Easy Food Smith

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PANEER KOFTA CURRY / पनीर कोफ्ता करी

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Although I love cooking but I do not exactly like spending hours in the kitchen. Due to a recent injury that I took from a fall during my holiday in August, I am not able to stand for long. Therefore I have been devising ways and tweaking my old recipes so as to make them faster without compromising on their taste. During the Navratras, we abstain from eating non vegetarian food and the carnivores in my house give me a tough time, wanting to eat ‘good’ vegetarian curries and meals. Actually I love dishing out a variety of vegetarian meals to them. Those nine days of abstainanace results in almost a vegetarian feast in our house! Each day I try to excite them with a variety of vegetarian meals that vary from curries, salads and grilled food to pastas and continential meals. This time around my daughter enjoyed these meals so much that she did not consume fish or chicken for over a month!

So, one of those days, I threw in all the ingredients of a standard curry in the grinder and ground them to a paste. I fried the paste in a little oil and what an aromatic curry it turned out to be! I have used the same curry base for this kofta curry and I am sure this easy and quick kofta curry will definitely make you wanna try it in your kitchen.

Here is what all you will need,

For the Koftas

100 grams Potatoes, boiled and mashed

250 grams Paneer, grated

2 tbsp (measuring table spoon) Bread crumbs

2 tbsp (measuring table spoon) Corn flour

1 tsp finely chopped, Green Chilies

1 tbsp chopped fresh Cilantro

Salt to taste

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For the Curry

1 medium size Ripe Tomato

4 – 5 fat cloves Garlic

1 inch Ginger

2 Green Chilies (adjust according to heat of the chillies you are using)

2 tbsp Oil

½ tsp Cumin seeds

1½ tsp Chick Pea Flour (besan)

3 tbsp Yogurt

½ tsp Kashmiri Red Chili Powder

½ tsp Turmeric powder

1 tsp Coriander powder

½ tsp Garam Masala Powder

½ tsp Kasoori Methi

3 tbsp plus ¾ C Water

1/3 C Milk (i prefer using full fat)

A handful of chopped fresh coriander to garnish

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Mix together all the ingredients of the kofta and make equal sized balls. (I could yield 12)

Heat oil in a wok and on medium high heat, fry the koftas in two or three batches till they turn golden brown in color. Using a slotted spoon take out the koftas from the oil and transfer them over on an absorbent sheet.

For the curry, make paste using the first four ingredients under the curry ingredient list.

In a pan, heat oil and add cumin seeds. Allow them to crackle and add the paste. Fry the paste on medium high heat stirring all the while to prevent the paste from getting burnt. Fry till the paste becomes thick and leaves oil. Reduce the heat to medium low and mix in 3 tbsp water.

Add besan and fry the paste for about half a minunte. Whip the yogurt and quickly add to the wok. Add the spices now – chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala and kasoori methi. Fry the a few more seconds.

Now add ¾ cup of water along with the milk. Stir to make the curry homogenous in consistency. Once the curry comes to a boil, add the koftas and bring to a boil a boil again on high heat. Once the curry comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and allow it to simmer for 3 – 4 minutes.

The curry will look a wee bit watery at this stage but it will thicken as it cools gradually. Garnish with chopped fresh coriander.

Yield – 12 Koftas (3 koftas per person in a curry)

Note: You may need to add some water if the curry thickens upon cooling

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CURRIED QUINOA PUMPKIN PATTIES (Kaddu/ Pethe ke Cutlet)

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This post was prepped during Navratras when it was supposed to get uploaded but due to some tech issue, I am able to upload it today. While I began prepping for this post, I realised that there aren’t many posts here that are related to Navratri, a period of fasting for nine days in Hindu calendar where many people abstain from using onion, garlic and grains in their food. Navratri in Hindi translates to nine nights and nine forms of mother shakti (female form and power), namely Durga, Bhadrakali, Jagadamba, Annapurna, Sarvamangala, Bhairavi, Chandika, Lalita, Bhavani and Mookambika or Tara, are worshiped through out india.The navratra occur apparently five times in a year but mainly two of them are observed especially in north India i.e. chaitra navratri which falls in March/April and sharad navratri which falls in October/November.  Of the two, sharad navratri is the one which is celebrated with lot of fervour and festivities across the country in different forms and ways.

During this period, people abstain from using wheat, rice, maize, semolina, grams, pulses, legumes and instead switch over to using buckwheat (kuttu), water chestnut flour (singhare ka aata), barn yard millet (sawankh or samvat ke chawal), fox nuts (makhane), amaranth, tapioca pearls/ sago (sabudana) besides including veggies like potatoes, pumpkins, sweet potato (shakarkand), indian yam (jiikand, oal, suran) and colocassia (arbi/ arvi) and raw green banana in their diet. Fruits are consumed for snacking and there is no restriction on milk and milk products. Sendha namake or rock salt to used to prepare food. And certain inclusion or exclusion of certain foods varies from region to region. Some people use flaxseeds during this time and some don’t, some consume sour foods while others abstain from it.

Keeping in mind the diet restrictions, I have tried to devise a navratri friendly recipe for these pumpkin patties. I have used flax seeds and quinoa which is a pseudo cereal; rather quinoa is seeds that are part of the family as amaranth. I purchased them recently on my holiday to US and what better time to begin using them than the auspicious navratra! And they turned out to be super scrumptious with the quinoa adding a nice bite to them.

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250 gm Pumpkin

1 scant Cup Quinoa

1 C Water

2 tbsp Flaxseed powder

4 tbsp Almond flour

2 – 3 tbsp Water chestnut flour (if fasting, else you can use rice flour)

2 tsp Green chili, chopped (adjust to taste)

2 tbsp + 1 tsp Madras curry powder

½ tsp Red Chilli powder

Salt to taste

Oil to shallow fry

(I usually roast the pumkpkin and cook the quinoa a day before I intend to make these patties)

Wash and thickly slice the pumpkin removing the inside pulp and seeds. Line the baking sheet with aluminium foil or parchment paper and arrange the slices. Roast for 20 – 30 minutes (depending how thick you have sliced the pumpkin) at 180 degrees C. Cool and remove the outer thick skin and mash the pumpkin with the back of a fork or potato masher. Keep aside.

While the pumpkin is roasting, wash and rinse the quinoa 2 – 3 times in water. Drain water and set aside. Add 1 tsp of curry powder, half a teaspoon salt and drained quinoa to the 1 cup of water in a pot. Bring to a boil and cook for another 15 minutes on medium heat. Remove the pot from heat, cover the pot and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. (if there is excess water, simply strain it)

Add the cooled quinoa to mashed pumpkin and mix in the rest of ingredients except the oil of course. Gently mix together everything and make patties. Refrigerate  the patties for 15 minutes.

Heat the pan and a little oil. When the oil is hot, carefully transfer the patties to the pan and fry on medium high heat for approximately 45 seconds to a minute. Check for the color of the patties. They should be nicely browned (be careful so as not to burn them) and crisp.

Remove on an absorbent sheet and serve hot with chutney or tomato ketchup or dip of your choice.

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UPDATE: 27 Oct 2016 – I was given the feedback that the patties turned out too soft. I recommend you increase the amount of rice flour by a few tablespoons and also add breadcrumbs to help bind the batter. Also, refrigerate the batter (or patties) for half an hour to 45 minutes before you fry or bake them. OR you can reduce the amount of pumpkin puree by two third or one third, depending on how soft or firm you like the texture of these patties

Note: Do not add any water to the pumpkin at any stage of prepping else the batter will be loose

Note: If you swap quinoa with amaranth and if you are not fasting for navratras, swap the quinoa with daliya (cracked wheat or bulgur)

Note: Feel free to add a teaspoon of ginger garlic paste (i.e. if you are not fasting for Navratras). Ditto for bread crumbs. They will certainly yield crispier cutlets/ patties .

Note: In case you wish to bake the patties, brush a baking sheet with some oil and also brush the patties with oil. Bake them for 15 – 20 minute at 180 degrees till golden brown.

Note: You can make bigger size of patties and use them for your burger.

Yield – 12 – 15 (depending on size) small patties OR 6 – 7 large patties for burger

Thanks for visiting and see you soon again with another exciting recipe!

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SABUDANA KHEER / SABUDANAR PAYESH / साबूदाने की खीर (Date Palm Jaggery Tapioca Sago Pudding)

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The Navratri puja this year is being considered extremely auspicious and special since it is lasting for 10 whole days i.e. they are completing their whole cycle, instead of the usual nine and sometimes even eight days. The festival is a celebration of the female form and the power of Goddess Durga and Kali. It sends across the message of victory of good over evil and it is celebrated almost all across the length and breadth of India albeit in different ways.

In my mother’s house we never observed the nine days of fasting. We all used to keep the fast only for the last one day. Punjabis idea of fasting is ridiculously weird…trust me. We were served sabudana or sawankh (samvat ke chawal) kheer for breakfast followed by a dry potato curry, kuttu ka paratha with butter and lassi or yogurt for lunch and dinner was no less either. It was pumpkin curry with singhare ka paratha and kheer. Now, is this the way one is supposed to fast?! But that is the way you will find many Punjabi families fasting 😛 The one word that sums up this kind of fasting is actually feasting! The fast was broken the next day morning with prayer and more food!

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While I was writing for this post, I realised that apart from the Kesri Kheer (Saffron Rice Pudding), there is no other kheer recipe in my repertoire! So today I am going to share my mother’s sabudana kheer but sweetened with palm jaggery. My obsession with date palm jaggery began a few years back when I had sweets made with date palm jaggery at a Bengali sweet shop. There has been no looking back ever since and I keep looking for excuses to add it to any dessert that I make. Here are the ingredients for this must-try creamy, luscious, gluten free dessert.

½ C Sabudana

750 ml Milk

½ C Date palm jaggery (scrapped and loosely packed)

½ tsp Cardamom Powder

Dry Fruits (almonds, pistachio, raisins and cashewnuts)

1 tsp ghee

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Wash the sabudana till the water run clear. Soak it in enough water for approximately two hours. Heat ghee and lightly toast the dry fruits and keep aside.

Meanwhile heat a heavy bottom pot and boil the milk, stirring in between to prevent it catching at the bottom. Reduce the heat once it has come to a boil. Drain the sabudana and add it to the milk.

Stir the contents and allow the sabudana to cook low-medium heat for approximately 25 minutes to half an hour or till the tapioca pearls begin to turn translucent. Ensure to stir it at frequent intervals in between the cooking time.

Stir in the cardamom powder and check for the done-ness of the tapioca pearls. They should be translucent and soft now. Take the pot off the heat and allow it to cool for 5 – 10 minutes before adding the jaggery.  Stir the contents to combine the grated jaggery well into the kheer. Stir in the nuts, keeping aside a few to garnish on the top.

Serve warm, cold or at room temperature garnished with nuts (if desired).

Note: The cooking time of sabudana will depend on the size and soaking time of sabudana.

Note: Don’t try and thicken this kheer as the gummy textured sago will thicken it once it begins to cool.

Serves 4 – 5

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Thanks for visiting and see you soon again

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