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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Tea time snack platter

BM #116 : Week 2, Day 6
Theme : Platters

I had a teatime platter with Indian snacks in my mind for this theme. But I decided against it since most of it involves deep frying, which I am not very fond of. I have improved enough to do deep fry decently, but the desire to do it is just not there. Deep frying is a hazard for someone like me who washes their hands 150 times a minute and then goes back straight to hot oil with water dripping from hands :D…

I have consciously cut down this hand washing habit when I am cooking, it has also weaned because of the cold weather that remains for a good portion of the year here. Still it happens often that I catch myself dripping water into pans while cooking – Never a good idea when handling hot oil ! So I have never been a good fan of deep frying – it’s hazardous for me :-D

Anyway for the platter here, I shelved the Indian snacks idea for another day and decided to use all the snacks I have at home. I added a couple of sandwiches too as a more filling meal. For the eggplant sandwiches, I used leftover sautéed eggplant from lunch. I would have made a couple more sandwiches, but I was out of bread. I just realized that the tea time platter has coffee instead of tea :-)), well my husband prefers coffee, so this works better for us.

Scroll down for the recipes and more pictures.

The platter has

  1. Roasted peanuts
  2. Paneer sandwich
  3. Roasted makhana
  4. Crackers
  5. Sev
  6. Eggplant sandwiches
  7. Tortilla chips
  8. Salsa
  9. Coffee
  10. Tea biscuits
  11. Mixed cheese
  12. Apples
  13. Cashews
  14. Cauliflower crackers
  15. Raisins
  16. Cucumbers
  17. Mint chutney

Paneer sandwich

  • Crumble two tablespoons of paneer in a bowl. Add 2 teaspoons each of very finely chopped carrots and cucumber. Add one chopped green chili. Carefully add 1 teaspoon of sriracha or any hot sauce of your choice. Stir everything together and use as filling on toasted bread.

Eggplant sandwich:

  • Heat oil in a pan. Sauté one small onions and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Add one small chopped tomato along with 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder and salt as needed. Once the tomatoes are cooked and soft, add two medium diced eggplants. Cover and cook, stirring in between, until the eggplants are done. Serve as a filling inside toasted bread.

You can find the recipe for roasted makhana here but the one on the platter is readymade.

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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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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.

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