Kadai Paneer

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Been a very long time since I added any posts and perhaps it required pursuasion from interested folks for me to move into action! Ad wanted a healthy version of paneer and thought I could simplify it by adding fresh paneer without frying and also leave the option of cream to her. This dish gets its name for two reasons. Being a dish that can be stir fry or semi-gravy, it is cooked in a wok and also the spice used called kadai masala  is used for stir fry dishes in North Indian cuisine.

A typical kadai masala includes many spices (will post soon) but I preferred to make a less spicy one for paneer to retain the flavor and taste of paneer and bell pepper. Often I find posts that suggest coriander powder and chilli powder that I believe are redundant when adding fresh spices!

 

Ingredients  (for 3 servings)

  • Oil  2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder ¼ tsp
  • Paneer/Cottage Cheese  250 g (cut into cubes)
  • Green pepper (medium sized)  2 or 1 large (julienned into 1″ slices)
  • Onion (big)  1 or 2 two medium-sized ( sliced into 1″ pieces)
  • Chopped garlic 1 tsp (optional)
  • Ginger grated or julienned from 2″ piece
  • Tomato 2  large or 3 medium-sized (cut into 1″ cubes)
  • Kasuri methi  1 tbsp (crushed fine)
  • Salt  1 tsp
  • Garam masala powder 1 tsp
  • Kadai  Masala
  • Coriander seeds 1 tbsp
  • Dried red chilies 5
  • Pepper corn ½ tsp
  • Cumin seeds ½ tsp

Garnishing

  • Fresh coriander leaves  1 tbsp ( finely chopped)
  • Fresh cream 2 tbsp (optional)

Method

  • For the kadai masala dry roast all the spices  in the order chilies, coriander seeds, pepper corns and cumin seeds on   low flame and powder them  finely after cooling them.
  • Heat oil in the wok and add the cumin seeds and as they splutter, add the garlic and saute till the raw smell is gone. Add the sliced onions and saute till it starts turning translucent . At this stage add the grated ginger and  bell pepper juliennes and saute for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the turmeric powder, garam masala, salt and saute for another minute or two.
  • Add the tomato slices, place a lid on the wok and let the mix cook till the tomato softens and oozes out the juice. If need be add half-a cup of water. When nicely cooked, add the kadai masala and paneer cubes and cook for another minute or two.
  • Crush the dried methi leaves between the palms and add the fine powder to the paneer and stir well.
  • Switch off the flame and garnish with fresh coriander leaves and cream

Serve with rotis.

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Chef’s Note

  • I prefer a moist dish and do not add  much water. However, if one prefers a gravy type, add ½ cup water when the tomatoes are getting cooked.
  • Often tomato puree is used as in gravy dishes but in this dish, tomaoto cooked with bell pepper gives a nice texture and flavor.

 

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Gobhi-aloo sabji

4 servings

Ingredients

Cauliflower  1 (medium-sized)

Potatoes  4 (medium-sized)

Onion  2 (medium-sized)

Shelled green peas ½ cup (optional)

Tomatoes 2 (big)

Cilantro leaves  1 tbsp (finely cut)

Oil  1 tbsp

Cumin seeds 1 tsp

Spice mix

Turmeric powder  ¼ tsp

Red chilli powder  1 tsp

Coriander powder 1 tsp

Cumin powder 1 tsp

Salt  1 tsp or as per taste

Amchur  ¾  tsp

Method

  1. Cut the cauliflower into small florets and wash and drain them. Peel the potatoes and cut into finger-sized pieces.
  2. Dice finely the onions and tomatoes.
  3. Heat oil in a wok and temper the cumin seeds. As soon as they splutter add the finely diced onions and saute till it changes color and looks translucent.
  4. Add finely cut tomatoes and saute till the tomatoes are half-cooked.  Add the spices and salt and if need be a little amount of water to keep the mix moist. Cover with a lid and cook till the spices start giving aroma (about 3 minutes).
  5. Add the cauliflower florets, peas, and potatoes and cook on slow flame till done.  Add little water if needed to keep the mix moist.
  6. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve,

Chef’s Note

Peas and onion are optional and the veggie can be made without them too.

Chole/Chana (6 servings)

Ingredients

Chickpeas 250 g (soaked overnight)

Dried gooseberry (amla) 2 pieces

Tea leaves 1 tsp

Onion (medium-sized) 2

Tomatoes ( Indian big) 2

Ginger-garlic paste 1 tbsp

Tamarind 2 scales or lemon juice 1 tbsp

Soda bicarb ½ tsp

Cumin seeds 1 tsp

Turmeric powder ½ tsp

Chilli powder 1 tsp

Dhania powder 1 tsp

Cumin powder ½ tsp

Chana masala 1 tsp

Chaat masala 1 tsp

Salt 1 tbsp

Jaggery (powdered) 1 tsp

Cooking oil 2 tbsp

Method

Drain excess water from chana to adjust the volume to 1 or 1½ cups water.

Make a small muslin pouch of tea leaves and amla and drop it to the soaked chana. Add soda to the soaked chana,  half the salt,  and pressure cook for 3 to 4 whistles.  When cooled discard the muslin bag, drain the stock and keep aside. Take a handful of cooked chana and mash well to a paste.

While the chana is getting cooked, grind the onions and tamarind to a paste and keep aside. Also make a puree of tomato and keep it ready.

Heat oil in a wok and when hot enough add the cumin seeds. As the seeds start crackling, add the ground onion past; a minute later add the ginger garlic paste and saute well on a medium flame till the raw smell is gone and aroma emanates. Add the tomato puree and saute well till a thick gravy is formed. Add to the gravy, turmeric powder, dhania powder, cumin powder and remaining salt and stir well on a low flame. If the masala gets dry, add the chana stock to get a pasty consistency. A minute later, add the cooked chana, jaggery, and stir well. Add a cup of water and the mashed chana and stir well. As the mix starts boiling add chana masala and chat masala. Mix well and cook on low flame for a minute. Garnish with plenty of fresh green cilantro leaves.

In case you prefer lemon juice skip tamarind and add lemon juice to the end.

Chef’s note

I prefer to skip  soda as it leaches out the nutrient, but it helps in cooking the chan extra well. So it is optional.