Shahi Matar Paneer – Green Peas and Cottage Cheese In Cashews And Cream

‘Shahi’, which means ‘Regal’… a dish that used to be cooked specially for the kings!
Shahi Matar Paneer, born in the North of India, is a serious medley of finger-licking deliciousness, creamy textures, gorgeous colors and aromatic spices. Matar or Green Peas and Paneer or Cottage Cheese are a match made in heaven which marry right here, in our kitchen.
So let’s get cooking… bring in the royalty onto our plate 🙂
Shahi Mutter PaneerPreparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 – 20 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients: 
For paste:
2 medium size onions roughly chopped
3 tbsps cashwenuts, broken
6 medium size cloves of garlic
One inch or 2 tsps roughly chopped ginger
Grind all the above ingredient into a smooth paste. Don’t add too much of water while grinding.

For gravy:
1 cup of boiled peas
250 grams fresh paneer or cottage cheese
2 tbsp butter
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardamoms
2 cloves
1 bay leaf
2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder. This gives that gorgeous red color without burning your tongue.
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp corriander powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
2 medium size tomatoes, pureed
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup fresh cream. I add bit more for that extra creaminess.
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp corn flour/ plain flour for thickening. Mix in water to make a paste.
Half cup water
Salt as per taste
Chopped coriander for garnishing

Method:
1. Heat butter in a broad, nonstick pan. Add a tsp of oil so it doesn’t burn.
2. Add the whole spices – cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and bay leaf. Fry on medium till aromatic.
3. Add the cashew-onion paste and fry for 1 minutes.
4. Add chili powder, garam masala, cumin powder, coriander powder and fenugreek leaves. Add half a cup of water, mix and cook on medium for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add tomato puree and cook for another couple of minutes.
6. Drizzle in the honey, milk, fresh cream and salt. Cook for 3-4 minutes on medium.
7. Add the cornflour / plain flour paste and stir. Cook on medium for 2 minutes.
8. Gently add the paneer and peas and mix, taking care not to bruise or break the paneer pieces. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes on medium, stirring occasionally.
9. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with naan, flaky parathas or rotis.

Great ingredients are right there, on your shelf. Use them to create magic in your kitchen.

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Beetroot And Carrot Cutlets

Beetroot – obnoxious, boring, one of last veggies to hog the limelight and in desperate need of some good PR. Resented by children and adults alike.
A super-food bursting with nutrients, vitamins and minerals, very low in calories and no cholesterol. Nonetheless, it’s earthy, not-so-pleasant flavor ends up repelling our taste-buds.

I had three of them sitting in my fridge… since a week. Today, after some dedicated moments of careful contemplation, I devised a recipe that guaranteed to appeal my audience…my husband. And it did. All I have left now is a long trail of crispy crumbs 🙂
beetroot cutletsPreparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Makes: 15 medium-size cutlets

Ingredients:
For cutlets:
3 medium-size beetroots
3 medium potatoes
1 big carrot
1 small onion, finely chopped (optional)
2 green chilies, finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped corriander
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp dry mango / amchur powder
1/2 raisins
1/2 cup bread crumbs / bread soaked in water
Oil for frying
Salt to taste
For coating:
1/4 cup bread crumbs or rawa

Method:
1. Wash, peel and cut the beetroots, carrots and potatoes into halves and pressure cook them until soft.
2. In a large bowl, mash the above. Then add the coriander, onion (optional), chilies, raisins, bread crumbs and all the spice powders along with salt. Mix thoroughly.
3. Divide the mixture into equal portions and roll them into patty of desired shape and size. You can also use a cookie cutter for that perfect round or heart shape.
4. Tumble the cutlets in the breadcrumbs, one at a time. Ensure they are coated from all sides. Pat a bit, so the crumbs stick to the cutlets. Dust out the extra.
5. Shallow fry the cutlets, 4-5 at a time, on medium heat, for 2-3 minutes. Flip them over and fry the other side. Cook till they brown and look done.
6. Serve hot the cutlets or tikki or patties with green chutney or tomato ketchup.

P.S.:
1. Onion is optional.
2. You can fry the cutlets directly if you run out of breadcrumbs or don’t want to use them altogether.
3. Non-vegetarians – beat an egg, dip the babies in the beaten egg and then coat them with breadcrumbs. Fry.
4. Add roasted peanuts or cashews for that extra crunch.
5. Toss them in an air-tight container or a zip-lock bag and freeze. Store to fry later.

Peanuts And Yogurt Chutney

Although, being in kitchen makes me therapeutically happy, it’s rare I cook elaborate dishes; unless really necessary 😛
Which is how I’m always on the prowl to hunt down snap-of-a-finger-easy yet delectable recipes. I wanted an unusual chutney to accompany my Sabudana Kichdi today. I tried this and it turned out really yumm 🙂
Peanut and Yogurt ChutneyPreparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 2 minutes

Ingredients:
100 gms Peanuts, roasted and skinned
Quarter cup Yogurt or curd
1/2 inch ginger
2-3 green chilies
Teeny bit of fresh coriander
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt as per taste

Method:
In a food processor or mixer, blitz all the ingredients into a smooth paste. Done! 🙂

P.S.: Goes well with Upma, Poha, Dosas and various other snacks.
I always roast the peanuts and store them in an airtight jar. They come handy in recipes like this.
They also make a good snack to munch on whenever you feel the hunger pangs; without feeling sinful about the calories 🙂

Pan-tossed Herb Potatoes

I love potatoes cooked in every form, in every meal of the day.  Baked, mashed, fried or roasted… potato is an all time comfort and staple food.
Did you know, potatoes have these compounds called kukoamines which are known to lower blood pressure?

This recipe is absolutely no work and whole lot of fun. Fun to make, fun to eat. Ensure you cook lot of it, as its just gonna fly straight off the pan within seconds.
Crispy Herb PotatoesPreparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 3

Ingredients:
1 kg Russet Potatoes. Well, that’s a jazzy name for our noble potatoes 🙂
5 – 6 cloves of garlic, skin on
Big knob of Butter
3 tbsps Olive oil / any vegetable oil
1 tsp dried Oregano
A sprig of Rosemary
Chopped Corriander
A tsp of Lemon Zest
Salt and Pepper for seasoning

Method:
1. Cut potatoes in quarters or medium size cubes, skin on.
2. Boil them till done.
3. Drain in a colander and leave aside till the steam evaporates completely. Any steam left in them will make the spuds go soggy.
We want a soft inside and crispy outside.
4. Heat oil in a pan and pop in the potatoes.
5. Toss the garlic cloves in.
6. Sprinkle oregano, salt, pepper, sprig of rosemary and lemon zest.
7. Cube the butter and leave the cubes around the pan so all the potatoes are covered. Butter not only enhances the flavor of the dish, but also gives certain glaze to it.
8. This recipe needs more tossing than stirring. Prevents any physical damage to the cubes 🙂
Cook till the spuds are crispy and done.
9. Garnish with chopped coriander, a generous squeeze of lime and serve hot with ketchup.

P.S.: Don’t be wary of the garlic and chuck it. It tastes sweet, creamy and equally great 🙂

Peas and Scallion Rice

I had peas. I had scallions. And I was awfully bored to cook a detailed meal.
I’m sure, by now I’ve established myself as a super-lazy cook…but, with astute shortcuts to healthy and delicious food 😛
Peas and Scallion RicePreparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
2 cups long grain/ basmati rice
A cup of chopped spring onions (scallions)
A cup of frozen / fresh peas
2 cups Vegetable / chicken stock. Normal water will also do
1 cinnamon stick
2 tsps freshly ground black pepper
Oil for frying
Salt to taste

Method:
1. Wash and drain the rice. Boil the stock and keep aside
2. Heat oil in a pan, add the scallions and stir
3. Pop in the cinnamon stick and let its flavor release
4. Next, add the rice, peas, salt and pepper and give it a stir
5. Pour in the boiled stock and cook it on a slow flame, lid on
6. Should be done in 10 minutes.

P.S.: Soup cubes are readily available in groceries. Boil the veg/chicken cubes in plain water to make the stock.

They say there are no shortcuts to success. I say, there certainly are a million, when it comes to lazy yet yummy, healthy and comforting meals 🙂

Fifteen Minutes Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Trust me. It is done in fifteen minutes.
Read on…
Creamy Mushroom SaucePreparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serves: 3

Ingredients:
200 gms button mushrooms, cleaned and cut into quarters. Smaller ones, cut in halves
2 medium-size onions, finely chopped
400 ml light cream/ fresh cream
3 tbsp Oil (or as needed)
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
Salt as per taste

Method:
1. Heat oil in a pan and add onions
2. Fry till soft and translucent
3. Toss in the mushrooms and stir
4. Pour in the cream
5. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for couple of minutes till the sauce bubbles away

Isn’t that shamelessly simple! 🙂
The sauce is best friends with a juicy steak. I plated it with my humble Peas and Scallion Rice. Awesome!
Life’s too short to be anything but happy. And such food, is insane happiness…

Creamy Potato Gratin

Sometimes, many times, names of the dishes are so ornate and exotic, they just seem out-of-the-world, elusive and very very difficult to make. But really, they are not.
Like this one where potato rules. Originated in France and sounds so fancifully European, but with all the readily available shelf ingredients, it can be easily made back home.
Potato Gratin 1Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 45-50 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 kg Potatoes
600 ml double cream
4 cloves of garlic
Knob of butter
Salt and Pepper for seasoning

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 190 deg.
2. Rub the baking tray with butter and leave aside.
3. Bruise the garlic cloves, just a bit, so they release their flavors. Don’t pound them.
4. Heat the cream and garlic and let it simmer (don’t boil). Remove from the heat and let the flavors infuse for 10 minutes.
5. Slice the potatoes 2 mm thick with a knife. Mandolin makes the job easier. Skin them if you wish. I prefer them with skin.
6. Now, layer the bottom of the tin with these slices. Season this layer with salt and pepper.
7. Similarly, use up all the slices to form layers, seasoning every layer each time you go.
8. After all the slices have been layered, pour the garlic infused cream on the top and let it run down all the nooks and crannies.
9. Bake for around 50 minutes. You’ll see the surface bubbling away and gorgeously golden.
10. Do the knife test. If, it goes through without resistance, your gratin is done.
Potato Gratin 2Such an intersection of simplicity and flavors! Long live the Potato!!!