Archive for category Food

curried spinach & indian cheese (palak paneer)

Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer

you will need:
1) 1-2 bunches of spinach
2) paneer (indian cheese) – cubed to 1″ pieces and shallow fry in 2 tsp of oil and let it cool
3) red onion -1
4) 2 tbsp tomato paste
5) 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
6) 1 tsp garam masala
7) 1 tsp red chilli powder
8) 1 tsp cumin powder
9) 1 tsp coriander powder
10) salt to taste
11) 1 cup of milk or 1/2 cup of heavy cream
12) 2 tbsp butter
13) 1 tsp of cumin seeds
14) 1 tsp of finely chopped garlic and 1 tsp of finely chopped fresh ginger

Palak Paneer_2

make it:
1) Wash the spinach thoroughly and bring a pot of water to boil, drop the spinach and let it boil for only 4 minutes. Drain the water, rinse the spinach with cold water and let it cool and coarsely grind to a paste by adding 1/2 cup of water
2) In a pan, add 2 tbsp of butter, add cumin seeds, add the onions, saute for 3-4 minutes, add the turmeric, cumin, coriander and chilli powders, tomato paste, chopped ginger and garlic and fry in medium flame for 2 minutes, until you a get a nice aroma of the spices
3) Add the ground spinach, and let it cook for 5 minutes
4) Add the fried paneer cubes, mix well, add salt to taste, heavy cream or milk and let it cook for 7-8 minutes
5) Sprinkle 1 tsp of garam masala, mix well, and serve with Cumin Rice or Naan

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Note: This method is a very basic to get started, the taste might not compare to the restaurant versions, but still its homemade, nutritious and easy for anyone to give a try.

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chicken tikka from the oven

Its been a while, but this one sure deserves a post. Chicken Tikka is cooking chicken with Indian spices either dry or as gravy. The recipe below is to make it in a dry form, serves perfect as an appetizer.

chicken tikka

you will need:
for the marinade:
*) 1″ cubed chicken pieces either breasts (I used 3 breasts) or thighs (boneless)
*) 2 tsp of ginger/garlic paste
*) 1 tsp red chilli powder (adjust according to desired spice level)
*) 1 tsp of coriander powder
*) 1/2 tsp of garam masala
*) 1/2 tsp of black pepper powder
*) 1/2 tsp of chicken masala (optional)
*) 1/2 tsp of soy sauce
*) kosher salt to taste
*) 1/4 cup of thick yogurt
*) juice of 1/2 lemon
*) 4-5 tsp of oil
*) 1 jalapeno or 3 Thai green chillies chopped roughly
*) 2 strands of cilantro leaves (roughly chopped)

misc items
* skewers

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make it:
1) At least a 4 hours prior to making the chicken tikka, in a glass bowl, add all the marinade ingredients, mix well, and finally add the chicken pieces, mix well, and let it marinate for at least 4 hours or up to 1 day in the fridge
2) If refrigerating, take the chicken out and let it sit at room temp for 30 minutes
3) Preheat the oven to 350C and soak the skewers in water for 30 minutes, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray non stick cooking spray
4) Start arranging the chicken pieces on the skewers, alternating with vegetables(such as bell pepper/onions)
5) Place them on the tray and spray some cooking spray on the chicken, and let it cook for 15 minutes, you will see liquid secreted from the chicken pieces

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6) Now, turn the skewers and let them cook for another 12 minutes on the other side move the skewers away from the juices ,spray some cooking spray if too dry
7) Eventually, you would see the liquid on the tray gets evaporated and now turn the oven to broil and move the tray to the top rack and let it cook for 5 minutes to get the burnt skin

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Serve hot with lime juice and fresh salad.

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vegetable salna (diluted curry)

If you happen to travel to the southern most states of India such as Kerala and Tamil nadu, one cannot miss the sight of fast food shops on street, one after the other, some sell fried rice and noodles, some ‘parotta and salna’. These street side shops are a life-saver for the working class.  It’s a quick 10 minute fast-food that you can grab and go and it’s pretty delicious.

vegetable salna and parotta

I tried making the parotta (yes,  from scratch) to go with this curry, but there’s definitely lot of room for improvement, hence I shall save that for a later post.   If you are interested, you can find tons of recipes online to make it from scratch.  Coming back to the highlight of the post, ‘salna’, which is a diluted form of curry cooked with pieces of meat such as chicken or lamb or just some veggies.

you will need:

  1. ½ red onion or 4-5 pearl onions chopped coarsely
  2. 2 tomatoes chopped coarsely
  3. 2 green chillies
  4. 4 cloves
  5. 1 stick of cinnamon
  6. 2 tsp of fennel seeds
  7. 1 tsp of poppy seeds
  8. 1 tsp of black pepper corns
  9. 4-5 garlic cloves
  10. 1” piece of ginger
  11. ½ cup shredded coconut
  12. 4 cashewnuts
  13. 1-2 tsp of red chilli powder
  14. 1 tsp of coriander powder
  15. ¼ tsp of turmeric
  16. 1 cup of veggies (peas, carrot and cauliflower)
  17. salt to taste

make it:

to grind:

* In a wide pan, add 2 tsp of oil, and add items 1- 11 and fry them for 5-7 minutes until the onion and tomatoes get partially cooked.

* Add the chilli + coriander + turmeric powder, mix well and let it cool for 10 minutes.  Add the cashews to the mix, and grind everything to a coarse paste by adding ½ a cup of water

for the curry:

* If you have a pressure cooker pan, that is ideal, else, a wide non-stick pan is sufficient.

* Add 3 tsp of oil, once the oil is heated, add the vegetables of your choice, sauté for 4-5 minutes.  If you like chunks of tomatoes and onions in the curry, you can add like 1/2 of chopped red onions and 1 tomato and fry them with the vegetable for 3-4 minutes (they really don’t need to get too soft)

* Add the ground curry paste, add 2 cups of water, salt to taste and let it come to a boil (should take about 7-8 mins)

* Close the cooker and let it pressure cook for 1 whistle or pressure release.  If using a pan, let it cook for 15- 20 minutes, until vegetables get cooked and you can see a layer of oil forming on the surface of the curry.    Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve hot with Parotta, Idli or Dosa.

Note:  This curry is supposed to be liquid and runny than the usual consistency of curries, so you might not see it thickening that much, as we added at least 2 cups of water.  However, due to the cashews and coconut from the ground paste, it will tend to thicken a bit

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cilantro mint chutney

With the winter setting in, I want to use up all (at least most of the mint leaves) and trim out the plant to move indoors.  The smell of mint is a bit too strong for me to make a chutney by itself, hence I chose to use some cilantro leaves as well.

you will need:

*) 1/2 to 1 cup of mint leaves washed (no stems)
*) 7-8 strands of cilantro leaves (stems are okay)
*) 1 inch ginger
*) 5-6 dry red chillies
*) 3 tbsp of broken urad dhal (optional, but if you have, worth adding it)
*) 1/4 cup of shredded coconut flakes
*) 1 lemon size tamarind soaked in water for 20 mins or you can substitute with lime juice
*) salt to taste

make it:
*) In a wide pan, add a tsp of oil, and fry the urad dhal until golden brown, set it aside
*) Add the chillies + ginger, fry for a few secs, add the coconut flakes, the mint leaves + cilantro, fry until the leaves shrink(about 4 minutes)
*) Let it all cool for 10 minutes and grind them coarsely by adding the tamarind soaked water (if using lime juice, add the lime juice and 1/4 cup of water to grind)
*) Add salt to taste, serve with idly/dosa or rice

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spicy vegetable thai rice noodles

Choosing noodles for a weeknight meal works out perfectly to cleanup all the lonely veggies hanging around and in preparation for the weekend grocery shopping. Having used egg/wheat noodles mostly, this time I turned to rice noodles. The result was a super-light filling meal.


you will need:

1) 1/2 pack of Thai Kitchen brand Rice noodles (this makes about 3 servings)
2) 2 cups of your choice of vegetables (i used onions/ yellow squash/ mushrooms/ broccoli/ green bell pepper/ snow peas)
3) 1 tsp of finely chopped ginger
4) 2 tsp of soy sauce
5) 2 tsp of chilli garlic /sriracha sauce
(Alternately, I used 1/2 tsp of red chilli powder+ 1/4 tsp black pepper)
6) 2 tbsp of cooking oil
7) green onions
8) salt to taste

make it:
* Boil water in a saucepan, add noodles + 1 tsp of oil, switch off the heat, cover the saucepan with lid and let it stand for 5-6 mins
* Check the noodles, they should be al-dente, drain the water, spread on a plate, sprinkle a teaspoon of oil and gently loosen the noodles using a fork and let it cool for 10 – 15 mins
* Finely chop ginger, onion and all the veggies
* Heat the wok with oil, add the ginger, saute for a min, increase the heat to high, add the onion and the veggies except broccoli (save it to add last to retain the crunch) saute for 1 minute
* Add the red chilli powder (or the sauces) + soy sauce and let it cook for 1 more minute
* Add the broccoli, saute for 30 secs, add the noodles, mix well, adjust salt and let it cook for additional 2 minutes
* Finally top it with chopped green onions

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