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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Matar Paneer (Green Peas with Paneer Curry)

'Hmm, is that cream or is that cashews?', 'That's Kasuri methi, isn't it?', 'I get a hint of a taste of ginger'. These are some of the dialogues that my hubby hears every time we eat out. He calls it 'verbal deconstruction' of recipes. But, I mean, come on, don't we all ladies do it? I am sure each one of us has committed the crime at least once in their lifetime, especially when it comes to our favorite dishes.
I love recreating restaurant style dishes at home, especially those Punjabi style creamy dishes. And this recipe of Matar Paneer was one such inspiration. It has a thick creamy restaurant style gravy with peas and paneer. Sop it up with a roti or chapati or ladle it on some rice, it is equally delicious and easy to prepare exotic gravy.

Matar Paneer (Green Peas with Paneer Curry)
Matar Paneer (Green Peas with Paneer Curry)

Matar Paneer (Green Peas with Paneer Curry) - Recipe
Green Peas (Matar) - 2 cups
Paneer (Cottage cheese) - 1 packet of 100 grams / 1 and half cups of cubed paneer
Onions - 1 cup chopped
Tomatoes - 1 and half cups chopped
Ginger garlic paste - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Red chilli powder- 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Clove - 1
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch small stick
Dry red chillies - 2
Kasuri Methi - 1-2 pinches
Cashews - handful
Poppy seeds - 1 teaspoon
Fresh Cream - 1/4 cup
Asafoetida powder - 1 pinch
Salt and oil

1. Soak green peas in hot water with a pinch of salt for at least half an hour.
2. In a separate small bowl, soak a handful of cashews and poppy seeds in water for an hour and make a paste.
3. Heat a couple of spoons of oil in a pan and fry the cubes of Paneer on a low flame, until lightly browned.
4. Remove the paneer from the pan and keep aside.
5. In the same pan, add some more oil, heat it and temper with clove, cinnamon, cumin seeds, asafoetida powder and the dry red chillies.
6. Add chopped onions and saute' until golden brown. Add Kasuri Methi and ginger garlic paste and saute'. Add the chopped tomatoes and saute' until soft.
7. Here comes a bit of a twist to get that restaurant style creamy gravy...Get this mixture out of the pan and put it in a blender. Let it cool down a little bit and then blend it. To this add the paste of cashews and poppy seeds. You can leave the whole mixture chunky if you want or blend it into a creamy mixture.
8. Now for the final time, use the same pan to heat a couple of spoons of oil. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and coriander powder to the hot oil. Immediately add the blended mixture, stir and mix well.
9. Drain and add the peas to the pan. Add paneer cubes, salt and mix well. Cover and cook until the peas are soft and paneer has soaked up some flavour.
10. Beat the fresh cream and add it to the gravy. This give nice exotic flavour to this delicious creamy curry. Simmer for a minute and your restaurant style Matar Paneer is ready.
Relish with Roti or Rice.

Matar Paneer (Green Peas with Paneer Curry)
Matar Paneer (Green Peas with Paneer Curry)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mango Lassi (Indian Mango Smoothie)

A tall glass full of cool creamy sweet drink garnished with a generous amount of pistachios, so thick and full of 'malai' (cream) that you might need a spoon to eat it, rather than drink it.
Well, that's my memory of Lassi I had at a street side vendor in Delhi, some 5 years back. Ever since I have been on a hunt for similar lassi in various other cities, but in vain. Some lack the creaminess, some lack the right amount of sweetness, and some others the generosity of the quantity and pistachios. Nonetheless, we always have our own kitchen. So summer or not, having a nice creamy lassi loaded with pistachios and cream, at home is always a treat.

Mango Lassi
Mango Lassi

Mango Lassi - Recipe
Yogurt - 1 cup
Milk - 1/2 cup
Fresh Cream - 1/2 cup
Mango pulp - 1 and 1/2 cups (or 1 cup of chopped mangoes)
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
Pistachios - 1-2 teaspoons chopped
Saffron - a pinch of crushed saffron

1. Blend Yogurt, Milk, Cream, Mango Pulp, Sugar and Cardamom powder all together in a blender.
2. Garnish with crushed saffron and pistachios.
3. Chill and serve.

Event Participations:
1. Spicing your life's 'Kids Delight Potluck'

Monday, September 10, 2012

Rajma / Red Kidney Beans Curry

Wow, I can't believe, it's been a month I haven't blogged. Now that I am back, I can almost hear my heart singing in joy. I know, I know, that's just an exaggeration of a happy heart, a foodie soul and the effect of a hectic and insanely busy month.
Someone truly said, when you go away from something you like, that's when you realize how much you love that thing. That's exactly what happened, the past whole month I have realized how much I love blogging and I mean all aspects of it, the writing, cooking, photography, my blogger friends, their comments, events, the awards and the list goes on and on.
Alright, so here I am with a simple, hearty Punjabi style Rajma / Red Kidney Beans curry. After a long long time, I went for grocery shopping yesterday and I guess I might have gone a little overboard. I almost made that guy at the checkout counter cry, and I don't even want to think about those furious looks of people behind me. So, anyways, I bought these wonderful nutritious dried red kidney beans to make the famous North Indian Rajma Chawal. This Rajma curry along with some rice aka Rajma Chawal made a fulfilling and a comforting meal at the end of a long insane month.

Rajma  / Red Kidney Beans Curry
Rajma  / Red Kidney Beans Curry

Rajma Curry - Recipe
Rajma or red kidney beans (dried) - 1 cup
Rajma Beans (Dry and Boiled)
Rajma Beans (Dry and Boiled)

Onions - 1 cup chopped
Tomatoes - 1 cup chopped
Ginger garlic paste - 1 teaspoon (Homemade or store bought)
Turmeric powder - 1 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Kasuri Methi - couple of pinches
Clove - 1
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch piece
Bay leaves - 1-2
Garam masala powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Lemon juice - 1/4 teaspoon
Asafoetida powder - couple of pinches

1. Soak red kidney beans for almost 7-8 hours or overnight.
2. Cook Rajma in pressure cooker with 2 cups of water and a pinch of asafoetida for 3-4 whistles. Don't throw any leftover water or the rajma stock. The same can be added to the curry later.
3. Heat oil in a pan and add a clove, a 1/2 inch small stick of cinnamon and a couple of bay leaves.
4. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida powder.
5. Add chopped onions and saute' until golden brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and tomatoes and saute' until soft.
6. Add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin and coriander powder and garam masala powder. Crush some kasuri methi in your palm and add that too.
7. Saute' and add the boiled red kidney beans. Mix well.
8. Add salt, 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice and the leftover rajma stock. Also, add a cup of water. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
9. Garnish with some more kasuri methi and coriander leaves.
Serve hot with rice or roti, if you prefer.