Methi Malai Paneer

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Its raining here incessantly in Bangalore and all I was craving was a bowl of comforting paneer curry with some fluffy rotis. And such delicious cravings need to get fulfilled and hence Methi Malai Paneer happened in my kitchen. Being an ardent fan of paneer, this recipe is one of my family favorites. A few handful basic ingredients in the kitchen come together beautifully to make a stunning curry. The lush methi leaves, the delectable gravy and my ever favorite grilled paneer cubes.

So just when you thought paneer dishes are all the same and quite boring, this recipe is a winner. Try it and you’ll fall in love with it.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 – 4 people)

  • 200 grams paneer, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups fresh fenugreek/ methi leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 15 – 16 cashew nuts, soaked in a small bowl of water
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 green chilli, split lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp dhaniya powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/3 cup fresh cream
  • 2 tbsp dried kasuri methi leaves

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METHOD:

  • In a kadhai take 1 tbsp oil and put it on medium flame. Add cumin seeds and saute it until it crackles.
  • Now add onion and saute until its translucent to light brown. This would take about 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Now add tomatoes, garlic, ginger, green chilli, cashews and a little bit of salt and saute it until the tomatoes are cooked and mushy.
  • Take it off the stove and allow it cool down completely.
  • Once cooled, mixer grind it into a smooth paste. You can add 1 – 2 tbsp of water if required.
  • Now take another kadhai on medium flame and take 1 tbsp of ghee in it. Add the tomato – onion puree in it. Add turmeric powder, dhaniya powder, red chilli powder, garam masala and a bit of salt and let the paste cook until its releases some oil.
  • Now add 1/3 cup water to this an let it cook for another 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Now add the fresh cream and keep stirring it until its well incporporated into the paste to avoid the cream from splitting.
  • Add methi/ fenugreek leaves to it and let it simmer for 4 – 5- minutes.
  • Now add paneer cubes and honey and let it simmer for 2 – 3 minutes. Alternatively you can grill the paneer cubes on a griddle pan and put it inside the gravy righe before serving.
  • Garnish with kasuri methi leaves and serve.

 

Cheese and Mushroom Empanadas

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Monsoon therapy with rustic Cheese and Mushroom Empanadas – pure joy! The rains lashing against the window panes, steaming cup of coffee and empanadas – perfect rainy afternoon. Dreamy yummy creations which is bursting with flavors. You have to be crazy to not enjoy these savory pockets!

If that wasn’t enough to lure you to try these out, probably your childhood memories surely will. Remember those vegetable patties and pies you enjoyed at the neighborhood bakery store… oh so delicious! The crisp and flaky pastry and the absolutely gorgeous stuffing…I am already dreaming about it while writing this post. While I was in the US, I often missed those patties until I stumbled upon these hot pockets filled with sumptuous stuffing called empanadas from a famous food truck in San Francisco. It ticked all the boxes for the things I was missing. Homely and satisfying.

I was trying my hands to make empanadas at home and guess what, I  was bursting with ideas. It almost took 1 week for me to calm down and decide about the filling. You can fill the dough with all your favorite things and enjoy these wonders.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes around 14 – 15 pieces)

For the dough:

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour + extra for dusting and rolling out the dough
  • 2 eggs
  • 115 grams butter, cold and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 120 ml ice water
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • 200 grams button mushrooms, chopped
  • 200 grams cottage cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup spinach, blanched and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp freshly chopped basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp chili flakes
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste

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METHOD:

For the dough:

  • Take all purpose flour, whole wheat flour and salt in a bowl and whisk it.
  • Using a pastry blender/ 2 forks or using the tips of your fingers, blend the cold butter into the flour mixture until it forms a coarse crumb like mixture.
  • Beat 1 egg, ice cold water and white vinegar in a bowl and keep aside.
  • Add the egg mixture to the flour-butter mixture and using a fork combine the entire mixture. Do not over knead it.
  • Generously dust the kitchen top with flour and transfer the dough on to it.
  • Bring together the entire dough together by gently kneading it.
  • Divide the dough into 2 halves, cling wrap it tightly and refrigerate it for atleast 1.5 hours.

For the mixture:

  • While the dough is resting, take a saucepan on medium heat. Put oil in it.
  • Once its hot add 1 tsp chili flakes and saute for a few seconds.
  • Now add chopped onions and saute it for a minute until it turns translucent.
  • Add mushrooms to the mixture and let it cook for a minute.
  • Now add the remaining chili flakes, salt, black pepper and basil leaves and saute the mixture for couple of minutes,
  • Once done take it from the stove and allow it to cool completely.
  • Once cooled add grated cottage, spinach and mozzarella cheese and form a mixture using a spoon.

To Assemble:

  • Preheat your oven to 230 C for atleast 15 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and keep aside.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge. Take some dough and roll it out on a flat surface into round discs of similar sizes ( approximately 6 inch diameter)
  • Take the stuffing and place it on one side of the circle.
  • Take the other end of the dough and form a semi circle. Seal the edges as shown in the picture or by making knife impressions.
  • Once all the pies are formed, beat one egg and using a pastry brush, egg wash the top of the empanadas before they go into the oven to bake.
  • Place the pies atleast 1 inch apart and put it into the oven to bake at 200 C for 18 – 20 minutes, until the empanadas a golden brown and crisp.
  • Serve it hot with a yogurt dip and enjoy!

Palak Paneer Filo Tartlets with Curd and Mint Dip

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It’s that time of the year when there is joy and mirth all around, last minute shopping sprees to make your home look beautiful and then not to forget a huge list of grocery shopping because friends come over home for cards night and families come over to meet and amidst all this the common link is FOOD. Diwali is indeed a grand affair and what makes it even more splendid is the wide array of mouth watering savory and sweet dishes one eats. It’s time for some drool worthy Food , Food and more Food!

To make this Diwali special, here is a fusion Indian recipe – Palak Paneer Filo Tartlets with Curd and Mint dip. It’s a perfect appetizer where the Indian spices from the Palak Paneer lingers on your palate as well as the filo tartlets adds the crunch texture to the entire dish.

While I was in Kolkata, a few weeks before Diwali, my mum used to try out different recipes in the kitchen each day so that she could get out the best food for friends and family for Diwali. It was a mammoth task and I guess only she could have done that. I do take inspiration from her and try out new recipes with Indian flavors but I make sure the dishes are such that I can prep up atleast a day in advance.

Filo is difficult to handle and will tear. Be delicate and the results will be wonderful. While the crispy, delicious tarts forms the base of this dish, the earthiness from spinach compliments it well and the curd dip ties it all together. Keep the spice profile slightly higher for the palak paneer, you will really enjoy it!

So why wait, try it and have a wonderful Diwali with friends and family!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 6 tartlets)

  • 3 Filo Sheets (I used store bought frozen Filo Sheets)
  • 3 cups of roughly chopped spinach
  • 150 grams cottage cheese/paneer, cut into cubes
  • 1 green chili, cut lengthwise
  • 4 tbsp of melted butter
  • 5 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • pinch of coriander powder
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 4 tbsp full fat yoghurt
  • 10 – 12 fresh mint leaves
  • salt, to taste
  • pinch of sugar

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METHOD:

Preheat the oven to 180C for atleast 8 -10 minutes. Take a couple of filo sheets one on top of the other and cut it into 3 equal halves. Take one part which has 2 layers and keep the rest aside.

Mix the melted butter with dried mint and keep aside. Take a silicon brush, dip it in the melted butter and brush gently on each of the sheets, stacking on each other.

Take cupcake trays and line these filo sheets into the moulds in the form of tartlets with rough edges.

Repeat the same process with the remaining filo halves and bake it in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until its golden brown and crisp.

Meanwhile, blanch the spinach leaves with a pinch of sugar. Once the leaves are blanched, drain the excess water and run the spinach leaves under cold water.

Take a blender, put the blanched spinach leaves with a chili in it and make a smooth puree.

In a saucepan, take ghee. Once heated, add the pure spinach and stir it for a couple of minutes.

Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and salt and sauté the mixture for 2 minutes.

Add in the paneer cubes and and let the curry cook for 2 – 3 minutes.

Lastly add milk and cook the curry for 3 – 4 minutes. Take it off the heat and let it cool a little.

In a bowl take in yoghurt and whisk it until its smooth. Add roughly chopped fresh mint leaves and salt, mix it well and keep in the fridge.

Once the filo tartlets are ready, de-mould it, fill it generously with palak paneer and put it in the oven on a baking tray for 2 minutes.

Serve these delicious tartlets with a fresh curd-mint dip.

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Enjoy and have a great Diwali!

Matar Paneer Ki Sabzi

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An Indian meal without a paneer curry seems almost incomplete. Be it paneer makhni, kadhai paneer, paneer bhurji or paneer tikka, each variation of paneer is mouthwatering. There is a plethora of recipes of paneer and each one loves the recipe most commonly cooked at their homes. Among the gazillion versions that I have tried, this easy paneer makhni recipe is my favorite.

Any special occasion at home, my mum used to cook paneer since we all loved it. With birthdays and anniversaries being special occasions in one’s life, mum never forgot to make each one’s favorite paneer recipe. It was a quintessential birthday dish! The mildly spiced curry, the creaminess from the cashew nuts, the earthiness from the peas and the softness from the cottage cheese makes this dish so comforting and sumptuous. It is aromatic, luscious and so vibrant in its color that you just can’t stop with one serving. Have it with parathas or rice, you will go back for more.

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RECIPES

INGREDIENTS: (For 2-3 people)

  • 3 tomatoes, roughly diced
  • 1/4 cup broken cashew nuts, soaked in water for 15 minutes
  • 200 grams cottage cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup peas, boiled
  • 1 green chili, split length wise
  • 1 small mace
  • 1 inch fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 5 tbsp whole milk
  • 2 tsp kasuri methi
  • salt, to taste
  • coriander leaves, for garnishing

METHOD:

  • Drain the water from the cashew nuts. In a mixer grinder add the cashew nuts, green chili, tomatoes, mace and ginger and grind it until they form a smooth paste.
  • Heat the saucepan and add ghee. Once its heated add the the cumin seeds. Let it crackle. Add the bay leaf and sauté for 30 seconds.
  • Add the tomato – cashew paste made earlier and cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Now add the turmeric powder and half the red chili powder and allow the mixture to cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add salt, remaining red chili powder and garam masala and cook the mixture for another 2 – 3 minutes on medium heat.
  • Once the masalas and mixture is cooked properly add the paneer cubes and boiled peas and let it cook for 3 -4 minutes.
  • Add whole milk and let it cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Now add half the kasuri methi and allow the curry to cook for 5 minutes so that all the flavors are well infused into the paneer.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and the remaining kasuri methi and serve the curry hot with parathas or rice.

Enjoy!

Deconstructed Palak Paneer

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As a child my mum always tried new recipes, made new dishes so that family meals weren’t mundane. These new dishes often enticed us because of its beautiful aroma and vibrant colors. Being a fussy eater, she then mixed some veggies which I loathed among the ones I loved. I guess a lot of people can relate to this at some point in their life. In due course of time, I started loving those leafy vegetables to the bitter ones and I can’t that my mom enough for opening my taste buds to such a wide array of produce that is available in the market.

Among the dishes that mum cooked, she often made variations of spinach and cottage cheese (paneer) and this deconstructed palak paneer is my favorite. The subtle flavors of the spices, the earthy flavors from the spinach and the softness from the paneer all combines to create a great lingering effect on your palate. Though Indian curries requires a lot of patience to achieve the correct balance, this recipe is an exceptional. When I have guests coming in no time or too tired after day’s work, I often resort to this recipe since its nutritious, quick and super easy.

So even if you have a long day at work or home, do remember that you can still have a sumptuous meal with your family!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 – 4 people)

  • 250 grams spinach
  • 200 grams paneer/cottage cheese, diced
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp tomato ketchup
  • 2 tsp ghee
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cardamom pod, broken open
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small mace
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • salt, to taste
  • pinch of sugar

METHOD:

  • Roughly chop the spinach and blanch it on medium heat with a pinch of sugar to retain the green color.
  • Once blanched, drain the water and run it under cold water.
  • In a saucepan take ghee. Once hot add bay leaf, mace, cardamom pod and sauté for a few seconds.
  • Then add garlic and sauté until its light golden brown.
  • Next add the blanched spinach leaves, turmeric powder, red chili powder and salt let the mixture cook for 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Add the paneer cubes and let it cook for a couple of minutes.
  • When the paneer cubes and spinach is well cooked with the spices add whole milk and let it simmer for 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Once the gravy comes to a boil, add the tomato ketchup and mix it.
  • Let the curry cook for a minute and then serve it hot with freshly made parathas or rotis.

Enjoy!

No-Bake Mango Cheesecake

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Here comes another mango recipe which is a must add to your repository – Mango Cheesecake. Recipes after recipes keeping popping in my  mind as I see juicy and sweet mangoes in my fridge. This cheesecake recipe is a walk down the memory lane. My mum started making different variations of this cheesecake. Once the cream cheese was more readily available in the market she tried her hands in making cheesecake with it. It was yummy, but I was completely enamored by this recipe of hers since it was lighter on the palate. And now this mango cheesecake recipe is my personal favorite. Its a delicious no bake recipe where you can celebrate the true flavors of mango.

I have tried this recipe only a couple of times and its turned out to be fabulous. The colors are vibrant, the flavor so perfect that it makes you want more. Be innovative, ornate it as you want, set it as you want since it’s your story, its your creation. So why wait, grab your baking equipments, grab those perfect alphonso mangoes and make this yummy cheesecake this summer.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 8 inch springform pan)

For the crust:

  • 2 cups digestive biscuits, finely powdered (I used McVities digestive biscuits)
  • 100 gms salted butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp star anise powder (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp dry ginger powder (optional)

For the filling:

  • 200 gms of chenna
  • 200 ml sweetened condensed milk (I used milkmaid)
  • 3 1/2 tsp gelatin
  • 125 gms cooking white chocolate
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla essence
  • 150 gms mango puree (optional)
  • 1 cup of mango pieces (optional)

For the topping:

  • 300 ml mango puree
  • 3 tsp gelatin
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • few mint leaves, for decoration (optional)
  • assorted fresh berries, for decoration (optional)
  • diced mangoes, for decoration (optional)

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METHOD:

  • Mix the finely crushed digestive biscuits, star anise powder and dry ginger powder with melted butter and put it in the bottom of the springform pan or Borosil pan (or any other bowl in which you want to set your cheesecake). This mixture will form the crust of the cheesecake.
  • Microwave the Borosil pan for 40 – 45 seconds. In case you are using the springform pan, combine the ingredients in a microwavable bowl, microwave for 40 – 45 seconds and spread the mixture evenly in the spring form pan.
  • Soak gelatin in cold water and stir to avoid forming lumps. Put the soaked gelatin bowl on top of warm water and stir. (Please soak the gelatin for filling layer and topping layer separately.)
  • Melt white chocolate using double boiler method.
  • Put chenna, melted chocolate, milkmaid (condensed milk), gelatin, vanilla essence and mango puree (optional) in a food processor and combine until it forms a smooth liquid paste.
  • Transfer this liquid mixture in a bowl and add mango chunks and mix well.
  • Put this mixture on top of the crust and allow it to freeze for 20 – 25 minutes.
  • Take the soaked gelatin mixture for the topping layer and combine it to the mango puree and lime juice.
  • Spread it over the cheesecake filling layer and set it fridge for 3 – 4 hours, or until set properly.
  • Before serving top it up with assorted berries and mint leaves or diced mangoes and mint leaves or whipped cream and serve after 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

Paneer Spinach Roulade with Makhni Gravy

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A flavor packed and fancy way to serve a paneer dish to friends and family never fails to impress people. Paneer roulade with makhni gravy is easy to cook and healthy. Its colorful and bursts with aroma of spices and Indian flavors.

This recipe sprang in my mind when I was bored of eating the usual veggies. Dinners were becoming monotonous. I wanted to try making something innovative using the basic ingredients available in the kitchen. It was then this version of paneer makhni struck me. I was scared whether my roulade pieces would stay intact or not and whether the flavors would blend well or not. But when I served it to my family, they simply enjoyed it. So why wait and go the boring way. It’s time to experiment and try this beautiful recipe.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 5 – 6 people)

For the roulade:

  • 200 gms paneer (Indian cottage cheese)
  • 2 medium onions, cut lengthwise
  • 1/2 bunch spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn kernels, boiled
  • 2 tsp tomato ketchup
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 tsp basil
  • 4 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp dried mint
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly grounded black pepper
  • 2 piece brown bread, sides cut
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • salt, to taste
  • flour, for dusting

For the gravy:

  • 4 large tomatoes, halved
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 whole cardamom
  • 8 – 9 cashew nuts
  • 1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • salt, to taste
  • coriander leaves, for garnishing

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METHOD:

  • Take the bread slices, soak it in water and squeeze hard.
  • In a bowl combine paneer, salt, black pepper powder, 1 tsp chilli flakes, 2 tsp oregano, 1 tsp basil, 2 tsp dried mint and the squeezed bread slices and mix to form a smooth mixture.
  • Meanwhile, sauté spinach in another bowl, drain the water and squeeze out excess water.
  • Take 1 tbsp oil in a saucepan. Once its medium hot add garlic and sauté. Add 2 tbsp chili flakes and sauté for 10 – 15 seconds. Then add onions and sauté until its translucent.
  • Now add the sautéed spinach and boiled corn into the saucepan and sauté. Add tomato ketchup, salt, 2 tsp oregano and 2 tsp basil and mix well.
  • Take a cling film and dust it with flour. Now spread the paneer mixture in the form of a rectangle such that its 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick. Now spread the spinach mixture avoiding the ends.
  • With the support cling film, roll the entire thing as firmly as you can. Refrigerate for an hour and then freeze for an hour before cutting.
  • Now for the gravy, take oil in a saucepan. Add garlic, cardamom and ginger and sauté.
  • Add the halved tomatoes along with the cashew nuts and sauté. Add 1/2 cup water and let the mixture boil.
  • Once the tomatoes are cooked, strain the mixture. Keep the strained mixture aside.
  • Take the remaining mixture and blend it in a blender with a bit of water. Strain it again.
  • Combine both the strained mixture and heat it. Add red chili powder, salt, oregano, dried mint and tomato ketchup and mix well. Keep boiling the mixture until it thickens a bit.
  • Remove from heat and place in in a serving bowl and garnish with coriander leaves.
  • Take the roulade and cut in into circles as shown in the picture. Heat a pan with some oil. Put the roulade pieces and cook until its brown.
  • Now place the roulade pieces in a plate and serve with the makhni gravy garnished with coriander leaves.