Easy Food Smith

Posts Tagged / Savoury

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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METHI THEPLA / मेथी थेपला (Fenugreek Greens Flatbread)


As much as I love south Indian cuisine, I am an equally huge fan of Gujarati food especially their thali. The food from this western state is predominantly vegetarian. The Gujarati thali is a celebration of vegetarian food at its best. It is a balanced meal with all the flavours that your palate would appreciate – sweet, sour, pungent and spicy. The red chilli powder is judiciously used and I have yet to encounter a hot Gujarati dish. And if you encounter a hot dish, it will be beautifully balanced with some sugar added to it. Although some north Indians may not be able to appreciate the two together, I love it! Each region of the state has its own unique signature dishes. While north Gujarat has Handvo and Patra to boast of, Kutch region has its scrumptious Dabeli and Shrikhand. Kathiawad has Shaak while southern Gujarat has an amazing dish called Undhiyo to be proud of.

The huge array of dishes that are served, along with a variety of flatbreads, is bind boggling and somewhat overwhelming for a first timer. The sumptuous meal is always followed by an equally wide range of desserts. My experience of eating out in a Gujarati restaurant has been always pleasant one. You will be served with love and the whole experience is that of feeling nourishe and cared… Indian hospitality at its best, if I may say so.

Thepla is Gujarati flatbread that is consumed for breakfast or for snacking. A Gujarati friend of mine in Dubai, shared her thepla recipe with me. She had promised to make them for me but the festive month of December kept us both busy and that never happened. Anyways, she graciously shared her recipe (Thanks Kalpana!) and I promise you these are one of the best theplas I have had in a long time. The only deflection that I have made is that I have used yogurt instead of water to knead them. Feel free to use water for making the dough.

I love how they can be made in advance and stored. They keep well for approximately four days upon refrigeration and I believe they will also freeze well. Ideal for this weather with goodness of methi, they are great for hectic mornings when you can simply heat them, slather over some chutney and roll them to have them on your way out and equally good to pack for kid’s lunch. They can be had hot or at room temperature. Don’t you already love their versatility?!

1 C Methi/ Fenugreek Leaves (that have been cleaned, rinsed, drained & chopped)

1 C Whole meal (Atta) plus extra for rolling the theplas

¼ C Besan

1 tbsp + 2 tsp Oil (feel free to swap with ghee)

1/3 C Yogurt (whipped)

1 tsp Cumin powder

1½ tsp Coriander powder

½ tsp Turmeric powder

½ tsp Chili Powder

2 tsp Sesame seeds (I combined white & black)

½ tsp Ajwain (carom seeds)

¼ tsp Heeng/ Asafoetida (slightly toast it on a warm griddle)

1 tsp Ginger Paste

2 tsp Green Chili Paste

Exra oil for frying the thepla

In a mixing bowl, transfer the flours and add in the spices – cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, chilli powder, sesame seeds and ajwain. Whisk them well and add the oil or ghee. Rub the oiled flour between your fingers.

Now add the ginger paste, green chilli paste, methi leaves and yogurt and make a firm but yielding dough. Rest the dough for 15 minutes and then make … equal balls.

Keep the tava or griddle to heat. Using a rolling pin (belan), roll each ball (one at a time) to 6 inches disc of … mm thickness. Use extra flour to dust, if required.

Tranfer the flatbread carefully on to the medium hot tava. You will see the colour of the dough change slightly within seconds. Flip the flatbread.

Cook till you see the flatbread slight rising. Flip it over and apply a teaspoon of oil and flip and fry. (Keep rotating the flatbread using a kitchen towel or a large spoon while it is frying.) Flip quickly again. You will notice small brown patches on the flatbread.

Remove from heat and keep aside. You can apply some ghee over the thepla before serving.

Finish the rest of the dough in the same manner.

Serve with yogurt and chutney or pickle of your choice.

Note: You can swap methi with other vegetables such as carrots, spinach, lauki, mooli, beetroot or what ever you fancy.

Note: Feel free to experiment with other flour options if you prefer gluten free theplas

Note: I advice that you add the yogurt one tablespoon at a time since the total amount would be proportional to the the amount of water that is there in your washed methi.

Makes – 10

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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