Archive for the ‘Punjabi’ Category

What was that again?


2010
10.20

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The last one year for Nish who turned 4  in September has been profound in terms of mental maturity and verbal acquisitions. His preschooler sass, innocent fumbles, wise observations and insightful witticisms never fail to amuse us. Our days would definitely be dull without him.

Here are some of his quips for some laughs—

Ma, can you please leave the bathroom? I need some privacy.

Pa, you need to listen to Ma, ok? him is the only grown up in this house.

Ma, grow up!

Hey Pa, can you turn on the lamp? I need some sun light in the room.

Ma, when I was a baby in your tummy did I come out when you threw up?

Ma, I don’t need a baby brother or a baby sister, can you make me a baby puppy instead?

Reciting the Lords prayer – Our Father in heaven hallowed be thy name ……do not bring us to the test but deliver us from Eagle – Amen

And these might be incriminating for my food blog, but nevertheless ….

Ma, I only said it smells good, I didn’t say it tastes good.

Ma, this tastes  funny. are you sure it is food?

Aloo Gobi

IMG_8647Well since I could never bend it like Beckham I chose the easier alternative and learnt to make a killer Aloo Gobi. I consider a bowl of Aloo Gobi perfect when the potatoes and the cauliflowers remain )…[read more]

 

 

 

 

 

 Methi Pulao/ Fenugreek Leaves Rice Pilaf

IMG_8794Methi Pulao is something that I usually make when I’m entertaining vegetarian friends.  No reason in particular. But since I’m a big fan of the flavor of fenugreek leaf flavor I just assume every vegetarian out ….[read more]

 

 

 

 

 Kadai Paneer

IMG_8663

This all famous colorfully vibrant Punjabi dish goes perfectly well with all Indian breads. This is a very simple dish to make but can look very attractive on the table when you are entertaining. It is not just about the looks either, it tastes amazing too….[read more]

Kadai Paneer


2010
10.15

This all famous colorfully vibrant Punjabi dish goes perfectly well with all Indian breads. It is a very simple dish to make but can look very attractive on the table when you are entertaining. It is not just about the looks either, the taste’s amazing too. The powerful Indian spices ignites a roaring flame of passion between the mild and sweet colorful peppers  and the nutty cubes of paneer. Just one bite and you’ll know exactly what I’m harping about.

IMG_8663

 

Ingredients

2 cups mixed multicolored bell peppers
14 oz of paneer/cottage cheese
1 medium onion chopped fine
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 large tomato chopped into chunks
1/2 tsp turmeric 
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp katoori methi / dried fenugreek leaves
1 tbsp coriander powder
2 tsp chopped green chilies
1 tsp red paprika/ kashmiri mirch
1/2 tsp 3 Cs spice mix
1 bay leaf
1 star anise
1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
1 tbsp cashew-almond paste -optional (cashew nuts and almonds in equal proportions ground to a paste with little water)
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
2-3 tsp fresh cream for garnish
refined oil
salt to taste

Directions

  • Cut the paneer into slabs (not cubes) and toast them on both sides in a non stick pan in 1 tbsp of oil. Make sure you don’t over do it. Both the sides should have just a slight hint of brown to bring out the nutty flavor of the paneer.
  • When all the slabs of paneer are toasted cut them up into small cubes, sprinkle a little salt and set aside.
  • Heat a tbsp of refined oil, add star anise, bay leaf and cumin and sauté for a minute.
  • Add in the chopped onions, sauté till golden brown
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a minute
  • Add salt, chilies,paprika,  turmeric, coriander, spice mix, cashew-almond paste and tomatoes and sauté till the oil comes clear.
  • Add the bell peppers and kastoori methi and sauté till the veggies are cooked but yet crunchy.
  • Stir in the paneer cubes and let it cook for a couple of minutes till it all comes together.
  • Take off the flame. Garnish with heavy cream and cilantro
  • Serve hot with Indian Breads .
  • Aloo Gobi


    2010
    10.14

    Since I could never bend it like Beckham, I chose the easier alternative and learnt to make a killer Aloo Gobi. I consider a bowl of Aloo Gobi perfect when the potatoes and the cauliflowers remain intact in shape and size but are yet cooked thoroughly through. And of course the cauliflower florets shouldn’t be giving off that God-awful gaseous stench.  Over the years I figured the best way not to stink up your kitchen while cooking cauliflower and the like (cabbage, kohlrabi etc) was to cook them dry. And the easiest was to cook them dry is to deep fry them (tastier option) or broil/bake them (healthier option). You of course can cook them dry directly in the pan too. But that requires frequent stirring and totally depends on how patient you are willing to be. I’ve detailed all four techniques here. Follow what ever floats your boat.

    IMG_8647

    Ingredients

    2 cups cauliflower florets
    1 cup quartered potatoes
    1 small onion chopped fine
    1 tsp grated ginger
    1 medium tomato chopped into chunks
    3/4 tsp amchoor /dry mango powder
    1/2 tsp turmeric 
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1 tsp katoori methi / dried fenugreek leaves
    pinch of asafoetida
    1 tbsp coriander powder
    1 tsp chopped green chilies
    1 tsp red chili powder
    1 tsp punjabi garam masala
    2 bay leaves
    2 tbsp chopped cilantro
    refined oil
    salt to taste

    Directions

    If deep frying – Heat refined oil in a deep pan. Sprinkle salt on the cauliflower and potatoes and deep fry them until they are cooked through and light golden brown in color.  Set them aside on paper towels to drain out the excess oil.

    If broiling – Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a shallow pan. Add cumin seeds, asafoetida and turmeric. When the cumin seeds are roasted switch off the flame.  Spread out the cauliflower and potatoes on a flat dish. Sprinkle salt  and drizzle the hot seasoned oil on all the veggies. Broil until cooked through to a golden brown color tossing it every 8 minutes.

    If baking – Preaheat oven to 350 F. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a shallow pan. Add cumin seeds, asafoetida and turmeric. When the cumin seeds are roasted switch off the flame.  Spread out the cauliflower and potatoes on a flat dish. Sprinkle salt  and drizzle the hot seasoned oil on all the veggies. Bake on 350F until the veggies are cooked through.

    If stir-frying in a shallow pan with no water – Follow the instructions below to make the masala. When done, add the veggies and mix well into the masala. Close the pan and let is simmer on medium heat. Stir every 5 minutes and close the pan with a tight lid when left to simmer.

    Making it all come together –

  • Heat 2 tbsp of oil in shallow pan
  • Add cumin seeds, asafoetida and turmeric, sauté until the cumin is roasted. (omit this step is broiling or baking)
  • Add bay leaf and saute for 30 secs.
  • Add ginger and onions and sauté until onions are golden brown
  • Add tomatoes, coriander powder, green chilies, red chili powder,garam masala,  kastoori methi, amchoor and sauté until oil separates. 
  • Add the cooked veggies and mix them well into the masala until they come together.
  • If adding uncooked veggies follow stir-frying directions.
  • Garnish with cilantro. Switch off the flame.
  • Server hot with Indian breads 
  • Methi / Fenugreek Parathas


    2010
    07.15

    IMG_7539 

    Ever since I came back from India having been thoroughly brain washed by my Doctor and health freak sister, Sony, I’ve been working hard to reduce the waist lines of my family – husband, son and yours truly. We’ve completely moved away from our most favorite, slurp slurp rice (sorry I can’t say it without doing that a couple of times) to whole wheat rotis for dinner.  The transition hasn’t been difficult like I expected though. On the contrary, I’ve been plotting on bringing the same change to lunch as well. Here’s why- When it comes to rice (slurp slurp), I usually have to make at least 3 dishes to go with it. A dal or the like that has some sort of gravy to wash the rice down, a side of sautéed vegetables(you can’t do without vegetables right?) and a piece of fish or meat to satiate the mallu carnivores in us. But with rotis surprisingly, just one dish does it for us!!! It has been saving me a hell lot of time and the lazy me couldn’t be more happy.

    If rotis had me making just one side, imagine my joy when parathas asked for none ;)!!!!  Now you know what my boys have been eating a lot of lately!! All I need to do now is figure out an attractive way to talk about the change in menu for their lunches as well ;)!

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    Methi parathas which according to me are the healthiest of all parathas because of all the greens that go into them, are also (according to me) the tastiest of the lot. Many like to make a masala of the methi by cooking them with onions and spices before rolling them into parathas. But I don’t. I seriously think it is sinful to overpower the taste of these fine leaves with the spices and kill their nutrition with all the cooking.  People – it is JUST my opinion. Please aim your shadoobies else where. …I simply knead my methi in their immaculate form, directly into the dough with a little bit of amchoor (for the tang) and what I get out of them – I totally totally  LOVE!

    Ingredients
    2 cups whole wheat flour
    ½ cup besan/gram flour (Optional. I don’t add this, cause I don’t like it. My mother does though. Replace with ½ cup wheat flour if you don’t do besan like me)
    2 cups fenugreek leaves chopped fine 
    1 tbsp refined vegetable oil
    ½ tsp. red chili powder
    1 tsp roasted cumin powder
    1 tsp amchoor/dry mango powder
    ½ tsp turmeric powder
    salt to taste

    Directions

  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and knead it into into a soft smooth dough adding water, a little at a time.
  • Set aside covered for an hour.
  • Divide the dough into 12 equal parts each and make smooth balls out of them
  • Pat the stuffed balls with dry flour before beginning to roll them out
  • Roll out the balls into circles using a rolling pin and  to the thickness you desire. I like mine very thin..
  • Heat a skillet on high.
  • Place the paratha over the skillet.
  • When the paratha begins to puff up on the edges turn it over.
  • Repeat.
  • Apply 1/2 – 1 tsp of ghee to the surface when you notice brown spots and turn over.
  • Press down using a spatula and apply ghee similarly on this side too.
  • Take off the flame when cooked thoroughly on both sides.
  • Serve hot with, curd, pickles or butter.
  • Mutter Paneer


    2010
    07.01

    IMG_7428

    Apart from  the obvious 35lbs of sweets, guess what else I carried back from India? 40lbs of mud and stones!! Don’t believe me? Wait till you see my future posts where I plan to flaunt all my new acquisitions as subtle props in my pictures. You can’t even begin to fathom how happy I’ve been ever since each and every piece of them arrived into my kitchen untarnished to its last element! My mother frowned as I packed the 10 kgs of earthen pans and the 5 kgs of granite. What are you going to use them for? she grumbled. Like she didn’t know *eyes rolling*. Of course from now on I’m going to cook ALL my meen curries in the meen chattis and all my pounding will happen with the granite mortar and pestle. I have to admit (though reluctantly), my mother’s concerns are not totally baseless. I tend to go overboard at times. While people carry fine silks and jewelry back from India, I carried 5 kgs of copper khadais, cast iron unniappam pan, a brass idiyappam press, chirattas for puttu etc etc, apart form these mud and stones. I know I can’t fool anybody let alone my mother when I say I plan to use them all. But, like I’ve said before, I love to make sure my kitchen is well provided with all the right contraptions, lest I fall under the category of the ‘inexperienced’ and the ‘ill-equipped’.

    The mortar and the pestle till date is the best addition into my kitchen(Thank you, Sophie!). I don’t know if you have noticed in some of my older pictures, I do have a tiny one already, made of brass. My mother had gotten that made when I moved to California as a new bride. But today I’m proud to say that my cooking and my kitchen have out grown that size. YES, Ma! I do cook. I do cook much more than you think I do!!  (argghh, Mothers! You can’t live with them. You can’t live without them!). This morning as I made Roy’s favorite Mutter Paneer, I had my spices pounded in a second and my cashew nuts ground in a jiffy all the while singing a Bollywood number that I’d recently picked up from my trip. Yes, singing at 6:45 in the AM. Can you believe that?  Only because I didn’t have to fish out the Magic Bullet and  its ever so many accessories  from my drawer of ‘gadget confusion’, plug it in, shake it up and down and waste valuable 15 minutes of the ‘morning panic’ just to grind  a tsp of spices and 5 cashew nuts. Ma, I’m veRRRRy glad I carried the stones!!!! 😉

     IMG_7418

    Ingredients

    14 oz of paneer/cottage cheese
    2 cups of shelled peas
    1 large onion chopped very fine
    3 tomatoes pureed 
    1 &1/2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
    1 tsp coriander powder
    1 tsp roasted cumin powder
    1/2 tsp 3 Cs spice mix
    1 star anise 
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    1/2 tsp chili powder
    2 green chilies chopped fine
    1 tsp kashmiri mirch/paprika
    3 tbsp heavy cream
    5 –6 whole cashew nuts
    1 tsp kastoori methi /dried fenugreek leaves
    1 tbsp chopped cilantro for garnish

    2 –3 tbsp of refined oil

    Directions

  • Cut the paneer into slabs (not cubes) and toast them on both sides in a non stick pan in 1 tbsp of oil. Make sure you don’t over do it. Both the sides should have just a slight hint of brown to bring out the nutty flavor of the paneer.
  • When all the slabs of paneer are toasted cut them up into small cubes, sprinkle a little salt and set aside.
  • Toast the cashew nuts, pound them to a fine powder and keep aside
  • Heat a tbsp of refined oil, add star anise and cumin and sauté for a minute.
  • Add in the chopped onions, sauté till golden brown
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a minute
  • Add salt, chilies, turmeric, coriander, spice mix, powdered cashew nuts and tomato puree and sauté till the oil comes clear.
  • Add peas and kastoori methi and sauté till the peas cook.
  • Stir in the paneer cubes and let it boil for a couple of minutes till it all comes together.
  • Take off the flame. Garnish with heavy cream and cilantro
  • Serve hot with Indian Breads .
  • Punjabi Chole


    2010
    03.30

    IMG_5987

    Garbanzo beans/chickpeas are cooked in a variety of ways all over the Indian subcontinent. Each preparation exhibits the distinct characteristics of the regional cooking. The Punjabi Chole, a preparation from Punjab, is a great accompaniment with Pooris, Bhaturas and Chaat.

    Ingredients

    1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    1 large tomato, finely chopped
    2 green chilies, slit into halves
    1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
    1 tbsp tomato paste, or half a cup of tomato sauce (from the can)
    1 tsp ground cumin
    1/2 tsp red chili powder
    1/2 tsp turmeric
    1 tsp whole cumin
    1/2 tsp amchoor powder (dried mango)
    1 tsp anardana powder (dried pomegranate seeds)
    1 tsp punjabi garam masala
    salt, to taste
    1 tsp kala namak
    1 tbsp cooking oil
    2 tbsp chopped cilantro for garnish
    water, as needed

    Directions

    • Cook pre-soaked chickpeas in enough water in a pressure cooker till soft. ( I let it whistle for about 5 – 6 times and simmer for 10 minutes)
    • Heat oil in a deep pan and sauté whole cumin for a minute.
    • Add in onions and green chilies and sauté until the onions are translucent.
    • Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté till slightly browned.
    • Stir tomatoes, tomato paste, ground cumin, turmeric, chili powder, amchoor, anardana, punjabi garam masala and salt and sauté till the oil separates.
    • Add chickpeas and about a cup of water, and let cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes.
    • Garnish with fresh cilantro.

    Palak Paneer (Saag Paneer)


    2010
    03.18

     

    IMG_5739

    One of the veggies/greens, that I prefer using frozen over fresh, is spinach. I’d always heard food network’s chefs rave about why frozen spinach is better than fresh. But, since I’m a cynic of the ugliest order, I couldn’t but help do my own research. Evidently what those super cool chefs, whose incessant smiling and fresh make up, after having cooked up a three course meal (apparently, all by themselves * eyes rolling*) , annoys the crap out of you, have all along been telling the gospel truth. Documented studies have stated that spinach in the frozen form, tend to hold on to their nutrition more than the ones left at room temperature or in the refrigerator. It also states that, you tend to cook more (and thus consume more) quantity of spinach when they are chopped and frozen because their volume significantly reduces during the process. I always preferred using frozen only because it was lesser work and made absolutely no difference in taste, until I stumbled upon these studies. So now I’m convinced, and I restate, the lazier me always tends to provide healthier options for my family :D.

    Ingredients

    10 oz frozen spinach, defrosted  or 1 lb fresh spinach, chopped
    small bunch of mustard leaves, chopped (optional)
    1 small bunch fresh fenugreek leaves, chopped (optional)
    1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
    2 –3 tbsp chopped cilantro 
    1 med sized onion, chopped
    1-2 tomatoes, chopped
    2 tsp lemon juice
    1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
    1-2 green chilies (as per tolerance)
    14 oz of paneer 
    11/2tsp garam masala (I use my kashmiri masala because it has fennel in it and I love the taste of fennel with spinach. if you don’t have it, you can use the punjabi garam masala + 1/2 tsp of roasted crushed fennel seeds)
    1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
    1/2 tsp roasted ground cumin
    1/2 tsp coriander powder (optional)
    salt to taste
    3-4 tbsp of fresh cream or 2 dollops of  sour cream for garnish

    Directions

  • Cut the paneer into slabs (not cubes) and toast them on both sides in a non stick pan in 1 tbsp of oil. Make sure you don’t over do it. Both the sides should have just a slight hint of brown to bring out the nutty flavor of the paneer.
  • When all the slabs of paneer are toasted cut them up into small cubes, sprinkle a little salt and set aside.
  • Heat a tbsp of refined oil, add cumin sauté for a minute.
  • Add in the chopped onions, sauté till golden brown
  • Add ginger-garlic paste, chilies, turmeric, coriander, garam masala   and tomatoes and sauté till the oil comes clear.
  • Add all the greens and sauté till they cook.
  • Turn off the heat. Let it cool.
  • Grind the cooled mixture in a blender or food processor along with the mint and cilantro to a slightly coarse paste.
  • Pour the ground mixture back to the same skillet. Stir in the paneer cubes, lemon juice and let it boil for a couple of minutes till it all comes together.
  • Take off the flame. Garnish with fresh cream or sour cream
  • Serve hot with Indian Breads .
  • Punjabi And Kashmiri Garam Masala.


    2010
    01.27

    kgm2Some years ago while working for an Indian company I had to move to Bloomington, IL, for an assignment at an American establishment.  Bloomington, which is about a 100 miles from Chicago, was then a small humdrum city (town?) and had absolutely nothing ever happening there. People who know me are well aware that it doesn’t take much to please me. I’m not the outdoorsy, or the carousing kind. Nor do I need that constant stimulation around me to keep me alive. So, if I have to say a place was dull and boring, trust me people, you would want to move there only if you are seeking isolation or running away from the law.

    So on day one, as I stepped into this town from its tiny winy Airport, the bitter arctic air bit right into my marrows, so hard, that I immediately began hating this place with every fiber of my being. Though it was fairly early in the evening as I drove to the hotel from the airport, the only visible sign of habitation were a handful of cars that drove past me.  All around me were deserted streets, snow sprawling her icy limbs as far as my eyes could see and my sinking heart hit rock bottom. The fat fact that I was still recovering from a recent heartbreak goaded the situation further. My balance was clearly upset and I pictured myself growing old and miserable in this small town, all by myself, with frost bitten hand and limbs, microwaving cold single dinners while picking at my cold sores.

    Days passed and I began settling down. Though I had a caring family and strong circle of friends who called me every single day to check on me and keep me going, I continued to wallow in self pity and persisted at loathing every minute of my existence in that little town. Then, unnoticed by me, two little (in size only) packages of delight walked right into my life. A1, my high spirited little Kashmiri roommate and A2, my little Punjabi colleague  who sat right behind me at work. We all worked for the same employer and though we were acquainted with each other from early on, it was our stay in this cold secluded place that sparked a connection which, to this day I remember with great fondness.

    We were much younger then, each at different stages of committed relationships. A1, was engaged to be married, an arranged one, and obviously was chary of the risks involved. A2 was picking up lost ties with his childhood sweetheart after several years of break up, and was now contemplating marriage with her again. And me like I said earlier, was grieving  from a recent break up, sworn off all men and was determined to die an old maid. This unusual combination of wary, hope and distress between the three of us, brought about a new perspective in our individual lives. Each one of us saw through the other ones eyes, and in a strange way received reassurance. Together we explored the quaint little town, which turned out not that bad after all. In each others company we cooked during the winter,  traveled during summer, partied during the weekends,  survived a car crash, spoke through the nights, slept through the days  and most important of all spent long hours of familiar silence in each others comforting presence. After a year in that place, the three of us moved out. I moved to sunny California to marry my soulmate, R, who, but for my friends, I don’t think I would have found. The little As too soon married and are settled now with more little As of their own. And I somehow know for certain they’ve found their true loves too.

    This post is for friendships found when you least expect it. It doesn’t matter if you keep them forever or you move on. They were there when you needed them and that is all that matters. Like someone rightly said, friends are the siblings God forgot to give us.

    pgm2

    The little As both fine cooks, exposed the Punjabi and Kashmir cuisines to my then budding awareness of the culinary world. I owe my curiosity to explore more of these cuisines to their superior cooking.

    Punjabi Garma Masala

     kgmp10Ingredients

    1/2 cup [amazon-product type=”text” text=”cumin seeds”]B000JMBECW [/amazon-product]/ jeera
    2 tbsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”coriander seeds”]B000N4WWS6[/amazon-product] / dhania
    1½ ” (1.5 inches)[amazon-product type=”text” text=”cinnamon”]B001VNP1T0[/amazon-product] stick /patta / dalchini
    1 tsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”green cardamom”]B000JMBEEK[/amazon-product] seeds /elaichi
    1 tsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”black cardamom”]B000S16XV6[/amazon-product]seeds /moti elaichi
    2 tsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”cloves”]B00017P2LE[/amazon-product] /long
    1/8 [amazon-product type=”text” text=”nutmeg”]B00017WSNE[/amazon-product] kernel /jaiphal
    2 blades of [amazon-product type=”text” text=”mace”]B000M930C4[/amazon-product] / javitri
    1 tbsp black pepper corns
    2 whole [amazon-product type=”text” text=”star anise”]B000EWMI5O[/amazon-product]/ chakra phool
    4 [amazon-product type=”text” text=”bay leaf”] B000JMBG2A [/amazon-product] /tej patta

    Directions

  • Dry roast the spices individually in a heavy skillet, preferably cast iron. Make sure the flame is set at medium heat. Keep stirring, be watchful and don’t let the spices burn on you.
  • Grind all the spices together into a fine powder.
  • Store in an air tight container.
  • Use sparingly since these are intense spices and can be over powering.
  •  

    Kashmiri Garam Masala

    kgmp20Ingredients

    1/4 cup [amazon-product type=”text” text=”black cumin”]B000JMBE2W[/amazon-product] seeds /shahi jeera
    2-3 [amazon-product type=”text” text=”bay leaves”] B000JMBG2A [/amazon-product], crushed
    2 tsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”green cardamom”]B000JMBEEK[/amazon-product] seeds
    2 tsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”black cardamom”]B000S16XV6[/amazon-product] seeds
    1 tbsp black peppercorns
    2 tsp whole [amazon-product type=”text” text=”cloves”]B00017P2LE[/amazon-product] /gramboo/long
    1 tbsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”fennel”]B000N5YJZE[/amazon-product] /saunf
    1 tsp crushed [amazon-product type=”text” text=”mace”]B000M930C4[/amazon-product] /may flower/javitri
    1½ ” (1.5 inches) [amazon-product type=”text” text=”cinnamon”]B001VNP1T0[/amazon-product] stick /patta / dalchini
    1/8 [amazon-product type=”text” text=”nutmeg”]B00017WSNE[/amazon-product] kernel /jaiphal
    1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds

    Directions

  • Dry roast the spices individually in a heavy skillet, preferably cast iron. Make sure the flame is set at medium heat. Keep stirring, be watchful and don’t let spices burn on you.
  • Grind all the spices together into a fine powder.
  • Store in an air tight container.
  • Use sparingly since these are intense spices and can be over powering.