Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Butter-(less) Paneer :-)

Did I say I get lots n lots of sunlight here in my last post..? May be I was seeing a mirage.....or may I just jinxed it by saying it!! Since then its been raining here in Seattle most days....The sun is resisting to peak out even after some heavy rolled out looks from me.. !! 
Thus our weekday biking and weekend photo walk plans drained away, leaving us with only indoor activities...
So to spice up the weekend with all the rainy blooms I made Paneer Butter Masala curry... yess the one that is spiced with a rich tomato gravy which is then thinned with cream to get a decadent sauce....
I have made this sauce several times that refinements I made in the proportions has made this recipe one among the fail proof recipe collections I have.
Whenever I end up with a pile of tomatoes waiting to be used within days I make this curry right away... 

For health reasons.. I never add butter (I know it is called Butter Paneer) nor do I add cream... Instead I use vegetable oil and yoghurt.
Also many of the recipes out there uses tomato paste which I never buy or use. I find that increasing the number of tomatoes and cooking it until all the water content is evaporated gives a intense flavor which I  enjoy very much...Moreover using fresh veggies always give a nice zing to the curries.

I used the same sauce I made for Butter Chicken I posted here.


Marinate :
I used store bought paneer.
Cut paneer from the refrigerator into small cubes. 
I let the paneer cubes sit  in warm water for few minutes till it became soft.
Take the panner cubes from water and dry it slightly, without crumbling it.
To this add little salt, pepper, chili powder and let it marinate.

Inspired and modified from :
Sources: (1) : Soma @ Ecurry
             (2) : Alfred Prasad, Head chef at Michelin-starred Tamarind in London's Mayfair 

Makhani Sauce/ Butter Sauce :
  1. Cinnamon stick              -  2 cm
  2. Cardamom pod             -  3 slited and crushed slightly
  3. Bay leaves                    -  3
  4. Cloves                          -  3
  5. Ginger                          -  1 tbsp crushed
  6. Garlic                            -  1 tbsp crushed
  7. Chili powder                   -  1 tbsp
  8. Tomato                         -  7 medium sized / 5 large , cut into small pieces comes to around 5 cups or more.
  9. Salt          
  10. Honey                            - 1 tbsp 
  11. Yoghurt                         -  1/2 cup (or use Cream)
  12. Kastoori Methi Leaves      -  2 tsp
  13. Butter ( If using )
  14. Oil

  1. Heat oil in a sauce pan. Add crushed ginger and garlic and saute till it turns slightly brown.
  2. Now add bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves and saute for a min.
  3. When the aroma of spices comes, remove the pan from heat source and add the chili powder into the oil. Saute really fast. Within seconds the chili powder will turn to a darker shade. Add the cut tomatoes and salt and place the pan back to heat source. This should be done quickly or else chili powder will get burned.
  4. Close the lid and let the tomatoes cook on heat. Stirring once a while.
  5. Once the tomatoes are cooked. Open the lid, increase the heat and let all the water content evaporates.  The consistency will come to a thick liquid. Leaving only like 1/5th the initial amount. It will attain a dark maroon color.  Makhani sauce is ready.
  6. Switch off the heat and let it cool.
  7. Once it is cooled down completely, blend this into a smooth sauce using a blender.

  1. Heat some oil or butter (or a combination of both) in a frying pan enough to lightly brown the paneer pieces.
  2. Add the paneer cubes and lightly brown all sides.
  3. Switch of the heat source. 
  4. Into this oil-butter (add bit more butter / oil  only if required) , add the prepared blended makhani sauce and stir. Once it starts to bubble up, remove the pan from heat source.
  5. Whisk the yoghurt with little water and add to the makhani sauce and stir fast. Sauce should be at a very low temperature so that yoghurt won't get curdle.
  6. Once the yoghurt is mixed well into the sauce. Place the pan back on the heat and stir.
  7. Add honey and kastoori methi. Check for salt and add if necessary.
  8. If it tastes very sour, add bit more honey.
  9. Add little water or some more yoghurt if want a thin sauce.
  10. Add the paneer pieces and mix everything.
  11. Switch off the heat.
  12. Serve hot and enjoy...:) 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Chicken Wraps

The best thing I love about this new apartment is the abundance of sunlight I get inside... Previous apartment I stayed never had any direct sunlight facing windows... Most of the time the house felt so dim and moody...which in turn makes me feel so lethargic.
 The new apartment is making up for all that... Moreover this kind of apartment therapy is giving me a new Zing !! Most days are surprisingly productive...:)
See now I am able to take photographs like this... Totally utilizing the sunlight coming through the window blinds.
Coming to the Chicken rolls...something I make when I feel completely lazy to make dinner, instead want to make something interesting that includes some fresh vegetables and lots and lots of lemon...:P Oh! you know my fondness for lemon...
Steps are very simple... Cut chicken into thin strips (this will marinate faster and will cook with less oil). Marinate with the choice of seasoning and leave it aside. Make chapatis meanwhile.
Stir fry the chicken pieces with little oil until all the pieces are cooked through and evenly browned. Take each chapati, spread some yogurt, place few chicken pieces at the center. Add choice of fresh cut veggies... I usually add thinly sliced cabbage, cucumber. This time I had some freshly home made bean sprouts which made a good addition to this wrap.
Once everything is placed generously squeeze some lemon juice across it. Now wrap it up and there it goes into the mouth...:p
I am not writing the proportions here because this is something that can be explored with a variety of ingredients. I will list out the ingredients used here.

To marinate : 
Turmeric Powder (very little)
Chili Powder
Tandoori Masala
Lemon Juice
Boneless Chicken - Sliced thinly.

Marinate thinly sliced chicken pieces with the above ingredients and set it aside.

Make enough chapatis meanwhile.

Filling : Thinly slice everything
Bean Sprouts
Lemon Juice

Heat a wide non stick pan, add few drops of oil. When it is hot add all the chicken pieces and stir fry it till it is completely cooked and evenly browned.

Take one chappati, daub it with yoghurt.
Place some fried chicken pieces, and freshly sliced vegetables.
Squeeze lemon juice across the filling.
Roll the chappati to make the filling in place and set aside.
Continue with the rest of the chapattis.

Now go ahead and make this Crunchy Wraps

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Garlic Knots

How long has it been since I posted anything ... If you ask me why the answer is plain and simple... I was utterly bored or ridiculously busy most days. Trust me nobody wants to read the post that I write on those days. 

But today I feel so free and liberated from all the nightmares... Yes Nightmares...Moving apartment is a nightmare, UNPACKING & ORGANIZING !!! doubles the Nightmare !!! Now throw in some heavy assignments and project from the class...Dang!!! Nightmares goes up exponentially.  But now it sort of look like home...everything out of the boxes and organized in to its own places. Everything at home looks happy to have a place of its own...:)

While I enjoy my spring break I decided to inaugurate the oven with these fragrant garlic knots... With spring still fighting with winter, the warmth from the baking was kinda my kick back to the winter...

The recipe credit goes to White on Rice Couple, the only thing I changed is the garlic coating...

Make the dough as per the recipe and instructions. Let it rise.

To check if the dough has risen enough, give a small poke. If the dip stays, it had risen enough. If it bounce back then it needs to rise more. 

Roll the dough into a big rectangle, cut that in to thin strips. Take each strip and create knots. Set that aside on a baking tray. Make sure to leave space {which I didn't ..:(} in between, these are going to rise a lot.

Let the knots rise till it is double the size.

Give the garlic coating and off it goes into the oven. Bake at 400F for 10-12 min or till a light brown crust is formed.
For the Garlic knots : Read WhiteOnRiceCouple

Garlic coating : 
Olive oil         - 2 tbsp
Garlic pods     - 3, Crushed 
Red chili flakes - 1 tsp
Dried herbs - a pinch (I used oregano and basil)

These hot little buns were a joy to indulge.. To those who like baking and like eating things with garlic flavor then this is exactly what are you are looking for.