Paalak Paneer

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This is one of those really quick recipes that tastes really good.

You Need:

  • About 300 grams or so of spinach leaves and stems.
  • 200 grams of soft paneer.
  • One small onion.
  • One inch piece of ginger.
  • A teaspoon each of cumin, coriander seeds and onion seeds.
  • Two heaped tablespoons of fresh cream.

Prepare this recipe in the following sequence to save time. Think of it as an assembly line in your kitchen and you are the robot.

Put about one liter of water to boil. While its getting heated, wash the spinach and keep them in a big vessel. Empty the boiling water on the spinach.

Finely dice the onion and ginger.

Drain the hot water and let the spinach sit in a colander.

In a pan heat some oil, saute the onion, ginger, cumin, coriander seeds and onion seeds. Use medium heat. When the raw smell is gone, put them in a blender. Let them cool for sometime.

Cut the paneer into small pieces.

By now both the onions and the spinach have cooled down. Blend them into a smooth paste.

Saute the paneer in oil. When they are slightly browning. Add the blended spinach paste. Mix well. Season with salt. Add in the fresh cream. Cook down till its all mixed in and looks and tastes creamy and tasty.

Enjoy with roti’s.

Sweet Potato and Greens

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You Need:

  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Turmeric, Red Chilly Powder, Coriander Powder as per taste.
  • Any greens like Spinach, Amaranth or Malabar Spinach. Used Malabar Spinach also popularly called as Basella Alba.
  • Some cumin, fenugreek and coriander seeds.
  • Grated coconut and chilly flakes.

Chop the sweet potatoes into small pieces. Heat some oil. Fry the turmeric powder and red chilly powder in it for less than 10 seconds and immediately add the sweet potato. Mix till all the potato pieces get colored. Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of coriander powder. Cover and cook on low heat for 5 mins. Open, mix, cover and cook for another 5 mins. Eat a piece to check if its done. Remove.

In the same, there will be some burnt spices at the base. Add in a little oil. Saute cumin, fenugreek and coriander seeds for a minute. Add the chopped green leaves in batches. This will allow you to easily de-glaze the pan and also not make a mess.

Cook uncovered on medium to high heat. When the greens are cooked, sprinkle grated coconut and red chilly flakes.

Enjoy a super healthy and very colorful bowl for a snack or as part of lunch or dinner.

Baked Chicken Breast

Super simple but so delicious and healthy.

You Need:

  • Chicken Breasts with or without the bone behind them.
  • A tablespoon of garlic paste.
  • Salt and pepper as per your preference.
  • Extra virgin olive oil. Must be adequate for liberally coating the chicken.
  • Parchment paper.
  • Both the flat and the grill tray for baking.

Rub the olive oil, garlic paste, pepper and salt on the chicken. Let it marinate for about twenty minutes.

Wrap the chicken in parchment paper. Use two sheets if you need. Make a small hole on top. Place this on the flat tray.

Bake in a preheated oven at 220C for twenty minutes.

Remove. Carefully open the parchment paper. Leave the paper on the flat tray. Keep the chicken on the grill tray. Keep the inner side facing up. Put both trays in the oven and bake for another fifteen minutes. Keeping the flat tray below the grill tray will prevent the juices that drip from ruining your oven. Leaving parchment paper on top of the flat tray makes clean up easy.

After the fifteen minutes, turn the chicken so the smooth side faces up. Use only top heat and grill for five minutes. Check for internal temperature of 75C at the thickest part using a meat thermometer.

Let it rest for about five minutes before slicing.

Garnish with fresh herbs.

Masala Orka (Bhendi)

okra

This is a recipe that is very simple and does not need your constant attention.

You Need:

  • 250 grams of Okra, Heads and tails snipped and cut into small rings.
  • 2 Tomatoes, roughly chopped.
  • 1 onion, cut into 8 pieces.
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric.
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilly powder.
  • 3 teaspoons of coriander powder.
  • Indian Sesame Oil (Gingelly or til oil) about 3 tablespoons.

This entire recipe will be cooked using low heat.

Start warming the sesame oil. Add in the onions and tomatoes. Sprinkle some salt. Then mix and leave them alone for about ten mins. When they have softened, add the coriander powder. red chilly powder and turmeric. Add in the Okra. Mix well and let it cook till the okra has softened to the level you like. Ideally 10-12 minutes is enough.

Do not cover the dish. Do not use high heat. Just them cook on a relaxed pace. Once in a while stir out the masala that has stuck to the base of the pan.

Serve with either roti’s or rice.

Kidney Beans with Paneer

You need:

  • Two cups of dried Kidney Beans. Soaked overnight in water. Washed and drained.
  • One cup of crumbled paneer.
  • One Yellow or Red pepper, diced.
  • One Tomato chopped.
  • A teaspoon of Red chilly powder.
  • A quarter teaspoon of turmeric.
  • Some coriander powder.
  • Lots of chopped Coriander. Both stems and leaves.
  • Five to six cloves of garlic, roughly chopped.

Wash the kidney beans before you pressure cook them for at least 20 minutes. The water they are pressure cooked in, must be discarded. Do not add salt when pressure cooking them. Salt will cause their skin to tighten and prevent them from getting soft.

In a pan, heat some oil. Saute the garlic, yellow pepper and paneer. Add the turmeric, red chilli powder and coriander powder. Use the chopped tomato to de-glaze the pan. Season with salt.

Mix in the cooked kidney beans and Coriander. Let it simmer for about 6-7 mins.

Tip: use tofu if you want to keep it vegan.

Enjoy a very colorful Monday protein kick.

Beets and Greens (Water Amaranth)

beets

You Need:

  • 2 Medium Beets, Grate them using the attachment that yields long strips.
  • Water Amaranth or Ponnaganti Kura, couple of bunches.
  • 5-6 Garlic cloves, sliced up.
  • Coriander Seeds about a teaspoon.
  • Cumin Seeds about a teaspoon.
  • Freshly ground pepper powder as per taste.
  • Two tablespoons of mustard oil.

This is a relatively simple recipe. We are using an oil, which already has a rich flavor in it. We complement that flavor by sauteing the cumin, coriander seeds and garlic in it. Use low to medium heat. We don’t want to burn anything. As it starts smelling real nice and the garlic is still white, add the leaves. Stir fry in the open vessel at medium to high heat, till the greens start becoming a bright shade of green. This is an indication that they are almost cooked. Beets don’t really need to be cooked. So we add them now and mix them in. When the contents have all become hot, sprinkle pepper powder and season with a little salt. Switch off the stove and continue mixing everything.

Serve with a dollop of curd. If you want it Vegan, then replace with any equivalent condiment of your choice.

This is an excellent low calorie but loaded with vitamins and minerals kind of meal.

Fish Curry in 25 Minutes.

Fish Curry

I actually measured the amount of time it took me to prepare this dish. From start to finish. The fish was at room temperature.

You Need:

  • Approximately one dozen Anchovies.
  • One Onion.
  • Three or Four Green Chilies.
  • Three or Four Tomatoes.
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Paste.
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric.
  • 2 Teaspoons of Coriander Powder.
  • A nice big fistful of coriander leaves.
  • Red Chilly Powder – Optional. I did not use it.

Start heating about 2 tablespoons of oil and while it heats, chop up the onion and remove the top part of the chilies. Start sauteing the onions and green chilies. While they cook on medium, chop the tomatoes. When chopped, add them to the onions. Add the garlic paste, coriander powder, turmeric powder. Season with salt. Mix well and let them cook on medium heat.

On another stove start heating about 100 ml of water.

Finely chop the coriander. By now the oil would have started to separate from the tomatoes. Only after this happens, add the coriander and hot water to the masala.

When the gravy starts to get a rolling boil, add the fish. High heat for about 2-3 mins, so that the fish gets to the same temperature.

Cover and cook on low heat for another 6-8 mins.

Open and dry up the consistency if needed. But I highly recommend that you don’t reduce it a lot. That watery gravy is just perfect to soak into dosa’s or idlies.

I paired this up with some green moong dosa’s to keep the meal low carb.