Monday, October 27, 2014

Homemade Palak Paneer

I was that kid who ate her veggies. Well, not always without protests. But my mother somehow managed to convince me to eat my greens without camouflaging it. This dish was one of the few "exotic ways" she agreed to prepare. She learnt this from one of her non-bengali friend and back in those days always used to add homemade paneer instead of the store bought that I use.

This palak paneer is very different than that you get in various Indian restaurants across the globe. Instead of the creamy gravy that we see in the palak panner dish around, here the gravy is coarse and you can bite into the greens. Of course, you can use your blender to blend it and make it smooth. I, however, never do that. I am, in a way, like my Mom. I try my best to have a taste of varied dishes/cuisines but do not go too far that often to make it perfect. Rather,  I like to steer away from being close to "perfection". 

Ingredients

Paneer - 200 gm
Palak/Spinach - 250 gms
Methi/Fenugreek leaves - 100 gms
Onions - 2 medium, chopped lengthwise
Tomatoes - 1 medium, chopped
Ginger paste - 1 teaspoon
Garlic paste -1/2 teaspoon
Red dry chilies - 1 or more as per taste
Green chilies- 1 or more 
Sugar - 1/2 teaspoon
Oil - 1 tablespoon (I used mustard oil)

Spices
Cardamom - 4-6 pieces
Clove - 3-4 pieces
Cinnamon - 1'' stick
Fennel - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste

Clean your greens well under water. My greens were a bit wilted, they have been in the refrigerator for few days.





These are your spices. You can used them in 2 ways. You can dry roast all the spices except fennel seeds for few minutes, till a nice aroma comes, cool it and grind it into powder. Or, like me, you can use them as whole that saves you a wee bit of more time. Either way, life is good.


Cut your paneer in cubes or whatever shape you like.


I like them a bit brown, so I bake them I bake them in oven at 180C for 10-12 minutes. These babies are a bit more brown than I like, I do not know what I was thinking when I set the timer for 15 minutes.



Temper your oil with red dry chilie and  the spices. Add the whole or powdered spices and saute for few minutes. Add the chopped onions, saute it till slight brown. 

Add the tomatoes along with a teaspoon of sugar. This helps to caramelize. 


Add your greens to it and saute for few minutes and leave it covered for couple of minutes more. You could have pre steamed the greens before adding, but really not required.



After the greens have softened and mixed well with the spices, you can cool them and puree the entire onion, tomatoes and greens with few tablespoon of water. Or, you can leave them as it is.


When the greens have mixed well, add the browned paneer cubes, cumin powder, turmeric and salt to it . Cover the lids and cook for few more minutes.



Enjoy your palak paneer with steaming white rice or rotis. 



For BWW, I converted one of the above images to sepia. BWW is a gallery of culinary images started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook and now looked after by Cinzia of Cindystar. This weeks special edition is being hosted by Lynne of Cafe Lynnylu

Monday, October 13, 2014

Back with Black and White Wednesday

Hi friends. Hope you all are doing well. I apologize for being absent for so long. Summer has really been busy but lots of fun. It was a tiny bit busy at work front too. Now that rush is over I hope to have a better attendance in this space of mine. And what can be a better way to be back than Black and White Wednesday, I simply love it.

I am back from my home city only last weekend after a ten days log break- a part of it was spend in celebrating homecoming of our favorite Goddess Durga. You can read here too. Going back home after ten long months means you are pampered with both delicious homemade foods and chatpata street foods too. Of course, I did not cook for these long days, and was fed by my Maa and Mom-in-law. Maybe, I will do a food-post soon.

This is a pic of what we call "patisapta". It is usually a crepe made with rice flour and semolina with coconut filing. The shredded coconut has been mixed with jaggery over low flame till it becomes sticky and brownish in color. You can also use sugar/brown sugar instead of jaggery. I simply love it so much, my mother makes it every time I visit home.


Crepe with coconut filing

And this is my this week's contribution to black and white Wednesday -  a medley of culinary images, hosted this week by Sreevalli of Ammaji Kitchen. BWW was started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook and is currently taken care by Cinzia of Cindystar Blog. For participation click here.

Hope you are having a wonderful festive season and the enjoying the nice fall weather.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tangy Mango Chutney

I have not posted for long in this space. Although I have been cooking regularly, and my kitchen was fairly busy, but this summer has been a bit hectic too. So I took it a bit easy. The humdrum of life seems to have settled a bit, and I am back here.

Last week I have made this tangy mango chutney first time for this summer. I really do not know what took me this long. Although this year has not been very good in terms of mango yield, we have been eating the "king of fruit" almost every day. This chutney is very easy to make and goes almost with everything, rotis, toast, curry, dal, and yes just eating on its own is very much welcome. 

Ingredients

Raw mangoes, peeled - 2 medium (I tend to leave the skin on here and there to make it a bit crunchy)
Jaggery - 3/4 to 1 cup
Red chillies - 2
Turmeric - 1/2 teaspoon
Pannch Phoron - 1 teaspoon
(Paanch Phoron is a mix of five spices - fenugreek seeds, nigella seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and black mustard or celery seeds)
Oil - 1 tablespoon (I used mustard oil)
Salt to taste

Peel the mangoes and cut in strips or small pieces. Remove the soft white stone from inside. Wash them, pat them dry and smear with turmeric.




In a pan, melt the jaggery with a little water, till it is all melted. You can do it in microwave but keep a watch on it.


In a pan, heat the oil, crack the red chillies and add to it, add the spices and wait till it pops. 


Add the mangoes, and saute it well. Add 1 tablespoon of water and cook it on low heat for five minutes or till the mangoes get soft.

Add the melted jaggery and mix it well. Add water if you like a thinner version. Cook for 3-5 minutes more or till it thickens a bit.


Store it in cleaned glass bottle. Usually it stays absolutely fine in refrigerator for 2 weeks (that is, if it lasts that long).

So so yummy, you can also pack for a friend if you like. Can also be a good host gift.



I converted this last image to black and white for my this week's contribution to Black and White Wednesday, a culinary journey through images. It was started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook, and is now managed by Cinzia of Cindystar. This week, it is hosted by Simona of Briciole.




Enjoy your summer!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Echorer Dalna aka Raw Jackfruit Curry

Enchor aka raw jack fruit curry is a must have in all bengali homes during summer. I always used to look forward to the day when enchor was cooked at home. It does not happen that regularly as it is really a very tedious process to cut and clean the fruit. Last year I have cooked it once but I used the canned version, which I did not like that much. This year, with summer becoming more intense, suddenly I was craving this curry from my childhood. The husband surprised me by getting one last week. I am also extremely thankful to him for cutting the fruit with utmost care and patience. I am sorry to admit that I did not learn to cut the fruit while growing up, whereas, my husband been a keen observer as he is, learned it simply by his mom doing it.


Ingredients

Raw Jackfruit - 1 medium, thoroughly clean and cut
Potato - 1 medium, cut into cubes, smear them with a pinch of salt, turmeric and cumin powder
Tomato - 1 medium, choppef fine
Red Onion - 2 medium, chopped fine
Clove - 3-5
Green Cardamom - 6-8
Cinnamon - 1 inch stick
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 2 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Garam Masala Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Red chilli - 2 or as per taste
Green Chillies - 2 or more
Yogurt - 2 tablespoon
Ghee or clarified butter - 2 teaspoon
Oil - 2 tablespoon, I used mustard oil, any oil should do
Salt to taste


Cut the fruit, (I am sure there are many tutorials out in net) or simply by the canned ones (not too bad). Make sure, you buy the unripe fruit and not the ripe one. Oil your hand, knife and cutting board generously, otherwise the gum it secretes really stick to everything making it difficult to cut.  Do not use gloves, unless it is well oiled. Spread newspaper and place the fruit on it.

                               
Boil the cut jackfruit for 10 minutes, drain away the water and wash it once with cold water. While the jackfruit is getting boiled, heat oil in a pan and temper it with cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and red chilli.

Add the onions to it and saute it till it starts to get golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add tomatoes at this point with a bit of sugar. While caramelizing, it will impart a nice color.


When tomatoes are mushy and onions are nice golden in color, add the potatoes to it and saute it for another 3-4 minutes.

Then add the boiled jackfruit to it. Mix the cumin, coriander and garam masala powder with yogurt, beat it well and add it to the curry. I always lower the heat down when adding yogurt to it, otherwise it may curdle. Add the green chilies and salt to it. Mix it well for 3-4 minutes, it smells really nice at this point.

Add 1/2 cup warm water to it, cover it up and cook till done, another 10 minutes.


When done, add the ghee (optional), give it a mix, turn off the heat and keep it covered for another couple of minutes.

Your delicious raw jackfruit curry is ready to eat.


Serve it with warm white rice, roti, naan or parathas.

Enjoy!


I have converted one of the above image to gray mode and this is my contribution to this week's Black and White Wednesday - a fantastic culinary photography event started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook and now managed by Cinzia of Cindystar. This week it is hosted by Susan herself. For participation details, click here.



Happy Wednesday.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Homemade Pizza - First Time Ever

I am super excited with the fact that I am actually having a blog post for home made pizza. We as a family love pizzas (okay, who does not, right?) We order pizzas almost every fortnight, but was gradually getting bored to the taste and also the limitation of the toppings to our taste. The closest homemade pizzas we had before was buying the pre-made bases from the local bakery and arranged the toppings. But, this pizza is done from scratch, yes, you heard it right, and let me tell you its not that bade. It was quite easy to arrange and was so good to eat. After having this pizza I realized how heavily the store bought pizzas are packet with not so good for your waistline ingredients. 

So, pizza for me please, anytime!


Ingredients

All purpose flour - 2 and 1/2 cup ( I used 2 cup apf and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
Active dry yeast - 1/4 teaspoon
Sea salt - 1 teaspoon ( Table salt is fine too)
Water - 1 cup

For the dough, I adapted this super easy recipe. 

For toppings

Green Pepper - 1 medium, chopped
Red Onion - 1 medium, chopped
Chicken Breast - 200 gm, cut in bite size pieces
Ginger paste - 1 teaspoon
Garlic paste - 1 teaspoon
Yogurt - 1 tablespoon
Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste


Mix all the dry stuffs for the dough and slowly add water to it. Mix it with spatula till it incorporates all the water and shape it up in a ball. It will be real soft to touch.

Cover it with cling wrap and leave it for 6-8 hours. (I did not wait till 18 h as mentioned in the recipe. I live in a place where the current temperature is 42C, so did not think wise to leave it that long. Anyway, it worked fine).
Take out the dough on a well floured area, punch it once and spread it to roughly make a rectangle. Fold the four corners in the middle, turn the dough so that the folded side faces down, and gently form a ball with it. Cover it with cling wrap and leave for another 30 minutes to 1 hour.


While the dough was rising, marinate the chicken with yogurt, cumin powder, coriander powder, ginger paste, garlic paste, garam masala powder and salt. Leave it for an hour or two. Place the marinated pieces on aluminium foil and grill it for 45 minutes at 220 C.

In the meantime, cut your veggies (whatever you like).

After the dough has sat for an hour, gently spread it out on the baking tray. You can use pizza stone but I do not have one. You can make it rectangle or round depending on your baking tray.


Add the marinara sauce on it ( you can also use the regular tomato sauce from your pantry).


Arrange the chicken pieces and veggies on the base.


Cover it up with generous amount of grated cheese of your choice.


Preheat oven at 270 C and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or till the crust starts to turn golden.


As soon aas it came out of the oven we were busy eating it and forgot to take a decent picture.




But, seriously, it was so comforting and good to eat. The husband who loves the store bought pizzas even said that lets have this every time we crave pizza now.

Enjoy!




Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Black and White Wednesday # 125 Gallery

Once again, I am extremely happy and honored to host the rich and wonderful gallery of Black and White Wednesday. I was in awe every time I was downloading the images from my inbox.Truly, each and every picture is so unique and beautiful! I thank Susan and Cinzia for initiating and organizing this wonderful event. Also, a big thank you to all who participated for your time and effort.

                                                     New bww logo big

So here for you all, the wonderful images I was talking about. The images are in the order I received.




Ivy Gourd from Aparna of "The Stories form the Mahe Coast"




Snail strolling on parsley from Simona of  "Briciole"




Cantaloupe from Priya of "The Humpty Dumpty Kitchen"





Garden Onion-A Gift From a Neighbor Gardener


Silhouette Amongst the Clover and Dollarweed

Both from Lynne of "Cafe Lynnylu"



Green Asparagus Bouquet from Cinzia of "Cindystar Blog"



Cucumis sativus from Shri of  "Tiffin Carrier Anticque's"


Indulgence from Rosa of "Rosa's Yummy Yums"


Lunch Delight from yours' truly of "Pocketfull Of Spices"

Enjoy the gallery, friends. Next week see you all at Lynne's Cafe Lynnylu.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bulgur Wheat Pilaf/Pulao

This bulgur wheat pulao has been inspired by this recipe. Bulgur wheat is a nutty tasting grain made from whole wheat kernels and is widely popular in Middle east and Indian cuisine. A quick search will tell you that it is high in fiber and protein and low in fat and calories. It is also rich in minerals and vitamins. And this salad is very delicious and perfect for a light yet comforting lunch.





Ingredients

Bulgur wheat - 1 cup
Onions - 2 medium, chopped
Tomatoes - 1 medium, chopped
Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Garam masala powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Water - 1 1/2 cup
Yogurt - 1/2 cup
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece, grated
Lemon/lime - 1
Cilantro leaves - 1/4 cup, chopped fine
Parsley leaves - 1/4 cup, chopped fine
Peanuts - 1/2 cup, roasted
Salt - to taste
Pepper - to taste
Oil- 2 tablespoon

Soak the bulgur wheat in water for 10 minutes.

Heat oil in a pot, add the onions, saute them well till they are light brown, 8-10 minutes. Add the tomatoes to it and saute for another few minutes.

Add the bulgur wheat, add the spices, salt and pepper and give it a mix. Add water to it, enough to cover the entire wheat.

Bring it to boil, and then let it simmer for ten minutes.  Turn off the heat and let it cool down.

Add the chopped cilantro and parsley leaves and mix it well with the pilaf.

In the meantime, mix yogurt with pinch of salt, and grated ginger, add a squeeze of lime juice to it.

Add dollops of yogurt on top of the pilaf and sprinkle the roasted peanuts on it. Serve it cold or at room temperature.


Delve in and enjoy! It is such a delight.



I converted this image to sepia and this is my contribution for this week's Black and White Wednesday, a culinary event started by Susan and now organized by Cinzia. This week it is hosted by yours' truly. For participation details, click here