Sukka Mushrooms and Bajra Rotlo

Sukka Mushrooms, a meatless variation on grilled kebabs

Last Fall, I joined IACP, the International Association of Culinary Professionals. This organization covers every food-related profession you can think of — from chefs and educators, to authors and small business owners, to, yes, food photographers and stylists.  As you’d expect, there’s an associated Facebook group, and it was there that I first saw a message from Nandita Godbole asking if anyone would be interested in testing some recipes from her upcoming book, Not For You: Family Narratives of Denial & Comfort Foods. Naturally, I emailed her right away to volunteer my services, asking to test any gluten-free recipes she’d developed.

She sent me the two recipes that I photographed for this post: Sukka Mutton (Charcoal Grilled Lamb Kebabs) and Bajra Rotlo (Griddle-Baked Pearl Millet Bread). I’ve been trying to cut back on meat lately, so I asked Nandita if there was a meatless option I could prepare instead. She responded with two variations on the Sukka Mutton, saying she’d welcome the feedback from a test with either paneer or portobello mushrooms. I opted for the latter, since they’re such a satisfying meat substitute.

Rather than grill the mushrooms whole as she suggested, I spaced and cut them into large chunks before grilling them on skewers, exactly the way I would have prepared the mutton. Still great, but a few of the edge pieces were too delicate and fell off the skewers, so take her advice if you make this!

The marinade was simple, with yogurt, pepper, lemon and ginger forming the backbone of it. It seemed almost too simple and possibly one-note as I was reading it, but any doubts about its complexity vanished as I sampled the assembled marinade; by the time I was setting up for the photo, I was gobbling down those less-than-perfect chunks of mushroom. They had a very fresh taste with a little smokiness from the grill, and were altogether a great meat substitute, perfect for Meatless Monday!

The rotlo will be very familiar to those of you who have made your own corn tortillas at home. The process is much the same — stirring the flour into boiling water, kneading and rolling out the dough, cooking it in a cast iron pan while pressing down with a wadded-up paper towel. It puffs up just like tortillas do though the flavor is a bit lighter. I’m happy to have this variation to work with in the future.

If you’d like to check out Nandita’s book, it’s being sold on Amazon in both print and digital formats. The second volume will be out in the new year, and is available for pre-order here. Based on the two recipes I tested, I’ll certainly be checking it out.

Sukka Mutton: Charcoal-Grilled Meat Kebabs
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
30 mins

Marinated and grilled kebabs with a balanced blend of spices.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Nandita Godbole
  • 2 lbs goat or lamb meat, boneless, skinless, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup boiler onions, skin on
  • 8-10 metal or wood skewers
  • 2 tablespoons ginger paste
  • 1/2 cup unflavored 2% Greek yogurt, whisked
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper powder, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  1. Oil the metal skewers prior to use. If using wooden/bamboo skewers, presoak for at least two hours to prevent them from burning.

  2. Trim the top and bottom of the boiler onions, leave the skin on.

  3. Combine the marinade ingredients in a large glass bowl. Trim and cut the meat into 2" pieces. Add the meat into the marinade, season with salt, coat evenly and chill for at least 20 minutes.

  4. Arrange the marinated meat pieces on skewers. On a separate skewer, thread the onions though their centre. Cook the meat skewers on a charcoal grill (approx. 450°F, ten minutes until tender). Rotate the skewer regularly to prevent from burning. In the last 3-4 minutes cook the skewer of the onions on the charcoal grill as well, letting the onion skins burn away as they cook. Serve hot.

Recipe Notes

Recipe from Not For You: Family Narratives of Denial & Comfort FoodsShared with permission of author, Nandita Godbole.

For a meatless version, substitute whole portobello mushrooms and grill for 5-8 minutes.

Weekend meals

Sometime last week, one of my friends asked me, “What can I do with barley and mushrooms?” I put on my thinking cap and came up with barley risotto for her, which sounded pretty good once I gave it more thought, so I threw it together for dinner Friday night.


And being the first risotto of any kind I’ve ever made, I was pretty happy with it. Not ecstatic and not quite thrilled enough to give you a recipe just yet, but definitely pleased.

Continue reading “Weekend meals”

Chickpea & spinach curry


Keeping with our decision to eat mostly meatless around here, I turned to the meat of the legume kingdom for dinner tonight — the chickpea! What? You’ve never heard of that? Anyway, I just love ’em; they’re one of the few beans I really don’t mind eating canned, mainly because I’m too lazy/scatterbrained to get my act together and start cooking the dried ones a full month in advance.

I’ve been thinking back to one of Anthony Bourdain’s visits to India this past week. He dined at a vegetarian restaurant and said if the states had such incredible vegetarian food to offer, he’d have no trouble respecting the lifestyle (or something to that effect). So I got myself in the kitchen tonight (after blocking the entrances with baby gates to keep the boy out) and made a nice little curry using a recipe from Cooking Light as a starting point and served it over a mound of delicious, aromatic basmati rice.

I’m really glad I made enough for leftovers tomorrow. Wow — a meatless meal and anticipating the leftovers? I don’t even know myself anymore.


Of course, when we decide to go carnivorous, we really do it up right. Stay tuned for details…

recipe after the jump

Continue reading “Chickpea & spinach curry”

Still need that cumin intervention


When I got home a few nights ago, Gil was still out helping his dad prepare/clean his computer room for the painters who were coming the following day. I thought it’d be nice to surprise him with a decent dinner for a change, but needed something that could be ready by the time he returned in 30 minutes or so. As quick meals go, this one really can’t be beat.

I’ve been on a bit of a meat kick lately, so I picked up four lamb loin chops at the grocery along with a couple of sweet potatoes and set out to prepare our meal. (The chops in the picture aren’t really burned, no matter what your eyes tell you — I coated them with a dark Singapore Curry rub bought on our visit to Seattle in February.) We still had a beautiful bunch of tender kale bought at our farmers’ market over the weekend, and I wanted to do something more exciting than my usual olive oil/garlic/red pepper preparation, so I used Indian spices to complement the chops and added cubes of boiled sweet potato for a nice contrast (visually and spicically). I also tossed in some garlic scapes left from the weekend, but if they’re out of season or if you don’t have access, you really don’t need them.

The lamb was quite good, but lamb always is. What surprised me was how well the veggies came off — the flavors married beautifully and the kale would’ve sorely missed the potatoes had they not been there. And it was so easy, so quick! Not bad for a weeknight.

recipes after the jump

Continue reading “Still need that cumin intervention”