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.

 

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!

My Family’s Favorite Egg Curry

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When I look back and retrospect my initial days cooking in the kitchen, a multitude of emotions run through my mind. There is definitely a sense of achievement to see how far I have come along in cooking, each day is better than yesterday. A lot of different techniques, different cuisines and different flavors seems unraveled in front of me, I definitely want to explore and understand the world of food better! This recipe is special to me since its humble and screams of the flavors that me and family enjoy. It was just a few years back when I was attempting to make egg curry and I failed miserably since my eggs weren’t boiled perfectly. And here I am confident about this lip smacking Egg Curry!

This dish falls in my comfort zone food category , quintessential to days when I want to have something delicious and have no time to make something elaborate. A sublime curry with perfectly boiled eggs snuggled in it with layers of Indian flavors – Oh so yum! It’s rustic and a simple dish for all those egg lovers. So just when you were thinking what to cook with parathas or rice, we answered your dilemma with this flavorful Egg Curry!

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RECIPE

METHOD: (For 2 – 3 people)

  • 3 hard boiled egg, peeled and sliced half
  • 4 big tomatoes, roughly diced
  • 1 medium onion, roughly diced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 green chillis, cut lengthwise
  • 1/2 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 – 7 curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder (you can increase it slightly if you want more spice)
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp dried mango powder (optional)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 – 3 tbsp coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • salt, to taste

METHOD:

  • Take tomato, onions, 1 green chili, ginger and garlic in a mixer grinder and grind it to form a smooth paste. Keep it aside.
  • Now take a kadhai/saucepan on medium heat and add oil. Once its hot, add cumin seeds, curry leaves, bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon stick and the remaining chilli and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Now add the tomato – onion paste and saute it until it starts to thicken. Add salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder and garam masala and let the mixture cook until it starts to leave oil. Make sure you keep stirring it to avoid it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Once paste starts to leave the oil, add water and allow the water to boil.
  • Add the boiled eggs and cover the saucepan with a lid and allow the curry to boil for another 2 minutes.
  • Garnish it with coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice or parathas.

Enjoy!

 

 

Laksa – from the scratch!

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Monsoons for me means sitting by the window and enjoying the crisp cool air, the fragrance of “gilli mitti”, reading a book and relishing a bowl of piping hot and comfort food! I am already hoping that it rains again today and I can relive these moments again. And when you get a bowl full of goodness – piping hot curry noodle soup, your day can’t get any better! Laksa is a Malaysian curry noodle soup which is hearty and perfect for monsoon lunches and dinner.

This recipe here might not be the most authentic Laksa recipe, but it’s modified to what my family enjoys and the flavors we can relate too. Spicy, sweet, zing and lots of goodness. I must admit that cooking Asian food is not my forte, but I wanted to try my hands on this dish particularly. I tried, retried and re-retried and almost perfected myself in making Laksa. While the coconut milk lends the creaminess and sweetness to the dish, the “made from scratch” Laksa paste adds the much needed fieriness to the whole dish. The colorful medley of veggies provide the necessary nutrients. All this with a dash of lemon is sublime!

This soup reminded me of my mum’s tomato soup which she would load with noodles and veggies to make our meals more exciting. So just when you were pondering about what to cook next, my version of Laksa is here to spark up your weeknight dinners and a comfort laden weekend meal!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 people)

For Laksa Paste:

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 6 dried red chili, soaked in hot water for atleast 30 minutes (you can add more if you like the paste to be spicier)
  • 1 fresh red chili
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp fresh turmeric root, roughly chopped (you can use ground turmeric instead)
  • 1 medium red onion, roughly diced
  • thumb of ginger or galangal, roughly chopped
  • salt, to taste

For Soup:

  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 150 – 200 ml water
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, par boiled
  • 1 medium sized red bell pepper, julinned
  • 1 cup carrot, peeled and cut into circles and par boiled
  • 6 – 7 pak choy leaves, cut into threads.
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 200 grams tofu, cut into cubes
  • 100 grams button mushroom, cut into thick slices
  • 1.5 cup cooked rice vermicelli, cooked according to packet instructions
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp roasted peanuts, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts (optional)
  • 1/3 cup french beans, cut into long pieces and slightly boiled (optional)
  • 2 tbsp fresh thai basil leaves (optional)

METHOD:

  • In a mixer grinder take all the ingredients for the Laksa paste along with 2 tbsp of water and make a smooth puree out of it. Do not use the water in which the dried red chilis were soaked.
  • Once the paste is made, keep it aside.
  • Take a saucepan and put 1 tbsp of oil in it and put it on medium heat. Add the entire Laksa paste and let the paste cook completely. You will know the paste is properly cooked once it starts to leave slight oil. This would take 8 – 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile take another pan on medium heat. Put the remaining oil. Add chili flakes and the white part of green onion and saute for a few seconds. Now add broccoli, carrots, french beans, bell pepper and mushrooms and saute until it starts to get slightly charred. Add salt and give it a good stir. Once cooked keep aside.
  • Once the Laksa paste is cooked, add coconut milk and water and let the gravy simmer for 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Add the diced tofu so that it soaks up some flavor of the curry. Let the curry simmer for atleast 5 minutes.
  • To serve, first take a bowl and add some cooked rice vermicelli. Add some veggies and then pour the tofu and the coconut curry. Add some more veggies on the top.
  • Garnish with lemon wedge, roasted peanuts, coriander leaves, spring onions and thai basil.

Enjoy!

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!