Makhni Paneer

Classic Paneer Makhani

Classic Paneer Makhani

I am highly skeptical about this. Taking an old post, revamping it with new photographs and republishing is a first for me. I have my doubts and reservations. The old one is very much a part of me, an integral part of my growing up here. Now with a wee bit more photography skills, to demolish the old one simply seems cruel.

Well, I did it anyways. And for keep sake, this picture below shows you what it was when I shot it a year back 🙂

Cottage Cheese in Creamy tomato gravy

Cottage Cheese in Creamy tomato gravy

I have an improved version of the same classic recipe. Adding whole kashmiri red chilies to the gravy worked fabulously on the gorgeous deep red colour!

Now for keep sake, I even lifted some of my original words and placed it here –

Makhani Paneer is a popular curry from the northern states of India. Add fresh home-made paneer or cottage cheese to a simmering hot blend of onions-cashews and tomatoes. Crushed kasuri methi lends that mesmerizing aroma, which fills your home with such love, that neighbors know you are cooking something special. It’s a great accompaniment with naan, chappati, rice or simply toasted bread.

Top on the husband’s list of favorites, it’s a sure winner every time I make this. Ideal for sunday lunches and on party menus. I make it rarely as it is loaded with butter and cashews and FAT. But whenever I do, the family pigs out.

Well.. er… that rarely has become quite regularly in my house. And yes, they still pig out.

Rich and creamy

Rich and creamy

Ingredients

  • 200 gms paneer, diced into neat big pieces
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 6-7 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 small tiny piece of ginger
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • a fistful of cashew nuts
  • 1 cardamom
  • 2 cloves
  • 3/4 whole kashmiri red chilies
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chili powder or according to taste
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp crushed kasuri methi or dried fenugreek leaves.
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp butter
  • salt according to taste
  • 1 small capsicum or green bell pepper, sliced
  • chopped coriander to garnish

Method

Heat oil in a kadai/pan. When hot, throw in garlic, ginger, onions, cashews and the whole spices. Add little salt, cover with lid and let it cook. After 5-6 minutes, add tomatoes, along with the dry masala powders – turmeric, red chill, whole red chilies and coriander. Now cover again and cook for 10-15 minutes, taking care to keep mixing it in between. It should be cooked well enough for the oil to leave sides. Once done, cool the mixture.
Then with the help of milk, grind the cooled onion tomato mix to a fine smooth orange paste. In another pan, heat butter, saute the sliced capsicums. Once almost done, add this orange gravy, and let it simmer for a minute. Sprinkle crushed kasuri (fenugreek) leaves and salt. Mix well. Add the diced paneer. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve along with onion ring salad.

Ideally served with super soft rotis or naans. Any kind of bread or rice also goes well with this flavorful curry.

Note: If you like, slightly saute the paneer in butter and add them to the gravy. But I added them as it is. This is a rich full fat curry, did not want to add more.

Perfect with soft wheat rotis

Perfect with soft wheat rotis

When in no mood to experiment or debate or try, we turn to this fool-proof signature dish of mine. Returning from an erratic work schedule and long travelling dull days, he knows for sure what he will find on the table. His most favourite dish 🙂

Comfort Food

Comfort Food

I am taking this over to Angie’s Weekly Potluck Parties, Friday Fiesta #24! Do have a look at the other dishes and recipes.

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Shahi Paneer and Whole Wheat Stuffed Kulchas

A complete meal.

A complete meal.

Sunday Lunches are usually special in our house. I don’t know why. Maybe because I lighten the breakfast and skip cooking dinner. Whatever the reason, these meals bring much happiness, smiles and cheer. So, one such beautiful sunny day our lunch was a full blown punjabi meal.

heavy lunch, this.

heavy lunch, this.

Delicacies using paneer or cottage cheese is very integral to the vegetarian Punjabi. If you are going to refuse tandoori chicken and lamb kebabs, then paneer is the The Protein for you. The cuisine comprises of lip smacking dishes with chickpeas, paneer, whole black lentils and copious amounts of cream and ghee. Punjabi food was the hottest cuisine to tuck into back in the late 70s and 80s.

That Sunday I made a creamy paneer side along with vegetable stuffed oven baked unleavened bread and some rich whole lentil dal. The dishes are heavy and little bit of it stuffs you up. But we like to make it just the way it should be. No fat free version, no zero oil. This kind of lunch makes us forego dinner and just snack on salads and soup.

I have recipes for the paneer and the flatbread. Saving the dal for another post.

SHAHI PANEER

Shahi is royal in hindi. Royalty comes with a whole lot of ghee/butter and cream. So please don’t attempt this curry with fat free oils 🙂
Shahi paneer is a wonderful aromatic curry made using cream, tomatoes and spices. This is my second favourite recipe of the cheese after Makhani Paneer.

Shahi paneer

Shahi paneer

Ingredients

  • 200 gms paneer/cottage cheese, cut into cubes
  • 2 medium sized onions, minced
  • 5/6 cloves of minced garlic
  • a tiny piece of ginger
  • 2/3 green chilies, minced
  • 3 red ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ghee or butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 green cardamom
  • a small stick cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chili powder or as per taste
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp tandoori masala or garam masala
  • 1 tsp dried crushed kasoori methi
  • salt as per taste
  • 1 cup cream or malai
  • optional: 1/2 cup mushrooms or bell peppers.
  • To garnish: coriander leaves or mint leaves.

Method

In a wok, heat ghee/butter. Drop the bay leaf, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Saute for just about a minute. Crackle the cumin. Add the minced garlic, ginger, green chilies and onions. Sprinkle little salt. Cook till the onions turn translucent. Remove the whole spices if you’re afraid kids will bite into it. Add kasuri methi and fry for another 30 seconds. Now add the tomatoes, along with red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and salt. Cover and cook till the fat leaves the sides. Takes approx 10-12 minutes.

Once that is done, stir in the cream. Mix well. Give it a boil. Stir in the tandoori masala. Add chopped cubes of paneer. Switch the flame off, garnish with coriander leaves or mint.

Serve hot with any flatbread or rice.

Note: If you want to add other vegetables, sauté the chopped veggies in a different wok using very little fat or oil. Stir the sautéed veggies when you add paneer to the onion tomato cream mix.

Note: Mincing the veggies really fine is the key here. Makes the gravy come into one harmonious mix.

Easy to make

Easy to make

UNLEAVENED STUFFED KULCHAS

Kulchas are small round Indian bread made from flour, milk, and butter, typically stuffed with meat or vegetables. Some use leavening agents like yeast or baking powder. I have skipped the leaveners and used whole wheat instead of refined flour. Dotted with nigella seeds and sesame seeds these little breads are extremely nutritious and very easy to make.

Whole wheat stuffed roasted flatbread

Whole wheat stuffed roasted flatbread

The stuffing I used was made with crushed boiled potatoes, minced onions and coriander leaves. You can be innovative and use any grated vegetable you like. Carrots, cheese, cauliflower, peas make great fillings too.

Stuffing

Stuffing

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • a bit of salt
  • 1/2 tsp carrom seeds or ajwain
  • 1 cup milk
  • Optional: 2 tbsp cream or ghee
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds and 1 tsp nigella seeds, mixed and set aside.
  • To serve: ghee or white butter.

Method

To the flour, add salt, carom seeds. Using luke warm milk bind the dough. Use more milk if required. The dough should be soft and pliable. If you like, you can add a bit of cream or ghee to the flour before binding. Once done, keep covered for 30 minutes or more.

For the stuffing: Use boiled potatoes, minced onion, green chilies and coriander leaves. Mix well, add salt and cumin powder.

To make the kulcha:

Heat a flat griddle or tawa.
Grab a handful of the dough, make a well in the centre, put a tablespoon of the stuffing, close it like a basket. and using more flour roll it out into a small circle. Before placing the rolled out circle onto the griddle, sprinkle some mixed sesame and nigella seeds. Press the seeds into the dough using the rolling pin. Carefully pick the rolled out circle and slap it onto a semi hot griddle. Once it browns a bit, flip the kulcha and roast a bit from the other side.

The making

The making

Now, you can roll the rest of the dough in similar fashion and keep the slightly roasted ones aside. There are two ways to go ahead from this step:

1. You can use a tong and directly roast the kulcha on an open flame till it browns beautifully. Serve hot with ghee or butter on top.

2. Pre heat the oven to 200 degree C. Place the kulchas on a tray and bake till they brown. Takes approximately 6-8 minutes. Serve with ghee or butter.

Kulchas taste great with paneer, kali dal, amritsari channe and many more!

Note: If you add spices to the stuffing and use it for filling the kulcha, it will be good enough to eat with a bowl of yoghurt. No curry, sides or lentils required then.

Perfect combination

Perfect combination

Whole urad lentil and rajma is soaked overnight and pressure cooked. Cream, ghee and milk is again used copiously in this dal. It is so rich and whole I felt it deserves a space of its own. So another post will carry the recipe and mouth-watering pictures.

Not to forget the daal

Not to forget the daal

Alarmed at the quantity of fat and cream used in the recipes? Well, that’s why we make it sparingly and save it for special occasions. Like a sunday 🙂

Yumm.

Yumm.

Healthy Delicious Cottage Cheese Wraps

Wrap of goodness

Wrap of goodness

I was bored. Bored out of the routine which had not altered for the past few weeks. Bored out of doing similar things at similar timings – daily. I needed a break. Taking a sabbatical from work and home means going out and enjoying a scrumptious meal with family… but I was bored of that too! Fussy me.

Scrumptious

Scrumptious

Lethargic dull company can have widening effects on you. So said the husband. Woken up all peppy and permeated with new found vivacity, he thought he could infect me too with it. It didn’t. I stay as dull as dishwater. After much coaxing-haggling we decide to role reverse for the day.

Great as a take away.

Great as a take away.

The guy would chip in with Milee, make lunch, do laundry, get the house to sparkle and I? Oh I was to just lie on the couch, watch TV, lick Nutella, make a mess around me and then doze off to candy land. (I secretly wish for a place really made out of chocolate – where ganache flowed, trees sprouted choco bars, flowers bloomed into candies, clouds were made of cotton candy and houses of dutch truffle – sigh!).

But somethings are just not meant to be.
Just when I put my feet up, just when I start to enjoy the reruns of Suits(Harvey Specter — I love you). Just when I haven’t even licked the spoon clean… dishes fall, water spills, kid goes hungry, maids lament…the kitchen turn into a mini battle field. Oh! my insouciance go-to-hell. Drowsy my foot! Husband has a knack of waking me up even if I were in a grave.

Fresh, cheesy warm yet crisp

Fresh, cheesy warm yet crisp

Shutting the TV off, I return to my territory with such a look that puts the inept to shame. Taking in all the annihilation, seething with rage, secretly cursing my diminutive brain for not foreseeing the future. I set to work.

Resolved not to forgive, I plotted to desecrate our Sunday. But fate was not on my side that particular day. Again.
The lunch turned out fabulous. I didn’t want it to be. It turned into a treat. I didn’t want it to be. I Sulk. And more sulk.
The dad daughter duo enjoyed every last bite, while I scowled to the last bit.

Crunch from the veggies and the melt from the paneer... goodness in every bite!

Crunch from the veggies and the melt from the paneer… goodness in every bite!

To make 6 wraps:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of paneer bhurji (recipe at the end)
  • 6 whole wheat tortillas/Chappathis
  • 6 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 cup thinly shredded salad vegetables like onion, cabbage, carrot, capsicum and spring onion greens
  • 7-8 fresh lettuce leaves
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • salt and pepper powder to taste
  • Chaat masala to sprinkle – optional
  • 6 tbsp grated mozzarella – optional

Method

Soak the salad veggies in lime juice, vinegar, salt and pepper. Keep aside.
Now its just assembly basically:
Take a chappathi, place lettuce on it. Smear a tbsp of mayonnaise on the lettuce. Place a table spoon or more of paneer bhurji in the center of the tortilla. Now, top the bhurji with shredded soaked salad veggies. If using chat masala and cheese. Add it on the salad veggies now. Fold from both sides tightly. Pick the entire assembly up with a flat spatula. Roast on a hot flat griddle till toasted and crisp. If you like you can use a little bit of olive oil for toasting it.

Serve hot with a lot of extra salad and something cool to sip on.

Sunday Brunch

Sunday Brunch

Paneer Bhurji –
Bhurji is a term used for crumbled paneer in a tangy spicy tomato onion gravy. The paneer is mashed and soft. It serves as a great side to chappathis/wraps and on breads.

You need –

  • 1 cup crumbled paneer/cottage cheese
  • 1 tomato, minced
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 green chilies, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • juice of half a lime
  • coriander leaves to garnish
  • salt

Method-
First, crumble the paneer(FUN!!) and keep aside. I didn’t crumble actually, I minced it. Little tiny perfect squares. But it doesn’t matter if u crumble or mince them.

Heat oil in a pan. Crackle cumin seeds. Saute ginger garlic paste. Add in onions-green chilies. Saute till pink. Next throw in the chopped tomatoes, along with the turmeric, chili powder and coriander powder. Cover and cook till oil separates from sides. Once done. Add the paneer. Give it a good mix. The end is a cohesive mix of the gravy and the cheese. turn the flame off. Add garam masala, lime juice and coriander leaves. Mix well. Use as required.

The onion turns red with vinegar and salt.

The onion turns red with vinegar and salt.

Sometimes I think it’s my man’s tactic to avoid doing things that he doesn’t want to do. What I mean is, Do it badly, chances are she will never ask again. Ah! well. Whatever it is. Lesson learnt. Kitchen cleaned. Lunch done. Peace regained. All that matters.

Yummmmmmmm

Yummmmmmmm