Easy Food Smith

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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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QUICK ANDA CURRY / झटपट अंडा करी (Creamy Egg Curry)

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Even though it takes hardly four hours from my home town to Delhi, it wasn’t until I was in high school that I visited the capital city for the very first time. My brother had moved to the city a couple of years back after he got his first job there. The nature of his job was such that he could not afford to take leave and visit us. So a cousin and I decided to visit him to help him tide over home sickness and also to tour the city.

Now, everyone in my family happens to be a foodie and can cook a decent food. My father whips up a mean Saag Meat Curry and Kheer besides Dal Makhani. He rolls chapattis like an absolute pro! My brother, however, can dish up a whole meal for a party. I am amazed at his skill at not just cooking but also at planning the menu and executing it like a chef. When we were kids and if mum was unwell, these two would ensure that there was no compromise in meals. He actually used to make a fuss that I never helped them in the kitchen while he and dad were sweating it out 😛

Well, coming back to my visit to Delhi, my brother really pampered us with his food and even tried to squeeze out time from his schedule to take us around the city. The extent of pampering was to a level that he never allowed my cousin or me to ever cook even a single meal while we were there. With his busy schedule and our short visit, we always had a time crunch. He would dish out meals that were fast, nutritious and finger licking good. I remember, many times he didn’t really follow any particular recipe and rather went by his instincts and his understanding of flavours. This creamy egg curry was a dish I learnt from him while on my visit. This dish may be too simple for many of you but I have such fond memories of it that I couldn’t help sharing it here. We had it with flaky buttery parathas but I enjoy it equally with toasted garlic bread. Yum!

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6 Eggs (boiled, peeled and chopped)

1 tbsp Oil

2 tsp Butter

¾ C finely chopped red Onions

1 Green Chilies, chopped

½ tsp cracked Black Pepper

½ tsp red chilli flakes

Salt to taste

150 – 175 mls Milk

2 tbsp finely chopped Cilantro

Heat oil and butter in a pan and add onions and green chillies. Sauté till the onions turn golden in colour. Add chili flakes and chopped eggs. Stir it around. Add 150 mls of milk and gently keep stirring. The milk will begin to thicken.

Add salt, black pepper and keep stirring so that the contents don’t catch at the bottom. Depending on the consistency that you want, adjust the amount of milk. Add in the chopped cilantro and serve hot with flat bread or toasted bread.

Note: You can substitute butter with oil. Also adjust the heat.

Note: I used yolk of only three eggs

Note: Each egg was 60 grams in weight

Note: I prefer to use full fat milk for a rich taste. Feel free to use low fat milk.

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Serves 3 – 4

Thanks for visiting and see you soon again

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