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.

 

Lemon Blueberry Mini Loaf Cake

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My all time summer favorite combination is Lemon and Blueberry, and when you combine them in a mini loaf, they are irresistible! While I enjoy baking almost anytime of the day, I usually have sudden morning cravings for freshly baked goodies. And this no fail classic comes to my rescue every time. Its almost like saying that when life gives you lemons, you make these Lemon and Blueberry Mini Loafs.

The burst of freshness from the blueberries and the tang from the lemon, these mini bundles of wowness is not to missed this summer. They are an epitome of summer yumness. Buttery, lemon-y and yummy!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 4 – 5 mini loaf cake)

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (I used fresh blueberries)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp whole milk
  • 80 grams jaggery powder or granulated white sugar
  • 60 grams butter, cubed and at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp heaped baking powder
  • 1/ 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

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METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 170 C for atleast 15 minutes. Butter or spray your mini loaf tins. (I used a mini loaf liner hence didn’t have to butter or spray)
  • In a bowl take the blueberries, 1 tbsp of flour and toss together until bluebrries are all coated with flour and keep aside.
  • In a bowl whisk together whole wheat flour, lemon zest and baking soda and keep aside.
  • In a another bowl take the butter and beat it using a electric beater until soft. Add the jaggery or white sugar and beat it until the mixture is pale and fluffy.
  • Add 1 egg and beat it until just incorporated. add lemon juice and beat it for 10 – 20 seconds.
  • Now add the flour mixture and milk and fold it gently until the mixture is just incorporated.
  • Add the blueberries and fold it gently into the batter.
  • Transfer the batter equally into the baking moulds and bake it for 28 -30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Once done, let it cool down and then dive in!

Gharwali Khichdi

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Basic homestyle khichdi is my synonym for comfort food. There is nothing better that can remind you of clean and sumptuous home food than this Khichdi. A bowl of piping hot Mixed Dal Khichdi, a generous dollop of ghee and a fragrant tadka – a complete one pot meal and definitely your answer to a lazy day food.

 

Growing up in a Marwari family, khichdi was a pretty regular affair in the kitchen with so many different variations. Not only was it served with homemade ghee but also with kadhi, pickle, papad, fried munchies and curd. A simple dish was ornated and with that extra touch of love (read Ghee!) from grandmom made it even more delicious. Light on the tummy, nutritious and yummy, this lentil and rice concoction has been one of my all time favorite Indian meal. You definitely can’t go wrong with this one!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • 1/4 cup uncooked lentils, soaked in water for 30 minutes (I took half moong dal and half Toor dal)
  • 1 green chili, split lengthwise
  • 2 – 3 dried red chilli
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 cardamom pod, seeds removed
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ghee + extra for garnishing
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • hing, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • chopped cilantro leaves, for garnsihing
  • fried onion, for garnsihing

METHOD:

  • Take a saucepan and put it on medium heat. Meanwhile wash the lentils under water a couple of times.
  • Once the saucepan is heated, put ghee. Now add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, hing, green chili, red chilli, grated ginger, bay leaf, cloves and cardamom pod and saute for 10 seconds.
  • Now add the washed lentils and stir for 40 – 50 seconds.
  • Add some salt and turmeric powder and mix it well. Add 1 cup of water and mix it. Cover the saucepan and let the lentil for 10 minutes or so.
  • Once half done, add the washed rice into the saucepan and give it a good stir. Add more salt and around 2 1/2 cups of water and stir. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let the mix cook for 20 minutes or until the rice and lentil is perfectly cooked.
  • Once done, transfer it to a bowl, garnish with coriander leaves, fried onions and a generous dollop of ghee and dig in!

 

Eggless Oat Cookies

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Usher into the cookie month with some simple Oat Cookies. Making batches after batches of cookies is indeed therapeutic. Warm spices to fresh herbs, chunks of butter to heaps of flour, beautiful little cookie cutters to perfectly baked cookies – the journey of making cookies is fun. Every cookie dough has exciting ingredients and its own story to tell.

These Oat Cookies were specially baked for my 2.5 year old lil one. He loves munching on homemade cookies during evenings and I love baking it for him. It allows me to introduce different flavor combinations in a beautiful way. Watching me bake so often, he loves taking part in the entire process, mixing ingredients to cutting the cookies. These classic cookies are super easy, fun to bake with kids and a total winner in my kitchen. The spice blend in the cookie dough lends a wonderful warmth to the cookie, while the oats make it chewy and addictive. Add this easy cookie recipe to your reportoire and you’ll never regret it!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 24 cookies)

  • 220 gms oat flour + extra for dusting
  • 40 gms rolled oats
  • 220 gms unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 70 gms icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 2 tbsp whole milk (optional)
  • pinch of salt

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METHOD:

  • In a bowl take unsalted butter and beat it until smooth. This will take around 30 – 40 seconds. Now add icing sugar and beat it until its smooth.
  • Now add vanilla extract and beat it for 20 – 25 seconds.
  • Add oat flour, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder and salt and fold in the mixture until well incorporated.
  • Add the remaining rolled oats and fold in until just incorporated. In case the dough is too thick, add 1 – 2 tbsp of whole milk and fold in gently.
  • Transfer the mixture to a well dusted surface and bring the dough together to form a disc. Do not knead it.
  • Wrap the dough with cling wrap and put it in the refrigerator for 40 – 45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile line the baking sheet with parchment paper and keep aside. Preheat your oven to 180 C for atleast 15 minutes.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 – 1/3 inch thick circle. Using cookie cutter cut the cookies into the desired shape and tranfer on the baking sheet.
  • Keep this baking sheet in the freezer for 10-15 minutes until its firm.
  • Now take it out and put it to bake for 15 – 17 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown.
  • Take it out of the oven and allow it to cool completely. Once its cools down, it firms up better.
  • Transfer it to an airtight container and enjoy these for a week.

 

 

Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies

 

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Hunting for an easy peasy recipe for a non chocolate cookie – these bright buttery cookies are soon going to be your elixir for happiness. While chocolate cookies are almost everyone’s favorite, these lemon – thyme cookies are magical! Shortbread cookies are an epitome of glamour and simplicity. They are fun to make – quite therapeutic and almost like your canvas where you can play around with different flavor combination and make these little heart wonders.

Bright and buttery – these lemon and thyme cookies are perfect additions to your breakfast as well as tea time table. The freshness from the locally sourced fresh lemons and the fragrance from fresh thyme makes you want to go for another bite. Absolutely scrumptious. Minimal ingredients, fool proof recipe and these little indulgent and melt in your mouth cookies are ready in no time.

Share some love with these cookies!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes around 16 – 18 cookies)

  • 1 cup multigrain flour + extra for dusting
  • 113 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 35 grams granulated white sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • few thyme leave sprigs, for garnishing

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METHOD:

  • In a bowl beat butter and sugar until they are smooth and creamy. This would take around 40 – 50 seconds.
  • Now add vanilla extract and beat it for 20 seconds.
  • Add in multi-grain flour and salt and beat it on low speed for 40 – 50 seconds , until its just combined.
  • Now to this mixture add lemon juice, lemon zest and thyme leaves and beat it for 30 seconds.
  • Transfer the mixture to your kitchen top. Make sure that the kitchen top is lightly floured. Combine the entire dough mixture. Do not over mix/ over knead it.
  • Flatten the dough mixture into a disc shape, cling wrap it and put it the fridge to chill for atleast 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile pre heat your oven to 180C for atleast 15 minutes. Line your baking sheet with a parchment paper and keep aside.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge. Lightly flour the surface. Roll out the dough to a 1/4 inch think circle. Take heart shaped cookie cutter and cut out the cookies.
  • Transfer each cookie to the baking sheet. Garnish it with thyme sprigs. Allow the cookie to bake in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes or until the cookies are light golden brown.
  • Once done, take it out from the oven and allow it to cool completely and enjoy!

 

 

 

Tomato and Feta Galette

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Looking for an easy and delicious baking project (aka fun) for this weekend – get ready to be smitten over by this Tomato and Feta Galette. Fruit Galettes are too mainstream, a warm savory pie is what you need for these beautiful chilly evenings. Rustic and comfort is what this galette is all about.

I personally love pies, whether it is sweet or savory. However I am kinda lazy in making pies at home. It stresses me out. There are way too many do’s and don’t. I guess I should take up a challenge soon to make pies at home. Nevertheless galettes are the closest and  the easiest free form pies where all the goodness is tucked in together and put into the oven. And now I guess you know why I love galettes. The look absolutely gorgeous. Throw in ingredients you love you are done!

Tomato and Feta Galette is a classic one. The buttery flaky crust, the creaminess of the feta and the tangy-ness from the cherry tomatoes makes you fall in love with it. Try this recipe over this weekend and I bet you’ll love it as much as I do!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 1 – 9 inch pie)

For the galette crust:

  • 175 multigrain flour + extra for dusting (you can use all purpose flour also)
  • 113 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 3 – 4 grams salt
  • 4 – 5 tbsp ice cold water
  • 1 tbsp granulated white sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten (optional)

For the filling:

  • 1 larger onion, diced
  • 16 – 18 cherry tomatoes, halved or used as is
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 8 – 10 fresh basil leaves
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper to taste

METHOD:

  • In a bowl take multi grain flour, salt, sugar and mixed herbs and mix it well,
  • Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut the butter into the flour until it forms coarse crumbs. It is okay to see small chunks of the butter.
  • Now add the ice cold water a couple of tablespoons at a time and bring together the dough.
  • Dust the kitchen top with flour and transfer the dough on it. Add more water if needed and bring it together to make a ball. Cling wrap it and refrigerate it for an hour atleast.
  • Once its kept in the fridge for sometime, preheat your oven to 200C for atleast 15 – 20 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and keep aside.
  • Once the dough it chilled, take it out and roll it out to 15 inch circle. Transfer the pastry to the baking sheet.
  • Now place the chopped onion on the rolled out pastry dough keeping around 2 – 2.5 inch gap from the edges.
  • Take half of the feta crumble and sprinkle it over the onion layer. Sprinkle some salt and pepper too.
  • Now layer it with whole cherry tomatoes, halved cherry tomatoes or a mix of both. Sprinkle the remaining crumbled feta on top.
  • Fold the edges over the tomatoes gently or make pleats if necessary. Garnish it with a few leaves of basil.
  • Take the lightly beaten egg and using a pastry brush, brush on the folded edges which will give it a nice golden color.
  • Allow it to bake for 25 – 28 minutes at 200C or until golden crisp brown.
  • Once done, transfer it to a wire rack and allow it to cool. Make slices and serve!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy Rajma Masala (Kidney Beans Curry)

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When I think about Indian comfort food, Rajma Chawal tops my list every time. I am not the kind of person who loves to eat Indian food everyday, but eating different cuisines and combinations each day, Rajma Chawal provides that brief hiatus where I go back to my roots, simple home style food where the magic of spices is unparalleled.

As a child mum used to make different versions of Rajma – sometimes without onion garlic, sometimes with a bit of cream and sometimes with potatoes in it. I enjoyed all these different varieties, but my favorite was the one which my friend used to get in her lunch. I remember gobbling down her entire lunch in school on days she got Rajma. I often tried to replicate her recipe, but failed each time. I think that it is the world’s best Rajma chawal and my friend refuses to share the recipe.

Each bite of this curry unveils the perfect blend of Indian spices. The melt in your mouth rajma (kidney beans) along with a flavorful onion-tomato gravy instantly can win anyone’s heart. Pair it with basic steamed rice, pickled onions and papad – quick and easy meals are sorted!

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

  • 3/4 cup uncooked rajma (kidney beans), soaked overnight
  • 1 cup onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 4 – 5 -cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chili, cut lengthwise
  • 1 – 2 bay leaf
  • 4 – 5 curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp rajma masala powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp  garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp kasuri methi (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • pinch of baking soda (optional)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped for garnishing
  • lemon wedges, to serve

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METHOD:

  • Drain the water from the overnight soaked kidney beans and transfer the beans to a pressure cooker. Add 3 1/2 cups of water, bit of salt and baking soda in the pressure cooker and close the lid. Allow the kidney beans to cook on medium flame for atleast 4 – 5 whistles. (You can let it cook for more whistles until the beans is tender and cooked).
  • Once the whistles are done, allow the steam to escape on its own. Take the rajma out and drain the liquid. Do not throw it away since we will use it later.
  • Meanwhile take the chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, garlic cloves and ginger and make a fine paste using a mixer grinder.
  • Put a sauce pan on medium flame. Add ghee. Once hot add the cumin seeds and allow it to crackle. Add the green chili, curry leaves and bay leaf and saute for 10 – 15 seconds.
  • Now add the tomato- onion paste and cook it on low flame. After a minute or so add salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chili powder, half of rajma masala and let the mixture cook until all the moisture is evaporated. This will take about 8 – 10 minutes.
  • Once cooked add the cooked kidney beans along with the remaining rajma masala and give it a quick stir.
  • Add the rajma stock (and more water if you like it watery), cover it with a lid and bring the curry to boil.
  • Add kasuri methi and adjust for salt and spice levels and let it cook for another minute or so.
  • Now garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice.

Enjoy!