Sep 21, 2014

Paneer Salad with mint and pomegranate

There was a time when I would get really upset when the milk curdled, but no longer. Now, I simply make paneer out of it, and either use it in a dish or convert it into a salad. This is the first time I attempted this combination, and I am thrilled with the result.

250 gms paneer
1/2 pomegranate, deseeded
3-4 sprigs mint leaves

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp lime juice'
Salt to taste

Crush/ roughly pound the mint leaves
Mix the oils, lemon juice, salt and crushed mint leaves
Add the dressing to the paneer chunks and let it marinate for about 30 minutes.
Add the pomegranate seeds, and serve chilled

Pudina Chicken

I made regular chicken curry for the family, but wanted something different for myself, so attempted this minty curry. I really, really loved it, and might just make it when we have people over for dinner.
500 gms curry cut chicken
1 medium onion, chopped into small pieces
1 tomato chopped
1 green chilli
3 pods garlic
1/2 inch piece chicken
1/2 bunch mint leaves
3 tbsp coconut
1 tsp jeera
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste

Heat the oil, splutter jeera, and saute the onions, green chilli, ginger and garlic till the onion turns transparent.
Add the tomatoes and mint, and saute till the tomatoes turn mushy. Add the coconut and stir for 30 seconds.
Grind the masala.
Add chicken, and stir it well so all the pieces are well coated with the ground masala.
Add 1/2 cup water, cover, and let it cook on a low flame for 30 minutes till done.
Serve hot.

Sep 18, 2014

Eggplant tomato casserole

My mother used to make an eggplant casserole which was one of my favourite dishes. Somewhere along the line, she misplaced the recipe, after which I embarked on a quest to hunt it down. I finally found what I was looking for at a restaurant in Delhi, and everytime we went there, I insisted on ordering that dish and no other. Now that I am a reasonably confident cook, I know I can re-create the dish anytime (and I will do so soon), so the next phase begins- experimenting with the classic dish.

This is a desi version of my favourite eggplant casserole, and is every bit as lovely as the original.

1 egg plant, sliced into thin circles

2 tbsp besan
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
Salt to taste

Cooking oil for shallow frying
2 tomatoes, chopped into coarse pieces
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3- 4 pods garlic
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
pinch of hing
salt to taste
1 tbsp cooking oil

Sour cream for garnish

Coat the eggplant slices with salt, keep aside for a few minutes, and squeeze out the juice.
Cover with a mixture of besan, red chilli powder, and shallow fry on a low flame till done.
Heat the oil, temper with mustard seeds. Add garlic and onions and saute till it turns transparent. Add tomatoes and curry leaves, and cook till it turns mushy.
Add hing, salt and red chilli powder, and saute for a few minutes.
Place a layer of eggplant slices on a baking tray. Pour some of the tomato paste over it. Keep layering till all the eggplant slices are used up, and finish with a layer of tomato paste.
Bake for 2-3 minutes. Pour on the sour cream and serve.

Carrot- beet root salad

Ever since I got back to working full-time, my time in the kitchen has dwindled to near zero. While I am happy for the time I got to experiment in the kitchen for nearly a year, if I am totally honest, I do not mind not having to slave for hours everyday to produce something that may or may not be palatable. But, I do miss trying out new recipes, and today, I decided to make a "top up" dish because I felt like doing so.
It ended up tasting much better than I expected, and for that I am glad.

2 medium carrots
1 medium beetroot
1 tbsp melon seeds (peanuts might be better, but I had run out of them)
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 green chilli (or more, as per taste)
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt to taste

Grate the carrots and beetroots.
Mix the olive oil, sesame oil, lemon juice and salt, and pour over the grated vegetables. 
Break the green chilli in half and add to the grated vegetables. Mix well, and allow to marinate for 1 hour.
Add melon seeds and mix well. Garnish with sesame seeds before serving.
Serve cold.

Sep 17, 2014

Roasted makhana

We used to have a lot of makhana when we lived in Jharkhand, but after moving out of the place, the dish moved out of my life. Till I very recently re-discovered it in a grocery store and started stocking it. This recipe is adapted from something a colleague got for us, and I really enjoyed it.

1 cup makhana seeds
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp haldi powder
rock salt to taste

Heat the oil, add the makhana and fry on a low flame for 10 minutes till it becomes nice and crunchy.
Switch off the flame, add all the spice powders and mix well.
Allow it to cool well before storing.

Sep 14, 2014

Stuffed omelette

Sundays are egg days- not every Sunday, but most. With half a bunch of spinach languishing in the fridge, this Sunday became a stuffed omelette kind of Sunday!

2 eggs
1/3 cup spinach chopped fine
1/2 small onion chopped
1 chicken sausage cut into small pieces
1 tbdp cheese grated 
Salt and pepper to taste

Break the eggs, and whisk them well. 
Add salt and pepper and mix well. 
Add half the chopped spinach and all the onions to the eggs, and mix well.
Grease the frying pan, pour the mixture, cover and let it cook for a minute. Add the rest of the spinach and the cheese on half the omelette, fold in half and let it cook completely. 

Sep 2, 2014

Til karanji

When we were discussing kozakattai and modak in office, someone mentioned til modak. Since I love the combination of jaggery and til, I wanted to try it out. But what I eventually ended up making was til karanji, which was really nice too.

1/2 cup wholewheat flour
1 tsp ghee
pinch of salt
Water to make batter

4 tbsp sesame seeds/ til
4 tbsp grated jaggery

Oil for deep or shallow frying

Knead the flour with salt, ghee and sufficient water to make the dough. Cover with a wet cloth and keep aside
Divide the dough into 8 parts, and roll each into a circle.
Mix the grated jaggary and til seeds, and divide it equally between the rolled out dough
Fold in half, seal the edges and either deep fry or shallow fry*.

* - if you increase the amount of ghee in the dough, you can also bake it

Spaghetti Aglio E Olio

While browsing the internet the other day, I saw a picture of Spaghetti Aglio E Olio, and looked up the recipe. Somehow, I was not convinced that such a simple recipe would work, and yet, I couldn't quite forget it either. So, when the kids wanted a Pasta in White Sauce, I decided to reserve a little bit of the pasta to make the dish for myself.
For such a simple dish, it sure packs a mean punch, and I am definitely making it again.

200 gms spaghetti
1/4 cup olive oil
8 pods garlic, chopped fine and mashed slightly
1 tsp red chillli flakes
3 tbsp cheese grated
Salt to taste

Bring the water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package. Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water before you drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil, add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until it just begins to turn golden on the edges-don't overcook it!
Add the red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds more.
Carefully add the reserved pasta-cooking water to the garlic and oil and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by about a third.

Add the drained pasta to the garlic sauce and toss. Off the heat, add the cheese and toss well. Allow the pasta to rest off the heat for 5 minutes for the sauce to be absorbed.
Taste for seasoning and serve warm with extra Parmesan on the side.