Thursday, February 18, 2010

Feeding a Crowd: Wraps, Indian Style

To someone like me who usually cooks small portions for my family of two, cooking for a crowd needs a little bit of planning and some simple math to scale up the recipes. Today, I made a tray of wraps for a potluck, and I wanted to jot down the proportions for future reference.

These wraps have some Indian flair, stuffed with a crunchy salad and either a paneer pepper filling or a vegan chickpea spinach filling. My goal was to make each filling juicy enough that it would be tasty but dry enough that it would not make the wraps soggy. Both fillings can be made a day ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. As with most Indian curries, they actually taste better if made ahead of time. With the curries ready to go, making the salad and assembling the wraps is quick and easy.

The proportions given below were enough for 10 wraps with each filling.

1. Chickpea filling: This was a rehash of the palak chana recipe from last summer.
  1. Soak 1 cups dried chickpeas overnight. Rinse them and cook them in a pressure cooker.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp. oil. Add 1 tsp. cumin seeds and saute 2 medium minced onions until they are browned. 
  3. Add 2 tsp. ginger-garlic paste, chana masala, turmeric and red chilli powder to taste. 
  4. Add 1 bag frozen chopped spinach (or a bunch of chopped fresh spinach), 3 chopped tomatoes and salt to taste, then simmer uncovered until everything is cooked through and the mixture is quite dry. 
  5. Taste the mixture and if it is not tasty enough, spike it with some chaat masala or paprika or both.
2. Paneer filling: This was a rehash of the kati roll recipe from a couple of years ago.

  1. Heat 2 tbsp. oil. Saute 2 medium red onions, cut in large dice, and 2 large red/yellow peppers, cut in large dice, until the vegetables are seared and tender.
  2. Stir in 2 tsp. ginger-garlic paste, 1 tbsp. kasuri methi, turmeric and red chilli powder to taste. 
  3. Add 1 block/14 oz/400 g paneer, cut in cubes. 
  4. Add 3-4 diced tomatoes and salt to taste. 
  5. Stir fry the mixture until it is almost dry. 
  6. Season generously with paprika, chaat masala and garam masala.

3. Salad
Toss together:
1 small red onion, thinly sliced using a mandoline
Wedge of cabbage, thinly sliced using a mandoline (2-3 cups)
2 medium carrots, shredded
1 bunch cilantro, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste

 4. The wraps: I used whole wheat tortillas from Trader Joe's. Any home made or store bought flatbreads would work well.

5. Assembling the wraps: Place some filling and salad in the center of the tortilla, fold in the side edges and roll it up. Warming the tortillas makes them more pliable. Use a bread knife to gently cut the wrap in half to make it easier to grab smaller portions.

The Bookshelf

I read a couple of books last week: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer and The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley.

I picked them up without really knowing what the books were about, so I was startled to find that these two books have several features in common: they are both mysteries of sorts, have interesting and fast-paced story-lines and the protagonists in both the books are young children who are extremely smart, articulate, precocious, who have lost a parent and who have a major sass mouth on them. Unfortunately, I have very little patience in general and even less patience with impudent children. So while there were portions of these books when I thought the children were clever and entertaining, there were other times when I dearly wanted to be there to send these kids to their rooms. All in all, these are good reads.

I'm making an appetizer tomorrow and a dessert on Saturday to share with friends. If either recipes turns out to be blog-worthy, I'll come tell you about it. See you then!


  1. Lovely Wraps...looks so light and healthy Nupur!

  2. Looking forward to the appetizers and desserts Nupur. And these wraps are delightful. Would be great for the kiddies lunch box as well.

  3. Wraps are great for parties..easy & less messey eating.Looks wholesome with chickpeas and veggie salad inside..

  4. Wow.. Those wraps look awesome.. Nice Indian twist Nupur.. I'm going make these soon.

  5. the wraps look like a wonderful potluck dish. And I always love tips about being able to make part of a dish in advance. I cooked a jambalaya tonight for a party this weekend so we'll see how it turns out. I enjoyed Foer's Eating Animals, of course, but would probably feel the same as you about a sassy kid character! I did like the movie based on Everything is Illuminated.

  6. this looks so yum nd healthy...;-)

  7. wraps sure look very delicious, Nupur, very creative fillings too. Thanks for sharing the reads, when it comes to mystery for me there is no match to Agatha Christie's Mr. Poirot (oh, and may be Mma Ramotswe on some lazy afternoons) :D

  8. I am yet to make those summer wraps! These will simply have to wait!

  9. appetizing wraps Nupur.Had made them last week with roasted veggies +pesto+feta cheese ..never tired using garbanzo beans. Nice twist ..will definitely try them.

  10. Wraps love great and very easy to make. I should try for next potluck.

  11. Wraps are always favorite in a groups lunch/dinner !

    But I never tried or had chole wrap - this is innovative.

  12. Hey Nupur,

    Thats a quick and healthy recipe,.Wondering if home made chapatis would work instead of tortillas???


  13. Warming the wraps before rolling - that was a good tip, thanks, Nupur.

    and " Unfortunately, I have very little patience in general and even less patience with impudent children"... hahah, you couldn't have hit upon a better description of me! :D

  14. I should really check what I write BEFORE I post it! :) I did NOT mean to imply that I'm an impudent child! :D Just that I too have no patience with such.

  15. Hi....Nupur
    Lovely wraps....esp.the paneer one is looking too tempting for words. I am drooling looking at the pics...Salad also looking so yummy and crunchy....These wraps must have been great hit at your potluck....
    The books sound interesting though I agree with PJ when it comes to mysteries.....Agatha Christie beats them hands down....but then i am very partial to her :))

  16. Wraps any time!!! I love the idea on munching on a vegetales in a roll!!! I liked the stuffing with Chickpeas and spices, so tasty :)

  17. Have you read "Everything is illuminated" yet..It was a good but heavy read.
    Love the wraps..I have always wondered if these get too chewy after a while (especially to take for a potluck) Any suggestions?

  18. I'm especially smitten with the paneer filling, but everything sounds wonderful!

    Do you warm tortilla in microwave/tawa/oven? I find microwaving makes it rubbery ( sometimes it comes out good if I heat it just a few seconds and eat it right away).

    Also, wondering about microwaving a second time if I decide to premake them and take it to a party.

    Have a great weekend Nupur!

  20. The wraps must've been a hit. I love the paneer filling!
    Looking forward to the appetizer and dessert recipes!

  21. The paneer and salad wraps look like something I would love. I always wonder what to take to a potluck..this is an awesome idea

  22. Nice wrap recipes. I'll try the paneer one soon...

  23. Preeti Kashyap- Thanks, yes they were light yet filling.

    indosungod- You are right, they are very portable, making them perfect for lunch boxes and picnics :)

    Madhu- Well, to be honest, they can get a bit messy to eat especially since I tend to overstuff them :)

    Pavani- Let me know if you try them and like them!

    Lisa- A jambalaya?? That sounds so good, and something I have not made yet.
    I might read Everything is Illuminated at some point; I generally like the books much better than the movies.

    notyet100- Thanks

    PJ- Yes, Agatha Christie is a reliably good read at certain times, but I'm enjoying getting to know other authors too!

    Raaga- Oh, I can't wait for summer to start making the summer wraps!

    Gouri- Mmm, roasted veggies are the perfect stuffing, especially with pesto!

    Mints!- They are so easy to put together.

  24. Kanchan- They are a favorite in my home too.

    Raakhee- Sure, chapatis would be perfect for these wraps! Good to see you here- how are you doing?

    Shyam- I understood what you were trying to say :D Yes, warming the wraps will keep them from tearing at the folds when you roll them.

    Rujuta- Thanks!

    Ashwini- LOL yes, wraps any time for me too!

    Trendsetters- Thanks

    Prita- These did not get chewy at all. I would suggest trying different types of tortillas/rotis to find ones that don't get chewy (for instance, I find the tortillas made with refined flour to be much chewier than the whole wheat ones) and to make sure to cover the wraps well so they don't dried out.

    Lisa- Thanks :)

    Suganthi- I microwave the tortillas for only about 30 seconds for a stack of 10 tortillas. So yes, don't microwave for too long.
    While these wraps taste just fine at room temperature, you could certainly serve them hot, by microwaving them for 30 seconds for each wrap (or so) or sticking them in a hot oven for 10 minutes or so.

    Manasi- I think they were quite popular, I preferred the chickpea ones by a small margin :)

    shankari- I know, potluck recipes need to fit quite a few requirements...but this worked out :)

    Cooking Foodie- Thanks.

  25. I love wraps and your fillings look so delicious, I'm eyeing the paneer one :-)

  26. These are so filling and even easier to put together! One of tehse wraps with some hot chai and i am all set :).

  27. The wraps are beautiful and would be a great addition to the potluck repertoire one has to have out here in the country. Almost every get-together is potluck, and after a while you get tired of bringing the same things. This will be on my list for the next one.

  28. I love wraps and yours are just my kind - healthy and surely delicious....thanks, I'll have to make that paneer one soon, its calling out to me loud and clear!!! :-)

  29. What did you store the wraps in? It looks like a cupcake carrier! It made me so curious - how many people were you cooking for? I always have a hard time adapting India food to a large crowd and just end up making a number of different bhajis in relatively normal quantities.

  30. Your recipes are really very good. I have tried many and it has always turned out to be good. Simple and healthy. Thanks for sharing them.


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