CHICKEN TIKKA-जला भुना मस्त मुर्गा




COOKING TIME: 10-15 minutes

750 grams chicken breast cut into pieces
100g yogurt
4 inch frozen garlic or 8 crushed cloves
4 inch frozen ginger or 50 grams freshly grated
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 tablespoon meat masala powder
1/2 teaspoon orange food colour
For stove cooking: 1 tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce or 1 teaspoon of sugar

STEP 1 .Mix all ingredients and add boneless chicken except sweet chilli sauce and/or sugar (if using stove method). Leave it for 30 minutes, to get best flavours, you can choose to marinate it for lesser time or just cook right away.


  • On the Stove: Put marinated chicken on a heated pan with one tablespoon of oil, cook for 5 minutes on high heat with lid on and then add one tablespoon of any sweet chilli sauce or half a teaspoon of sugar. Cook for about 5 minutes with lid open on high flame. Chicken will be dry, little burnt and crisp with smokey flavour.
  • On the Barbecue: Put chicken pieces on BBQ sticks and put them on high fire for 5 minutes turning in between.
  • In the Oven-To bake place chicken on silver foil (poke holes in foil cause the chicken will let out water) and put in oven for 20 minutes.


Serve with one of the delicious and healthy Yogurt dips


HOT CORIANDER CHUTNEY-हरी भरी धनिया मिर्च चटनी


1 bunch of fresh coriander/cilantro leaves
10 frozen crushed green chilli chopped
½ small raw green mango chopped (fresh or frozen)
½ lime squeezed
1 pinch asafoetida powder
2 teaspoons Cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon mango powder


Put everything in a food processor and chop it all up together till you get a chutney




If you do not have raw green mango, replace it with handful of dried roasted chickpea, or peanuts or cashews or any other nuts. Raw mango gives the right density and sour flavour to the chutney. The flavour will vary if you replace with another ingredient, you may want to add a little more of mango powder or lemon juice to get cover the sour side of the chutney. Just be creative..

Reason to be here..

lavina masand mehraIt’s taken me weeks and days to finally put these thoughts down. This is about a recipe that is THE reason why I endeavoured to start my blog Four Steps or Less. This simple recipe first hit me hard and then motivated me to do something about what struck me most. Looking at it positively, this recipe for चटपटा भुना मेवा – Spicy Roasted Nuts – that I will be posting later today is the source of inspiration for me to think about, and talk about green cooking or being energy smart. This started when a TV cooking show hosted by a popular chef was running in the background and my subconscious self was possibly paying attention to it while I was actually doing something else. I was dismayed and shocked to see that a conventional recipe of roasting nuts suggested that the oven needed to be preheated  to 300 to 400 degrees then left running for another 20-30 minutes to roast nuts. Considering that we are becoming mindful and feeling responsible about making the earth green and reducing our carbon footprint, this much oven time for the simple pleasure of enjoying roasted nuts seemed criminal to me. This subliminal viewing of a cooking show made me pay attention to the amount of oven cooking happening in this part of the world. After some research and observing more conventional recipes for most popular dishes I discerned that most recipes that asked for an average of 30-45 minutes of oven time could actually be prepared using alternate cooking methods in less than half the time that oven cooking took. That would mean if we are really serious about saving energy and time and genuinely trying out alternative cooking methods, we could reduce the carbon footprint of our cooking by half.

I fully recognize that oven baking is popular as it is convenient, it gives that scrumptious golden brown colour and a delectable crisp crust to savour. To add to these reasons, all of us are so used to conventional oven cooking that it seems like it is the only way to cook a particular dish. However, I honestly feel that the colour and crust both could still be achieved by using alternate green and smart cooking methods. I am determined to try out some conventional oven recipes by replacing the energy-sucking oven cooking method with alternate smart cooking methods or a fusion of green cooking being used for most of the cooking time with some time on the oven, if needed. I sincerely hope that this will contribute to minimizing damage to the environment. This recipe will be the first one in the series that I will try my hands at and post them on my blog in the days to come. If it makes even one of you try this energy efficient method, I would have achieved my purpose of starting this conversation about green cooking.

Roasted Garlic-भुनी लहसुन

As healthy as garlic is, it adds a distinct flavour to our foods. This stinking rose, if roasted does wonders and turns an ordinary recipe into a gourmet meal. Check out the steps below for a quick way to always have roasted garlic ready with you to add to any recipe.
Step 1. Cut the garlic bulb into half horizontally.
Step 2. Wrap the halves of bulbs in silver foil and throw it in the oven when the oven is already in use for something else. Roast for 15-20 minutes.
Step 3. When the foil cools down, open the foil and hold the half cut bulb in the foil and press it to squeeze roasted garlic out of it. It will smoothly come out completely mess free leaving the shell of the cloves within the foil.
Step 4. Store roasted cloves in an airtight container in the fridge. These can be stored for months without it going bad.
Handy Tip:
Add mashed roasted garlic to yogurt dips, hummus or any other recipe that requires garlic as an ingredient.

Freeze Fresh Herbs-हरी बर्फीली सलाह

We all love herbs and their distinct flavours, however whenever we buy fresh herbs we do not use them all at the same time. It seems cumbersome to save them and keep them fresh until the next use. For me, it is really painful to see the herbs die down and then thrown away.

IMG_0706An easy way to use the herbs multiple times is that you can freeze fresh herbs by simply washing and chopping them while they are fresh and wet (no need to dry them out). Put chopped herbs in an empty ice cube tray. Put as much quantity in each cube as you would need for your average recipe. Add a little water to the cubes to help herbs freeze well and form the shape. Once frozen, store these cubes in the tray itself or in a freezer zip bag or container. When you use frozen herbs, you will find them in the same colour and as flavourful as they are when fresh.

Energy Smart Tip-बिजली बचाओ सलाह

When baking a cake or using an oven for a recipe, consider using the same electric energy and your time to roast/bake/ grill ingredients for another recipe for another day. If you think hard, there will always be something that can be done like roasting an eggplant, potatoes, or another vegetable, or meat or nuts that can be stored in the refrigerator for use for another meal. Conventional cooking range ovens have enough space to accommodate several dishes on its racks, so make use of the space, energy and time.

This way not only you get better organized for the next meal, you help make the earth green, save some carbon footprint you may otherwise leave with using oven time and again.  To add to this, be Energy Smart and check out the off peak time for your province and plan using the oven at a time when it costs the least and you can save energy cost.

Cocothai curry-गरीथाई करी


Why this recipe?

Gluten Free , Quicker than any quick recipe. Just 3 Steps

COOKING TIME: 6-8 minutes

1 teaspoon oil
2 teaspoons of sesame seeds(white til seeds)
1 tablespoon of Thai curry paste (Red, Green or Yellow)
1 can of coconut milk or coconut cream
500 grams of mixed frozen vegetables or fresh mixed veggies

STEP 1. Put sesame seeds in heated oil. Stir for 30 seconds and add thai curry paste to it.

STEP 2. Thaw frozen veggies in microwave for 2-3 minutes or steam fresh veggies with a cover in microwave for 2-3 minutes.

STEP 3:Add coconut milk, thawed frozen vegetables and salt. Keep it on the heat for 2-3 minutes with lid covered. Let it simmer for 3-4 minutes with lid covered.

HANDY TIPS:thumb_IMG_0381_1024
1. You can add boneless chicken or any other meat to make it a non-vegetarian option.
2. This preparation can be served as a soup, a topping on grilled veggies or meats or as curry to go with rice or with roti, naan or bread.
3. Bring your creative side to play and add some flavourful herbs like lemon basil, rosemary, cilantro or dill.
4. If you do not have readymade curry paste, make a paste with ginger, green chillies and fresh curry leaves or coriander leaves for a green curry.

Coconut Veggie – Cocotom curry-तु॑गटम सब्ज़ी


Why this recipe?

Gluten Free , Quicker than a quick recipe. 

COOKING TIME: 6-8 minutes

1 teaspoon oil
2 teaspoons of mustard seeds
5-10 tender curry leaves
2 medium sized chopped tomatoes
1 can of coconut milk or coconut cream
500 grams of mixed frozen or fresh vegetables
½ teaspoon of red chilli powder
1 square inch of frozen chopped green chilli
2 square inch of frozen grated ginger or 25 grams fresh ginger

STEP 1. Put mustard seeds and curry leaves in heated oil. Stir for 30 seconds to a minute.
STEP 2. Add chopped tomatoes, ginger, green chilli and red chilli powder and let it simmer for 2 minutes with lid covered.
STEP 3. Thaw frozen vegetables or steam fresh veggies in microwave in the meanwhile for 2-3 minutes
STEP 4. Add coconut milk, thawed frozen vegetables and salt. Keep it on the heat for 2-3 minutes with lid covered.

HANDY TIPS:thumb_IMG_0374_1024
1. You can add boneless chicken or any other meat to make it a non-vegetarian option.
2. This preparation can be served as a soup, a topping on grilled veggies or meats or as curry to go with rice or with roti, naan or bread.
3. Bring your creative side to play and add some flavourful herbs like lemon basil, rosemary, cilantro or dill.

Browning Tender Veggies-एक सलाह – लेनी हो तो लो

Some tender veggies like cauliflower breaks away in the cooking pan as soon as it softens . To get the right colour and texture of the finished recipe for such ingredients, cook at highest heat level for first 5-10 minutes. Make sure to keep turning the ingredients occasionally so that some pieces get brown even though not tender or cooked fully. After you get the right colour and burnt flavour, alternate the heat to low to let the ingredients get tender and fully cooked. You may want to add a few drops of water when putting the heat at low to help tendering process and finish up the recipe.

Save Time for the Next Time-एक सलाह वक़्त बचाने वाली

Here is a tip to get the quick cooking going and to save time on the days you are really pressed for it and yet want to make something nice and elaborate. Most sumptuous indian curries and dishes require sautéed onion and this is what takes time. So, be smart and keep some chopped sautéed onions in your refrigerator. The day you are making a recipe with onions, plan on peeling and chopping some extra onions to save them for the next time. You can also do this on a weekend or at a time when you are anyway in the kitchen cooking something else and have your hands free in between to peel the onions and drop them in a chopper. Sauté all onions together for your current recipe as well as for the next one. Save sautéed onion in small freezer bags/containers for the next time for quick use. This has been a trick that has saved me time on many occasions. For some my upcoming recipes I will be using ready sautéed onions from my fridge. It’s all about saving time, the most precious thing..efficient use of time in the kitchen this time around will save some time for the next time you are in the kitchen.