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 


Method:


  • 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
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


Method:


  • 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

Method:


  • 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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