Tag Archives: Indian

Aarti Sequeira’s Saag Paneer, with a tweak or two

After searching for at least 25 years for a Saag Paneer* recipe that really hits the spot, we found one!  This recipe is incredibly easy and relatively quick; it is well worth taking the few minutes it takes to make your own paneer.  I’ve made a couple of minor tweaks to the recipe.

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 12 ounces paneer, cut into 1” cubes* (see recipe and photos below)
  • 1 16oz package frozen spinach
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons ghee or oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • ~ 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced finely
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 large Serrano chili, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ cup water
  • generous pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup whipping cream
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • (or ½ cup plain yogurt, with no cream)

In a large bowl, whisk together the turmeric, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3 tablespoons of oil.  Gently add the paneer cubes, and toss very gently.  Let the cubes marinate while you prep your other ingredients.

Thaw the spinach in the microwave, in a microwave-safe dish,, 5 minutes on high.  Puree the spinach in a food processor until smooth, or mince by hand.

Place a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add the paneer as the pan warms.  In a couple of minutes, give the pan a shake and turn the paneer cubes.  You want the cubes browned on two or more sides.  Remove the paneer onto a plate (this also tastes good without seasoning and frying the paneer; just cube it and add it at the end of cooking the spinach).

Add the ghee/oil to the pan.  When melted and hot, add the onion, garlic, and chili.  SLOWLY sauté the mixture until golden and the oil is shimmering on top, about 15 minutes.

Add the garam masala, coriander, and cumin.  Cook, stirring often, for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the spices are well toasted.  Add a few drops of water if it is drying out and burning.

Add the pureed spinach and stir well, incorporating the spiced onion mixture into the spinach.  Add generous pinch of salt, and the ½ cup water.  Stir and cook for 5 minutes with the lid off.

Turn the heat off, add the cream/yogurt a little at a time to prevent it from curdling.  Once the cream/yogurt is well mixed into the spinach, gently add the paneer.  Turn the heat back on, cover, and cook until everything is hot.

Serve with basmati rice, and/or naan.

*Paneer

paneer making

Making the Paneer

  • Cheesecloth to line a colander
  • 8 cups whole milk
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  1. Line a colander with two layers of cheesecloth (available at the grocery store)
  2. In a large, wid pot, bring the milk to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning the bottom.  Be patient!
  3. Add the lemon juice and turn the heat down to low.  Stirring gently, you should almost immediately see the curds and whey separate.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and carefully pour the contens into the cheesecloth-lined colander.  Gently rinse with cool water to get rid of the lemon flavour.
  5. Gather up the ends of the cheesecloth and twist the ball of cheese to squeeze out the excess whey.  Tie the cheesecloth to the kitchen faucet and allow the cheese to drain for at least 5 minutes.
  6. Twisting the ball to compact the cheese into a brick, place it on a plate with the twisted part of the cheesecloth on the side.  Set another plate on top, and weight it down with tinned food, or a very heavy pot.  A ziplock bag full of water will also work.  Press for at least 20 minutes. In the photo to the right, I’ve used our very heavy granite mortar on top of a plate.
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Raita/Cucumber Salad

We eat a few different versions of raita, but this one goes nicely with these beef kebabs.

  • 1 English cucumber, halved, seeded and chopped finely
  • 1 cup yogurt, plain
  • 1 tablespoon mint, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 to 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced

Mix all of the ingredients together; eat within an hour or two.

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Indian Flavoured Kebabs

Soak 9 bamboo skewers in water while making the meat mixture.

Mix together in a large bowl:

  • 1 cup very finely minced onion (1 large)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • one 2 ½“ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced (about ¼ cup)
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Add and mix with hands until evenly combined:

  • 1 ½ lbs ground beef

Shape this mixture into 9 flattened sausage shapes, approximately 4” long, 1 ½“ wide, and 1” high.   Carefully thread each sausage shape onto a skewer.

Grill on a barbecue until browned and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.  You may also broil them in the oven, for 3 to 5 minutes per side, using a slotted broiling tray.

Serve wrapped in a warm naan or pita, or with basmati rice, and raita.

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Indian Inspired Ground Beef and Potatoes

  • 3 Tbsp ghee (or non-GMO vegetable oil)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander seeds (not cilantro leaves)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • Indian ground chili pepper powder, or cayenne, to taste
  • 1 pound lean or extra lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, either fresh tomatoes, or canned  and drained
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 “ cubes (this is roughly 3 – 4 medium)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup or so of frozen green peas
  • Salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  1. Heat the ghee in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat and sauté the onion until golden.   This will take approximately 10 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, and sauté until fragrant, about 1 or 2 minutes.
  3. Add all of the seasonings and toast well; the ghee will glisten on top.
  4. Stir in beef and tomatoes and cook, breaking up the beef, until the beef is browned and the liquid has evaporated, leaving only the ghee.
  5. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the water, reduce the heat, and simmer covered until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Increase the heat, remove the cover, and cook until all the water has evaporated.
  7. Add the peas and stir well.
  8. Gently stir in the chopped cilantro, taste for addition of salt and pepper, and serve with naan, rice, or other hearty bread.

Serves 4 to 6.

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Cauliflower with Green Onions and Seeds

This is not an “old” recipe for us, but it is so good; it is also remarkably simple!  Supposedly it comes from a chef by the name of Julie Sahni, who I understand is the owner of a couple of Indian restaurants, is a cookbook author, and has a renowned cooking school.

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 small bunches of green onions, cleaned and chopped (include all of the green!)
  • 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • ¼ cup ghee
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I often use just a few cubes of Kosher frozen cilantro)

Separate and cut the cauliflower into 1-inch florets.  Peel the cauliflower stem and cut into thin slices.  Set aside.

Measure out the seeds into a small bowl, measure the turmeric into a separate small bowl (or have it and the measuring spoon ready – or eyeball it), as well as the water, and place them right beside the stove.

Heat the ghee, over high heat, in a wok or large sauté pan that has a lid of some kind.  When the ghee is hot, add the mustard and cumin seeds.  Keep the lid handy because the seeds may spatter and pop when added.  When the seeds top sputtering, add the turmeric and immediately add the cauliflower.

Stir-fry the cauliflower until it’s evenly coated with spice-infused ghee.   Add the green onions, salt, and water; mix and cover with the lid.  Cook over medium heat and toss a couple of times until the cauliflower is soft, about ten minutes.  Uncover, fold in the cilantro, and continue stir-frying until the excess moisture evaporates and the cauliflower looks glazed, about five minutes.  Turn off heat and serve.

Note: the original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds in addition to the mustard and cumin seeds but certain people in our home don’t like them, so I omit them.  It tastes fabulous without!

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Chicken Curry in the Crockpot

This recipe is adapted from the amazing blog “A Year of Crockpotting“.  The first time we had this, my sweet potato haters ate up the sweet potatoes without even knowing what they were eating!  The sauce is quite thin at the end of cooking, but could be reduced on the stove-top if desired.  Very tasty.

1 ~ 13 ½ oz can of coconut milk (do not use light!)
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 Tablespoons hot Madras curry powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander (not fresh cilantro!)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 inch peeled and grated ginger

3 cloves minced garlic

4 to 6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped


Combine coconut milk, tomato paste, curry powder, cumin, coriander, garlic, and ginger in the bottom of your crock pot. For an even better taste, you could toast your spices before hand or fry them in a little oil or ghee.

Add the chicken, flipping it over a few times to coat it nicely. Pour in the chick peas.

Add prepared veggies to the top of the crock pot. Don’t worry about stirring them into the sauce; let them sit on top of the chicken.

Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours, or on high for 4-6.

When finished cooking, stir carefully to mix flavours.  Serve with basmati rice.  Garnishing with freshly chopped cilantro is delicious.


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