Palak Paneer

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Palak paneer is one of my son’s favorite dishes and that is an achievement indeed. He hates rice, but when I think about it, even I wasn’t a big fan of rice or  koottu or most South Indian foods at his age  . I wouldn’t protest since I didn’t know any better, but I didn’t exactly love the food I was served either. And look at me now…I love all foods and South Indian is my favorite. So maybe it’s just a game of not giving up now and feeding him even though he eats with a look of martyrdom and a loud sigh. And hope that he will learn to love it as time passes by.

But some recipes are his favorites. Palak paneer is one of those. Even if you serve it with rice, there are no complaints. There is obvious delight and no questions are asked. I won’t say that I make it regularly, but I do make it at least once a month. Don’t want to jinx the special status of the dish by making it regularly. 

I used to try my friend’s recipe for a long time, but now found another recipe at this site and that’s what I have been making for the past couple of times. Basically it’s spinach cooked with ginger, green chilies, garlic and onion. A few more items and the dish is complete. Palak paneer is a mild dish and you usually don’t add a lot of spice powders, letting the spinach shine over everything else. 

Read on for the recipe. This serves about 4-5 people. 

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Serves 4-5 people

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon ghee
  • 1/2 teaspoon jeera
  • 1″ piece of ginger, chopped fine
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 green chilies, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder or per taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder 
  • A pinch of ground nutmeg 
  • 1/4 cup thick yogurt, optional
  • 3 bunches of spinach, about 750gms, chopped roughly 
  • 200 gms paneer 
  • 2-3 tablespoons of cream, optional

Method:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter or oil in a pan. Add 1/2 teaspoon of jeera seeds. Once it changes color, add 1″ piece of chopped ginger, couple of chopped green chillies and 3-4 crushed or chopped garlic cloves. Once this turns golden in color, add one roughly chopped medium onion. Sauté until it turns pink. 
  2. Chop and add one medium tomato to the sautéed onions. Let it cook for a couple of minutes. Add all the spices – 1/2 teaspoon each of turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder, a pinch of ground nutmeg and salt as needed. Cook for a further minute or two. 
  3. Add 1/4 cup of yogurt and mix well. You can switch off the heat and let the curry cool a bit before adding the yogurt if you want. I didn’t do that. 
  4. Add 3 bunches of spinach, about 750 gms, that’s roughly chopped and cook until it shrinks in size and is wilted. Taste test and adjust seasonings if needed. Take off the heat and let it cool down. 
  5. Purée this mixture in a blender. Now add it back to the pan and bring it to a slow simmer. Add the cubed paneer pieces as well and let it cook together for a few minutes. You can add a few tablespoons of cream if you wish. Take off the heat and serve hot with chapati or jeera rice. 

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Gutti Vankaya Kura (Stuffed eggplants)

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As February was ending, our Blogging Marathon creator (and the main reason why my blog is still alive) Valli’s birthday was coming up and we bloggers decided to throw her an online food party. We all chose recipes from her blog and surprised her with wishes and food from all corners of the world. I went straight to the root and took the first recipe that she published. Gutti Vankaya Kura.

I paired it for a meal with her coconut rice.

Ever since making it for her birthday, its kind of become my regular dish. May be I will take better pictures the next time I make it. Right now I am clearing my drafts and thought its a good time to post this recipe.

This curry is a flavor burst and so I thought it better to pair it with simpler recipes. May be I will pair it with biryani and see how it turns out to be! Read on for the recipe and step wise pictures.

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Recipe source: Cooking for all seasons

Dry roast 1/3 cup peanuts, 3-4 dry red chillies in a pan. When the peanuts are brownish, add 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds, 1″ stick of cinnamon, 3-4 cloves and fry for a minute. Add 1/4 cup dry or fresh coconut and saute until the coconut changes color and releases a sweet aroma. Remove from heat.

When the dry mix is cooled down, blend it along with a small diced onion (or 4 pearl onions), 2 cloves of garlic and 1″ piece of ginger. Grind without adding any water.

Cut a ‘plus’ in the brinjal, cutting it through till the stalk. Keep the stalk intact so that its not cut into four pieces. Carefully fill the brinjal with the prepared peanut mix. I was able to fill 7 small brinjals with this amount.

Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a pan. Add one teaspoon mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add one chopped big onion and saute till pink. Follow it up with a finely chopped large tomato.

Add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, salt as needed and cook until its mushy. Add the stuffed brinjals carefully and let it cook for a couple of minutes.

Slowly turn it over (stalks help ;-)!). If you have any left over ground mix, blend it with some water and add to the curry.

Add enough water to help with the cooking and to have a bit of gravy. Lower the heat and cover and cook for about 25 minutes, carefully turning the brinjals once or twice in between. Turn off the heat with the veggies are completely cooked and oil floats on top. Serve with rice or roti. Pairs well with coconut rice.

Ingredients:

To grind:

  • 1/3 cup peanuts
  • 3-4 dry red chillies
  • 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1″ stick of cinnamon
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 1/4 cup dry or fresh coconut
  • 1 small onion (or 4 pearl onions)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1″ ginger piece

For the gravy:

  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 big onion, finely chopped
  • 1 big tomato, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • salt as needed
  • 4-6 brinjals*

*the size of the brinjal vary vastly, so its difficult to give a finite number here..

Method:

Prepare the ground masala first: 

  1. Dry roast 1/3 cup peanuts, 3-4 dry red chillies in a pan. When the peanuts are brownish, add 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds, 1″ stick of cinnamon, 3-4 cloves and fry for a minute. Add 1/4 cup dry or fresh coconut and saute until the coconut changes color and releases a sweet aroma. Remove from heat.
  2. When the dry mix is cooled down, blend it along with a small diced onion (or 4 pearl onions), 2 cloves of garlic and 1″ piece of ginger. Grind without adding any water.

Prepare the curry:

  1. Cut a ‘plus’ in the brinjal, cutting it through till the stalk. Keep the stalk intact so that its not cut into four pieces. Carefully fill the brinjal with the prepared peanut mix. I was able to fill 7 small brinjals with this amount.
  2. Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a pan. Add one teaspoon mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add one chopped big onion and saute till pink. Follow it up with a finely chopped large tomato. Add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, salt as needed and cook until its mushy.
  3. Add the stuffed brinjals carefully and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Slowly turn it over (stalks help ;-)!). If you have any left over ground mix, blend it with some water and add to the curry.
  4. Add enough water to help with the cooking and to have a bit of gravy. Lower the heat and cover and cook for about 25 minutes, carefully turning the brinjals once or twice in between.
  5. Turn off the heat with the veggies are completely cooked. Serve with rice or roti. Pairs well with coconut rice.

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Spicy Egg Curry

Kiddo to me: “She Gabrio Namaha”

She? Gabrio? Namaha?

No way these three words can come together in a sentence.

“Its Sree Gurubhyo Namaha. Its Sanskrit and its a way to greet your teacher” informed my husband, fighting back the laughter.

‘No, its She Gabrio Namaha. Teacher Ma’am taught me.’ End of discussion, as far as my son is concerned.

No way we are going to contest or correct him on this. I guess the teacher will correct him one day or he will realize it on his own, but whatever be it, Gabrio Namaha is way more cuter than the original!

Time for Radhika’s Blog Hop Wednesday. This week I am paired with Riddhima of Culinary Vibes. This is my recreation of her rocking Spicy Egg Curry, Punjabi style.

Ingredients:

  • Eggs                                 :    4 or 5, hard boiled
  • Onion                              :    1 big, sliced
  • Tomato                          :    1 big, chopped roughly
  • Garlic                              :   4-5 pods, chopped
  • Chilli Powder               :   1/2 -1 tsp
  • Cinnamon Powder     :   1/4 tsp
  • Bay leaf                           :    1
  • Salt
  • Oil

Method:

  1. Hard boil the eggs. Once they are done, shell them and keep them aside.
  2. Heat about one tsp of oil in a pan, add the chopped onion and garlic. When the onion turns pink, add the tomatoes.
  3. Once the tomatoes are cooked, add half teaspoon of chilli powder, cinnamon powder and salt. If the curry dries out, add a little bit of water to prevent sticking to the pan. Cover and cook for 5 -10 minutes.
  4. Take off the heat and let it cool. Blend into a paste.
  5. Heat a tsp of butter or oil in the same pan. Add the bay leaf. Add the tomato paste and a cup of water and bring it to boil.
  6. Slice the eggs into two and add it to the gravy. Let it cook for 5 – 10 minutes, till the flavors blend nicely.
  7. Serve hot with rotis, paratha or rice.

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Potato and Green Gram Dal

Weekend. Hearty lunch outside. Happy state of mind. Long drive, hubby’s favorite. That’s when I hinted a wish for shopping. Hubby looked worried and scared, kiddo clutched his tummy and pretended stomach ache.

They offered to drop me and my friend at the Mall, if we can spare them the agony of shopping. I gladly accepted the offer, happy to escape their repeated “Are you done now? Can we go home?” question.

And so, hubby dropped us and drove back home. Without taking the house keys and his mobile from me.

I received the SOS call he made from our neighbor’s place. I assured him that I am rushing back home, I just had one more shop to visit. Three hours and five bags full of purchase later, we reached home. Thank god for the friends and relatives living near by to feed and engage my family!

So now whenever my hubby drops me somewhere, kiddo anxiously checks with his dad,”Do you have the keys and mobile with you?” while I look outside, with a defensive look which says ‘Guys won’t understand the relation between women and shopping’.

This is a recipe from one of my neighbors. The flavor in this curry comes from the green chillies, ginger and garlic. No curry powders and no masalas. Its simple and really flavorsome. You can try substituting the green gram with sprouts and potatoes with sweet potatoes.

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes                                      :               3 – 4, medium
  • Whole Green Gram                 :                1/2 cup
  • Onion                                            :               1 medium, sliced
  • Tomato                                        :                1 medium (optional)
  • Green Chillies                            :                3 – 4, per taste
  • Ginger                                           :                1 – 2 ” piece, chopped fine
  • Garlic                                            :                 5-6 pods, chopped fine
  • Salt
  • Oil

Method:

  1. Cook or pressure cook the potatoes and whole green gram using separators for 2 or 3 whistles.
  2. Slice the onions and roughly cut the tomatoes. Finely chop the chillies, ginger and garlic.
  3. Heat two teaspoons of oil and when its hot, add the onions, green chillies, ginger and garlic.
  4. When the onions becomes pink, add the tomatoes, if using. Saute for 3-4 minutes till the tomatoes get cooked.
  5. Add the cooked green gram and a cup of water. Cut the cooked potatoes into cubes and add.
  6. Add salt, cook for 5-10 minutes, mashing the potato pieces a bit with the ladle in case the gravy is not thick.
  7. Serve with chapatis. Perfect!
  8. You can use sprouted green grams and sweet potatoes too in this curry.

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Mixed Vegetable Curry

Me and Harry love to eat out. On Friday night, I close down the kitchen and open it only on Sundays. Coffee is the only thing served on weekends.

Friday nights are, well, Friday nights and deserve a break from the routine. Saturdays are for grocery shopping, and after lugging home kilos and kilos of necessary and unnecessary stuff  from the supermarket, there won’t be any mood or energy to cook.

Driving in this heat and traffic is hardly a happy venture, so we always end up going to the restaurants nearby. Being a vegetarian, our choices are cramped to one fourth of a page in the menu card. After trying out every single recipe there, the food becomes repetitive and boring. Not to mention that they serve us more oil in one single meal than what we use for the whole week. End result – a very heavy tummy and a very light purse.

Anyway, we found that we are eating more at home than we used to, on weekends, especially after I started this blog. And why should we not – when I am making something as awesome as this Mixed Vegetable Curry at home – healthy, non greasy and ready under 30 minutes?

As part of Blog Hop Wednesdays, I was assigned to Divya’s awesome blog this week. A new blog is assigned to you every alternate week and we have to prepare something from that blog. Kind of a social mingling for blogs and bloggers, as I am seeing so many blogs than I would have otherwise. I went through all the recipes in Divya’s blog and finally zeroed down on her Mixed Vegetable Curry. I have doubled the quantity and made slight variations.

Ingredients:

  • Mixed Vegetables     : 2 cups (Potatoes, Capsicum, beans, carrot, peas etc)
  • Onions                           : 2, chopped fine
  • Tomatoes                     : 2, chopped fine
  • Green Chilis                 : 2, or per taste
  • Ginger garlic paste   :  2 tsp
  • Milk                                :  2 tbsp
  • Almonds/Cashews   : 4-5
  • Red Chili Powder      : 1-2 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder     : 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander Powder    : 1-2 tsp
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Soak the almonds or cashews in milk. Keep aside.
  2. Cut the vegetables into 1″ cubes. Cover and microwave for 4-5 minutes or till they are 80% cooked.
  3. Heat oil in a pan, add the onions, tomatoes,green chillis and the ginger garlic paste. Saute till its completely cooked. Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Take off the heat and let it cool slightly.
  4. Once its cool, add the almonds/cashews along with the milk. Blend everything together.
  5. In the same pan, bring the ground paste to a boil, add the cooked vegetables and the garam masala. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes or till the vegetables are done. Check and adjust the seasonings.
  6. If desired, heat a tsp of ghee in a small pan and add half tsp of cumin seeds to it. Pour it over the vegetable curry before serving.

Note:

Please visit Divya’s blog to see the original recipe.

You can skip the cashews or almonds, you will have to substitute the milk with cream/malai for getting a thick gravy.

Check out here to see what other Wednesday Hoppers have made. Hats off to Radhika, for organizing this wonderful event.

Restaurant owners in and around: Do not despair, we haven’t stopped going out completely. We remain your faithful customers. Though I love my pots and pans very much, I love being pampered now and then too.

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