adjaruli Khachapuri (Georgian Cheese Bread)

What is in a name? In a FB food group, someone had posted a picture of this bread. The picture was instagram worthy but what caught my attention was the name. It was Adjaruli Khachapuri. It screamed indian but the picture did not. If I did not see the picture, I would think it was a poori of some sorts, khacha in hindi means raw or uncooked- khacha aam- raw mango. What would you think the name means?

I decided that I had to make it for dinner! The challenge was my husband does not eat eggs and I am lactose intolerant. So my husband got his without the egg though the crucial part of the dish is the egg. He said his was a bit dry without the egg. In mine, since I can tolerate goat cheese, I added some goat cheese. The boys got it the way it was supposed to be made. This was dinner with a salad. It has to be served hot screams every page I checked. Cut off bread from the side and using it as a spoon, mix the egg into the cheese. The bread almost serves as a bowl like a bread bowl for soup but here as a dip.

Since the bread is from Georgia (the most famous from Adjara, a region in Georgia), I found a Georgian walnut salad dressing to go with my salad. I toasted a handful of walnuts with 2 cloves of garlic. Add to food processor with some basil, cilantro, 1 green serrano chilli, olive oil, 2 tbsp water. Pour over some greens, tomatoes and cucumbers and serve.

The ones I made were too big for us. We could only eat half of the bread and saved it for our lunch the next day. The next day, my son added some finely chopped fried mushrooms, some more cheese and an egg and baked it for 5 minutes. We liked it better with the mushrooms.

The next time I would make smaller ones, add some fried mushrooms or spinach towards the end and drizzle some chilli oil. It may not be the original version but I will call it culinary creativity.

Here is a link about the bread with a short video: https://www.georgianjournal.ge/georgian-cuisine/34443-georgian-cheese-boat-adjaruli-khachapuri-new-york-essential-dish.html

I looked up many recipes online, including NYT Cooking and Saveur. I drizzled the bread before serving with a mixture of olive oil, garlic, dill, dried bell peppers and chilli flakes.

Ingredients

For homemade pizza dough:

  • 1 3/4 cups bread flour or atta flour (I used atta)
  • 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2/3 cup warm water

For filling:

  • 1 cup/ about 100 grams shredded mozzarella (not fresh mozzarella)
  • ⅓ cup goat cheese, finely crumbled
  • ⅓ cup drained, finely crumbled feta (not low-fat or light)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoons cold butter for serving
  • 1 large egg
  • To drizzle: 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 fresh garlic minced or 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp chilli flakes, 1/4 tsp dill, 1/4 dried bell peppers- mixed (optional)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 450ºF
  • Add yeast, sugar and luke warm water; mix, cover and let it sit for 5 minutes
  • In a stand mixer (using a dough hook), or by hand, add yeast mixture to the flour, salt, 1 tbsp olive oil; mix and knead
  • Cover and set in a warm place for an hour or more till dough rises to about double
  • For the filling: Mix all cheeses. You can add chopped fresh or dry herbs to the cheese. The herbs are optional. Set aside
  • Turn out the dough on a floured work surface. divide into two. Cover and let it sit for 10 minutes
  • Roll dough into 1/4 inch thick into a 10-12 inch circle
  • On one side of the circle, tightly roll the dough about a third of the way toward the center. Before you roll, you can add some cheese so you get a filling of cheese. Repeat on the opposite end, leaving a 2-3 inch wide space between the two rolls. Pinch the two narrow ends of the rolls together and twist twice to seal, making a boat shape; place another quarter of the cheese mixture in the middle, packing down lightly. Do the swith the second one
  • Place in oven and let it bake for about 15-18 minutes
  • Brush the edges with butter. With a spoon make a well in the centre. Crack an egg carefully (yolk should not break) in the well and put it back in the oven for 3-4 minutes for the egg white to set.
  • Remove from oven, add 1/2 tbsp of butter to each
  • Drizzle with oil mixture and serve hot
  • Using a fork or pulling out a piece of bread, mix the egg and butter into the cheese and use as a dip.

Sheet Dinners

This seems to be the craze right now and I know why. It is really easy, throw all your vegetables on a tray and bake. Makes an easy weekday dinner. I add spices depending on my moods. Make some rice, pasta or just have it with some nice crusty bread and cheese.

My son would like to start cooking when he gets back to college. He likes to cook and I was telling him that using an instant pot and a sheet pan will make his life easy.

So here are some sheet dinners.

Roasted Butternut Squash

  • Preheat oven to 425ºF (220ºC)
  • Peel and slice a butternut squash – 1 inch slices
  • Mix in a bowl with 2 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp honey or maple syrup (optional)
  • Toss and add to a greased sheet pan. I sometimes use parchment paper
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes
  • Serve as a side

Roasted green beans

  • Preheat oven to 425ºF (220ºC)
  • Wash and trim 1 pound (1/2 kg) string beans
  • Toss in a pan with a tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper, chilli flakes and 3 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • Slice 2-3 pieces of lemon
  • Add beans to a greased sheet pan. Add lemon on top
  • Roast in oven for 20-25 minutes
  • At the last 2-3 minutes, add some sliced almonds and roast
  • Squeeze lemon juice on beans.
  • Serve hot. It can be eaten as a snack or a side

Roasted and Smashed Potatoes

  • Preheat oven to 425ºF (220ºC)
  • Wash and parboil a pound of baby potatoes
  • Smash potato using a masher or a spoon
  • In a bowl, add potatoes, salt, pepper, chilli flakes, 1/2 tsp cumin powder, corinader powder, garlic and onion powder
  • Pour on to the greased sheet pan onto a single layer
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes
  • Serve hot

Roasted Vegetables

I usually use what vegetables I have in hand. Cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin roast well. I sometimes add italian spices, sometimes add indian spices like coriander, cumin, garam masala, sometimes Trader Joe’s 21 seasoning salute or chili lime or everything but the bagel. I also like to roast a head of garlic and then squeeze it on to the vegetables.

  • Preheat oven to 425ºF (220ºC)
  • Wash and slice vegetables to equal sizes
  • Toss in a pan with a tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper, chilli flakes and 3 cloves finely chopped garlic or any spice you like
  • Slice 2-3 pieces of lemon
  • Add vegetables to a greased sheet pan. Add lemon on top
  • Roast in oven for 20-25 minutes
  • Squeeze lemon juice on vegetables.
  • Serve hot.

Vegetarian Burmese Khow Suey

The first time I ate Khow Suey was when my friend, Ritika got leftovers for lunch. It was delicious. A couple of weeks ago, my friend Babita sent me a picture of the dish she made. It was beautiful. It inspired me to make it. Here are Babita’s pictures:

This is a Burmese dish (not sure if it is authentic Burmese) but one which is made all over India. It is a fun dish with all the garnishes you add to the noodles and soup.There is a restaurant called Burma Burma in Bangalore which makes good khow suey; I think mine surely made the cut. It really hit the spot. Mine is a vegetarian version but you could surely add shrimp or chicken to it.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp oil + 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 red onion sliced thin
  • 7-8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • coriander leaves/ cilantro 4 tbst
  • 5-6 tbsp peanuts, chopped
  • 3 tbsp fried noodles (optional)
  • spring onions, sliced thin
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 inch piece of ginger
  • 1 inch fresh turmeric (or 1 tsp turmeric powder)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp lemon rind
  • 3 tbsp crushed tomato
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp besan (gram flour)
  • 1/2 tsp bouillon paste or 1 bouillon cube
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 packet tofu, drained and cut into cubes
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 broccoli, chopped
  • 7-8 mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 packets (300 g) wheat or rice noodles, cooked
  • lemon or lime, cut into wedges
  • full boiled egg (optional)

Directions

  • In a pan heat 2 tbsp oil. Fry sliced garlic, drain and keep aside. Add sliced onions and fry till golden. Keep aside.
  • Grind onions, ginger, garlic and turmeric.
  • In a pan, heat 1 tbsp oil. Add the paste and keep mixing till well cooked and the oil separates. Add coriander, cumin and chilli powder and mix. Add tomatoes and cook on a low flame for a few minutes
  • Add the vegetable stock, buillion, lemon rind and cook
  • In a small cup mix a few tbsp water and gram flour
  • Add to the stock and mix well to avoid lumps
  • Add vegetables and coconut milk and cook till vegetables are cooked but have a bite. Add tofu and 1 tsp soya sauce
  • Boil and remove from flame

To serve, place some noodles in a bowl. Add soup. Garnish with fried onions, green onions, fried garlic, coriander, nuts, fried noodles, egg and lemon juice

Sandya’s Sunday Lunch

JEERA RASAM, PARAPU USILI AND MOR KOOTAN

Sandya, my niece sent me some more recipes. this would be sunday lunch at her home. Serve with steamed rice and some papadum. I make a different version of jeera rasam; I tried this after she sent me the recipe.The only change was that I added 4-5 cloves of garlic, which of course is optional. The rasam was spicy, tangy and perfect with rice. I had to pour some in a cup and drink it as a soup. This is perfect if you have the sniffles; it surely clears up your sinuses.

Jeera rasam

  • Soak 1tsp tur dal, 2 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp pepper corns, and a handful of curry leaves for 30 min and grind in a blender
  • In a kadai or saucepan, take the juice of a lemon sized tamarind (lemon sized tamarind soaked in hot water and squeeze and discard tamarind and use the juice. Alternatively, use 1 tsp tamarind concentrate with 2 cups water). Add 1 chopped tomato, 1/4 tsp asafoetida, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 3-4 cloves of garlic (optional) and boil well.
  • Add the ground paste and adjust consistency by adding one cup water if required. Let it boil until it is frothy on the top.
  • Add ghee to a pan and add a tsp of mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter add to the rasam. This is called tempering. Add coriander leaves as garnish. Serve hot with steamed rice or drink as an appetizer soup.

Parupu (Lentils) usili

This is a dish you will love to eat over and over again. The lentils are roasted and golden and have a nutty flavour; the chillies combined with stir fried beans. I could just eat this by itself!


Courtesy: Geethas Kitchen

  • Soak 2 cups tur dal, 2 tsps channa dal, 3 red chillies in 3 cups water for 2 hours.
  • Grind without adding water with a few curry leaves and 1/2 tsp asafoetida powder into a thick paste
  • Steam as balls in a steam or on an idli tray
  • Once it cools, pulse in blender till it crumbles (pulse 2-3 times-do not grind). Set aside
  • Stir fry any finely chopped vegetables of your choice- beans/ cluster beans/ broad beans/ vazhai poo (banana flower). Set aside.
  • In a kadai or pan heat 3 tbsp vegetable oil. Add 1 tsp mustard seeds, 2-3 red chillies, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and a couple of curry leaves.
  • To this add the crumbled dal/lentils and saute on a medium flame until it becomes mildly crispy and brown.
  • Then add the stir fried vegetables and saute for another 2 minutes and serve with steamed rice.
  • The is a perfect dish to eat if you do not want carbs, just leave out the rice

Mor kootan (Coconut and yogurt sauce)

Mor kootan is a curd/yogurt based sauce which is perfect with rice. In the north of India a similar dish called khadi is made. In the south we use coconut and has a very different taste. It is a mild sauce with the coconut and yogurt mellowing down the flavours of the chillies.

  • Grind 1 cup sliced or grated coconut, 2-3 green chillies or jalapeno chillies, 1 tsp rice powder, 1 tsp cumin seeds and 2 cups curd/yogurt. Do not add water; grind till coconut and chillies are finely ground. Keep paste aside
  • Add 2 tsp coconut oil to a kadai/ sauce pan
  • Add 1 tsp mustard seeds, 2-3 red chillies, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and a couple of curry leaves.
  • When mustard seeds splutter add 1 cup of bhindi(okra)- cut to 1 inch pieces or cooked arbi (colocasia) or green peppers (capsicum) and fry till the vegetable is cooked. You could also use raw plantain, ash gourd or pumkin.
  • Add ground paste and mix. Add salt and 1 cup water
  • Take off heat once it starts bubbling.
  • Serve with steamed rice

Paneer And Veg Kathi Rolls/ Frankies

Kathi rolls and Frankies were not something I grew up with in the south of India. We had our masala dosas which are rice crepes filled with a potato filling and a coconut chutney on the side. In the south, people believed in sitting down for meals and eating and relishing it. I have read that Khati rolls originated in Calcutta and Frankies in Mumbai; two cities hustling and bustling even back when I was a kid. I had not visited either place until I was an adult. I grew up in a sleepy small town called Bangalore where street food included masala puri, nippatu chat and gobi manchurian. Since I had not travelled beyond the Vindhya mountains I had not come across food like kathi rolls and frankies. Kathi rolls are found on almost every street in Calcutta and oh, so scrumptious. Both Kathi rolls and frankies are rotis stuffed with meat or veggies and maybe cheese and rolled to be eaten on the go. Sometimes, an egg is added to the roti. Today you find this everywhere even in the ‘not so sleepy’ city of Bangalore.

This is my version, inspired from the streets of Calcutta and Mumbai. To be more decadent, a nice flaky ceylon parantha could be used instead of a whole wheat roti. It is spicy and tangy. You could fill it with chicken tikka or panner tikka or any vegetables or meat of you choice. Kebabs go really well with this. I have used tamarind and coriander chutney but a yogurt dip (yogurt mixed with coriander chutney) may also be used.

Paneer Masala

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet paneer 200 g
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • To be mixed to a paste: 1 tsp garlic paste, 1 tsp ginger paste, 2 tsp chat masala, 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 -1 tsp chilli powder, salt, 1 tbsp yogurt (optional)
  • 1 tbsp coriander leaves

Directions:

  • Cut paneer into cubes. Coat paste on paneer and let it marinate for 30 minutes
  • Heat oil, add onions and fry till golden brown
  • Add tomatoes and fry till tomatoes are well cooked and oil separates (you see some oil on the sides of the pan)
  • Add the paneer and keep cooking till it is almost dry. Keep mixing to avoid burning

Mushroom Capsicum Pepper Stir Fry

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 capsicum, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp chat masala
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp oil

Directions:

  • Heat oil in a pan
  • Add onions and fry for a few minutes
  • Add mushrooms and stir fry for 3-4 minutes
  • Add the capsicum/green peppers and stir fry for another 3-4 minutes. Season with salt, chat masala and chilli powder
  • Set aside

Onion garnish

Slice one red onion, squeeze 1/2 a lemon on it. Add 1/2 tsp chilli powder and 1 tsp chat masala, 1/4 tsp salt. Mix and set aside.

  • tortillas/ chappati/ ceylon paratha
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • coriander chutney, store bought
  • sweet tamarind chutney, store bought

Method

  • Heat rotis/ paratha drizzling some oil on it
  • Place some paneer or veggies on the rotis
  • drizzle some coriander and tamarind chutney on it
  • Add some onion garnish
  • Roll and serve hot

Breakfast and dinner- Recipes by danya

Maharashtrian Poha (Beaten Rice) and Punjabi Dal

When I started asking recipes from family, Danya was one of the excited nieces who sent me recipes. I remember visiting her in Mysore and showing her how to bake banana bread years ago. I heard she makes a really good banana bread. Her husband raves about her cooking. Danya is working on her PhD and will soon be Dr. Danya! In her spare time she enjoys cooking.

Here are two recipes. This is her version of a maharashtrian poha – a quick and tasty breakfast or anytime snack and punjabi dal (lentil soup eaten with rice or roti/naan). Danya said that the punjabi dal was a recipe her mother has been using for almost 30 years. The recipe was given to her mother by her aunt, Shanti.

Poha is beaten rice and you get both white and red variety. She has used red poha. In Tamil, poha is called aval and in Kannada it is called avalakki. In the south of india, a similar dish called aval upma or avalakki uppittu is made. Usually potatoes are not added and mustard seeds are added instead of cumin seeds. Garnish with grated coconut.

  1. Rinse two cups of poha and drain using a strainer. (Do not let it sit in the water; it will get soggy)
  2. Sprinkle salt and 1/4 tsp turmeric powder and set aside.
  3. In a pan, heat 2 tsp oil and add 1 tsp cumin seeds.
  4. Add 1 cup chopped onions, 1-2 chopped green chilli (optional), 1/2 cup peanuts, 1 tbsp curry leaves (optional) and saute till onion turns golden.
  5. Add 1 chopped potato, salt and 1/4 tsp turmeric powder. Sprinkle a little bit of water and let the potato cook. Keep stirring.
  6. Once the potato is cooked well and dry, add the poha (beaten rice) and mix gently. Cover and cook on low heat for 2 minutes.
  7. Garnish with cilantro leaves and a tsp of lemon juice(optional).
  8. Serve with a cup of masala chai, tea or filter coffee (that would be another post)

Punjabi Dal

  1. Measure 1/3 cup each of toor dal, masoor dal, yellow moong dal, urad dal and channa dal.
  2. Pressure cook all the dals with three times the water.
  3. Soak 4 red chillies in warm/hot water. Chop one onion, four tomatoes and 5-6 cloves garlic. Grind the chopped onions, tomatoes and garlic along with the chillies and the water the chillies are soaked in. (This gives it a mild color). Remove the seeds from the chillies if you prefer less spice.
  4. Heat oil in a pan. Add 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and 2 bay leaves.
  5. Once the cumin seeds splutter, add 1 1/2 chopped onion and saute till golden brown.
  6. Add the paste, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, a 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, chilli powder, crushed kasuri methi and salt.
  7. Bring to a boil and cook it well.
  8. Add the cooked and mashed dal and boil.
  9. Check salt and adjust. You can add 1/2-3/4 tsp amchur powder for a tangy taste (optional). Amchur powder is dried mango powder.
  10. Simmer for a few minutes. Turn off the heat and garnish with chopped coriander/ cilantro leaves and ghee. Serve with rice, roti or naan.