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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Moong Dal Pulao

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It’s been a while since I visited the virtual world, so starting with baby steps again. I am here with a recipe you can try on weekends when the vegetable supply, as a rule for me, is low. This is like a stylish version of Pongal since the base combinations are moong dal, rice and pepper corns. Instead of being mashed up and lumped all together, here the aim is to bring these base flavors in a pulav style, where each grain is separate.

This recipe  is from Vasantha Moorthy’s Vegetarian Menu Cookbook. The recipe is simple and not very time-consuming compared to the regular Indian cooking. The pulav needs a few masalas, a coconut based ground paste and rice and moong. Its sprinkled liberally with fried onions at the time of serving, which adds a TON of flavor to the dish. I used the  ready-made pack, but you can saute two onions until crisp and mix it into the pulav at the time of serving. I serve this with coconut milk based egg curry , but a simple raita would do as well.

This is my submission to Cooking from Cookbook Challenge event. Do check out the link to learn more about the event and see who else is participating.

3moong_dal_pulao

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1/2 cup moong dal
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 6-8 peppercorns
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt as needed
  • 1 cup fried onions (ready-made OR 2 medium onions sliced thin and fried in 4-5 tablespoons ghee until brown)

To grind and make a paste:

  • 3 tablespoons grated coconut
  • 1″ piece ginger
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 green (or red) chillies
  • a handful of coriander leaves
  • 2 cloves, 1 cardamom, 1″ piece cinnamon*
  • 1 medium onion, diced**

*I used cinnamon powder

**I add it sometimes,depending on the state of my pantry contents

Method:

Wash the dal and rice together. Drain and set aside.

Grind the cococnut, coriander leaves, ginger, garlic, chilies, cinnamon and cloves  with a little water to make a smooth paste. Set aside.

Heat ghee in your pressure cooker or a heavy bottom pan. Add the cloves, cardamom, peppercorns and bay leaf. Add the chili powder and turmeric powder and fry for a few seconds.

Add the masala paste and saute until the raw flavor goes away, about half a minute. The liquid would evaporate, but take care not to burn it.

Add the rice and dal mix. Fry for a minute or so until its coated well with the masala paste.

Add 3 cups of water (we had a total of 1.5 cups of rice and dal mix, so double of that), salt as needed. Pressure cook for 3 minutes if you are using your instant pot. Else cook until the water is absorbed and the rice is done.

At the time of serving, add some roasted cashews and a handful of fried onions. DO NOT skip the fried onions, they add a lot of flavor to the dish. If you donot have ready made fried onions, then cook two very thinly sliced medium onions to 4-5 tablespoons of ghee and fry until the onions are brown and caramelized. Top the pulao with the prepared fried onions.

1moong_dal_pulao

This is my submission to Cooking from Cookbook Challenge event. Do check out the link to learn more about the event and see who else is participating.

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Instant Pot Rajma Pulao

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People use weekends to catch up with stuff they are lagging behind. For me its just the opposite. I always let things go on weekends and struggle on week days to catch up with everything. My blogging front always takes a set back during the weekends.

Now ask me what I do on weekends to keep me super busy. Am I busy slaving in the kitchen and dishing out delicious curries and naans to keep my man happy? Definitely Not. In fact we eat outside, so there may not be even minimal cooking!

Am I dusting the house from top to bottom to make it squeaky clean? Goodness, No. I don’t do that on even on weekdays!!

Is my house flowing with guests for parties? No again.

Still the weekends – I don’t even know how, gets over before I know it. We might go out for a bit. But for the most part, its a laid back lifestyle, trying to catch up with friends and family whenever we can. Cooking, if at all there is any, is about making simple meals like this Pulao. Recipes where you add everything to the Instant Pot and let it do all the work. A neighbor of mine gave me another recipe for the basic pulao masala, I will post that also soon.

So after reading about my busy-doing-nothing weekend, lets move on to the recipe. Read on for the pictorial.

3rajma_pulao

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil or ghee
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 1 big onion, sliced into thin pieces
  • 1 big tomato, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder (or per taste)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • salt as needed
  • 1 cup of cooked rajma
  • 1 teaspoon kasoori methi
  • 1 cup of basmati rice

Method:

Soak rajma overnight and cook until its done, about 15 minutes in Manual mode if you are using Instant Pot.

Wash and soak one cup of basmati and set aside. Set the Instant Pot in saute mode. Heat the oil or ghee. Add the cloves (and if you prefer a small cinnamon stick and a bay leaf). Add the sliced onions and saute till pink.  Now time to add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a minute or two.

Add the masala powders – coriander powder, chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and salt. Mix it in and cook for a couple more minutes. Now add the cooked rajma.

Follow it up with kasoori methi. Mix it all in. Drain the soaked basmati and add to the pot along with 2 cups of water. Taste test the water and adjust the seasonings and salt if needed.

Switch the mode to Manual. Set timer for three minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. Wait for the rice to cool down a bit before fluffing with a fork. Serve with yogurt or raita.

4rajma_pulao

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 80

Brown rice detox salad

1brown rice salad

If you have a particularly bitter or sour or any horrible tasting medicine, it leaves you with an impression that its good for you. Anything that bad must definitely do something..you know what I mean? Its a psychological thing. A friend of mine used to prefer Dettol (stings when applied on wounds) over Savlon (non stinging one). Her policy was “The mild one doesn’t do anything, I don’t think it works!” Where as when Dettol goes in, you really FEEL that it works.

When it comes to diet food or to a good extend, vegetarian food in American restaurants, the same theory applies. The honest truth is that doesn’t taste good most of the time. You end up telling yourself that you are eating healthy and that’s the bonus for going through the torture of eating it. Eventually our taste buds do adapt to eating bland food or diet food, but it is a continuous process where you have to remind yourself of the benefits involved. (Or you should be like me and have no taste buds at all. All I have is sweet buds and I am not trading them for anything! :D).

So this particular recipe really caught me by surprise. Its a detox recipe and yet it tastes fabulous. Keep in mind that I really love eating veggies raw, so if you are not a salad person, then its an effort for you to appreciate this. What I liked most about this recipe is the sauce. I am already thinking of using it with pasta or even as a sandwich spread.

And why does a diet recipe have rice in it? Are we not supposed to torture ourselves when dieting? Well, one of the ideas behind a detox diet is to eliminate the common allergy foods from your plate. That includes stepping away from gluten and diary. Whole foods are in and refined foods are out. So that means, brown rice is in and white bread is out. And to an Indian, everything is fine if rice is there in the menu – at least to this particular Indian :D. So read on for this recipe that was pure joy to have :-)

3brown rice salad

Recipe source: Swef the Chef

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 tomato, diced into small pieces
  • 1/2 of a small bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cucumber, chopped finely
  • 1/4 avocado, sliced
  • fruits like pomegranate or more veggies of your choice
  • salt, if needed

Blend together for the sauce:

  • 1 small red chili
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter**(or handful of peanuts)
  • 1 tablepoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • handful of cilantro

**Peanut butter was a bit of surprise for me in this recipe, but since it works for me, I left it as such. It can be substituted with almond butter.

Method:

  1. Blend everything together to make the sauce. Set aside.
  2. Cook brown rice according to package instructions. When its done, let it cool to room temperature.
  3. Gently mix the sauce with the rice, you may not end up using all the sauce. Add half at first, taste test and then add more as you need.
  4. Mix in the chopped veggies and combine carefully for even distribution. Top with avocado slices. Enjoy.
  5. Since there is soy sauce in the recipe, you might want to taste taste the salad before adding salt.

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