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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hey everybody...


Taking a small break from posting recipes. I'd be teaching Indian delicacies starting January at Cooks World-Seattle's best place for cooking classes!
Click here for more details.
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ravioli

Il mio cibo preferito è Italiano!

pic of finished dish soon! bad lighting right now!

(prep time 45 mins)
(serves 2-3 ppl
)


I think the Italian's have nailed it!
I LOVE pasta!
I have been wanting to make raviolis for a long time now! Finally today I was able to get these lovely fresh pasta sheets from De Laurenti in Pike place market. They had three different kinds plain, spinach and pumpkin! I got two plain and one spinach.

I wanted something with Gorgonzola cheese and a brown butter sauce. So I searched the net and the first one that shows up is a recipe by Emeril Lagasse. How perfect is that? It isn't very often that you find exactly what you want on the first link that appears. I think he is a great chef and wouldn't mess with his recipe but I was short on some ingredients so this is a variation of Emeril's. Here is a link to the original source.
And I should prolly mention that De Laurenti also has some mouth watering pasta recipes on their website!

Ingredienti

Gorgonzola cheese 1/2 cup
Ricotta cheese 1/4 cup
Philadelphia cream cheese 1/4 cup
Garlic powder 1/4 tsp
Salt
Pepper

Mix all these ingredients together with a fork until they are smooth (small little bumps are OK). Gorgonzola needs a little work the other two cheeses are very soft and mix effortlessly.


Metodo


First I folded the pasta sheets gently like paper to make marks for equal size boxes.
Then I used the back of my knife to gently draw along the fold lines to see each box clearer (you can see the lines in the picture below). I did that on all pasta sheets.
Then I smeared a little of the cheese mixture right in the middle of each box.
Leave a little space on all four sides of each box so that it can be sealed.
Moisten the edges (all the bare parts of the pasta that you see in the picture) with a little water, use your fingertip.
Lay another pasta on top and press along the edges to seal and then cut with a knife or pasta cutter. I like cutting with a knife because I feel the straight edges look more rustic!
You have just created cheese filled pillows called raviolis :-)
I pinched the sides of each to make sure it was sealed before boiling.


Boil a pot full of water and salt.
Bring it to roaring boil and gently drop your raviolis in one by one.

Fresh pasta cooks very quick. Boil for 8 mins, drain, your raviolis with be perfectly el dente!

Sauce


I have to admit this sauce doesn't sound very healthy :-)
However once in a while should be fine.

Butter 3-4 Tbs
Sage 1-2 leaves
Flour 1/4 tsp
Salt
Pepper

Heat a non stick pan.Add butter and sage and melt over med high heat until it turns dark brown in color. It takes less than 2 mins for butter to reach this stage so keep an eye on it and swirl your pan once a while.
Sprinkle some flour in the hot butter.
Season with salt and pepper.
Pour over raviolis, toss!
Buon appetito!
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Friday, November 6, 2009

Shish Tawook

With buttery wild rice and grilled red onions!

This is a very Arabic recipe for grilled chicken kebobs.
I used a dried herb called Zaater to flavor this. You can find this easily in any speciality store. Zaater is milder but very similar to Thyme. You can substitute dried Thyme but cut the amount in half.

(prep time 30 mins + overnight marinating time)
(serves 2 ppl)

Ingredients

Boneless skinless chicken thighs 1 1/2 lbs
Heavy cream 1/4 cup
Fresh lime juice 1/4 cup
Sumac 1 tsp
Garlic powder 1 tsp
Onion powder 1/2 tsp
Cayenne pepper 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder 1/2 tsp
Pepper 1 tsp
Zaater 1 Tbs (heaped)
Salt

(this will not be added in the marinade. Will be sprinkled on the chicken just before grilling)

Cut the chicken meat in 2" cubes.
Mix all the ingredients (minus the salt) in a bowl.
Marinate the chicken overnight or at least 2 hours in this mixture.
Before grilling make sure the meat is room temp.
Skewer the meat on a bamboo stick. (Its a nice practice to soak the bamboo skewers in water for 30 mins to prevent burning)
Season with salt and grill for 20 mins or until cooked. Turn sides to ensure even cooking.

Marinated grilled onions

Red onion 4-5 thick sliced rings
Olive oil 1/4 cup
Pepper 1/2 tsp
Chili flakes 1/2 tsp
Salt (added just before cooking)
Marinade the onions in the above ingredients overnight or at least 2 hours.
Season with salt before cooking.
Grill alongside the chicken kebabs.

I served these with wild rice which I prepared according to package instruction. I used 3 Tbs of butter for a cup of rice.
I feel some Hummus would have been nice with this as well!
:-)
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Stromboli

So easy!

As Italian as it may sound, Strombolis were born in Philadelphia right here in the US of A.
It took me 10 mins to put this one together and I was done!
The traditional way would be use dough similar to french bread. And don't get me wrong. I would normally make the dough from scratch but I couldn't resist the sheet of puff pastry I had in my freezer nearing its expiration date!
Its basically bread layered with different meats and cheeses rolled up and baked.
The combination of meats and cheeses are endless!
I kept mine fairly simple to just 3 ingredients.
Dough-Meat-Cheese

(serves 2)
(prep time 10 mins bake time 40 mins)

Method

I rolled out my puff pastry over a lightly floured surface.
Then I layered slices of Pastrami all over the dough. Leaving 1/3" space from the edges.Then slices of smoked Gouda... yum yum.
I used close to 1/2 lbs of Pastrami. And 4 oz of smoked Gouda.
No need for any condiments.
The Pastrami had a nice peppery crust.
No need for any dipping sauce.The Gouda melts so gooda. (I know this is a cheesy line but since we are talking about cheese why the heck not)
Tuck the sides in and roll it up like a log.
Make a few vent cuts on top.
Paint some egg wash over it.
This is now ready for the oven.
Bake for 30-35 min (or until golden brown) in a preheated oven at 400 degrees.
Let it sit for 10 mins before slicing.
:-)
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Daal Makhani

Pardon my Daal
Lemony, buttery. Doesn't get better than this!


(serves 2)
(prep time 40 mins + 1 hour soaking)

You will need

Channa daal 1 cup (soaked for about 1 hour)
Green chilies 2 tsp
Garlic 1 tsp
Juice of half a lime
Butter 2 Tbs (Unsalted)
Turmeric 2/3 tsp
Cayenne pepper 2/3 tsp
Pepper 2/3 tsp
Cilantro/coriander powder 1 tsp
Cumin seeds 1/2 tsp
Salt
Oil for cooking 3 Tbs


Method
Heat some oil in a pot.
Fry the garlic and chilies for about 30 seconds or so.
Add all the spices.... fry for a few seconds.
Pour in about 1 1/2 cup of water and add the lentils.
Squeeze in lime juice.
Bring to a boil.
Cover the pot and cook over med high for about 20 mins or until the lentils are tender.
Stir in between. You might also need to add more water. The consistency should be like a thick soup.
Turn off the heat and stir in the butter.
I sprinkled some very coarse peppercorns over the top.
Ta da!
Good with Naan or plain rice. Or just on its own!
{heart}
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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Panini II

GO BEEF!

I found some gorgeous rare (as in doness) roast beef. I had to make a sandwich or better a panini!

Very simple steps and a wonderfully delicious result.
Lets get started!

(serves 2)
(prep time 20 mins)
Step 1
You will start with some good hearty bread
I used a garlic parmesan focaccia bread
Step 2Then you will need some meat
I used a combo of 1/4 lbs rare roast beef plus 1/4 lbs pepper crusted smoked turkey
Step 3
Cheese of course
I used 2 slices of Havarti per serving
Step 4
Some veggies
I used fire roasted red pepper halves
Step 5
A sauce of some kind to spread on the bread
I whipped up 2 Tbs Mayo + 1/2 Tbs Mustard + 1 tsp chopped shallots + 1 tsp chopped dill pickles + salt/pepper

Assemble the sandwich.
Oil and heat a cast iron grill pan and panini press (or use an electric panini press)
Grill for 8 mins per side on med high heat.
Serve with a nice big broccoli salad!
:-)
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Aash e Shalgham

Aash and I.......

"Aash" is a hearty Persian soup just meant for winters.
I've heard that they have AT LEAST a bazzlion different ways of making it!
I had a couple of turnips lying around so I made this... however I am dying to try Aash-e-anar made with fresh pomegranate seeds..... sounds so perfect!

I searched the net for a good authentic recipe source for this particular soup and came across the same version splattered on several different sites. That recipe seemed a bit plain and the quantity of the onions and turmeric used sounded like a lot! So I tweaked it just a bit. And I think it came out terrific :-)

(Enough for 4-5 servings)
(Prep time: 45 mins)

Ingredients

Ground lean beef 1 lbs
Turnips 2 cups ( I chopped these into tiny 1/2" squares)
Yellow split peas 1/4 cup (Soaked in water for 45 min)
Basmati rice 1/2 cup + Tbs
Onions 1/2 cup (chopped very fine)
Garlic 1 tsp (minced)
Green chili 1/2 tsp (minced)
Fresh mint 1 Tbs (chopped very fine)
White vinegar 1 tsp
Butter 3 Tbs (unsalted)
Turmeric 1 rounded tsp
Sumac 2/3 tsp
Pepper
Salt
Oil for frying

Methodology and all that....

First step is to make the meatballs... and you do that by combining the ground beef, onions, garlic, chilies in a large bowl. Add sumac, salt and a good amount of pepper (I used approx 2/3 tsp).
Make 1" dia balls. You will have close to 18 meatballs.
Now we are going to shallow fry these. Heat enough oil t0 submerge the meatballs half way.
Cook for 1 min each side. They will cook fully in the soup. Right now we are looking for a nice brown color.
Take out the meatballs and keep aside.
Boil 3 cups of water in a heavy base wide pot.
Add the turnips, rice and the split peas.
Season with salt. Add the turmeric... good amount of pepper.
Cover the pot and cook for 30 mins.
This gets thick and might burn the bottom of the pan so stir frequently and add more water if needed.
The consistancy should be like runny porridge.
Use the back of your spoon to mash some pieces of turnip against the pot.
Gently add the meatballs.
Lower the heat cover the pot and simmer away for 15 mins.
In the last five mins add the mint, the butter and the vinegar.
Mix well..
You can now enjoy a delicious bowl of Aash!
Perfect!
:-)
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cream Puffs

And this is how its done!

The filling was 5 oz Jell-O instant vanilla pudding made with 2 cups of cold milk. It tasted too much like fake vanilla and was too yellow and too sweet. I didn't like that! So I whipped 1/3 cup of plain heavy cream and mixed it in with the pudding. It turned a gorgeous pale yellow and very very creamy!
I used Chef Alton Brown's recipe for the choux pastry, however I doubled the amount of sugar to 2 Tbs. And considering the amount of eggs used I added 1/2 tsp of vanilla to prevent the puffs from smelling eggy...yuck!
The baking directions are perfect!
I dusted the cream puffs lightly with powdered sugar!
P.S. You can also find the show on youtube :-)
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Sunday, October 4, 2009

The big three oh-no!

My beautiful sister made the most beautiful brownie cake for my 30th!
Quite possibly the best birthday a gal can have :-)
Sis ur the best muah muah!
:-)









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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Gołąbki



These are a Polish comfort food called Golapkis or cabbage rolls. SO GOOD!
Absolutely terrific during the winters!
The traditional way is to slow bake them. I find that cooking on very low heat is just as good.

(This recipe will be good for 4 ppl)
(Prep time: 1 1/2 hours)

Ingredients

Ground beef 1/2 lbs
(I used ground chuck and veal 2:1)Uncooked long grain rice 1/8 cup
(I used basmati rice)
Cabbage 8 leaves
(I used savoy cabbage)Flat leaf Italian parsley 3-4 Tbs chopped fine
Button mushrooms 2 Tbs chopped fine
Fire roasted red bell pepper 2 Tbs chopped fine (optional)
Red onions 1 Tbs chopped fine
Melted butter 1 Tbs
Garlic 1 tsp crushed
Egg yolk 1 large
Red wine vinegar 1 Tsp
Chicken stock 3 cups
Tomatoes 1 cup
Sliced onions 1 cup
(I used canned fire roasted tomatoes)Chili flakes 1/8 tsp (optional)
Pepper 1/4 tsp
Salt

Method


In a bowl gently mix in everything but the cabbage leaves, chicken stock, the diced tomatoes and the sliced onions.
Keep aside

Preparing the cabbage leaves

I usually get a small head of Savoy cabbage. You can use regular cabbage.
Cut out the core with a sharp paring knife.
I find it useful to insert the knife at an angle and then cut out the core with a circular motion.
Boil water in a large pot and then turn off the heat.
You should have enough water to dunk an entire head of cabbage.
Put the cabbage into the hot water and after a min or two you can very easily peel off the leaves with a pair a tongs without any trouble.
You will need about 8-9 leaves for the amount of meat we are using.
Pat dry with some tissue paper.
Trim out the tough rib that runs through the center of the cabbage leaf.
One side of the cabbage leaf will tend to curve up when placed on a flat surface. Keep that side face up.
Now you are ready for the meat.
Spoon about 2 Tbs of the meat stuffing at the bottom edge of the leaf (where the tough rib is).
Now fold in the sides of the leaf and roll up like you would a spring roll.
Don't do this very tightly because the rice will expand when cooked, so fold firmly but gently.

Place the sliced onions at the bottom of a pan.
Arrange the rolls snugly on top of the onions.
Pour in the chicken stock.
Add the tomatoes.
Cover.
Bring it to a gentle boil.
Turn the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.
Finished!
Enjoy this with thick slices of crusty bread!
:-)
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Chicken Bread


Is there anything better than the aroma of freshly baked bread?
This sort of stuffed bread is easily found in all bakeries throughout Pakistan.
Needless to say its delicious and I always have so much fun making it :-)

I use a
baking stone in my oven. Its great for all types of bread, pizzas and naan!

(This will yield 2 loaves enough for 4 ppl)
(Prep time 1hr + 4-6 hrs for dough to rise)
Dough

Bread flour 6 cups
Warm water 1 1/2 cups (approx 110-130 degrees F)
Milk 1/2 cup
Vegetable oil 1/4 cup
Yeast 1 1/2 Tbs
Sugar 2/3 Tbs
Salt 1 tsp

Dissolve all of the sugar in warm water and then stir in yeast.
Allow to proof for 15-20 mins or until the yeast turns frothy.
Mix oil and salt in the yeast mixture.
Add the flour one cup at a time.
Knead dough on a floured and cold surface for 6-8 mins until smooth and elastic.
Place in a large generously oiled bowl.
Turn the dough around to coat all sides with grease.
Cover the bowl with a damp cloth.
Let the dough rise in a warm, dark, dry place (I place mine inside the oven) until doubled in size.

Filling

Skinless boneless chicken thighs 6
Key lime juice 3 Tbs
Red onion 2/3 cup diced fine
Garlic paste 1 tsp
Green chili 2 Tbs chopped fine
Pepper 2/3 tsp
Cayenne pepper 2/3 tsp
Roasted cumin powder 1/2 tsp
Melted butter 4Tbs
Oil for cooking approx 3 Tbs
Salt
(Since this is stuffed in the bread use an additional 1/2 tsp of salt to the amount normally used)

Mix all the spices and garlic together and rub over the chicken.
Let the chicken stand for 20 mins on the counter.
Heat some oil in a large non-stick pan.
Add the onions and fry for a min we don't them turning brown.
Add chilies plus the chicken and turn the heat down to med high and cook uncovered until done.
The cooking time is 25-30 mins.
Turn the chicken once in between to ensure even browning.
Sprinkle the key lime juice towards the end.
At this point the chicken would be lightly browned and there should be no liquid left in the pan.
The onions and the chilies should have disintegrated into a paste.
Let this cool down completely.
Tear the chicken into shreds. You can use a fork if you want, I simply use my hands.
Pour the melted butter over the shredded chicken.
Mix well and make sure everything is well incorporated.

Shaping the bread

Take out the dough on a floured surface.
Punch it down and knead for a min.
You would be making two loafs.
Divide the dough into two equal parts.
Take one half of the dough and roll it out close to 1/3" thick in the center.
Roll out the edges a little thinner close to 1/4" inch because they would go over each other.
You'll know what I am talking about in a while :-)
Try and maintain a rectangular shape approx 12" x 7".
Take half of the chicken mixture and spread it in a straight 3" wide and 11" long line right in the center of the rolled out dough.
Bring the left flap of the dough over to the right side and the right flap to the left side.
You can moisten the edges of the dough with a little water to ensure a perfect seal.
Also seal the upper end of the loaf and twist off any extra dough and round it up.
Do the same on the other end.
Turn the loaf over.
Make a few vent cuts for steam to escape.
Brush some egg wash over the loaf.
Make the second loaf following the same steps.
Ready to bake.

I use a baking stone. For that I pre-heat the oven to max temperature at 550 and get the stone really really hot. Then I turn the heat down to 375 and bake the bread directly on top of the stone. It takes roughly 30 mins.

If you don't have a stone you can bake the loaf on a greased cookie sheet or any other oven proof pan. Pre-heat oven to 375 and bake for 30 mins. I will not recommend a glass pyrex dish for baking because the bread will not brown and crisp up at the bottom.

Let it cool before slicing!
I love it with a little chili garlic sauce on the side!

{heart}
Nabia
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Rasgulla

Oh so good!
These beauties are from Bangladesh!
Delicately sweet and so completely melt in your mouth!
Its best when eaten very very chilled. Just perfect for a hot sunny summer afternoon!


(Will yield about 8-9 rasgullas)
(Prep time: 1 hr + 6 hours chilling time)

Directions

Boil 4 cups of water with 1-1/2 cup of sugar in a wide pot. About 13" diameter is good.
The pot has to be big because the paneer balls when cooked will expand to almost double in size.
Throw in a few pods of cardamom and a stick of cinnamon.
Turn the heat off and let the spices steep while you prepare the paneer.

Next make paneer.
Here is an earlier post about it. All the instructions are there.
Make it using 4 cups of milk. The paneer has to be soft so don't use any heavy weight on it and just let it hang. After the paneer has been hanging for about 30 mins take it out on a flat surface and knead it with your fingers for a good 3-4 mins.
Doing this will break any large lumps of curds and you will end up with a smooth soft dough.
Tap it with some tissue paper to remove any left over drops of water.
Take small amounts of the dough, about 1 Tbs or so and shape it into round balls.
Make sure the surface has no big cracks and is smooth.
Now, back to the water. Bring it to a roaring boil and take out all the spices.
Depending on the size of the pot you can gently drop all the balls at once or do it in batches. Just keep the unused balls covered with a moist cloth.
They should have plenty of room to expand without touching each other.
Put the lid on the pot. Reduce heat to med high.
Cook covered for 15-20 mins. Turn off heat.
Bring it room temp before chilling it in the fridge for about 6 hours.
Awesome stuff!
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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Spanakopita

Okay... this stuff is seriously good!!
The crust is yummy and crispy and crunchy and light as air.
Feta cheese and spinach are so good together!
Very traditional Greek street food.

A note:
Working with phyllo dough is not hard at all so don't be intimidated. In fact its very forgiving and you can hide any mistakes or patch up any tears easily. The trick is to keep the pastry that you are not working with covered with a moist (not wet) kitchen towel so it doesn't dry out and become brittle, that's all.

There are many ways to make this.
Some like to make individual triangles, some like to bake it like lasagna. I happen to like it rolled up so that's what I'll explain here.

(Will make 2 loaves enough for 4 ppl)
(Prep time: 1 hr)

Ingredients

Chopped spinach 16 oz bag (all the water should be squeezed out)
Scallions 3-4 chopped fine
Garlic 1/2 tsp chopped fine
Egg 1 large lightly beaten
Feta cheese crumbled 1 cup
Dill 2 Tbs chopped
Parsley 2 Tbs chopped
Parmesan cheese 1 tsp (optional)
Bread crumbs1 tsp (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil or PAM olive oil
Phyllo dough
Pepper 1/4 tsp
Salt
1 egg white mixed well with 1 tsp water and maybe a pinch of salt (this will be used as egg wash later)


Method

First step...
Defrost the phyllo according to package instructions.

I used plain old frozen phyllo pastry that you get from a grocery store, it's pretty decent. But if someone knows where to get fresh phyllo in Seattle, please let me know :-)

Sauté the scallions for a min or two in some olive oil.
Add the garlic, sauté for another 30 seconds.
Mix in the spinach and cook for 2 mins, allow this to cool down.
Take out the spinach in a large bowl and add the herbs, feta cheese, egg, salt and pepper.
The mixture should be at room temperature before assembly.

Pour some olive oil in a small bowl and keep a pastry brush handy.
Dust your work surface lightly with flour.
Peel off gently, a sheet of pastry and lay it flat on your work surface.
The single most important thing you can do here is to keep unused pastry covered at all times with a lightly moist cloth or kitchen towel.
Brush olive oil all over the phyllo with a pastry brush, be gentle.
You can also use PAM, that saves time.
Don't fret if the corners are crooked or if there is a big hole or a crack, these won't matter as you build more layers of pastry on top.
Now peel off another sheet of pastry and lay it on top of the first and brush with oil.
Repeat.
I like doing 6 layers at least.
This next step is optional.
When you reach halfway to the 3rd layer brush with oil and then sprinkle some Parmesan cheese and/or bread crumbs. Doing this adds an unexpected layer of flavor.Add 3 more layers.Alrighty...
So now you have 6 layers of phyllo sheets all set up.
If you want to, you can take a sharp knife and trim the corners and make it neat.
Take the spinach mixture - leave about an inch of space from the longer edge - and spread it along length of the phyllo pastry.
Tuck the sides in and roll it like a log.
Brush some egg wash on top.
Make a few cuts diagonally spaced 2 inches apart so the steam can escape while baking.
Pre heat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 35-40 mins or until the crust is all nice and goldeny.
Let it rest for 20 mins before cutting.
I like slicing it at a bias along the vent cuts.Ta da!
:-)
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Friday, September 4, 2009

Gol Gapay

Another street food.
Interesting and delish.
Called "gol gapay" in Pakistan and "pani puri" in India.

A breeze to make specially cuz I buy the shells and don't make them at home. But if you wanted to here is a good link

(The following recipe is for 40 shells. Thats enough for 2-3 people)
(Prep time: 30 mins + overnight soaking + 4 hrs chilling)

Making the tamarind water

Soak 1 cup of seedless tamarind overnight in 3 cups of drinking water.
Bring it to a good roaring boil, turn the heat off and let the water cool to room temp.
You can use an immersion blender and give the water mixture 2 to 3 pulses or you can use the back of a fork to break down the tamarind.

Run the mixture through a sieve to catch small seeds or lumps.
I don't like a complicated flavor in the tamarind water and don't use a lot of spices.
Season with,
Salt 2/3 tsp
Sugar 1/2 tsp
Pepper 1/8 tsp
Cayenne 1/4 tsp

Put the water in the fridge for about 2 hours. It should be icy chilled.

The stuffing

Very basic would be,
Boiled potato chunks 1 cup
Garbanzo beans 1 cup
I like to squeeze lime juice over these, not much about 1 tsp each.
Thats it.

The next would be the boondi raita.
No rules here just eyeball everything.
You will need,
Yogurt 1/3 cup
Red onions chopped fine 2 tsp
Green chilies chopped fine 1 tsp
Tomatoes chopped small 3 tsp
Cilantro chopped 1 tsp
Mint leaves chopped very fine (almost a paste) 2/3 tsp
Boondi 1 cup
(soak it in warm water for approx 10 mins to make it soft. Press them in your hands gently to squeeze the water out before adding to the yogurt)

Now,
Dilute the yogurt with a little water, about 3 Tbs.
Season with,
Pepper 1/4 tsp
Cayenne 1/4 tsp
Sugar 1/8 tsp
Cilantro/coriander seed powder 1/4 tsp
Salt

Add all the cut up veggies listed above and fold in the boondi gently.
Chill.
Done!


How to eat this?

The shells are bite size.
Grab one and tap it on the top to make an opening.
Fill it with a few potatoes, garbanzo beans and some boondi raita or any other chutney you like.
Some people like to dunk but I like using a spoon here, fill it with tamarind water and pop the whole thing in your mouth all at once.
:-)
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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Panzanella


(Serves 2)
(Prep time: 30 mins)

Got stale bread?

Make some panzanella!
I used a day old demi french baguette.
Cut it up into big 1" chunks.
Drizzle some good herb infused extra virgin olive oil over the pieces.
Toss.
Spread the bread chunks on a cookie sheet or a baking dish.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and bake for about 15 mins or until toasty brown.
Remember to turn the sides once in between.


Ingredients

English cucumbers 1 med
Zucchini 1 small
Roma tomato 1
Red onions 2-3 Tbs
Red bell peppers 1/4 cup
Dried cranberries 2 Tbs
Toasted almond flakes 1 Tbs
Italian flat leaf parsley - chopped fine 1 Tbs

No rules here just make sure the veggies are cut up the same size.
For more color you can use yellow zucchini and a combination green, orange, yellow bell peppers.
Combine all these in mixing bowl.


Vinaigrette

Whisk together the following.
Fresh orange juice 2 Tbs
Orange zest 1/2 tsp
Fresh lime juice 1/2 Tbs
Fresh pink grapefruit juice 2 Tbs
White wine vinegar 2 Tbs
Extra virgin olive oil 3-4 Tbs
Garlic crushed 1/2 tsp
Salt
Pepper

Toss the bread chunks, the veggies and the dressing together.
Chill in the fridge for about 20 mins so all the flavors really come together. Sprinkle with the roasted almond flakes just before eating.
Enjoy it on its own or a side to steak or fish.

Thats it :-)
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Chicken Biryani

Very very aromatic!
Delicious. A staple at all weddings!
Biryani has many variations and you can make it as complex or as simple as you want. This is a chicken biryani from Lahore Pakistan.


(This recipe will serve 6 ppl)
(Prep time: 1 hour)

Marinade for the chicken

The spice and salt content might seem a bit high. But since the chicken gravy will be mixed with rice it will mellow out.

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs 1 1/2 lbs (cut up to approx 2" chunks)
Black pepper 2/3 tsp
Cayenne pepper 1 tsp
Cilantro/coriander powder 1 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Black cumin 1/2 tsp
No salt!
Salt is added while cooking because adding salt to the marinade will draw out the juices and make the chicken dry. The spices listed above will be enough for a simple basic biryani.

Mix the spices together.
Rub well into the chicken and let it sit on the counter for 30 mins.
The chicken should be at room temperature before cooking.
Heat about 2 Tbs oil in a wide non stick pan.
Use one and a half times the amount of salt you would normally use (I used 1 1/2 tsp for this)
Sprinkle half the amount over the meat and fry quickly for 3-4 mins on high heat (reserve the other half of salt for the gravy)
Take the chicken out of the pan and set aside for now. It will cook fully in the gravy.

For the gravy

Red onions sliced 2 cups
Tomatoes diced 1 1/2 cups
Garlic chopped 1 1/2 tsp
Fresh plain yogurt 1/3 cup
Cooking oil 1/3 cup
Salt
(leftover from frying the chicken)
Heat the oil in the same pan used to sear the chicken.
Fry the onions until light golden brown in color.
Add garlic. Fry for 2-3 mins.
Add tomatoes, salt and cover the pan.
Turn the heat to med high and cook until the tomatoes break down. Should take about 5 min or so.
Whip the yogurt with a fork and add it to the pan. Mix well.

Cover and cook for another 10 mins. Use a blender to turn this into a smooth thick gravy.
Now,
Add the chicken and cook on med heat for 20 min or until the chicken is fully cooked.
Cook uncovered so that most of the water evaporates. Use a splatter screen to prevent a mess.
The gravy is ready.


For the rice
Boil 4 1/2 cups of long grain Basmati rice in pot full of boiling salted water, like you would pasta.
Add to the water a stick of cinnamon and a few cloves.
The rice should be half cooked, sort of el dente.
Drain out all the water and discard the cloves and the cinnamon stick.

Final step... Layering the Biryani
You will need,
A large, deep pot with a heavy base like a Dutch oven or something similar.
You will also need 1/2 stick of unsalted butter thats about 4 Tbs.
And some saffron strands about 15-20 soaked in approx 2 Tbs lukewarm milk.

This process doesn't have to be perfect at all. Don't worry about making precise layers. It will all be mixed in towards the end.

Spread 1/3 of the chicken gravy at the bottom of the pan.
Now layer 1/3 of the rice over the gravy.
Drop 1/3 of the butter over the rice.
Repeat.

Your top layer would be rice with a dollop of butter.
Lastly, pour down the saffron milk concoction along one side of the pot. The idea is to have some rice colored bright yellow and ofcourse the addition of the wonderful aroma of saffron.
Sprinkle a little water no more than a Tbs over the rice.
Cover tightly with a lid.
Some people find it useful to wrap a moist kitchen towel around the lid before covering the pot to make it air tight.
Cook over low heat for about 30 mins.
The rice will fully cook in the steam created inside the pot.
Mix well!
Done!
Goes really nice with a cool cucumber or mint raita!
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Dahi Barey

A very very popular street food. Eating this from the street is almost always on the to-do list when people visit home.

It seems like a lot of work. Of course back home no body usually goes through the trouble of making it. Around here is a different story we haven't found a place that truly catches the flavor.

Me and my sweetheart LOVE this stuff... I think our mutual liking for it is one of the reasons we got married :-)

(I make this much for just the 2 of us :-) but this should be enough for 6-8 normal ppl)
(Prep time: 1 hour + overnight soaking)
For the dumplings (Barey)

Soak 1/2 cup Maash daal overnight
(Black gram, urad dal, udad dal)
(The daal should be the washed variety. The one that's all pale yellow and without the husk. )

In a blender add the following
Garlic 1/4 clove
Salt 1/2 tsp
Cayenne pepper 1/4 tsp
Pepper 1/4 tsp
Baking powder 2/3 tsp
The soaked daal
Water 1/4 cup

Blend blend blend until very smooth. Should take about 3 mins.
To this mixture add
Cumin 1/4 tsp
Besan 2 Tbs
(Gram flour)Mix this vigorously.
The consistency should be fairly thick... must drop like a dollop of cottage cheese.
Let this sit for about 10-15 mins.
Heat some oil for deep frying.
Now drop small amounts of the mixture into the oil.
To avoid big oil splashes, I normally take a table spoonful, bring it very near the oil and slide the mixture down with the help of another spoon.
The daal mixture should form a ball shape and rise to the surface of the oil in just two seconds. If this doesn't happen, your oil isn't hot enough.
And if it starts to break and doesn't hold the shape the mixture is too thin. To fix this just add more besan to the mixture and thicken it.

Once you have dropped the mixture into the oil. And they look round and are floating happily, lower the heat a bit. Cook for about 6-7 mins. Turn the dumplings while cooking to ensure they cook through. Take them out when they are light golden brown and dunk them in a pot full of cold water. They should soak up water for no longer that 20 mins to be just right. Soaking more than that would make them too soft and they will break. After 20 mins, take them out of the water, give them a gentle squeeze to remove water. The barey are done and ready to be arranged in a dish.

Papri

For those who are unfamiliar with this food, the papri are the crispy bits that are sprinkled on top just before serving. You can certainly omit this altogether but its addition will make everything more yummy!

It's simple enough.

Take about 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
Add a generous pinch of salt and cumin
1 Tbs of cooking oil
Enough water so that after kneading the dough should be stiff like pasta dough.

Roll out the dough as thin as you can.
Cut into strips and drop them in hot oil.
Cook until golden brown.
Cool fully on some tissue paper.
Take them in your hand and crush slightly and they are ready to be sprinkled over the dahi barey.

If you want to cheat, you can fry some spring rolls wrappers or wontons, not the same but close enough :-)

Yogurt sauce

Plain whole yogurt about 1 1/2 cups
Water 2/3 cup

Spices
Cayenne pepper 1/2 tsp
Cilantro/coriander powder 1/2 tsp
Chaat masala 1/2 tsp
Roasted cumin powder 1/2 tsp
A touch of sugar
Salt
Pepper

Chutneys
Tamarind chutney 2-3 Tbs
Mint chutney 2-3 Tbs

Vegetables
Red onions sliced thinly 2-3 Tbs
Tomatoes diced 1 small
Green chilies diced very fine 2-3 tsp
Boiled potatoes diced 1 small
Garbanzo beans 3-4 Tbs
Cilantro leaves chopped 1 Tbs
You will also need boondi about 1/4 cup. I like to soak it in water and add it when its soft

Add a 2/3 cup of water to the yogurt to make it thin.
Mix in the spices well.
Add the veggies and mix gently taking care not to break the boondi or the potatoes.
Arrange the barey in the bottom of a deep flat dish.
Pour the yogurt mixture over the top.
Drizzle the chutneys.
Cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Sprinkle the papri just before eating.

There is no rule about the veggies, the spices or any of the condiments.
You can add more or less or omit anything according to your liking.
Just be sure it doesn't get too crowded in the serving dish and you have enough room to for the barey to feel snug.
It makes sense to serve the add-ons in separate bowls so people can add what they want.
And to keep things very basic and fuss free just use yogurt and store bought chaat masala.
:-)
Read more ...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Almond crusted Halibut

Sounds crazy but I don't eat fish or anything that comes out of the ocean!
Hubby loves it. So I made this for him today.
He is a genuine cutie pie :-)
Something tasty and light for summer in Seattle. I served this with the left over citrus sauce and panzanella salad.


(Single serving)
(Prep time: 45 mins)

For the citrus sauce

Use freshly squeezed juice for best results.
Pink grapefruit juice 4 Tbs
Orange juice 4 Tbs
Lime juice 2 Tbs
White wine vinegar 4 Tbs
Orange zest 1 tsp
Ginger zest 1/2 tsp
Store bought orange juice 4 Tbs
Salt

Combine all the liquids in a pan and reduce to half over low heat.
Stir occasionally.


Preparing the fish

Fresh halibut fillet 1/2 lbs
Panko or bread crumbs 1/4 cup
Flat leaf Italian parsley - chopped fine
1 Tbs
Almond flakes 1-2 Tbs
Olive oil about 2 Tbs
Salt
Pepper

In a bowl prepare the topping for the fish.
Combine the panko, 1 Tbs of olive oil, chopped parsley, sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Mix well so that the oil is well incorporated.
Lastly add the almond flakes and toss gently so they don't break.
Brush a little of the citrus sauce over the fish.
Season the fillet lightly with salt and pepper.
Spoon the almond mixture on top.
Heat some olive oil in a pan and sear the fillet on one side.
Cook for about 2 mins and transfer the fish to a pre-heated 400 degree oven to finish cooking.
The fish cooks very quickly and after about 8 mins it will be nice and flaky!
Ta da!


{heart}
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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Panini

Pastrami ciabatta panini with homemade pesto...

We had a very very hot week in Seattle, reaching about 106 degrees!

This was just one of the few things we had that required very little time near the stove.

(Serves 1)
(Prep time: 30 mins)
(Pesto recipe will yield a cup)

Pesto

1 cup fresh basil leaves

1/8 cup of pine nuts
Use about 1" cube of Parmesan Reggiano
2 cloves of garlic
Olive oil
and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper!

Put all of the above in a blender.
Add about 2 Tbs of the olive oil to begin with and gradually pour a little more while blending.
All together you would use about 5-6 Tbs of oil.
Blend for a 2-3 mins.. and that's basically it!


Caramelized onions

Cut round 1/4" thick slices of a valida onion.

Heat some oil in a pan. Use just enough to coat the base of the pan.
Add the onions, sprinkle of salt.
Lower heat to med-low and cook for about 20 mins, until soft and tender and very light brown.
Keep turning to ensure even browning and It would be easier on a non stick pan.


Now for the Panini

I got some wonderful organic Ciabatta bread.
Some great deli pastrami. Use a little less than 1/4 lbs per sandwich.
Sliced some tomatoes
Thin slices of Parmesan Reggiano
1/4" thick slices of fresh Mozzarella cheese

Slice the bread, spread a little pesto on both sides.
Arrange the meat over one half of the bread..
Spoon some onions..
Lay the tomatoes..
Layer the Mozzarella and Parmesan (as much as you want)
The other half of the bread comes next.
Brush a little Olive oil on the outer sides of the bread..
I used a stove top panini press and grilled the sandwich for about 4-5 min each side!
Read more ...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Tortellini Salad

Fabulous summer salad!
Leave the sausage out for a vegetarian salad.

(serves 4-6)
(prep time 30 mins)

Ingredients


Fresh cheese tortellini 1 Lbs (cook al dente according to package instructions)
Diced roma tomatoes 1 Med
Very thinly chopped red onion 2 Tbs
Basil leaves 4-5 cut into thin strips
Cooked peas 1/3 cup
Red pepper diced 2/3 cup
Chopped black olives 2- 3 Tbs
Diced beef franks 2-3 links
1/2 cup shredded fresh Mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Mayonnaise 4 Tbs
Homemade Pesto 2 Tbs

Make sure your pasta is cold otherwise the mayo will melt.
Mix the pesto with the mayo.
Toss everything together.
Chill well before eating.
No salt no pepper needed!

{heart}
Nabia


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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dal Puri

(makes 4 puris enough for 2)
(prep time 30 mins + 2 hours soaking time)

For the puris

All purpose flour 2 cups
Whole wheat flour 1 cup
Warm water
Salt 1/2 tsp
In a large mixing bowl. Sieve the flours and the salt together.
Gradually add warm water and work it into a dough.
Knead well.
The dough should be soft and flexible similar to a chapati dough. (Infact if you used whole wheat flour instead of the all purpose flour this would be the dough for chapati.)
Leave aside for at least 20 mins.

For the filling

Chana dal 1 cup (soaked for at least 2 hours)
(Called split chickpea. You can get this easily in any indian store or in the international isle of a grocery store)
Cayenne pepper 1 tsp
Garlic powder 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
Cilantro/coriander powder 1 tsp
Roasted cumin powder 1/2 tsp
Nigella seeds 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Curry leaf (chopped) 1 1/2 tsp
(also called kari patta, tez patta)
Oil 1 Tbs
Water
Salt
(since this is the stuffing, keep it a little on the salty side)

Ok...
So the trick here is to cook the lentils and keep it very dry.
I started with adding the lentils into a pan and I poured enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. About 1/4 cup.
Add all the spices but keep the curry leaves for last.
Cover the pan and simmer over med low heat.
I kept checking in between and if the water was gone I added a little more.
This took about 30 mins to cook.
I added the curry leaves in the last 5 mins.
Mash the mixture with a fork.
Also in the last 5 mins, I took the cover off the pan, added a little oil and made sure all the water was gone.
I have attached a pic to give you an idea about how dry the dal should be. Hope that helps :-)
Make sure this mixture is cool enough to handle before you start the assembly procedure.


Final show down


We will prepare the dough balls like parathas ( I will post this soon).
I perfer this way. You can do it yours :-)
Divide your dough into equal parts.
Round them into balls close to 2 inches in diameter.
Keep your rolling pin and board dusted with flour.
Roll out a ball of dough really thin, rub a little butter all over its surface.
Roll it up into a long log.
Now roll the log onto itself and round it off in your hands.
Phew!
Almost done :-)
This part is actually fun!
Now for the stuffing.

Roll out a prepared ball of dough to about a 4 inch diameter.
Schmear a dab of salted butter in the center.
Now, take 2 Tbs of the stuffing and squeeze them in your hands to make a ball.
Put this in the center of the dough and bring the sides of the dough up and seal at the top!
Flatten it a little with your hand... and then roll out one final time.
It should be about 6 inches in diameter.
Fry it in frying pan with a little bit of butter or ghee!
:-)
There!
We had this with tamarind chutney and alu choley! Yumee!






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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fajita

(Serves 2)
(Prep time: 30 mins + 6 hrs marinating time)


Meat preparation


Skirt or flank steak 1 lbs

Lime juice 2 limes
Garlic (crushed) 2-3 cloves
Cumin 1 tsp
Red Chili flakes 2/3 tsp
Pepper 1/4 tsp
Tequila 6 oz (optional) - I used 3 Tbs of apple cider vinegar
Cilantro 1/4 bunch
Salt

Blend all the ingredients in a blender and then pour over the steak. Cover with saran wrap or seal in a ziploc bag. Let this sit overnight in the fridge.
Before cooking the steak bring it to room temperature.
Pour off the marinade. Pat dry with a kitchen towel.
Turn the broiler on to high and cook each side for 8 mins for a medium steak.
This can get too smoky and might set off the fire alarm.
Another way is to heat about 2 Tbs oil in a large oven proof skillet.
Cook the steak for 4 mins each side.
Finish in a 375 pre-heated oven for 8 min for a medium steak.
Loosely wrap the steak with aluminum foil and let it stand for about 10 min to seal in the juices.
Cut very thinly along the grain of the steak!
I served this white cheddar potatoes, bell peppers and a sliced fresh hass avocado!

Veggies


Green bell pepper (sliced) 1 med
Red bell pepper (sliced) 1 med
Red onions (sliced) 1/2 med
Green onions 2-3 stalks
Thyme 1/4 tsp
Pepper
Salt
Olive oil

I cut the bell peppers into strips fairly equal in size. And steamed them over salted water for about 5 mins.
Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onions until they are tender.
Add the thyme.
Add the green onions.
Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Add the bell peppers.
Give everything a good toss.
Cook for a min or two.
Ready!

White cheddar potatoes with chives

Red potatoes 2-3 med
Butter (unsalted) 2 Tbs
Milk 1/4 cup
Aged white cheddar cheese (shredded) 1/2 cup
Chives (chopped fine) 2-3 Tbs
Pepper 1/4 tsp
Salt

Boil the potatoes in salted water.
Pour off the water when done and put the potatoes back in the same hot pot so any left over water drops dry off completely.
I like to keep the skins of potatoes on. Put all the ingredients in and smash with a potato masher! You can make these as chunky or as smooth as you want.

:-)
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Monday, July 13, 2009

Egg Salad croissant

(single serving)
(prep time 20 mins)
Very basic no frills egg salad

Hard boiled eggs (cooled) 2
Butter 1 Tbs
Salt
Pepper
And a very very small pinch of cayenne pepper

Put everything in a mixing bowl.
Mash it up with a back of a fork.
Speard it inside a lightly warmed croissant.
Good morning!

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Gajjar halva with khoya

Easy.
Takes forever to make.
Totally worth it.... sometimes :-)
(Serves 6-8)
(Prep time: 8-9 hrs)

You will start with about 20 oz of coarsely shredded or matchstick carrots. If you used very finely shredded carrots your halva will be very mushy and will stick to the pot a lot. A gallon of whole milk. 2 cups of sugar, 4-6 pods of cardamom (whole) and I throw in a stick of cinnamon for extra yumminess. All in the biggest pot you have over med high heat. Keep stirring after every 15 mins or so specially when the milk is half gone. Don't be hasty and turn the heat up. The milk will burn and ruin the whole thing. Patience is the name of the game!
I have posted pictures of the halva in different stages. It took me around 8 hrs from start to finish!
When the halva was done I took out the cinnamon and the cardamom. Then I added a stick of unsalted butter (8 Tbs) and stirred it for 10-15 mins. Lastly, I turned the heat off and added 1 cup of khoya and mixed it all well. Some people also like to add chopped nuts and raisins at this point.
finito.... phew!!!
This dessert is best when eaten warm.



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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Butter Chicken

(serves 3-4)
(prep time 45 mins)
Ingredients

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs (cut into 1" squares) 1/2 lbs
Red Onions (sliced) 1 med
Tomatoes (diced) 2 med
Green chilies (chopped) 1 Tbs
Garlic (crushed) 2 tsp
Yogurt 1/2 cup
Fresh lime juice 1/2 med lime
Turmeric powder 2/3 tsp
Kashmiri mirch (crushed) 1 tsp
(Kashmiri mirch is a whole dried red chili. Use any red chili flakes or cayenne pepper instead)
Black cumin 2/3 tsp
Mustard seeds 2/3 tsp
Fenugreek seed powder 1/3 tsp
Salt
Oil enough to cover the bottom of your pan
Butter (unsalted) 3Tbs

Method

Firstly, sear the chicken meat in hot oil for a min or until it has a golden brown crust. Put the chicken aside, it will later cook completely in the gravy.
Now fry the onions until golden brown.
Add the garlic and the chilies stir for a few seconds and finally add the tomatoes.
Give everything a good stir. Lower heat to med high.
Cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the tomatoes break down to a mush.
Blend this mixture in a blender with yogurt. Keep aside.
Now we are going to toast the spices.
Heat about a Tbs of oil. Put the mustard seeds in and wait till they crackle. Add the rest of the spices (no salt) and stir for about 10 seconds. .
You can now season with salt and add the yogurt mixture and the chicken.
Give it a good stir.
Cover the pan and cook on med low heat for about 20 mins or until the chicken is done.
Turn off the heat.
Add lime juice and the butter.
Let the heat of the pan melt the butter.
Stir.
And you are done :-)
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Khagina

(serves 1)
(prep time 20 mins)


This is a breakfast dish...

Something like a spicy scrambled eggs.
You will need the following
Eggs 2 large
Potatoes (diced) 1/4 cup
Onions (diced) 1/8 cup
Green chili (chopped coarse) 1 tsp
Cumin 1/4 tsp
Chili flakes 1/4 tsp
Pepper pinch
Oil 2 Tbs
Salt

Whip the eggs with salt and spices in a bowl. Leave aside.
Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the potatoes and fry in oil until half cooked.
Now add the onions and cook until potatoes are done and onions are translucent.
Add green chilies and stir.
Pour in the eggs and cook over med heat.
Stir often..
Cook until eggs are set.
Eat this with buttered toast or a paratha!
Read more ...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Koftay

(serves 3-4)
(prep time 45 mins)
For the meatballs

Ground lean beef 1/4 lbs
Garlic (crushed) 2/3 tsp
Green chilies (crushed) 1/2 tsp
Egg yolk 1 small
Cashew nuts (ground) 1 Tbs
Cayenne pepper 1/3 tsp
Cilantro/coriander powder 2/3 tsp
Cumin powder 1/3 tsp
Pepper 1/3 tsp
Salt

Mix everything in a bowl. Make into round balls about 1" diameter. Will make about 8-9.
In a frying pan heat some canola oil. Sear the meat balls from all sides. Takes about a min or two. They will cook completely in the gravy.

Gravy

Red onions (sliced) 1/2 med
Tomatoes (diced) 1 med
Plain yogurt 1/4 cup
Garlic (crushed) 2/3 tsp
Ginger (crushed) 2/3 tsp
Green chilies (crushed) 1 Tbs
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Cayenne pepper 2/3 tsp
Cilantro powder 1/2 tsp
Garam masala 1/2 tsp
Pepper 1/4 tsp
Salt
Water 2/3 cup
Oil 1/4 cup

Fry the onion until they turn golden brown.
Add garlic and ginger. Stir.
Add the tomatoes and the chilies and mix well.
Cover the pot and cook for 2-3 min on med high heat.
Take the mixture out and blend in a blender with the yogurt to make the gravy.
You can use the same pot and fry all the spices (minus the salt) for about half a min
Add the blended yogurt mixture back into the pot. Mix well to incorporate the spices.
Add salt. Add water.
Bring the heat to med high so that the gravy is bubbling slightly.
Add the meatballs carefully so they don't break.
Cover and cook on lowered heat for about 15 min or until the meatballs are fully cooked.
Sprinkle some chopped cilantro on top.
Done! :-)
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Paneer

This is super duper easy!

(1/2 gallon of milk will make approx 4 cups chopped paneer)
(Prep time 10 mins + 2 hours draining)

Paneer is so easy to make at home, and the flavor and texture is so much better than store bought. Another advantage of making your own paneer is that you can flavor it anyway you want.
Following is a simple method for making plain paneer.  Paneer freezes well for 3 months.

Ingredients

This recipe can easily be halved.

Whole milk 1/2 gallon (use full fat)
Heavy cream 2 Tbs/cup of milk (use 36%)
(1/2 gallon is 8 cups so you will use 16 Tbs or 1 cup of heavy cream)
Some sort of acid, your options are:
  1. Lemon/Lime juice you will need 3-5 Tbs
  2. Vinegar 3-5 Tbs
  3. Citric acid powder 1-2 tsp
  4. Yogurt diluted with water
    You will need a cup and a half of plain full fat yogurt mixed with a of cup water.
    Mix these together and make sure there aren't any lumps of yogurt.
Note:
If you don't have citric acid powder, use yogurt if you can. I find that it works better because it leaves no vinegary or lemony smell and taste in the paneer. This is specially important if you plan to make dessert out of the paneer.

The cheese press

When I first started making paneer at home I made a makeshift cheese press.
Poke some holes at the bottom and all four sides of an aluminum mini loaf with a needle.
Line it with cheesecloth and and fill it about 2" with the curds.
Stack another mini loaf inside it, place a plate over it and then put a 5lbs weight on top (like a pot filled with water or a dumbell)
The whole thing sits on a wire rack so the water can easily drain.




However I have realised now that you can do perfectly well without the press.
Line a colander with 2 layers of cheesecloth, leave an extra 4" of cheesecloth hanging over the colander.
Pour the whey and curds through it and let the curds rest for 3 mins.
Grab all four sides of the cheese cloth and carry the curds onto a flat surface.
Bring the flaps of the cheese cloth over (think gift wrapping) and form a rough, tight square shape with your hands, no more than 2" thick.
Place the cheese on a wire rack.
Put a 5lbs weight on it (a cooking pot filled with water works fine).
I hope these pics help and give you a better idea.




Method

Combine the cream and the milk in a large heavy base pot.
Set your temp to med high and bring this to a soft boil.
Stir often, you don't want the milk to burn.
After the milk has begun to boil, turn the heat down to low.
Now is the time to add your acid.
Stir gently while adding the acid.
  • If you are using citric powder you can sprinkle it directly into the pot.
  • If you are using vinegar, lemon or lime juice. Add that 1 Tbs at a time.
  • Pour the yogurt mixture continulay into the boiling milk in a thin uniform stream.
No rules just keep adding the acid until things begin to curdle.
The milk will begin to curdle very soon.
The whey should become kind of grayish.
Strain through a cheesecloth.
You can either use a cheese press or free form the cheese.
Let it drain for 2 hours.
Unwrap, cut, fry, eat!
I sprinkled some coarse black pepper on the the paneer while frying.
:-)

P.S. The whey is great to make rotis and naan with.
Read more ...

Alu Choley

(Serves 2-3)
(Prep time: 45 mins)

Ingredients


Garbanzo beans 1 16oz can
Potatoes (diced) 1 cup
Red onions (sliced fine) 1 med
Tomatoes (diced) 1 med
Garlic (crushed) 2 cloves
Ginger (crushed) 1/2 tsp
Fresh lemon juice 2-3 Tbs
Plain yogurt 1/2 cup
Canola oil 1/4 cup
Pepper 1/4 tsp
Cayenne 1/2 tsp
Red chili flakes 1/4 tsp
Turmeric 2/3 tsp
Cumin 2/3 tsp
Cilantro/Coriander powder 1 tsp
Nigella seeds 1/2 tsp
Salt

Method

Fry the onions until golden brown.
Add the garlic and ginger. Stir for a min or so.
Now time for the tomatoes. Cook for 3-4 min over med heat.
Add all the spices except the nigella seeds.
Mix in yogurt. Give it a good stir.
Cook for another 5 mins. Blend with an immersion blender.
Meanwhile,
Drain and wash the beans.
Cut potatoes about 1/2" cubes .
Throw in the potatoes and the beans.
Add lemon juice.
Cover the pan and lower the heat and let it simmer for about 15 mins or until the potatoes are done.
Stir in between.
If gravy looks too thick add a little water.
Sprinkle nigella seeds at the end.
Serve with naan or roti.


Ta da :-)
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