Easy Food Smith

Posts Tagged / Curry from scratch

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



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)


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.


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)


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

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BAKED CHICKEN KORMA / बेक्ड चिकन कोरमा



Curries don’t always need to be stirred in a pot. They don’t always have to be rich in masala. They don’t have to be rich in fat. They don’t have to be tedious to make. Rather, curries can taste great even when baked…yes baked! The trick however is a good flavourful marination that will ensure that your baked curry tastes as good as the regular one. The textures may be different but the taste would be nearly the same. But before I begin with the recipe for this korma, there are a few things you need to know about it. To begin with, it is

A mild curry

Packed with flavours

Oil free

Low on fat

No fuss, well almost

I got inspired by this recipe. The moment I saw it, I immediately knew that I had to turn it in to a korma. My recipe for korma had to be revamped to turn it into a baked one. This recipe uses minimum amount of oil and using hung yogurt ensures that you need to use no cream at all! Feel free to go for full fat yogurt if you may. This is not a curry that requires time or one that needs to be planned as a weekend project. You can enjoy this curry on any day of the week. All that you need to do is ‘make’ hung yogurt by leaving yogurt on a sieve lined with cheese cloth or muslic cloth in the refrigerator over night (or maybe, you can use Greek yogurt instead). Prepare the marinade and marinate the chicken and you have a great meal waiting for you on a busy week day. I prefer to serve it with Malabar parotha, which are layered flaky flat bread and kachumber salad i.e. an onion, cucumber and tomato salad with a squeeze of lemon juice and a little salt. Making a curry was never this easy and so much fun!


¾ C Yogurt (I used low fat)

6 pieces (600 grams) Chicken Thighs, skinless & on bones

1½ tbsp Lemon Juice

¾ C sliced Onions

2 tbsp Oil or Ghee

3 Green Chillies

¼ C chopped Fresh Cilantro (Coriander)

1 tsp Ginger Paste

1 tsp Garlic Paste

½ tsp Garam Masala (adjust the amount accordingly to the strength of the masala)

½ tsp Chilli Powder (adjust to taste)

2 tsp Coriander Powder

Salt to taste (I had used ¾ tsp)

1 ½ tbsp Almond meal (Almond powder)

A few strands Saffron

1/3 C + 2 tbsp warm Milk


Take a sieve and place it over a vessel that can hold it over the rim. Line the sieve with muslin cloth (hanging it loose over the edges) and pour the whipped yogurt onto it. Gently cover the yogurt with the cloth and set the vessel in the fridge over-night to attain hung yogurt. The vessel will catch all the drips. (Feel free to use Greek yogurt if available)

Add the saffron strands to 2 tbsp of warm milk and keep aside. (I keep it aside for at least an hour and half to intensify the flavour)

Heat oil in a pan and fry the sliced onions till light brown in color. Drain excess oil and keep them on an absorbent sheet. Set aside.

Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces. Make two deep parallel slit marks diagonally (with an inch gap between the two slits) across the plump side of the breast piece. In a baking dish arrange the chicken pieces and pour the lemon juice over it. Marinate for 10 – 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, using a grinder, make a smooth paste (marinade) with the hung yogurt, fried onions, ginger paste, garlic paste, saffron milk, fresh coriander, garam masala, green chillies, red chilli powder, coriander powder and almond meal. Transfer the marinade to a bowl and add the milk. Stir the marinade well to have a smooth consistency.

Transfer the chicken to a baking dish and pour the marinade all over the chicken. Ensure that all pieces are well coated. And also that the marinade goes deep into the incisions as well.

Cover with a click wrap and refrigerate it for at least six hours. I prefer to keep the chicken marinated over-night. (More the marinated time, more succulent the chicken tends to be)

Remove the baking dish from the refrigerator half an hour before you intend to bake the chicken. Remove the cling wrap and bake the chicken uncovered at 180 degree for 45 – 50 minutes or till the chicken is done. Serve it with the bread of your choice or with potatoes and veggies.


Note: I prefer using chicken on bone for curries since they add flavor to it. Feel free to use boneless thighs.

Note: Do not compromise on any of the ingredients. Saffron, yogurt and spices are fundamental to a korma recipe.

Serves – 3 – 4


PANEER KOFTA CURRY / पनीर कोफ्ता करी


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


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


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