Category Archives: Maharashtrian

Til-Gul Babka Jewish Indian bread


Nothing is more appetizing than the smell of freshly made bread. Be it the fresh roti that is made right on the stove top or a loaf of bread baked in the oven.. it calls everyone to the kitchen and around the dining table. I am not much of a baker, I do bake cakes occasionally but it does not come to me naturally. I feel cakes are way easier than the breads, when you start baking breads, you are going closer to the science than art.

After MasterChef, one of the goals has been to bake more often and since my family is not too much into the cakes, and I like to challenge myself, I am planning to bake more breads and try new techniques.

January is one of my favorite months. This is the month of resolutions, new beginnings and many more things. One of the things is Hurda, its my most favorite thing on this face earth, and this is the time we celebrate Sankranti. This is the only festival in Maharashtra that is based on a Solar/Gregorian calendar, rest of them are all lunar calendar based. Sankranti is celebrated on the 14th of Jan, and other parts of India celebrate this festival with different names, Pongal in southern India, Bihu in Eastern India, Uttarayan in Western India and Lohri in Northern India.  The common theme is great food and happiness and most of the  sweets  are made from Sesame seeds and Jaggery. Both these foods create ‘heat’ in the body and hence eaten during this winter season.

Going back to my baking breads, as you know, I love combining flavors. I had seen this sesame bread recipe on pintrest and that is also my source of inspiration today.So I decided to make this bread which is fit for the Sankrant and something new. Here it comes;

Til Gul Babka



I know right, it sounds crazy but tasted yummy, if you are into sweet breads, you might want to give it a try. This recipe is quite versatile and can be easily made into a savory bread as well, all you have to change is the filling and you are good to go.

I had read about this technique of ‘Tangzhong‘ and decided to try using it with this bread. I think it definitely helped keep the bread very moist. Tangzhong is a a Japanese technique, it makes for a very sticky dough that is very tricky to handle, but thats what makes for the very soft final product.

Tangzhong is nothing else but a paste made with flour and water, you cook it to almost a roux like consistency. You cool it and mix it in the dough.It sounds so simple and it is, but let me tell you, it created incredibly soft almost pillowy bread.

I think I am so in love this technique that I think I will end up using in everything I bake. 🙂

Back to the recipe



  • 50 g  Flour
  • 1 cup milk

Bread dough

  • 350 g Bread Flour ( about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 salt
  • 65 g sugar ( about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup warm Milk
  • 2 tsp Yeast
  • About 1 cup Tangzhong
  • 1 egg for egg wash


  • 1/2 cup Crushed Jaggery ( you can use dark brown sugar if you can not find jaggery)
  • 1/3 cup roasted peanut
  • 4 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 4-5 Tbsp ghee ( or softened unsalted butter)


Making Tangzhong

  • Mix in the water and flour to form a good slurry
  • Cook it on low flame till it thickens. It should be a little less thick that a mashed potatoes. One way to check is if you stop stirring, does the mixture stays in circles and you can see the bottom of the pan
  • Take it off the heat, cover with a plastic wrap, making sure it touches the surface of the paste. This will ensure that no crust forms
  • Cool the Tangzhong to use later

Making the filling

  • Grind all the ingredients except the ghee and molasses
  • Mix the powder in ghee and molasses to make a paste

Making the dough

  • Warm up the milk and add the yeast. Leave it aside for 10-15 mins for it to foam up
  • Until then mix, Flour, Salt, sugar, sesame seeds
  • Add an egg and mix
  • Now add the yeast and milk mixture and mix for 30 secs
  • Add the tangzhong that is cooled
  • Now knead the dough in the stand mixer for 10-15 mins
  • Keep adding softened butter while the mixer is running
  • The dough will be a very wet dough, don’t worry. If the dough sticks to the bottom of the bowl, don’t worry
  • Take a greased bowl and transfer the dough.Let the dough roof for at least 2 hours.
  • I like to proof my dough in the fridge, so I can use it when I am ready
  • The dough should double in size

Assembling it together

  • Punch and deflate the dough
  • Roll it into a reactangle
  • Spread the filling evenly

Shaping the bread

  • Take the rolled log and cut it along the length with a sharp knife
  • Twist the two parts together to form a braid keeping the cut side up
  • Take a bread loaf pan that is greased and lined with a parchment paper
  • Add the dough in it and let it rest for at least 60 mins


  • Heat the oven at 350 F
  • Brush the dough with egg wash and bake for 25-30 mins in a 350F


  1. This dough was a little more than a standard bread loaf can handle, so I removed about 1/3 cup dough before shaping it
  2. If you can not find molasses, you can substitute with honey




Pakatali Poori- Saffron- Lemon flavored bread


I not only love to cook and learn new foods, but also love to learn about the ‘Old foods’. I feel in this era of instant and quick foods, we are missing out on some incredible dishes. We dont know how to use certain ingredients and soon those will become extinct. A lot of the dishes our gradmoms made, have never been a part of the food at our table.

I am thankful to books like Ruchira, we have access to at least a few of the Maharashtrian recipes. Its a book that is given as a wedding gift to every new bride in Maharashtra. I have used it extensively as when I got married, I did not know how to cook. I would call my mom but 1 minute call to India costed $1.90 and there was no internet. So getting cookbooks, going to the library and watching cooking shows was how I learnt my cooking.

Going back to the ‘lost recipe’, this recipe is almost on the verge of it. Today is Vasant Panchami, a day that marks the arrival of the ‘Vansant ( spring)’ season and you also worship Goddess Saraswati on this day.


 This is a very special recipe because of Baba’s aunt used to make it, and she made it really well. I thought, why not make something I have never made before,after all Saraswati is a goddess of Knowledge, and what better tribute than a new( old) recipe. 

I have made  a couple of small modifications o the original recipe, I mixed half Rava and half all purpose flour, also rolled the poori like you roll the Chirota or Khaja ( another Maharashtrian delicacy)

It is a very easy recipe and you will find most of the needed ingredients at home. 

Pakatali Poori




  • 1/2 cup fine rave
  • 1/2 cup All purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp Ghee ( clarified butter) melted and slightly warm
  • 3 tbsp sour full fat yogurt 
  • Pinch of salt


  • 1 cup fine sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom powder
  • Saffron strands
  • Juice of 1 Meyer Lemon



  • Mix the rave and APF together with salt
  • Add warm ghee and rub it well in the dry mixture
  • Add dahi to make a stiff dough. If the yogurt/dahi is not sour, you can leave it on the counter so it turns sour. It is crucial since that it what gives these pooris or breads a nice taste
  • Let the dough rest for at least an hour. If you have used only Rava, you would need to let it rest for 2 hours
  • After 2 hours, pound the dough, this is necessary to make it pliable. If you have a stand up mixer, you can use the dough attachment to do the work 


  • Mix sugar and water and cook till its ‘2 string stage’ *
  • Heat a pan on very low flame, add the saffron strands and slightly roast them. You are just warming them and not quite roasting. Warming them makes them crumbly and hence they mix well in the syrup
  • Add cardamom powder, saffron and the juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Keep the syrup on a low flame, but keep it warm. This ensures that the syrup soaks in the Pooris. If the syrup is not warm enough, it will only create a coat on the outside

Making the Pooris

  • Heat oil in a deep pan
  • You can roll the Pooris like a regular flat bread, or
  • Roll out a big poori. Make a roll and cut into 4-5 pieces
  • Flatten those pieces again to make a poori
  • Fry the poori till golden brown
  • Drain and immediately add them to the warm syrup. 
  • Ater 10-15 mins, take them out and arrange on a plate
  • If you like, you can user slivered almonds or pistachios as well


Savory butternut squash


I have been making an effort to eat local and eat what is in season. To help with this initiative, I only shop at the farmer’s market as much as I can. The only exceptions are curry leaves and mango.

My kids sometimes complain that I always find some type of squash in the market, they are right, you will always find some kind of squash in the market. The butternut squash is typically available in fall. The market I go to, one farmer carries organic apples and different kinds of squashes. I love butternut squash since it holds its shape fairly well even after cooking.

When I was ready to cook this squash, my friend Hrushikesh posted this recipe. This recipe reminded me of the subji that is served as a Prasad ( a blessing) at a a very famous temple. I visited it when I was in 7th grade. I fondly remember sitting on the floor and eating this subji with thick whole wheat rotis on a plate made with dried leaves. I did not know what Bio degradable or compostable meant, now I appreciate that plate even more.

So I decided to try the recipe right away and the outcome was delicious. It can be easily tweaked to be eaten as a fasting food as well.

Savory butternut squash

Pumpkin Subji


3/4 kgs of pumpkin chopped in squares of about 2″ x 2″ (peels on)
3/4 cup  grated dried coconut
1 tbsp Poppy seeds ( खसखस )
2 green chillies finely chopped
2 medium sized dried chillies
1 tbsp  cashews chopped
10-15 fenugreek seeds
2 tsp Corriander powder
1 full stem of curry leaves
2 tbsp Raisins
1/2 cup of water

For tempering
1 1/2 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
A pinch of asafoetida


Peel the squash and cut in cubes.

If you are using pumpkin, you can leave the skin on as it helps keep the cubes intact and does not get mushy.

Heat the oil in a wok. When hot, add cumin seeds, turmeric powder and asafoetida.

Add the raisins, curry leaves, green & red chillies, cashew nuts, fenugreek seeds,poppy seeds and roast it for about 2 mins.

Now add 1 tsp of corriander powder (the remaining 1 tsp goes in at the end) and roast it for another minute or slow on a low flame.

Add a few drops of water if it starts to burn.

You can add more chillies if you like, since the squash has its natural sweet taste, sugar or jaggery is not required
Now add the cut pumpkin cubes, there’s no need to steam it as these cubes do get cooked well.

Add 1/4 cup of water and cover this with a lid for about 3-4 mins. Check after that add some more water and let it cook for another 4-5 mins or until done.

Add the roasted dry coconut & 1 tsp of Dhaniya powder.

Cook it till its done.

Serve it hot with roti or Teekhi puris.


Cilantro pesto-Dhaniya chutney



Do you know anyone who  has the ability to just brighten up the room the minute they enter in. It is their smile, genuine nice attitude or even the way they crack jokes, they just makes the situation nicer.

I cherish such friends, very thankful to have them in my life.

If I had to relate this back to the food, I think condiments are like these special friends. Anytime if it seems like what you have cooked for dinner is just blah, a nice chutney, salsa, dip can come to the rescue and help revive the meal. 

I love condiments of all kinds. I love making yogurt based dips, spicy chutneys, fresh salsas of various kinds. My favorite of all are the spicy condiments.

When my kids were younger everything I cooked was very mild. I am lucky that my kids eat all the vegetables ever since they were babies so I wanted to make sure it stays that way. As a result I would also have to eat very mild food, that was really hard. So I started making chutneys and relishes, these were spicy and complimented the mild food well.

One such chutney is the ‘Cilantro chutney’. You can also call it Cilantro pesto.  My friend Uma taught me this one. What I love about this recipe is all the things needed are usually available easily at home. It takes only a few minutes to make and stays well in fridge for a week, although I must warn you, it is so yummy that it barely lasts a day, usually it is cleaned up quickly.



  • 1 1/2 cup of washed , cleaned Cilantro
  • 1 tbsp roasted peanuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 8-10 spicy green chilies ( I use thai chilies since I like it spicy)
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp oil



  • Dry roast the peanuts
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds and turmeric powder
  • Add chopped green chilies and chopped garlic
  • Saute for 30 seconds, don’t let the garlic or chili burn or brown.
  • Add cilantro and turn the heat off.  Add salt. Cover and leave it to warm through.
  • Grind the peanuts to a powder.
  • Add cooled cilantro mixture and grind to a paste. I like to keep it a little coarse and not grind it super fine.


It can be used in many ways. I love serving it in the pretty yellow bowl. I bought it in Nepal, we visited Bhaktapur darbar. Amongst many other beautiful carvings and handicraft we also got to see beautiful pottery. It was amazing to see the potters turn the wheel and make these beautiful art pieces. 


1. Mix it with some sour cream, yogurt or Greek yogurt to make a quick dip. I love it with pita chips.

2. Mix it with butter to make a great sandwich spread. I love to add some sliced avocado and make an open faced sandwich. I also like to add alfalfah sprouts to this, add a nice crunch to this already tasty sandwich.



Simple Buttermilk Spinach curry



As you learn more and more about Indian cuisine, you will notice that not only every region has its own cuisine and delicacies but also different food is made at different occasions.t is believed that different food bring in different qualities to your body and mind.For e.g. whenever there is a religious occasion, typically food is cooked without onion and garlic.

Yesterday was one such special day, it is believed that Lord Vishnu the creator goes to sleep on this day. A lot of Indians keep a fast on this day.

Today I decided to make a meal which had no onion or garlic. My kids love Indian food, so decided to make their favorites.

This particular curry is very typical of a brahmin household. In brahmin cuisine, you will see heavy usage of milk products along with ginger and Cumin. This recipe can be made with any of the greens except Fenugreek, I feel that it tastes way too bitter.


2 cups of cleaned washed and chopped Spinach leaves

1/4 cup raw peanuts

2 tbsp Chana daal

1 cup Buttermilk ( If you don’t have buttermilk you can use Yogurt blended with some water)

2 tsp Besan ( Chick pea flour)

1 green chili, split in two pieces

1 clove of Garlic ( optional)

1 pinch of Asafoetida

1/2 tsp Jeera ( Cumin Seeds)

1 pinch of Sugar

Salt to taste

Oil or Ghee for tempering


Soak the peanuts and Chana daal in water for 30-40 mins. Add some salt and set aside.

In a pressure cooker add some water. In a steel pot add the chopped spinach with 2 tbsp of water and the bowl with soaked peanuts and daal.

Pressure cook for 2 whistles.

When the cooker is cooled down, take out the spinach and mash with a ladle or your hand.

Mix in the cooked Peanuts and Chana Daal.

In a separate bowl, mix the buttermilk with the chickpea flour, sugar and salt. Make sure there are no lumps of chickpea flour. Add water if needed to make a mixture that is like a thin smoothie.

Add this mixture to the spinach mixture.
Now you can make it two ways. You can make Tadka ( tempering) in a pot and add the spinach mixture and cook. Or, cook the spinach mixture and then temper it later. Both work great.

First method:

Heat oil or ghee in a sauce pan. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and saute for 10 sec. Add green chilies, and chopped garlic( if using). If you add garlic, leave out the Asafoetida.

Saute till the Garlic is a little browned.

Add the Spinach mixture and cook on a really low flame, stirring frequently. Cooking on a low flame ensure that the buttermilk does not curdle and allows the Chickpea flour to cook completely.


Here is the second method:

Cook the spinach mixture in a pot.

bhaji without phodni

Make the tempering in a ladle. I use the iron one. I love it since it has a long handle and does not get hot, and it helps me get some extra iron in my diet.


Add the tempering ( oil mixture) to the cooked Spinach mixture

bhaji with Phodni

Add chopped cilantro and serve.

If you want to serve it with rice, you can make it a bit thinner. If you want to serve it with Roti/bread, you can make it a bit thicker.

I love eating it even on its own. It tastes great hot or cold.

Tonight I served it with whole wheat roti( Indian bread), sautéd Tondli and home made cultured butter.

Kolhapuri chicken- A fiery treat


Kolhapuri chicken rassa- a fiery treat that you can not stop eating.


I like to eat it with Jowar Bhakri, raw onion and raw methi & white butter ( makhhan).
2 chicken breast- chopped
1/2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1/4 tsp lime juice
4 tbsp Kolhapuri masala
2 tbsp Bedgi chili powder.
1 medium onion chopped

Mix ginger garlic paste, salt and lime juice with chicken and keep aside for at least an hour.

Take oil in the pan. Saute finely chopped onions till they are brown.

Add the red chili powder. Add the marinated chicken and cook for 30 sec. Add the masala paste and saute more. Add salt to taste.
Add hot water to get the consistency you desire. Cover and cook for a few mins.
This actually works better with the mutton but since my husband prefers chicken, I make it more often



Sabudana Khichadi- a typical Indian Breakfast


Sabudana ( Tapioca) looks  like tiny white pearls, made from roots of the cassava plant, it is very common in Indian cooking. It is a younger cousin of the Boba tea/Tapioca tea. Typically it is eaten during fasting, but also eaten as a common breakfast food. It is can be made as a savory or a sweet dish. It can be eaten like a tapioca pudding but my favorite recipe is a savory one.

My husband and kids are big fans of this and happily eat it any time. In fact whenever my son comes home, the first thing he wants to eat is this ‘Sabudana Khichadi’

They even love to take it in the lunch box.


The recipe is very simple but I feel the trick is in soaking the Sabudana right. So today I will share my step by step recipe.


3 cups of sabudana ( sago/Tapioca)

1/2 cup roasted peanuts

4-5 green chilies

2 tbsp Cumin seeds ( divided use)

1-2 Potatoes, peeled and sliced

1/4 cup milk at room temp


2 tbsp ghee



For garnish:

Chopped cilantro

Fresh grated coconut


Take the sabudana in a large pot. Wash it with cold water. When you start washing it will looks cloudy

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Wash until the water runs clear. This helps get rid of excess starch which makes the khichadi clumpy when cooked.

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Add water just to cover the sabudana and a little over.

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Now let it soak for at least 7-8 hours. I end up soaking it overnight since I make this mostly for breakfast.

About an hour before you plan to make the khichadi, take the milk and sprinkle it over the soaked sabudana. Using fork separate the grains and leave aside.

Make powder with roasted peanuts

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Make paste with the green chilies & 1 tbsp of cumins seeds in a mortal & pestle, you can also use a blender.

Add peanut powder, chili mixture, salt & Sugar to the soaked sabudana and mix well.

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In a pan heat oil, add cumin seeds. Add some green chili pieces and saute till the cumin seeds are brown.

Add sliced potatoes, add salt to the potatoes and cover.

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Cook until the potatoes are done.

Add the sabudana mixture and cook. Cover for only a couple of mins and stir constantly, this will prevent clumps from forming. The easiest way to know when it is done is to check if the pearls are translucent.

Add the ghee and mix well. Traditionally it is cooked in ghee, but if you are trying to avoid it then adding just a couple of tbsp at the end is a good solution. This gives the flavor of ghee but you dont have to cook solely with it.


Garnish with chopped cilantro, fresh grated coconut and yogurt or a lime wedge.

Indian Egg curry- poached eggs in coconut curry


Yesterday was one of those days when I had very few things in the fridge and yet I was hoping to make something yummy for dinner, then I thought about Egg curry. Egg curry is a very common Indian dish. Most of the ingredients are available at home and egg curry can be very handy on one of those days when you don’t know what to make. It can be eaten with rice or wheat roti( Indian bread). Sometimes I like to eat egg curry with a crusty bread for breakfast as well, with a cup of tea it is perfect nutritious way to start the day.

Typically egg curry is made with boiled eggs in a tomato-onion gravy. Although I like the taste of that curry, I find that the eggs and curry don’t blend well.   I prefer to make it almost like poached eggs. The eggs get cooked in a nice coconutty curry to perfection. This recipe does not have tomatoes and gets its tartness from tamarind. This egg curry reminds me of the the Tunisian recipe ‘Shakshuka’,  Eggs cooked in tomato based sauce, so try this Indian Shakshuka, it is very easy to make.

Last night’s dinner was a simple egg curry, Opp squash with panch Phoran & whole wheat rotis.



For the Masala paste

1/2 cup Fresh grated coconut
4 dry red chilies
1 big clove of garlic
1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp jeera
1/4 cup cilantro
1 tsp tamarind paste
1/2 tsp turmeric

1 small onion chopped fine
3/4 cup coconut milk( optional)
4-5 eggs



Grind all the ingredients for the paste fine using water.
Heat oil and sauté onion till nice and brown.

Add masala paste and sauté it for a min


Add water to make a thin curry It should be thinner than what you would like the final product to be.
Add salt and mix well.


Make small wells in the curry and crack eggs gently in the curry.
Cover and cook on low flame. After a couple of min open the lid and spoon some curry over the eggs without disturbing them.

Add coconut milk if you want richer curry.
Keep cooking until the yolk is set. 
Garnish with chopped cilantro & serve with Roti or Rice


Vada Pav -the indian veggie burger

Vada Pav -the indian veggie burger

If you have visited India and especially Mumbai, you must have seen many road- side stalls for Vada Pav. Vada is a name for anything that is round in shape and fried..and Pav is the bread or dinner roll in hindi.

Indian Vegetarian Burger


Usually I visit India in July-August time frame, at that time it is Monsoon  in India. When we drive from Mumbai to Pune, you go through the Western Ghats, the mountain are covered in lush green carpet, you see beautiful streams bouncing down the mountain side. The air is clean and crisp, and as you are enjoying this all, you smell Hot Vada Pav being made somewhere.


Vada Pav is a popular street food of India, especially Maharashtra.  Vada is a name for anything that is round in shape and fried..and Pav is the bread or dinner roll in hindi. There are some foods which I can eat anytime of the day, many times in the week and still enjoy and love the same. Vada Pav is definitely one of them. In fact, whenever I visit India Vada Pav is the first food I eat.

When you travel by train any station the train stops at, you will find the vendors selling vada pav. On a piece of paper with some spicy hot green chilies.

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It is a very easy recipe and typically most of the ingredients are available at home so anytime you crave it, you can make it quickly.



3 potatoes boiled and diced ( I have used russet potatoes)

1/2 onion finely chopped ( optional)

6-8 garlic cloves

1/2 tsp grated ginger

4-5 green chilies

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp turmeric powder

a few curry leaves

1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Sugar to taste

Salt to taste

1 tsp lime juice


1 cup of besan ( bengal gram flour)

1/2 tsp turmeric

Salt to taste

1 tsp oil

Couple of pinches of baking soda

Oil to fry




Peel the potatoes and dice them in small pieces. Make sure the potatoes are cooled before you dice them, else they can get sticky. Slightly mash them with the back of a fork.

Pound the garlic and green chilies with a little bit of salt into a coarse paste.

Heat oil, add mustard seeds. As soon as they splutter, add curry leaves and turmeric. Add onions if using and saute them till they are light brown in color. Dont let them burn at all.

Add the chili-garlic paste and saute for 15-20 secs. Turn the heat off

Add the potatoes mixture, salt, sugar and lime juice. Mix well, and taste to adjust the seasoning.


Mix all the ingredients for the batter except the baking soda well, make sure there are no lumps. When you are ready to fry the vada, add the baking soda and set aside for 5 mins.

Make lemon size balls of the potato mixture.

Dip the balls in the batter and fry on medium heat till golden brown.

Serve with dry garlic chutney. You can also use tamarind chutney or Mint chutney as a spread on the bread before making a sandwich with the Vada.









Garlic chutney


Whenever you eat Vada Pav, this chutney is absolutely essential. It is very simple recipe made with a few ingredients but adds a necessary kick to the Vada Pav. It is almost like a dry rub in the texture and needs to be consumed pretty quickly since it has raw uncooked garlic.





1/2 cup dry coconut, slightly roasted
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp kashmiri red chili powder

1 tbsp deghi mirch powder

1 tsp Kanda lasoon masala( I sometimes use Kolhapuri masala)


Chop the garlic in the food processor. Add all the rest of the ingredients together while pulsing the food processor. A lot of people do not add peanuts and make it just with coconut, I feel like the taste of peanuts. Also, Kanda lasoon masala is a very typical Maharashtrian spice mix, the Kolhapuri masala I make come close so sometimes I use that.

Also, it is the Kashmiri red chili powder that gives it that tempting red color, so I mix Deghi for spice and Kashmiri for color.


Enjoy with Vada Pav!