Paneer Butter Masala

Known with several different names and cooked with distinctive styles,Paneer Butter Masala is a popular punjabi dish that is rich in flavor and creamy in texture. I cook this in a nut based gravy simmered with Tomato sauce and spices. I add the fried Paneer in the end.

1 block Paneer , cut into cubes
1/4 cup cashews, soaked for 15 min
1 Onion, finely chopped
6 Green Chillies, Slit Vertically
1 cup Tomato Puree
1tsp Cumin Coriander Powder
1/2 tbsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Ginger Garlic paste
1/4 tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
1 tsp Kasuri Methi
1 tbsp Tomato Ketchup
1/2 cup Heavy cream
Coriander to garnish
1 tbsp Butter
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a kadai. Add the cubed Paneer pieces. Fry till they start turning color.Do not fry till they are brown. Set aside on a napkin to remove the excess oil
  • Blend the cashews to a fine paste.
  • Heat 1 tbsp Butter in a pan.
  • Add Onions and fry for a few minutes until they turn slightly brown
  • Add the ginger garlic paste, chillies and Tomato Ketchup;Cook for 2 min
  • Stir in the spices - Kasuri methi, cumin corainder powder and garam masala
  • Add the cashew paste and tomato puree;cook for 3 - 4 min until the raw taste of cashews is not present
  • Add Heavy Cream; Cover and simmer on medium for 5 min
  • To this, add the fried paneer cubes and garnish with Coriander
  • Serve hot with Naan.

Eggplant (Kathirikkai) Rasavangy

When I first came across the Rasavangi recipe,I was quite amused by the name.Although I was in India for the majority of my life, I have never come across this dish. But then, I realized it is a variant of Sambar or Pappuchaaru as we call in Telugu. This recipe is a delicious combination of eggplant, lentils, coconut and fresh spices.Serve it with rice and that will be heaven!!

1/2 cup Toor Dal
2 cups water
a small piece of tamarind pulp
1 cup hot water
2 green chillies
1 small tomato, chopped
4 eggplants
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp sambar powder
1 small block of jaggery
4 tbsps of Coriander, chopped

1 1/2 tbsps coriander seeds
1 tsp oil
2 red chillies
Asafoetida powder
5 1/2 tbsp fresh coconut
2 tsps ghee
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 red chili halved
few curry leaves
  • Cook the dal with the 3 cups water, salt and turmeric until soft, about 1 1/2 hour
  • Microwave the tamarind in water for 1 min. Set aside.
  • Heat the oil and add coriander seeds, red chillies, asafoetida powder.
  • Saute for a few min.
  • Add coconut and blend it to a fine paste
  • Heat the ghee in a pan. Add the mustard seeds, red chilli, and curry leaves
  • When the mustard seeds begin to splutter, add the green chillies, tomato, egg plants
  • Add the Sambar powder, tamarind pulp, jaggery, and salt to taste
  • Cook until the vegetables are done.Add the dal and the coconut paste
  • Simmer for a few minutes
  • Garnish with chopped coriander

Lemon Curd Cake

I made this the day before V's Birthday. It came out perfect!! The taste was much better the day after...I have been aiming to make a layered cake on his Birthday each year but the time that it can take and the procedure together, made me hesitant and overwhelmed.This year, I took the plunge and it proved to be well worth the time and the effort.

The only change I made to this recipe is, I have used less lemon curd.The layer between the cakes does not have lemon curd. You can always use the store bought lemon curd.

Recipe: Martha Stewart

2 sticks Unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups All Purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 tbsps freshly grated zest of 2 lemons
2 recipes lemon curd
Lemon Swiss Meringue Butter cream
  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • Butter 2 9X2 inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with a parchment paper
  • In a bowl, sift the flours, baking powder, and salt
  • In another bowl, combine sour cream, lemon zest and juice
  • In a bowl fitted with an attachment, beat the butter on medium high speed until fluffy.
  • Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 min
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 min after each addition
  • With the mixer set on a low speed, add the flour mixture alternating with sour cream beginning and ending with the flour mixture.Do not over mix.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.Bake until cakes are golden brown and pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30 to 35 min
  • Transfer the cake to cool down.
  • Invert the cakes and remove the parchment paper. Re invert them so that the tops can be cool down
  • Trim the top of the cakes.Slice each cake in half and in two layers.On the bottom layer, spread 1/2 cup lemon curd over the top. Cover it with a top layer. Repeat the same with the other cake.(I skipped the lemon curd between the cakes)
  • Spread a thin layer of Swiss Meringue Butter cream to seal the crumbs. Refrigerate until chilled
  • Spread the remaining Butter cream on the cake.
  • Refrigerate 30 min before decorating with Lemon Curd
  • Fill the Lemon curd into a ziploc bag. Pipe the dots on the top of the cake
  • You can pipe vertical lines on the sides of the cake

Lemon Curd
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup lemon juice plus 2 tbsps
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/4 sticks of unsalted butter
  • Combine the yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is thick, 8 to 10 min. The thermometer should register 160F
  • Remove from the stove. Add salt and butter, one piece at a time, till smooth.
  • Strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl.Stir in the zest
  • Cover with wrap and refrigerate until chilled for an hour
Lemon Swiss Meringue Butter cream
4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Combine the egg whites and sugar in a bowl set over simmering water
  • Whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved and it is warm to the touch
  • Remove from the heat; Using a mixer, beat the mixture on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  • Beat the mixture until it is fluffy and cooled about 5 min
  • With the mixer on low speed, add the butter few tbsps at a time.
  • Beat in vanilla at the lowest setting.Stir until the frosting is smooth

Meringue with Yogurt, Balsamic Reduction and Berries

It is so beautiful here in PA with the temperature going upto 80F. While I feel that Winter was not as brutal this year except for January, the arrival of Spring and Summer is always exciting.

Having grown up in the Southern Parts of India,with the notorious hot weather where temperatures can shoot up to over 100F, warm weather was not something that I looked forwarded to. I have always dreamt of the cold/Snow places until I started shoveling my driveway!!Now, the appreciation for the different seasons is much more especially Summer.

Meringues are very light, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. It is served with Yogurt cream made out of Greek yogurt and Cream served with a Berries and a drizzle of Balsamic Reduction.

A few years back, I had this dessert in a restaurant and to my surprise, I saw the recipe for that in a local magazine.It came out perfect.

Recipe: Local Gourmet magazine

8 Egg Whites
1/2 tsp Salt
2 cups Sugar
1 Vanilla Bean, Scraped
3 tsp Corn Starch
1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • Preheat the oven to 275F
  • Whip Egg Whites with Salt until it forms stiff peaks
  • Add Sugar 1 tbsp at a time until the mixture is shiny and stiff
  • When half the sugar is incorporated, beat in the vanilla, cream of tartar and cornstarch
  • Add the remaining sugar until all of the sugar is incorporated
  • Place the mixture in the pastry bag or a Ziploc bag
  • Pipe into 6 or 8 mounds, about 2 inches apart
  • Place in the oven and bake till crisp, about 1 hour
Topping -
1 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
2T Balsamic Reduction
1/2 cup Mixed Berries
  • Place Heavy Cream and Yogurt in a bowl and whip it to soft peaks
  • Place the Meringue and top with the yogurt cream
  • Spoon the fruit and drizzle the balsamic reduction around and on top
Balsamic Reduction -
  • Place 1 cup of Balsamic Vinegar in a pan and boil it until it is reduced by half
  • The Vinegar has an inherent sweet taste to it but if you would like little bit more sweetness to it, add a tablespoon sugar to it before reducing it.

Beans Parippu Usili

Here is one of my other favorites from Dakshin by Chandra Padmanabhan-

1 cup toor dal or Masoor Dal; I used Masoor Dal
3 cups water
5 red chillies
Asafoetida Powder
1 lb Green Beans, finely chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric


2 tbsps oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp chana dal
1 tsp urad dal
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 red chilli, halved
7-8 curry leaves
  • Soak the dal and the red chillies in water for about an hour
  • In the meanwhile, boil beans with salt and turmeric till tender/soft
  • Drain water and set aside
  • Drain the water from the dal and add salt and asafoetida
  • Blend it to a smooth paste
  • In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. To it, add chana dal, urad dal, cumin seeds,mustard seeds, red chilli and curry leaves
  • Once the seeds splutter, add the dal paste
  • Keeping the stove on low heat, stir the paste occasionally until the paste gets the texture of breadcrumbs and crisp.
  • Add the boiled beans and saute for 3 min.
  • Serve with rice

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