Paneer Butter Masala

Any Indian restaurants are sure to list Paneer Butter Masala on their menu. One of the favorites of any Indian, this North-Indian curry is rich, creamy and pleasing to the eye with its bright orange-red color.

Paneer Butter Masala

I usually prepare my own home-made Paneer at home. But occasionally I get it from the stores to simplify my work. The usual ready made brands that I trust and buy usually are Nanak and Mother dairy. Recently I had got Paneer manufactured under ‘Nanak’ brand name, and it was a totally bad experience for me. The paneer block had bits of egg-shell like pieces in it (which when I had later contacted their Manager, I was told that the pieces were scales of deposited calcium chloride from the surface of the tubes in which the coagulation of milk takes place, which look like egg shells, he also apologized for it and asked if he could replace the product). It was totally unpleasant, and I hence had to discard the curry I had prepared using it, as I did not like the feeling of a crunchy Paneer.

The following is my sisters recipe, which I thoroughly enjoyed eating along with fresh warm Methi wale Naan.

Butter Paneer Masala – Paneer in rich buttery tomato-cream sauce

Home-made Paneer block – 400 gms
Tomatoes – 4, medium sized, chopped
Long green chillies – 2, chopped
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
Onion – 1, large, finely sliced
Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
Garam masala – 1 tsp
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Kasuri methi – 1 tsp
Tomato Ketchup – 1 tbsp (I used Heinz)
Canned Tomato puree – 2 1/2 tsp
Half and half cream – 1 cup
Salt – to taste
Cashew nuts – handful, whole
Unsalted Butter

Fried Paneer cubes (Paneer is Indian Cheese)

Method:

1. Cut the paneer block into rectangular bite size pieces. Heat Canola oil in a pan, and shallow fry the paneer pieces until lightly browned on all sides. Remove using a slotted spoon onto a paper towel lined platter. Keep aside. Also, fry the sliced onions and cashew nuts individually in the same oil until golden brown. Remove using a slotted spoon onto a platter and keep aside.
2. Add the chopped tomatoes and green chillies into a blender and blend into a smooth puree.
3. Heat 2 tbsp butter in a medium sized saucepan at medium heat and as soon as it warms up, add the ginger garlic paste. Fry for a minute. Add the fried onion and mix well. Pour in the pureed tomato+chilli paste. Add coriander powder, garam masala, red chilli powder, kasuri methi, tomato ketchup and tomato puree. Let cook for 5 minutes covered on simmer.
4. Pour in half and half cream and salt. Mix well. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the fried paneer pieces and let it cook for a further 3-5 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro and fried cashew nuts and serve.

Luv,
Mona

Dinner on Second Roza

Zafraani Malai Murgh, Baingan ka Bharta, Tamatar Tuvar dal and Khushka was the dinner today after our second roza الحمد لله. The Iftaar was light~ Khajoor, Aloo Samosa with ketchup and fresh Plums.

Zafraani Malai Murgh – Chicken in Creamy Saffron sauce

Ingredients:

Olive oil – 2 tbsp
Ginger garlic paste – 2 tbsp
Long green chillies – 4, each cut into two
Fried crisp onions – 1/2 cup (store bought)
Chicken/Murgh, with bone – 1150 gms, cut into pieces
Salt – 2 tsp
Yogurt/Dahi – 1/2 cup, lightly whipped
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Half and Half cream – 1/3 cup (you can also use light cream instead)
Cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
Saffron threads – one pinch
Slivered almonds – 1 tbsp

Zafraani Malai Murgh

Method:

1. Wash the chicken and pat dry. Keep aside.
2. In a saucepan at medium high heat, pour in oil and as soon as it warms up, add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for a few seconds. Add the green chillies and fried onions. Mix well. Add the chicken pieces and salt and fry until opaque, around 5-8 minutes. Pour in yogurt, red chilli powder and turmeric. Stir gently to mix and close the lid. Let cook for 5 minutes. Pour in half and half and gently mix well. Cover the lid and let cook for 8-10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Let cook uncovered for a further 10 minutes. Serve immediately along with Parathas or Naan or Khushka.

Baingan ka bhartha – Roasted Eggplants in tomato onion sauce ~ I

Brinjal – 4
Olive oil – 2 tbsp
Onion – 1, large, finely chopped
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 1/2 tsp
Long green chillies – 4, chopped
Tomato – 2, finely chopped
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Garam masala powder – 1 tsp
Cilantro+Mint leaves – 1 tbsp, finely chopped

Fresh ingredients for Baingan ka Bhartha

Baingan ka Bhartha

Method:

1. Wash the brinjal and pat dry. Take a rimmed baking sheet and place a large sheet of aluminuim foil on it. Place the brinjal on the foil and place the baking sheet under the broiler-high setting for 15 minutes. Turn the brinjal after 8 minutes. Once the brinjal are evenly black in color, remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool, peel and discard the skin and finely chop the flesh of the brinjal. Keep aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, add oil and as soon as it warms up, add the onion and fry just until soft. Do not let it brown. Add ginger garlic paste, green chillies and cumin seeds and fry them along for furthur 2-3 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, coriander seed powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt. Mix well. Cover the lid and let cook for 5 minutes.
3. Add the chopped brinjal flesh and mix well. Cover the lid and let cook for 5 more minutes. Add garam masala and fresh chopped herbs and let cook uncovered for a few minutes. Serve.

Luv,
Mona

Chuqandar ka Halwa

Chuqandar, in Urdu, also called as Beetroot in English are one of my favorite veggies. This nitrate rich, gorgeous root vegetable is best eaten as a salad, roasted, boiled or steamed and then seasoned lightly for added flavor. They are high in fibre, calcium, potassium, folate, antioxidants, vitamin A and C, minerals and other micro nutrients and quite low in calories. They are also used to treat hypertension and hence maintain a healthy cardio vascular system.

Beetroot – Chuqandar

Be careful when you are working with these ground vegetables, as its juices tend to stain whatever comes in contact, like your hands, chopping board etc.

Beetroots are also commonly referred to as Sweet Beets, as they are very sweet in taste. They have a unique earthy sweetness in them, and are hence perfect for halwa or a dessert to serve on special occasions.

Serves – 2 to 4

Chuqandar ka Halwa – Beetroot Dessert

Ingredients:

Beetroot – 1, medium sized, washed, peeled and coarsely grated
Fat free Half and Half cream – 1 cup
Sugar – 4 to 5 tbsp or according to taste (the amount of sugar depends on the size and sweetness of the beets)
Ghee – 1 tsp
Finely slivered blanched almonds+pistachios – 1 tsp
Raisins + chopped walnuts – 1 tsp

Beetroot Dessert -Chuqandar Halwa

Method:

-Heat a thick bottomed non-stick saucepan at medium heat and add the grated beetroot.
-Pour in the cream and let simmer uncovered on low until most of the cream has been absorbed by the beetroot. Keep stirring it occasionally.
-During the mean time, heat ghee in a pan at medium heat and throw in the prepared dry fruits and nuts. Roast them until they turn golden brown. Reemove from heat and keep aside.
-Add sugar to the cooking beetroot and let cook for a furthur 5 minutes or until the halwa is thickened.
-Serve warm or cold garnished with the roasted dry fruits and nuts in ghee.

I am sending this royal halwa over to RCI-Lucknow cuisine.  

For some more ideas on how to use beets, head over to the healthnut blog.

Luv,
Mona