20 June 2011

Matar Paneer

I've been hit by the cooking bug! I read the other day that peas have a lot if fiber (1 cup to 16.5 g of fiber, adult male intake: 39 g required per day and for a woman 28 g required per day) and I wanted to make something out of them.

And all I could think of was matar paneer... now before you think that this is an everyday recipe let's remember that I'm from a South Indian household. Sambar and idlys qualify as normal everyday food. As a matter of fact, to memory neither my mother nor I had ever made this before. So the usual happened... online research. I got lucky today.. found a recipe that I thought was do-able at the first go. Altered it a little bit to suit our tastes and here it goes!

Grocery List

200 gms Paneer
1 cup cooked Green
Peas (frozen peas, boiled)

Paste

1 Onion

1 Tomato
1 Green Chilli
1 tsp Ginger or 1 inch ginger
1 tsp Garlic or 7 garlic cloves


Powders

1/2 tsp Coriander Powder
1 tbsp Poppy Seeds

1 tsp Roasted cumin powder

1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp chaat masala; Everest brand
1/2 tsp shahee pa
neer masala; Everest brand- found it in the freezer :)
3 Cloves

1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1 tsp Garam Masa
la Powder (didn't use this)
2 Bay Leaves (didn't use this)
1/4 tsp Black Pepper Powder (didn't use this)
Vegetable oil
Salt to taste

Green Coriander Leaves (chopped)
2 tbsp butter

Method

1. Put one cup of pea
s in boiling hot water, give them a minute to boil with the hot water and then turn everything off and leave them in there till required for cooking. I got frozen peas for this recipe & I think it's important that the peas are not cooked too well for this recipe, because they're better off sweet and soft than pasty and hard.
2. Cube a 200g packet of paneer, all up I got 16 cubes of paneer and then drop them in hot oil till golden brown. It helps to have them fry over medium heat and semi-deep fried.
3. Make a paste out of the chopped ingredients from the paste ingredients. Make it as fine as possible.
4. Then drop the paste in some hot oil (use little at first and then keep adding if
you find that the paste sticks to the pan). Fry it for about 8 minutes, to bring out a deep red/orange colour from the tomatoes.
5. Add the powders to the mixture and fry for a minute, and then add 1 cup water.
6. Add paneer and peas and boil down for 5 mins. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves & swirl butter into the dish.

Chicken Rendang

I found lemon grass in Namdhari's and thought I should try making some chicken rendang. I'd never made it before and well spent the better part of yesterday looking for some do-able recipes online. Found several.. and adapted it to the following recipe. I've left the components that I didn't use on from the original recipe, in case you have better luck and want to make it closer to the originial taste.

Grocery List

800 g chicken, cut to curry size pieces
5 tablespoons cooking oil (may have used more)
1 cup thick coconut milk
1 cup water
2 teaspoons tamarind pulp (soaked in some warm water for the juice and discard the seeds )
6 tablespoons kerisik (toasted coconut)
2 lemongrass sticks (bruised but in shape)
(1 tablespoon sugar/palm sugar or to taste- did not use, as liked the taste without the sweetness)
(6 kaffir lime leaves very finely sliced- did not use, as couldn't find them in the market)
Salt to taste

Dry Spices

1 cinnamon stick (about 2-inch long)
3 cloves
3 star anise
3 cardamom pods


To blend:

1 onion
1 inch galangal (substituted it with some extra ginger)
4 lemongrass (white part only)
5 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
10-12 dried chilies (soaked in warm water till soft and seeded)

Method

1. To make the kerisik- grate coconut, and toast it in a pan by constantly stirring to make it an even dark golden brown (refer to pic, though it's about half way done). Wait for it to cool, then run the blender on it so you get a brown powder that looks something like brown sugar.

2. To make the coconut milk- add grated coconut to the blender and powder it down. Then add warm water to the blended coconut. Squeeze out the milk using hands, over a sieve.

3. To make the chili- Boil some hot water and drop the chilies in it. In about ten minutes you will find them soft, snip off the top and run your fingers along the chili to remove the seeds. Keep aside.

4. Chop all ingredients for the paste and run it in the blender to get a smooth paste.

5. Add the oil into a pan. Add the dry spices when oil is hot, stir for about ten seconds before adding the paste. Fry by stirring constantly, until the oil separates from the paste. This should take about a minute to two. At this point, i found that I added more oil that the recipe's recommended amount.

6. Add the chicken and the bruised lemon grass, and stir the paste with the chicken. Leave it to fry for about 3 minutes, with constant stirring to prevent the anything from sticking onto the pan.

7. Add coconut milk, kaffir leaves, sugar, tamarind and water to the pan, stirring it in to make an even mixture. Add some salt, about two a teaspoon. Turn the flame to low and let the chicken cook through. Rendang is a semi-dry dish, so the mixture needs to be boiled down to a gravy consistency.

8. Once that has happened, add the kerisik to blend into the dish and fry till the gravy has dried.

9. Serve hot with rice :) Unfortunately I don't have a picture of the finished product, planned on getting a pic this morning but it got emptied out last night. That can't be a bad thing! Flicked this picture from this site. It was the closest to what I'd made, and well there's another recipe there if you follow the site.

Note: The only thing I found lacking in the recipe is that there wasn't enough pow from the lemon grass, and hence the dish in itself is less fragrant. I'm not sure if this could be because the lemon grass that I had bought was not as fresh or because the recipe uses too less of it. When I make this again, I will most definitely add more of it... probably double the quantities or something. Do give it a try, I'll leave you with a slightly different recipe, that has a video as well. This looks like a promising recipe too.

13 June 2011

Crazy Year

It's been a crazy year by and large. Between tornadoes, floods, earth quakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, killer sprouts/cucumbers, rapture, royal weddings, winning the world cup.. if you're reading this now, congratulations! You have made it half way through 2011.

Incidentally, this is the 10 year mark from high school graduation. I don't remember anymore if I wondered what the world would be like 10 years from when I leave school. Even if I did, I can't imagine I would have imagined me.

It's funny how when we envision the future, we think of what we'd be working as (always high flying), we'd imagine the world (always more technologically advanced- synergy) and our loved ones (always healthy)... but we don't generally imagine ourselves... our insides, our thoughts... our being.

I know I've begun writing in paragraphs, the blogs almost been commercialized, there are lesser posts on average, lesser creativity.. does that reflect me? There's this innate sense and feeling of redundancy in here, that I think makes me want to re write the whole of this year.. and I can't seem to shake off this feeling of living on borrowed time.

Looking, shifting, searching for what's been lost may be the theme for many many people, who I knew that I wouldn't be standing around them observing but with them, learning. Who knew.

06 June 2011

Stuck.

So there's this situation that's been playing in my head for a while. In this drama, in my head, I'm trying to do the following things:

1. Assign Blame
2. Uncover Hidden Motive
3. Judge all agents for frail moralities
4. Tackle the 'Move on demon'
5. Figure out what the right thing to do may be

I'm trying to understand what happened and figure out something that'll make everyone happy.

Here's we go, your dose of tonight's serial.

1. A + B= Couple
2. A-B= Broken up couple1
3. A+C= BFFs
4. A*C= Couple
5. A-C= Broken up couple2

If A+B become A-B and B is the person who does this. Then A+C turns into an A*C relationship that becomes an A-C one, when B returns.

Then answer the questions outlined earlier. Hope you have better luck than me with this one.