Saag Paneer

BM# 101: Week 3, Day 2
Theme : 
Creamy gravies

There was a time when paneer was a once in a while treat, we would order it when we go to restaurants or buy for a stores on special occasions. Now, it’s so common that the fridge is always stocked with a block or two of paneer. My go to recipe for preparing this is Paneer butter masala, but palak paneer is a close second. I also add it in Pulaos or mixed vegetable curries. Another way to use it is as a sandwich or dosa filling. And that makes me realize how many more recipes I need to add to the blog!!

Coming to the recipe here, this is Saag paneer, another dish that I make often. Traditionally saag is served plain, not with paneer in it. Saag means greens and can be made with any greens available. If I see fresh mustard leaves at the Indian store, I buy it along with some spinach and methi leaves to make this. I use Instant Pot for making this instead of the stovetop pressure cooker.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source : Veg Recipes of India

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • 1 cup methi leaves
  • 1 bunch sarson ka saag
  • 1 big onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2″ piece ginger
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 4 green chilies
  • A pinch of hing
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons corn flour (yellow maize flour)
  • Salt as needed
  • 200 gms paneer, cut into cubes
  • Ghee

Method:

  1. Wash the leaves well to remove any dirt. Roughly chop it. Add the spinach, methi, saag, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, ginger, garlic, chilies, hing and water to the Instant Pot or a pressure cooker. Cook for about 8 minutes or 8 whistles. Let the pressure naturally release.
  2. Add maize flour/ corn flour to it. Take an immersion blender and purée everything. Else wait for the saag to cool a bit and blend in a mixie and add it back to the instant pot or cooker.
  3. Add salt and Let the saag cook for another 10-15 minutes, the more it cooks, the tastier it gets. Taste test and adjust the seasonings. Add the cubed paneer pieces towards the last five minutes. Take off the heat and serve with a dollop of ghee with rotis or parathas.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the recipe from other Blogging Marathoners.

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Chettinad Mushroom curry

BM# 101: Week 3, Day 1
Theme : 
Creamy gravies

I came across this book Indian kitchen by Vegan Richa at the library recently and borrowed it immediately. Coincidentally I also had some mushrooms the same day at home, so I tried this recipe from the book. It’s an aromatic curry with coconut based ground masala paste and I have since then made it multiple times. You can also use any vegetable or beans instead of mushrooms here.

This is a drier sauce according to the original recipe, but I added water to it to make a gravy version. I also add pepper to the ground paste to increase the taste a bit more. You can adjust the spice level according to your preference. Other than the ones I have already tried, there are many more recipes I have bookmarked from this book.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source: Vegan Richa’s Indian kitchen

Ingredients:

For masala paste:

  • 2 tablespoons cashews/almonds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 3 dried red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon pepper corns
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut

For gravy:

  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1″ ginger piece, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garam masala
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 ounces or 100gms mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. Heat a pan over medium heat. Add coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, red chilies, pepper corns. After a couple of minutes, once the seeds change color slightly, add the shredded coconut. Dry roast until golden brown and aromatic, stirring frequently. Turn off the heat and let it cool a bit. Grind to a paste along with cashews or almonds, adding a little water to make a smooth paste. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a pan. Add ginger and garlic followed by the onions. Sauté until onion is pink, 3-4 minutes. Add the ground paste, turmeric powder, chili powder, garam masala, salt and tomatoes. Mix everything well and add half cup (or more) water if you need a gravy kind of curry. Let the mixture cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add mushrooms and peas. For a gravy version, add about 3/4 cup of water at this stage. Cover and cook for about 10 -15 minutes, opening and stirring a couple of times in between. Taste test and take off the heat once the mushrooms are cooked well. Serve with chapatis or rice.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the recipe from other Blogging Marathoners.

Dhokli Nu Shaak

BM# 101: Week 2, Day 3
Theme : Cooking with Chickpea flour

Long post alert!! Scroll down for the recipe.

Growing up in India, birthdays weren’t celebrated the way we do it now. It would be just another ordinary day but with friends and family wishing you a great day. And in my case, the husband and kid would wish if they remember it. It never bothered me that my birthday was forgotten half the time, because it was never celebrated in a great manner ever.

After coming to US, all of this changed. Birthdays are like mini weddings, I mean, there is a constant reminder that it is a very very special day and that you have to celebrate it. Every year now, my husband buys me expensive gifts and I always wonder whether it’s the same person who regularly forgot my birthdays until 5 years back :-)). More important than the gifts is eating out because that means I don’t have to cook :-D.

I turned an year older in March. My birthday was on a Monday, but we had our friends over on Sunday itself. So I was surprised when my husband said that we are going out on Monday for dinner. Against my character, I told him that I can make something simple for dinner. But he insisted on going out. It was only when we reached the destination that I realized that we had come to our friends place for dinner.

My husband and my son were coordinating with them to keep this as a surprise. It was one of the sweetest and yummiest gifts I have ever been given :-)!! She is from Gujarat and she had prepared a thali for us. Rice, roti, Kadhi, Undhiyo, homemade gulab jamun and then this dhokli nu shaak. It was a working day for her and yet she came early to prepare dinner for us. She made this dhokli nu shaak quickly while waiting for her husband to come from work. Ever since then this has been on my list to prepare at home.

So long story short, I ate a great meal with great company for my birthday and it is one of the wonderful memories that will stay with me forever. As I was making this dish today, I remind myself that the best things in life are not the ones bought from a store.

Coming to the recipe here, I would suggest looking at the video before trying to make it. Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source : Trusha’s kitchen

Ingredients:

For the dhokli

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • A good pinch hing
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup chickpea flour/ besan
  • Salt as needed
  • For the curry
    • 1 tablespoon oil
    • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
    • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • A good pinch hing
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
    • 2 cups thin buttermilk
    • 1 cup water
    • Salt as needed

    Method

    1. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and hing. Once it splutters, add 2 cups water, salt, chopped garlic, turmeric, chili and coriander powders. Let it boil for 5-6 minutes. Sift besan first and Add it to the water. Mix well with a ladle so that there are no lumps. Cover and cook for a few minutes.
    2. Transfer the batter mix into a greased plate and level it with the back of a greased bowl. Set aside to cool. Cut into cubes using a knife once cool.
    3. Heat oil in another clean pan. Add mustard seeds, jeera and hing. Once the seeds splutter, add one cup of water, salt, turmeric, chili and coriander powders. Add two cups of thin buttermilk and let it cook for a few minutes. Add dhokli pieces to it and cook for another few minutes. Take off the heat and serve hot with rotis.

    Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the recipe from other Blogging Marathoners.

    Bombay chutney

    BM# 101: Week 2, Day 2
    Theme : Cooking with Chickpea flour

    Growing up, chickpea flour or besan was a pantry staple at our home. It was mostly used to make quick pakoras when unexpected guests arrive or to make an occasional sweet treat. Another dish was this Bombay chutney that pairs well with dosa and idlis and even with curd rice.

    Recently a friend of mine was mentioning that this is an oft repeated recipe at her place and they use Sattu flour (roasted chickpea flour) instead of besan. That’s when I remembered the many times amma have made this at home. I had completely forgotten about this one.

    The base is a simple onion tomato mix with ginger and green chilies. To this a besan slurry is added and then everything is cooked together with Some water to thin it out. The reason to add besan as a slurry instead of adding it directly is to avoid the dry lumps. It’s a more tedious work to break down the lumps once it’s already in the heated pan.

    Read on for the recipe.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 teaspoons oil
    • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
    • 2 red chilies
    • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 1″ ginger piece, peeled and chopped
    • 2-3 green chilies or 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
    • 1 medium tomato, chopped finely
    • 2 tablespoons besan
    • 2 cups water*
    • Salt as needed

    *This amount needed to be adjusted according to the thickness preferred.

    Method:

      Mix besan with one cup of water until the lumps are dissolved and set aside.
      Heat oil in a thick pan and add the mustard seeds and red chilies. Once it crackles, add the chopped ginger and sliced green chilies. Sauté for a couple of seconds and add the chopped onions. Sauté until it turns pink.
      Add the tomatoes, salt, turmeric powder and chili powder(if using). Mix well and let it cook until tomatoes are done.
      Add the besan slurry and another cup of water. Let it cook, stirring in between, until it thickens. If it is too thick, add a little more water until the consistency is to your preference.
      Taste test and adjust seasonings if needed. Take off the heat and serve with idli or dosas.