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Mattar Paneer

June 11, 2012

Mattar Paneer- Dry This dish is more of a homestyle version of the one Indian restaurants serve. This is dry and healthier with not too much fat.. try it next time you are craving some delicious Indian food…

  • 1 pack Paneer, grated
  • 2 tablespoons extra light olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ½ cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • 2 cups frozen peas

Heat a saucepan with the olive oil. Add the cumin seeds and coriander and cook for a minute. Add the onion and ginger. Saute on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes on medium heat. Add the grated paneer and mix well. Add the turmeric, cayenne pepper and salt and mix well. Cover with lid and cook for about 10 minutes. Take lid off and add the peas. Mix well and cook for another 5 minutes. Check for seasonings and serve warm with roti or naan.

Paneer Makhani (Indian Cheese Cooked in a Tomato Butter Sauce)

January 9, 2011

Paneer Makhani This is a very popular dish served in Indian restaurants. Some friends were coming over with their kids and I thought of making Indian food that day. Since I was cooking a vegetarian meal, paneer was definitely on the menu- I just didn’t know what kind to make.

As I thought about all my choices, paneer makhani came to mind. I looked in my blog and realized I have never made it before- how can that be?? It is one of the more popular Indian dishes out there.

This version is the easy and quick one- it is done in about half an hour. There are other versions out there with more complex flavors but I don’t see any reason for that- this one is delicious and simple and best of all a big hit with everyone.

All you need is a can of crushed tomatoes, onions, ginger and garlic. One key ingredient is roasted cumin seeds- they impart a lovely, sweet, nutty flavor- not as smokey as the regular cumin seeds. I usually roast some cumin and always have it on hand. Another important ingredient is dried mint- I garnished the dish with some. It provides a delicious flavor as well. In case you don’t have the dried variety, add some fresh mint into the processor with the onions, ginger and garlic.

Try this dish next time you want to have a healthy, quick and easy Indian dish…
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Tomato Rice with Peas

August 25, 2010

Tomato RiceThis is my version of a South Indian rice dish my husband has all the time at restaurants. I have never made it before and thought it would be nice to try it at home. It is essentially cooked rice sauteed with a lot of spices, lentils and curry leaves. I decided to take it to another level and make a one pot meal out of it. How much do we love one pot meals?

In order to make this dish balanced I added frozen peas and shredded paneer which is an Indian style cheese. So now I had vegetables and protein in the rice dish. I guess if you wanted to be even more healthy, you can use brown rice instead of the white.

The rice dish was super flavorful with the mustard seeds, curry leaves, and a blend of spices. The crushed tomatoes and peanuts made this dish fabulous. My daughter is not into nuts- so all I did was take them out for her. She was very skeptical trying the rice- but once she had a bite, she was sold…
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Kadhai Paneer- Homemade Cheese Sauteed with Peppers

July 11, 2010

kadhai-paneer I make this dish both with homemade or store bought paneer. Paneer is very much like ricotta in texture and is very easy to make. It simply takes milk, yogurt and some lemon juice. Once the milk comes to a boil, you add some yogurt and lemon juice. Once the curd is separated from the whey, it is strained and used for several dishes. It is also available at Whole Foods. Either one works really well.

In this case, I used the homemade version and cooked it with sliced onions and garlic. The main source of flavor is provided by cumin and ajwain seeds. Ajwain has a very distinct pungent taste and a little goes a long way. In case you are not able to find it, eliminate it from the recipe and only use the cumin seeds.

The rest is easy- I cut up a sweet pepper- either red, yellow or orange. With the help of crushed tomatoes, this dish is quick and super flavorful. This is a great entree to make through the week since it takes a short time to cook and it is also ideal for entertaining. Either way, I think you should try it- your family will love it.
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Vegetable Pulao with Paneer

November 30, 2009

Vegetable Pulao with Paneer This is a one-pot meal. I love when I am able to come up with something that has everything. This rice dish can be served as an entree as well as a side dish. Ideally it should be served with a delicious bowl of lentils and some raita– perfect!

It also can be served with a  roast chicken or fish – really anything. It is extremely versatile.

Preparing it is a cinch. The mixed vegetables can be fresh, if you have time to chop and prep, or they can be frozen. I always have packaged paneer in my freezer and am able to thaw and cook with it in no time. If you don’t have access to paneer (it is available in the refrigerated section at Whole Foods), shredded chicken or any other meat can be substituted.

We had it for lunch on Sunday with a big bowl of yogurt. It was delicious and very satisfying. The spice level can be adjusted according to taste. We tend to keep things mild so Sia can eat as well. I like things spicy and end up pairing a green chili pickle with the rice dish- yum!
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Mattar Paneer- Indian Cheese Cooked with Peas

October 8, 2009

Mattar Paneer with Gravy I don’t want you to get intimidated by the long ingredient list. This dish is easy to make- just needs a bit of planning and some preparation. It is worth taking the time out and isn’t it great to know how to make one of the very popular dishes served in an Indian restaurant? If you make it at home, you will save money and it will taste a lot better and it will be a lot healthier. You can control the amount of oil, etc you add to the dish. There is usually a lot of butter and cream added to most Indian dishes with gravy.

The secret ingredient in the dish is the baked onions. It gives this dish a slow and long cooked flavor. The onions are baked with a bit of flour which thickens the gravy- perfect!

All the other spices add delicious savory flavor to the dish. Kasuri methi or dry fenugreek is really the key to finish the dish off. For my readers in the Maplewood/South Orange area- there is a new Indian/Sri Lankan grocery store on Irvington Ave in Maplewood- they will have kasuri methi. It is a great ingredient to have in your pantry and lasts a very long time.

Mattar paneer can be served with rice or roti- either way it tastes really good. It’s my husband’s favorite so he is extremely happy whenever I make it for him…
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A Recipe Fit For Royalty: Vegetable Korma

June 1, 2009

vegetable-kormaI teach cooking classes a couple time a month. I try to come up with a complete and balanced menu that is delicious but easy to make. For last month’s class, I did the chicken malai tikka– I wanted to come up with a vegetable dish people can enjoy. Someone had suggested a navrattan korma- which is a very popular dish in Indian restaurants around here. A korma is a dish with either vegetables or meat cooked in a creamy white sauce. I have never really made a vegetable korma and never really order it at a restaurant either. The reason for not ordering the dish outside is that it is filled with cream and butter. I can’t imagine how many calories are in that small serving!

In my attempt to come up with a healthier version of this dish, I must have looked at hundreds of recipes. I finally came up with the perfect, delicious concoction. In my mind, a korma is creamy, delicate yet full of flavor. I used dry spices to give the dish loads of flavor. The cinnamon, bay leaf, cardamom, cloves and most of all the black cumin give this dish a very delicate aroma and taste. I tend to use black cumin when I am making a white creamy sauce- unlike regular cumin, this variety has a very floral taste- it’s delicate yet full bodied – the flavor is unmistakable! That being said- if you can’t find this spice, regular cumin will be just fine.  Also, any combination of vegetables is great in this dish. I went with a combination with great aesthetic appeal, full of color.  For the white creamy sauce, I decided to use non-fat evaporated milk with a touch of half and half. The evaporated milk gives the dish great body and taste without any of the fat- how clever was that!! The half and half adds just enough richness without going over the top. To finish off the dish, I added chopped raw cashews and golden raisins. The sweetness of the two ingredients goes very well with the mild creamy dish. To take the korma to another level, I added crumbled paneer- it gives the dish great texture. Overall the dish was a big success. My husband loved it! People at the class enjoyed it as well. We at it with fresh homemade rotis and pink lentils cooked with broccoli rabe- recipe to follow soon!!

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