Lasooni Chana Paneer

BM #112 : Week 3, Day 3
Theme : A-Z Curries

I got this recipe from a friend of mine and she told me that it’s her regular base recipe. She makes a big batch of the below garlic paste and the uses a spoon or two as needed for various Curries or rice preparations throughout the week. Here I have used the whole batch for a single curry and as you can guess from the ingredient list, it is a very spicy dish. You can always use half of the spice paste and make it less spicer or simple reduce the amount of chilies and black pepper.

Here I have used what I had at home which happened to be Chana and paneer. You can use any vegetable you have at home. If you are using this for rice preparations, go about it the same way – Sauté the prepared garlic paste in oil after cooking the onions, then cook along with vegetables of your choice and rice.

Between pepper and red chilies, the paste is really spicy, but I find the taste quite alright and not overwhelming for us. In a nutshell, the paste contains about one whole garlic, a big piece of ginger, Handful of red chilies, a handful of black pepper and a bit of Jeera. The measurements here are based on that and you can always adjust it according to your preference. This curry goes well with rice and roti. I prefer it with rice.

Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

For the garlic paste:

  • 2” piece ginger, peeled
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 10-12 red chilies or per taste
  • 3 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 teaspoon jeera

For the curry

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • Curry paste from above
  • 2 cups cooked Chana
  • 1 cup diced paneer or more
  • Salt as needed
  • Coriander leaves for garnish

Method:

  1. In a blender jar, grind the ginger, garlic, red chilies, pepper and jeera to a paste. Grind without water first, but if needed, add a spoonful of water to help with grinding. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a pan. Add onions and sauté until it turns pink. Add the ground masala and sauté till the raw smell goes away. Add the tomatoes and cover and cook until tomatoes are soft and done. You can sprinkle some water if the curry looks dry and starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add the cooked Chana, paneer, salt as needed and one cup of water. Mix everything well and add more water, if needed, to bring to the consistency of your choice. Bring it to a boil, taste test and adjust seasonings. Remove from heat, serve with rice or roti.

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Koshari

BM #110 : Week 2, Day 1
Theme : Middle Eastern recipes

Koshari is the national dish of Egypt. It is a fusion of Indian, Italian and Middle East flavors. It has rice and lentils, originated from khichdi, and it has pasta and tomato sauce, from Italy.

The dish looks complex, but it’s extremely easy to make. It has rice, chickpeas, green lentils, pasta and tomato sauce. Each of these can be cooked ahead to make serving easier. Some recipes online serves the dish in layers where as others mix everything and then top with the tomato sauce. I have tried both ways and I prefer the everything together version.

You might end up having more tomato sauce than you need, but it can be refrigerated or frozen until you can use it again. Some people like to have more sauce, so I prefer to make a little extra than running low.

Read on for the recipe.

Serves 4-6 people

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups cooked Chana /chickpeas
  • 1 cup green/brown lentils (whole masoor dal)
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Salt as needed
  • 1 cup dried pasta
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt as needed
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes (or 8-9 of tomatoes puréed)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder, or per taste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. Cook lentils separately until done. I pressure cooked it in Instant Pot for 4 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoon olive oil in a pan. Sauté washed rice for a minute. Add salt as needed and 1.5 cups of water. Bring it to a boil, Cover and cook until rice is done. Set aside.
  3. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Run in cool water to prevent sticking and set aside.
  4. In a pan, heat a teaspoon of oil. Sauté 1 chopped onion and minced garlic until it’s soft. Add a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes ( or 8-9 tomatoes, purées) along with chili powder, cumin powder and salt. Simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes, taste testing and adjusting the seasonings if needed. Set aside.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan. Sauté 2 large chopped onions until it’s brown. Take off the heat.
  6. Now to assemble, add the rice, lentils, cooked chickpeas and pasta in a big bowl. Taste and add salt if needed. In a bowl or plate, serve the rice mix topped with 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce and a little of caramelized onions.

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Chana masala

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

Last month, my old neighbors had come over home. With the kids at school, there was enough time to relax and catch up with each other. We had a mini pot luck and had a great lunch. I had made three gravies that day, two of which I am posting for this theme. I hadn’t picked this theme when I was preparing the meal, it was just good luck that I took pictures of the thali. My friends had brought in vegetable biriyani and bisibela bath. It was served along with the Chana masala, Chettinad mushroom curry and a mixed vegetable curry. Do check out the carrot halwa recipe too, it is a simple and easy way to make this great dessert.

Coming to the Chana masala recipe, this is again from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen. After trying the mushroom curry recipe from the book, I made this first when we had some friends coming over. I didn’t have enough time to soak Chana, so I cooked it for one hour in Instant Pot before making this gravy. If you have time, you can soak the Chana overnight and cook it before making this curry. I already have a recipe for Chana masala in the blog, but this recipe has enough differences to make a separate post.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source: Vegan Richa’s Indian kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 6 medium tomatoes, chopped roughly
  • 2″ long piece of ginger
  • 6-8 garlic cloves
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon oil or ghee
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • A good pinch of hing
  • 2 teaspoons Chana masala or Garam masala
  • Salt as needed
  • About 2 cups of water*
  • Coriander leaves and lemon juice for garnishing and serving

*You can use the water Chana was cooked in.

Method:

  1. Drain and Pressure cook the soaked Chana with enough water until it’s done. Let the pressure release naturally. Set aside.
  2. In a blender, combine tomatoes, ginger, garlic, chilies and 1/2 cup cooked (and cooled) chickpeas. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil or ghee in a pan. Add the chopped onions and cook till it turns pink. Add all the masala powders – cumin, turmeric, chili, garam (or Chana) masala, hing and salt. Mix well.
  4. Add the puréed tomato paste. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring in between to prevent tomatoes from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add a little water in case that happens. Reduce the heat and cook for another 10 minutes until the mixture is dry and starts to leave the side of the pan.
  5. Add cooked chickpeas and about 2 to 2.5 cups of water. You can use the water in which Chana was cooked. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes, taste testing in between to adjust the seasoning. Take off the heat and serve garnished with coriander leaves, minced onion and lemon juice. This pairs very well with rotis and plain basmati rice.

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Chana masala

2chana_masala

BM # 71
Week 1, Day 1
Theme : One pot dishes
I am surprised that the oft repeated everyday dishes are hardly featured here in my space. I was sure that I had a recipe for chana and rajma here since its something I make regularly. Apparently not! Its been part of some thali meals in the past, but never been featured as a recipe post here. Since its a regular dish at my place, I will get a chance soon to update this post with better pictures sometime down the line.
I always use pav bhaji masala when making chana masala. Its something I started long back and I don’t remember how I decided pav bhaji is the masala for this curry. Kasuri methi also adds a wonderful flavor to this dish.
Now a days, I make this curry in the Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker). I use soaked chana directly and don’t bother with cooking it ahead or using canned beans to cut short the time.
Read on for the pictorial.

1chana_masala

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • one teaspoon oil
  • one medium onion, chopped finely
  • two medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (or per taste)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 can garbonzo beans (or soaked and cooked chana)
  • 1 tablespoon Pav bhaji masala
  • 2 teaspoons kasuri methi
  • handful of chopped cilantro
  • salt

Pictorial

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Heat one teaspoon oil and saute one chopped medium onion. When it turns pink, add two chopped medium tomatoes. Saute till tomato is cooked a bit and is a little mushy. Add the masala powders (1/4 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp chili, 1 heaped tsp coriander, 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tablespoon pav bhaji masala). I forgot to add it at this point, so added it later. Add the salt also.

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Mix well. Cover the pot with a lid and let it cook in low heat for 4-5 minutes. If its dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of water to prevent the masalas from sticking to the bottom. Stir in between to ensure nothing burns.

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When the masalas are all cooked and the tomatoes are mashed well, add 1/2 cup water. Take aside 1/4 cup of cooked or canned garbanzo beans and make a paste out of it in a mixer jar. This paste step is optional, but helps in thickening the curry.

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Add the rest of the chana to the curry. Add water to cover the chana. About 2-3 cups. Let it come to a boil. Add the chana paste to the curry and mix it in with a ladle. This will help thicken the curry.

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Pav bhaji masala is coming to my mind only now :D. Better late than never, add a tablespoon of it to the curry.

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Now time for kasuri methi and chopped coriander. Add it and mix. Let it cook in medium heat for about 5-10 minutes, taste testing and adjusting it as necessary. Take off the heat when it reaches the desired consistency. Serve hot with rice or roti.

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