Baingan Bharta

I’ve been on an Indian food making deal lately. I’m not sure if my attempt is to start eating more healthy, or if it is to get rid of an array, and large quantity of Indian spices. Who knows, but I’m leaning more on the side of trying to eat more healthy, and I think Indian food, for the most part, is a good example of using great spices that are good for you, as well as getting more vegetables incorporated into the meat. This is a perfect example of this type of dish, baingan bharta.

Baingan bharta is roasted eggplant dip, similar in some ways to baba ghanoush. This one however uses different spices, and really makes it an awesome eggplant curry that is perfectly paired with naan, or other Indian style bread, or better yet served with a small bit of rice.

Baingan Bartha Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole eggplant, medium to large in size
  • 2 whole vine ripened tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 whole red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely diced
  • 2 whole green Indian chili, stem removed, or 1 for less spiciness
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro

The beauty of this is the roasting of the eggplant. Much like baba ghanoush, you can get your charcoal grill going, and place the eggplant directly onto the coals so you get that awesome smoky flavor into the dip.

If you do not have a charcoal grill, you could roast on high heat in the oven until the flesh is nice and charred all the way around the eggplant.

Once the eggplant cools, and trust me you want it to cool, remove the skin, and reserve the rest of the eggplant.

Chop the eggplant into medium sized cubes and set to the side as you prepare the remaining ingredients.

To a food processor, add the tomatoes, green chili, and ginger and pulse until you have a salsa like consistency.

How to make baingan bartha

 

To a large skillet, on medium-high heat, add in the canola oil, letting it come to temperature. Add in the cumin seeds and let them begin to pop, only a few seconds, then add in the bell pepper, and tomato mixture. Give this a good stir and let it come to a simmer.

Next add in the remaining spices, and continue to stir. Once all of the spices are incorporated, add in the chopped eggplant. Let this cook on medium heat, uncovered for about 10 minutes. Everything should begin to thicken, just a bit. Remove from the heat, and let it cool to room temperature.

Now you are ready to serve. Add some of the eggplant dip to a serving dish, top with some cilantro, and serve alongside warm naan or cooked rice.

This stuff is highly addicting. It has all of those great Indian flavors that you would expect, along with some spice from the chilies. Let’s just say my daughter loved this, and I did as well. If you are looking for another great eggplant dip, give this one a try. I hope you enjoy!

Baingan Bharta
Author: 
Recipe type: Snacks, Dips, Sides
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 whole eggplant, medium to large in size
  • 2 whole vine ripened tomatoes, quartered
  • ½ whole red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ tbsp fresh ginger, finely diced
  • 2 whole green Indian chili, stem removed, or 1 for less spiciness
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
Instructions
  1. The beauty of this is the roasting of the eggplant. Much like baba ghanoush, you can get your charcoal grill going, and place the eggplant directly onto the coals so you get that awesome smoky flavor into the dip.
  2. If you do not have a charcoal grill, you could roast on high heat in the oven until the flesh is nice and charred all the way around the eggplant.
  3. Once the eggplant cools, and trust me you want it to cool, remove the skin, and reserve the rest of the eggplant.
  4. Chop the eggplant into medium sized cubes and set to the side as you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  5. To a food processor, add the tomatoes, green chili, and ginger and pulse until you have a salsa like consistency.
  6. o a large skillet, on medium-high heat, add in the canola oil, letting it come to temperature. Add in the cumin seeds and let them begin to pop, only a few seconds, then add in the bell pepper, and tomato mixture. Give this a good stir and let it come to a simmer.
  7. Next add in the remaining spices, and continue to stir. Once all of the spices are incorporated, add in the chopped eggplant. Let this cook on medium heat, uncovered for about 10 minutes. Everything should begin to thicken, just a bit. Remove from the heat, and let it cool to room temperature.
  8. Now you are ready to serve. Add some of the eggplant dip to a serving dish, top with some cilantro, and serve alongside warm naan or cooked rice.

 

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Chicken Shawarma

I haven’t been able to get enough Indian or Middle Eastern food lately. I’ve been craving the stuff. Everything from potato aloo, to saag paneer, to all kinds of curries and different sauces and spices. I think that is one of the things I love about that cuisine, and it is getting to the point where it is competing with other cuisines I love so much such as Thai and Mexican. As you recall, I recently made a batch of shawarma spice seasoning, only to be used, for the most part, this recipe. Chicken shawarma is something you need to make, and traditionally done over a spit, I decided to bake mine as the weather on this particular day was not in my favor.

Shawarma can be many different types of meat, but it essentially relates to a sandwich. Think of your favorite gyro place where they are slicing meats from a spit, and placing it inside of warm pita or flatbread, along with sauces and vegetables. That’s shawarma, and this is my take on it. Did I mention my entire family was totally in love with this?

Chicken Shawarma Sandwich Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thick strips
  • 3 tbsp shawarma spice seasoning
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite hummus
  • 1/4 cup of tzatziki sauce
  • 2 tbsp tahini sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded lettuce
  • sliced cucumbers, to your liking
  • sliced tomatoes, to your liking
  • 1 whole pita bread, warmed
  • 1/2 cup cooked french fries, per sandwich, optional

OK, let’s get this going. Now you have options here. You can go with adding the seasoned strips to a skewer and adding them onto a grill, or you can bake them, as I did. You decide.

Start by marinading your chicken. To a mixing bowl, add the chicken, and the oil. Toss to coat, then add in the shawarma spice mix. Toss again to make sure all of the chicken is coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Chicken Shawarma Ingredients

During this time, prepare your tzatziki, hummus, and tahini sauce. They all go pretty quickly, and can be used throughout the week. That’s always a great thing.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Add the chicken to a baking sheet, and cook for about 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked. Once cooked, let it cool slightly, then chop into bite sized pieces.

Keep the oven on, and cook your french fries.

Heat a skillet on high heat, then add in the chicken, to get a nice sear on the pieces, tossing along the way. Once you get a nice sear, remove from the heat, and set aside until you are ready to make your sandwich.

Take your warmed pita and smear on the hummus.

Top with pieces of the chicken, drizzle on the tahini sauce, then top with the tomatoes and cucumbers. Add a couple of dollops of tzatziki sauce, the top with the french fries and drizzle with some more that tahini sauce.

Now you are ready to dig in. Fold that pita, open wide, and take this bad boy on. This chicken shawarma is so good, and the entire flavor combination just makes this an awesome one. The chicken itself is so warm and addicting in the spices, then you get that creamy hummus, and the garlic tahini. Whoa, this one is great, and again my entire family devoured them. A must make if you are looking for great all-around Middle Eastern flavors and a killer sandwich to boot. Hope you enjoy!

Chicken Shawarma
Author: 
Recipe type: Sandwiches
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5
 
Ingredients
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thick strips
  • 3 tbsp shawarma spice seasoning
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • ½ cup of your favorite hummus
  • ¼ cup of tzatziki sauce
  • 2 tbsp tahini sauce
  • ½ cup shredded lettuce
  • sliced cucumbers, to your liking
  • sliced tomatoes, to your liking
  • 1 whole pita bread, warmed
  • ½ cup cooked french fries, per sandwich, optional
Instructions
  1. OK, let’s get this going. Now you have options here. You can go with adding the seasoned strips to a skewer and adding them onto a grill, or you can bake them, as I did. You decide.
  2. Start by marinading your chicken. To a mixing bowl, add the chicken, and the oil. Toss to coat, then add in the shawarma spice mix. Toss again to make sure all of the chicken is coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.
  3. During this time, prepare your tzatziki, hummus, and tahini sauce. They all go pretty quickly, and can be used throughout the week. That’s always a great thing.
  4. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Add the chicken to a baking sheet, and cook for about 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked. Once cooked, let it cool slightly, then chop into bite sized pieces.
  6. Keep the oven on, and cook your french fries.
  7. Heat a skillet on high heat, then add in the chicken, to get a nice sear on the pieces, tossing along the way. Once you get a nice sear, remove from the heat, and set aside until you are ready to make your sandwich.
  8. Take your warmed pita and smear on the hummus.
  9. Top with pieces of the chicken, drizzle on the tahini sauce, then top with the tomatoes and cucumbers. Add a couple of dollops of tzatziki sauce, the top with the french fries and drizzle with some more that tahini sauce.

 

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Shawarma Seasoning Spice Mix

It was not too long ago when I decided to stop by a local fast food place called Golden Gyros because I had a craving for a great gyro, and this place got great reviews. The only other places are in downtown Milwaukee, of which I do not want to drive to just to get a gyro. So when I went into this small place, it was packed with people ordering food. As my default decision was to go for the gyro, others were ordering the chicken shawarma. As I went to order, I was almost drawn in to ordering the chicken, but then the gyro platter spilled out of my mouth. A good decision to say the least, and now they are probably my favorite in town, but I could not get the shawarma off of my mind. That’s when I decided to come up with the spice blend and make it my own.

Shawrma Seasoning Spice Mix Recipe

This stuff is really delicious and adds just the right earthiness to any Middle Eastern meal. I’ve been using this on chicken and beef and everyone loves it.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp all spice
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Add the cumin seeds and black peppercorns to a small skillet and cook on medium heat for about 3 minutes. Stir along the way.

Next, add everything to a spice grinder, and grind until you have a fine powder.

Shawrma Spice Mix Ingredients

Sprinkle this on chicken, beef, vegetables, or lamb, heck even fish before cooking on the grill or oven.

If you can imagine all of those spices mixed together, geez the aroma alone is awesome. Store in an air tight container and use throughout any grilled recipes. Hope you enjoy!

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Indian Dabeli Sandwich

Oh, the dabeli sandwich. I should say ‘get into da belly’. I’m sure, and maybe not, that many of you have not heard of a dabeli, but it is this funky Indian sandwich, think of it as a slider, that it’s main ingredient is mashed potatoes. Yep, a mashed potato sandwich. This thing is so crazy, but it is one of India’s popular street and snack foods. This sandwich is really unique, due to the fact that texturally it is a bit off-putting but thankfully you get some added texture from the crushed peanuts, and sev. Dabeli and Sev. Two new words for you in this culinary world.

I made this sandwich only to use up leftover potato I had from making those poutine potato skins, so if you are looking for an interesting sandwich that is packed full of flavor and spices, give this one a try.

Did I mention that cilantro chutney?

Indian Dabeli Sandwich Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the Sandwich:

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cup of cooked mashed potatoes
  • 1 pinch of salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp cilantro chutney
  • 1/4 cup of roasted peanuts, lightly crushed
  • 1/4 cup of Sev (Indian chickpea crunchy noodles)
  • 2 small (slider style) hamburger buns

Ingredients for the Spice Mix:

  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp whole black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds

OK, let’s start.

Heat a small skillet on medium heat. Add all of the spice mix ingredients, and gently stir, cooking for only about 3 minutes, if that. As soon as you start to get all of those aromas, it is time to turn the heat off and go to the next step.

Add the spice mixture to a spice grinder and pulse into you have a nice powder mixture.

Set to the side. This mixture will be added when we finish cooking the already cooked and mashed potatoes.

Ingredients for making Indian Dabeli

Next, wipe out the skillet. Return to a medium heat, and add in the canola oil.

Toss in the cumin seeds, and let them fry for about thirty seconds, then toss in the mashed potatoes. Give this a good stir, then add in the spice mix, and give that a good stir.

Cook this mixture for a couple of minutes, then add in the sugar, salt, and water.

Continue to stir until the potato mixture forms into a nice, thick paste and all of the water has evaporated into the potato mixture.

During this time, heat a larger skillet on medium to high heat, and add the buns to lightly toast them. Remember, this one it all about the texture. You do not want soft, on soft, or at least in my opinion you do not.

OK, let’s build the sandwich.

Take the bottom lightly toasted bun, and and half of the potato mixture. Top with half of the peanuts, half of the cilantro chutney, and then the sev. Where has sev been my whole life (or this sandwich for that matter)? Top with the other bun, and then repeat and build your second dabeli.

Dig in. Now I admitted that this is a funky sandwich. Texturally it’s bizarre, but bizarre in such a way that those Indian spices just blow you away. It’s a punch, not only with the cilantro chutney with it’s brightness, but those spices… Whoa. I can see why this is one of India’s favorite snack. Don’t even get me started on so many of the other awesome Indian dishes out there (well, maybe you should), but I’m sure those are coming down the road anyway. Anyway, let me know your thoughts on this one. Like, or no like.

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