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Palak Parathas and other tasty tiffin recipes

Last updated on: May 22, 2009 12:16 IST
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We invited Get Ahead readers to share quick-fix office recipes with us -- easily-prepared foods that takes less than an hour to whip up before you head to work in the morning. We've been flooded with responses and as part of an ongoing series, present three lunch recipes that you can carry in your dabba.

Sunita Fernandes sent in this recipe for Palak Parathas:


  • 1 bunch of spinach leaves (palak)
  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • 1 tsp coriander seed powder (dhania)
  • 1 tsp cumin seed powder (jeera)
  • 1/2 tsp chillie powder
  • A pinch of asafoetida powder (hing)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
  • 1/2 tsp dry mango powder (amchoor)
  • Salt to taste
  • Ghee to fry the parathas
Method of preparation:
  • Wash the palak leaves nicely. Blanch them (plunge into boiling water, remove after a few seconds and plunge into iced water), then puree in a mixer/ food processor without adding water.
  • Sift the flour with salt and then add all the dry spices (coriander powder, jeera, hing, amchoor, haldi). Mix with the palak puree to form a medium-soft dough and set aside for some time.
  • Break the dough into small pieces and roll into small balls. Use a rolling pin to flatten the balls into parathas slightly thicker than a chapatti.
  • Heat a griddle (tawa) and spread some ghee on it. Cook each paratha, greasing with a little ghee from time to time and flipping it over when tiny bubbles come up on the surface. Once both sides are golden-brown in colour, you can eat the parathas with chutney, curds, pickle or then plain.

Next up is this Tamarind Rice preparation, contributed by Minal Gupta:


  • 3 cups rice
  • 1 cup tamarind
  • ¼ cup soaked chickpeas (chana dal)
  • 1 tsp soaked black grams (urad dal)
  • ¼ cup peanuts
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 tsp asafoetida (hing)
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • A few curry leaves, red chillies and green chillies
  • Salt to taste

Method of preparation:

  • Soak the tamarind in water and squeeze all the juice out of it.
  • Cook the rice, adding a little salt and then mix well.
  • In a frying pan, pour in the tamarind juice, turmeric and add salt, cooking till it thickens. Add this extract to the rice and mix well.
  • Heat the oil in a pan; add chana dal, urad dal, green chillies, red chillies, peanuts, mustard seeds, jeera, hing and fry.
  • When all the ingredients turn brown, add the mixture to the cooked rice. Your tamarind rice is ready to eat!

And finally, Albert Barton tells you how to whip up Zingy Canned Fish Melt Sandwiches:

  • Sandwich bread
  • 1 can of sardines/ tuna/ salmon fish (you can also substitute with smoked chicken/ turkey/ any pre-cooked meat like corned beef, salami, bacon or ham/ veggie burgers/ tofu)
  • 1 egg
  • A pinch of chillie powder
  • A slice of cheese (or grated cheese)
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 1/2 a tomato, diced
  • Oregano
  • Chopped chillies
  • Coriander
  • Butter or margarine

For the dressing:

  • Mayonnaise, sauces as per your taste (horseradish, chilly and mustard are recommended)
  • Lettuce leaves
  • The other half of the tomato and onion, sliced into rings
Method of preparation:
  • Brown the diced onions in a frying pan on a low flame, adding a little oil, salt, pepper, chillies, chillie powder and oregano.
  • Next add in the diced tomato and cook till it separates easily from the skin. Add required amount of canned fish or substitute and mix well.
  • Add in the egg, mix well once more.
  • Then turn off the flame, sprinkle with chopped coriander, add the slice of cheese (or grate cheese) and cover up.
  • Toast the slices of sandwich bread and butter them (you can also use margarine).
  • Arrange lettuce, sliced tomato, onion and a little salt on half the total number of slices. Add on the sauces/ mayonnaise/ mustard too.
  • Uncover the now-melted cheesy mix in the frying pan and spoon over the veggies on each readied slice of toasted bread. Sandwich with the other slices and store (not while hot) till lunchtime -- and then be prepared to fend off 'interested' office colleagues!
  • Here's a few tips -- first off, do open the can of meat, grate the cheese etc before you start cooking. Keep things at hand. Also, you can chop up the onion, tomato, coriander and chillies and store them in the fridge, in a bowl covered with cling film so as to have ready stock for the next 3-4 days. And finally, do carry a mint/ breath freshner for afterward if your office lunch contains egg, fish and/ or onions!

Do you have any quick-fix preparations that you'd like to share with us and other readers? It has to be something appetising and easily whipped up (in under an hour). Simply mail in your tiffin recipe ideas to and we'll publish them right here on

Channel your inner chef and help people economise without compromising on their meals!

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