Saturday, January 28, 2017

Streamlined, three pot, pantry-based, relatively healthy, totally doable....and tasty.....Malai Kofta

The fact that I needed so many qualifiers should tell you that Malai Kofta is originally a fussy recipe. Which is why I always order it in an Indian restaurant, whether they make it well or not, since I really don't like to deal with it at home. But here's a version I tried today, which almost puts in the weekday rotation...well, not really, but certainly in the make-more-often realm.

Paneer could be homemade or store bought. I avoided using khoya and cream, since I usually never have those at home (well, I try not to keep cream at home). This makes it much more pantry-based, and relatively healthier (assuming you can ignore all the ghee). Instead of stuffing the kofta, I mix everything, without much change in the final results. Saves a lot of time. The gravy is a lot simpler than the usual multi-step version. I also used Appe-pan for frying, which also helped make it more streamlined from clean up perspective.

Start with making the paneer: Bring about 4 cups of milk in a pot, add lime juice or citric acid dissolved in water. Once the milk curdles, strain it while you prepare other stuff. It should yield about a cup of paneer crumbles. It doesn't need to drain for too long.

Microwave three medium sized potatoes. Peel and mash in a bowl, add squeezed paneer, about half a cup of milk powder (this is the khoya substitute), one finely chopped green chili, about a teaspoon of ginger (I had some frozen on hand, which, again, saves time), 1/4 cup finely chopped cashews, 3 Tbsp finely chopped golden raisins, 1 big pinch garam masala and salt to taste. Don't need corn starch for this. Mix everything nicely, knead lightly, and split into a dozen portions, and roll into balls.

In a steel pot, boil about a cup of water, add two medium-large white onions, roughly diced (big dice), three small cloves of garlic, 1 tablespoon ginger, one tomato, cut in four wedges, and about 3/4 cup cashews. After a minute or so, pick out the tomatoes, remove the skin and put them back in the pot. Boil everything for about five mins or so, till the onions and cashews soften up. Make sure there's not too much water left in the pot. Turn off the heat, and grind into a fine paste using an immersion blender.

In an appe pan, add about 1/4 tsp ghee (or oil) in each section. Once it's hot, add the balls, and fry on each side on medium heat till golden brown. 

In a non stick pan, heat about a Tbsp of ghee, add two bay leaves and 3-4 slightly smashed whole green cardamoms. After a few seconds, add the gravy paste, and fry well for about 5 minutes. Don't skip this step, otherwise the gravy will not taste good. Add some water (I clean up the previous post, etc with some water and add), about 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, one pinch garam masala, and salt to taste. Let the gravy boil for another couple of minutes.

Serve the warm gravy on top of fried koftas with parathas....and enjoy the bliss.....

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Kurkuri Bhindi - Sanjyot Keer

The one minute video recipes are all the rage since last year (one of the few good things to come out of 2016). This one by chef Sanjyot Keer on Facebook is brilliant! I think it's Rajasthani cuisine at its chatpata, yet sublime best.

I ate it with fulkas, but would make an excellent appetizer for a fancy party. The only downside of the recipe is the wastage of oil, but it is totally worth it.

For the base: 1 Tbsp oil + 1 cup sliced red onion. Saute till lightly brown. Add 3/4 cup sliced tomatoes, and stir till soft. Add haldi, red chilli, dhania powder, garam masala and anar dana powder (I used chaat masala instead). Add 1/2 cup curd and salt to taste. Add fresh mint leaves. Cook until the water from the yoghurt dries up. Add a Tbsp fresh cream (I added greek yoghurt). Set aside.

For the bhindi: I used slightly larger bhindi for this. Remove the top and bottoms of bhindi, slit vertically, and de-seed (this is slightly time consuming, but totally worth it). Slice vertically thinly. So now you have long, thin strands of bhindi. Heat oil in a small kadai or frying pan for frying. To the bhindi, add amchur powder, red chilli powder and dhania powder, Besan, rice flour. Mix everything, and then add salt to taste. No I'm not forgetting water. This one is fried completely dry, and hence the wastage of oil. Just pick up the whole mess with your hands with as much flour attached to the bhindi as possible, and drop the big handful into hot oil. fry on medium to high flame (not low, unless the oil gets too hot) until golden brown. Drain and take out on a plate with a paper towel. It actually doesn't get too oily.

Re-heat the base, spoon on the center of the plate, and arrange the fried bhindi on top. Serve immediately.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Instant freakin Pot Kheer

Feeling Sick on a cold winter evening? No one to pamper you? Plug in your instant pot, add a couple of tablespoons of water (supposed to prevent sticking), left over whole milk (~2 cups), around a quarter cup of washed arborio rice, close, put on "porridge mode", and settle on your couch with a nice throw and turn on the tv.. make sure the throw is soft and plush....after around one episode of whatever you're watching (food related tv shows are preferred), release the remaining pressure carefully, open and stir, add about 1/2 to 3/4th cup of sugar, and a couple of tablespoons of my special morning milk masala (or even just a pinch of cardamom..or a dash of vanilla)....stir, ladle into a bowl, get a big spoon, and settle back on the couch. Eat. You will instantly feel better. guaranteed!

And here's the milk masala recipe (makes ~4 cups):
Everything is raw, except flax seeds, which are lightly roasted. All proportions are approximate.
About 1 cup of almonds, 1/2 cup cashews, 1/2 cup pistachios, 3/4 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup flax seeds, 1 tablespoon of cardamom seeds, about a quarter nutmeg, a very generous pinch of saffron. Grind each ingredient  separately (or with a bit of sugar for saffron and cardamom), add about 1 cup of sugar, mix and store in a jar. Put in the fridge. Add to your morning smoothies, hot milk, or the Instant Pot kheer on a cold winter evening.