Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Aunty now!

Dear blogger's, I am glad to announce the arrival of my nephew! I will not be able to update the blog for at least another week. Planning on visiting my nephew every day after work!
I am an aunt now!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer is as much a part of North India as Sambar is in my kitchen; as anything to do with coconut and fruits in Suja's kitchen; as anything to do with sugar in Gaouri's kitchen and as anything to do with fruit juices in Kiran's kitchen :)

Even though its extremely easy and all the ingredients are easily available to make Palak Paneer, we South Indian's shy away from making it at home. And when we see in restaurant's menu we order it the first thing as starters or gravy with roti. Well, here is my attempt of making palak Paneer. It actually tastes really good. Try it out. Serves 4 and it takes about 20 minutes from start to finish.

Spinach: 1 big bunch
Paneer (unaged cheese): 300 grams cut into small cubes
Green Chilies: 2 large or 4 small
Cumin: 1 tbsp
garlic: 5 cloves
Sour/fresh cream: 3 tbsp
salt and oil to taste

Wash the spinach thoroughly and immerse them in boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and run the cold water over the spinach. Wet grind spinach and green chilies and keep them aside.

Cut paneer into small cubes. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds followed thinly sliced garlic. Stir garlic for about a minute not letting it burn. Now add spinach puree and salt and bring this to a boil.

After it boils, check for salt and make sure that the raw taste of spinach is gone. Now add paneer and simmer for another 5 minutes. Then switch off the heat and add 2-3 tbsp of sour/fresh cream. that's all!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Masala Baingan (Baby Bringals in curry)

This recipe is passed on by my brother; he absolutely loves cooking (like me). I just made this about an hour ago. Even though I have at least 5 recipes sitting in my drafts, this certainly takes precedence for its taste. Thanks dear brother…
My husband loved this so much that he asked me to pack extra box of lunch with this to share with his colleague.
This is fairly close to Bagara Baingan recipe I posted but the taste somehow is miles apart.
The measurements serves 4 and is medium spicy. This goes well with fried rice, roti, naan bread or even plain rice. This takes about 30 minutes from start to finish.

Bringal: fresh, small, round: 12
Onion: 1 large, finely chopped
Mint leaves: about 2 strings
Tamarind paste: 1 tbsp in a cup of water
Cinnamon and clove: 1 small stick and 2 respectively
Cumin: 1 tbsp
Red chili powder: 1 tsp
Ginger and garlic paste: 1 tbsp
Oil and salt as needed
Turmeric powder: 1 pinch
Cilantro (fresh coriander): Handful, roughly chopped

For Gravy: Wet-grind these together and keep aside.
Tomato: 1 large, roughly chopped
Green Chili: 1 large or 3 small
Grated coconut: 5 tbsp

For Masala: Dry roast the below and make fine powder out of them.
Ground nuts: 5 tbsp
Cashew nuts: 10
Sesame seeds: 1 tbsp
Coriander seeds: 1 ½ tbsp

• Clean the bringals and slit them length wise towards the stem, keeping the bringal intact, yet making a crisscross.
• Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a wide bottom pan and roast the bringals until they are half cooked. Make sure you gently turn them around once in a while, keeping the shape intact.

• While the bringals are being fried, make paste of the 3 ingredients under “For Gravy” and keep aside.
• Also dry roast “For Masala” ingredients and make fine powder out of them.
• After the bringals are half-done, take them out of the pan and keep aside. In the same pan add another 2 tbsp of oil.
• To oil, add cumin seeds, cinnamon, clove and mint leaves. After a few seconds add the finely chopped onions and gently stir until the onions are translucent.
• Add red chili powder, turmeric and salt to the onions. Fry for 10 seconds and add the ginger garlic paste.

• Fry for another 10 seconds and add the “for gravy” (tomato, coconut and green chili) ingredients.
• Stir and add the powdered masala. Stir again and add the tamarind water. Check for salt at this point.
• Bring to a boil and then add the roasted bringals.

• Cover and cook until the bringals are just about done under medium to low flame (would not take more than 8-10 mins). Don’t over cook the bringals, else they would separate from stem. Also, for some reason the gravy was sticking to the base of vessel. I think it’s because of cashews. Make sure to stir (gently) occasionally to avoid this.
• Switch off the heat and garnish with cilantro/coriander leaves.

1. The recipe given by my brother actually calls for garam masala to be added in the end but I didn’t add. I felt the recipe already had enough spices in it. If you want more spices, surely you can add a tbsp of garam masala.
2. If anyone of you feel that the recipe is way too spicy for your taste, after you switch off the heat add 2 tbsp of sour cream to bring down the spice level.

I have served this with rice and salad (baby carrots, cucumber and cherry tomatoes with yogurt dip) to counter the spice.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bagara Baigan

If you have ever been to a Hyderabadi wedding, you would have certainly tasted the famous Bagara Bairan (small brinjal’s in tasty gravy). I tried this recipe many times and never been disappointed so far. This goes perfect with roti/naan bread/white rice and most importantly Hyderabadi Biryani! Trust me when I say, no Hyderabadi wedding is complete without Bagara Baigan. It’s fairly simple, try this out!
Pardon my photography skills. I shouldn’t have used the flash.

The below recipe is for 14 small, round brinjals. Reduce/increase the quantity as needed.

Brinjals (obviously): 14
Ground nuts: 2 tbsp
Sesame Seeds: 2 tbsp
Grated Coconut: 4 tbsp
Onions: 2, finely chopped
Ginger Garlic Paste: 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder: 1 pinch
Cumin Powder: 1 tsp
Coriander powder: 1 tsp
Chili powder: 1 tsp
Garam Masala: 1 tsp
Tamarind: small lemon size melted in a cup of water (or according to taste)
Oil for frying


• Dry roast groundnuts, sesame seeds and coconut until you get the aroma and grind them fine with a little water. Actually roast them separately, not like lazy bum (like me) who roasts everything together.

• Wash the bringal’s and slit them length wise (crisscross), making sure that you stop as you are nearing the tip. Fry these in 2 tbsp of oil until brinjals change color and are ¾ cooked and remove from the pan. .
• In the same pan, add tbsp oil and fry the onions until translucent. Then add ginger garlic paste and fry for another 1 min.
• To this, add the ground powder of nuts, sesame and coconut. Fry for ½ min and then add cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili powders and salt.

• Fry for another 2 minutes and add tamarind water and mix.
• Now, add the fried brinjal’s, gently stir and cover cook for another 5-8 minutes or until the gravy thickens.
• During this cover cook method, brinjals would cook to perfection.

Serve hot.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Wild Mushroom Risotto

Weekdays…ah, what can I say which isn’t old? Wednesdays get on my nerves because Friday is just round the corner but two more working days to go before that! Well, as much as I love cooking, Wednesdays are usually my lazy days. But do I compromise the taste because I am lazy? No. Here is recipe which is quick but needs attention while it’s being cooked. I swear I took the final picture but I can’t find it anymore! Sorry all, this picture is when I just added risotto.

Portobello Mushrooms: 2

Onion: 1

Shitake Mushroom’s dried: ½ cup (optional)

Chicken or vegetable stock: 2 cans

Wine: ½ cup optional

Garlic cloves: 3

Risotto: 2 cups

1/4 cup mixed fresh basil, tarragon and thyme or 1 tsp. dried basil, 1/2 tsp. tarragon and 1/2 tsp. thyme

Parmesan Cheese: depends on taste

Olive Oil

Salt and pepper to taste


Clean the Portobello mushrooms and dice into cubes.

Add olive oil in a vessel and sauté onion’s and garlic, until onions turn translucent. Chop the mushrooms and add to onions; continue to sauté.

After 2 minutes, add risotto and stir continuously for 30 seconds.

Now add 1 can of stock. From this point on, you will need to stir fairly often to keep the rice sticking. As the rice starts to get dry, add a little wine and more stock.

Repeat this process until you finish all the wine, stock. If rice isn’t cooked yet, you can add water. The trick is to add just enough water and keep cooking.

When risotto is completely cooked, add the herbs and salt. (Remember, whenever you make Italian, you will need to serve immediately to hold the taste…my opinion anyway).

After serving in to a plate, add freshly grounded pepper and parmesan cheese. That’s all!