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Monday, 28 November 2016

Hara Bhara Paneer Tikka / Indian Cottage Cheese in Green Marinade


Paneer tikka is a popular Indian starter dish in which the cottage cheese chunks and veggies marinated in yogurt and spices are grilled.  It is a delicious and healthy vegetarian alternative to Chicken tikka and other meat dishes. The marinated Paneer chunks along with pieces of colorful Bell peppers and Onions are arranged on sticks and are grilled in tandoor. At home we can easily grill it in an oven or on a stove top. I have already posted the recipe of paneer tikka with both oven and stove top method.

Today I am sharing one more flavorful paneer starter , Hara Bhara Paneer Tikka or hariyali paneer tikka. In this a green marinade made from hung curd, fresh coriander and mint leaves and spices is used to coat the cottage cheese chunks and veggies and thereafter grilled.  Hara Paneer Tikka is served hot seasoned with lime juice and chaat masala and usually accompanied with a mint chutney and salad. When it is added to a spiced gravy, it gives yet another tasty dish called Paneer Tikka Masala. Paneer cooks very quickly and soaks all the flavors very well. Whenever I make a fresh batch of green chutney, I make this quick and lip smacking starter from Paneer. 
                               
Serves -4
Preparation Time : 1-2  hours
Cooking Time : 10-12 minutes using grill or tava (stove top) option and around 20-25 minutes in an oven.
Ingredients:
  • 500 grams Indian Cottage Chesse / Paneer , cut into 10 cm cubes (I have used homemade Paneer)
  • 1 medium Green Pepper, cut into 10 cm cubes
  • 1 medium Red Pepper, cut into 10 cm cubes
  • 1 medium Yellow Pepper, cut into 10 cm cubes
  • 1 Large red Onion , cut into 10 cm cubes.

For the Marinade
  • 3 tbsp. Hung Curd (Tie ½ cup curd in a muslin cloth and hang for 1-2 hours)
  • 50 grams fresh Coriander
  • 50 grams fresh Mint leaves
  • 1 green chilly
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • ½ inch ginger root
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp red Chili powder
  • ½ tsp Dry Mango powder / Amchur Powder
  • Salt To taste

Other Ingredients:
  • Melted butter for basting
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon juice
  • Chaat Masala 


Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius for 10 minutes if using an oven. I have used a convection microwave with a grill option, where temperature is already set by default so no preheating needed in this case. Put 3-4 wooden skewers in water and leave them to soak.
  2. In a blender jar take coriander and mint leaves, green chili, garlic cloves and ginger and make a smooth paste using little water. Our green paste is ready.

3.   For the Marinade, in a large mixing bowl , take hung curd . To it add the green paste, cumin coriander powder , dry mango powder , red chili powder and salt. Mix well and set aside.


4.   Add the paneer cubes along with bell pepper and red onion cubes. Mix well and marinate for at least 1-2 hours. If you have time you can marinate even longer. The more you marinate the paneer becomes more flavorful.

   5.  When ready to cook, grease the skewers and baking sheet. Thread the paneer and vegetables alternatively onto the skewers. Place the skewers on a baking sheet in the preheated oven at 180 degree Celsius and bake for 20-25 minutes. In case you are using a grill option in a convection microwave, select the grill option. Keep the skewers on a greased plate onto the high rack and grill for 8-10 minutes. If you do not have an oven or microwave, you can use a greased tava and keep the skewered paneer onto it and cook on a medium flame for 10-12 minutes. In all the cases turn the skewer midway and brush with melted butter to assure the paneer and veggies do not dry up.


6.    We are looking for paneer which is soft , coated with marinade and charred around the edges. Do not overcook the paneer as it might turn rubbery. For those who intend to use a tava, can add 1-2 tsp of chick pea flour to the marinade to ensure the paneer does not stick to the tava.   Sprinkle the lemon juice and chaat masala and serve the hara bhara paneer tikka with mint chutney and salad and enjoy !

    I hope you would like to try out this easy yet delicious dish. Would love to hear from you.

    For more Paneer starter dishes , do check my posts on


Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Poached Pears in spiced Citrus Juices


Pear is a  happy fruit at my home as my family loves eating this delicious fall fruit. Rich in Vitamin C, dietary fibers and anti-oxidants, Pear is a good source of minerals such as copper, iron, potassium, manganese and magnesium as well as B-complex vitamins such as folates, riboflavin and pyridoxine.( Vitamin B-6). It is also one of the low calorie fruits. Source: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pears.htm

                                           

Every time i get a batch of these delicious fruit, we end up having it as a fruit on a whole and i hardly thought of cooking a recipe from pears. It was only when i saw this post on  Prernascafe , i was tempted to try out this dessert. 

                              

Poached pears is a wonderful dessert from the French cuisine. With a quick and easy to follow recipe, pears poached in spiced citrus juices make a perfect light and fruity dessert for a fall meal. In this recipe i have used honey with orange and lemon juice  and sweet spices such as Cinnamon , Star anise, Cloves and Ginger not only enhance the flavor of the cooked pear but also provide antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. The best thing is that you can add any of your favourite spices and flavor and give this dish a personal touch and distinct flavor you wish to have. Poached pears can be served plain or with a scoop of Vanilla or chocolate ice cream or chocolate sauce topped with berries of your choice.

Serves: 3
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking time : 40 minutes

Ingredients: Measurements- 1 cup = 200 ml
  • 3 Pears
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of Orange juice ( i have used fresh orange juice)
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar ( i have used light brown sugar)
  • 1 stick of Cinnamon
  • 2 Star Anise
  • 2-3 Cloves
  • 1 inch piece of root Ginger (sliced)


  Method:
  1. In a large sauce pan heat 4 cups of water, honey, sugar and spices on a medium flame. Once the sugar and honey dissolve completely lower the flame. Meanwhile wash the pears under running water. Peel them taking care the stalk remains intact. Keep aside.


   2. Add orange juice and lemon juice to the spiced boiling water.



  3.  Now lower the peeled pears in the boiling citrus juices. Cover cook the pears for 25-30 minutes or until tender. Keep the pears turning occasionally and basting with the sauces.



  4. Check the doneness of the pears by inserting a toothpick through the fruit. Remove the cooked pears and keep covered in a bowl . You can reduce the sauce by heating it in a wide sauce pan until it turns thick and glossy like i did or can allow the pears to sit in the sauce over night in a refrigerator.


  5. Place the pears in a serving plate and spoon the warm sauce over them. Every bite of the cooked pear drenched in the golden glossy spiced syrup is a treat to your palate. You can serve the poached pears plain when warm or alternatively serve them chilled with a scoop of Vanilla or chocolate ice cream or chocolate sauce topped with berries of your choice 


  Hope you all also get tempted to try out this dish once as i got . Would love to get your valuable feed back on this. Till then happy cooking :)



Saturday, 19 November 2016

Carrot Puree For Babies


After Annaprashan (a ceremony in which a baby is given solid food for the first time) of my son, apart from sprouted ragi porridge and fruit pulp , i started giving him vegetable purees twice a week. Carrot puree being one of his favourite . 


Carrots are packed with nutrients like beta carotene, calcium , folate and vitamin C. Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A which plays an essential role in vision , growth and development of the body. Carrots are easy to digest and they have an appealing sweet taste so they remain to be one of the best choice when it comes to baby's first food.
Source : http://www.wholesomebabyfoodguide.com/top-5-first-foods-for-baby-carrots/


 Carrots are easily available in abundance in market throughout the year . They can be included in baby's diet between 6 to 8 months of age in the form of soup , porridge and purees. They can be easily roasted or steamed to make purees. Lets see an easy recipe to make a  flavorful puree to include the healthy goodness of Carrot in your baby’s diet .

Serves: 1 bowl
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

·        1 medium sized Carrot
·        ½ tsp Sugar
·        ¼ tsp roasted Cumin powder
·        Salt to taste

Method:

1.     Wash, peel and roughly chop the carrot into chunks.Take carrot chunks in a container and place the container in a pressure cooker with water.   Pressure cook the carrot for 2 whistles.


   2. Once the pressure cooker has cooled down, take out the cooked chunks and add them to a grinder jar with 1 cup drinking water. Pulse to get a puree.



   3. Transfer the puree to a sauce pan and cook on a low to medium flame for 2-3 minutes.


   4. Season the puree with salt, roasted cumin powder and sugar. Stir well and cook for a minute or so and put off the flame.


   5. Spoon out the puree into your baby's bowl and serve lukewarm .





Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Dried Figs-Dates and Nuts energy Rolls / Anjeer Khajoor Roll - Healthy Eating


It is mid November and winters have officially begun in Northern part of India. Here in Gurgaon also the mornings and evenings are getting pretty cold. For me this is the best time of the year in Delhi as the weather is very pleasant. With the onset of winters i usually stock up with home made energy and nutrient rich snacks which can be had at any time of the day to satisfy the hunger pangs. Dry fruits and nuts are best snacking option during winters.  

This dried figs dates and nuts roll serve as delectable and nutritious snacks. During winters when had as breakfast with milk, they provide the body with the needed warmth and energy to kick start a day. They can be served as a healthy dessert or packed in kids snacks box. A perfect grab and go snacks for kids and working folks. These cute roundels can also be had as fasting food ( food for Vrat). The best part is that these energy rolls can be made easily within short time and have a good shelf life of 10-15 days at room temperature and about a month on refrigeration.


The recipe is inspired from my own Dates and Nuts Ladoo. The nutritious dried figs are an extra addition in this rolls. The recipes calls for tossing the chopped nuts like Pistachios ,Walnuts and Almonds in very little ghee along with poppy seeds. To this the ground paste of figs and dates are added and mixed well. The mixture is allowed to cool down and then rolled out into a log (cylinder shaped)and wrapped in an aluminium foil and refrigerated for 4-5 hours. The firm log is then cut into roundels of desired thickness. Figs and dates both act as natural sweeteners and hence no extra sugar is added to this rolls. 


Before moving to the recipe , lets have a look at the health benefits of dried figs , dates and nuts.
Dried figs are an excellent source of minerals , vitamins and anti-oxidants. It lowers the risk for high cholesterol , heart disease and constipation. The fibre in figs may also help you to lose weight since it makes figs more filling, helping you eat fewer calories. Dates are excellent source of iron, potassium , calcium , manganese , copper and magnesium. The fruit is rich in dietary fiber which prevents LDL cholesterol absorption in the gut. Nuts are bite- size nutritional powerhouses packed with heart-healthy fats , vitamins and minerals.


Serves : 20-25 roundels 
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking time : 7-10 minutes.

Ingredients:
  • 200 grams Figs / Anjir
  • 200 grams Dates / Khajur
  • 1/2 cup Almonds
  • 1/2 cup Walnuts
  • 1/2 cup Pistachios
  • 2 tbsp. Poppy seeds / Khus Khus
  • 1 tbsp. Ghee

Method:

  1. Wash the figs thoroughly and them soak them in warm water for 30 minutes minutes. This step not only cleans the figs but also softens them which eases in their chopping and grinding. Drain the water from the figs. Wipe them with kitchen towel and chop them.


   2.  Deseed the dates and chop them finely.


  3. Using a food processor or grinder pulse the chopped dates and figs to a paste without adding any water.


   4. In a wok, heat ghee on a medium flame. Lower the flame and add the chopped nuts and shallow fry them until fragrant. Add poppy seeds to the nuts and stir fry for few seconds.



   5. Add the figs and dates mixture to the nuts and poppy seeds and mix very well. Put off the flame.



   6.  Let the mixture cool down enough to handle. Now roll the mixture using an aluminium foil to a thick long log(cylinder shape). Wrap the log completely with the aluminium sheet or cling film. 


   7.  Refrigerate the log for 4-5 hours or overnight so that it becomes firm and hard enough to be cut into roundels. 


   8. Cut the roll into roundels of desired thickness using a sharp knife. These roundels can be stored at room temperature for 10- 15 days and up to a month on refrigeration.

                                   

Hope you would love to try out this healthy treats for your loved ones. Do not forget to give your valuable feed back. 

For more similar recipes, do check my posts on


Thursday, 10 November 2016

Khoya Matar Makhana Recipe


Khoya Matar Makhana is a delicious creamy North Indian curry.  A rich main course gravy dish made using Makhana ( puffed lotus seeds / Fox nuts ) green Peas and Khoya (evaporated milk) . In this the ghee roasted Makhana are cooked in a onion tomato based gravy with crumbled khoya . The flavorful curry has tangy taste of tomatoes , it gets a creamy rich texture and  a slight sweet taste due to added khoya, and is bit spicy too.



In Maharashtra khoya  is usually added to sweet dishes and desserts. I had never seen khoya been added to savory dishes specially a curry. I tasted Khoya Matar Makhana for the first time in one of the North Indian weddings and that taste still lingers in my mouth. Since then I always wanted to try out this dish at home. Another reason for trying this curry is that my son loves Makhana very much. Salted and Caramelized Fox Nut are his favourite snacks. I also make Makhane Ki Kheer occasionally. 



 Khoya Matar Makhana curry is heavy in calories as it has khoya  and is generally made during special occasions and mostly during winters. The curry can be paired with roti, naan or Paratha or served with Jeera Rice and some salad. I have used home made khoya in this recipe. You can use store bought one to save time and efforts.


Ingredients: Measurements used 1 cup = 200 ml)

  • 1 cup Makhana / Fox nut
  • 1 cup fresh Green Peas
  • 150 grams Khoya ( evaporated milk)
  • 2 medium Onions, finely chopped
  • 2 large Tomatoes , finely chopped
  • 1-2 green chilies
  • ½ inch piece of Ginger
  • 3-4 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilies
  • 1 tsp Cumin Coriander powder
  • ½ tsp Garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric powder
  • 3 tbsp. Ghee / clarified butter
  • Salt to taste

Method:
  1. In a pan heat ½ tbsp. of ghee and roast the Fox nuts / Makhana on a low to medium flame for 7-8 minutes until they are crisp and turn golden brown in colour. 

   2. Meanwhile cook the green peas in some water for 2 ½ minutes in a microwave or in an open pan on gas. Drain and keep aside. Take the garlic cloves , ginger and green chilies in a grinder jar and make a coarse paste. Keep aside until use.


  3.  Remove the roasted Makhana in a plate and keep aside. In the same pan heat 1 tbsp. of ghee and add chopped Onions . Saute them for 1-2 minutes. Now add tomatoes and stir fry for another 1-2 minutes. Transfer the onions and tomatoes in a grinder jar and grind to a smooth paste.




  4. Heat the remaining ghee in the same pan. Add cumin seeds. Once the seeds crackle add the ginger garlic and green chili paste . Saute well until the raw smell goes off. Now add the Onion Tomato paste and stir fry until oil oozes out of the mixture. This may take 3-4 minutes.



   5. At this stage add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, cumin coriander powder and salt to the paste. Mix well and stir fry the spices in the mixture on a low flame for about a minute.


   6. Add crumbled khoya. Mix well and cook until the khoya melts and a we get a thick gravy. Add 1 cup hot water to the gravy and stir well. You may add less or more water as per the consistency of the curry you wish to have.




   7. Let the curry boil once after adding water. Now add the cooked green peas and roasted Makhana. Mix well. 



   8.  In the last add ½ tsp of garam masala . Stir and cover cook the curry for 2-3 minutes and put off the flame. 



   9. Serve the flavorful and creamy Khoya Matar Makhana with naan and Jeera Rice and enjoy !


   I hope you would love to try this recipe. Do not forget to give your feedback.
For more such recipes, do check my posts on


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