Dig-In Meals – A column highlighting Indian spices in recipes that take traditional Indian food and add a western twist!
Summer is here and that means we’re spending a lot of time outdoors, engaging in family-friendly summer activities and backyard cookouts. These fast summer recipes give you more time for what really matters: picnics, sunsets, and pool time. Most of these recipes are easy to make ahead and assemble right before you eat and pair beautifully with a summer cocktail or sangria.
Paneer Tikka Salad
Comes together quickly, most can be made ahead and tossed when serving.
For Paneer tikka :
- 400 grams of Paneer
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp Kashmiri red chili powder
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 2 tsp cumin-coriander powder (dhana jeeru)
- 1 tsp garam masala powder
- 1/2 tsp amchur (dry mango powder)
- 1/2 tsp black salt
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
For the Salad :
- 1 cup of chopped cucumbers (Persian preferred as they are seedless)
- 2 medium onions sliced (I prefer to grill these too)
- 1 medium capsicum sliced (I prefer to grill these too)
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
- 1/2 cup corn kernels (frozen or fresh)
- 3 green chilies finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp chaat masala
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- In a bowl add the oil and Kashmiri red chili powder and mix well.
- Next add the rest of the ingredients to make a smooth paste: yogurt, ground ginger, cumin, coriander, garam masala, dry mango powder, black salt, salt, coriander.
- Cut the Paneer into medium sized chunks and marinate it in the prepared paste. Coat the paneer completely and rest it overnight or for a few hours.
- Grill, or airfry/bake till golden brown on all sides.
- In a large mixing bowl add all the vegetables under the salad. Add the grilled paneer. Mix well.
Spiced Indian Corn (Vaghareli Makai)
A roadside staple growing up!
- 2 red chilis, seeded and sliced
- 2 medium garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 one-inch piece of fresh ginger finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoon ghee
- 11/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
- 3 cups (about 3 large ears) grilled fresh corn kernels
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
- 1 cup finely chopped cilantro
- lemon or lime wedges
- 2 tablespoons sev
- Grind the chilis, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and salt to a smooth paste.
- Heat the ghee in a wok. Add the mustard seeds wait for them to pop,
- Stir in the corn kernels and cook a few minutes, stirring frequently, until tender.
- Stir in the peanuts, half of the cilantro and half of the paste. Cook for another minute then taste. If desired, for additional heat, add more of the paste.
- Remove from heat and squeeze some lemon/lime juice. Sprinkle with sev.
Aloo Chaat Pizza
- 2 medium potatoes, sliced into thin slices
- 1/2 teaspoon chaat masala
- 1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1/3 cup Pur Spices Green Chutney Powder (so yummy! or use homemade green cilantro chutney)
- 11/4 cups grated cheese (I used double cream gouda cheese)
- salt to taste
- 1 lb pizza dough homemade or store-bought
To drizzle on pizza before serving:
- White truffle oil
- chaat masala
- cilantro chutney or Pur Spices Green Chutney Powder (the powder helps it not become too soggy)
- sweet tamarind chutney
- Rinse and thinly slice the potatoes(It’s important to slice them thin here in order for the potatoes to cook evenly in the oven.)
- Place the potato slices in heavily salted cold water for a half-hour.
- Pre-heat oven to 475 F degrees. Drain the potatoes, pat dry using a kitchen towel, and transfer them to a bowl.
- Add 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon chaat masala, 1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder, and 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder to the potato slices and toss until the slices are coated.
- Prepare your pizza dough by stretching it into your desired shape. Sprinkle some cornmeal on the pan place the prepared pizza.
- Brush the dough lightly with oil, then prick with a fork and bake at 475 F for 4 to 5 minutes. (We are just pre-baking the crust a little here.)
- Remove from oven and spread 1/3 cup of cilantro powder or chutney all over.
- Top with grated cheese.
- Now, start arranging the potato slices, in a single layer or overlapping, depending on how many slices you have.
- Bake 475 for 10/15 minutes until the cheese melts and potatoes are lightly browned.
- Broil for 2 minutes to get the topping a nice brown top
- Remove pizza from the oven, sprinkle with chaat masala, drizzle with cilantro chutney and sweet tamarind chutney.
- Garnish with cilantro.
Curried Cauliflower Street Tacos
You can substitute cauliflower for pork. I garnish with avocado, cilantro, cashew, yogurt crema, pico de gallo, cotija cheese, and finely chopped jalapeño. You can add any garnish of your choice.
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Achaar Masala (I use Pur Spices Achaar Masala powder)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 Cup Red Onion (grated or chopped)
- 2 cups spring greens
- 1″ Ginger (fresh ginger, peeled)
- 2 Garlic (cloves)
- 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Powder (mild paprika)
- 1/2 tbsp Curry Powder
- 1/2 tbsp Cumin Seeds
- 8 crispy tostadas
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 lemon cut into wedges
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower and cut them into small, bite-sized florets.
- Heat oil in a pan, add the cumin seeds, once they pop, add the onion, cook till translucent. Add the achaar masala and salt.
- Add the cauliflower and toss until well-coated.
- Cook till the cauliflower is tender. Alternatively, you can also spread the cauliflower in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes, tossing halfway through, until it is tender and slightly crispy.
- To Assemble Tacos: Warm tortillas shells in microwave or oven.
- On each taco add 2-3 tablespoon curry cauliflower, top with avocado, cilantro, cashew, yogurt crema, pico de gallo, cotija cheese, and finely chopped jalapeño. Add a dash of lemon/lime juice before eating.
Mona Shah is a multi-platform storyteller with expertise in digital communications, social media strategy, and content curation for Twitter and LinkedIn for C-suite executives. A journalist and editor, her experience spans television, cable news, and magazines. An avid traveler and foodie, she loves artisan food and finding hidden gems: restaurants, recipes, destinations. She can be reached at: [email protected]