Paneer paratha thali

BM #116 : Week 3, Day 3
Theme : Indian Flatbread Thali

Like I had mentioned in an earlier post, paneer was not something we grew up eating. Dishes like paneer butter masala and palak paneer were alien until I was in college. Eating at restaurants was also not a thing to do at the time. It was not only because of financial constraints, but also because of the belief that hotel food was not prepared with the high levels of hygiene that we maintain at home. It all changed around the time we started college, when better hotels started coming up, the younger generation started eating out and the buying power went up because of IT jobs.

Well, all I was trying to say was growing up paneer dishes was not common in our house. EXCEPT for this chapati. Though we call it paneer chapati, it’s actually a paratha. My mother used to make this paneer stuffed chapati every once in a while. She would make paneer from scratch and Use the leftover whey to prepare the chapati. Paneer would then be processed with a little coriander leaves, green chilies and salt to get a coarse mix that looks more white than a completely green paste. That’s the filling she used to make this paneer chapati. I always end up using more coriander than needed and end up with a green paste with no white to be seen anywhere 🙄!

I prepare this chapati once in a while and whenever I make it, I feel nostalgic. This really doesn’t need any side dish, not even yogurt and pickle. But amma always used to serve some curry, so for the thali here, I paired it with Chana dal with lauki and a tindora curry. I had some leftover rice which I made into onion rice. I keep making tomato rice or coconut rice or onion rice with leftover rice. It’s an easy way to bring some variety without too much of work involved. The rice doesn’t need any side dish but definitely pairs well with both the Curries and yogurt or chutney. We finished the meal with some readymade gulab jamun.

Read on for the recipes and more pictures.

The paneer paratha thali has

  1. Paneer paratha
  2. Green chutney
  3. Sautéed onion rice
  4. Tindora (Ivy gourd) curry
  5. Lauki Chana Dal
  6. Yogurt
  7. Salad
  8. Gulab jamun (readymade)

Paneer paratha :

  • For the dough :
    • Mix water and a little salt to 1 cup wheat flour and knead into a soft smooth dough. Set aside to rest.
  • For filling :
    • Process 1/2 cup of paneer with 2-3 green chilies, 1/4 cup packed coriander leaves and salt as needed in a food processor to get a very coarse mix.
  • To make parathas :
    • Take a lime sized ball of the dough and roll it out into a small circle. Keep a tablespoon of filling inside. Bring the sides to the center to close the filling inside the dough. Roll out into a paratha using flour to help with the rolling. Cook on a heated tawa and add a teaspoon of ghee to it. Cook both sides of the paratha and repeat with the rest of the dough. Serve with a curry of your choice.

Sautéed onion rice :

  • Heat a tablespoon of oil or ghee in a pan. Add one big onion sliced lengthwise along with 2 green chilies sliced lengthwise into two pieces. Sauté until the onions are soft and cooked. Add salt as needed.
  • Add 1 cup of leftover cooked (and preferably cooled) rice and carefully mix. Turn off the heat once everything is combined well and the rice is heated through. Serve with any curry of your choice or on its own too.

Lauki Chana dal :

  • Pressure cook 3/4 cup chana dal with 2 cups of diced and seeded lauki (bottle gourd) and water as needed. I cooked for 8 minutes in instant pot. Let the pressure release naturally.
  • Heat a spoon of oil or ghee in a pan. Add one teaspoon of mustard seeds and once it crackles, add a medium chopped onion. Sauté it until it turns pink. Now add a chopped tomato, 2 teaspoons of ginger garlic paste, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder, salt as needed and 1 teaspoon chili powder. You can add a teaspoon each of garam masala and coriander powder too. Once the tomatoes are cooked and mushy, add the cooked Chana dal with the water it’s cooked. Add more water if needed and bring everything to a boil. Taste test and adjust seasonings. Turn off the heat and sprinkle some chopped coriander leaves. Keep covered until the time of serving.

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Poori Thali

BM #116 : Week 3, Day 2
Theme : Indian Flatbread Thali

Like I mentioned yesterday, my deep frying skills aren’t the best. I neither like to deep fry nor am I good at it! So these deep fried pooris are a rare occurrence at my place. Can you blame my husband for getting excited? He LOVES pooris, but his borderline cholesterol is great excuse for me not to make any :D. Hey, it’s all for his own good, believe me! ;-)

This thali was planned on the fly. I had sambar rice with raita and pickle planned for lunch. I had some leftover chole from the night before. So decided to pair the chole with poori and serve as part of the lunch. I want to make batura for the chole someday, but I always come up with some good sounding excuse for wanting to postpone it.

I made three kinds of pooris – plain, ajwain (carom seeds) and a chutney flavored poori. The flavors are inspired from the same YouTube video. The chutney flavor wasn’t too prominent in the final poori though. I might increase the amount a little more next time (if I ever make poori again!)

I always serve chole with cut raw onions and lemon wedges. Since there was a salmonella outbreak and I didn’t know where my onions were sourced from, I skipped the raw onion part. I needn’t have worried, it was not from the farm that recalled it. So I served chole with lemon wedges. I also made a fresh garlic chutney, originally from Vaishali’s space, using frozen green garlic. Fresh green garlic always reminds me of our trip to Ahmadabad for BM 25 meet and Vaishali :-).

Read on for the recipes and more pictures.

The thali has three kinds of poori though each plate has only one poori each.

  1. Chutney Poori
  2. Ajwain poori
  3. Plain poori
  4. Chole
  5. Lime wedges
  6. Fresh garlic chutney
  7. Sambar rice
  8. Raita / yogurt
  9. Pickle
  10. Kachumber (salad)
  11. Gulab jamun (readymade)

Chutney poori :

  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • Water to make a dough
  • Salt as needed
  • Oil to deep fry
  • For the chutney : Grind together 1 cup coriander leaves, 1/2 cup mint leaves, 3 green chilies, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 inch piece of ginger To a smooth paste without adding any water OR use 3 tablespoon readymade green chutney
  • Add the wheat flour into a mixing bowl. Add the chutney and salt as needed. Slowly add water and mix it in. knead to get a slightly stiff dough. Cover and Set aside for 10 minutes.
  • Take a small lime sized ball of the dough, roll it out using a little oil to prevent dough from sticking to the rolling pin. Deep fry in oil, drain once it puffs up and serve hot with chole.

Ajwain poori:

  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon ajwain/ carom seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ghee
  • salt as needed
  • Water needed to make a dough
  • Oil to deep fry
  • In a mixing bowl, add the flour, ajwain seeds, ghee and salt. Mix to combine and add water little by little and form a smooth but stiff dough. Take a small ball of dough and roll it out into a small circle. Deep fry to make pooris. Serve with chole or any curry of your choice.

Kachumber:

  • 1 small onion
  • 1 big tomato
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 small green chili
  • Salt and lemon juice, as needed
  • Finely chop all the vegetables and mix in a bowl with salt and lemon juice as needed. Serve with pooris or chapati.

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Peas paratha thali

BM #116 : Week 3, Day 1
Theme : Indian Flatbread Thali

I loved preparing thalis for the Indian bread week. More than me, my husband loved it. Once the COVID19 quarantine started in March, we haven’t been to any of the restaurants. My husband’s preference for eating out is going to Indian restaurants. So we have been missing all the ghee laden yummy delicacies like parathas. So he was happy that I was making it at home.

Though the taste is good when we make parathas at home, it’s never the same as the restaurant version. It’s because of the amount of ghee used. I don’t think any of us add as much ghee as they add in the restaurants. So its not floating in ghee when we make it at home. It’s healthier for sure, but that luxury factor is a little less :-).

For the first day, I have a peas paratha thali. I prefer paratha with just yogurt and pickle/chutney, but my husband likes to pair it with a curry. Rice and yogurt with pickle is a regular way to end the meal for South Indians, so it’s an everyday thing. For the thali, I prepared two Curries instead of one.

I made only four parathas in total. For me and my husband, one paratha with two Curries followed by rice is a good meal without it being heavy. My son skipped the rice, so two parathas was enough to fill him ….well, for a few hours. Now that he is in his teens, “mom, what’s there to eat?” is a constant question at my place :D.

Read on for the recipe for peas paratha. I will be updating the post for the curry recipes later.

The thali has

  1. Peas paratha
  2. Plain rice
  3. Green chutney
  4. Pickle
  5. Papad
  6. Aloo matar
  7. Khatta meetha kaddu ki Subzi
  8. Yogurt

Peas paratha Ingredients:

  • 1 cup green peas
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon jeera seeds
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 green chilies
  • Salt as needed

For the dough

  • 1 cup atta / whole wheat flour
  • Salt as needed
  • Water to knead into a dough
  • Ghee as needed to make the parathas

Method:

  1. Make the dough first. In a big bowl, add the flour and salt. Mix. Add water in 1/4 cup fulls and keep mixing until a dough starts to form. Knead until you get a soft dough. Cover and set aside to rest for at least 10 minutes. Make the filling while the dough is resting.
  2. For the filling, cook the green peas first. You can microwave it or cook in boiling water. Drain and let it cool lightly. Once cool, pulse it a couple of times in a mixie jar or food processor to get a very coarse paste. Do not process it until it’s a smooth paste.
  3. Heat oil in a pan. Add jeera seeds. Now it crackles, add finely minced garlic cloves and green chilies. Once it’s cooked, add the ground paste and salt as need. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring to avoid it sticking to the pan. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Prepare parathas with a small ball of peas as filling. Here is a link on how to roll and fill a paratha. Serve with any curry of your choice or with yogurt and pickle.

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Shahi Paneer

BM #115 : Week 4, Day 1
Theme : A-Z theme, Curries

I make quite a lot of paneer Curries, but I have never made Shahi Paneer before. I assumed it would be full of cream and cashews from the royal name it carries. I was surprised to know that it is yogurt that makes this curry smooth and creamy. There is a little bit of cream of course, and it does add a depth to the curry but you can omit it if you are short on it. I always substitute milk for cream if I don’t have it with me.

I followed this video recipe to prepare the curry and I have already made this a couple of times. I skipped all the initial spices of cloves, cinnamon and cardamom as my family is not too keen on it. But add it for a richer flavor if you like it. I was making this for a friend of mine who was visiting me. I was half way through cooking when she came and she helped me with the final part of the cooking. They make this curry often and I learnt two things from her. One, add more kasuri methi than what I usually add. I am a little scared of adding too much, so I stick with a teaspoon or so, but she added more than that and I loved it. And two, I didn’t realize that my homemade yogurt was sour and it needed a bit of sugar to balance it out. I do add a bit of honey to paneer gravies, but I don’t always taste test before serving. So it’s a good thing to do before serving the dish to your guests to make these adjustments.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe Source : Rajshri Foods

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons oil or ghee
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 2 green chilies, finely chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, optional
  • 1 tablespoon kasoori methi
  • 2 cups diced paneer cubes

Method:

  1. Heat oil or ghee in a pan. Sauté the onions. Add ginger garlic paste and green chilies. Sauté until onions turn soft. Add the chopped tomatoes and all the masala powders. Add half a cup of water if the curry is dry. Cover and cook until tomatoes are completely cooked and mushy.
  2. Turn of the heat and let the tomato mix cool completely. Once it’s cooled down, blend into a paste.
  3. Add it back to the same pan and heat it back again. Add half cup of yogurt and 2-3 tablespoon cream. Add about one cup of water to bring it to the consistency you prefer. Mix well. Once it starts to simmer, add crushed Kasuri methi and paneer cubes. Let it cook for a minute or two and turn off the heat.
  4. You can add a spoon of sugar if it’s too sour because of the tomatoes or homemade yogurt. Add a dash of cream at the time of serving.

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