Monday, April 30, 2018

Zaffrani Paneer - Rich paneer gravy, side dish for roti

The last day of Explore the Flavors, i m ending it with a rich and luscious paneer gravy. I started the marathon with a humble dish Poha and today it is rich and luxurious zaffron/saffron. I planned to do a flatbread with zaffron, but then there is something else coming up in September, if at all i m participating i needed that time, so i postponed it and proceeded with a gravy. I planned to do a potato and cauliflower gravy with zaffron, but then hubby prefers paneer gravy, so i changed it to zaffron paneer!
It was one rich gravy and the suttle aroma of saffron was scintillating. Hubby prefered it to be little more spicy, so next time i might pep up the heat a bit. It paired so well with hot roti's and my elder one relished that gravy. It is a perfect dish for lunch box and also for any party. Do try it and let me know how you liked it.
Here is the list of lunch box dishes i did this week. Will post a round up of all the themes i covered during Explore the flavors in a day or 2.

Ingredients
250 grams of paneer
2 medium sized onions
2 cloves of garlic
1 inch piece of ginger
2 nos green chilies
5 nos cashewnuts
1/4 tsp garam masala
2 generous pinches of saffron
1/4 cup thick yogurt

For the spice powder
4-5 nos red chilies
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
Method
  • If using frozen paneer, remove the paneer from the freezer and keep it outside before you start making the curry.
  • In a pan,  heat oil, add chopped onions, green chilies, garlic and ginger and saute until onions turn translucent. Add cashewnuts to it and saute for a minute and take it off the heat.
  • Let it cool completely. Add 1/4 cup of water and grind it to fine paste. Take the ingredients listed under spice powder in a mixer and grind it to a fine powder.
  • In another sauce pan, heat oil, add the ground paste, saute for a minute. Now add the ground powder to this and mix well.
  • Let the mixture cook in a medium flame for a minute or two. To this add whisked curd and 1/4 cup of water, salt and a generous pinch of saffron. Mix well and let this cook for 5-8 minutes.
  • The gravy will start thickening. Add paneer cubes to it and cook for another 8-10 minutes in a simmer flame for the flavors to infuse well in the paneer. Take it off the stove, add another pinch of saffron to this and garnish with coriander leaves and serve it with roti.

Day 26
BMLogo

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Yam fry/Elephant Foot yam fry/Chenaikizangu fry

Almost last post of Explore th flavors, never imagined it be would this easy as I wasn’t  prepared with the last 2 weeks posts. Since the list was ready I was able to pull it off decently. Y for yam, I decided make a simple yet delicious fry with yam. I have cooked yam frequently after my marriage, but suddenly one day, I got a bad throat-itching after eating yam, so I got scared and totally stopped buying yam, even for my hubby. 
Yam is a safe veggie, if it is cooked well, though I knew this , I needed more time to understand and accept it and come out of fear.  Now I m cooking it frequently, like how I used to do it previously. 
I make yam masiyal, yam fry and sometimes a spicy kootu also. This yam fry is something loved amongst all the other dishes I make with them. My elder one loves it when served hot straight from the pan. I make this for his lunch for one of his stay back days, along with some jeera rice or coconut rice . It tastes divine with some hot rasam rice too! Do try and let me know how you liked it!
Ingredients 
500 grams yam/chena/chenaikizhango
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp salt
Tempering 
2-3 tsp oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
A pinch of hing
3-4 curry leaves 

Method
  • Remove hard outer skin of the yam using. Sharp knife. Cut them into thick slabs and further into thin strips and then into cubes. 
  • Take the cut yam into a microwave safe bowl, add water and rinse well. Take fresh water until the yam is submerged, add tumeric powder to it and mix well.
  • Microwave cook at power 100 for about 16-18 minutes or until done. In my microwave it gets done by 16 minutes. The yam must be well cooked, if you press a yam cube with your fingers it should mash well. Drain the water completely.

  • In a wide pan, add oil, splitter mustard seeds, add hing and curry leaves. Now add drained yam cubes to t. Do not disturb it for about a minute or two. Now add red chili powder and salt to it. Mix well, but gently, the yam Is already cooked, we are just seasoning it now.
  • Once mixed let this cook in a medium flame until it gets crisp. Mix once in a while. It will take around 12-15 minutes in a medium flame, do not increase the flame or else it might burn. Once done, remove it and pack it as side for any rice dish. 

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Xiaomi Pops/Instant Foxtail millet ipaniyaram/Instant Foxtail millet pops

Xiaomi, is not only the name of mobile, it is also the name of foxtail millet in chinese. When doing an A-Z food series, X,Y,& Z are problematic alphabets. I know what all tricks we adapt to get a proper post title xotic, xtra, xmas, and it goes on! While i was breaking my head to get a proper dish with X, wiki came to my help. I was looking for millets name in chinese and japanese languages, thank god, i was put off my misery pretty soon. Chinese use lot of millets in their cuisine. This foxtail millet/Xiaomi is made into a porridge which actuallly is a post-partum dish, that helps new mothers heal well.
 When i read that article in wiki, my happiness knew no bounds. I decided on this quick paniyaram/pops with foxtail millet, which can be made instant. It was super hit breakfast with kids, pack it with a spicy chutney, it will vanish in minutes.
Ingredients
1/2 cup foxtail millet
1/2 cup of cooked rice
1/4 tsp methi seeds
2 green chilies
a sprig of curry leaf
2 pinches of baking soda (read notes)
oil for cooking the pops/kuzhipaniyaram
Method
  • Soak foxtail millet and methi seeds for an hour. Once it is well soaked, drain the excess water, take the soaked millet and cooked rice in a mixer jar, add green chilies, curry leaves to it and grind it to a batter. Do not add more water, just 1/4- 1/3 cup of water.
  • Once ground, remove the batter to another bowl, let it rest for 30 minutes. Add baking soda to this and give it a brisk stir. 
  • Heat the paniyaram pan, brush the holes with oil, pour batter till 3/4th of every hole, add drops of oil to each batter filled hole. Cover and cook for a minute in a medium flame. 
  • Remove the cover, using a fork, turn each paniyaram and cook the other side for another minute with little oil. Remove the cooked paniyaram onto a plate. Repeat the same with the rest of the batter.
  • Pack these cute pops/bombs/paniyaram with some spicy chutney for your kids dabba.
Notes
  • This batter can be fermented overnight, if fermented, no need to add baking soda. 

Friday, April 27, 2018

White onion Kootu - Vellai Vengayam Kootu

Kootu are my goto dishes most of the days. I make them almost everyday, as i m used to having a kootu, even when i have a dry curry. Someday it is keerai/spinach kootu, or some veggies kootu. I have my very own kootu powder, which makes it pretty easy to make.Dump all the veggies and dal in the pressure cooker, add the kootu podi/powder, salt and water and pressure cook until done. Once the pressure releases, add tadka, it takes about 15-20 minutes from start to end. Sometimes when i have extra veggies, i chop and freeze them, that makes the process even more quicker. 
White onion kootu, something which amma makes once in a while for the health benefits. White onion is supposed to very good health, it is a good coolant for your body, and also good for your liver. They make white onion dishes for people who recover from jaundice, but people who eat white onion that time, will hate since they make it with less spice and salt. White onions has a sweet taste for themselves, so when it cooked with proper spices they taste amazing and pairs well with roti's and hot rice.
The day i made them i packed this kootu and also paneer curry for my elder one, he prefered the kootu more than the paneer. I have used coconut and chili along with ginger and cumin for the masala, that adds a nice zing to the sweet onions. Do try and let me know how you liked it!

Ingredients
1 big white onion
1/2 cup moong dal
1 medium sized tomato
1/2 tsp salt

For the masala paste
1/3 cup of freshly grated coconut
2 green chilies
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp cumin seeds

Tempering
2 tsp oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
2  red chilies, broken
4-5 curry leaves
Method
  • Take the ingredients for the masala paste in a mixer jar, add 1/4 cup of water and grind it to a fine paste.
  • Chop the white onion and tomato. In a pressure cooker, take white onions and tomatoes, add moong dal. Add the ground masala paste to this, add 1 cup of water. Add salt and mix well. Pressure cook this for 4-5 whistles. 
  • Let the pressure release on its own. In a small tadka pan, add oil, when its hot, add mustard seeds, let it crackle, add curry leaves, red chilies and finally urad dal, let it turn golden brown, pour this hot tadka over the dal. 
  • I pack them with roti's, you can also enjoy them with steaming hot rice.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Vermicelli puloa - Vermicelli cooked with spices ,coconut milk and vegetables

Vermicelli upma is our very own noodles upma. My lil one calls it that way. It’s been almost 2 years since we stopped buying instant noodles, so whenever kids ask for noodles  it is either this vermicelli or Hakka noodles. I m not confident enough to pack Hakka noodles for their lunch box yet. I have my doubts, that it might go dry or gloggy, uff, mother’s mind! 
When they ask me pack noodles they now what to expect in the box, I either make upma or this puloa. Usually upma I make it just with onions,  but with pulao I try to add their favorite veggies in small quantities. The coconut milk in the pulao gives it a nice flavor and with mild spices and generous ginger it tastes exactly like our rice puloa. So if you are like me giving them vermicelli for noodles, then you should definitely try this pulao! 

Ingredients 
1/2 cup vermicelli
3/4 cup mixed veggies ( I have used carrots , capsicums, cauliflower and potato)
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup thick coconut milk
Or
1&1/2 cup thin coconut milk
Juice of 1/2 a lemon(Indian lemon)
1/2 tsp salt to taste
Tempering
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3-4 curry leaves, torn into pieces
1/3 tsp freshly shredded ginger 
1 cardamom
1 clove
1 bay leaf
2 green chilies, finely chopped

Method
  • In a heavy bottom pan, dry roast the vermicelli until golden brown. Remove the roasted vermicelli into another plate.
  • Now in the same pan, add coconut oil given under tempering, add cumin seeds, clove, cardamom and bay leaf to to and sauté for a minute.
  • Now to this add chopped onions and green chilies, sauté until onions turn translucent.
  • Now the time to add the mixed veggies, sauté for a minute and add coconut milk. If using thick coconut milk, add 2 cup of wAter along with it. If using thin coconut milk, no need to add water.
  • Add salt and lemon juice, let the water come to a boil, add the roasted vermicelli to his and simmer the flame to medium and let it cook covered until done, takes around 8-10 minutes.
  • Once done, remove the cover and fluff it up with a fork, let it be on the flame for another 2-3 minutes and then take it off the flame. 
  • If using coriander leave, garnish and pack it in lunch boxes along with some crisps or a spicy curry.
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