Tag Archives: garlic

[Halloween Special] Rustic meal: Bajri Roti and Spicy Lasun Chutney

After all the summer craziness and travels I’m enjoying the relaxing Fall season. I love the crisp cool air and all combinations of red-orange-yellow colors around. The weather inspired me to make my mother in law’s mini-meal bajra roti and lasun chutney. Bajra is perfect for cooler weather since it is considered “heat-y” and the spiciness of the chutney ties in well with it’s nutty flavor. V grew up eating it for breakfast during not-so hot months in Mumbai (aka winter) but it is a great combo on a weeknight. This meal can be planned ahead – doesn’t need a lot of prep time and includes ingredients that you either already have in your pantry or have a longer-shelf life (such as flour or frozen grated coconut).


If you are not a fan of coconut the bajra roti can be a good substitute for breads/wheat rotis and can be enjoyed with any curry or vegetable. Bajra is considered very nutritional, gluten-free and if you skip the ghee the recipe is dairy-free as well.

Are you wondering about my non-traditional Halloween post? The roti’s natural dark grey/black color and the chutney’s orange color remind me of Fall and Halloween. That’s not it — the number of dried red chillies and the spiciness is for the brave-hearted only! Scary ha? Just kidding — enjoy!



Something to warm you up this Fall. And spiciness that sounds scary. Trust me you need it after all the candy-consumption!

[recipe title=”Rustic meal: Bajra Roti and Lasun Chutney” servings=”2″ time=”45 mins Prep 20 mins” difficulty=”moderate/difficult”]


    • 2 cups bajra flour (black/pearl millet flour)*
    • 1 cup warm water + 1/2 cups for sprinkling
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • Sea salt to taste
    • Extra flour for rolling
    • 2 tbsp Ghee (optional)*
    • 6-8 garlic cloves
    • 8-12 dried red chillies*
    • 1 tbsp tamarind paste*
    • 1 cup freshly grated coconut (or thawed frozen coconut)*
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • pinch of asafoetida*
    • 1/2 cup water
    • Salt to taste
  • *ingredients available at an Indian grocery store


  • In a bowl (or kitchen aid with dough hook attachment) mix bajra flour, salt, olive oil and warm water. Knead into soft dough. mytip: Add water gradually, starting with only 1/2 cup first and the rest as needed.
  • Let the dough rest for 10-15 mins.
  • In the meantime let’s make the chutney, in a pan add olive oil, asafoetida, roughly chopped garlic cloves and dried red chillies. Roast for few minutes. Once you get a nice aroma of garlic and the chillies add in the grated coconut. Roast for additional 2-3 minutes. mytip: Certain red chillies can be really spicy so please use caution and use according to your spice level. I used the byagdi variety from South India that is spicy and imparts a nice orange color to the chutney.
  • In a blender grind – roasted coconut, garlic, red chillies, salt, tamarind paste and water to make a fine paste. Roasted garlic chutney is ready!
  • Back to the bajra dough — the consistency of the dough should be soft. If it is sticky it will be difficult to roll and if it gets too firm it will be easy to roll but the final product might be too hard to eat! Add flour or water and adjust the dough.
  • Make ~8 small balls and flatten them like a crab cake.
  • Individually roll into a flat bread either with a rolling pin or with your finger tips. This is the most tricky part — you will need some practice and some patience but use flour generously or roll mini-ones.
  • Bajra flour is gluten-free so can break easily. Handle the flatbread with delicate hand if it sticks use a flat spoon to remove the sticky parts.
  •  Place the roti on a hot non-stick pan, sprinkle some water on the top no oil is required.
  • Once both sides are cooked remove on a plate. Smear some ghee while still hot (totally optionally but certainly enhances the flavor). If you do not apply the ghee this recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free.
  • Serve hot with the chutney!


Perfecting grilled asparagus!

I had never cooked asparagus. I loved it when I ate it at restaurants – however not something I grew up eating neither is it native to Indian cuisine. Well with my husband and I moving towards including more and more veggies in our diet I finally gave in and purchased a bunch at Whole Foods.


The timing worked out since a  co-worker (non-Indian) was coming over for dinner – I had planned an Indian food feast (menu: chicken tikka masala, pav bhaji, cumin cashew nut brown rice) but thought of grilling asparagus as a side dish. Or more so as a back-up so she has some familiar ingredients/flavors. I did my research and asparagus was definitely a safe bet. Easy to cook – definitely as compared to everything else I was planning on cooking. I realized I did not need to monitor the asparagus while it is in the oven.

mytip: When planning the menu for a party or dinner with friends plan at least one or two dishes that are not as time, labor, or ingredients intensive.

I turned on the oven to pre-heat (400 deg F) – rinsed the asparagus in cold running water and was ready to take it on. I looked at my co-worker now what? She smiled and said to cut out the hard ends (about 1-2 inches, the knife should easily cut through). Done. Placed them in an oven proof dish – seasoned with some sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, added sliced garlic and drizzled some olive oil. Off it went in the oven (400 deg F) for 20-30 minutes.


Is it ready? Well just check if they are “fork tender” – i.e. just check if a fork pierces through and comes out easily. Yay! It is ready – finally before serving I sprinkled some lemon juice and grated parmesan cheese.

mythoughts: Loved the simplicity – was intrigued that it had taken me so long to try it at home – easily doable on a weeknight – perfection at first attempt!


[recipe title=”Grilled Asparagus with Garlic and Parmesan Cheese” servings=”4″ time=”22-32 mins Prep 2 mins Oven 20-30 mins” difficulty=”easy”]


  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • lemon juice to taste


  • Pre-heat oven to 400 deg F.
  • Rinse the asparagus and cut off about 1-2 inch(es) at the bottom of the stalks.
  • Place the asparagus in an oven proof dish.
  • Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and give it a quick toss.
  • Thinly slice garlic cloves and add them to the asparagus.
  • Place the dish in the oven and set the timer for 20-30 mins.
  • Check if the asparagus is “fork tender”.
  • Before serving sprinkle some lemon juice and parmesan cheese.