Category Archives: Breakfast

Paneer Bhurji

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I have a bone to pick with my parents.  They never introduced me to enough Indian “street food” or chaat.

A year ago, I stopped off at a local Indian grocery store for a quick samosa and was instantly drawn to the long line at the chaat portion of the store.  I, like usual, watched what everyone was ordering and just went for it.

Who knew an order of aloo paratha with paneer bhurji would be so life changing?  After that, I went on to try aloo tikki, pani puri, golgappa, pav bhaji, etc.

I felt more cheated than ever.  When I asked my mom why she held out, my mom’s only non-responsive response is, “We should try to make it ourselves.”  And, just like that I’m on a new mission to make all my favorites – starting with this favorite.

Paneer Bhurji

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup paneer, grated (you could also try firm tofu)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger/garlic paste
  • 1/2 serrano, finely chopped (remove seeds if you want less heat)
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 pinch garam masala
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped, divided

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Once oil is hot, add onions and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic/ginger paste and serrano pepper and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add turmeric, cayenne, cumin, coriander and garam masala, and cook until the raw smell of the spices is gone, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the grated paneer and stir to incorporate with the onion/garlic/ginger mix.  Cook for about 5 minutes until the paneer is soft.
  4. Add half of the cilantro and allow it to wilt in the heat and mix to incorporate.
  5. Remove from heat and garnish with additional cilantro.
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Filed under Breakfast, Indian, Vegetarian

Home Fries

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Saturday breakfasts are sorta my thang now.  Sundays are usually donut days, and weekdays are quick toast and egg or oatmeal days.  Saturday mornings, despite the pancake debacle, have become a special time of week for us.  I usually wake up an hour before everyone and get things started without any interruption.  It’s a glorious time – no screaming, no asking for anything, and total control of my kitchen.

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I have attempted home fries many times in the past.  I have usually been left with something of a mish-mash that resembles coarse mashed potatoes.  Nothing about that is right.  I recently attempted it again determined to get it right.  And, huzzah – going into the repertoire.  Under a farm fresh over-easy egg, it’s just heaven.

Home Fries

barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Arrange potatoes in large microwave-safe bowl, top with 1 tablespoon butter, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Microwave until edges of potatoes begin to soften, about 5 to 7 minutes, shaking bowl (without removing plastic) to redistribute potatoes halfway through cooking.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional two minutes until the onions are golden brown.  Transfer to small bowl.
  3. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in now-empty skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes and pack down with spatula.  Cook, without moving, until underside of potatoes is brown, 5 to 7 minutes.  Turn potatoes, pack down again, and continue to cook until well browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring potatoes every few minutes, until crusty and golden on all sides, 9 to 12 minutes.  Stir in onion, seasonings of your choice and salt and pepper to taste.  Try not to mess with the potatoes too much because you don’t want to break them apart.

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Filed under Breakfast, Side Dish, Vegetarian

Blueberry Scones

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Last week was ridiculous.  Between two trips to the emergency room for a baby whose 104-105 fever wouldn’t break for 3 days (with medicine), and work deadlines that didn’t take notice at all of my personal schedule, I’m physically and emotionally spent.

For instance, after 2 days of a high fever, we thought we were in the clear when the baby’s temperature went down to 99.  And, after 48 hours of no sleep, we thought to take a nap at 3:00 a.m.  At 5:00 a.m., turns out the temperature went down to 94, which is bad bad bad.  Helpless is the word.  Oh, and also sleep deprived.

Spent.

As in, I want to hide under my bed covers and sleep for a month….and wake up only for these scones.

I made these scones as a way to use up my frozen blueberries, and to also have a special breakfast treat for several days during the week.  With such a short ingredient list, you’re likely to have everything on hand.  And after a week like mine, I’ll call that a win.  Add a cup of dark coffee, and I can almost see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Blueberry Scones

barely adapted from Tyler Florence

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (if frozen, make sure its thawed and drained)
  • 1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
  3. Cut in the butter with a fork until the mixture look like coarse crumbs.
  4. Fold the blueberries into the batter. Be careful and gentle to where you don’t break the blueberries because the color will bleed into the dough.
  5. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough.
  6. Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12 x 3 x 1.5 inches. Cut the rectangle in half then cut the pieces in half again, giving you 4 squares. Cut each square in half diagonally.
  7. Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until beautiful and brown.

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Filed under baking, Breakfast, Vegetarian

Orange and Oat Scones

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I fear I’ve gotten in a breakfast rut.  I used to change it up with oatmeal, smoothies, omelettes, and pancakes.  These days, the fastest breakfast I can put together in the morning is toast and eggs.  And, last week, it officially got old.  Requiring something different, I ventured out and made scones.

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Unlike brunch where scones can be sweet and almost-dessert, a weekday breakfast needs to be filling, healthy and satisfying.  These scones satisfy all three criteria and the taste is sublime.  Perfectly sweet and hearty, the scones are perfect during these cold mornings alongside a cup of my favorite tea.  I had dried apricots on hand, but you can use any dried fruit you have.

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I kept them in an airtight container for the week and just toasted them every morning and the scones did not dry out for the whole week.

Orange and Oat Scones

from 101 Cookbooks
yields 8 large scones

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp coarse turbinado or Demerara sugar, for sprinkling
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, currants, cranberries, blueberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the flour, 1/4 cup of turbinado sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor.
  3. Add the butter and pulse 15-20 times or until it looks like little pearls.  Transfer the dough to a bowl and stir in the oats and zest. Stir in the buttermilk and apricots until just moistened.
  4. Bring the dough together with your hands. If the dough is still too crumbly, stir in more buttermilk a tiny splash at a time, but try to avoid over mixing.
  5. After bringing the dough together, gently pat it into an 8-inch round. Cut into triangle shapes (see photo) and transfer to the prepared baking sheet, leaving room between each scone.
  6. Sprinkle the tops with the 2 tbsp coarse sugar.
  7. Bake for 12 to 15 minute or until the bottoms are deeply golden.

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Filed under baking, Bread, Breakfast

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

I have had my fair share of pancake fails.  Miserable fails usually dealing with add ons (i.e. bananas) usually result in an awkward mess and some cursing.  With a baby that slept in for once in a blue moon, I woke up with a spring in my step and walked over to the kitchen to start our Saturday morning right.

And, it cannot get more right than chocolate chip pancakes.  Binks’ favorite breakfast food has now become one of mine.  While I am partial to eggs benedicts whenever I get breakfast, I always steal a couple of bites of Binks’ chocolate chip pancakes.  I deem it the breakfast dessert to my savory eggs.

Although this dish is perfectly sweet and satisfying as it is, top it with pure maple syrup and the only thing lacking would be crawling back in my warm bed to eat more pancakes.

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

  •  1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted and cooled.
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, egg and butter.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to thoroughly combine.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Heat lightly oiled pan over medium heat.
  5. Pour about 1/4 cup of the pancake batter and cook until golden brown on both sides.
  6. Serve hot with or without syrup.

 

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Filed under Breakfast

Panjiri

Traditionally in India, after a woman gives birth, the nursing mother is given panjiri.  While seemingly healthy as it is chock full of dried fruit and nuts, more notable is the fact that panjiri is laden with ghee/butter and sugar.  Yet, new grandmothers will tout that this is the greatest snack for new and nursing moms.  I’m somewhat at a loss of how all the butter/ghee and sugar could be healthy.  Moreover, it’s supposed to increase the milk supply.  Again, don’t ask me how.

This dish will take quite some time to make.  It is absolutely a labor of love.  Similar to dulce de leche or caramelizing onions, roasting the nuts, fruits and semolina/suji will take some time.  But, I promise you that the end result is absolutely worth the wait.

I cannot attest to whether my milk supply was increased or aided, I can promise you it is delicious.  You can pretty much customize the ingredients to what you have on hand.  Clockwise from top: (1) golden raisins, (2) unsweetened grated coconut, (3) pistachios, (4) walnut, (5) dried apricot, (6) almonds, (7) cashew, and (8) flax-seed meal (center).

And, traditionally, you will see that panjiri contains many different spices and edible gum crystals.  I don’t prefer to have this dish overly spiced and have made it using ingredients that I’m likely to have on hand.

When you make this dish, ignore the health conscious part of your brain that wants to reduce the butter/ghee.  Just add it.  Throw it in and never look back.  You will not regret it.  And you may notice, I keep saying butter/ghee.  I highly recommend ghee, but I also like to cut the full-flavor of the ghee with some butter.  If you end up using all butter, you’ll miss the depth of flavor that ghee offers, but still have a product reminiscent of a sugar cookie – no joke.

If you are interested, as a nursing mother, to increase milk supply, I highly recommend keeping the fennel.  If you don’t have fennel or don’t like it, leave it out altogether.  

Panjiri

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup ghee, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided (if you want to just use ghee – just replace it all with ghee)
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
  • 1 cup mixed nuts
  • 1/2 cup mixed dried fruit
  • 1/4 cup flax-seed meal (optional)
  • 2 cups semolina (suji – coarse)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup white sugar

Directions:

  1. In a large pan, heat 1/4 cup ghee and 1/4 cup butter over medium heat until melted, but not burned.  Add in fennel seeds and cook for a minute just to heat up.  Add in mixed nuts, dried fruit, and flax-seed meal and roast until toasted and the smell of the nuts come through, approximately 10 minutes.  Just make sure to stir occasionally so it doesn’t burn.  Once roasted, remove the mixture from the pan.
  2. In the same emptied pan (be careful not to leave left over pieces), heat the remaining ghee and butter until melted over medium-low heat.  Add the semolina and roast until roasted into a light brown and resembles wet sand.  This is going to take a while – approximately 30-40 minutes.  Do not be tempted to raise the temperature.
  3. Add salt, cardamom, and ginger, and stir to combine and blend.  Cook for another 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat, add sugar and mix until fully incorporated and blended.
  4. Let cool and then serve.  Store in an airtight container.

 

 

 

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Filed under Breakfast, Indian, Snacks, Vegetarian

Mango Quinoa Salad with Orange Cardamom Dressing

With summer coming to a close, I’m desperately clinging to all the seasonal fruit I can get my hands on.  Bar none, mango is my absolute favorite fruit.  I rarely cook or use it in a dish because I always end up eating it just as it is.  However, when I recently tried a mango salsa, I was motivated to start using it in dishes to give a vibrancy to capture the essence of summer.

I developed this recipe to satisfy my sweet tooth and also to add to my breakfast/brunch options.  Combining mango and mint with earthy quinoa, raisins and nuts offers different dimensions of flavor in a dish that packs a nutritional punch.  Adding the orange-honey-cardamom dressing is just the icing on the healthy cake.

Fruity Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups water
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/8 cup golden raisins, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 nuts (I used a mix of chopped almonds, pecans, cashews and walnuts)
  • 1 large mango, peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom

Directions:

  • Cook the quinoa.  Heat a saucepan over medium heat.  Roast the quinoa for about 3 minutes in the hot saucepan, stirring occasionally.  Add water, stir and turn up heat to medium high and bring to a boil.  Turn down heat to simmer and cover with a lid.  Cover and cook for 15 minutes.  Turn off stove and remove from the heat for about 5 minutes.  Uncover and fluff with a fork.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • In a pan, melt butter and add raisins and nuts.  Stir to coat and cook until the raisins plump up a bit and the nuts a roasted, about 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool.
  • In a large bowl, add the quinoa, nut mixture, mango and mint.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the orange zest, orange juice, vanilla extract and cardamom.  Pour over salad until fully coated.
  • Let mixture sit for about 15 minutes before serving.

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Filed under Breakfast, Side Dish, Vegetarian