Thursday, April 12, 2018

Homemade turmeric powder

Homemade turmeric powder
Turmeric powder

Turmeric powder plays a vital role in Indian style cooking. Its been added in almost all the food items we make at home due to its health benefits. It is a fact that, if we add turmeric while cooking, it kills unwanted germs and bacteria.

Turmeric is a root stalk of a tropical plant which is part of the ginger family. One of the main components in this turmeric is curcumin which has many healing properties. Turmeric has been used in Asian countries for treating heartburn, diarhoea, stomach disorders, colds and depression. It can be directly applied on skin to treat various skin issues. In olden days, people used to apply turmeric powder over the cuts or wounds to avoid further more infection. But nowadays people don't follow that as there is a hesitation that it may cause infection. Why is that? Why there is no confidence nowadays which our forefathers had before. It is all due to the chemicals used during cultivation. The pesticides and chemicals not only kills the bacterias that affects the plant, it also kills the essential nutrients in the actual plant. So try to buy pesticide free, natural products.

We plucked out some turmeric plants during Pongal season from our farm and I was left with some fresh turmeric pieces / rhizomes. As we have to wait for few more months for the complete harvest, I thought of making a small batch of turmeric powder at home with the available turmeric pieces which turned out to a simple and satisfying process.

How to plant turmeric at home?

Planting turmeric at home is very easy.
  • Buy some fresh turmeric pieces / rhizomes. 
  • cut the larger rhizomes into small pieces / sections with two or three buds in each section
  • soil should be loose and lightly moisted
  • place it flat about two inches below the surface of the soil with buds facing up
  • water it whenever needed. 
  • turmeric is ready to harvest when the leaves and stem start to brown and dry, about 7 - 10 months after planting. 
  • Pluck it out from the soil, clean the rhizomes and use it for making turmeric powder

Ingredients (yields around 50 g of turmeric powder)

turmeric pieces / rhizomes - 300 g


  • wash and clean the rhizomes well
  • immerse rhizomes / turmeric pieces in water and allow it to boil. I used mud pot / clay pot for cooking the rhizomes
  • when it is boiling, the water will become frothy
  • simmer it until you can easily pierce the cooked rhizome using a knife or fork. It will take around 30 - 45 minutes
  • once it is cooked, drain the water and allow it to cool. 
  • cut / slice the cooked rhizomes into small pieces
  • spread it on a plate. Lay it in a single layer. 
  • allow it to dry under sun for 2 - 3 days or until they are brittle
  • grind it in a mixer. You can grind it in a mill if you are doing in large batches. 
  • grind to a fine powder. 
  • sieve it to filter out the coarse powder. grind the coarse particles again and sieve it. 
  • store the fine turmeric powder in an airtight container. 
  • if you are left out with few coarse particles after lot more grinding, then you can use those coarse particles while making rasam . Grind it along with garlic when making rasam. 
  • An easy homemade turmeric powder is ready to use. 

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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Palak Paneer / Cottage cheese and Spinach gravy

Palak paneer
Palak paneer

When you make chappathi / roti regularly at home, then you ought to create variations in the gravy if you have a chappathi loving kid at home. I love making paneer gravies but usually I make butter paneer masala, Shahi paneer or gravy with paneer and capsicum. I had a hesitation of trying out palak paneer as I feel some earthy flavor in Palak leaves even after cooking since childhood. But I once tasted this yummy palak paneer gravy at my friend's home and I really liked the taste. I didn't even smell a hint of that earthy flavor in Palak and all I could smell is lovely cinnamon flavor and I found that palak paneer gravy to be a wonderful combination for chappathi. Thanks Devi for inspiring me and introducing me to such a wonderful recipe.

I started making paneer at home since the taste is much more better than the store bought one. If you wish to make paneer at home, then please check out this link: Homemade paneer recipe .

If you looking for recipes using paneer then here are some. Click the link for recipe:

Some more palak recipes:

Lets see what palak and paneer adds to your health

Health benefits of Palak / Spinach:

  • rich in Iron and vitamin A, C. Helps for good metabolism, healthy skin and hair
  • packed with nutrients like omega 3 fatty acid, antioxidants and folic acid which helps for a healthy heart
  • controls your blood sugar level
  • helps to prevent constipation

Health benefits of Paneer:

  • its rich in protein
  • helps for a healthy heart
  • rich in B-complex vitamin
  • helps to strengthen bones and teeth

Ingredients (serves for 5 )

Palak / spinach leaves - 1 bunch
paneer - 250 grams (To make paneer at home, click this link for detailed recipe: Homemade Paneer )
garlic - 3 - 4 pods
ginger - 1 inch piece
green chili - 2 -3
onion - 1 medium size
tomato - 1 medium size
cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
oil - 3 teaspoon
bay leaves - 2
cinnamon - 1 inch stick
turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
red chili powder - 1/2 teaspoon
garam masala - 1/2 teaspoon
cream / milk - 1 tablespoon 
salt - as needed 


  • wash spinach leaves / palak leaves well. If the stems are tender then you can use that as well. Discard the thick stems part
  • boil 3 cups of water with 1/2 teaspoon of salt [ 1 cup size = 240 ml ]
  • once the water comes to boil, switch off the flame and add the spinach leaves
  • leave it for 2 - 3 minutes and drain the water using colander. You can use the collected water while making palak paneer gravy or when kneading the chappathi dough. 
  • after draining, add the palak leaves in 3 cups of cold water
  • leave it for 2 minutes and then drain the water. Blanching spinach leaves like this helps to retain its green color. 
  • grind garlic, ginger and green chili first . I added 5 green chilies as it was less spicy. Adjust the number of green chilies according to its spice level. 
  • add the blanched palak leaves and grind along to a fine paste
  • heat oil in a vessel and add bay leaves and cinnamon
  • saute it and then add cumin seeds
  • once it splutters, add chopped onions
  • fry till the onion becomes translucent
  • add chopped tomatoes
  • fry till the tomatoes become mushy
  • add turmeric powder, salt and red chili powder. Increase or reduce the quantity of red chili powder according to your spice level
  • add the grounded palak paste
  • once it comes to boil, add garam masala.
  • add the collected water if needed to achieve the gravy consistency
  • cook it for 2 minutes and add the paneer cubes
  • mix well and then cook for 2 more minutes
  • add 1 tablespoon of cream or thick milk, mix well and switch off the flame
  • Serve this palak paneer gravy as side dish for roti, chappathi, paratha or dosa. You can also mix it with white rice. 

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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Homemade Paneer / Homemade cottage cheese

Homemade paneer

With Paneer you can make plenty of healthy dishes and if you make paneer at home, then you will be highly satisfied with the gravy you make using the homemade paneer. The texture and the quantity is much better than the store bought one.

I made this paneer with native breed cow's milk so I am extremely happy that this homemade paneer is absolutely healthy and is full of nutrition.

Paneer has so many health benefits. Few among that are listed here
  • its rich in protien
  • helps to strengthen bones and teeth
  • rich in B-complex vitamin
  • helps for a healthy heart
If you are looking for recipes using paneer then here are some of them. Click the link for recipe.

You can also make desserts with the paneer. I'll soon update you with lot more paneer gravy recipes and paneer dessert recipes

If the cow's milk has more fat, then you will get more quantity of paneer. I have used 1.5 litres of native breed cow's milk and I got around 300 g of paneer. Quantity varies according to the thickness of milk. Buffalo's milk yields more quantity of paneer. Also, in this paneer recipe, I have used lemon. You can substitute lemon with curd. With lemon, the milk quickly curdles which obviously saves your time, however you need to wash the paneer with water to get rid of lemon flavor in paneer. I prefer adding lemon instead of curd :) . 

Ingredients (yields around 300 g of paneer)

Boiled Cow's milk - 1.5 litres
fresh lemon juice - 100 ml  or juice extracted from 3 medium sized lemons


  • Heat the boiled cow's milk until it comes to boil 
  • keep the flame to low and then add the squeezed lemon juice
  • stir slowly and you can see the milk getting curdled
  • once the milk is completely curdled, clear water (whey water) will get separated
  • when clear water is seperated, add some ice cubes and switch off the flame. Adding ice cubes helps to have soft paneer
  • If the milk does not curdle quickly, then it means the thickness of milk is more and hence you need to add some more lemon juice
  • If you are using curd instead of lemon, then you may need to add around 3 tablespoon of curd or more until the milk gets curdled. Stir the milk often to avoid getting burned at the bottom of the vessel. 
  • pour the curdled milk in a pure white cotton or muslin cloth and filter the whey water
  • you can reserve the whey and add it to your chapati dough or in dals and curries
  • rinse the milk solids or chenna or paneer in running water to remove the lemon flavor and tangy taste
  • if you using curd, then no need of rinsing it in running water
  • squeeze the cotton cloth with your hands very well so that excess water is drained
  • place a heavy weight on the paneer for 30 minutes
  • after 30 minutes, take out the paneer from the cotton cloth
  • cut it into pieces 
  • I have used wire rack to strain out the excess water from the paneer, so I got the checked impression over the paneer. This way, its easy to cut it into pieces. 
  • if you are going to make paneer gravy or paneer fried rice immedietely then you can use the fresh paneer
  • otherwise store it in the airtight container and store it in the refrigerator (not in freezer). 
  • This homemade paneer stays good in fridge for minimum 7 days. 
  • Enjoy making paneer at home and share your feedback in the comments section below. 

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Amritsari chole

Amritsari chole
Amritsari chole

Chickpeas also called as Garbanzo beans is a legume / pulse. It is variously known as Channa / Chole , Kondakadalai (in Tamil) , Bengal gram, Kabuli channa (Dark color chickpea).

Chickpea helps to control blood sugar levels, improves digestion as it is rich in fiber, helps in protecting against heart disease and it provides essential vitamins and minerals.

I usually make Channa masala and Channa pulao with this white channa but I wanted to try chick peas masala / channa masala with tea bags so that the color of the gravy will be darker. I paired up this Amirtsari chole masala with wheat poori and the combination was awesome. My husband liked it very much and he also said its an excellent combination. It also goes well with chapathi, roti and any type of parathas. If you are looking for paratha recipes then here you go:

Try out this Amritsari chole recipe at your home and share your feedback in the comments section below.

Ingredients: (serves for 6)

White channa / chickpea - 2 cups [1 cup size = 150 ml]
tea powder - 3 teaspoon or teabags - 2
bay leaves - 2
cinnamon - 2 inch stick
cardamom - 2
salt - as needed
onion - 1 big size
tomato - 4 (medium size)
oil - 3 tablespoon
green chili - 3 - 4
grated ginger - 2 teaspoon
red chili powder - 3/4 teaspoon
coriander powder - 1.5 teaspoon
cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
fennel powder - 1 teaspoon
garam masala - 1 teaspoon
dry mango powder - 1 teaspoon
coriander leaves - for garnishing


  • soak chickpea overnight or for minimum 8 hours.
  • add soaked chickpea in a pressure cooker. add enough water, salt, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon of grated ginger and cardamom 
  • if you are using tea powder, then tie the tea powder in a small cloth, form it as a bundle and add it to the pressure cooker. If you are using tea bags, then simply add it in the pressure cooker. I added only 1.5 teaspoon of tea powder, if you want even more darker gravy then you can add 3 teaspoon. 
  • pressure cook for 5 - 6 whistles or till the chickpeas are completely cooked
  • once the pressure is released, strain the chickpeas and reserve the stock along with spices. Discard the tea powder bundle / tea bags. 
  • chop onion, tomato and slit the green chilies
  • heat oil in a vessel and add chopped onion
  • fry till the onion becomes golden brown in color. Then add 1 teaspoon of grated ginger and green chili
  • once the raw smell of ginger is gone, add chopped tomatoes
  • saute till the tomatoes become mushy
  • add the cooked chickpeas. Mix well
  • add red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, fennel powder, garam masala and dry mango powder. 
  • mix well for a minute and then add the reserved stock
  • check salt. Add more salt and water if needed.
  • cook until the gravy becomes semi-thick
  • garnish with coriander leaves and serve it as a side dish for wheat poori, chappathi, roti or any type of paratha. 

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