My son is enjoying his term break and vacations for kids means a lot of play dates accompanied with yummy snack and refreshing drinks. These whole wheat vegetable stuffed buns are perfect picnic snack and for a game-day as well. We enjoyed these delicious buns with tea while watching IPL Cricket match on television. I must admit that these buns are super addictive and my first batch vanished the same day. My first experiment of homemade bun was 3 years back . I made  Egg-less ladi paav using refined flour. But from last 2 years I have stopped buying refined flour and all my bakes are with whole wheat flour. This time too the buns turned out soft and fluffy, not as much as they do with refined flour, but considering the health factor, i am pretty happy with the results. You may use refined flour and whole wheat flour in 1:1 ratio if you wish. I have made these buns in my Microwave oven with Convection mode.

    Preparation Time: 90 minutes
    Cooking Time: 25 minutes
    Serves: 7 vegetable stuffed buns

    Ingredients for the buns : (Measurements used 1 cup = 250 ml)
    • 2 cups whole wheat flour
    • 1 1 /4 cup milk
    • 2 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
    • 2 teaspoon dry active yeast
    • Milk and butter for brushing on the buns
    • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
    • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
    For the vegetable stuffing:
    • 2 tablespoon oil
    • 1/4 cup shredded cabbage
    • 1 carrot, finely diced
    • 1 onion , finely chopped
    • 2 tablespoon green peas
    • 2 tablespoon sweet corn
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 green chilies finely chopped
    • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
    • 1/2 teaspoon chaat masala
    • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • Salt to taste
    Method :
    1. In a bowl take 1/2 cup lukewarm milk. Add sugar and dry yeast to it. Stir well and keep aside for 10 minutes for the yeast to bloom. 
    2. After 10 minutes, the mixture will turn frothy. If your mixture does not turn frothy it means the yeast you are using is old and of no use.

    3. In a mixing bowl take whole wheat flour. Add salt and olive oil to it and mix well. Make a well into the flour and add the bloomed yeast culture into it. Mix well and knead the flour . Add up to 3/4 cup warm milk and knead the flour to a soft dough.

    4. Take out the dough on to a working surface and knead for another 5 minutes. Tug the dough and keep it in a greased bowl . Cover it with another bowl and keep for proofing for about an hour.

    5. Meanwhile  we can prepare the vegetable stuffing. For that heat oil in a pan. Add minced garlic and chopped green chilies to it. Fry for few seconds. Now add the onions and saute for half a minute. Next add all the vegetables, (cabbage, carrot, green peas, sweet corn) and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.

    6. Next add the spice powders, (turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala, and chaat masala) . Mix ever thing very well and cook the veggies for another 1-2 minutes.

    7. lastly add the salt , sugar and lemon juice, give a quick mix and put off the flame. Our delicious filling for the bun is ready. Allow it to cool down.

    8. After and hour, the dough will be double in size. Punch it and knead again for 2-3 minutes. Now make equal portions of the dough by first shaping it like a log and then cutting with knife.

    9. Roll each portion into a dough ball and place it over a greased baking tray. I could make 7 dough balls from the above mentioned quantity of ingredients. Keep the dough balls in a dark place for 10 minutes.

    10. After 10 minutes, take each dough ball and flatten it on your palm by pulling and stretching the edges. Now place about 1-2 tablespoon of our prepared vegetable stuffing over it. Gather the sides and seal them . Roll the ball lightly between palms and place on the baking tray. Stuff all the dough balls similarly.

    11. Sprinkle black and white sesame seeds over the stuffed buns and keep the baking tray in dark place for 15 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 5 minutes.

    12. After 15 minutes the stuffed bun balls will increase in size. Brush them delicately with milk so that they do not dry out while baking. Place the tray in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.

     13. Once done, apply butter on the buns and keep them covered in kitchen towel. Serve them as starter or appetisers at a party or simply as tea time snack. The stuffed buns taste great on their own but you may serve them with ketchup or mayonnaise and some salad if you wish.

    Recipe Notes:
    • You can add potato stir fry or paneer or any other vegetable like mushrooms as the filling for the bun. Left over stir fries also work well, just make sure the curry you use is dry and can be stuffed easily in the bun balls.Vegetables can be substituted with chicken or minced meat for non-vegetarian version .
    • If the dry yeast does not bloom and your milk does not turn frothy, do not use it. It means the yeast you are using is old and needs to be discarded. Discard it and make a fresh culture with new batch of yeast. 
    • Another important factor to be kept in mind while using dry yeast is the temperature of the milk. Always add the dry yeast to the lukewarm milk. If the milk is hot it will kill the yeast culture. If it is cool, the yeast will not bloom either.
    • Do not skip the brushing of the buns balls with milk prior to baking as it not only helps the buns to remain soft and prevent them from drying out during baking, but also help in getting the golden brown color of the buns.
    Linking these delicious whole wheat vegetable stuffed buns to the #StuffedBreadMelaAtHW. The theme is suggested by Swaty Malik . 

    Following are the contributions of my fellow bloggers towards this theme.
    If you ever try this recipe, do share your feedback with us in the comment section below.
    Follow us on #Facebook  #Instagram ,  #Twitter,#Pinterest and #Google+  for more recipes and new updates. 

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    Monday, 25 March 2019

    Instant Quinoa Idli

    Quinoa Idli is soft, spongy and wholesome, the best part is that you can make it instantly. This fluffy idli is loaded with the healthy goodness of the super grain, Quinoa. It is light on the tummy, requires no grinding of batter or fermentation time and can be served as a mid-day snack or breakfast. Goes well in the lunch box as well. With the flavorful seasoning, this instant Quinoa idli tastes best on its own but can be paired with a tomato or coconut chutney. I have served the idli with Coconut Curry Leaves Chutney

    Idli does not require any introduction in India. It is a popular South Indian breakfast dish . A steamed savory cake made from fermented rice and lentil batter, soft fluffy idlis served with piping hot sambar and variety of chutneys is a delight for sure. Idli is low in calories, easily digested and hence preferred food for those who are recovering from an ailment. Do you know that our humble idli has a day assigned on its name ? Yes you heard it right, every year, 30th March is celebrated as a World Idli Day since 2015. I have made these healthy Quinoa Idlis to mark  the occasion. Upon browsing on the Internet for more information on this, I came across some interesting stuff. Mr. Iniyavan, who was a rickshaw driver and later turned to cook, is a Guinness Book record holder to have made the heaviest Idli in the world weighing 124 kg, Iniyavan is now attempting to make over 2,000 varieties of Idli. Mickey Mouse Idli, Thata Idli, Orange Idli, carrot idli, pineapple idli, chocolate idli are some of the highlights. Source 

    Quinoa is one among the world's most popular health foods. A gluten-free high-protein, high-fiber and low-fat grain , quinoa is one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids. It is also high in magnesium , B- vitamins, iron, potassium , calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants. Click here to know more about the health benefits of Quinoa. I love the nutty flavor Quinoa imparts to the dish. I have experimented a lot with this super grain and used it in salads, soups and replaced it for rice in my khichdi and even curd rice. This time it is our humble idli. 

    Preparation Time: 10 minutes
    Cooking Time: 15 minutes
    Serves: 1 dozen idlis

    Ingredients: Measurement used 1 cup = 240 ml
    • 1 cup Quinoa ( i have used Organic)
    • 1/2 cup Semolina / Suji
    • 1 cup Curd
    • 2 green chilies finely chopped
    • 1 teaspoon skinned and split black gram / dhuli urad dal
    • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
    • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
    • 2 tablespoon oil
    • Salt to taste
    1. To begin with, grind the Quinoa in a blender jar to powder. Keep aside. 

    2. In a pan heat oil and add mustard seeds to it. Once the seeds splutter, add cumin seeds. Add the black gram followed by green chili once the cumin seeds crackle. Fry everything well on low flame.

    3. Add Semolina to it and stir fry for about 2 minutes. Next add the ground Quinoa and stir fry for 2 minutes on low flame. Put off the flame and remove the Quinoa Semolina mixture in a bowl to cool down.

    4. On cooling, add whisked curd, salt and sugar and mix everything very well. Add water as required to make a batter of dropping consistency. Keep the batter aside for 5 minutes.

    5. Meanwhile, prepare the steamer or cooker for steaming by adding water to the bottom. Grease the idli moulds with oil. After 5 minutes, check if the batter is of required consistency. You may add little water if desired,but do not add too much as the idlis will become sticky and not rise properly. Add baking soda to the batter and stir well.

    6. Pour spoon full of idli batter to the greased idli moulds. Once all the plates are filled, place them one above the other on the stand and place the idli stand in a steamer or pressure cooker. Make sure the holes on the plate face the filled portion. Place the steamer on high heat for 10 minutes. If using pressure cooker for steaming, remove the whistle and steam the idlis for about 15 minutes.

    7. After steaming time, turn off the heat. Open the steamer and insert knife or toothpick to test whether the idlis are cooked or not. If the toothpick comes out clear, the idlis are done. Remove the idli plates from steamer. Scoop out the idlis with a spoon starting from the edge.

     8. Serve the healthy and delicious Quinoa idlis with coconut chutney and enjoy !
    Recipe Notes:
    • You can add Bengal gram, curry leaves also to the tempering or altogether skip the tempering part and make plain idlis. Tempering does make the idlis flavorful though.
    • You may add oatmeal instead of suji to make the idlis gluten free.
    • Do not add more water while making the idli batter as it will lead to sticky, soggy and flat idlis instead of soft and fluffy ones. If you add less water, the idlis will become dry. I needed 3/4 cup water apart from 1 cup curd to make the batter of dropping consistency. 
    • The above mentioned quantity of ingredients yield 1 dozen idlis, you may easily halve or double the recipe ingredients as per the need.
    Taking this Quinoa Idli recipe to the #188 #FoodieMondayBlogHop with #IdlyMedley as the theme for the week. The theme was suggested by Mayuri Patel di, who blogs at Mayuri's Jikoni. Mayuri di is a versatile blogger and a very sweet and humble person at heart. I have yet to meet her in person, but still I can feel connected with her so well through blogging world. Do check out her lovely space for a huge collection of recipes both Indian and from around the globe. According to the theme, we had to make idlis with any grain except rice. I chose the super grain Quinoa to make idlis for the theme. Do check out the posts from my fellow bloggers for some wonderful variation to our humble Idli.


    If you ever try this recipe, do share your feedback with us in the comment section below.
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