29 August, 2007

Qabuli with Plum Tomato-Cucumber Raita

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Qabuli with Plum Tomato-Cucumber Raita

Monsoon, just the word is enough to bring back a flood of fresh and drenched memories of magical monsoon rain; the sound, sights and smell of home. Monsoon rains bring down the mercury level and the heavens opens its door to the heated earth giving it new lease of life. The blissful sound of rain lashing the roof tops, the dance of trees swaying to the rhythm of rain leaving the leaves in dripping tears, the heavenly smell of earth leaves every soul sighing in ecstasy.

This is the season which every farmer in India waits for. Monsoon is a life line for many farmers in southern asian countries. Rice being the staple food in many households, its no wonder that India is the world’s second largest producer and exporter of rice. The rainy season blesses Mother Nature with an abundance of water. In most parts of India, rice is grown in flooded plains and fields called Paddy. Paddy fields grins at the passers-by swaying to the cool breeze of monsoon with the backdrop of hills covered with lush green trees and the hustle-bustle of men and women. Paddy rice farmers usually sow the seeds first in the little seedbeds and then later transfer them into flooded fields which were already ploughed. These few centimetres of water in paddy fields prevent weed growth and ensure there’s enough water for plants to grow. Back in my native, men in mundus and women in sarees working in paddy fields wear a cap called Muttale which covers their head and protects from torrential rainfalls and scorching heat. The women sing regional folk songs when planting the rice in fields praying the Rain God ‘Indra’. The scene of snow white cranes flying in V-shaped format against black monsoon clouds over swaying lush green paddy field is something which always took my breath away.

Andhra Pradesh, a southern Indian state, is known as Rice Bowl of India is famous for its hot and spicy cuisine which includes original Andhra cuisine and the famous Hyderabadi cuisine. While the traditional Andhra pickles makes me dance to their tunes, the mouth watering rich and perfumed Hyderabadi Biriyani undoubtedly rules my senses. Biriyani, one of the India’s most popular foods, is flavoured fragrant Basmati rice which is layered with meat or vegetables marinated in yogurt and spices and was usually cooked for Nizaams and Nawabs . Check here and here to read more about Biriyani Stories.

When Sharmi of Neivedyam announced JFI-Rice for this month’s Jhiva, little did she know about my love affair with Rice. Rice is a staple food in our home and many a days we eat rice for breakfast (Dosas and Idlies), lunch and dinner. After considering and rejecting almost all the Rice recipes I ended up cooking Qabuli/Qabooli/Qubuli which is originally from Afghanistan. When rich Kings and Emperors lavished on Biriyanis which uses the most expensive ingredients like Basmati Rice, Saffron and Dry fruits, common man created their own version of Biriyani using Chana Dal (Spilt and Whole Bengal Grams). The sweet and nutty Chana dal cooked with aromatic spices and yogurt is layered in between flavoured Basmati Rice, fresh mint and coriander and sweet fried onions in ghee. The finishing touch of saffron gives it wonderful colour and tickles one’s taste bud. I referred this, this, this and this for the recipe of Qabuli and made changes to suit our palette.

Prep Time: 15-25 mins (excluding soaking time)
Cooking Time: 45-60 mins
Serves: 3-4

2 cups Basmati Rice
¾ cup Split Chana Dal
2 large Onions, thinly sliced
½ cup Mint Leaves, finely chopped
½ cup Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
2-3 Green Chillies, finely chopped (Adjust according to taste)
1 Maratha Moggu/Star Anise
2 Green Cardamoms
1 inch Cinnamon
2 Cloves
¼ tsp Saffron/Kesar
3-4 tbsp Milk
½ cup Coconut Milk
Few Cashews
3-4 tbsp Ghee
Salt to taste

For Yogurt Base:
¾ cup Yogurt
1 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
1 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Shah Jeera
1 tsp Shah Biriyani Powder
1 tsp Chilli Powder
Powder using Pestle and Mortar:
2 Green Cardamoms
½ inch Cinnamon
3 Cloves
Small Piece of Nutmeg
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Wash and soak Dal and Rice separately in water for about 20-30 minutes.
Heat about 2 tbsp of oil in a pan and fry thinly sliced onions in medium flame till they turn brown and keep it aside. Usually takes around 20-25 minutes.
Cook split chana dal with a pinch of turmeric and drop of oil in microwave for about 15 minutes. The dal should be cooked thoroughly but it should retain its shape.
Heat a tbsp of ghee in a heavy bottomed vessel and add marata moggu, cinnamon, green cardamom and cloves and sauté for about 20-30 seconds till nice aroma is released.
Drain water from rice and add it to sautéed whole spices and sauté over a medium flame for one minute till all the water is evaporated and grains are separated.
To this add ½ cup of coconut milk and about 3 cups of water and salt to taste. Cover the pan and cook this rice in medium flame till all the water is absorbed and rice is almost cooked. Generally takes around 20-30 minutes.
Heat little ghee in a pan and add ground spices. Sauté in a medium flame for about 15-20 seconds and add ginger-garlic paste.
Sauté it for another 20-30 seconds till the raw smell of ginger and garlic is reduced. Now add beaten yogurt, biriyani powder, chilli powder and little salt. Keep stirring this gravy till it thickens and reduces to 2/3 rd size.
Add cooked dal to yogurt gravy and mix well. Cook uncovered for 1-2 minutes.
Soak saffron in warm milk for about 15 minutes.
Preheat oven at 375 F. Now take large oven proof dish. First layer it with half of cooked rice and then add all the cooked dal mixture. On top of it add half of finely chopped mint+coriander+green chilli mix and half of fried onions. Again place other half of cooked rice and layer the rice with chopped greens and fried onions.
Pour the saffron milk and cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil. Place this dish in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Once it’s done, gently mix the rice and garnish with fried Cashews before serving hot with any curry or Raita of your choice.

Use Black Channa in place of split Chana Dal. Remember to soak black channa in water for minimum 1 hour.

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Qabuli with Plum Tomato-Cucumber Raita

Plum Tomato-Cucumber Raita
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: -
Serves: 2-3

6-8 Plum Tomatoes, quartered
1 cup Cucumber, quartered and sliced thinly
½ small Red Onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp Coriander Leaves, chopped finely
1 tsp Mint Leaves, very finely chopped
Pinch of Salt
Mix all the ingredients and keep it in fridge till required.
Serve chilled with any Rice of your choice.

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Plum Tomato-Cucumber Raita

Time for more bragging. Its pouring awards in blogsphere and Spice Corner’s hall of fame is giving tight competition to my ever expanding waistline;) While lovely girls Richa and Pravs have sent me The Power of Schmooze Award, pretty Raaga, SeeC and Sukanya think I am a Rocking Girl Blogger. And if that was not enough for my never ending bragging Sandeepa and Kribha feels I am Thoughtful and Inspirational Blogger too. Girls, I am really flattered with all these awards and love you are showering upon me. More than these awards I am thankful to all you people out there who were with me during tough times. Your kind comments, messages and mails helped me a lot in past cople of weeks. Thank you friends…

For those who answer blog comments, emails, and make their visitors feel at home on their blogs. For the people who take others feelings into consideration before speaking out and who are kind and courteous. Also for all of those bloggers who spend so much of their time helping others bloggers design, improve, and fix their sites. This award is for those generous bloggers who think of others.

For those bloggers who inspire others through their words and actions. With a positive attitude, and an uplifting spirit these bloggers make the blogosphere a better place, and encourage others to do the same. This award is for bloggers who rise up to set an example but continue to reach out and support others.

21 August, 2007

Recipes from Ajji’s Kitchen-Brahmi Tambli

So many things we never got to do
So many conversations we never got through
I feel lost and empty now
Every day I ask, how?
I could feel nothing when you died
I felt I wanted to run and hide
Run and hide cause I felt blind
Peace and and clarity I couldn't find
They say when you die your soul just flies away
I wanted to chase your soul, so for another day you could just come and stay
You were my Grams, you taught me how to stand on my own
Now that you’re gone, I feel as though I can’t do it alone
I've tried so hard to see things through and become the person you wanted me to be
Sometimes it’s just so hard being me
I'd give anything if I could just talk to you once more
To see you walk through the door
and tell me that everything was going to be alright for sure
When I look into the sky I picture you staring down
Which is why I have no reason to frown
All the things you taught me, all the songs we use to sing
Now you’re gliding under God’s precious wings
I hope He’s taking good care of you because now you’re in His place
I hope all your worries and all your fears have left your face
I never got so say goodbye that was the worst part
But I know that when you left secretly you said goodbye to my heart
So when I lay myself into bed tonight
I know you'll always be there to hold me tight.
- Jonathan P. Lanier

It seems like August is the cruellest month after all. At one moment the sun was smiling at me, and next moment he went behind the dark cloud leaving me in complete darkness… Losing a loved one is tough enough and losing two in two week’s time seems like some kind of cosmic joke. Little did I know I will lose my Doddappa and only two weeks later I was to suffer another loss… My maternal grandmother passed away this weekend leaving behind wonderful memories and pain of not being able to say my last goodbye to her.
Last year soon after my wedding she was diagnosed with Cancer which slowly drained all her energy and strength. All of us felt scared, helpless and angry and it was impossible to imagine our own life without her. With all sort of advancement in technology and medicine, I still wonder why there is no cure for cancer. Perhaps someday there will be an inoculation for cancer. For a person who has not spent even single day of her life lying on bed after sunrise, last few months had been too painful for her. When you see your loved one failing, looking ill, having no appetite, unable to walk steadily, losing weight and you are told that treatment isn't working, you can get a pretty clear picture of what is going to happen. Even then letting go is not easy. We Hindus believe in life after death and we will see our loved ones again on the other side. But death seems so final when it is a loved one and you are emotional. Ajji left this world on a very auspicious day surrounded by her family. Realising how much pain and suffering she had endured, we gave her permission to leave us. I know deep in my heart that she is at peace now and she will continue to be with us from where ever she is.
I am dedicating new series ‘Recipes from Ajji’s Kitchen’ where I’ll be sharing the recipes which are passed from one generation to next. These are the recipes which I learnt directly from Ajji and from my Amma and aunts who in turn learnt it from my Grandma. Simple recipes cooked using few ingredients which not only tastes good but also has many health benefits. One such recipe is Tambli/Tambuli is a coconut and yogurt based curry often served in summer. There is no cooking involved when making Tambli and is usually served as cold curry with hot rice. This cooling Tambli is very popular dish back at home during peak Indian Summers which always worked its magic. Different ingredients like gooseberry, kokum, onion, garlic, ginger etc are used depending on one’s taste.
One of my favorite Tambli is Brahmi Tambli. Brahmi, Thyme Leaved Gratiola, has been used since ancient time as a tonic for improving memory. In the gurukuls of ancient India there was the practice to regularly administer Brahmi to young students to help them learn sacred hymns.

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Brahmi Tambli
Prep Time: 10-15 mins
Cooking Time: -
Serves: 3-4

One small bunch of Brahmi Leaves
¼ cup Coconut, fresh/frozen
1½-2 cups Yogurt
1 Green Chilli
1 tsp Ginger
½ tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds (Optional)
Salt to taste

For Tempering:
½ tsp Mustard
1 Dry Red Chilli
Few Curry Leaves
1 tsp Oil

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Brahmi Tambli

Grind brahmi leaves, coconut, green chilli, ginger, salt to taste and jeera to smooth paste in a food processor using little yogurt at a time. Add little water if needed.
Heat oil in a pan and add mustard, broken red chilli and curry leaves. When mustard starts to pop and sputter transfer it to Tambli and mix well.
Keep Tambli refrigerated till needed and serve it cold with rice and pickle.

Did You Know?
Bitter and astringent in taste and light and slightly hot in effect, Brahmi is a pacifier of all the three doshas - mainly kapha and vata. Although people in India, especially ayurvedic physicians, knew about Brahmi’s benefits thousands of years ago, modern research on it was conducted recently by the central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow. The trails have resulted in establishing that this long treasured herb, besides possessing antioxidant properties, also has the amazing ability to facilitate learning and enhance memory and concentration.
Ayurvedic tests describe Brahmi as medhya, a medicine that braces the mind to carry cognitive functions and intellectual pursuits. But ancient authors seem to believe that the healing effects of Brahmi extend far beyond mind and brain. Brahmi is not only a memory-booster and intellect-promoting herb; it is also a tranquilliser, a muscle relaxant, an anti-convulsant, a blood purifier, and an anti-pyretic, carminative and digestive agent.
Though Brahmi is beneficial for maintaining the tridoshic balance, ayurvedic physicians believe it to be the drug of choice for counteracting the vitiated vata dosha — the factor which governs the nervous system,
Brahmi is known for its salutary effect in anxiety, depression, hypertension, sleeplessness, mental retardation, insanity and hysteria. Acharya Chakradutta has written that Brahmi is beneficial in all types of epilepsy. Ancient texts describe the use of Brahmi in a number of other disorders like biliousness, ulcers, splenomegaly, asthma, skin diseases and in general and senile debility.
Brahmi enhances the mind’s ability to learn and concentrate. As it simultaneously calms and invigorates the mind, it is a very good medicine for reducing the effects of stress and nervous anxiety. It also helps maintain the clarity of thought and has proved effective in treating ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) in hyperactive children, and age-related mental disorders in old persons.
(Source: www.ayurvediccure.com)

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Brahmi Tambli served with Rosematta Rice, Mago Pickle and Majjige Menasu

15 August, 2007

Celebrating Freedom with Oriya Cuisine

"Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high;

Where knowledge is free;

Where the world has not been

broken up into fragments by

narrow domestic walls;

Where words come out from

the depth of truth;

Where tireless striving stretches

its arms towards perfection;

Where the clear stream of reason

has not lost its way into the dreary

desert sand of dead habit;

Where the mind is lead forward by thee

into ever-widening thought and action-
into that heaven of freedom, my Father,

let my country awake."
-Rabindranath Tagore from Geetanjali

This is a day to rejoice and celebrate our independence. At the same time take few minutes of your time to pray for the freedom fighters who dreamt of freedom and made their dreams into reality for us. Wishing all proud Indians A Very Happy 60th Year of Independence…
The land India is like a Thali, a platter containing selection of sumptuous dishes in different bowls. Each food tastes different, and does not necessarily mix with the next. Still they belong together on the same plate and complement each other in making the total satisfying meal. The very finest of Indian cuisine is as rich and diverse as its civilization. They say in India the language differs for every two hundred miles travelled and food is no exception.
Lakshmi’s RCI, Regional Cuisines of India, is one event which I look forward to. The instructions are quite simple and straight forward; cook any dish of particular Indian state every month. While browsing through Spice Corner Archives I realised most of the times I have been cooking and posting recipes which I have learned from my Amma, Grandma, MIL or friends and they are very limited to something which I am used to eating since long time. I am not very experimental or adventurous when it comes to cooking and eating different food. RCI is not just a great reason for me to cook completely new recipe from different states of India but also gives me the opportunity to learn little more about the culture, people, food etc of that region. This month lovely Swapna, of beautiful blog called Swad is guest hosting RCI-Oriya Cuisine. And also Anita of A Mad Tea Party is throwing a great Independence Day party to celebrate 60th year of independence. How can I stay away from this mad party where we are asked to bring deep fried Poories with Potato Bhaji. Here I come Anita...

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Panch-Phutana: Fennel, Nigella (Kalonji), Fenugreek, Mustard & Cumin

Orissa or Kalinga, as it was then called, is a eastern Indian state with an ethnic past that is still vibrant. It was here that the famous Battle of Kalinga was fought which made King Ashoka forsake war and to become a follower of Buddhism and spread the spirit of ahimsa and peace. This rich state of architectural splendour and magnificent coastline teaches how simple food cooked using local ingredients can bring out the rich and heavenly flavour. Unlike the fiery spiced curries associated with Indian food, the Oriya food is usually subtle and delicately spiced using Panch-Phutana, a mix of five spices- Cumin, Mustard, Fennel, Fenugreek and Nigella (Kalonji) seeds.

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Chana Dali & Piaj Sag Bhaja with Luchi

After searching the internet for vegetarian dishes from Orissa I ended up making not just one Dish but two. I tweaked recips from Oriya Kitchen which showcases wonderful array of dishes. The simple Chana Dali of Puri Jagannath Temple where the spilt Chana Dal is simmered in lightly spiced creamy coconut gravy tastes as good as it sounds. The creamy dal has got light nutty taste from channa and the tempering of aromatic Chari-Phutna defines the new dimension of taste.

Chana Dali of Puri Jagannath Temple
Prep Time: 10-15 mins (excluding soaking time)
Cooking Time: 30-40 mins
Serves: 3-4

1½ cups of Chana dal
¼ cup grated Coconut, fresh/frozen
1 inch Cinnamon Stick
4 Green Cardamoms (original recipe called for black cardamom)
3 Cloves
1 tsp Black Pepper seeds
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Coriander Seeds
¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
½ tsp Sugar
Salt to taste

For Tempering:
1 tsp Ghee
1 tsp Chari-Phutana Seeds (Cumin, Mustard, Fennel, Fenugreek)

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Chana Dali of Puri Jagannath Temple
Wash and clean chana dal in water
Cook this cleaned chana dal in pressure cooker with turmeric, salt and sugar for 10-15 minutes till the it’s cooked well. Cool the pressure cooker till it releases its pressure before opening the lid.
Grind all coconut, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, cumin and coriander seeds to smooth paste adding little water at a time.
Add this ground paste and ¼-½ cup of water, if needed, to the cooked dal. Simmer and cook for another 20 minutes till the dal thickens.
Heat ghee in a tadka pan and add chari-phutna. When the spices start to pop and splutter, transfer the tempering to cooked dal and mix well.
Serve this delicious Chana Dali with rice or roties.

Piaj Sag Bhaja or Green/Spring Onion stir fry is another dish I couldn’t resist from trying. This simple stir fry of spring onion with diced potato in a simple tempering of punch-phutana brings out the true tastes of vegetables without any spices overpowering the fresh taste of vegetables.

Piaj Sag Bhaja
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 15-20 mins
Serves: 2-3

1 bunch Spring Onion (approx 1½ cups)
1 large Potato, peeled and diced into small pieces
1 small Onion, finely chopped
1 Green Chilli, minced
1/2 tsp Panch-Phutana (Cumin, Fenugreek, Nigella(Kalonji), Fennel, Mustard)
1 tbsp Oil
½ tsp Turmeric Powder
½ tsp Coriander Powder
½ tsp Red Chilli Powder
Salt to taste

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Piaj Sag Bhaja
Wash the spring onion and then cut its green part into 1 inch pieces. Chop the white part into very thin slices and keep them separate.
Heat oil and add panch-phutana seeds and sauté till they start to pop and splutter.
Now add finely chopped onion and spring onion slices and minced green chilli. Sauté these onions till they turn golden brown.
Now add diced potato, turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder, salt and sauté until potato is almost cooked. You can sprinkle little water in between so that the vegetables don’t stick to the bottom of pan.
Then add spring onion and cook for another 5-6 minutes over a medium flame.
Serve hot Piaj Sag Bhaja with rice or any Indian bread.

Here is the recipe for soft and white puffed luchies served with delicious Piaj Sag Bhaja and Chana Dali.

Prep Time: 10-15 mins
Cooking Time: 10-15 mins
Serves: 3-4

2 cups Maida/All Purpose Flour
2 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste(approx ½ tsp)
Oil for deep frying

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Puffed Luchi
Mix oil and salt with all purpose flour. Add water little at a time to make soft pliable dough. Careful while adding water as maida needs less water and tends to become too soft and sticky if more water is added.
Make small ball and roll it into small roties. Make sure that u doesn’t roll them into very thin roties.
Heat oil in a deep frying pan at medium heat and fry one luchi at a time.
When luchies puffs and cooks well which should not take more than 30-45 seconds transfer them on paper towel.
Serve hot puffed white beauties with any curry of your choice.

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Chana Dali & Piaj Sag Bhaja with Luchi

Lovely Cynthia of Tastes Like Home has kindly given me The Power of Schmooze Award. I feel very humble and grateful and am not sure if I deserve this award. Thank you Cynth for your kind gesture.

The Power of Schmooze Award is for bloggers who “effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship.”

Given a choice I would gladly send it to all lovely bloggers here and I had great difficulty in choosing few from my long list of buddies. So here I would like to pass this award to lovely friends who aptly deserve this award more than I do. You all are schmoozers :)
Archana of Tried & Tested Recipes
Coffee of The Spice Café
Jyothsna of Curry Bazaar
Latha of Masala Magic
Linda of Out of The Garden
Sandeepa of Bong Mom’s Cookbook
Shn of Kitchen Mishmash
Sra of When my Soup Came Alive
Trupti of The Spice Who Loved Me
Vani of Mysoorian

Update: Time for more bragging;) Baking Fairy Sunita of Sunita's World and thoughtful writer Santi of Writing on the Mirror thinks I rock! Boy! I do feel like I am back in school days on annual day celebration;) Thanks Suni and Santi for this award and right now my cheeks matches the pretty pink of this cute button.

I would like to pass this Rocking Girl Blogger Award to all these gals who surely rocks:) Keep rocking girls;)
ISG of Daily Musings
Kanchana of Married to a Desi
Manjula of Dalitoy
Meena of Memories from my Mom's Kitchen
Musical of Musical's Kitchen
Pooja of My Creative Ideas
Roopa of My Chow Chow Bhath
Richa of As Dear As Salt
Seema of Recipe Junction
Shilpa of Flog & Rosbif
Viji of Vcuisine

12 August, 2007

Matar Paneer with Butter Naan

Here are sweet peas, on tiptoe for a flight;
With wings of gentle flush o'er delicate white,

And taper fingers catching at all things,

To bind them all about with tiny rings.

- John Keats

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Lucious Peas in Pod

One thing my mother never had to say even when I was in little polka dot frock was to eat peas. We kids at home loved our job of shelling sweet peas from their pods and collect all those bouncing little green gems in our little hand. Snap, shell and pop some peas into mouth; how simple is that? Knowing our love affair with fresh peas, Amma always bought large bag of shelled peas from farmer’s market. Little more than half of those little gems would disappear well before it was put into the basket and little more would easily disappear on its way to kitchen.
I don’t remember when my love affair with peas started. It had to be love at first bite and I still can’t get enough of it. Although we can consume peas throughout the year as they are available in cans, dried form or frozen, they can never match the taste of fresh peas from their pods. I have been buying fresh peas from our farmer’s market as April, May and June are usually the only months that they are available fresh. So if you’ve never had fresh peas, straight from the pod, you’re in for a treat. Fresh peas are sweet and delicious and I feel they taste best uncooked as they are nutritious and low in fat. With overflowing peas in our kitchen we decided to use them in cooking. So we have been having good servings of Peas Pulao, Peas stir fry and Peas with different vegetables. When it comes to peas how can anyone not cook Matar Paneer. Fresh Peas of summer and creamy Paneer (Indian Cheese) gently cooked in thick gravy of onion and tomato seasoned with aromatic Indian spices and generous dollop of butter is a pleasure to savor. When served with soft Butter Naan it’s a treat for all your senses.
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Matar Paneer with Butter Naan

Matar Panner
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 25-30 mins
Serves: 3-4

1½ cups Fresh Peas, shelled
2 cups Paneer, cut into 1 inch square
2 large Tomatoes, chopped finely
½ cup single Cream/Sour Cream/Evaporated Milk
1 tbsp+2 tbsp Butter/Ghee
1 tbsp Kasoori Methi
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
1 Star Aniseed/Marathi Muggu
1 Bay Leaf
2-3 tbsp Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
Salt to taste

To Grind to Paste:
2 medium Onions, roughly chopped
1 tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder/Paprika
1 tsp Garam Masala
½ tsp Kitchen King Masala
¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
½ tsp Amchur/Dry Mango Powder
2-3 tbsp Cashew Nuts, broken
½ inch Ginger
2-3 Garlic Flakes
2 Green Cardamoms

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Matar Paneer

Heat butter/ghee in a pan and shallow fry paneer cubes both the sides till they turn light golden brown colour. Immerse them in a warm water till required so that they don’t harden.
To the same ghee/butter add jeera, star aniseed, bay leaf and kasuri methi and sauté till jeera starts to pop and splutter.
Now add ground masala and fry it on a medium flame till oil starts to separate.
Add finely chopped tomatoes, salt to taste and about ¾ to 1 cup of water and boil till gravy thickens.
Add fresh/frozen peas, paneer and cream and cook for further 5-7 minutes over a medium flame.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with naan or roties.

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Matar Paneer

Naan is a round flat bread made of maida and cooked in a Tandoor or clay oven. You can make naan using pressure cooker or oven or grill or stove top. This time I tried Coffee’s Stove Top method which is not only easy but made beautiful tandoor style naan.
Remember to use Cast Iron Tawa and NEVER use non-stick tawa for this method.

Butter Naan
Prep time: 15 mins (excluding rising time)
Cooking Time: 15-20 mins
Serves: 3-4

2 cups All Purpose Flour/Maida
2 tbsp Yogurt
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Active Dry Yeast
1 tsp Salt
¼ tsp Baking Powder
2 tbsp Oil
¾ cup Luke Warm Water
1 tbsp Sesame Seeds

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Butter Naan

Dissolve yeast in warm water and keep aside for 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile mix all dry ingredients: maida, sugar, salt and baking powder.
To this add yogurt and oil and mix.
Make a small well in the center and slowly add dissolved yeast water. Keep mixing till you get soft pliable dough.
Cover this dough with a wet cheese cloth or plastic wrap and keep it in a warm place for 1½ to 2 hours till the dough rises and doubles its original quantity.
Punch down this raised dough to release air and divide it into big lemon sized balls.
Heat iron tawa and roll the dough ball into a ¼ inch thick oval shaped roti with a rolling pin. Sprinkle little sesame seeds and gently roll the naan.
Sprinkle generous amount of water to one side of the naan and gently place it on the heated iron tawa. Remember to put the water side down.
When you see bubbles forming on the surface of naan in few seconds time, lift the tawa and turn it down so that the surface of naan is directly exposed to the flame. While keeping the flame on high, move the tawa so that naan is cooked evenly.
Naan is well cooked when you see brown patches on the surface of naan.
Apply butter or ghee and serve hot with any Curry of your choice.

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Matar Paneer with Butter Naan

PS: Thankyou for your concern and mails/messages. I was not be able to response to your comments and visit your blogs as I had crazy busy schedule. And more than that I am trying cope with the pain of losing a loved one who was very special to me in many ways. Till now I have only heard about the way how death touches others life and now I understand. This is the first time I am experiencing the pain of losing a precious one who was a backbone of our family.