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Five Indian fusion recipes for spring

Indo-Thai chili paneer
Indo-Thai chili paneer
S Biswas

In Phoenix, we have glorious spring weather right now. Spring calls for lighter recipes with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Indian cuisine has some very light recipes which are ideal for spring entertaining. Here is a list of five Indian recipes that can be used for everyday dining and also for entertaining guests.

1. Indo-Thai Chili paneer: A great fusion cuisine that combines the spices and vegetables of Thai cuisine with Indian food staples like paneer (Indian cottage cheese). Also, a good substitute for vegetarians, as all the ingredients are either diary based or fresh vegetables. You can get the recipe with the article

2. Bread dumplings with vegetables: An easy dish which doubles up as an appetizer and also an entrée. You can use any kinds of vegetables like carrots, baby corn, green beans, bell peppers etc to go with the dumplings. This recipe is also good for vegetarians if you substitute the egg in the dumpling with chickpea flour. The recipe is at

3. Lemon vermicelli: This is a light dish that uses vermicelli pasta mixed with some spices, lentils and a dash of lime. It is easy to make and doubles up as a brunch or lunch item.

4. Fresh fruit trifle: It is a simple desert where slices or angel food is alternated with layers of custard and fresh fruit. Easy to make and delicious.

5. Sweet Lassi: It is a yogurt based drink where plain yogurt is whipped with some sugar and spices. Super refreshing specially with spicy food.

Indo-Thai chili paneer
Indo-Thai chili paneer S Biswas

Indo-Thai chili paneer

Indo-Thai Chili Paneer

250 g paneer (Indian cottage cheese, cubed and lightly fried)
1 cup carrots (cut into thick strips)
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup whole snap peas
½ cup beets (cut into strips)
1 cup zucchini (diced)
4-5 Kafir lime leaves
1 onion (sliced)
½ tsp ginger paste
2 tsp Thai Tom Yum hot and sour paste
½ tsp salt
1 tsp honey
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp canola oil


Heat oil in a work or a deep sauté pan. Sauté onions in the oil till translucent. Add ginger paste and lime fry some more. Now add the carrots and beets. Sauté till a little cooked. Now add the rest of the vegetables and salt. Cook till vegetables start to sweat (4- 5 minutes). Now add the Thai hot and sour paste to the vegetables. Add a little water (about 1 tbsp) and the lime leaves, cover and cook till vegetables are all cooked. Add honey and cornstarch dissolved in 1 tbsp water. When the mixture is boiling, add the paneer. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes. Take off the heat and serve with rice or noodles.

Lemon vermicelli
Lemon vermicelli S Biswas

Lemon vermicelli

Lemon Vermicelli

2 cups of vermicelli
½ cup carrots (diced)
½ cup green beans (2” pieces)
¼ cup corn (frozen)
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 red chilies
4-5 curry leaves
1 tsp channa daal (gram lentils)
1 tsp urad daal
1 tsp salt
1 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp lime juice
2 cups water
Cashew and peanuts (for garnishing)

In a deep pan heat the canola oil. Put the mustard seeds, chilies, curry leaves and channa and urad daal to season the oil. When the mustard is sputtering, add the vegetables and sauté for 5 minutes. Add salt then the vermicelli to the oil, vegetable mixture. Fry till the vermicelli is slightly brown. Add the water and let it boil. Add curry powder while the mixture is boiling. Cook till all the water is absorbed and the vermicelli is soft. Take off the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes. Add lime juice and serve warm garnished with cilantro leaves and nuts. You can also add scrambled eggs to the pasta to add some protein.

Fresh fruit trifle
Fresh fruit trifle S Biswas

Fresh fruit trifle

1 lb Angel food cake (cut into 2” slices)
2 lbs vanilla custard (store bought or homemade using milk and custard powder)
1 tbsp Dole pineapple bits (can or cups)
1 tbsp apple slices
1 banana (sliced)
½ cup fresh strawberries (quartered)
¼ cup strong coffee (brewed)
½ cup whipped cream (Reddy whip would do)

Arrange a layer of cake at the bottom of a deep glass bowl (or deep Ziploc container). Put a layer of fruit (except strawberries) over the cake layer. Pour 2 tsp vanilla custard over the fruit. Alternate with another layer of cake, followed by fruit and custard. Repeat till you are almost at the top. Finish with the cake layer. Pour the coffee over the layers so that the cake absorbs the coffee flavor. Decorate with whipped cream and strawberries. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving. For serving, slice through the layers and serve on a plate. Garnish with more custard cream.

Sweet Lassi
Sweet Lassi S Biswas

Sweet Lassi

Sweet lassi

This is a slightly different version of the yogurt based drink without the mangoes. All you need is to whip up some simple ingredients in a blender and you have another sun-blaster ready in no time.


  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp rock salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ glass water
  • A pinch of chat masala (optional)

Blend everything (except the chat masala) in a blender and pour into a tall glass. Drop two cubes of ice and sprinkle a pinch of chat masala on the top.

Bread dumplings with vegetables
Bread dumplings with vegetables S Biswas

Bread dumplings with vegetables

Bread dumplings

  • 3 slices of bread
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp rosemary
  • ¼ tsp dill
  • 1 tsp Thai chili sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds or poppy seeds
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Beat the egg in a glass bowl. Break the bread pieces and mash them into the egg. Add soda and corn starch so that the consistency is of a thick batter (like pakora batter). Add the salt, spices, Thai sauce and sesame or poppy seeds. Heat oil in a deep fry pan. Spoon 1 tsp of the batter into the hot oil. Fry till golden brown in color. Turn over with a fork and fry the other side. Drain on paper towels and keep aside.

Harvest vegetables

  • 5-6 baby carrots
  • 1 cup green beans (2” long slices)
  • 1 can baby corn
  • ½ cup green bell peppers (2” long strips)
  • ½ cup red bell peppers (2” long strips)
  • 1 tomato (sliced)
  • ½ onion (sliced)
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • 2-3 sprigs of cilantro
  • 1 tsp soya sauce
  • 1 tsp tomato sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Thai chili sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

Heat sesame oil in a sauté pan. Fry onion slices and half of the chopped green onions in the oil. Sauté the carrots, followed by the beans, baby corn and bell peppers. Add salt, cover the pan and let the vegetables sweat for a couple of minutes. Now add the tomato slices and cook for 2-3 minutes more. When the vegetables are almost cooked add the soya, tomato and chili sauces. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the bread dumplings to the vegetables. Serve in a platter, garnishing with the remaining chopped green onions and cilantro and eat with rice.

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