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The magic of winters can be felt in its chill.. in the way the trees gracefully shed their leaves.. tinier days spent mostly in soaking the sun.. those longer nights where just about a hot cup of Chocolate makes everything warm and cozy.. sitting by the fireplace and eating Roasted Chestnuts. That just sums up my day in the hills  

There are days when I sulk that many vegetables are not available in the hills and then there are days I find myself blessed to find things which many people cannot dream of getting. So this constant tussle keeps me busy 😛 

When I saw Chestnuts in the market I knew Christmas is just around the corner. The locals call it Pangar. This name denotes all kinds of chestnuts, some are edible and some are not. But of course the one I have used are edible and oh so delicious! The skin of the chestnut is very hard and in order to roast them you must also score them with a sharp knife, carefully hunh! If you dont score them they will pop and explode and can be a little dangerous. So wise people say score them and roast them and your festivity will be joyous without any accidents 🙂 

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The festive season brings out the kid in me for I love to do cookies with warm spices, pies in all its forms and having hot roasted chestnuts takes it to a new level. I roasted them and when they popped open I tossed some Coffee Butter on them. That was the best thing I have done all season  What are your plans for the holiday season? Write to me under the post I would love to hear from you. 

Directions:

1. Choose chestnuts which are not bruised or open from anywhere. If their shell is punctured its likely they will be bad and rotten from inside.

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2. Boil some water in a sauce pan. and when it comes to a boil add the chestnuts and let them soak in for 5 minutes. 


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3. Drain them in a colander and pat them dry with a kitchen towel.

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4. Now using a small pairing knife make an X on the face of each chestnut. I know its a huge talk and by the end of it my fingers were paining. But someone has to do the dirty job 🙂


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5. Once this stage is done its all easy peasy. Place the scored chestnuts in a baking tray with Scored part facing up. Preheat the oven to 200 degree Celsius for ten minutes and pop the tray inside the oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes. You will hear the popping and that will bring happiness to your soul. The skin of the chestnuts will curl up that’s an indication that they are doing just fine.


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6. In the meanwhile we can work on the cocoa coffee butter. In a saucepan add butter and Maple syrup. Once it is bubbly remove it from the flame.


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7. Also add instant coffee and vanilla essence. Keep stirring till the coffee has dissolved. 


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8. Place the roasted chestnuts in a serving platter with X side up. Drizzle this Cocoa Coffee butter on top and let it sink inside from the cracks. 

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9. Cover the chestnuts for a while for nuts to absorb the flavour. When they are easy to touch season them with Flaky Crystal Salt and serve.

You can even try Roasted Broccoli with Garlic and Lemon Roasted Bell Pepper & Black Eyed Peas SaladRoasted Red Bell Pepper & Pine Nuts Fettuccine PastaRoasted Rosemary Garlic Potatoes.

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[whohit]RoastedChestnutwithCocoaCoffeeButter[/whohit]

[yumprint-recipe id=’263′]

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I find Bell Peppers to be the most beautiful vegetable. I have talked in length about this in my Charred Bell Pepper and Pine Nut Pasta Recipe. So I will not yap about it anymore. I had a few bell peppers in my fridge and I was looking for some interesting recipe to put them to use other than using them for pastas and stir fries. That’s when I came across this Syrian Recipe of Muhammara. This was the most interesting dip I have ever made. The addition of Pomegranate Molasses gives it that additional tangy kick which cannot be described in words. And walnuts adds magic to the dip and makes it absolutely irrepressible. 

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Specially when Diwali is right around the corner, I have planned this for my teen patti or poker parties wherein you can munch crackers or salad sticks with this  delicious dip. If you have a party in your house you shouldn’t think twice just make this and amaze your friends.

Directions:

1. Take some Red Bell Peppers and roast them in an oven and remove its skin and also discard its inner membranes and seeds. Learn how to roast Bell Peppers here. Add the pulp of the pepper in a blender.

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2. Add chopped Onions or scallions to what ever you find it easily. Also add cumin powder and salt.


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3. Add Pomegranate Molasses and red chili flakes or if can lay your hands on Aleppo Pepper.   


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4. Add juice of lemon and a generous drizzle of Olive oil.


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5. Add walnuts and blitz everything together,


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6. Now add bread crumb or u can even add panko. And blitz again in the blender till you get a smooth thick dip like consistency. Add more bread crumb and pulse if the dip is still loose. 


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7. Transfer the dip in a serving bowl and make a swirling well in the center with the back of a spoon and add a generous drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle some crushed walnuts. Serve with crackers, cucumber sticks, lavaash, pita bread and anything else you fancy 🙂

Other dips you can try are: Greek Purslane Yogurt Dip Indian Plum & Mint DipCharred Aubergine Curd DipBathua Ka Raita.

Other dishes with Red Bell Pepper you can try are: Charred Bell Pepper and Pine Nut Pasta RecipeRoasted Bell Pepper & Black Eyed Peas SaladRed Chilli & Red Bell Pepper JamMalai Bell Pepper MushroomSautéed Red Bell Pepper and Olive Pasta Salad.

muhammara_featured6[whohit]Muhammara[/whohit]

[yumprint-recipe id=’251′]

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If you are a North Indian its likely you will miss using a few ingredients which are fundamental to South Indian Cooking. For example use of Coconut Milk, Coconut Oil (in food not for head massage), Yam, Plantain and many others. When I started blogging I broke the stereotype and gave them all a try. I must say the Coconut Milk has become an essential ingredient in my kitchen. I have been making a lot of Thai dishes using Coconut Milk. Apart from this I also tried Plantain or unripe bananas. When I saw plantains in my farmers market I grabbed them readily and decided to play with them. These Plantain and Potato Kebabs were a result of my trials and they were a delight. I air fried them for guilt free indulgence and served them with Harissa and Sweet Chilli Sauce.

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Since I have been gifted with an Air Fryer I am leaving no stones unturned to try out snacks in this mean machine. It not only makes us try delicious things but at the same time without feeling guilty about it. Our weights are under control and we are having a ball eating new kebabs 😛 Why dont you try these out.

Directions:

1. Take some plantains or raw green bananas and cut them into pieces without peeling off their skin. 


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2. Place them in a pressure pan along with potatoes and water. Boil them till they have softened. You can boil them in a normal saucepan oil. Peel the skin on potatoes and plantains  and set aside in a bowl.


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3. Mash the potatoes and plantain with a masher and add ginger garlic paste and combine.


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4. Add chopped onions, chickpea flour or besan and garam masala.


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5. Add salt and Red Chili powder.


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6. I like to add Tandoori masala to the kebabs for the extra zing. But its totally optional. Aldo add some chopped coriander leaves.


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7. Mix everything together to form a dough .

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8. Preheat your Air fryer to 180 degree C for ten minutes and if you are using oven you can preheat the same on 180 degree C. Also brush the wire gauze basket of Air fryer with some oil so that the kebabs do not stick. In case of Oven line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

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9. Shape the dough into tikkis or kebabs or into patties and place them in airfryer and brush the top with little oil.


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10. Air fry them for 18 minutes and halfway flip the kebabs and brush with oil on the top side and continue to bake until it’s got some golden hue. Enjoy with Ketchup, Mint Chutney, Spinach Coriander Chutney, Pesto or any dip of your choice. 

Other kebabs and croquettes you can try are: Tapioca CroquetteBaked Paneer Corn KababsVeg Shami KababAirfried Yogurt & Cottage Cheese Kebabs for Fasting , Baked Broccoli Cheese Patties.

plantainkebabs_featured4[whohit]PlantainKebabs[/whohit]

[yumprint-recipe id=’246′]

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We all need something to munch and snack on in between our meals. And when you are fasting for Navratri, those hunger pangs can really lower your energy. So instead of buying Namkeens or other snacks from market you can make them at home. They are easy to put together , fresh and hygienic. These can also be enjoyed by those who are not fasting. A word of caution, this Namkeen can be very addictive. Once you start eating this you cannot stop eating it. I loaded this one with dried fruits as I am expecting some guests in the days to come. You can please your guests with such home made snacks and even make it in advance and store for the upcoming festival season.

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I always have loved its khatta meetha flavour with a hint of Kaddi Patta. I have used Nylon Sabudana for this recipe which are bigger in size than the normal tapioca pearls. They puff up on frying and have an incredible crunch. But you can always use the normal sized sabudana for this.

Directions:

1. In a wok heat some vegetable oil. Drop one pearl of sabudana in hot oil to test if its heated optimally. If it rises instantly on the surface you know your oil is ready for frying. Add Sabudana to oil and let them fry and puff up for a couple of minutes without changing colour. Remove them on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb extra oil.


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2. In the similar way fry the peanuts. Be careful not to over fry them for they will taste bitter.


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3. Also remove them on the plate lined with paper towel along with sabudana.

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4. Now in a shallow pan add very little oil and shallow fry Cashews till golden brown. Add them to the peanut sabudana plate.


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5. Then add raisins to the same pan and toss it in oil till they puff up. Remove them and them saute, washed and dried Kaddi Patta and chopped green chillies.


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6. Transfer everything to a bowl add powdered sugar and salt and ground black pepper. 


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7. Toss everything together and transfer to an airtight container on coming to room temperature. Enjoy whenever hunger kicks in. It tastes incredible as a evening snack with your favourite cup of chai or coffee.

Other Fast recipes you can try are: Kuttu Singhara Sama Ke Atta Ki ThalipeethVrat Wale Dahi-Paneer KebabsSabudana KheerSabudada KhichdiSabudana TikkiTapioca Coconut Milk Pudding with Strawberry PreserveKaddu Ka HalwaPaneer Ki KheerRasgullaSwang Ke Chawal Ka HalwaSwang Ke Chawal Ki PhirniSwang ke Chawal ki Khichdi .

sabudananamkeen_featured3[whohit]Sabudana Namkeen[/whohit]

[yumprint-recipe id=’244′]

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Last week when I had plenty of Baby corns lying in my refrigerator I wanted to use them differently. Not just adding them to any Thai or Chinese dishes. I looked all over the web, unfortunately there were not  many recipes which excited me. They were the usual Baby Corn Manchurian in hot chili sauce. But then I found this recipe by Lubna Karim, a fellow blogger from Yummy Food. The recipe instantly pleased me. It stood top in all three parameters. It was easy, quick and fairly healthy. These were Baby Corn Satays in Indianised avatars to suit our palettes  

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Satays are Southeast Asian Dishes with pieces of Grilled Meat on skewers. They are some what close kin of Seekh Kebabs famous all over the world. However, this vegetarian version was totally terrific and perfect for parties.

Directions:

1.  Wash and clean Baby Corns and place them to steam in a steamer filled with water. Close the lid while the baby corns cook through for about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of corns. You can also microwave them for 3 minutes till they are blanched. You should be looking at baby corns which are ready to eat but still hold their crunch. 


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2. In a bowl add plain Yogurt or curd, corn flour and turmeric powder.


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3. Also add red chilli powder, carom seeds or ajwain and garam masala.


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4. Also add salt and minced garlic and marinate the blanched baby corn in this. Let the baby corns sit in the marinade for 20 minutes or so.


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5. After 20 minutes, pour some oil in a non stick pan.

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6. Add the marinated baby corns to the pan along with the marinade. Toss them in the oil till the baby corns have absorbed the marinade and have attained a slight golden colour.


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7. Insert the skewers in each piece and serve hot with Mint Chutney or simply ketchup.

Other Party Menu ideas you can try are: Baked Paneer Corn KababsHealthy Kachalu Aloo ChatTangy Mint Potatoes and Veg Shami Kabab.

BabyCornSatay_Featured3[whohit]BabyCornSatay[/whohit]

[yumprint-recipe id=’220′]

 

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After months of consistent exercise regime and healthy eating I am ten kilos down. The irony of a Food Blogger is that you have to cook fancy schmancy food which is not always healthy. At the end of the day that ends up in your butt. But the only way to escape is to compensate all those calories with equal amount of exercise. In the past few months I also ended up cooking and baking healthy recipes which makes eating a guilt free experience. Addition of soups and salads in my diet has uplifted by energy level. 

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Boiling Vegetables is so underrated and cruel. Roasting them gives them that crisp coat and enhances its flavour. I love to roast vegetables and doing it with my favourite Broccoli makes it top notch delicious. The addition of Garlic to this makes it a lethal combination. You must try it to believe me. If you like a little spicy, pep it up with some red chilli flakes.

Directions:
1. Preheat your Oven to 200 degree Celsius (Learn more about Oven temperatures and Conversion). Cut a Broccoli head into small sized florets. Place them in a colander and wash them thoroughly under running water for any grit. 


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2. Chop some cloves of garlic finely and toss them with the broccoli florets.


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3. Add a drizzle of Olive oil.

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4. Season with Salt & Black Pepper. 


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5. Transfer the broccoli in a baking dish and place in a single layer. Sprinkle some Red Chilli Flakes.


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10. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the broccoli is tender. Toss in lemon juice, parmesan cheese, and 1 tablespoon olive oil; serve immediately.

Other Broccoli recipe you can try here are: Healthy Broccoli PastaCream of Broccoli Soup with ChivesBaked Broccoli Cheese Patties.

You can even try Roasted Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary.

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[yumprint-recipe id=’218′] 

 

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Its been a while that I have fried anything in my wok. I either air fry stuff or bake them to perfection. I guess eliminating fried food from my life has helped me lose weight and I actually feel good about it. Some time back I had posted Baked Paneer and Corn Kebabs, they were immensely loved by you all and also by my family. So the other day I had Broccoli florets and I wasn’t in a mood for Cream of Broccoli Soup. I decided to make baked croquettes with Broccoli with an addition on egg and bread crumbs. What I thought would turn out an average dish came out an amazing recipe.

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We tugged it under a burger bun and smeared some Parsley Pistachio Pesto over it and enjoyed our lunch in comfort. It was the best broccoli recipe I have ever made. If you have Broccoli Naah! people in your family, surprise them with this amazing dish.

Directions:

1. Take one head Broccoli and cut it into florets. Wash well under running water.


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2. In a large pot add some water and bring it to a boil. Add salt to it.

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3. In a wire mesh submerge Broccoli florets in water for  seven to nine minutes or until they are blanched al dente. Don’t let them go mush.


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4. Drain the broccoli and place them on a kitchen towel and squeeze out all the water. Give broccoli a coarse chop under the knife and set aside.


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5. Chop Onions and Garlic and set aside.

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6. In a pan add little oil and add chopped onions and garlic. Oh I had some chopped red and yellow bell pepper I added them too for colour. But its optional. Saute them until they are slightly cooked.


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7. In a bowl mix Broccoli, eggs, onions and garlic, grated cheese and breadcrumbs.

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8. Add salt and pepper to the mix and combine.


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9. Line a tray with Parchment Paper and preheat the oven* to 200 degree Celsius.(Learn more about Oven temperatures and Conversions). Take a little dough in your hands and shape them into patties.

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10. Place them on baking sheet and brush them with oil.

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11. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Flip and bake for another 15 minutes or until browned and crispy.

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12. Tug them inside a burger bun and top it with Parsley Pistachio Pesto and enjoy hot. You can also line the burger with veggies and cheese.

Other Broccoli dishes you can try are: Healthy Broccoli PastaRoasted Broccoli with Garlic and Lemon & Cream of Broccoli Soup with Chives 

Other Croquettes and Kebabs you can try here are: Baked Paneer Corn Kababs Tapioca CroquetteVeg Shami KababAirfried Yogurt & Cottage Cheese Kebabs for Fasting.

BroccoliPatties_Featured2[whohit]BroccoliCroquettes[/whohit]

[yumprint-recipe id=’211′]

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Its the third day of Navratras, the holy week of fasting for Hindus. Already I am tired of eating Sama Ke chawal ki Khichdi, Halwa, Phirni, Sabudana Khichdi, Sabudana Tikki and even the new Tapioca Pudding with Coconut Milk I tried a day back. The problem with me is I have to find something new to eat, whether fasting or not fasting. Its the kick which I get after trying new type of food. Of Course there are times I wanna stick to the traditional food which is where the comfort lies.

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Potato is one versatile vegetable which can be modified in any way you like. It makes great appetizers for parties, a fabulous main course option and even for desserts you can use it. And when you are fasting that’s one vegetable which saves the day 😉 I tried to make a minty tangy Potatoes which we can enjoy as a snack in the evening. They are without Garlic and Onion which makes it suitable for fasting as well. It has a very tangy flavour which will be simply fabulous for parties as a finger food.

Directions:
1. Wash and Boil some potatoes in water until al dente. Peel off their skin and cut them into cubes, set aside. You can also use baby potatoes for this.

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2. In a blender add some washed coriander and mint leaves separated from their stems and also green chilies. Blitz them and make a smooth puree. Set aside.


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3. In a pan or wok add some ghee or clarified butter. The vegans can substitute it with cooking oil.

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4. Add Cumin seeds and wait for them to sputter.

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5. Add the mint coriander puree and cook for a minute until the rawness fades away.

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6. Season it with Salt, Red Chilli Powder.


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7. Also add turmeric Powder and Amchur Powder. Combine them in the mint puree for another minute.


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8. Add cubed boiled potatoes and toss them in the masala.


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9. Add a little water and keep it on simmer till the potatoes absorb all the spice and the liquid evaporates.

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10. Serve hot and enjoy the tangy minty Potatoes.

You said you love Mint? try this Mint Pulav or Mint Chutney you will thank me later.

Other Potato recipes you can try here are: Punjabi Style Dum Aloo, Rosemary Garlic Roasted PotatoesPomegranate Potato in Spiced YogurtYam Potato ChatPotato SmileysTapioca Potato in Indian Spices

MintPotatoes_Featured4[whohit]MintPotatoes[/whohit]

 

[yumprint-recipe id=’206′]

StuffedMushroomBread_Featured2
I needn’t say more about my obsession with mushrooms and breads. Clearly it is getting out of control. At least twice a week I want something mushroomy something bready in my meals. After doing the Mushroom Spinach Stuffed Braided Bread I bring you this Cheesy Mushroom pull apart bread. This was not planned but on my search I found this recipe which was like Love at First Sight. I happily baked a bread in the evening and stuffed it with Mushrooms and Cheese. Ohh man! It was pure indulgence. I served the bread with my mommy special Tomato Soup.  I happily skipped my dinner for the sheer love of this bread. 

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This is more like a idea than a recipe to make something incredible with bread specially for Super Ball or Cricket Matches or may be catching up a flick late night on recliners with comfy cushions. I am just saying! Or be like me. You don’t need a reason to eat Mushrooms and bread..do you?

Directions:

1. Take a loaf of french bread or any bread other than sandwich loaf. I have used the same recipe as White Sandwich bread for this but simply placed it on a baking tray without using a pan for second proof and baked it. You can also use Sourdough bread for this. Using a bread knife cut the bread lengthwise and widthwise without cutting through all the way. You will notice cavity between the bread pieces. Place it on a Baking sheet lined with Aluminium foil. Set aside. Preheat the oven for 10 minutes on 180 degree Celcius.


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2. In a pan melt some butter.

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3. Add finely chopped mushrooms and saute them them till they release their water. Let the water evaporate. 


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4. Add Thyme, I used dried. Add salt and combine. Set aside.

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5. Finely chop some onions and add them to a microwavable bowl. Add butter to the onions. Microwave for 2 minutes or until the butter melts. Set aside.


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6. Cut strips of cheese. I have used Mozzarella because that is what is easily available here. You can use Provolone if you lay your hands on it. Insert Cheese sticks or strips inside the cuts or cavity both horizontally and vertically. 


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7. Top up the cheese laden cavity with sauteed mushrooms.

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8. Drizzle the bread with the onion butter all over. Sprinkle the top with some poppy seeds and garnish with fresh Coriander leaves.


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9. Now cover the bread with the aluminium foil and bake it in the preheated oven on 180 degree Celsius (Learn more about Oven temperatures and Conversions) for 15 minutes and uncovered for another 10 minutes or until you see the cheese melting.
 
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10. Serve hot and relish each bite.

Other recipes with bread you can try are: Cheesy Garlic Bread, Stuffed Mushroom and Spinach Braided Bread.

More Bread recipes you can try on The Secret Ingredient: White Sandwich BreadRussian BubliciWhole Wheat Sandwich BreadChinese Black Sesame Steamed BunsCherry Focaccia Bread with Rosemary and Sea SaltRosemary Garlic Focaccia Bread, Cinnamon Raisin BreadBeetroot Bread with Garlic and ThymeHoney Oats BreadDomino’s Garlic Breadsticks, No Knead Light Wheat Bread.

StuffedMushroomBread_Featured4[whohit]MushroomCrackBread[/whohit]

 

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[yumprint-recipe id=’178′]