January 24, 2013

Palak Thepla - Alu Bhaji | Combo Lunchbox Dish

When Valli announced Lunchbox recipes for this Blogging Marathon, I recalled that most of the times the lunch box gets rejected at school is because the food gets cold or someone else has brought something more attractive. While there is the cafeteria at school, everyday fare there wouldn’t be prudent to health. So, somedays its Paneer Frankies, some days its Coconut Rice or Curd Rice. And Sandwiches which kiddo loves. Of course, Pav Bhaji always comes back finished.

I am sure you have also experienced that the same dish gets eaten at times, and comes back unfinished at some other time - there are somethings that work, some that don’t.
Most of the time I do try giving her a combo meal as far as possible, and that ensures that even if 50% of the combo meal is eaten up, its still not a bad idea. Yes, there is a little bit of prior planning require, but its healthy, relatively oil free and wholesome. (See Preps below)

Today is one such Combo Meal –Palak Theplas & Alu Bhaji (Indian Flat bread with spinach- gramflour & Potato dry curry) accompanied with yoghurt (which I generally sweeten a bit with few crystals of sugar). Let’s get cracking then. This is linked to BM # 24. Also to my event Winter Foods - 30 min Challenge, PJ's hosting Valli's Lunchbox Recipes , Sumee's Healthy Appetite, Vardhini's New U, Nayna's Healthy Breakfasts & finally to Soumya's Mission Breakfast

Prep time – 30 mins | Cook time : 15 mins | Makes – 8 Theplas and 1 cup of Dry curry
Difficulty level : Easy | Spice Level : Mild
Serving suggestions : Tomato Chutney / Plain yoghurt / Pickle


(A) Palak Thepla (Spinach Flat Bread)
Gramflour / Besan – 4 TBSP
Wholewheat Flour – 1 cup
Spinach leaves – ½ cup (washed, sorted and packed tight)
Dry masala powder (1/2 tsp each) : Red chilli powder, Jeera Powder
Salt – to taste
Yoghurt – ½ cup (a little more or less depending on dough)
Turmeric – ½ tsp
Kasuri Methi (Dried fenugreek leaves) – ½ TBSP (optional but recommended)
Oil – to pan fry the Theplas
(B) Alu Bhaji (Potato Dry curry)
Potato – 2 nos (Medium)
Onion – 1 small
Oil – 1 tsp
Jeera / Cumin seeds-  ½ tsp
Salt – to taste
Turmeric – ½ tsp
Lemon juice – ½ TBSP (adjust to taste)

As this is a lunch box prep, I make the dough and boil the potatoes the previous night. It helps save lot of time in the morning.

To make the dough :  Wash, sort and chop the spinach very fine (Unless your child is very young, do not puree the spinach). In a large bowl or flat plate, sieve together wholewheat flour, salt, gramflour (Besan), Turmeric twice over. Make a well / indentation in the middle. Add the yoghurt and rest of the ingredients including the chopped spinach and make a slightly stiff dough. Add 2 – 4 TBSP water if required. Once the dough comes to hold, add 3 tsp of oil and knead for further 1-2 mins..If not using immediately, refrigerate this dough in an airtight container overnight.

Boil the Potatoes. Store them too in an airtight container overnight.

(A) To make the Theplas:
Pinch out equal portions of the dough. Roll out on a dusted surface like Paratha or Chapatis. Use very little flour for dusting towards the end as the Theplas turn out hard and brittle. Roll into medium thickness – neither too thin or thick. On a hot tava / skillet, place the rolled out Theplas and let light brown spots appear on both sides (fry on medium heat). Once done, drizzle 1 tsp oil on both the sides, cook further for 30 seconds and remove. Repeat till end of dough
(B) To make the Alu Bhaji :
Cube or mash the boiled potatoes. Dice onion finely. In a non stick pan, add oil, splutter cumin. Now fry onions for 3-4 mins till pinkish brown. Add the turmeric, salt and potatoes. Give a quick stir to it. Once mixed, turn off the flame. Finish with lemon juice.
Optional Addons to this stir fry are : Ginger,Curry leaves, Coriander, Chillies and even Garlic.

Pack the Combo Meal along with yoghurt / Sauce / Chutney for a wholesome meal J Bon Appetit, and hope and pray that after all these efforts, the child eats the lunch J J


  1. Wow...love that combo...Palak thepla looks so great..

  2. What effort we go through to make our kids feel happy about their lunch boxes. I find no matter what I send, my daughter is very happy if she has to buy lunch at school. I would have enjoyed these in my lunch box when I was in school apart from the curd rice that Amma used to pack.

  3. Love theplas! Nice recipe! :)

  4. Wish i get beautiful thepla and alu bhaji for my dinner rite now,such a beautiful lunch box dishes.

  5. perfect combo!!! so delicious and tempting!!
    Ongoing Event - Breakfast
    Ongoing Event - Tried and Tasted - Raks Kitchen

  6. Healthy and delicious palak theplas,perfect for kid's lunch box..

  7. Wow this is one of my fav. Good one.

  8. The only thing that gets finished is Mac n Cheese in case of my daughter and nothing else. If only we mothers knew what clicks with our kids everytime. :)
    And I wouldn't mind that lunch for myself. :) :)

  9. Wow Kalyani I love this. Wish I had this as my lunch.

  10. love the look of the spinach thepla - these look so perfect for any meal!

  11. The theplas are making me hungry. Really! They look great and the combination looks absolutely divine.

  12. Awesome lunch idea. Yumm!!

  13. Yummy combo Kalyani. Thx for linking.

    Event: Sweet Luv - 2013


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