Warm, Caramelized Baby Potato & Onion Salad

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While I was baking all those delicious breads last month, I was also feeling very guilty about eating so many breads all at once. That is when I decided to eat salads to kind of compensate for all that wheat. This is one of the lovely salads that I had.

The recipe is from a book ‘Diva Green: a vegetarian cookbook’ by Ritu Dalmia. It is a fun book with recipes divided amongst potatoes, pumpkins, mushrooms, greens, fruits and such others. There are lovely salads, soups and few baked dishes I have marked to try. I will post a few of them as part of my Cooking from Cookbook Challenge this month. 

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Serves 2

WHAT WE NEED

Baby potatoes, halved        500 gms

Baby onions, peeled            250 gms

Walnuts, roughly chopped  1/2 cup

Butter                                        25 gms

Brown sugar                            1 tsp

Spring onions, chopped        2

Raisins                                      2 tbsp

Lemon, medium size             1

Salt & pepper
Coriander leaves to garnish 

Paneer, crumbled, to garnish
WHAT TO DO

  • Soak the raisins in some water for 10 minutes. Drain it and set aside
  • Boil the baby potatoes in salted water for 10 minutes and remove with slotted spoon
  • In the same water, boil the baby onions for 10 minutes and drain
  • In a pan, toast the walnuts for about 5 minutes on medium heat and set aside
  • In the same pan, heat the butter and once it melts, add the brown sugar
  • When the mixture turns dark, add the potatoes and onions and cook for 2-3 minutes till they are nicely brown
  • In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, onions, spring onions, walnuts and raisins. 
  • Juice the lemon and mix well
  • Season with salt & pepper
  • Garnish with crumbled paneer and coriander leaves
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Picnic Dishes’.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#76
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This is my entry for the Cooking from Cookbook Challenge hosted by Srivalli.

Khachapuri

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At first glance, the name Khachapuri does sound like a chaat available at Chowpatty beach in Bombay, somewhere between sookha puri and pani puri. But probe further and you discover that it is a traditional Georgian bread filled with cheese. In fact, it is the national dish of Georgia. It is usually shaped like a boat and filled with cheese, egg and sometimes few other ingredients. The crust is ripped off and used to dip in the cheese for a mouthful of bliss. Sulguni is the most commonly used cheese in Georgia but it is replaced with mozzarella and other cheese in other countries. Since it is a staple food in Georgia, the price of making the khachapuri is used a measure of inflation, called the Khachapuri Index. I am unable to think of any reason for why I should not migrate to this European country. Sigh!

I made a few changes to this dish because the husband and daughter are not big fans of cheese plus they need a spicy version of every dish. So I replaced part of the cheese with some fresh paneer / cottage cheese. Then I crumbled it and mixed some chilly powder, mixed herbs and salt into it. So, for the first time the husband asked for seconds and that is when I realized how much happier I was when he would not and I had all the delicious bread to myself.

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Country – Georgia

Recipe adapted from here

Makes 2 large breads to serve 3-4 people

WHAT WE NEED

For the dough

All purpose flour                            1 3/4 cups

Sugar                                                 1 1/2 tsp

Salt                                                     1/2 tsp

Instant yeast                                    1/2 tsp

Lukewarm milk                              1/2 cup

Lukewarm water                           1/4 cup

Oil                                                     1 1/2 tsp

For the filling

Mozzarella, grated                          1 cup

Fresh cottage cheese                      1 cup

Mixed herbs                                     1-2 tsp

Red chilly powder                           1/2 tsp

Coriander leaves                             5-6

Eggs (optional) (see notes)            2

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Mix the flour, salt, yeast and sugar in a large bow;
  • Add warm milk and water and knead till the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes by hand
  • Add oil and knead again till the oil is absorbed, about 1-2 minutes by hand
  • Set aside the dough in a greased bowl and cover it till it doubles in volume, around an hour
  • Punch down the dough and press it a few times and set it aside for another 30 minutes
  • Crumble the cottage cheese and add the chilly powder, mixed herbs and some salt and mix well
  • Preheat the oven to 230C for 20 minutes
  • Take the dough and divide into 2 halves and roll out the first half into a 9″ circle
  • Spread the paneer mixture on the circle leaving an inch gap from the edges
  • Roll the circle from two opposite sides three times leaving a large gap in the middle
  • Pinch together the edges and shape like an ‘S’ to make it look like a boat
  • Fill the open section with paneer mixture and top it with mozzarella cheese and few finely chopped corainder leaves
  • Repeat the same procedure with the other half of the dough

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  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease it well with oil / butter
  • Transfer the two breads on the baking sheet
  • Bake for 15 minutes or till the top of the dough is nicely brown
  • If you are adding eggs, take out the bread from the oven and make a small hole in the cheese at the centre of the bread
  • Break open an egg at the hole and bake for another 5-6 minutes till the egg whites are set but the yolk is a bit runny
  • Take out and let it cool slightly
  • Using a fork, scramble the egg into the cheese and serve warm
  • Enjoy!

 

NOTES

  1. It is not mandatory to add eggs and can be skipped. If so then bake for 18 minutes instead of 15 minutes or till the top of the dough is golden brown. When I baked one bread without the egg, it seemed a little dry while eating. So, I suggest you mix 1-2 tsp of milk with the paneer when you add salt and spices. It should reduce the dryness.
  2. Instead of paneer, you can add feta cheese, farmer’s cheese, etc. I plan to add some veggies next time like mushroom, boiled corn, cherry tomatoes, etc to make it a little healthy
  3.  It is better to use freshly made paneer / cottage cheese. The store bought ones are usually dry and may not be the best option for this dish but maybe you can adjust the milk a little more and make do. I used paneer made from 1 litre milk and it was almost used up in this dish
  4. On hindsight, I thought it would be better to make 3 portions instead of 2 with the same dough which would result in a smaller size, more filling and less dough per person.

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the letter ‘K’.

 

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 75

North Indian Thali

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As a South Indian who lived in Mumbai most of my life, I have been frequently irritated when people assumed that all South Indians were ‘Madrasis’ without understanding the significant cultural and linguistic differences between the four southern states. Later, when I moved to Chennai and then to Bangalore I realized that the reverse was also true. The average citizen in the south is also is not aware about the differences between Punjabi and Rajasthani and Bihari culture or cuisine. Everything was bracketed under ‘North Indian’ and the revenge complete 😉

So my Thali for today is an assimilation of different North Indian states and what is generally called the ‘North Indian Thali’. This Thali usually has –

  • an option of chapati or poori 
  • One dal, almost always the yellow dal made with toor dal
  • One dry vegetable usually a toss between potatoes or lady’s fingers
  • One gravy vegetable, almost always a paneer dish
  • A raita. 
  • One sweet, popular choice is the Gulab Jamun
  • Rice – plain or jeera rice
  • Buttermilk – with the addition of roasted cumin powder, asafoetida and salt

The other items – Aam pana which is a raw mango coolant and kachoris, a spicy, fried snack and the sprouted green gram salad are my additions and are not usually found in this thali. 

I have the recipe for the Bhindi Masala here. Try it and enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme – Thalis.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#74

Bread Pockets

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I have been terribly late in posting for this year’s Bake-a-thon as you can see multiple posts on the same day as against the schedule of thrice a week. I have been baking 3-4 dishes on the days I have time which has resulted in a flurry of activity, piling of dishes on the sink and me running helter skelter around the house with my bemused daughter in tow. As is always the case, when under pressure you fall back to your comfort zone, which in my case are the recipes from Venkatesh Bhat’s show – Samayal Samayal.

I had a loaf of bread and no ideas when Mr.Bhat came to my rescue with two simple dishes which fit the bill perfectly. One is this delightful and flavoursome bread pockets which involves packing every slice of bread with your choice of filling and baking it to golden brown. Yumm. I have used a paneer filling but you can replace that with any other filling like potatoes, leftover vegetables, noodles, pasta, etc.

WHAT WE NEED

Bread slices                                5

Paneer                                          50 gms

Spring onion                               6-8

Olives, pitted and chopped    6

Coriander leaves                         from 10-12 stalks

Red chilly  powder                     1 tsp

Ginger, grated                             1″

Butter, at room temp                1-2 tbsp

Water

Salt

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 250C
  • Place each bread slice in a plate of water and then press it between your hands gently to squeeze out the water
  • Use a rolling pin to gently roll the bread slice and take out any excess water
  • Be careful to ensure the bread slices do not tear
  • Mix all the other ingredients, except butter, thoroughly in a bowl
  • Divide the paneer mixture into 5 portions and fill each portion in one slice of bread
  • Roll the bread slice to cover the mixture and seal on all sides by gently pressing the two ends of the bread slice together
  • Brush the bread slices with butter on both sides
  • Bake for 7-8 minutes and broil for 3-4 minutes till both sides are golden brown
  • Serve warm with ketchup
  • Enjoy!

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This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2016


Stuffed Tomatoes

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We have a new vegetable vendor in our complex who gets fresh veggies and fruits and sells them at a reasonable price. As part of his marketing, he has come up with the offer of free tomatoes. Yes, as many as you like. All you need is to have bought at least one other vegetable. Cool right? So, needless to say my house is overflowing with tomatoes at all times. It is so hard to shake off that silly feeling of grabbing what is free. But I come home and sanity prevails and I am left wondering how to use up all the tomatoes. The daughter is exhausted with tomato soups and tomato rice and tomato juice.

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So when I was at a loss to come up with a baked dish for today’s post, I figured it has to have tomatoes because, duh! So I picked out whatever ingredients were in the fridge and pantry and set out to make the dish as I went along. Modestly speaking, it was quite delicious. I liked them so much that I finished them all without leaving any for my husband. He saw the pictures on the laptop and went ballistic. So I have promised to make them again tomorrow because, free tomatoes. Yay!

Makes 5 stuffed tomatoes

WHAT WE NEED

Tomatoes, medium                 5

Paneer / cottage cheese         60-70 gms

Roasted garlic                           2 cloves

Pitted green olives                   1 tbsp

Mixed Italian herbs                  1 tsp

Chilly flakes                                1/2 tsp

Fresh coriander                          To garnish

Oil

Salt
WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven at 200C
  • Cut a slice from the top of the tomatoes and scoop out the inner flesh and seeds
  • Cut a small slice from the bottom of the tomatoes t ensure they can stand well without falling
  • Rub oil on the skin of the tomatoes 
  • Mix all the other ingredients except fresh coriander to form a crumbly mixture
  • Fill the tomatoes with the paneer mixture
  • Place them on a baking tray and bake for 12 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh coriander 
  • Serve warm
  • Enjoy!

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This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2016


McD style Paneer Burger

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Saying that I love paneer is similar to saying that the earth is round. Known undisputed fact. I include it in most dishes I make and it only turns out better. Ever since McD introduced the paneer burger, it is the only thing I order when we eat there. So when I picked the burger theme for this month’s Blogging Marathon, my first thought was the amazing paneer burger which has been on the cards for a while now. The only problem I have with the McD version is that it is too spicy for my taste. So I modified that part and made a fabulous mildly spicy version. I made this while the husband was on tour and so enjoyed it all on my own in dairy heaven.

I made this burger from scratch including baking the burger buns and making paneer at home. Totally worth the effort! I will post the burger buns recipe soon. This recipe is only for making the paneer patty and assembling the burger. So here goes –

Recipe adapted from here.

Makes 1 burger

WHAT WE NEED

Paneer slice                                   1 * 50 gms

Quick cooking oats                      3 tbsp

Chilly powder                                1/2 tsp

Cornflour paste                             2 tbsp                   

Mayonnaise                                     1 tbsp

Chilly sauce                                      1 tsp

Oil for deep frying

Tomato slice                                       1-2

Onion slice                                          1

Salt

Burger bun, lightly toasted             1

WHAT TO DO

  • Take the quick cooking oats in a blender jar and blend it to a powder.
  • Mix the oats powder with salt and chilly powder and keep it in a flat plate or bowl
  • For the cornflour paste, mix 2 tbsp of cornflour with 1-2 tsp water to make a paste that can be coated on the paneer
  • Heat the oil 
  • Take the paneer slice and coat it with the cornflour paste
  • Once it is fully coated, put the paneer in the plate of oats and coat it on all sides thoroughly 
  • Slip the paneer slice into the hot oil and fry till turns golden brown
  • Take it of the oil and set aside

Assembling the burger

  • Cut the burger bun horizontally and toast it, if you like it that way
  • Else, simply cut the burger bun and place the two slices side by side
  • On the lower half, place the paneer patty and top it with tomato and onion slices
  • Mix the mayonnaise with the chilly sauce and add it on top of the onion slice
  • Place the top half of the burger on the mayo 
  • Serve with tomato ketchup
  • Enjoy!

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Notes –

  1. For a more spicy version, add tobasco sauce with the mayo and increase the chilly powder to 1 tsp while mixing it with the oats powder
  2. For a more authentic taste, you can add cayenne pepper powder instead of chilly powder
  3. I am not a fan of lettuce and so I usually avoid it. You can place the lettuce on the burger bun and place the paneer patty on it if you like.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for other marathoners doing this BM.

Dahi ke Tikki

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I think it is pretty obvious by now that I am a die-hard fan of Venkatesh Bhat, the chef at Accord in Chennai. His cooking show ‘Samayal Samayal” is the only show I watch without fail. The best part about his show is that he makes most dishes seem easily achievable and cooking a pleasure rather than a chore it usually becomes. Another amazing aspect is that his recipes work so well. I have tried quite a few of them and had amazing results.

This recipe was shared on his program last year and I had bookmarked it for a very long time. The main ingredient for this tikki is hung curd which was not easily achievable during my Malaysian days. Once I got full fat milk in Bangalore, I was reminded of this dish and got to it at once. I used the curd set from full fat milk (Nandini Gold) and the results were yummy and soft tikkis, almost melt in your mouth. I would urge you to make smaller tikkis than I did because it is quite filling and tough to eat one entire tikki of this size at one go. I made 6 tikkis but I am guessing 8 or 9 would have been more manageable. So here goes –

Makes 8-9 medium sized tikkis

WHAT WE NEED

Hung curd                         250 gms

Paneer                                100 gms

Roasted gram                   150 gms

Ginger garlic paste          1-2 tsp

Green chillies                    1-2

Coriander leaves              small bunch

Almonds                             6-8

Cashew                               5-6

Raisins                                6-8

Salt

Ground pepper

Cornflour for dusting

Ghee for shallow frying

WHAT TO DO

  • To get hung curd, take 900 ml or 1 litre full fat curd in a cheesecloth, tie it up and let it hang in a vessel overnight or 6-7 hours in the refrigerator. The entire water content of the curd needs to drip out and the remaining curd in the cheesecloth is the hung curd and should be around 250 gms.
  • Use a blender or mixer and reduce the roasted gram to a fine powder
  • Grate or crumble the paneer till it has no large or small pieces and can be easily mixed into a dough
  • Combine all three of the above ingredients with ginger garlic paste and salt and make it into a fine dough.
  • Add freshly ground pepper and mix it again
  • Set the mixture aside for 10-15 minutes
  • Finely chop green chillies and coriander leaves
  • Add the almonds, cashews and raisins to the blender and make them into a coarse mixture
  • Mix the dry fruits with the chillies and coriander leaves
  • To save time, you can add the chillies and coriander leaves to the blender with the dry fruits and make it to a coarse paste
  • Dust your hands with cornflour and divide the curd mixture into 8 or 9 parts
  • Dust each part with a little cornflour. Make a small depression in the middle and add some of the dry fruit mixture into it and seal it shut
  • Pat it on both sides to make a circular flat tikki
  • Repeat the process till you have 8-9 stuffed tikkis ready for frying
  • Heat 2-3 tbsp ghee in a pan and then simmer the gas
  • Add the tikkis and fry them in batches or all at once depending on the size of your pan
  • After a minute or so, use a spatula and lift the tikki off the pan to ensure it does not stick on it
  • Turn the tikki over after 3-4 minutes and fry the other side. Take the tikki from the pan once both sides are golden brown in colour
  • Serve with some mint chutney
  • Enjoy!

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This is my entry for the Cooking from Cookbook Challenge hosted by Srivalli.

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Chunky Vegetable Soup


I am writing this post from inside a box. The house is full of them and there are stuff all around. The daughter finds it highly amusing and is jumping in and out of the boxes and falling into piles of clothes. I have 50 boxes and I am just half way through and most of the storage space seems full. I have to get creative with storage and also throw some stuff out, much as I don’t want to.

Something like this soup. I kind of threw most vegetables I found in the fridge into the saucepan and voila, souped it! This is not my usual kind of soup – the smooth, slurp-y blended type. It is simply lot of vegetable in broth seasoned with vinegar and soy sauce but it is delicious not to mention easy, if you find chopping vegetables therapeutic.

Serves 3

Recipe adapted from here.

WHAT WE NEED

Paneer                          100 gms

Olive oil                        1-2 tsp

Mixed vegetables*     1 1/4 cup

Vegetable Stock         2 cups

Vinegar                          2 tsp

Soy sauce                       1/2 tsp

Cornflour paste of 1 tsp cornflour mixed with 1 tbsp of water

Salt

*I used carrot, cabbage, mushroom, capsicum and spring onions finely chopped

WHAT TO DO

  • Heat oil and fry the paneer for 4-5 minutes on low flame. Set aside
  • In a large saucepan, combine the finely chopped vegetables and vegetable stock and allow it to come to a boil
  • Simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes or till the vegetables are crisp tender
  • Add the paneer and vinegar and get it to boiling point again
  • Add the cornflour paste slowly while constantly stirring the soup till the soup thickens
  • Take it off the heat and add the soy sauce
  • Enjoy!

This is my post for the September Cooking Carnival under the theme – Soups

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 68

Cheesy Paneer Enchiladas

CHEESY PANEER ENCHILADAS
My entry for today under Tortilla based dishes is Paneer Enchiladas. This recipe has everything I love – paneer, mushroom and cheese! So I was pretty excited making it.
The good thing is that the husband hates paneer and so I usually get to have the lion’s share of all paneer-ness. Now the not so good news is my two year old loving it (just like me) and it’s hard to fight for paneer (or anything else) against all that cuteness.
So while I was making these enchiladas, she had the freshly made paneer, then the golden brown roasted paneer and finally she tore open the enchiladas to just pick on the paneer. Takes after her mother!!
So the dish turned out good but somehow the photos did not. So this once, just take my word and try it and don’t judge this recipe by its photo….
WHAT YOU NEED
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4 tortillas
100 gms paneer, cubed
4 button mushrooms, sliced
4 tomatoes,sliced
1 green pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 onion, sliced
2 pods of garlic, chopped
80-100 gms cheddar cheese, grated
3-4 tblsp of olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
WHAT TO DO
Cook the corn in water for 7-8 minutes till it is cooked but retains its crunch.
Heat 2 1/2 tbsp oil in a pan.
Add the paneer and mushrooms and fry till the mushrooms are soft and thepaneer is slightly browned.Keep aside.
In the same pan, add another 1 tbsp oil and fry the onion, green pepper and garlic for 5 minutes over medium flame.
Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook covered till the tomatoes are mushy and it begins to thicken.
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Blend this mixture to make a sauce.
Return the sauce to the pan over heat, add the paneer, mushrooms, corn and half of the cheese and simmer over low heat for 3-5 minutes.
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Pre heat the oven at 200C
Warm the tortillas over a tava.
Pour little sauce in a baking dish till it’s bottom is coated with the sauce.
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On each tortilla, place a little of the sauce and paneer mixture.
Roll up the tortilla and arrange them side by side on the baking dish with the seam side facing downwards.
Pour the remaing sauce over the wrapped tortillas and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
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Bake for around 10-12 minutes till the cheese melts.
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Notes
1. You can either blend the sauce to a chunky or smooth paste depending on your taste. I like it chunky and so my sauce is not smooth purée like.
2. You can use other melting cheese like mozzarella instead of cheddar. Your baking time would vary depending on the cheese you use.