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Sunday, 1 March 2015

A Festive Treat : Chena Bara Matar Curry

chanar-kofta-curry

chana-peas-jhal

cheese-dumplings-gravy

Bring home the joy of feasting with this curry and get your craving for a comforting,delicious and crowd pleasing dish settled.JWith cloud-like soft ricotta dumplings paired with fresh green peas in a cashew-poppy seed enriched gravy.....this delicacy enlivens cooking and feasting alike.
What we really love about this curry....it gives you ample opportunity to play with food...and if you consider cooking a way to relax...this dish is a must try.JOf all the rich and simple,comforting and dexterous curries we have enjoyed as a child....this recipe has been treasured.We make this curry a number of ways...of them this makes it to the table during celebrations.J
You could make the ricotta dumplings a day before...refrigerate them in a clean and dry container.It is very important to add these dumplings a few minutes before you intend to serve the curry....that way...they remain plump and soft....Enjoy!!!J


Serves:4 (Makes 12 ricotta dumplings with gravy)

Ingredients Required:

For the dumplings,

1 large cup ricotta cheese(made from 1 lt milk;click here for the recipe)

1/4 teaspoon asfoetida powder (pisi hing)

1 tablespoon all purpose flour (maida)

12 small raisins (kismis) cleaned

1 tablespoon chickpea flour (besan) for dusting

a pinch salt (not more)

Oil (enough for deep frying dumplings)

For the gravy,

1/2 cup fresh green pea pods,thawed if frozen and cleaned

1 medium sized red onion peeled,cleaned and roughly chopped

Garlic pods peeled,cleaned and roughly chopped- 1 tablespoon

Ginger cleaned,peeled and roughly chopped- 1 tablespoon

1 large tomato cleaned and roughly chopped

1 medium sized tomato cubed

3 medium hot green chilies cleaned,stem removed and slit(varies as per taste)

1 medium bay leaf(tej patta)

1 inch stick cinnamon(dalchini)

3 whole cloves(laung)

2 plump green cardamoms(choti elaichi) crushed slightly

1 teaspoon cumin seeds(sabut jeera)

1/3 teaspoon turmeric powder(pisi haldi)

3/4 teaspoon sweet paprika powder(pisi Kashmiri mirch)

1/2 teaspoon roasted coriander powder(pisa bhuna dhania)

1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin powder(pisa bhuna jeera;click here for the recipe)

1 + 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder

2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro/coriander leaves

3 tablespoons oil

salt to taste

For gravy thickener,

1+1/2 tablespoons raw cashewnut bits(kaju)

1+1/2 tablespoons white poppy seeds(khus khus)

Optional Garnish- A few cashew nut halves fried till browned by a few shades and a few raisins fried till plump


Process:  For gravy thickener,

Place cashew bits and poppy seeds (for thickening gravy) in a heat proof bowl.Add 1/3 cup boiling hot water into bowl and let ingredients soak for 30-40 minutes before pasting.

                                          ingredients in heat proof bowl

                                          soaked in hot water

Thereafter...strain all water out of soaked cashew-poppy seeds.Place cashew-poppy mix in a spice grinder.Run once dry.Open lid and add a tablespoon of water.Close lid and process again.Repeat with another tablespoon if necessary till soaked cashew-poppy seeds are ground to a smooth paste.

                                          ready to be pasted
                                          a smooth paste

                                          small raisins for dumplings-peas for gravy

For making dumplings,
Drain out all excess liquid from ricotta cheese(squeeze well for removing maximum possible moisture).Place this ricotta cheese in a plate.Add asfoetida powder,pinch salt and all purpose flour.

                                          ingredients for making dumplings

Knead all ingredients(plated) very well...for about 5 minutes or till we get a roughly formed,well mixed dough.

                                          kneaded till well mixed 

Now divide this dough into 12 equal sized portions and flatten them slightly.

                                          divided into equal portions

Place a tiny raisin at center of each flattened cheese disc.
 
                                          placed a raisin at center

Gently roll these dough discs into smooth,crack-free balls...encasing the raisin inside each.

                                          raisin stuffed rolled dumplings

Sprinkle chickpea flour on a plate.Roll each formed dumpling on it till well coated.Dust out excess flour.Repeat for rest dumplings.

                                          chickpea four on a plate

                                          dumpling ready to be coated and readied

                                          dusted off excess flour

Heat enough oil(half the height of dumplings) in a pan.When oil gets well heated...turn heat to medium.Gently add prepared dumplings into oil...keeping enough space between them.

                                          dumplings added into hot oil

After about a minute gently turn dumplings to cook them on all sides.Keep frying till they turn a golden brown on all sides equally.

                                          turned dumplings while frying

                                          frying till gloden brown on all sides

Use a slotted spoon and remove fried dumplings from oil.Turn off heat and set fried dumplings aside.You may refrigerate them as mentioned for the next day or use it the same day.

                                          prepared dumplings

For preparing gravy,

                                          a few ingredients

Grind roughly chopped onion,ginger,garlic and large tomato into a thick puree adding a few spoons of water if required.

                                          roughly chopped ingredients 

                                          pureed well

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a skillet.When hot....add bay leaf,cinnamon stick,cloves and crushed cardamoms into it...stir for a second and turn heat to low.

                                          whole spices in oil

Next add slit green chilies and cumin seeds into oil.Stir till chilies change color and cumin seeds crackle.Pour pre-made onion-tomato-ginger-garlic paste into oil.Turn heat to medium-high.

                                          added slit green chilies and cumin

                                          chilies change color and cumin crackles

                                          added prepared paste

Use a spatula and fry ingredients moving it in a clock wise direction till raw smell disappears and most moisture evaporates.

                                          stirred and cooked spice paste

                                          till most moisture evaporates

Next add cubed tomato...give a stir.Add turmeric and chili powders.Stir occasionally and cook till paste dries up slightly...take care it doesn't burn.

                                          added turmeric and chili powders

                                          stirred and cooked till paste dries slightly

Next add cumin powder,coriander powder and garam masala powder.Turn heat to medium...Stir well to mix and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes or till flavors blend well.

                                          added spice powders

                                          stirred and cooked till flavors blend

Add prepared cashew-poppy paste(gravy thickener)...stir once.Add 1+1/2 cups of water..stir well to mix ingredients.

                                          added cashew-poppy paste

                                          a quick stir

                                          added water and mixed well

When gravy starts boiling...add green pea pods,coriander leaves and cook stirring occasionally till peas turn tender and gravy thickens.

                                          gravy starts boiling

                                          added green peas

                                          added coriander leaves

                                          cooked till peas tender and gravy thickens

At this time...we opt for removing whole spices and slit chilies out of gravy.By this time their flavor is well imparted into curry.

                                          removed whole spices-slit chilies

                                          gravy ready

Finally...add fried cheese dumplings into gravy...turn heat to low...cover and simmer for 5-6 minutes till dumplings turn soft and plump.Serve immediately garnished with fried cashew halves and raisins.This curry goes well with pilafs/flat breads.

                                          added fried dumplings

                                          simmered in gravy till plump and soft

                                          for garnish


shaadi-ka-khana

paneer-kaju-korma-pasanda


A From The Blogger’s Keyboard

ü Drain all liquid out of ricotta cheese before making dumplings.

ü Use just a pinch of salt while making dumplings.They soak up flavors and salt from gravy later.Rolling dumplings in chickpea flour prior to frying helps give them a crisp coat and prevents their deformation while frying.


ü As mentioned…you can prepare dumplings and store them a day before.Simmer dumplings in gravy just before you intend to serve…else they get slightly firm with time and lose their soft,plump texture.

ü Paste cashew bits and poppy seeds only when well soaked and at room temperature.


ü Follow the process and take care to grind them till completely smooth.

ü While frying pureed spices in oil…stirring occasionally in a clock wise direction promotes even cooking,evaporation of moisture,blending flavors well without burning any ingredients.


ü Removing whole spices and slit chilies before simmering dumplings in gravy ensures a delicious gravy.


Happy Cooking & Have A Beautiful Day!!! J

Try This Out
Baingan Aloo Bharta            Gobi Aloo Posto Curry               Green Peas Pilaf


Friday, 27 February 2015

Crisp & Brown Pan Fried Paneer

pan-fried-tofu

easy-crisp-brown

quick-healthy-paneer

Pan fried Paneer(Indian cottage cheese) cubes are wonderfully crisp-brown outside and are perfectly soft and succulent inside.J
They are a breeze to cook and make a simple,delicious,protein-rich afternoon snack/starter any day.We don't do much except adding dashes of salt,pepper and garnishing it with chopped scallions (spring onions) which makes it complete.JThough we enjoy savoring it as such....pan fried Paneer is used as an ingredient in various dishes.
Happy Snacking!!! J

Makes : 12 large cubes of pan-fried paneer

Ingredients Required :

200 grams of Paneer(Indian Cottage Cheese) at room temperature

Enough oil to pan fry

Salt to taste

Freshly ground Black Pepper(pisi kali mirch)

Scallions(spring onions) cleaned & finely chopped (for garnish)

Additionally,we will need enough absorbent cooking paper for removing moisture and oil from Paneer cubes

Process : Place paneer on cutting board.Slice it into cubes about 2 cm thick and 4 cm long.Lightly pat paneer cubes over absorbent cooking paper till completely dry outside(this step is important).

                                           a block of paneer
                                           sliced halves
                                           slicing into cubes of paneer
                                           patted dry and ready

Pour oil into a fry pan (about 1 cm i.e. half the thickness of paneer cubes) and heat over high.When oil gets well heated but not smoking...turn heat to low.Carefully add sliced paneer cubes into oil.Take care while placing them in pan...give enough space between cubes and do not over crowd pan.

                                          placed paneer slices carefully

Once we place paneer slices in pan...turn heat to medium and let fry well.Keep a good distance from the pan as oil splutters slightly.
After about 4 minutes when the under side is cooked and has a crisp,brown cover....use a spatula and carefully flip each slice for cooking other side.

                                          flipped to cook other side of paneer

Continue cooking over medium heat till the other side is crisp and the sides brown lightly.Turn off heat.

                                          cooked perfectly


                                          ready for seasoning


Carefully remove browned paneer cubes into absorbent paper and pat for removing excess oil.Season with salt and pepper.Serve hot/warm garnished with chopped spring onions....Enjoy!


easy-paneer-snack

pan-browned-crisp-tofu



A From The Blogger’s Keyboard

ü Use paneer at room temperature only.

ü Slice paneer into equal sized cubes (not too small)…this way they all get cooked uniformly.


ü Patting cubes dry over absorbent cooking paper is a must to remove excess moisture before we start pan frying them.Keep a safe distance while frying them as the oil splutters slightly.

ü Use enough oil for frying paneer cubes(about half their thickness).Let oil heat well.


ü Care must be taken to prevent over heating/smoking of oil….else paneer slices tend to burn on the outside and stick to the pan surface.

ü If required work in batches…but do not over crowd pan.Give enough space between cubes for easy and uniform cooking.


ü Flip paneer cubes only when the underside has a crisp brown cover.Using kitchen tongs to flip slices makes it easier.

ü Cooking over medium heat ensures we get crisp paneer without burning/over browning them on the outside.


ü Drain excess oil out of fried cubes before serving.



 Happy Cooking & Have A Wonderful Day!!! J

Try This Out
   Sour Sweet Mango Salsa           Cauliflower Pakoda                   Paneer Bhurji Roll