Mattar Paneer Curry

Muttar Paneer2

Mattar Paneer Curry is a North Indian dish made with paneer and peas. The sauce is spicy, creamy and slightly sweet. Mattar Paneer is a dish I make frequently when I entertain, especially when my guests are vegetarian.

To keep the paneer soft and moist, fry the pieces until they turn light brown, remove with a slotted spoon, and put them directly into warm water. Just before they go into the curry, gently dab them with paper towels, to remove as much water as possible.

I think this recipe comes pretty close the popular Indian restaurant versions. I hope you will try it and give me your feedback. You can buy paneer and kasoori methi at Indian grocery stores.

Mattar Paneer
To be ground in a blender
1 cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
½ cup chopped cilantro

To fry the paneer
14 oz paneer (400 grams)
3 tablespoons oil
5 cups warm water

To make the mattar paneer curry
3 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ cup chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons coriander powder
2 teaspoons Kashmiri chilli powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon cumin powder
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
2 cups water
2 teaspoons kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
2 tablespoons cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice

To be ground in a blender
Grind chopped onion, ginger, garlic, and cilantro in a blender. Set aside.

To fry the paneer
Cut the paneer into small pieces. I cut my paneer into small rectangular pieces. In a non-stick frying pan, over medium heat, add one tablespoon of oil and then add a few pieces of paneer at a time and fry until light brown. Remove and put them directly into warm water. Repeat with the rest of the oil and paneer. Set aside.

To make the mattar paneer curry
Heat three tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers add cumin seeds. When they splutter add the ground onion, ginger, garlic, and cilantro. Sauté until it turns light brown and begins to stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, scrape the bottom of the pan well, and fry until the oil separates. Add the coriander, chilli, turmeric and cumin powder. Sauté for one minute and then add the peas. Add water, cover and cook until the peas are done.

In the mean time, drain the paneer pieces and with paper towels gently remove excess water. Add the paneer to the curry. Crush kasoori methi in the palm of your hand and add it to the curry. Add cream and lemon juice. Stir gently and cook for five minutes. Serve mattar paneer with rice, chapatis or naan.

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Cauliflower Subzi

Cauliflower Subzi4Spring is here and there is an abundance of fresh vegetables in the grocery stores. I picked up a medium sized cauliflower the other day and made a “subzi” out of it for dinner. Subzi (or subji) simply means vegetable dish and it can be used with any vegetable. My cauliflower subzi turned out well and I thought I would share the recipe with you.

For this dish, I suggest that you use fresh ginger and garlic and crush them using a mortar and pestle. Using bottled ginger and garlic from the grocery store changes the taste of this dish completely. Also, make the extra effort to roast and crush whole black pepper and whole coriander seeds to sprinkle on the dish just before it is done. This extra step gives this cauliflower subzi a unique North Indian flavor.

Cauliflower Subzi
1 medium cauliflower, separated into bite-sized florets
1 cup sliced onion
2 teaspoons crushed garlic (about four or five garlic cloves)
1 teaspoon crushed ginger (about 1/2 inch piece of ginger)
2 small tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon whole black pepper
2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds

In a large pot, set over moderate heat, add three tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot, add the sliced onion and cook, stirring frequently, until they are soft. Add garlic, ginger, tomatoes, chill flakes, salt, and cumin seeds. Cook for one minute and then add the coriander, turmeric, and garam masala powder. Stir and cook until the oil separates from the tomato-onion mixture.

Add the cauliflower and mix well, stirring occasionally, to make sure that the cauliflower does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Cook for seven to eight minutes or until the cauliflower is done.

In the meantime, place another small frying pan over low heat and gently toast the black pepper corn, and coriander seeds for three minutes. Remove and cool. Put them in a mortar and pestle and crush them to a coarse grind. Sprinkle the crushed pepper-coriander mixture over the cauliflower. Stir gently, cover the dish with a lid, and turn the heat off. This dish goes well with fresh rotis (Indian bread).

Nutrela Curry

Nutrela Curry2I’m lucky to have one of my nephews living close by. He recently dropped some groceries to my home and said, “Aunty, I see that you are cooking a lot because of your new website, so I thought I would bring you some ingredients!” Thank you, Eddy!

Among the ingredients he brought was a box of Nutrela Soya Chunks. It is made by Ruchi and comes in three variations – soya chunks, mini-chunks, and granules. It is known in India as Soy Mealmaker and it can be purchased at Indian grocery stores or even from Amazon.com. It is an excellent source of protein and a great alternative to meat for vegetarians. I use soya chunks to replicate non-vegetarian dishes. I find that it takes on the taste and flavor of the spices and vegetables that I add.

The first step in preparing Nutrela for cooking involves soaking the chunks in warm salt water for ten minutes. You can omit the salt if you intend to make a sweet dish or if you have salt restrictions. The second step involves draining the water and washing the chunks until the water runs clear. Squeeze the excess water from the chunks and it is ready for you to use in your curry. Here is a recipe that I tested yesterday.

Nutrela Curry
1 cup chopped onions
1 inch piece of ginger
5 cloves of garlic
3 green chillies
¼ cup chopped cilantro
4 tablespoons oil
4 cloves
4 green cardamoms
2 bay leaves
2 black cardamoms
1 inch piece of cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon chilli powder
2 teaspoons coriander powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 cup diced potatoes
½ cup frozen peas
2 cups soya chunks (soaked, drained, washed per instructions on the Nutrela box)
2 cups vegetable stock
salt to taste
½ cup yoghurt

Pulse onions, ginger, garlic, chillies, and cilantro in a blender and process until it is ground. Scrape down the sides of the blender once during the process. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the whole spices (garam masala) – cloves, green and black cardamom, bay leaves, cinnamon, and cumin seeds. When the cinnamon stick unfurls and the cloves and other spices pop add the ground onion mixture. Cook stirring until fragrant, about five minutes.

Next add the tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid evaporates and the oil separates. Add the chilli, coriander, turmeric powder and salt. Stir for 30 seconds and then add potatoes, peas, soya chunks, and stir in the vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 10 minutes or until the potatoes and peas are done and the curry begins to thicken. Add the yoghurt, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for another seven minutes. Your delicious, protein-packed curry is ready to be served with steaming hot rice.

Amma’s Chicken Curry

Amma’s chicken curry calls for a lot of ingredients, but this recipe never fails to impress. Don’t let the long list of ingredients frighten you. The process is not difficult once you get all the ingredients together. I sometimes add a couple of quartered potatoes to this chicken curry. The fennel, mace petals and star anise gives this dish a very distinctive South Indian flare.

My brothers and sister. I’m on the tricycle!

 

This dish brings back a lot of childhood memories that I cherish. It reminds me of sitting around the dining table with my parents, brothers and sister, and celebrating birthdays, and other special occasions. I hope it will help build some memories for you too!

 

 

3 lbs chicken, remove skin and cut into large pieces
10 dry red chillies
1 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 1-inch piece cinnamon
4 cloves
4 green cardamom
2 teaspoons whole black pepper
½ of one star anise
2 mace petals
1 bay leaf
½ cup grated coconut
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3 chopped green chillies
¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon mustards seeds
1 sprig curry leaf
2 cups finely chopped red onion
Coarse salt, to taste
1 cup finely chopped tomato
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro

Heat one teaspoon oil in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat and roast the dry red chillies, poppy seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves, green cardamom, whole black pepper, star anise, mace, bay leaf, and grated coconut until it smells fragrant and the coconut turns light brown. Add chopped ginger, garlic, chillies and remove from heat. Cool completely and then grind in a blender, with about half a cup of water, to a smooth paste.

Heat ¼ cup oil in a heavy bottomed dish and add the mustard seeds. When they sputter add the curry leaves, onion and salt. Fry until the onion turns golden. Add the ground paste, tomatoes, and turmeric and sauté for two minutes. Add chicken and mix well so the chicken pieces are well coated with the onion and spice mix. Add two cups of water, cover and cook on medium-high heat until the chicken is done. Add lemon juice and garnish with coriander leaves.