Easy Food Smith

Posts Tagged / Asian Food

LEHSUNI PANEER / लहसुनी पनीर (Garlicky Cottage Cheese Curry) – GF

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Paneer is to vegetarians what eggs are to non vegetarians – a quick, easy, simple ingredient that can be turned into so many variety of dishes. In north India, if you are expecting a vegetarian at your house for a meal, paneer will invariably find its way to the menu (even more so, if it happens to be a Punjabi household). Paneer is a vegetarian delicacy of sorts. And its versatility makes it an easy ingredient to work with. You can turn it into tikka or bhurjee or kofta curry and even a cheesecake – it will never fail you. Use it with some spices and herbs to make filling for your jaffles or stuffed flatbread and there you have an excellent breakfast dish to be polished off with pickle and chai! You can find a post I had done during my initial blogging years on how to make paneer at home. The process is simple and you can use it for so many recipes or have it on its own with some sprinkle of chaat masala.

This recipe may seem to be using a lot of garlic but when it pairs with other ingredients, it mellow downs (you’ve got to trust me on that). The key here is not to compromise on the usage of tomatoes. I usually chop the tomatoes and blitz them in a grinder. For this recipe, I could obtain about one third cup tomato puree (without adding water) from one medium sized tomato. Also, do not hold yourself back from using milk. It helps bring a balance to the sourness of tomatoes, tones down the garlic and mellows the heat of chillies. This curry gets ready in under 15 minutes, what more can you ask for 😀

2 – 3 tbsp Oil

½ tsp Cumin Seeds

½ tsp Mustard Seeds

2 small Onions (thickly sliced)

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4 fat cloves Garlic (grated) {approximately 1 tbsp}

1 medium Tomato

1/3 C Milk

300 grams Paneer, (cubed)

½ tsp Turmeric Powder

½ – ¾ tsp Chili Powder (adjust to taste)

2 tsp Coriander Powder

½ tsp Garam Masala

Salt to taste

2 whole Green Chilies

Fresh Coriander to garnish

This curry takes no time to cook. So be ready with all ingredients.

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Wash, chop and blitz the tomato in a grinder. You should have at least 1/3 cup or more of tomato puree. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan and add cumin and mustard seeds. As soon as they begin to crackle, add onions and fry them on medium heat till they turn translucent and just begin to turn golden.

Now add grated garlic and fry till the garlic changes color to golden and becomes aromatic. Add the tomatoes and along with the spices and salt.

Keep stirring the contents on medium heat till the masala begins to leave oil on the sides. Now add milk and lower the heat.

Split chilies in 3 or 4 pieces and throw them in the curry. Add the paneer and stir it in. Add more milk if required at this stage. (I do not like my curry loose and rather prefer the masala coating the paneer pieces well. Suit youself)

Cook for a minute and the curry is ready. (you do not need to cook the paneer much else it will turn rubbery)

Stir in some freshly coriander to the curry and garnish the rest before serving. Remove the contents in a serving bowl and serve with roti, paratha or naan. YUM!

Note: I have added split whole green chilies coz I just wanted some grassy flavors of the chili added to the curry. Feel free to add them chopped in case you wish to add some more heat to the curry.

Note: Also, you can tinker with the amount of ingredients you wish to use.

Serves 4 (as side dish)

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

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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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TAMARIND FISH CURRY / इमली में पकी मछली

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On a holiday to Pondicherry (now called Pudducherry) we made a day’s halt at Chennai. The delayed flight ensured that we checked-in at the hotel totally famished. And though it was pretty late, the friendly chef obliged us with his speciality – the tamarind fish curry. And what a curry it was! Finger licking good! Once we were back home from our holiday, I tried to replicate the flavours of the curry and although it is pretty close to that curry, yet I feel that there is still something missing; perhaps a local ingredient or perhaps the use of coconut oil. While I try to figure that out, you guys give a try to this curry and let the warm aromatic flavours waft through your kitchen on the cold winter days ahead.

The thing about Indian curries is the amount of ingredients that are listed out. It is enough for anyone to chuck out any thoughts of dishing it out; totally understandable. However, my sincere advice to those who believe it to be a tedious task to cook Indian curries is to try this tangy curry. Don’t let the ingredients drive you into believing that cooking it would be a long process too. It is a breeze to make this curry (unlike a few Indian curries that require a lot of sautéing) and it takes no more than 20 minutes. Honestly! It is not a daunting task as you may believe it to be. This one is ideal for beginners I would say. So wear that apron and stir up a storm in that pot 😉

550 – 600 grams Fish fillets (I used Rohu but any firm white fleshed fish would do)

2 tbsp plus 2 tbsp Oil

1 tsp Mustard Seeds

¼ tsp Fenugreek Seeds

¾ C sliced Shallots (small sized onions)

1 tsp Ginger paste

1 tsp Garlic Paste

1½ tsp Tamarind Paste (I used store brought one)

8 – 10 Curry Leaves

1 tbsp Coriander Powder

1 tsp Red Chili Powder (+ / -)

1 tsp Paprika or Degi Mirch (also called Kashmiri Lal Mirch)

½ tsp Turmeric Powder

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Salt to taste (plus to wash the fish)

200 mls Coconut Milk (I used store brought one ‘thick first press’)

½ C Water

2 tbsp chopped fresh Cilantro (fresh Coriander)

Dilute the tamarind paste using ¼ cup water and set aside. Wash the curry leaves and set aside.  Clean the fish and wash it once. Drain the water and sprinkle some salt over the fish and let it sit for 2 minutes. Wash the fish again and drain any excess water or pat dry it.

In a heavy bottom non stick pan, heat 2 tbsp oil (add more if required) and shallow fry the fish in batches (on high heat) till the fish turns just golden (approximately half a minute each side) Remove the fillets on an absorbent sheet or kitchen towel to remove excess oil.

In the same pan that you fried the fish, add 2 tbsp of oil. Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. Once they begin to crackle, add the onions. On medium high heat, fry the onions till they turn golden in colour. Add ginger garlic paste and fry till they become aromatic and golden in colour. Add the curry leaves.

Reduce the heat and add the tamarind water. Along with it add the dry spices and salt. Increase the heat to medium high again and saute till the water is almost absorbed.

Now add the coconut milk and reduce the heat again (to prevent the coconut milk from splitting). Add the fried fish pieces and very gently stir the curry. Add the remaining ¼ C water & increase the heat and let the curry come to a boil. Reduce the heat again to minimum and allow the curry to simmer covered for 3 – 4 minutes.

Garnish with chopped fresh coriander and serve hot with steamed rice.

Note: Adjust the amount chilies and tamarind as per taste. If the tamarind seems to be more, add some coconut milk or half a tea spoon of sugar.

Note: I suggest you cook this curry at least an hour before you intend to serve it to help steep the flavors. This way the curry tastes much better than when served immediately. In fact it tastes even better the next day.

Serves 4

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Check out these fish curries too.

Fish in Mustard Curry

Doi Maachh (Fish in Yogurt Curry)

Rui Poshto (White Poppy Seed Fish Curry)

Thanks for visiting and see you soon again

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