Paneer Bhurji

To those of you who do not eat eggs at all, this version of Paneer can be a great substitute. Especially when Paneer is cooked like Bhurji, it resembles scrambled eggs. Infact, I have seen some interesting variations of curries with Eggs and Paneer on the internet. Perhaps, I will try that soon. For now, enjoy the 'paneer only' Bhurji version.

1 block Paneer, soaked in warm water for 10 min and crumbled
2 Medium Onions, finely chopped
1 tomato, finely chopped
1/2 cup Green Peas, Optional
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1 tsp Ginger Garlic paste
1 tsp Garam Masala
2 tsps Cumin Powder
Pinch of turmeric
1/2 tsp of Kasuri Methi
1 tsp of Pomegranate Powder
2 tsps Oil
1 tsp Coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • Heat 2 tsps of oil
  • Add Onions and let it cook till translucent for about 5 min
  • Add tomatoes and cook till soft
  • Stir in the ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, Garam Masala and Cumin Powder
  • Cook for a couple of min
  • Add the Kasuri Methi and Pomegranate Powder
  • Add the crumbled paneer and make sure that the paneer is well coated with the seasoning
  • Garnish with Coriander leaves
I like to squeeze in some lime juice when I am eating just the curry but that is completely optional

Coconut Rice

Coconut Rice is prepared in various cuisines and countries. One of my friends who is Puerto Rico mentioned to me that they make rice with coconut milk as the base.It was always my impression that Coconut Rice is an Indian dish primarily hailing from Kerala. It is quite a pleasant surprise that Coconut Rice either in the form of pudding or simply rice is served across the world.

1 cup Rice ; I used Tilda Basmati
1/2 - 3/4 cup fresh grated Coconut
3 Green Chillies, slit vertically
6 Curry Leaves
1 tbsp of Oil
1/2 tsp of Turmeric
1 tsp Chana Dal
1 tsp Urad Dal
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
Pinch of Hing
Lemon juice Optional

  • Cook Rice using 1:2 rice to water till soft but the grains should be separate
  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan
  • Add Chana Dal, Urad Dal, Cumin Seeds and Mustard seeds.
  • Fry till golden brown
  • Add Curry Leaves and Hing
  • Add Green Chillies and turmeric
  • Add the coconut and fry till the coconut turns golden brown
  • Add the cooked rice and mix well until all the tempering has coated the rice
  • Squeeze lime juice and serve

Red Bell Pepper Chutney

A very dear friend of mine invited my parents when they were here a couple of years back which is when she prepared this fabulous Bell Pepper Chutney. She is a fabulous cook and her Biryani needs a special mention. I firmly believe that a recipe when prepared by different people will create different flavors. While I can replicate the recipe, I cannot replicate the taste. But, But!! I finally could achieve a similar taste after experimenting for several times and of course a few flops.So,a big thank you, Pooja!

2 Red Bell Peppers, coarsely chopped
1 Garlic Clove, peeled and minced
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Chilli Powder
3 Curry Leaves
2 Tbsps Oil+ 1 tsp
Pinch of Hing/asafoetida
1 tbsp finely chopped Coriander leaves
3 tbsps thick tamarind pulp
Salt to taste

  • Heat 2 tbsps of oil in a pan
  • Add the Red Bell Pepper pieces and Curry leaves and cook till they are soft but they should NOT turn black; Else, there can be a slight bitter taste when blended
  • Add the minced garlic
  • Cook for a min or so
  • Stir in chilli powder and salt
  • Add the tamarind pulp and let it cook for a couple of min, until the raw smell goes away.
  • Blend the Red bell pepper mixture along with the coriander leaves until smooth
  • In a small pan, heat the remaining tsp of oil
  • Add Cumin seeds, Mustard seeds and hing; Let them splutter
  • Quickly add them to the blended Bell pepper mixture
  • Serve hot with rice or idlis or dosas

  • Polenta w/Mascarapone, Tomatoes & Chard

    Polenta is an Italian dish. It is made with cornmeal, yellow or white. It is smooth and creamy and resembles Upma both in taste and texture. It was once considered a peasant's food but today, you can find this on the menus of some gourmet food places.

    Recipe:Food Network

    1 cup instant polenta
    1 can plum tomatoes
    1 bunch swiss chard
    1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    4 tbsps unsalted butter
    Salt and Pepper to taste
    Mascarpone or Farmer's cheese

    • Bring 5 cups of water to a rolling boil; Whisk polenta slowly until it is smooth and creamy
    • Top with the unsalted butter and allow it to melt
    • Add salt and pepper to taste
    • Stir in butter, salt and butter till well combined.
    • Pour evenly into a rectangular dish and let it cool down. You will be able to cut into squares once cooled
    • Cut the swiss chard into about an inch pieces; Coarsely chop the tomatoes
    • Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan
    • Add the tomatoes and chard and saute till the chard leaves welt about 10 - 15 min
    • Let it come together; Set aside
    • Cut the cooled polenta into squares or shapes of your choice
    • Place a polenta square on a plate
    • Spoon the tomato & chard mixture on top
    • Garnish with a dollop of mascarpone cheese. Alternately, garnish with crumbled farmer's cheese
    • Serve warm

    Chakra Pongali

    Happy Dassera to you all! My India trip has been a very short but a very sweet one. I could not fit all the things in the few days that I was there but I spent time with my family to my heart's content.But, my heart is still heavy..I miss home and I suspect it will take some time to settle down.Still struggling with jet lag and sleeping and getting up at odd hours!! Hope I will be myself next week.

    Recipe: Dakshin by Chandra Padmanabhan

    1/2 cup Moong dal
    1 cup uncooked long grain rice
    2 1/2 cups water
    1 cup milk
    3 cups powdered jaggery
    3/4 cup water
    4 tbsps ghee
    2 tbsps cashews
    2 tbsps raisins
    5 whole cardamoms, crushed
    2 cloves, crushed
    1/4 tsp powdered nutmeg
    Pinch of saffron

    • Dry roast the Moong dal for 2 - 3 min. Remove from the heat
    • Cook the rice and dal with 2 1/2 cups water and 1 cup milk until soft; Add water as needed to make the rice and dal mixture soft.
    • In another pan, dissolve jaggery in the 3/4 cup water and cook till jaggery melts
    • Continue to cook until the jaggery water becomes slightly sticky.
    • Add the cooked rice and dal
    • Heat 4 tbsps of ghee in a pan
    • Saute the nuts and raisins for 2 -3 min
    • Add them to the pongal
    • Add the crushed cardamoms, cloves, nutmeg and saffron
    • Stir well and serve hot

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