Hansal’s Palak Paneer

Yummy!
Yummy Palak Paneer!

INGREDIENTS

2 large bunches  Spinach (Palak), stems removed
250g Fresh Cottage Cheese (Paneer), chopped into medium cubes
4 tbs Oil
4 tsp Garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp Ginger, finely chopped
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
3 tsp Coriander Powder (Dhania Powder)
2 Green Chillies, deseeded and chopped
1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
2 tsp Fresh Cream
Salt

PROCEDURE

  1. Boil 3-4 cups of water. In the boiling water put the spinach for exactly 1 minute.
  2. Strain the hot water and immediately cool the spinach in running cold water.
  3. Make a puree of the blanched spinach using a blender.
  4. Heat 2 tbs oil in pan. Add garlic and fry until golden.
  5. Add the spinach puree and salt. Sauté on medium flame until spinach is nearly cooked.
  6. Heat the remaining oil in another pan. Fry the onions until golden brown.
  7. Add the chopped ginger and fry for about 1 – 2  minutes.
  8. Add the chopped tomatoes, green chillies and coriander powder.  Sauté over medium heat until the oil separates from the masala.
  9. Add the cooked spinach and garlic puree to this. Mix. Add approximately 1 cup of water and bring to a boil.
  10. Mix and cook for 5 minutes on medium flame.
  11. Add the paneer cubes and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  12. Sprinkle the garam masala and mix. Cook for 1 minute.
  13. Remove the pan from heat and mix the fresh cream.
  14. Serve hot.

This is a mildly spiced recipe that is entirely my own. The blanching process is necessary to maintain the fresh green color of the spinach(palak) without adding stupid color. I try to avoid cream and also try to reduce the quantity of oil (if I am dieting!). Although I prefer using fresh and soft cottage cheese (paneer), my father-in-law prefers the cottage cheese (paneer) deep fried. Take your pick!

Eggplant Raita

easy-eggplant-raitaINGREDIENTS

2 medium eggplants
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup plain Greek-style yogurt (plain yoghurt will do)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, very finely chopped
1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
1 green chilly, de-seeded and finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped onion
1 teaspoon ground cumin (jeera powder)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves (hara dhania), finely chopped

PROCEDURE

1. Prick the eggplants all over with a fork, place on the foil lined pan and brush the outsides with the vegetable oil.
2. Roast the eggplants on a gridle placed on a gas burner (you can use an oven pre-heated at 200 C). Roast until they are very tender when pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes.
3. Remove the eggplants and allow them to cool enough to handle.
4. Once the eggplants have cooled, slice them in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh out into a medium sized bowl and set aside to cool completely.
5. In a separate bowl, mix the yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, onion, green chilly and cumin powder. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add in the cooled eggplant and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Mix in the mint and chopped coriander , transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

This is a recipe learned from my wife. Nobody makes this raita better than her! Greek style yogurt is a bit thicker than regular yogurt and has a little more bite. It’s really a better choice for this recipe, but if you’re not able to find it you can substitute regular (stay away from reduced fat and fat free) plain yogurt by draining off the excess liquid. Just empty the container into a strainer lined with a couple of thicknesses of cloth, and allow it to drain over a bowl for about an hour.

Lentil Cooked with Yoghurt

lentil in yoghurtINGREDIENTS
500gms Split Lentil (Arhar Dal)
1/4 cup  Hung yoghurt
2 tsp Ginger Juice
4 Cloves (Laung)
5-6 Green Cardamoms (Chhoti Elaichi)
1 stick Cinnamon (Dalchini)
4 tbs Ghee
2 Onions, sliced
1 tbs Lemon juice
1/4 tsp Saffron (kesar), dissolved in milk

PROCEDURE

1. Mix hung yoghurt and ginger juice. Set aside for 15 mins.
2. Grind the cloves, green cardamom and cinnamon to a fine powder. Sieve and keep aside
3. Boil the lentil with salt until almost cooked. Drain
4. Heat ghee in a pan; fry onions till golden brown
5. Remove 1/3rd onions to use later.
6. Add the powdered spices (cloves, green cardamom and cinnamon) and fry for 1 minute
6. Add lentil, yoghurt and ginger juice mixture, 1 cup of water. Cook on low heat
7. When lentil is soft and cooked, add lemon juice, saffron and the reserved onions. Cover
8. Cook on extremely slow heat for approximately 15-20 mins.

Tip : Try the same with red lentil (masoor dal).
Serve hot with pulao or phoolka or any bread. The dish is unique, simple and quite a royal treat!

Nahari Gosht

Delicious lamb dish. Has always been a major hit with guests. Mildly spiced, aromatic and delightfully traditional. Does not require any of the nonsense masalas available in the market.

Nahari Gosht - Never fails.

INGREDIENTS

750gms Leg of Spring Lamb
450gms Lamb chops
125gms Ghee
1-1/2 cups Onions
5 Green Cardamoms (Chhoti Elaichi)
5 Cloves (Laung)
2 Cinnamon sticks (Dalchini)
2 Bay Leaves (Tej patta)
2 tsp Coriander Powder (Dhania powder)
1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder (Haldi powder)
Salt
4 tbs Ginger Paste
3 tbs Garlic Paste
150g Yoghurt
2-3 tsp Flour (Atta)
2-3 tsp Gramflour
2 tsp Garam Masala Powder
1 tsp Mace and Green Cardamom (Jaivitri and Chhoti Elaichi) powder
3-4 drops Vetivier (Kevda)

PROCEDURE

1. Slice half the onions.
2. Chop the remaining half of the onions
3. Whisk the yoghurt in a bowl
4. Clean lamb pieces
5. Heat 100gms Ghee in a  handi, add the sliced onions.
6.  Saute the onions until golden brown
7. Add lamb, chopped onions, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves. The onions will begin to liquify. Saute on high heat until all the liquid has evaporated.
8. Add coriander powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt. Stir.
9. Immediately add ginger paste and garlic paste. Saute on high heat until fat leaves the masala.
10. Add yoghurt, bring to a boil and reduce to medium heat.
11. Saute for approximately 10-12 minutes. The yoghurt will reduce considerably.
12. Add 3 cups (approx 750 ml) water and bring to a boil.
13. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally. Wait until the lamb is tender. If cooking in a pressure cooker, bring water to boil and cook under pressure for not more than 2 whistles.
14. Remove the pieces of meat from the gravy and keep aside.
15. Take the remaining ghee in a separate handi. Add the flour and gramflour. Saute briskly over low heat, stirring constantly, until light brown.
16. Add the separated gravy to these flours. Mix well, ensuring that there are no lumps.
17. Pass the thick gravy through a strainer into its original handi (clean the handi to ensure a smooth gravy)
18. Add the lamb pieces to the thick gravy. Bring to a boil.
19. Add the garam masala powder, mace and cardamom powder. Stir. Adjust the salt.
20. Add vetvier (kevda), cover and simmer for approximately 15 minutes.
21. Remove to a bowl and serve hot.

I prefer eating this with a nice, fluffy and slightly crisp phoolka. Keeps the meal light and the emphasis remains on the excellent meat!