Easy Food Smith

Posts Tagged / Comfort Food

GUR KA HALWA / गुड़ का हलवा (Jaggery Semolina Pudding)



If you are wondering what struck me on head for uploading a Halwa post in the midst of hot and sultry Indian summer, well there are two reasons. One, the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi begins from 25th of this month and the other reason is that I am making the most of the beautiful and cool monsoon weather here, which will start to recede in a few days’ time and usher in the hot and sultry two months of autumn. The pleasant cool and breezy weather has provided me all the reasons to indulge in this hot bowl of comfort. I have posted a few halwa recipes earlier; one of them being a similar halwa but sweetened with sugar. It is similar to that halwa but with a little tweaking here and there. We have been trying to make conscious effort to include less of refined sugar in our desserts and bakes. And this halwa is one such dessert in that endeavour; the other being the Sabudana Kheer I posted for Diwali last year. I intend to share more of such desserts that have been sweetened with jaggery (gur) in times to come. While I sit curled up at my favourite spot in the house, enjoying the rains with a comforting bowl of this halwa, you grab the recipe and do try it in your kitchen 🙂

½ C Milk

1 pinch Saffron

2 C Water

100 – 120 grams Gur (Jaggery) – adjust sweetness

¾ tsp Cardamom powder

6 – 7 tbsp melted Ghee

1 C Semolina (Suji)

Assorted nuts to garnish

Soak saffron in warm milk for at least an hour to allow the flavours and color to steep. Set aside.

Scrap the jaggery and melt it in water (I do this by placing a pan with jaggery and water on heat and stirring the contents till the jaggery just melts. You do NOT need to cook it). Sieve the contents and add cardamom powder to it and set aside.

In a heavy bottom pan or kadahi (wok), melt the ghee on medium heat and fry the semolina till it attains golden brown color and becomes aromatic.

Add saffron milk and jaggery water and cook on high heat stirring vigorously till the liquid is absorbed. (Be careful the hot contents will splatter around.) Keep in mind that the halwa will absorb the liquid further on as it sits and so adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Remove from heat and serve garnished with nuts of your choice. Enjoy!

Note: If you want, you can dry roast the nuts or fry them in a little ghee before serving.

Note: Keep the amount of jaggery to 100 grams if you like your dessert less sweet and if you prefer more sweetness, increase it to 120 grams.

Note: Feel free to add a little cane sugar (gur shakkar) if you want to add more sweetness. Stir it in a little milk and heat it along with the halwa.

Serves 6 – 8

Thanks for visiting and see you soon again with another exciting recipe!

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LEHSUNI PANEER / लहसुनी पनीर (Garlicky Cottage Cheese Curry) – GF



Paneer is to vegetarians what eggs are to non vegetarians – a quick, easy, simple ingredient that can be turned into so many variety of dishes. In north India, if you are expecting a vegetarian at your house for a meal, paneer will invariably find its way to the menu (even more so, if it happens to be a Punjabi household). Paneer is a vegetarian delicacy of sorts. And its versatility makes it an easy ingredient to work with. You can turn it into tikka or bhurjee or kofta curry and even a cheesecake – it will never fail you. Use it with some spices and herbs to make filling for your jaffles or stuffed flatbread and there you have an excellent breakfast dish to be polished off with pickle and chai! You can find a post I had done during my initial blogging years on how to make paneer at home. The process is simple and you can use it for so many recipes or have it on its own with some sprinkle of chaat masala.

This recipe may seem to be using a lot of garlic but when it pairs with other ingredients, it mellow downs (you’ve got to trust me on that). The key here is not to compromise on the usage of tomatoes. I usually chop the tomatoes and blitz them in a grinder. For this recipe, I could obtain about one third cup tomato puree (without adding water) from one medium sized tomato. Also, do not hold yourself back from using milk. It helps bring a balance to the sourness of tomatoes, tones down the garlic and mellows the heat of chillies. This curry gets ready in under 15 minutes, what more can you ask for 😀

2 – 3 tbsp Oil

½ tsp Cumin Seeds

½ tsp Mustard Seeds

2 small Onions (thickly sliced)


4 fat cloves Garlic (grated) {approximately 1 tbsp}

1 medium Tomato

1/3 C Milk

300 grams Paneer, (cubed)

½ tsp Turmeric Powder

½ – ¾ tsp Chili Powder (adjust to taste)

2 tsp Coriander Powder

½ tsp Garam Masala

Salt to taste

2 whole Green Chilies

Fresh Coriander to garnish

This curry takes no time to cook. So be ready with all ingredients.


Wash, chop and blitz the tomato in a grinder. You should have at least 1/3 cup or more of tomato puree. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan and add cumin and mustard seeds. As soon as they begin to crackle, add onions and fry them on medium heat till they turn translucent and just begin to turn golden.

Now add grated garlic and fry till the garlic changes color to golden and becomes aromatic. Add the tomatoes and along with the spices and salt.

Keep stirring the contents on medium heat till the masala begins to leave oil on the sides. Now add milk and lower the heat.

Split chilies in 3 or 4 pieces and throw them in the curry. Add the paneer and stir it in. Add more milk if required at this stage. (I do not like my curry loose and rather prefer the masala coating the paneer pieces well. Suit youself)

Cook for a minute and the curry is ready. (you do not need to cook the paneer much else it will turn rubbery)

Stir in some freshly coriander to the curry and garnish the rest before serving. Remove the contents in a serving bowl and serve with roti, paratha or naan. YUM!

Note: I have added split whole green chilies coz I just wanted some grassy flavors of the chili added to the curry. Feel free to add them chopped in case you wish to add some more heat to the curry.

Note: Also, you can tinker with the amount of ingredients you wish to use.

Serves 4 (as side dish)


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BAKED CHICKEN KORMA / बेक्ड चिकन कोरमा



Curries don’t always need to be stirred in a pot. They don’t always have to be rich in masala. They don’t have to be rich in fat. They don’t have to be tedious to make. Rather, curries can taste great even when baked…yes baked! The trick however is a good flavourful marination that will ensure that your baked curry tastes as good as the regular one. The textures may be different but the taste would be nearly the same. But before I begin with the recipe for this korma, there are a few things you need to know about it. To begin with, it is

A mild curry

Packed with flavours

Oil free

Low on fat

No fuss, well almost

I got inspired by this recipe. The moment I saw it, I immediately knew that I had to turn it in to a korma. My recipe for korma had to be revamped to turn it into a baked one. This recipe uses minimum amount of oil and using hung yogurt ensures that you need to use no cream at all! Feel free to go for full fat yogurt if you may. This is not a curry that requires time or one that needs to be planned as a weekend project. You can enjoy this curry on any day of the week. All that you need to do is ‘make’ hung yogurt by leaving yogurt on a sieve lined with cheese cloth or muslic cloth in the refrigerator over night (or maybe, you can use Greek yogurt instead). Prepare the marinade and marinate the chicken and you have a great meal waiting for you on a busy week day. I prefer to serve it with Malabar parotha, which are layered flaky flat bread and kachumber salad i.e. an onion, cucumber and tomato salad with a squeeze of lemon juice and a little salt. Making a curry was never this easy and so much fun!


¾ C Yogurt (I used low fat)

6 pieces (600 grams) Chicken Thighs, skinless & on bones

1½ tbsp Lemon Juice

¾ C sliced Onions

2 tbsp Oil or Ghee

3 Green Chillies

¼ C chopped Fresh Cilantro (Coriander)

1 tsp Ginger Paste

1 tsp Garlic Paste

½ tsp Garam Masala (adjust the amount accordingly to the strength of the masala)

½ tsp Chilli Powder (adjust to taste)

2 tsp Coriander Powder

Salt to taste (I had used ¾ tsp)

1 ½ tbsp Almond meal (Almond powder)

A few strands Saffron

1/3 C + 2 tbsp warm Milk


Take a sieve and place it over a vessel that can hold it over the rim. Line the sieve with muslin cloth (hanging it loose over the edges) and pour the whipped yogurt onto it. Gently cover the yogurt with the cloth and set the vessel in the fridge over-night to attain hung yogurt. The vessel will catch all the drips. (Feel free to use Greek yogurt if available)

Add the saffron strands to 2 tbsp of warm milk and keep aside. (I keep it aside for at least an hour and half to intensify the flavour)

Heat oil in a pan and fry the sliced onions till light brown in color. Drain excess oil and keep them on an absorbent sheet. Set aside.

Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces. Make two deep parallel slit marks diagonally (with an inch gap between the two slits) across the plump side of the breast piece. In a baking dish arrange the chicken pieces and pour the lemon juice over it. Marinate for 10 – 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, using a grinder, make a smooth paste (marinade) with the hung yogurt, fried onions, ginger paste, garlic paste, saffron milk, fresh coriander, garam masala, green chillies, red chilli powder, coriander powder and almond meal. Transfer the marinade to a bowl and add the milk. Stir the marinade well to have a smooth consistency.

Transfer the chicken to a baking dish and pour the marinade all over the chicken. Ensure that all pieces are well coated. And also that the marinade goes deep into the incisions as well.

Cover with a click wrap and refrigerate it for at least six hours. I prefer to keep the chicken marinated over-night. (More the marinated time, more succulent the chicken tends to be)

Remove the baking dish from the refrigerator half an hour before you intend to bake the chicken. Remove the cling wrap and bake the chicken uncovered at 180 degree for 45 – 50 minutes or till the chicken is done. Serve it with the bread of your choice or with potatoes and veggies.


Note: I prefer using chicken on bone for curries since they add flavor to it. Feel free to use boneless thighs.

Note: Do not compromise on any of the ingredients. Saffron, yogurt and spices are fundamental to a korma recipe.

Serves – 3 – 4