Sunday, June 13, 2010

Shahi Paneer

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It's raining outside as I write this post, and believe me, it feels good. The temperatures had been on a steady incline for the past 2 days and this afternoon it felt as if we were in for a tough week. Of late, rains preceded by a storm and lashing winds reminds of my visit to Palampur last month. The night before we were to leave, there was a huge windstorm, followed by rains and hail. In the wilderness with only trees and tea plantation around for miles, it can be a really scary experience watching nature's fury in full force.
A week after coming back from the vacations I had my in-laws over for the first weekend and since they are vegetarians, I got down to making the fool proof- always get rave reviews- shahi paneer. Now Shahi literally translated to English means Royal. Shahi dishes are meant to evoke a feeling of feeling royal, by having food using rich ingredients. This enrichment is usually provided by adding dried fruit or nuts or even dairy products like cream. Therefore, dishes having the shahi name are by nature very rich. The usage of rich ingredients like cashew, almonds, raisins or large quantities of cream in Indian dishes lends to the Shahi name being used. There are several variations of this dish available involving cauliflower, chicken, mutton, lamb, potatoes etc. and it is not uncommon to walk into a roadside eatery in India or the popular restaurant overseas and find this dish on the menu.

Other paneer recipes on this blog:
Paneer Moghlai Kofta in Palak Gravy
Paneer Ki Seekh
Achari Paneer Tikka
Kadhai Paneer
Paneer Makai

Shahi Paneer

Paneer (Cottage Cheese), cut into 2" dices : 250 gm
Yogurt: 1/4 Cup
Milk : 1/2 Cup
Cashewnut, ground into paste: 1/4 Cup
Onions, finely chopped: 1/2 Cup
Ginger, finely chopped: 1 Tblsp
Green Chillies, chopped fine: 3
Tomatoes, chopped : 4
Green cardamom, crushed : 2
Coriander Powder : 1 Tsp
Red Chili Powder : 1 Tsp
Ghee : 3 Tsp
Salt: To Taste
Oil: For frying paneer
Coriander, chopped : 1 Tsp (For Garnish)
Cream, for garnish

1. Heat oil in a wok and fry paneer in it till it turns golden brown.
2. Drain and put in a bowl containing water.
3. Heat ghee in another wok.
4. Add onion and cook till it starts to turn light golden.
5. Add in the ginger and fry for 2 more minutes.
6. Add in the green chili and cardamom. Fry for a minute.
7. Add in the coriander powder and red chili powder. Fry for a minute.
8. Add in the tomatoes and cook for 6-7 minutes.
9. Add the beaten yogurt and cook for 5 more minutes.
10. Take off flame and cool.
11. Blend in a mixer till smooth.
12. Add the paste back to the wok and put back on flame.
13. As it comes to a boil, drain the paneer from the bowl of water and add the paneer pieces to the gravy.
14. Add milk and adjust consistency.
15. Add salt as per taste.
16. Serve hot garnished with chopped coriander and cream.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Lahori Aloo (Potatoes in Onion & Yogurt Gravy)

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I have mentioned this before that my wife is a vegetarian and has a fondness for potatoes. Hence, I typically need to work overtime figuring out potato recipes to bring something different for her every now and then. This simple and evergreen recipe was just one of those tried in a hurry for her. You can find variations of the same being served in restaurants involving stuffing potatoes with a paneer (cottage cheese) filling or a moghlai version involving addition of a khus khus and/or cashew paste/coconut paste. I prefer the original version because it is simple to make and yet amazing to taste.

Lahori Aloo

Baby Potatoes, peeled - 500 gm
Onion Paste - 2 Tblsp
Ginger Garlic Paste - 2 Tsp
Tomato Puree - 200 gm
Yogurt - 1/2 Cup
Turmeric Powder - 1 Tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 Tsp
Coriander Powder - 3 Tsp
Red Chili Powder - 2 Tsp
Oil - 2 Tblsp
Salt - To Taste

1. Deep fry potatoes till almost done.
2. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds.
3. As the cumin seeds start to crackle add in the onion paste. Fry till it starts to turn brown.
4. Add in the ginger garlic paste. Fry for 2 more minutes.
5. Mix the red chili powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder with a little water to form a paste. Add to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes.
6. Add in the tomato puree and cook till oil starts to separate.
7. Add in the yogurt and salt.Cook till a coating consistency gravy is formed.
8. Add in the potatoes. Cook till potatoes are done and the gravy has reduced to just coat the potatoes.
9. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with puris.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Khumb Hariyali Kofta

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Gastronome by Choice has finally gone live on twitter. It took me some time to get this going but now that this is out of the feels good. You can follow it by clicking on .
Lemme know what you think.
My nice and relaxing vacations have come to end and it is back to business as usual. I miss the lazy mornings spent relaxing at home, doing nothing, plain nothing ...except of course thinking about what can I cook. This kofta is exactly one of those thoughts put into practice.

Khumb Hariyali Kofta


For the koftas:
Spinach, :750 Gm
Paneer (Cottage Cheese), grated and mashed : 300 Gm
Mushrooms, washed, drained and chopped: 160 Gm
Cumin seeds:1 Tsp
Garlic,finely chopped: 6 cloves
Ginger, finely chopped: 2 Tsp
Green chillies, finely chopped: 2
Lemon Juice: 1 Tblsp
White Pepper Powder: 1 Tsp
Black Pepper Powder: 1 Tsp
Cornflour: 2 Tblsp
Salt: To Taste
Oil: 2 Tblsp
Butter: 1 Tblsp
Brown Sugar: 2 Tblsp
Oil: For frying the koftas

For the gravy:
Ghee: 3 Tblsp
Onion Paste: 4 Tblsp
Ginger Paste:4 Tsp
Garlic Paste: 4 Tsp
Tomato Puree: 2 Cups
Cashew nut paste: 3 Tblsp
Clove Powder: 1/4 Tsp
Cinnamon Powder: 1/8 Tsp
Mace Powder: 1/8 Tsp
Red Chili Powder: 1 Tsp
Green Cardamom Powder: 1/2 Tsp
Black Cardamom Powder: 1/8 Tsp
Kasoori Methi: 1 Tsp
Cream: 1/4 Cup
Salt: To Taste

For the koftas:
1. Heat Oil in a kadhai (wok). Add in the cumin seeds. As they start to crackle, add in the garlic. Saute till light golden.
2. Add in the spinach and stir fry till all moisture has evaporated. Remove off flame and cool.
3. Once cool, chop the spinach roughly.
4. Heat butter in a separate wok. Add in the lemon juice and sugar. Cook till a nice syruppy consistency is achieved.
5. Add in the mushrooms, ginger and green chillies. Cook till done.
6. Mix in this mushroom mixture with the spinach and add in all remaining ingredients. Mix well.
7. Divide into 12 equal portions. Make round balls and keep aside.
8. Heat oil for deep frying the koftas.
9. When oil is hot, add in the spinach-paneer-mushroom balls and deep fry over medium heat till light golden. Remove and drain excess oil on absorbent paper.

For Gravy:
10. Heat ghee in a pan. Add in the onion paste and cook for 3-5 minutes on medium flame.
11. Add in the ginger and garlic pastes. Cook till mixture starts to turn brown.
12. Add in the tomato puree, red chili powder and cashew nut paste. Stir to mix well. Cook for 5 more minutes.
13. Add in the clove, mace, green cardamom, black cardamom and cinnamon powders. Stir. Cook till gravy is slightly reduced and done.
14. Crush and add in the kasoori methi. Cook for another 2 minutes.
15. Stir in the cream and adjust the seasoning.
To Serve:
16. Arrange the koftas in individual plates on a bed of the tomato-cashew gravy. You can garnish with almond slivers.

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