4 Easy Appetizer/ Starter Recipes that are Beyond Delicious

Appetizers/ starters are the soul of any gathering or party. Be it a Friday night shenanigan with friends or a Sunday housewarming lunch at home, starters are not only crowd pleasers, but are also easy to put together.

Today I will be sharing 4 delicious appetizer recipes that are also quick and inexpensive! Master these simple recipes and munch and mingle your way through any party next time 🙂 What more do we want?

1. Dahi ke Kebab/ Hung Yogurt Kebab⭐️

Soft, melt in the mouth hung yogurt kebabs spiced with nutmeg and with a filling of roasted cashew, fried onions, fresh coriander and fennel🤍

I really love it when you bite into a dahi kebab and can taste the cream cheesy texture of just the hung yogurt, which is not mixed with paneer or grated cheese as some recipes call for.

I followed my favourite Indian chef Ranveer Brar’s YouTube recipe to the T, the only difference being I shallow fried my kebabs on a tawa (flat skillet) instead of deep frying. Dahi kebab is the perfect appetizer when paired with some mint chutney or a spicy tomato relish.

Here’s how you can make yours following the chef’s fantastic recipe:

For the filling:

Roast 1/2 cup cashews in a pan with a tbsp of ghee (clarified butter) until golden. Remove and keep aside. Once it has cooled down, chop them into pieces.

In a bowl, throw in the chopped cashews, 1/2 cup fried onion, 1 tsp fennel seeds, chopped green chili (according to taste), 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves, 1/2 tsp red chili powder, 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder, some hung yogurt and salt to taste. Mix it well and keep aside.


For the kebab:

In another bowl, add 2 cups of hung yogurt, 4 tbsp fresh bread crumb, 1/4 cup roasted gram flour, salt to taste, 1/2 tsp crushed black pepper and 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg. Again mix well until everything is well combined. Now take a small portion of the yogurt mix and make a round ball.

Add the stuffing in the center as a filling and seal it properly to again make a round-ish patty. Coat all the kebabs with some bread crumbs and keep refrigerated for at least 5-10 minutes so that they become slightly firm. Shallow fry them in a tava/ skillet until nice and golden from all sides.


2. Sumac Prawns with Lemon, Coriander & Garlic 


When I first read Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour, I was blown away by how basic ingredients could transform a simple recipe into a winning dish🤍

Persian food really highlights the use of fresh herbs/ aromatic spices and it’s not hot or too spicy but the flavours do pack a mean punch. So for the next starter, I made this stunning prawn recipe from her book. Juicy, succulent prawns flavoured with citrusy sumac, lemon, black pepper, coriander and lots of garlic.

I can’t even begin to tell you how insanely delicious this dish is! Definitely a must try 🙂

Here’s the recipe (with 12 medium sized prawns, quantity of ingredients slightly adjusted):

In a bowl mix together 3 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice, grated rind of 1 lemon, 3 fat garlic cloves crushed, sea salt, 1 tbsp sumac, 2 tbsp of finely chopped coriander with stalks and freshly cracked black pepper.

Marinate the prawns for about 30 minutes. Now heat a frying pan with oil and shallow fry the prawns on both sides until you get the right texture- juicy and tender, not chewy. I used bamboo skewers but you could skip it.

Serve immediately and enjoy. I served these prawns with a homemade yogurt-parsley dip.


3. Pan-grilled drumsticks 


Just 4 ingredients and some patience and you have got yourself a juicy tender chargrilled chicken kebab, perfect for your weekend Netflix marathon 😉

I do fancy elaborate recipes but there are days when I just can’t be bothered. This starter is perfect for those days!
It was on my lunch menu today along with dal, some rice and lots of fresh salad🤍

Here’s the easiest recipe:

Take a bowl and add 3 heaped tbsps of greek yogurt, 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste, 1 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder and some salt. Mix well and throw in 5 chicken drumsticks and coat them well with the marinade. Make sure to make some deep gashes on the drumsticks for better absorption of the spices.

Keep aside for an hour. Now heat 1-2 tbsp of oil in a wok and add in the chicken pieces. Toss them on high heat for a minute or two, then lower the flame to medium, cover and cook.

After every 10 minutes, keep checking and turning the sides. Cook it covered on med-low heat, until the chicken is nicely charred and all the gravy dries up.

Squeeze some lemon and serve with your favourite dip.

4. Easy Paneer Skewers⭐️

I looove paneer! You give it to me in salads, curries, as grilled, parathas or even raw, I’ll be a happy kid. But it has to be really fresh and soft. I’m not fond of most store bought paneers, but Nanak’s paneer is an exception. Their malai paneer is so creamy and soft, I’m sure a lot of you would agree!

For the last one in this series, I have got a really easy paneer hariyali tikka recipe for you. You could serve these in a tortilla wrap with a mint-yogurt sauce and some salad and turn them into paneer tikka wraps. Enjoy🤍

Here’s the recipe:

In a blender, add 1.5 cups of coriander leaves, 1 cup fresh parsley, 3 tbsp hung yogurt, salt to taste, 1-2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 green chili, 2 fat garlic cloves, 1 inch ginger and blend into a smooth paste.

Now transfer the paste into a bowl and add 1/2 tsp powders of each of the following- coriander, turmeric, cumin, kashmiri red chilli, garam masala and chat masala. Throw in 1 tbsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) and 2 tbsp roasted besan (gram flour). Mix well and adjust the salt.

Add 250g paneer (cottage cheese) cut into 12 cubes and 12 pieces of diced red bell pepper. You could add diced onions as well. Coat the paneer and the veggie well with the masala (spice mix) and keep it refrigerated for 1 hour.

Now heat a skillet with 1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter), place the paneer skewers on it. Cook until the edges of the paneer get crisp and brown. You could brush them with ghee once in a while if needed.

Squeeze some lemon juice and serve with any chilled yogurt dip.

Ayam Goreng Sambal (Malaysian style Spicy Sambal Chicken)

Crispy and tender boneless chicken thighs smothered in Malaysian style spicy sambal. So sedap (tasty) 🤍

Local Malay and Indonesian fares are so deliciously appetising and dangerously addictive that there’s no going back ever once you taste them at the countless mamak shops (street side restaurants)😋

I was craving sambal ayam goreng today, so quickly tossed up some fried chicken pieces in homemade sambal. Hello weekend bingeing !

Try this recipe and get transported to the enigmatic winding streets of Kuala Lumpur.

Ingredients:

For the fried chicken

300 g boneless chicken thigh

1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste

1 tbsp kecap manis (dark sweet soy sauce)

1 tsp vinegar

1 egg beaten

2 tbsp cornflour

White oil for deep frying

For the spicy sambal

5-6 fat cloves of garlic crushed

5-6 shallots

1 lemongrass stalk finely sliced

1 inch piece of fresh turmeric (or 1 tsp turmeric powder)

2 inch piece of galangal (or fresh ginger)

2-3 dried red chilies soaked in hot water (you can add more or reduce depending on your heat tolerance)

1-2 fresh chilies (again add or reduce to your liking)

1 tsp fish sauce

2 tsp tamarind paste (without seeds)

2 tbsp brown sugar (or palm sugar)

Any white (neutral) oil

Method

Marinate the chicken thigh pieces with some salt, ginger-garlic paste, kecap manis, vinegar, 1 beaten egg and cornflour. Keep refrigerated for 30 mins.

Heat some oil in a wok for deep frying. Fry the chicken until nice and crunchy golden brown. Drain and keep aside on a plate.

Meanwhile prepare the sambal by grinding the garlic cloves, fresh turmeric, ginger (or galangal), soaked dried red chilies, fresh chilies, shallots and lemongrass stalk into a paste in a blender or a mortar-pestle if you have patience.

Now heat a wok with oil. Sauté the paste on low heat until the aromatics turn fragrant which may take 12-15 minutes. Now add little fish sauce, palm sugar (or brown sugar) and the tamarind paste (you can make it to your liking by adjusting the sugar and tamarind).


Once the oil releases from the spices, it’s time to add the fried chicken and toss them for a while. Serve hot with your favourite drinks or simple nasi putih (white rice) 🙂

Aloor Bora (Bengali style crispy potato fritters with chilies)

Recipe no: 4 from my #regionalkitchensofindia series

This has to be the easiest recipe among all that I’ve ever shared on my blog.

Maa used to make this quite often during my growing up years and I loved these fritters with some rice and lentils. Best comfort food ever🤍 I still remember coming back home from school, quickly changing and rushing to the kitchen to see what’s for supper. That really was the highlight of my day!

So I knew I had to include this simple dish in my #regionalkitchensofindia series. Most of us have the usual potato chips/ fries/ aloo bhaja at home all the time, but have you tried fritters with the potato skin unpeeled, Bengali style?

Bengal had faced several challenges in its long history which had adverse implications on its economy. As a result, women came up with several innovative ways to utilise everything they had in their kitchen and minimise wastage. No peels, skins, stems or fish head got thrown away 😅

You can enjoy this with either a simple meal like dal-chawal (lentil and rice) or with your evening cuppa. Simple pleasures of life 🙂

Ingredients (for about 10 small fritters):

9-10 small potatoes, boiled (don’t remove the skin)

1 tsp roasted cumin powder

3 finely chopped green chilies

1 tsp finely chopped coriander leaves

Salt to taste

3 tsp rice flour

Mustard oil to deep fry

Method:

Boil the potatoes & mash them without removing the skin. That’s the essence of this dish.

Add salt, roasted cumin powder, lots of chopped green chilies and coriander leaves. Throw in the rice flour for binding and mix everything well.

Make small balls and fry them on medium heat in very hot oil (preferably mustard oil).

Rainy day munching & a happy start

Crunchy vegetable pakoras

Its a lazy rainy morning. One of those days when you want to drink a steaming cup of coffee (green tea in my case 😀 ) & gorge on some munchies all snuggled up in bed of course! As I stared out of my window, I was reminded of my days back in Calcutta, India when my ma used to rustle up some delish hot pakoras (fritters) with whatever veggies she could lay her hands on.

Ummm…heavenly!! The perfect comfort food in the rains. The crunch of the thin crusted fritters along with the pitter patter raindrops was like music to my soul.

Today sitting in Kuala Lumpur, I am suddenly craving for my mom made pakoras. I run into my kitchen & check the pantry. So I have a medium sized carrot, a large yellow bell pepper & two onions. Perfect! What better way to kick-start my blog than by sharing one of my favourite snack recipes. So lets get started.

Here’s what you need: (for about 15-16 fritters)

  • 1 big carrot  (cut in thin long strips)
  • 1 big bell pepper ( same as above)
  • 2 medium sized onions (sliced)
  • 2 chopped green chillies (depending on your heat tolerance)
  • few chopped mint leaves to add a fresh zing (my twist 😉 )
  •  For the batter:      
  • 5-6 tbsp of besan (chickpea flour)
  • 1 tbsp of sunflower oil
  • some water for a semi thick batter
  • Now add the following spices:  
  • Red chilli powder- 1 tsp
  • Chaat masala- 1 tsp
  • Pepper powder- 1/2 tsp
  • Ajwain (carom seed)- 1 tsp
  • a pinch of garam masala
  • a pinch of sugar
  • salt to taste
  • lemon juice- 1 1/2 tbsp

Add the water slowly until you get a not so thick batter. Mix in all the veggies. Keep aside for 15-20 mins. Heat oil in a pan. Put a spoonful of batter one by one into the pan & deep fry the pakodas till dark golden brown.

Serve hot with green chutney, tomato ketchup, masala chai (tea) or chilled beer. The choice is endless. Simple pleasures of life 🙂

The veggies
The veggies

Besan
Besan

The final batter
The final batter

Deep fry the pakoras/ fritters
Deep fry the pakoras/ fritters

Yumminess
Yumminess

Crispy juicy pakoras!
Crispy juicy pakoras!