Tag Archives: Indian recipe

World Palate Recipes: Matar Chatpata, Spicy Peas Nagpur Style


Recently while travelling by train, I had fun watching people eating food at stations along the way. Though stalls or kiosks sold essentials like water bottles, biscuit packs, fruit and namkeen or salty fried food, it was the local peddlar and chaiwala who were the most sought after. As one travels the vast Indian country by train – a great gastronomic journey unravels, local specialties adding colour and flavour!

At Nagpur station, the arriving train from Delhi stopped for 2 minutes. After having eaten paneer, parathas, kachori from Delhi, it was time to taste local Nagpur food. Saoji cuisine, a very spicy and masala laden cuisine is popular in Nagpur. The special spices used in making the gravy of Saoji food include black pepper, dry coriander, bay leaves, grey cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and ample use of Khus -khus or poppy seeds and powdered coconut. This is mostly used for Mutton or chicken non vegetarian food preparations.

Today at the station, I tasted a local winter favourite – Matar Chatpata. Matar or spicy peas, sold for Rs. 10 in small plastic cups by the local vendor. Peas grow plentiful in winter season, largely in North India. Shelling peas often transforms into a bonding household activity, wherein the family gathers around a charpai or mat. Nagpur people like their food chatpata – spicy and tangy. Saoji cuisine is NOT for the faint hearted, beware!

Train Station food - Peas Chatpata

Train Station food – Peas Chatpata

Matar Chatpata – Nagpur Style.

Not for the faint hearted! So do adjust the chilli and spice!


1/2 kg shelled peas (or 1 pack frozen peas)

1 medium onion

2-3 green chillies ( adjust to your taste!!)

1/2 lime

salt as needed

1/4 inch ginger,

1 tsps. cumin seeds

1 teaspoon cooking oil

fresh coriander for garnish – optional

Ingredients for Matar (Peas)Chatpata

Ingredients for Matar (Peas)Chatpata


Shell the peas from the pod and boil in water till medium soft. Drain and keep aside. Coarsely grind the chilli, ginger and some salt. Keep aside. Lightly roast the cumin seeds to let out the aroma. Coarsely crush them, once cool. Cut lime in half or wedges, remove the seeds. Remove the top skin of onion and chop lengthwise.

Place large, thick bottom wok or pan on stove and pour required amount of cooking oil. Add the chopped onion and chilli -ginger paste and roast lightly till strong aroma fills your kitchen. Keep tossing, add little salt to avoid browning.

Add the boiled peas and roasted cumin powder. Toss lightly, adjust salt and chilli to taste. Break off stem and leaves of fresh coriander coarsely, and garnish the pea preparation.

For a rustic look -serve in small individual eco friendly cups made from dry leaves (check local markets). Squeeze a dash of lemon before serving.

Enjoy the hot chilli taste on the palate – toned down by sweet peas and tangy lemon. Ooooooh, hot,hot beware !!

Matar(peas) Chatpata

Matar(peas) Chatpata

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer.





World Palate Recipes: Mumbai Style Vada Pav ( Burger)

World Palate Recipes: Mumbai Style Vada Pav ( Burger)

Mumbai is a city which never lets anyone go hungry, a city that introduced the ‘iconic’ Vada Pav as its humble, satisfying street food. Maharastrian cuisine is zesty, spicy and masaledaar and the Vada Pav fits this concoction. Train travellers and Vasaiwallahs  popularly ate it as ‘ breakfast on the go.’  Today, with a hundred over kiosks and street stalls in Mumbai, the Batata vada and pav  are immensely popular among college students, office workers and at Shiv Sena political party meetings. Truly, this street food has captured the hearts of every Mumbaikar!

Vada Pav and Samosa at street kiosk, Mumbai

Vada Pav and Samosa at street kiosk, Mumbai

Served in a burger style with the vada (potato ball) sandwiched between sliced fluffy, white buns that are laced with dry garlic chutney.  A fried green chilli tucked in adds the fiery element of Maharashtrian cuisine.

Some of the most famous Vada pav kiosks are found near Sivaji Park, Dadar, CST Railway Terminal, Dadar’s Ruia college, MithiBai college, at  Chowpatty and Juhu beach. Let’s try an easy preparation in our  kitchen.

Batata Vada ingredients

Batata Vada ingredients


4-6 medium size potatoes

2-4 green chillies , finely chopped

fresh coriander and curry leaves (optional)

salt to taste

3-6 pods of garlic (optional)

1 inch ginger

green chillies with stem ( for frying)

2 onions chopped into quarters (optional)

4 white bread buns sliced in middle

Salted butter as needed

Oil for frying as needed

For Batter

1 1/2 cup gram /Besan flour

2-3 tbsps. rice flour (optional)

salt and chilli powder as per taste

water ( about 1 cup, as required)

Prepare a green chutney of your choice.


Boil and peel potatoes. Mash them lightly add salt to taste. Crush ginger, garlic, chillies in a mortar and add this paste to the potatoes. Throw in chopped coriander and curry leaves. Add a dash of turmeric (optional). Mix lightly and make balls. Set aside.

Batata /Potato balls and fried green chillies

Batata /Potato balls and fried green chillies

Fry the green chillies in hot oil, taking care they may splutter and pop out on you! Set aside.

Mix the batter with dry ingredients and add water slowly, to make a thick pouring consistency batter. Heat the oil, drop a tiny amount of batter to check if it rises /fluffs. Now dip /roll the potato balls in batter , coating well and drop them gently into the hot oil. 3-4 balls can be fried at a time. Don’t worry about tail ends, let them fry, and munch them later. Set aside balls on tissue to soak on extra oil ( if particular).

Lightly butter a thick Tava or flat pan. Roll the sliced pav and heat them on both sides till light brown.

Deep frying batata vada

Deep frying batata vada

Assemble the prepared items on a paper plate ( for a street food effect)-

1-2 fried chillies, chopped onions at one side, apply chutney to the inside of the sliced bun bread. Tuck in a vada. Tap the top half of bread into place and press lightly, so keep in place. Serve and enjoy with friends.

Mumbai street food: Vada Pav

Mumbai street food: Vada Pav

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All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer











World Palate Recipes -Snacks, Delhi Specials


Street food is unique to every country or region. Whether it is tapas  in Spain, or satay in Malaysia,  samoosa and fish cutlets in Mauritius, or doner and kebap in Istanbul – street food offers a cheap, quick and easy way to meet friends and savour the regional delights. Delhi is no exception. Summer or winter, street food changes with the season. The best places to eat are in Chandni Chowk, Karol Baug market and Connaught Place. The most popular snacks are :Gol gappas, Chaat, Samosas, Paneer rolls or Tikkis. These savoury items drizzle in oil and masalas making the food – tangy and mouth-watering. Healthier versions include a fruit chaat or baked samosas. Often road side kiosks and vendors sell toasted Bengal gram and peanuts, lightly flavoured with masala and topped with finely chopped onion, coriander and lemon slices. Crunch, crunch, yum !!


My friend Dr. Mridula shares her Delhi special recipe called Kulle Chaat.

A combination of sweet and tangy, fruit and vegetable – a perfect snack. Mridula is not only a fantastic cook, but also runs her own Pathology lab. A doting mother and wife, she is always experimenting with new recipes and perfecting old ones! Thanks dear.


Recipe – Kulle Chaat or Kulia Chaat

preparation time     30 minutes
 cooking  time       10 minutes
Kulle Chaat- snack

Kulle Chaat- snack

        3 potatoes, boiled
         3 tomatoes, ripe, firm
         1  kheera or tender cucumber
         1  boiled sweet potato
  For garnish and presentation:  2 halved oranges,
                                                          1 peeled and slit banana
                                                           1 large slice of  mango
   For the topping: 1/2 cup – boiled, small,  white chana (chick pea)
                                  1/4 cup boiled green peas
                                thin juliennes of  ginger  – 1 tablespoon
                                 fresh  pomegranate (anar daana) seeds  -1/2  cup
                                chopped  coriander   –  1 tablespoon
                                lemon juice – 1 tablespoon
                                black chaat masala, salt to taste
1.    Cut potatoes and tomatoes in halves  and  kheera  in  2 inch pieces.
2.    Scoop out the  centres, forming baskets (kulle), and prepare them to stand on plate.
3.    Mix boiled chana and  peas,  add  salt and  chaat masala, lemon juice.
4.    Fill  the  vegetable baskets  with the above mixture. Top with ginger julienne, coriander leaves and lots of  anar dana pearls. This gives a very colourful texture to this chaat.
Colourful garnished Kulle chaat

Colourful garnished Kulle chaat . Courtesy: Internet

Similarly prepare baskets with  orange halves, mango slices,  banana slit length wise or boiled sweet potato. Stuff the filling and garnish as above. Served as snack.
Contributed by Dr. Mridula Gami
On another note, crispy, hot pakoras are all-time favourites with Indians. Downed with masala chai on a rainy day, these crispies can also be served with as cocktail accompaniments. Street vendors frying these crispy dumplings in large, black iron wok is a common sight in Delhi.
Iron wok to fry vegetable Pakora

Iron wok to fry vegetable Pakora

Let’s experiment with a variety of vegetables: cauliflower florets, onion rings, spinach leaves, slices of raw banana or egg-plant.
Recipe : Assorted Pakoras / Bhajjiya
Ingredients: 1 cup chickpeas (gram) flour – (called Besan in India) ½ cup Rice flour (optional) – this makes it crisp 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder ½ spoon ajwain (or fennel /carom seeds) – aids digestion 3/4 cup  water or as reqd. oil for deep-frying Assorted vegetables cut into thin rings or slices
  • Sift the chickpeas flour into a medium bowl. Mix in the rice flour, coriander and ajwain, coarsely ground, salt, turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala.
  • Make a well in the centre of the flour. Gradually pour the water into the well and mix to form a thick, smooth batter.
  • Over medium high heat in a large, heavy saucepan, heat the oil, it should not overheat and become smoky.
  • Coat the cauliflower / potato/ onions/ corn in the batter and fry them in small batches until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towel.
  • Serve hot with tomato sauce or mint chutney.

Use the left overs in lentil curry the next day. I am sure there WON’T be many leftovers !:).

Pakora - spinach, egg plant,potato, onion, cauliflower. Garnish of marinated onion and ginger julienes with toasted sesame seeds.

Pakora – spinach, egg-plant,potato, onion, cauliflower. Garnish of marinated onion and ginger juliene with toasted sesame seeds.


Recently found a similar themed blogsite with great snapshots:http://www.mslimalicious.com/2014/06/the-food-of-north-india.html.

World Palate Recipe: Andhra/Indian Tamarind Rice


In South Indian cooking, food is usually rice based like Idli, Pongal, Adai, Parvannam and Pulihoara. Puli means tamarind, and is abundantly used to flavour many a curry, chutney and rice. It is an essential ingredient in cooking, the pods hang from the big trees during winter and are then harvested and sold in markets during the hot summer. The sharp, tangy taste of tamarind when blended with dry, red chillies and salt –gives a unique, mouth watering, fiery flavourful chutney.

Hyderabad capital of Telengana and Andhra Pradesh twin states has a melange of cuisines, owing to its rich Deccani- Mughal history. Aromatic, spicy, meat and chiken based Mughlai food contrasts with the more subtle, sattvic vegetarian Telugu Brahmin cuisine.

Credit goes to my Mother-in-law for teaching me this Telugu recipe. Often, she made this for puja orprayer offerings, especially on Saturday, to Lord Perumal / Vishnu . It’s a family favourite, and I have learned to prepare it well now for prayer time as well as for friends and relatives.

Indian Spices for Rice preparation

Indian Spices for Pulihoara Rice preparation


1 cup Indian rice (medium grain)

1 1/2 cup water

3 tsp. cooking oil

Tamarind pulp – preferably brown coloured (small lemon sized ball)

8-10 curry leaves (almost a must!)

2 dry red chillies (adjust to your taste)

1 tsp. mustard seeds

1 tsp. turmeric

Pinch of Asatoefida (Hing) – available in Indian grocery stores

Salt to taste

For garnish: (optional)

2 tsp. roasted Sesame seeds

2 tsp. roasted Peanuts

Coriander stalk / Curry leaves

Banana leaf or prayer plate

Turmeric sprinkled over cooked rice

Turmeric sprinkled over cooked rice


Wash rice thoroughly and discard the coloured water. Cook rice with measured water in rice cooker /stove top/ pressure cooker. Add a drop of oil so that the cooked grains are loose and fluffy. Once cooked, immediately run a fork through it and loosen grains and pour onto big, flat dish to cool. Apply some turmeric powder and salt and leave aside.

In a deep pan /wok /kadhai pour some oil and let it warm. Add mustard seeds, dry chilli, half amount of peanuts, remaining turmeric, curry leaves and splutter this. Take care! Cover quickly if necessary and switch off gas. Let cool.

In a small bowl add quarter glass water and soak the tamarind (without seeds). Microwave for 1 minute and mash the pulp. Cool it. Roast peanuts and sesame seeds, remove any skin and cool.

Next part – Mixing of rice and the mixtures by hand is the most therapeutic and divine indulgence. Refrain from using a fork or ladle, if you can. Chant, for better results.

Pour the oil mixture, tamarind pulp, half of peanut /sesame seeds onto the cooled rice. Using your hand or fork lightly toss and mix it all. Adjust salt to taste. Take a small round bowl, wash with water lightly. Pour the rice mixture into it and press lightly. Keep a large prayer plate or serving plate ready, line it with washed banana leaf, if you fancy. Invert the rice bowl on plate, tap gently. Out pops the coloured rice. Garnish with rest of the toasted peanuts, sesame and curry leaves.

Place food at altar to offer, if you wish. Share and enjoy the tangy flavour with a cup of cool yoghurt. It sure drives the summer heat away.


       ‘A great introduction to cultures is their cuisine. It not only reflects their evolution, but also their beliefs and traditions.’                                                 Vikas Khanna, Michelin star Indian Chef   

Pulihoara prasadam

Another version of this rice by Subbu can be found here

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2020) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer.