Monday, July 9, 2007

Paneer from scratch

Not being satisfied with the softness of the paneer in the local stores, I decided to be brave and try something that everyone has always told me was very easy but what I believed to be very tough. I decided to make my own paneer. And let me tell you, it is so so so easy!! I can't believe it myself!

First boil some milk - any kind is fine. I first tried with full milk, and then next tried with non-fat and both came out very well. So now I can even have fat-free paneer! So cool!

When the milk is at a full, roaring boil, add a tablespoon of lemon juice. Dont add more than that only because the paneer gets a bit of a lemony taste. If you dont mind that, go ahead. As soon as you add the juice, the milk will curdle and separate. Take it off the heat.

Pour the milk mixture into a sieve lined with a cheese-cloth. The water will run through. Fold the cloth over the remaining milk and place a heavy weight over it (I used a pressure cooker filled with trays over it). Leave it alone for an hour.

After an hour, unwrap and PRESTO! Perfect paneer ready to be cut into any shape you desire!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Pav Bhaji

A meal in itself...

1.5 pounds potatoes, cooked and chopped fine
5 carrots, cooked and chopped fine
1 cup peas
2 large onions
3 tbsp butter
4 green chillies, chopped fine
1 tbsp ginger, finely minced
1 tbsp garlic, finely minced
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 tsp lemon juice
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp garam masala

Heat the butter in a pan. Add green chillies, ginger, garlic, onions and fry well. Add tomatoes and saute over low heat.

Now add the cooked vegetables and continue cooking on low heat. Simultaneously mash and stir for about 5 minutes.

Stir till its a mush, then add lemon juice, cilantro and garam masala. Stir for another minute. Remove from heat.

Serve on toasted, buttered hamburger buns or slices of bread.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Cilantro Peas

Here's something I make very often - its easy and tasty and is great as a quick fix vegetable for any meal.

Grind together about 2 cups of cilantro leaves, 2-3 green chillies and 2 tsp of cumin seeds. Saute the ground mixture with a little asafetida. When the fresh smell disappears, add 2 cups of cooked peas and mix with the curry, so that the peas are coated.

This also works with mushrooms, potatoes and paneer. But I enjoy the peas the most.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Green Buttermilk

In this 115 degree F heat, nothing really helps as much as cold liquids - in any form - be it refreshments or baths or pools or just cold water splashed on your face. Chennai is so HOT that clothes left out to dry will be done in a matter of an hour anytime between the hours of 10am and 4 pm! I mean, its enough to cook an egg on your balcony on the bare floor. Okay, I can go on forever. What I meant to do was give you a recipe that I made for myself today which was oh-so-delicious!

Just grind together a couple green chillies, curry leaves and about 3/4 cup of chopped cilantro, along with a cup of water. Then add 1 cup yogurt and 2 cups buttermilk (or you can add 2 cups yogurt and add extra water), 1 tsp sugar, 1.5 tsp salt, a little piece of ginger and about 3 cups of water. Blend until it is frothy.

Chill in the refrigerator and drink! Delicious!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Vegetable Kurma

Kurma is traditionally eaten with phulkas or rotis, but this is quite nice with rice as well.

About 2 cups mixed vegetables (I used beans, carrots, potatoes and peas)
1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves
3 green chillies
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 cardamom
6 small pearl onions
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 tomato
2 tbsp coconut milk powder dissolved in 1/2 cup water (or) 1 cup coconut milk

Grind the coriander leaves, green chillies, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, coriander powder, cardamom and small onions together.

Saute the large chopped onion and tomato and the ground mixture to the pan. Saute till it reaches a thick consistency and then add the veggies, turmeric and salt. Cook till the veggies are done.

Remove from heat. Stir in the coconut milk.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Green Rice

4 cups water -- PLUS 2 tablespoons water
1 cup basmati rice
1 cup fresh cilantro
2 green chillies -- seeded and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 garlic clove -- minced
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine 2 cups water and rice; let stand for 30 minutes. Drain well.

Place 2 tablespoons of water, fresh cilantro, and chillies in a blender or food processor; process until smooth.

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, green onions, and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Add chilli mixture; sauté 2 minutes.

Stir in rice, 2 cups water, and salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


This makes the whole house smell great!

6 Tbsps all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp skim milk
1.5 tsp plain yogurt
3 Tbsp cheese
1 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 425.
Mix dry ingredients. Quickly mix in milk and yogurt.
Drop into mounds and bake for 10-13 minutes.

Iced Tea - my version

This is my version of Iced Tea. My friend and I created this way back in college and I still prefer it to the limp, watered-down version you get in restaurants.

6 ice cubes, crushed
2.5 Tbsp lime cordial
3 tsp sugar
2 cups cooled tea
5 mint leaves

Whip together for a minute

Burmese Khow Suey

Khow Suey, though originally from Burma, has become very Indian-ised over the years. As with so many other dishes (cauliflower manchurian, american chop suey etc!), Indians have a habit of taking over a cuisine and adapting it to Indian tastes. This one has become a fast favorite at home, especially when you want a one-dish wonder!
Tarla Dalal has her version too - mine is just a little easier for me.

1. Cook about 2 cups toor dal (whole yellow lentils) with a pinch of salt and turmeric. Add a seasoning of asafetida, cumin and a couple of red chillies. Seasoning is to be done in a separate pan - first heat some oil, add the cumin, when it starts to brown, add the asafetida and red chillies and brown for a half minute. Add to the cooked dal.
2. In a pan, saute a onion and a couple of curry leaves.
3. Make a paste of a teaspoon of garam masala, ginger, garlic and add to the onions in the pan.
4. Add veggies (nice ones are carrot, potato, babycorn, mushrooms, string beans...) and/or shredded chicken.
5. Add tomato - just one - for flavor.
6. Add turmeric, chilli powder, fenugreek seeds and salt.
7. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for a while.
8. Add coconut milk - we added one can for 10 people - so just eyeball it.
9. Heat it through. Add cilantro leaves for garnish.
10. Add the cooked toor dal.

The above is the basic curry. This dish is served in several bowls. One bowl holds the curry. Another one holds plain noodles (haven't used egg noodles, but they may work too). The other bowls can be any or all of the following depending on your tastes. Keep them all in separate bowls, so people can just add what they like. Once you make it, everyone is gonna be asking for the recipe!! The optional dishes are:

1. Spring onions - chopped up - hopefully greens and whites separate
2. Chopped green bell pepper
3. Chopped onion
4. Chopped cilantro leaves
5. Lemon juice
6. Chilli powder
7. Fried sev
8. Eggs - hard-boiled and chopped into pieces
9. Chopped green chillies