Mar 9, 2010

Paneer Makhani- Indian cottage cheese cooked in creamy gravy

Paneer is a universally favourite food item. The taste and texture of Paneer or the Indian Cottage Cheese is so yummy that many people make it a compulsary item to eat when going to a restaurant. But I personally have stopped ordering Paneer dishes in restaurants coz the gravy is so spicy that it masks the delicate flavour the paneer. And who can miss the colours ranging from green to orange added to the dishes.:(. So i try learning to make these dishes at home. And one of the simplest dishes I have come across is the Paneer Makhani. It is quite easy to make provided you can lay your hands on a pack of cream. Amul sells tetra packed cream and I personally liked it. So you can grab a pack on your next visit to your super market or store.

This time when i tried making Paneer Makhani I marinaded the pieces in a mix of spices and curd. This ensured that the pieces were soft and flavourful. You can try this method if you have enough time. But then, well, if you are pressed for time, just skip the marination part and follow the rest of the procedure

For serving two people roughly, you would require:

Paneer: 125 gms (half of the stanard paneer cake available in the market)

For the marinade:

Curd: 4-5tbsp
Salt: as per taste
Chilli powder: as per taste
Dhania/fenugreek powder:1/4 tsp
Jeera/cumin powder:1/4 tsp
Kasuri methi- 1 tsp
Small green chilli - 1 finely chopped
Finely chopped coriander leaves : 1 tbsp

For the main dish:
Oil/butter : 2 to 3 tbsp or as per requirement
Green chillies : 2 to 3 slit length wise
Tomatoes : 2 to 3 (medium sized)
Cream - 1/2 cup
Chopped coriander: for garnish.


Chop that Paneer into 1 inch cubes. Mix the cubes with all the mariande ingredients and place in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours or atleast for half an hour.

Boil water in a dish with some salt added to it. When the water starts to boil add the tomatoes. The water should be enough to submerge the tomatoes. After the tomatoes boil in water for a minute, remove from the water and place them under the cold water for sometime. This stops the cooking process and retains the colour of the tomatoes. This process is called blanching.
Once the tomatoes cool down, remove the skin and grind in a mixer to smooth consistency and keep aside.

Now heat oil/butter in a kadhai. Add the green chillies to it and fry for a minute. Now add the tomato puree and fry till the tomatoes are well cooked and the moisture escapes.

Add turmeric and allow to cook. Turmeric gives a lovely golden hue to the dish.

To this mixture, add the cream, bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Now to add the paneer pieces along with the marinade mixture and cook for a few minutes.

If you are not marinading the mixute, then add dhania powder, jeera powder, garam masala powder and salt at the stage where the tomatop puree is cooked. Check seasoning. To this mixture add the cream and cook well. (You can skip the curd if you are not interested).

Check seasoning and adjust salt and chilli powder according to taste. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with rotis, chapatis, pulao or rice

Mar 8, 2010

Dhadhojanam- Tempered curd rice

Milk and mild products have had major significance in Indian diets from time immemorial. One form or the other of milk like curd, sweets, lassi have been a major part of Indian diet acting as a coolant and a form of good nutrition. While the South Indians use curds as a major part of meals, in North India this can be seen in the form of lassi. The impotance can be understood by the fact that some temples offer dhadhojanam or tempered curd rice as a prasadam or offering to appease the Gods on a daily basis. This preperation is not only tasty and cooling but is also laden with spices which gives it ayurvedic properties. If you have upset tummy after a long journey or a weekend of bingeing, this dish certainly helps in cleansing the stomach and giving a good feeling.

Ingredients (Serves 2 people):

To make this you would require:

Rice and curd-as per requirement.
Salt-to taste.

For the tempering:

Oil/ghee-1 tbsp
Bengal gram dal/senaga pappu/chana dal -1/2 2tsp
Urad dal/minappa pappu -1/2tsp
Mustard seeds/ avalu : 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds/jeera : 3/4 tsp
Methi seeds/fenugreek seeds/menthulu :1/4 tsp.
Dry red chillies : 1-2
Hing/asafetida : a pinch
Green chillies : 1-2 or according to taste
Grated ginger:1/2 tsp
Curry leaves : few.
Turmeric: a pinch.
Chopped Corinder leaves: 1 tbsp
Salt : to taste

How to make it:
Mix curd with rice. Add salt to the rice and keep aside.

Heat oil/ghee in a kadhai. When the oil/ghee is sufficiently hot add the bengal gram and udad dal, fry for a few seconds till they change colour. Now add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. add the jeera and fry for a second.

Add the red chillies and red them fry for a bit. They should not turn dark. Now add the coriander seeds, fry them and add the hing. Fry till aroma of the hing starts coming out. Add the green chillies and let them fry.

Add the grated ginger and let the raw smell disappear. Now add the curry leaves turmeric and chilli powder if you wish.

Switch off the stove and add chopped coriander.

Now add the seasoning to the curd rice mix well check seasoning and serve with a mixed pickle or any pickle of your choice.

Hint: To maximise the flavour of this dish you can refridgerate and serve it.