Sometimes the simpler the food the more rewarding for your taste buds. Visons of many a beautiful vegetarian tables with paneer, lentils and pickles seems to stay with me. The memories range from restaurants to friends houses after school, to street side travel shacks and many more…..but they are always vivid and connect me to a rich past.
Growing up our family were big meat eaters…it would not be “food” without lamb or chicken 🙂 However, every now and then we would have a vegetarian day where Paneer would be the showcase.
When I first moved to the US, store bought paneer (cheese) was not an option so making the paneer at home was the only way. Don’t get me wrong, homemade cheese is the best but sometimes a working girl needs a premade handy version so dinner can be cooked at moments notice.
The local Asian stores now have the most amazing Paneer available so I keep a block in the fridge or freezer for quick dinner situations.
This is a curry, which as always is spicy, tangy, rich, gentle, soft and ever so delicious.
I have paired it with butter rice, lentils and pickles. Naan or roti would be perfect with the platter.
A quick and easy matar paneer
- 1 block of Paneer cubed ( I used Nanak Paneer)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 large chopped red onion
- 2 chopped tomatoes
- 1 chopped green bell pepper
- 7-8 garlic cloves – sliced
- 1 inch ginger – grated
- 1 tsp Cumin powder
- 1 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Red chili powder
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1 tsp Coriander powder
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- 4 tbsp grapeseed oil
- Salt to taste
- Chopped coriander leaves for garnish
Putting it together:
- Add 2 tbsp oil to a pan on medium heat and add the chopped garlic cloves, ginger and onion into the pan and fry this for a few minutes until the onions start to soften.
- Add chopped tomatoes and little salt, cover the pan and cook the mixture until the tomatoes have softened.
- Blend this sauce in a food processor ( there should be any need to add water)
- Using the same pan add 2 tbsp oil into the pan on medium heat, add
- Add cumin seeds and fry for a few seconds until they pop, add turmeric coriander and chili powder.
- Now you can add the prepared tomato sauce mixture and bring the mixture together.
- Throw in the cumin powder and a few tablespoons of water and let it cook for a few minutes. Do stir to ensure it does not start sticking
- Add yoghurt into the sauce and continue stirring.
- Add the frozen peas and then the paneer cubes
- Adjust for salt and water for consistency and cover and cook the curry for on low heat for about 5 minutes.
- Garnish with Cilantro and a squeeze of lemon and serve with rice or bread.
Sharing on Fiesta Friday!
While I was in NYC for a conference, I had the pleasure of dining with my sister and brother in law at a fabulous restaurant Cleo at Mondrian Park Ave. The chef certainly had a way with Mediterranean small plates but one particular dish that caught my attention was the vegetarian Moussakah with eggplants and feta immersed in delicious béchamel sauce.
I have made Mousakkah many times with Lamb, beef and also with just vegetables and it always comes out warm and comforting.
Inspired by Cleo I experimented with a new recipe and it was a winner.
Moussakah is a very popular Greek dish but there are many versions of it through the Mediterranean, all equally worthy of trying.
In a traditional Greek Moussaka recipe, minced beef (or lamb) is cooked in a tomato base and spices then layered with eggplants and topped with creamy béchamel sauce and cheese.
In this vegetarian version, my basic ingredients are sweet eggplants and mushrooms. Then the béchamel sauce and the topping of feta and gruyere. I have made two small plates here for lunch but you can adjust and make one large one. The béchamel sauce has leftover which was wonderful. I have stored it for use during the week.
- 1 large eggplant or 3-4 slim ones
- Olive oil
- Pink salt
- Cremini mushrooms – I box around 20 pieces
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1/4 of a cup olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 cup pureed tomatoes
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Stick of butter – 4 ounces
- Whole milk – 3 cups
- Flour – 4 ounces
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 cup Grated Gruyere
- a pinch of nutmeg
- Cut the eggplant into slices (1 inch), Season with salt and place in a colander for about half an hour.
- Squeeze the liquid from the eggplants with your hands and pat dry with a paper towel. Drizzle the eggplants with some olive oil and bake them for 15 minutes in a 400-degree oven until golden brown.
- Add olive oil to a pan over medium heat and stir in the chopped mushrooms and sauté for about 5 minutes, add the garlic and chopped onions and continue to cook. Add the cinnamon and adjust the salt and pepper. Cook until the sauce thickens.
- For the béchamel sauce use a deep pan and melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour whisking continuously to make a paste and add warmed milk pouring in a stream. Continue to whisk the whole time to avoid lumps and get to a smooth paste. Remove the pan from heat and add the egg yolks, salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and the grated cheese. Whisk to incorporate all the ingredient and get a smooth and creamy paste
- To assemble I have used 2 small dishes, you can use a large baking dish as well. Sprinkle the bottom with some panko or breadcrumbs and layer the eggplants. Add the mushrooms sauce and another layer of eggplants.
- Top with the béchamel sauce, feta, and more gruyere.
- Cook in a 400-degree oven for 15 mins until bubbly. Cool for a few minutes before digging in
Sharing at Fiesta Friday where co-hosts this week are Diann @ Of Goats and Greensand Shinta @ Caramel Tinted Life.
Cauliflower has become a staple in the house and is an ingredient in a variety of dishes spanning cuisines. I used riced cauliflower as a substitute for rice which has been a phenomenal adjustment of carbs in our diet.
When you combine cauliflower with a nice tomato curry you just can’t go wrong. My local Traders Joes store has made it even easier for me by selling already riced cauliflower which saves me a ton of time and the mess on my counter with grains of the vegetable flying around 🙂
This is really easy to make and just perfect for a cold winter day. Serve with some flatbread or rice with a side of pickles.
If you love cauliflower do check out my other recipes:
Riced Cauliflower and Peas Curry - Matar Gobi
a savory tomato curry with peas and riced cauliflower
- 1 head of Cauliflower – grated
- 1 cup of frozen organic peas
- 1 cup of peeled tomatoes
- 2 cloves
- 1 inch fresh ginger – grated
- 1tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2-3 green chilies – chopped
- 1 tsp kasoori methi
- 2 tbsp yoghurt
- 1/4 tsp Asafetida or hing(optional)
- Salt to taste
- Juice of half lemon
- Chopped cilantro
- Mustard oil ( or oil of your choice)
- Puree the tomatoes in a blender
- You can cut the cauliflower in florets and grate them or buy a riced cauliflower bag
- In a large pan add 2 tbsp oil and cumin seeds, once crackling add cauliflower and cook for 3-4 mins until slightly brown. Set aside.
- In a pan warm up another 3 tbsp of oil, add green chilies, cloves, grated ginger, and asafoetida, and .
- Add pureed tomatoes and let the mixture cook for a few minutes.
- Add turmeric, chilies powder and kasoori methi and let the mixture cook until the oil starts to separate from the tomatoes
- Add the yoghurt and mix well
- Add frozen peas, cook for a minute and add the cauliflower.
- Do not cover the pan and use a dash of water as needed. This will only take a couple of minutes
- Top with lemon juice and fresh cilantro.
Taking this to Fiesta Friday with the fab cohosts Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju.com and Laurena @ Life Diet Health
This chill in the air and the smell of slow burning fall leaves calls for something spicy and healthful.
Thai cooking has always been a passion, with fresh aromatic ingredients like lemon grass, cilantro, chilies and ginger the possibilities of creating dishes in endless. This cuisine brings to world the 5 flavors of sweet, salty, sour, bitter and hot. The subtle variation in proportions of ingredients used highlights these flavors.
Continue reading Thai Red Curry with Cod
I spend a beautiful fall morning bringing out my Kashmiri spices in my American kitchen trying to connect and reconnect with a land so abundant with beauty and an unmatched gastronomical adventure.
Kashmiri cuisine traces back to centuries of tradition, spices and methods of cooking. The cuisine has evolved over the centuries absorbing influences from settlements and migrations. The flavors and spices of Kashmiri cuisine include dry ginger, fennel, cloves, cinnamon and saffron to name a few.
My home smells like fennel and ginger and far away tales of dreams and amazing food are weaving in through the aroma creating an aura of peace. Continue reading Matz t, Palak – Lamb meatballs with Spinach
Fermented foods are just beautiful not only for the taste buds but also for your gut. Ancients culture have propagated fermented foods for preservation and taste through the centuries. The souring action of microbes that produce fermentation have been critical in our diets throughout the globe. Similar foods can be found in every culture, just called something different.
Indian “Achar” or “Kanji” are great examples and so is the fabulous “Kimchi” from Korea.
My personal story takes me back to the late 1970’s where as a young girl spending lazy winters vacation in Lucknow, India I would watch my grandfather ferment and pickle various vegetables in earthenware and produce the probiotic liquid called “Kanji” in India. It was delicious, tart and healthy and the joy of helping my grandfather while he worked on these beautiful foods is a memory that is permanent ink in my soul.
True to foods that nourish your soul and help you remember your history, in this series I am sharing different fermented foods I am experimenting with.
Click here for a previous recipe of Kashmir Achar, Red Cabbage and Kanji
In this edition: Okra and Carrots
Continue reading Fermented Food stories – Okra and Carrots