Easy Food Smith

Posts Tagged / Vegetarian Side Dish

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)


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PUNJABI ARBI MASALA / पंजाबी अरबी मसाला (Punjabi style Stir Fried Taro Root)



It is a huge relief to be back in our own house after a month’s stay at the temporary accommodation post our return to Mumbai from Dubai. Yes, we are back to motherland for good. Despite loss of time, money and loads of stress that we suffered at the hands of unprofessional yet reputed movers and packers I am so glad to be in the comfort of my house. In the coming few weeks, I will be sharing a few posts that I had prepped in Dubai for these very days that I shall be spending in getting the house in order and settled.

As hideous as it looks, I have always loved eating this vegetable. I was a picky eater as a child and very few vegetables found favour with me. There used to be a raucous in the house when mom used to buy this vegetable. My brother would want to have it in curry while I preferred it stir fried, the so called ‘bhaaji’ form or the dry curry. In fact everyone in the house liked the curry. (I have always been the black sheep of the family :P). I have always had taste that were complete opposite to how my mum, dad or brother would like a particular dish. While everyone would love having Rooh Afza (rose flavoured concentrate) in their glass of lassi, I would hate the taste of anything that had to do with roses. I still can’t stand rose flavoured dishes, desserts or drinks. As any other mom would, my mother followed the middle path and told us that she would make each way alternately. If this week it was a curry, the next time it would be a stir fry. I shall post the recipe for the curry one later. As of now, it is the bhujiya style arbi.

300 grams Arbi/ Taro Root

¼ C (plus more if required) Oil

¼ tsp Asafoetida

½ tsp Cumin Seeds

½ tsp Mustard Seeds

1 large Onion

1 tbsp sliced Garlic (adjust the amount to taste)

1½ tsp finely chopped Root Ginger

1 or 2 Green Chili (as per how much heat you want)

1 ripe medium size Tomato

1/3 tsp Red Chili Powder

½ tsp Turmeric Powder


1 tbsp Coriander Powder

1 tsp Garam Masala

1 tsp of Amchur/ Dry Mango Powder

Salt to taste

2 tbsp chopped fresh Coriander

A few tea spoon Mustard Oil


Apply mustard oil on your hands peel the arbi. (you can use any oil or use gloves)

Wash and pat dry it and cut the arbi vertically in equal sized strips. Apply the oil again while chopping the arbi. The oil will ensure that your hands do not itch later due to the sticky white milk released by the arbi. (do not cut the arbi too thin or it will dry out)

Heat oil in a kadahi (woh) and add asafoetida. Add the arbi to the kadahi and stir fry on high heat it till it turns golden brown in colour. Ensure that you do not leave the arbi unattended or it will get over fried. (If you kadahi is small in size do this in two batches). Remove on an absorbent sheet.

Grate the tomato and keep it aside and the slice it.

In the same kadahi, add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds (add oil if required). Once they begin to splutter, add onions, ginger and garlic. Fry them on medium heat till they turn golden in colour and then add the tomatoes and spices. Stir fry till the masala releases oil. (approximately a minute)

Then add the fried taro root and stir. Cover and cook for a few more minutes or till arbi is completely cooked.

Remove in the serving bowl and garnish with chopped coriander.

Serves – 4

Note: In case you do not have Amchur, sprinkle some Chaat Masala before serving.


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METHI ALU / मेथी आलू की सब्जी (Stir Fried Fenugreek Greens w/ Potatoes)



Albert Einstein


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Be it summer or winters, nature has always provided balance in its bounty. If there are the sweet mangoes and lychees in summers, there is also karela or bitter gourd! If winter has its juicy apples and persimmons, there is also spinach greens, mustard greens and fenugreek greens. It is a clear indication that we need to do justice to what all the nature has blessed us with and make the most of it all. This also ensures that we eat balanced meals that include all the six rasas or tastes, namely – sweet, salty, sour, pungent, astringent and bitter. The bitter is usually the one that mostly gets compromised or is undermined. I do agree that there are many who love arugula or radicchio or broccoli in their salad, marmalade on our toast, collard greens in a curry or soup, mustard green in the Saag, turmeric in a glass of hot milk or spinach parathas.

Even bitter foods can taste good if ‘treated’ or cooked well. The amla in Amla Murabba (Indian Gooseberry Preserve) tastes really good even though the amla tastes really bitter and sour otherwise. My Mom’s Meethi Sounth (Dry Ginger in Sweet Cream) is another recipe where even the pungent ginger tastes so good. It is great, by the way, for winters with a hot cup of milk and helps keep flu or sore throat at bay. Ayurveda too recommends that all the sensory buds on our tongue need to be activated and gratified. So incorporate the bitter in your diet too. These foods are natural cleansers, aid in digestion, provide vigour and improve endurance. Fenugreek is much loved in my family. We add it to our parathas, Thepla, makki ki roti, lentils. We especially love this Methi Makai Matar Malai (Sweet Corn & Peas in Creamy Fenugreek Curry) and Methi Malai Murg (Chicken in Creamy Fenugreek Curry)

 This stir fry is a very simple one but very comforting dish; one that takes roughly ten to fifteen minutes to cook and is wonderful to have with paratha or as a side dish. And I believe it fits in with the thought process of Albert Einstein of keeping is as simple as possible but not simpler. You will need the following ingredients. Feel free to adjust them to your taste.

2 tbsp Mustard Oil

¼ tsp Heeng (Asafoetida)


1 tsp Jeera (Cumin Seeds)

2 Green Chilies, both split in two

2 tsp finely chopped Adrak (Root Ginger)

4 C finely chopped Methi (Fenugreek Greens)

1 – 1½ C Alu chopped in small size (Potatoes)

1 tsp Dhaniya Powder (Coriander Powder)

½ tsp Lal Mirch Powder (Red Chili Powder)

½ tsp Haldi Powder (Turmeric Powder)

½ tsp Garam Masala

¾ tsp – 1 tsp Amchur (Dry Mango Powder) – adjust to taste


Wash the methi, four-five times or till the water is free from any impurities and dirt or grits. Put in a colander or big sieve to drain any excess water.

Wash the potatoes and drain excess water.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottom kadahi (wok) or pan. Let it smoke. Switch off the heat and let the temperature of the oil reduce.

Now, add heeng and jeera. Allow the jeera to crackle. Immedicately add split green chilli and ginger. Saute for 10 – 15 seconds and add the fenugreek greens. Saute the greens for 45 seconds on high heat and then add potatoes.

Keep cooking on high heat till the liquid reduces.

Reduce the heat and add the dry spices except the amchur and stir. Cover the wok and cook till the potatoes are done. You will need to stir the contents every now and then to ensure it does not burn or catch at the bottom.

Once the potatoes are done add the amchur powder and stir well. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving bowl. Enjoy!

Serves – 3 – 4


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