Easy Food Smith

Posts Tagged / Vegetarian

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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This post needed to be re-uploaded here. In fact it HAD to be re-uploaded. I have been making and serving these kebabs as starters and as main course but a few days back I served these as sliders and oh boy! They were so good. I am therefore sharing this post again with updated pictures. Consider these as the vegan version of the spicy and delicate Galouti Kebabs coz to me they are the nearly-perfect counterpart to the famous galouti kebabs of the Awadhi cuisine. Awadhi cuisine has a variety of kebab delicacies but galouti kebabs are unique since they have meat that is minced so fine and then tenderized that they virtually melt in your mouth. It is actually a super soft version of shami kebabs.

Kebabs are delicately spiced meat patties that are shallow fried in ghee or clarified butter on a skillet or griddle (unlike the tandoori kebabs of Punjab which are grilled in an open clay oven).

Legend has it that the ageing ruler of Lucknow, Nawab Asaf-Ud-Daulah, lost all his teeth but not his appetite for the kebabs! To satisfy the craving of the toothless nawab, the royal chef invented a new form of kebab. He used the finest lamb meat cuts, minced them very fine and added to them tenderizing agents along with a variety of spices to bring forth the now famous galouti kebabs.

Here is vegetarian/ vegan adaptation of the famous cult dish that is the soul of the Awadhi cuisine. These kebabs are so tasty that even non-vegetarians will find it hard to resist. 😉

The only trick involved to make these kebabs is that the banana and gram dal should not be overcooked. They both should be cooked yet retain their shape and hold some resistance to pressure. If they get over cooked, you may end up with a sticky mixture to deal with!

I love the kebabs with fresh cilantro or mint-coriander chutney but since these kebabs are bursting with spices which can be a tad strong for some, I therefore serve them with some Greek yogurt to provide a cooling effect for the palate.

Here’s what you would need…

2 raw bananas (they weighed approx. 375 grams)

½ cup split Bengal gram dal

1 pod black cardamom (I used only ½ amount of seeds)

5 cloves

½ inch piece cinnamon

1 pinch mace powder

3 cloves garlic

½ inch ginger

2 green chillies

Salt to taste

½ cup fresh coriander (optional)

Vegetable oil for shallow frying

To serve:

Mint-Coriander Chutney

Tomato Sauce

½ Cup Greek Yogurt (optional) or sour cream

Soak the gram dal for an hour in warm water

Start prepping by peeling and chopping the bananas in one inch thick pieces.

Boil them in half a cup of water (I used half a cup since I pressure cooked them. You may use more water if you are boiling them in a pan)

Cook them till they are still a wee bit firm and should not be mushy.

Drain the cooked bananas and set aside.

Boil the gram dal in 3/4 cup of water till it is firm but cooked (I pressure cooked it till one whistle escaped the cooker). Drain the dal and keep aside.

In a pan roast the whole garam masala – black cardamom seeds, cloves, cinnamon.

Grind them to a powder using mortar and pestle

Ground the dal without using water and add cooked bananas along with the ginger, garlic, green chillies, powdered whole garam masala, mace powder, fresh coriander and salt.

Grind till everything is well incorporated.

Remove the mixture in a bowl.

Moisten your hands with a little water and scoop out the mixture and make 8 – 10 equal sized balls.

Flatten each ball and seal any cracks that may appear on the edges. (Flatten them to half an inch thickness)

Place the kebabs on a greased plate.

To Fry:

Take 3 table spoon oil (less if using non-stick pan) and when it heats, carefully add 3 – 4 kebabs to the pan.

Cook on a medium high heat.

Keep checking for the colour of the kebab.

Cook them till they become slightly brownish (about 35 seconds to 45 seconds) and then flip them over to cook the other side the same way.

Keep adding more oil if required at any stage of frying.

Remove the kebabs on a kitchen towel or absorbent sheet.

To Serve:

Arrange the kebabs on the serving plate and serve them with yogurt and chutney of your choice. For Sliders, grill or toast the buns and slather green chutney on one bun. Place the kebab on the chutney followed by some sliced tomatoes and pickled onions. Place the other bun over it and serve. Enjoy!

Note: Moisten your hands with water to work with the batter as it tends to be sticky due to the raw bananas.

Note: Feel free to adjust the spices and heat to suit your taste.

Note: If you do  not have Green yogurt, use whisked hung yogurt or sour cream.

Note: You can serve them as starters or snacks or you can serve them for main course with some flat bread such as Bakarkhani or Peshawari Naan.

(Makes 8 – 10 kebabs, depending on size)

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(This is an updated post that I had uploaded over five years back. I had managed to lose all the photos there were on the blog. I could retrieve some from my archives but lost a lot many of them. So here is the post along with the pics of the dal) Chana daal is made from black chick peas. Rather skinless and split black chick peas, commonly called Bengal gram, is what chana dal is made of. Chana Dal is great for stews and yields rich creamy taste when slow cooked. It is usually preferred in north during the winters since it is supposed to keep your body warm while bottle gourd is a summer squash known for its cooling effect on the body. Chana daal brings out the best in bottle gourd and as a matter of fact an amalgamation of the two results in a creamy and tasty daal. Bottle gourd is rich in minerals and this summer vegetable is high in water therefore considered to be light on the digestive system. It is quite a bland vegetable so it needs plenty of support from other ingredients/ spices and a healthy dose of chillies to make it taste good. Many people consume its juice since it is believed to help reduce weight. We use it for making kofta curry, fritters, kheer and also add it to yogurt during summers.

Read more about this vegetable here

Here is an easy and tasty recipe:

For Daal:

¾ cup Chana daal

125 grams / 1 cup diced Bottle Gourd (diced in small pieces)

500 ml water

Salt to taste

½ tsp chili powder (adjust to taste)

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 small Bay Leaf

For tempering:

1 tbsp Oil

¼ tsp Cumin Seeds

2 dry Whole dry Red Chillies

1 Bay Leaf

1/3 C/ medium size Onion

½ tsp finely chopped, Ginger

1 medium Tomato

½ tsp Coriander Powder

2 tsp Ghee

2 tsp finely chopped, Garlic

½ tsp Garam Masala powder

1 – 2 tbsp chopped Fresh Coriander

Pick and wash the dal and soak it in enough water for half an hour.

In a pressure cooker put together all the ingredients written under ‘for daal’ category. Pressure cook till the cooker gives two pressure whistles. Turn of the heat. Remove the pressure cooker from heat. Let the pressure get released on its own.

The daal and bottle gourd will look watery at this stage.

For tempering, heat the oil and on medium heat add cumin seeds along with dry chillies. Once the cumin starts to crackle and red chillies take on a darker shade, add bay leaf along with onion and ginger. Sauté till they become golden brown.

Now, add grated tomato, coriander powder and stir the contents for half a minute or till the masala releases oil towards the edges. Add this tempering to the daal and stir it in.

Keep the daal again over fire on high flame and once it starts boiling, reduce the flame and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes or till the contents are all well assimilated and look creamy. Switch off the heat and remove the dal from heat. Scroll down for details on the final tempering…

In a small pan, take ghee and heat it on medium heat. Add garlic and fry till it turns golden brown. Add this tempering to the dal. Add garam masala along with it and gently stir the dal.

Transfer the daal to a serving bowl.

Garnish the dal with fresh coriander.

AND! To relish this dal the typical Punjabi way, drizzle ghee over the dal before serving. ENJOY!

Note: Make the daal at least half an hour before you intend to serve it. This daal needs some resting time to let its consistency become creamy. If the daal turns thick, boil some water and add it to the daal.

Serves 4 – 6