Saturday, March 29, 2008

Paneer Mattar Masala & more Awards

If you would have seen my comments in other blogs you will surely know that I'm a paneer lover. I love it fresh, deep-fried or incorporated in any dish. I'm always in search for the ideal paneer recipes that have that special restaurant taste. My favorite is paneer butter masala and my hubby's favorite is paneer matar masala. So here is the recipe for his favorite dish.

Paneer- 300 gms
Green peas- 3/4 th cup (dried ones)
Onion- 2 1/2
Ginger garlic paste- 2 tbsp
tomatoes- 4 or 5
green chilli- 5
garam masala- 1 tsp
yogurt- 1 cup
red chilli powder- 1 tsp
corriander powder- 1 tbsp
heavy cream- 50 ml
saffron- a pinch
cashew paste- 1 tbsp
corriander leaves- handful
oil- 3 tbsp

salt- as required
sugar- a pinch
kassori methi - 1 tsp

Soak dried peas in water overnight. Next day boil it with some salt until almost cooked. You can skip this step if you use frozen peas. Next bring water to a boil and put the tomatoes in it. Boil for 5 mins . Take out the tomatoes and wash it in cold water. Peel off the skin and make a puree. You can skip this step also if you have use readymade tomato puree, but I'm sorry I do not have the measure for that. Boil onions in water for 8 mins. Strain and puree.Heat oil in a pan and fry the onion paste for 5 mins. Then add ginger-garlic paste and fry for 5 more mins.

Next add chilli powder, garam masala and corriander powder. Stir well. Now add tomato puree, cashew paste ,salt and sugar. Cook till the oil seperates. Next add yogurt (beaten smooth). cook for 10 -12 mins till oil floats on top. Add little water, boiled peas and saffron.Cut paneer into cubes and shallow fry in a non-stick pan with a spoon of oil. Put the fried paneer in hot salted water for sometime. When it's time to add it to the gravy just strain the water and use it in the curry.Add paneer and boil for another 3 mins.

Finally add cream, crushed kassori methi (soak in water for sometime to make it soft), corriander leaves and fried green chilli. Cook till you get the desired consistency. Increase the water level according to the your preference of texture.Enjoy it with hot buttered naan or fried rice. It tastes just awesome.

Now to the awards.... As you all know that it's raining awards in the blogsphere. I have been one of the fortunate ones to get those great awards.

I've been presented the "Nice Matters" award again. This time it's by Sagari of Indian cooking and Pragyan of cooking at Pragyan's have been so sweet and gracious to pass it on to me . Thankyou so much Sagari and Pragyan. You both made me feel so special and happy.

Then, Pravs of Simply Spicy and Shanti Banu of My kitchen hobbies have been so kind enough to pass me on the "E" for Excellent Blog award. Thankyou so much girls. Your awards have inspired me so much and I'm very proud to wear it on my blog.

Last time itself I should have passed on the "Nice matters" award but I somehow forgot to include it. So , I'm passing it now to some of my friends. For some of you it might be a repetition still I hope you would enjoy it.
So the Nice matter's award is being passed to:
Asha , Richa , Bharathi , Shella, Jeena and SuperChef .

And the "E" for excellent blog award is being passed to
Indo Sun God,
Bee ,
Happy Cook and

I hope you girls enjoy the award too as much as I did.One more thing before I end the post. My hubby's workplace has changed. I mean he is working from home now. It's not a temporay thing as it's a permanant job. The bad thing about this is he always keep a watch on me on how much time I spend on blogging. That's why I'm unable to be in your blogs recently and also unable to update mine either. Bear with me gals. I'll organize myself soon and come back to routine.

First Anniversary and time to say a lot of Thanks !!!

Hi Folks,


While the whole world is celebrating this great day , I have another reason to celebrate this day.Yes! It's my blog's FIRST Birthday. Last year it was the same Feb 14th my blog was born. Like many of my friends I too never thought that I'll be blogging this long. Anyway, today I have reached a second milestone with 137 posts. Wondering what's my first milestone? Ofcourse it was my 100th post on October 2007.

Another great news is that I have recieved "The Nice Matters" award from my dear friend Happy cook who is the proud owner of My Kitchen Treasures. Thankyou so much HC, you made me feel so special.

So, let me start the story of how I was introduced to the blogging world. It was some time in December 2006 I came across a health-related blog . The same author had a food blog too. I liked the idea of recording the recipes and that inspired me to start a blog of my own. Unfortunately, I forgot her name. Then, after two months I had my own blog .... En Samayal Pakkam.

Initially when I started the blog I wanted it to be a personal space to record my recipes. But seeing the comments in the other blogs I was so surprised by the way people are connecting to one another and how close they become after that. This inspired me and I wanted to be a part of it.

The first indian food blog I came across was Asha's. I became a great fan of hers. It was from her I learnt to write an intro before each recipe. There were days when I used to get only one comment and that was Asha's. She has always been encouraging me with her sweet comments. So, on this day I want to give you a big hug and say THANKS for all your inspiration.

I also want to thank Deepz of "Letz Cook". She was the first one to leave a comment on my blog. I don't think she knows that but I cannot forget that day. I was soooo thrilled that I can't express it in words. Thanks Deepz, You made me so happy that day.

Next I wish to mention some of the other great bloggers who inspired me during my initial days of blogging. Sia's eye-catching pictures, Inji Pennu's style of boldly expressing her thoughts, Prema's wonderful recipes (she made me blabber about her manchurian once in my dreams), Indo Sun God's Authentic recipes, Richa's simple yet flavorful recipes..... Ah, the list goes on and on...

I'm so thankful for getting friends like Happy Cook who is a soups & chaat queen, Bharathi who has a lovely collection of authentic kerala recipes, Viji of vcusine who is like a dictionary of food for me, Mansi who often tempts me to go off my diet with her awesome desserts, Jeena who inspires me with her healthy recipes, Cynthia & Bee who makes me forget to comment by getting me lost with their mind-blowing pictures and write-up, Latha ma and Lakshmi who shares their authentic Iyyengar recipes and also making a difference by reaching to the special-needs kids , Pravs who makes me drool over her non-veg dishes, Suganya of Tasty Palattes who brings out the beauty of food with her unique style of photography, Sukanya of Hot'n' Sweet bowl who makes beautiful cakes and Shella who has connected to me personally.

I also enjoy the dishes and comments of Laavanya who has a variety of yummy dishes that I'm yet to try, TBC who capitvates my heart with her unique recipes, Rajitha who makes my tummy grumble with her tempting array of dishes, Raks who gives nice step-by-step pictures to follow her dishes, Padma who creates beautiful dishes like her kesar amarkhand, Priar who makes mouth-watering tamilnadu style non-veg dishes , Ramya of Mane Adige who has introduced me to so many of her bangalore dishes, Remya of Spice n Flavors who has a variety of kerala delicacies, SMN who has great breakfast items like her different types of dosa, Seema who has simple yet comforting dishes like her appo and chicken curry , Sagari who in a short span of time has posted so many delicious dishes, meeso... more than her food, I always go to her blog to see her blush in her boyfriend's hands , Kalai who has a nice homey foods, Easy Crafts who is so talented in coming up with so many dishes that can be done in MW, Shankari who I'm so proud that she spreads our cusine through her cooking class and also does food shows in TV..... Really guys, the list is endless.

But I have to end my long list for now as I'm running short of time. At this time I cannot forget my non-blogger friends too who visit me and leave their kind comments behind. I owe it all to your encouragement . Anyway, what I wish to say is...... Each and every one of you, not only the gals mentioned above have inspired me and taught me so much. All I can say in return for that is THANKS THANKS and THANKS.

Last but not least ,I wanted to thank my hubby too who continues to encourage me (sometimes..... ) and my little kiddo Kavin who bears with me when I steal his time for blogging. I wanted to post some nice dessert for celebrating my anniversary, but as you all know I'm in Florida for the past 10 days enjoying my vaction. So no cooking, no work, no dieting..... enjoying life to the core. Will be back to Atlanta tomorrow and resume blogging from monday. Till then take care and have a nice weekend!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Parrupu Thuvayal

Thuvayals / Thugayals are like a thicker version of chutneys. Today I'm presenting a toor dal parrupu thuvayal. Usually they add coconut to this, but on the day I did it 'B' was sick. So, I skipped the coconut. So, when you try it don't forget to add coconut.

Toor dal- 1/2 cup
coconut- 2 tbsps
red chilli- 1
peppercorns- 3
garlic pods- 2
curry leaves- 3 or 4
salt- according to taste

Heat a tsp of oil in a pan and roast the dal, coconut, red chilli, pepper, curry leaves and garlic. Do this until the dal turns golden brown. Don't burn the dal. Switch off the gas and transfer to a plate and allow it to cool. When it has cooled down grind it with salt to a coarse- smooth paste using very little water. Serve it with steaming hot rice, sesame oil and papad.

Sepankizhangu Poriyal

Sepankizhangu is nothing but taro root. I have already posted a deep-fry version of this dish which you can find here. But this one is much healthier, it is kadai roasted. It tastes somewhat like a potato fry but it has a little sweetness from the taro itself. This is one of the dishes that vanishes in half the quantity by the time I serve it. Tastes so yum.

mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp
urad dal- 1/2 tsp
channa dal- 1/2 tsp
jeera seeds- 1/4 tsp
Sepankizhangu -8
onion- 1(medium, sliced)
garlic- 4 pods (finely chopped)
sambar powder- 1 1/2 tsp
curry leaves
salt- as required
curry leaves
corriander leaves

Boil sepankizhangu with some salt and turmeric until 3/4 th done. peel and cut into pieces. Heat oil in kadai and season with mustard seeds, urad dal and channa dal. Add onions , garlic and turmeric powder. When onions are half done add sambar powder & salt. saute until raw smell goes. Then add sepankizhangu and keep roasting until it gets a roasted brown color. Add corriander leaves & curry leaves. This is an excellent accompaniant for sambar rice, rasam rice or curd rice. Enjoy!

Black Eye Peas Kurma

Well, I'm including a lots of legumes in my diet now. Most of the time I just boil them and eat it without doing any extra work. But I still have to cook for 'B'. So, the other day I made a simple kurma with the Black eye peas. It turned out pretty good. I was tired to make chappathis , so I made cumin rice instead. The next day, I served it for breakfast with dosas. It was a perfect accompaniant for both. So, here is the recipe. Nothing fancy. Just the regular kurma but it has black eye peas instead of the vegetables. But each dish looks and taste different because of the variation in the ingredients we use. Don't you agree?

Blackeye peas- 2 cups (soaked and pressure cooked for 1 whistle)
cloves- 2
elachi- 1
Onion- 1/2
tomato- 1
ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp
corriander leaves- 2 tbsp
green chillies- 4
saunf- 1 tsp
corriander seeds- 1 tsp
cinnamon- 1/2 "
grated coconut- 1/4 cup
cashews- 4 (optional. I did not add in mine)
Poppy seeds- 1 tbsp (soak for 15 mins in water before grinding)
water- 1 1/2 cups

Soak black eye peas overnight and pressure cook it with some salt and turmeric for 1 whistle. If your cooker needs more whistle time cook accordingly. Grind everything from green chillies to poppy seeds. Then heat oil in a kadai and fry the cloves and elachi. Can use bay leaf also. Then add onions and saute until golden brown. Next add ginger garlic paste and turmeric. After that add tomatoes and cook until soft. Now add the ground paste and saute until the raw smell goes. Maybe 5 mins. Then add water, salt and bring to a nice boil.

Taste the gravy and add more salt or chilli powder if needed. Finally add the boiled peas and corriander leaves. Bring to one more boil and serve hot with rotis, rice or Dosa. It can be had like a soup too. It's so wholesome and fulfilling. Note: If you don't have time to grate coconut and grind it, just use canned coconut milk. Also you can omit coconut if you don't want that fat. In that case you can add some rice flour or some corn flour to thicken the gravy. Either way it tastes good.

Aloo Methi

Methi is nothing but fenugreek leaves. These are bitter but has a lot of health benefits. Usually , methi leaves are cooked in combination with other foods that have the ability to mask it's bitter flavor to some extent. Aloo methi, methi dal and methi paratha are some examples. Today I have my aloo methi to share with all of you. It is not a regular item in our home as I don't like the bitter taste of methi although it's very healthy. But 'B' loves it ,so I do it occasionally. Now to the recipe...

mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
urad dal- 1/2 tsp
channa dal- 1/2 tsp
potato- 2 (big)
onion- 1 (medium, sliced)
garlic- 3 pods (minced)
methi leaves- a medium size bunch
tomato- 1
chilli powder- 3/4 tsp
corriander powder- 1 tsp
cumin powder- 1 tsp
garam masala- 1/2 tsp
salt- according to taste
sugar- 1/4 tsp (optional)

Cut and boil the potatoes with some salt and turmeric. When 3/4 th done, drain and cube it. Prep the methi leaves by seperating it from the stalk. wash them and boil them for 5 minutes with very little water.Heat oil in a pan and splutter the mustard seeds, urad dal and channa dal. Next add the onions and garlic. After 5 minutes add tomato and salt. Cook till the tomatoes turn into a pulp. Now it's time to add the masala powders. If you don't have the powders individually you can very well use sambar powder (1 1/2 tsp). Saute until the raw smell goes. After that add the potatoes and fry for a few minutes.Next add the boiled methi leaves. You can squeeze out the water from the methi leaves before adding it to the aloo. This might take out some of the bitterness. But if you don't want to lose the nutrients don't squeeze out the water. Just take them out with a spoon and add it to the potatoes. Mix everything well and fry to desired consistency. If you want a gravy add 3/4 th cup of water or if you want a fry like mine skip the water. Serve it hot with some hot rice or rotis, curd and some pickle.

Cauliflower Bhaji

Fried foods always tend to taste good. It holds good for this cauliflower bhaji too. If you don't have potatoes or onions for bhaji , don't worry, cauliflower can make excellent bhajis. It is a great tea time snack. So, go ahead and give it a try sometime. (sorry... the flash has ruined my picture.

cauliflower- 1 (medium size)
oil- for deep frying
besan powder- 1 cup
rice flour- 2 tbs
turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
chilli powder- 1/2 tsp (first add 1/4 tsp, if you can handle the heat add more)
salt- as per taste
cumin powder- 1/4 tsp
amchur powder- few pinches (optional)

Wash the cauliflower well and seperate the florets. Steam them for 3 to4 minutes. You can skip this step if you want. I just do it because that's how my friend taught me. But I have tried it without the steaming also. Didn't notice any difference at all. Mix the rest of the ingredients from besan to amchur powder with water. Add water little by little. The batter should be thick and not runny. If you dip the floret and lift it up the batter should not slide away. This is the right consistency. Deep fry them in oil and drain when they are golden brown. Serve this with ketchup, corriander chutney , sweet and sour sauce or any other dip of your choice.If you wish to add an extra touch... saute some sliced onions, finely chopped ginger & garlic, chopped green chillies with some salt and red pepper flakes. Then add a little tomato sauce and mix it. Add the fried florets and toss to coat them. Serve hot sprinkled with some corriander leaves or spring onions.