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-Mutter Pepper Fry

 

 

 

 

 

Cauliflower, in most forms, is no favorite for G. Two forms that he doesn’t mind are stew and paruppu usili. Pualo again is not so objectionable!  I thought something slightly spicy but not too chunky will possibly satisfy his palate and it was not really a bad idea!

A dish that is not too time-consuming either this turned out quite to  our needs.

 

 

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Ingredients  (3 servings)

Medium sized cauliflower 1 (to give 2 cups of small florets)
Fresh peas  1 cup (optional)

Turmeric powder 1 tsp

Cumin seeds 1 tsp

Salt 1 tsp

Cooking oil 1 tbsp

For the spice mix

Dried red chillies  2

Black peppercorns 1 tsp ( 1½ tsp if you like it more spicy)

Coriander seeds 1 tsp

Cumin seeds 1 tsp

Desiccated coconut 1 tbsp (2 tbsp when fresh coconut used)

Curry leaves  3 sprigs

Tamarind 2 scales (or 1 tsp lemon juice)

 

Method

  • Wash the cauliflower florets in running water and blanch them in a bowl of  hot water containing turmeric powder and a little salt. Cover the bowl and leave the florets for 5 minutes. Drain the florets in a colander and take the florets in a bowl along with peas and microwave for 5 minutes to cook the vegetables. Alternately cook the florets and peas in pressure cooker for one whistle.

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  • While the veggies are cooking, dry roast the spice mix ingredients in a pan on low flame till the color changes and the aroma starts rifting. Cool them and blend them to get a fine powder.

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  • Heat oil in a pan and temper with cumin seeds. Add the vegetables to the pan and stir gently. Add alt and the spice mix and saute to get the florets coated with the spice uniformly.
  • Serve hot with rotis or rice.

Chef’s note

Onions are optional and in case you love the onion in your fry saute the finely cut onions in the tempered oil till translucent, before adding the florets and peas.

If you prefer lemon juice to tamarind, add the juice after removing the pan from the flame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aloo-Methi Stir Fry

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Come winter and it is time to revel in methi greens! I had a lovely surprise when a huge bunch flew in from Delhi! Luckily I had baby potatoes on hand and  my Sunday couldn’t have been better. Although I have posted a methi-aloo combo that was with big potatoes and also it had onion and tomato with a different taste and flavor. Comparatively this dish required  more efforts but certainly worth it.

Ingredients

Cleaned and washed methi leaves 1 cup

Baby potatoes ½ kg

Oil 1 tbsp

Cumin seeds 1 tsp

For the spice mix

Turmeric powder ½ tsp

Cumin powder ½ tsp

Red chilli powder 1 tsp

Salt 1 tsp

Tamarind paste/ thick pulp 1 tsp/ 1 tbsp

Method

  • Add a cup of water and  add ½ tsp salt to it and pressure cook the potatoes for three whistles. On cooling peel the potatoes and keep them ready in a shallow bowl. Add the spice mix and tamarind pulp and mix well and let it marinade for 30 minutes.
  • In the meantime cut the cleaned and  thoroughly washed and drained fenugreek leaves.
  • Heat oil in a wok or heavy-bottomed pan and temper with cumin seeds.
  • Transfer the leaves to the wok, add a pinch of salt and saute on low flame for 5 to 7 minutes till the aroma is released.
  • Transfer the potatoes to the pan, cover with a lid, and cook on low flame till done.
  • Serve hot with chapathis or goes well with rice too.

Usili-Cauliflower n Peas (3 Servings)

cauliflowerusili (2)

Ingredients

Cauliflower (medium) cut into small pieces (0.5 cm)  2 cups

Shelled peas 1 cup

Coconut grated  2 tbsp

Chana dal  ¼ cup

Toor dal  ¼ cup

Red chilli powder ½ tsp

Salt 1 tsp

Turmeric ¼ tsp

Cooking oil 1 tbsp

Mustard 1 tsp

Coriander leaves diced fine  1 tbsp

Method

  • Soak the dals for 30 minutes and grind to a coarse texture along with turmeric, chilli powder and half quantity salt.
  • Transfer to a greased bowl and in another bowl take the cut vegetables and add the remaining salt to it and mix.
  • Steam the bowls placed one above the other in a cooker (no weight please) for 10 minutes.
  • Crumble the dal when it cools.
  • Heat oil in a wok and temper the mustard seeds, and saute the dal for 2 or 3 minutes on low flame. Add coconut and stir well.
  • Maintain the low flame and add the veggies and cook for 5 minutes or less till done

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.

Aloo Roast I (3 servings)

Potatoes  ½ kg

Mustard seeds 1 tsp

chana dal 1 tbsp

Cooking oil 2 tbsp

Ingredients for spice mix

Turmeric powder ½ tsp

Red chilli powder 1 tsp

Cumin powder ¾ tsp

Coriander powder 1 tsp

Amchur 1 tsp or curds 1 tbsp

Slat 1 tsp

Rice flour/gram flour(besan) 1 tbsp

Method

  • Boil the potatoes in water till cooked and dice the peeled potatoes into ½” pieces.
  • Transfer all the ingredients for the spice mix in a wide bowl and add a spoon or two of water to make a semi-liquid paste. Add the diced potatoes to the mix and coat them well with the spice mix using a wooden spatula.
  • Let the mix marinate for about 10 minutes.
  • Heat oil in a wok and let the mustard seeds crackle. Lower the flame and add chana dal and wait for it to turn golden in color. Transfer the marinated mix from the bowl and cook on low flame for the curry to turn crisp.
  • Garnish with curry leaves.

Chef’s note

If you like to flavor with onions, add finely diced onion (medium-sized) to the tempered mix and saute till transparent. Add te marinated mix after sauteing.

While boiling the potatoes add ½ tsp of salt to the water.

Potato podimas (6 servings)

 

 

 

potato podimasIngredients

Ginger (grated)  1 tbsp

Green chillies (finely diced) 6

Turmeric powder  ½ tsp

Salt  1½ tsp or to taste

Curry leaves 5 sprigs

Cilantro leaves  1 tbsp (finely cut)

Lemon juice  2 tbsp

Mustard seeds 1 tsp

Chana dal t tbsp

Cashew nuts  6 or 8 (optional)

oil  2 tbsp

Method

  1. Boil the potatoes till well cooked, cool in water and peel them.  Mash the potatoes coarsely to get crumbled texture.
  2. Heat oil in a wok and temper the mustard seeds. As they start spluttering,  add chana dal and as color starts changing add the finely diced chillies, turmeric powder, and curry leaves, and saute for a few seconds. Add ginger, cashew pieces and saute for a minute on a low flame.
  3.   Add the mashed potatoes and saute for a minute or so and add salt and cook on low fire keeping the wok covered.
  4. When the mix has blended well remove from fire and garnish with coriander leaves and add lemon juice and mix well.
  5. Serve when hot. Makes an excellent side dish foe Vengaya sambhar.