Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Palak Paneer ( Spinach) Bhaji


Ingredients:


Spinach - washed and chopped fine - 4 cups
Paneer - 200 gms - cubed
Cream - 3-4 Tbsp
Tomatoes - 2 small chopped
Onion - 1 small chopped
Ginger root - grated 1 tsp
Garlic - chopped 1 tsp
Green chilis - 1 chopped
Shahi masala - 1/4 tsp
Dry masala for tempering - 4 cloves + 2" cinnamon stick flat kind + 2-3 green ilaichi + 1 large/black ilaichi (optional)
Salt to taste
Chili powder - 1/2 tsp or to taste
Peanut oil - for tempering - 2 tsp and more for deep frying paneer

Recipe:


Heat 1 cup of water in a large pan. Add cut spinach. Do not cover and cook spinach. 
Transfer to a bowl. Use a hand blender and chop down the spinach. I don't puree it. You can choose the consistency you like.

Take 2"-3" high oil in a wok and deep fry paneer. Transfer it to a plate. (You can also shallow fry paneer or use paneer without frying at all).

Take 2 Tbsp oil from the same oil from frying and add to a pan. Turn on the heat and add dry masala. Be careful as cloves can splatter and cause burns.
Add chopped onion and cook until golden brown.
Add ginger, garlic, chili (you can grind ginger-garlic-chili into paste) and chopped tomato (or puree) and cover and let it cook for a minute.
Add cooked spinach and 1 cup water.
Add salt, chili powder and stir well.
Cook until half the water is evaporated and add shahi masala and cream. Mix well.
Add paneer and cover and cook for couple more minutes so that paneer will absorb the spices.
Serve immediately with Indian bread, or rice.

Notes:


1) I always prepare extra ginger-garlic paste (both in equal amounts) and store it in the freezer in glass jars. Thaw it when needed and refreeze it.
2) Don't cover spinach when cooking or it will change from bright green to darker green.
3) You can use frozen chopped spinach if you don't have time to use fresh spinach.
4) Always cover the pan after adding dry masala and remove from the heat. Dry masala can splatter and pop out and cause burns. Heated oil is enough to cook the dry masala. Remove the lid, add
veggies and return the pan to heat.
5) You can use ground cashews (5-6) with milk instead of cream.
6) You can use 2 Tbsp butter instead of oil for dry masala.
7) I don't like the strong flavor of black ilaichi so I rarely use it.
8) With all such variations taste will be a little different every time (I prefer that).



Saturday, May 14, 2016

Rustic Kadhai Paneer ( Mumbai style)


Ingredients:


Paneer - 200 gms
Onions - 2 medium ( 1.5 sliced thin, 0.5 cut into large cubes 1.5" to 2")
Tomatoes - 2 medium sliced thin
Bell peppers - 1 medium cut into large cubes (1.5" - 2")
Cilantro - handful chopped finely
Chili powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Peanut oil - for deep frying paneer
Sweet cream unsalted butter - 2 tsp

Dry Masala:


Cinnamon sticks - flat - 2" long
Green cardamom - 5
Black cardamom - 1 large
Coriander seeds - 1 Tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 Tsp
1 whole dry red chili 
Dry roast all these spices and grind them into fine powder.

Recipe:


Heat oil in a kadhai ( cast iron wok) for deep frying paneer cubes with oil  2" - 3" high in kadhai.
Deep fry paneer until golden. Remove paneer cubes into a plate. 
Transfer oil to another bowl.

Heat kadhai again and add 2 Tbsp oil. Add onion slices.
Cook onions until golden brown. Add sliced tomatoes. 
Keep stirring and cook tomatoes well. Let it cool a little.
Transfer onion-tomatoes to a blender and puree into fine paste.

Heat kadhai again and add 2 Tbsp butter. Add bell pepper cubes.
Keep stirring until bell pepper cubes are cooked more than half way.
Add tomato-onion puree, and fried paneer cubes.
Add salt to taste, chili powder and ground dry masala and mix well.
Add 1/4 cup water, cover kadhai with a lid and let it cook for 2 minutes.
Uncover kadhai and add cubed onions and mix well.
Let it cook again for a couple of minutes until the gravy thickens.
Transfer it to a serving dish and sprinkle with cilantro.
Serve with Indian bread.

Notes:


1) You can add (1tsp ginger + 1 tsp garlic) paste after you add tomato puree as a variation.



Dum Aloo (Potatoes)


Ingredients:

Small potatoes - 1.5" to 2" diameter - about 25 - steamed and peeled
Tomatoes - 1 large or 2-3 small romano - chopped
Onion - 1 medium - sliced
Cilantro - handful - chopped finely
Green chili - 1 sliced lengthwise (optional)
Cashews - 5-6 - soak for 1 hour
Greek Yogurt - 2 Tb (or regular yogurt 4 Tb)
Shahi garam masala - 1/4 tsp ( 1/8 tsp twice)
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Chili powder - 1/4 tsp or to your taste
Salt - to your taste
Peanut oil - 4 tsps

Recipe:


Heat a pan and add 2 tsp peanut oil. Add onions and saute for a minute. 
Reduce heat and add chopped tomatoes. Mix well, cover and let it cook for couple of minutes.
Remove from the heat. Let it cool for  a little bit. 
Transfer to a blender and grind finely. Remove the puree to a bowl.
Add cashews, yogurt to the blender and add little water to blend it.
Grind it finely and set aside.
Heat the same pan again and add 2 tsp oil.
Add 1/8 tsp shahi garam masala and 1 green chili and let it cook for 30 seconds. 
Add peeled potatoes and saute for 2-3 minutes.
Add tomato-onion puree and stir well.
Add coriander powder, cumin powder, chili powder and salt. Mix well and let it cook for a minute.
Reduce heat (yogurt can break on high heat) and add cashew-yogurt puree and stir well. 
Add 1/4 cup water and cover and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add 1/8 tsp shahi garam masala, mix well and cook for a minute.
Remove it to a serving dish and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
Serve with any Indian bread (keep the gravy thick).
Add more water to the gravy and serve it with rice.

Notes:


1) You can use regular potatoes (NOT Baking potatoes) and cube them into 1.5"-2" pieces.
2) Adding shahi masala at the end again adds more flavor to potatoes.
3) I make extra tomato-onion puree and store it in the freezer. If I am in a hurry, it saves me time while making Dum-Aloo, Kadhai Paneer, Chhole (garbanzo beans) etc.
4) Always cook onions before grinding or they taste bitter.
5) You can steam cook onion and tomatoes with very little water in the pressure cooker and then grind it.




Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Spicy Garbanzo Beans


Ingredients:


Garbanzo beans - soaked and cooked - 1 cup
Onions - cut finely - 1/2 cup
Tomatoes - cut finely - 1/2 cup
Salt - to taste
Chili powder - to taste
Cilantro - chopped 2 -3 tsp
Dry spices for garam masala tempering ( 4-5 cloves, 6-7 black peppercorns, 2" flat cinnamon stick, 1 badi ilaichi or 2 small green ilaichi, 2 bay leaves)
Peanut oil for tempering

Wet Masala:


Ginger root - freshly grated - 1 tsp
Garlic - chopped - 1/2 tsp
Green chili - chopped - 1/2 tsp
Green mango (sour) - chopped - 1 tsp (or dry mango powder - 1/2 tsp)
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Chane ka masala - 1 tsp (store bought) - optional
Water - enough to grind masala to a fine paste - up to 1/4 cup

Recipe:


Add all the ingredients for the wet masala in a blender and add little water if necessary to grind everything in a fine paste.
Heat 2-3 Tb peanut oil in a pan.
Add whole dry spices (cloves, cinnamon, black peppercorns , bay leaves) one by one and partially cover the pan with the lid. (Cloves, and black peppercorns can splatter and cause burns).
As soon as the spices are cooked (20-30 seconds), add chopped onion and stir well. Let the onion get cooked. It will look translucent
Add chopped tomatoes and let the tomato get cooked. Continue stirring.
Add freshly ground wet masala.
Add cooked garbanzos (if you are in a hurry add 1 can of low salt garbanzos).
Mix well.
Add 1 cup water and continue cooking.
Add salt, chili powder to your taste.
Let the gravy reduce to about 1/4 cup (or as thick gravy you would like to have).
Transfer to a serving dish and add freshly chopped cilantro.
Serve as a side dish with any Indian bread, or rice.

Notes:


1) I keep more gravy if I am eating it with rice.
2) Bay leaves reduce gas from the beans.
3) Replace water 2-3 times while beans are getting soaked. This will also reduce gas from the beans.
4) You can add 1cup tea water while cooking garbanzo beans to add color to beans 
(boil 1 cup water with 2 tea bags and discard tea bags and use this water).
5) I do not like the flavor of badi ilaichi so I rarely use it.


Monday, May 9, 2016

Ginger Root


The use of ginger as a powerful digestive aid dates back thousands of years. Ginger contains chemicals like gingerols and shagaols, which work in our stomachs and intestines to relax our intestinal track and relieve nausea. Ginger can be useful in calming nearly any GI issue, from vomiting to diarrhea. Take advantage of its stomach-soothing properties by sipping on a ginger-infused tea, chewing on a thin slice of fresh ginger, or popping open a good old fashioned ginger ale.

Ingredients:


Freshly grated ginger
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Sugar
Black salt
Regular salt 

Recipe:


1) 1 tsp grated ginger + 2 tsp lemon juice + 1 tsp sugar - mix well. 
Eat 1/2 tsp at a time every 4-6 hours.
You can make it on a larger quantity and store it in the refrigerator up to 3-4 months.

2) 4 tsp grated ginger + 1/4 cup lemon juice + 4 tsp sugar ( or more if needed) + 1/8 tsp citric acid as a preservative.
- Mix well and Add to a glass jar and store in the refrigerator. 
- Stir well and eat 1/2 tsp two to three times a day when feeling nausea or have no taste in the mouth.

3) 1 tsp grated ginger + 2 tsp lemon juice + 1/4 tsp black salt - mix well. 
Eat 1/2 tsp at a time every 4-6 hours.
This also you can make it on a larger quantity and store it in the refrigerator up to 3-4 months.

 4) 4 tsp grated ginger +1/4 cup emon juice + 1 tsp black salt (or add more if needed) + 1/8 tsp citric 
acid as a preservative.
- Mix well and Add to a glass jar and store in the refrigerator. 
- Stir well and eat 1/2 tsp two to three times a day when feeling nausea or have no taste in the mouth.

5) 1 tsp ginger powder + 2 tsp ghee + 2 tsp sugar ( or 2 tsp honey) - Mix well and eat 1/4 tsp at a time two to three times a day.

Notes:


1) Add 1/4 tsp grated ginger while water is boiling for a cup of tea.

2) Take a thin slice of ginger (about the size of your thumb nail), slightly coat it with salt and chew on it and swallow. Drink warm water on it.

3) If you don't have fresh ginger then use ginger powder.

4) People  who cannot eat sugar use the recipe with black salt or people who cannot eat salt use the recipe with sugar.

5) Remember ginger is spicy hot to taste. This spicy hotness can be balanced with sugar or salt so balance the sugar or salt to your taste.

6) You can also use honey instead of sugar.


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Tapioka Wada


Ingredients:


Tapioka - 1 cup soaked (check basic stuff)
Boiled potatoes - mashed - 1/2 cup
Peanut powder - 1/4 cup (check basic stuff)
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Chili powder - 1/4 tsp (or to your taste)
Green chilies - 2 - ground coarsely (or to taste)
Chopped cilantro leaves - 2-3 Tbs
Brown sugar - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste.

Recipe:


Heat peanut oil in a woke for deep frying ( about 2"-3" deep).
Prepare dough by mixing all the ingredients well with your hand.
Wet your fingers with water and make golf ball size balls from the dough.
Pat down each ball into a disc of 1/3" to 1/2" thickness.
Smooth edges of these discs with wet fingers if necessary.
Test oil with a small piece of dough. Oil should be really hot.
If the dough starts showing bubbles and rises to the top...means oil is ready for frying.
Add 4-5 discs at one time (slide them from the sides of the woke so the oil won't splatter).
Let them get lightly brown on one side and then flip them over.
Let the other side get lightly bown.
They will puff up and become crisp when done.
Serve them as an appetizer or a side dish.

Notes:


1) Tapioka is used on fasting day as they are total starch and easier for digestion.
2) Potatoes are used for the same purpose.
3) Serve them right away when they are crisp.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Green Tomato Chutney 1


Ingredients:


Green tomatoes - cut into small pieces 1"x1" - about 1cup
Bell peppers -  cut into small pieces 1"x1" - about 1cup
green chilies - 2-3 cut into thin slices
for oil tempering - peanut oil, black mustard seeds, turmeric, hing powder
Peanut powder - 1/4 cup
gud or brown sugar - 1-2 Tb or more if tomatoes are tart.
salt to taste.
chopped cilantro leaves - 2-3 tsps
freshly grated coconut - 3-4 Tb (optional)

Recipe:


Heat pan and add 4-5 tsp peanut oil.  Prepare oil tempering and add green chilies and green tomatoes and 1/4 cup water.  Add salt, gud and stir well. Cover for 5 minutes and let it get cooked. Remove cover and check if the tomatoes are cooked well. Add water if necessary and cook more.  It should not be mushy and all the water should be gone. Add 1/4 cup peanut powder. Mix well. Cover and
cook for a minute or two and remove from the heat. If you cook this longer then peanut powder will get burnt.
Sprinkle with cilantro and freshly grated coconut (optional).
Serve as a side dish with Indian bread, or rice

Notes:


1) You can use this as a chutney or hot condiment. When you are using more chilis always add more oil for the tempering so the hotness of the chilis won't bother your stomach. Just add 1/8 tsp citric acid so it will last for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator. Add more gud or salt according to the taste. Remember, Maharashtrian food is well balanced with salt, sugar and tartness. Don't add coconut if
you want it to last longer as coconut can go rancid.
Also add cilantro with tomatoes so it will also get cooked.
2) you can grind it to a fine paste so as to use as chutney.