Tag Archives: paneer

Falooda, creamy tofu curry and spiced paneer – Arla organic milk recipes

30 Jun

 

We have made some subtle, but impactful lifestyle changes in our home recently and I’m not ever sure whether the change is enough, but there is change and I see that, as positive.  One of my boy’s teacher’s said something I will use, and that is that ‘practise makes progress’ (rather than the unattainable standard of perfection). We have moved from refined white flour to spelt for foods like pizza, pancakes or bread.  We have cut out the use of white sugar from our diets during the weekdays; I like to use a little honey though, just a little. I am reading more these days and I wish I had not fragmented my relationship with books during recent years, because I have always loved the vivid escapism that books can ignite; conjuring up mental pictures is a powerful thing after all, isn’t it. I have joined a new health club and I am really enjoying it; I have been busy balancing my body (using a mix of Tai Chi and Pilates), swimming in a lovely warm pool followed by the steam room and jacuzzi scattered with chatting to strangers and I have been playing badminton and I have also been attending classes in mindfulness. I have been walking more, working outdoors in the sunshine and watching a few movies here and there.  I have been exploring work that I will choose, because I will enjoy it – how profoundly important this is. My husband has been a voice on the shoulder, saying ‘do it (whatever ‘it’ may be) if it makes you happy, life is too short’.

So, when Arla asked me if I would write a post about their organic milk and how I would use it through the day, of course I said yes. Arla tell me that the nutrients in a 200ml glass of semi-skimmed milk are as follows:

  • 31% of our recommended daily calcium (needed for the maintenance of normal bones and teeth)
  • 74% of our recommended daily vitamin B12 (contributes to the normal function of the immune system)
  • 41% of our recommended daily iodine (contributes to normal cognitive function)
  • 35% of our recommended daily vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) (contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue)
  • 16% of our recommended daily potassium (contributes to the maintenance of normal blood pressure)
  • 14% of our recommended daily protein (contributes to the maintenance and growth of muscle mass)

So, this weekend just gone, I got lots of the fabulous white stuff going and I started with spiced paneer on toast. It always feels so clever to make paneer cheese, but it is so, so simple and the clean, soft textures are satisfying for my mouth and ego.

Spiced paneer on toast (serves 2)

For the paneer

700ml of Arla organic whole milk

About 1-2tsp. lemon juice

A muslin/cotton cloth

Vegetable oil for cooking (1 tbsp.)

A splash of lemon juice

A spring onion, chopped for the topping

Spices; salt to taste, ¼ tsp. ground turmeric, a pinch of kalonji (onion seeds), a pinch of cumin seeds, ½ tsp. ground coriander, ½ tsp. ground cumin, ¼ tsp. smoked paprika

For the asparagus; a large handful of extra fine asparagus spears, salt to taste, 1 tbsp. cooking oil, ½ tbsp. sesame seeds

Method

  1. Bring the milk to the boil in a non-stick pan, then add the lemon juice. Wait for the curds and whey to separate.
  2. Drain the paneer into a tightly woven muslin or cotton cloth, washing out the lemon juice. Remove as much of the water as possible.
  3. Heat the oil for the asparagus and add the sesame seeds. Let them catch colour before adding the asparagus and salt and cook them for about 4 minutes. They should have a bite, but not be chewy.
  4. Heat the oil for cooking, then add the ground turmeric, onion seeds, and cumin seeds before gently mixing in the paneer cheese. Now sprinkle in the salt, ground cumin and coriander as well as the paprika before the lemon juice is added and then cook the paneer for a couple of minutes
  5. Layer the paneer cheese and asparagus onto the toast and sprinkle with spring onions. I used siracha sauce too, because I like it hot!

We have made some subtle, but impactful lifestyle changes in our home recently and I’m not ever sure whether the change is enough, but there is change and I see that, as positive. One of my boy’s teacher’s said something I will use, and that is that ‘practise makes progress’ (rather than the unattainable standard of perfection). We have moved from refined white flour to spelt for foods like pizza, pancakes or bread. We have cut out the use of white sugar from our diets during the weekdays; I like to use a little honey though, just a little. I am reading more these days and I wish I had not fragmented my relationship with books during recent years, because I have always loved the vivid escapism that books can ignite; conjuring up mental pictures is a powerful thing after all, isn’t it. I have joined a new health club and I am really enjoying it; I have been busy balancing my body (using a mix of Tai Chi and Pilates), swimming in a lovely warm pool followed by the steam room and jacuzzi scattered with chatting to strangers and I have been playing badminton and I have also been attending classes in mindfulness. I have been walking more, working outdoors in the sunshine and watching a few movies here and there. I have been exploring work that I will choose, because I will enjoy it – how profoundly important this is. My husband has been a voice on the shoulder, saying ‘do it (whatever ‘it’ may be) if it makes you happy, life is too short’. So, when Arla asked me if I would write a post about their organic milk and how I would use it through the day, of course I said yes. Arla tell me that the nutrients in a 200ml glass of semi-skimmed milk are as follows: • 31% of our recommended daily calcium (needed for the maintenance of normal bones and teeth) • 74% of our recommended daily vitamin B12 (contributes to the normal function of the immune system) • 41% of our recommended daily iodine (contributes to normal cognitive function) • 35% of our recommended daily vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) (contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue) • 16% of our recommended daily potassium (contributes to the maintenance of normal blood pressure) • 14% of our recommended daily protein (contributes to the maintenance and growth of muscle mass) So, this weekend just gone, I got lots of the fabulous white stuff going and I started with spiced paneer on toast. It always feels so clever to make paneer cheese, but it is so, so simple and the clean, soft textures are satisfying for my mouth and ego. Spiced paneer on toast (serves 2) For the paneer 700ml of Arla organic whole milk About 1-2tsp. lemon juice A muslin/cotton cloth Vegetable oil for cooking (1 tbsp.) A splash of lemon juice A spring onion, chopped for the topping Spices; salt to taste, ¼ tsp. ground turmeric, a pinch of kalonji (onion seeds), a pinch of cumin seeds, ½ tsp. ground coriander, ½ tsp. ground cumin, ¼ tsp. smoked paprika For the asparagus; a large handful of extra fine asparagus spears, salt to taste, 1 tbsp. cooking oil, ½ tbsp. sesame seeds Method 1. Bring the milk to the boil in a non-stick pan, then add the lemon juice. Wait for the curds and whey to separate. 2. Drain the paneer into a tightly woven muslin or cotton cloth, washing out the lemon juice. Remove as much of the water as possible. 3. Heat the oil for the asparagus and add the sesame seeds. Let them catch colour before adding the asparagus and salt and cook them for about 4 minutes. They should have a bite, but not be chewy. 4. Heat the oil for cooking, then add the ground turmeric, onion seeds, and cumin seeds before gently mixing in the paneer cheese. Now sprinkle in the salt, ground cumin and coriander as well as the paprika before the lemon juice is added and then cook the paneer for a couple of minutes 5. Layer the paneer cheese and asparagus onto the toast and sprinkle with spring onions. I used siracha sauce too, because I like it hot! After what I would consider a plentiful breakfast I didn’t fancy much of lunch. I had a very small portion of the boy’s lunch of spelt pasta with a roasted red pepper sauce and this of course left plenty of space for my inner child to scoff a falooda milkshake whilst unashamedly sighing in pleasure, throughout. Doesn’t it look like fun to eat? Strawberry Falooda shake (Serves 2) 200g chopped strawberries with a good squeeze of honey 1 tbsp. chopped pistachios 1 ½ cup of Arla organic milk (I used whole milk) Another generous squeeze (or two) of honey A pinch of saffron strands ¼ tsp. ground cardamom ½ tbsp. rose water 2 tbsp. chia seeds A large handful of brown rice vermicelli, broken A scoop of ice cream for serving A few slices of strawberries for serving Method 1. Heat the milk and add the honey, saffron and ground cardamom. Remove about a third of it and pour it into a bowl, then mix it with the chia seeds. Allow this milk (with chia seeds) to cool to room temperature before placing it into the fridge. 2. Add the brown rice vermicelli to the remaining, two thirds of the milk and bring it to a slow simmer. Cook the vermicelli for a couple of minutes before allowing the milk to cool, to room temperature, before placing it in the fridge. 3. In a non-stick pan, simmer the strawberries combined with the honey until the pulpy. Allow them to cool to room temperature before, you guessed it, placing it in the fridge. 4. When all the ingredients are chilled, take one deep glass and spoon half the strawberry mixture onto the bottom, then add the milk with vermicelli, then the milk with chia seeds. Top it with the sliced strawberries, pistachio, desiccated coconut and ice cream (I used coconut gelato). I have finally, finally, got the boy to eat tofu – I know that this may not seem like a big deal, but for me it feels like a momentous accomplishment. If you have been reading my blog for some time, you may recall my worry and confusion from the point of weening, through to well, relatively recently when it comes to his eating. I mean, I still can’t get my boy to eat a vegetarian sausage or a sandwich but there are, thankfully, foods that he will indeed eat and I have to admit to flutters in my tummy when he picks up some tofu and actually consumes it, willingly. Anyway, back on to my adult taste buds. I like a creamy curry, but I can’t bring myself to use cream. It is a good job that cashews make for a mellow, lightly sweet and easy-to-make alternative. I don’t mind some crunchy bits in there, but you may choose to be more careful about that. Creamy (milky) tofu and broccoli curry A pack of firm tofu, drained and cubed 200g of broccoli florets, boiled or steamed for a couple of minutes 2 tbsp. vegetable oil for cooking 1 tbsp. for shallow frying the tofu A medium-sized onion, finely diced 2 cloves of garlic and a thumb sized piece of ginger, minced ½ can of tinned tomatoes, pureed 1 cup of warm milk combined with 30g cashews 1/3 cup of hot water Spices; salt to taste, ¼ tsp. ground turmeric, 1 tsp. ground cumin, 1 tsp. ground coriander, ½ tsp. garam masala, 2 tsp. dried fenugreek leaves, ½ tsp. cumin seeds, a pinch of asafoetida, a small stick of cinnamon and a clove. Method 1. In a non-stick pan heat the oil and shallow fry the tofu until its golden brown. 2. Let the warm milk and cashews settled until the cashews are softened. This should take about 20 minutes. Blitz the cashews and milk together until they’re smooth, as a thick milk. 3. In a deeper pan, heat the cooking oil and add then asafoetida, turmeric, cumin seeds, clove and cinnamon. Allow the seeds to sizzle before adding in the onion and the salt. Soften the onion, before adding in the ground cumin, ground coriander and then cooking for just under a minute. 4. Now add the tomatoes, the dried fenugreek leaves and the garam masala. Simmer for a couple of minutes on a low flame before gently placing in the tofu, before giving them a little shake in the pan. Be careful not to break the tofu. Cook for a few minutes. 5. Now Add the cashew milk and the water, and then simmer for a further couple of minutes, let the curry base thicken. 6. Finally, introduce the broccoli. The broccoli should spend only 2-3 minutes cooking in the curry

After what I would consider a plentiful breakfast I didn’t fancy much of lunch. I had a very small portion of the boy’s lunch of spelt pasta with a roasted red pepper sauce and this of course left plenty of space for my inner child to scoff a falooda milkshake whilst unashamedly sighing in pleasure, throughout. Doesn’t it look like fun to eat?

Strawberry Falooda shake (Serves 2)

200g chopped strawberries with a good squeeze of honey

1 tbsp. chopped pistachios

1 ½ cup of Arla organic milk (I used whole milk)

Another generous squeeze (or two) of honey

A pinch of saffron strands

¼ tsp. ground cardamom

½ tbsp. rose water

2 tbsp. chia seeds

A large handful of brown rice vermicelli, broken

A scoop of ice cream for serving

A few slices of strawberries for serving

Method

  1. Heat the milk and add the honey, saffron and ground cardamom. Remove about a third of it and pour it into a bowl, then mix it with the chia seeds.  Allow this milk (with chia seeds) to cool to room temperature before placing it into the fridge.
  2. Add the brown rice vermicelli to the remaining, two thirds of the milk and bring it to a slow simmer. Cook the vermicelli for a couple of minutes before allowing the milk to cool, to room temperature, before placing it in the fridge.
  3. In a non-stick pan, simmer the strawberries combined with the honey until the pulpy. Allow them to cool to room temperature before, you guessed it, placing it in the fridge.
  4. When all the ingredients are chilled, take one deep glass and spoon half the strawberry mixture onto the bottom, then add the milk with vermicelli, then the milk with chia seeds. Top it with the sliced strawberries, pistachio, desiccated coconut and ice cream (I used coconut gelato).

I have finally, finally, got the boy to eat tofu – I know that this may not seem like a big deal, but for me it feels like a momentous accomplishment.  If you have been reading my blog for some time, you may recall my worry and confusion from the point of weening, through to well, relatively recently when it comes to his eating. I mean, I still can’t get my boy to eat a vegetarian sausage or a sandwich but there are, thankfully, foods that he will indeed eat and I have to admit to flutters in my tummy when he picks up some tofu and actually consumes it, willingly. Anyway, back on to my adult taste buds.  I like a creamy curry, but I can’t bring myself to use cream.  It is a good job that cashews make for a mellow, lightly sweet and easy-to-make alternative. I don’t mind some crunchy bits in there, but you may choose to be more careful about that.

 Strawberry Falooda by Deena Kakaya

Creamy (milky) tofu and broccoli curry

A pack of firm tofu, drained and cubed

200g of broccoli florets, boiled or steamed for a couple of minutes

2 tbsp. vegetable oil for cooking

1 tbsp. for shallow frying the tofu

A  medium-sized onion, finely diced

2 cloves of garlic and a thumb sized piece of ginger, minced

½ can of tinned tomatoes, pureed

1 cup of warm milk combined with 30g cashews

1/3 cup of hot water

Spices; salt to taste, ¼ tsp. ground turmeric, 1 tsp. ground cumin, 1 tsp. ground coriander, ½ tsp. garam masala, 2 tsp. dried fenugreek leaves, ½ tsp. cumin seeds, a pinch of asafoetida, a small stick of cinnamon and a clove.

Method

  1. In a non-stick pan heat the oil and shallow fry the tofu until its golden brown.
  2. Let the warm milk and cashews settled until the cashews are softened. This should take about 20 minutes.  Blitz the cashews and milk together until they’re smooth, as a thick milk.
  3. In a deeper pan, heat the cooking oil and add then asafoetida, turmeric, cumin seeds, clove and cinnamon. Allow the seeds to sizzle before adding in the onion and the salt.  Soften the onion, before adding in the ground cumin, ground coriander and then cooking for just under a minute.
  4. Now add the tomatoes, the dried fenugreek leaves and the garam masala. Simmer for a couple of minutes on a low flame before gently placing in the tofu, before giving them a little shake in the pan. Be careful not to break the tofu. Cook for a few minutes.
  5. Now Add the cashew milk and the water, and then simmer for a further couple of minutes, let the curry base thicken.
  6. Finally, introduce the broccoli. The broccoli should spend only 2-3 minutes cooking in the curry

Creamy Tofu and Broccoli Curry by Deena Kakaya

 

Rose Harissa, parsnip and paneer puff pastry plait + you can Win £50 waitrose vouchers

15 Nov

A winter main dish, for me should be one that tickles all the senses; a bit of heat to stoke the internal flames, a little sweetness to lift the fog and some light and easy depth to satisfy the heart. What better way than to wrap it all in pastry? Home-made paneer tastes fabulous when heated through and even more so with the rose scented Harissa and sweet roasted parsnips that this pastry plait holds. Merry Christmas 2015!

 

Rose Harissa, parsnip and paneer puff pastry plait by Deena Kakaya

I have created and written this recipe for a2 Milk™, using a2 Milk to make the paneer. Regular cows’ milk contains A1 and A2 proteins and for some, the A1 protein causes side effects such as nausea, bloating and mucus build up. A2 carefully select dairy cows that naturally produce the A2 protein and not the A1 protein. If you have had trouble digesting regular milk, a2 Milk could be for you.

a2 Milk have kindly offered a £50 voucher for one the readers of my blog.  All you have to do is leave a comment on the blog letting me know  your favourite recipe, using milk as a key ingredient, and leave your email address (via the link) and a name will be picked out of the hat! Happy happy. Alternatively you can simply enter the prize draw here you have until 16th December to enter and win! Good luck!

(For more information on how to enter blog giveaways using Rafflecopter please see this short video

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

You will find the full recipe here

Rose harissa, parsnip and paneer puff pastry plait by Deena KakayaRose Harissa, parsnip and paneer puff pastry plait by Deena Kakaya

 

 

 

Padron pepper, paneer, carrot & quinoa salad in a teriyaki dressing

30 Jul

Padron pepper, paneer, carrot & quinoa salad in a teriyaki dressing

Padron pepper, paneer, carrot and qunioa salad in a teriyaki dressing by Deena Kakaya

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I stood in the kitchen amongst the pre-dinner pandemonium as we had our toddler boy perched on the worktop reciting a loud hum of, ‘mum..mumma, I want to talk to you, I need to ask you a question…Muuuum’ and quite abruptly, I disarmed all tools, turned down all simmering pots, swiped for some work surface space and exhaled, ‘ I think we should give thanks. Let’s do something to show our gratitude, you know…give back’.

Of course I knew he would say yes, but I explained anyway; he had achieved a recent promotion, our boy was going to ‘that’ nursery school. The one which we used to talk about when I was a new bride of 23 years of age, when we lived in our rented flat in an upmarket area. There was a school uniform shop on the high street and once or twice when we evening-walked past it, my husband softened as he divulged that he has always liked the idea of having a son, and if we should have one he would go to ‘that’ school. So we had received a few blessings. I had even ended my term of lectures on a high with positive and glowing feedback from both institutions I delivered courses at; with students writing in ‘I would love to have Deena as a lecturer again, she goes above and beyond’. I had waited so long for things to be positive again, that I really needed to show gratitude.

The following week, a hole appeared in the path. An uncomfortable hole appeared. This is life. Arrogantly, I had never contemplated a hole of this size and shape would ever be presented in my path, but this is life. Now I will spend some lengthy time and energy in building a bridge and mustering enough will to keep moving forwards. This is something I am not unfamiliar with, but this indeed, is life.

But there is a difference. I now have a few coping skills. I have learned a few ways of calming myself and pushing myself to see beyond the physiological reactions right now. Look, if I strip away that one hole, the other blessings are still there. If I strip away all the blessings that are ‘things’ the promotion, the accolades, the praise the recognition, the work the good stuff… even if we strip all that transient, ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ stuff, there is still enough to be grateful for. In time, the all the meetings the cancellations, the delays and the frustrations…all of it and none of it matter little. Around the dark hole is colour and beauty.

And that of course brings me to this recipe of delicate and mellow Padron peppers, succulent paneer, carrot and that low GI and high iron grain of quinoa. I have probably mentioned that I always have carrots in the fridge that are permanently in the at-risk status (at risk of going limp). But look at the colour they give the salad, and they work so well with spring onions and Padron peppers, which are one of my recent foodie best friends for being so easy, addictive and darn tasty. I have dressed the salad in home-made teriyaki sauce, though dark and bold it made my home smell lovely as it simmered away. All colour in darkness here.

for the full recipe follow this link to Great British Chefs

Stuffed Khandvi rolls with slow roasted tomato, garlic and fennel sauce

12 Mar

Stuffed Khandvi rolls with slow roasted tomato, garlic and fennel sauce

Stuffed Khandvi roles by Deena Kakaya

Biting my tongue (shutting my mouth to keep the peace) has not really been one of my strengths over the years. I have grown better at diplomatically responding and not having so much of an emotional response but, shutting my mouth…nope, not really improved in that department. So when people just assume that I get the cooking bug from my mum, it just isn’t true. Sorry mum, I know you read these posts-it gets better don’t worry…read on.

I face timed (is this even a grammatically acceptable term) my folks today to show them what I had made using the new Tefal Ingenio 13 piece induction cookware set that john Lewis sent me. There was much excitement over the handles that just clip on and off from a cleaning and ease of storage perspective but even the weight of them validates quality. I use Tefal non-stick pans in my cookery classes to make tandoori Halloumi and paneer dishes and so this was an especially welcome gift. They asked me to explore more and think of different cookery styles and I thought of my mum, who cooks soul soothing traditional food; her stuffed okra retain shape and colour without ickiness, her potato curry is yellow and gentle rather than heavily smothered in spice and tinned tomatoes and her puri are puffs of pleasure, particularly for my toddler.

The number of pretend arguments that happen in my parent’s living room over Khandvi is just now background noise under the debates about extending the house and that property across the ocean and I recall the efforts to scrape off disaster versions from tin pans. My parents used a lot of tin pans back in the day. But of course it’s all about non-stick these days and given that dad and I both love Khandvi, we have even more reason to make it with reduced risks now.

Khandvi is traditional vegetarian gram flour pasta that is pleasantly sour and lightly spiced. It is silky and thin and make for perfectly gratifying bites of loveliness. When my husband wants to suck up to me, he buys me macaroons or Khandvi. See what I mean?

Stuffed Khandvi rolls by Deena Kakaya

The non-stick pans make for easy Khandvi making- the mixture won’t stick to the pan, when any excess dries, you just peel it off the pan and pop it away (I just eat others eat cake batter). I even used one of the larger frying pans to spread the Khandvi onto.

SO the stuffing; well I have been watching a bit of Indian Masterchef recently (don’t judge me, OK fine do) and they stuffed it with paneer and desiccated coconut. I like this idea and I have created a sauce/chutney that totally lifts the whole experience; slow roasted tomato, garlic, fennel and chilli. I am not sure what the best part of this recipe is, but my goodness they are good.

Ingredients to make approximately 8 rolls

1 cup of plain natural yoghurt

½ cup of gram flour

¼ cup water

1 tsp. minced ginger

Salt to taste

100g paneer, grated

3-4 tbsp. desiccated coconut

3-4 tbsp. finely chopped fresh coriander

For the chutney

225g small cherry or baby plum tomatoes

One bulb of garlic

Salt to taste

2 tsp. fennel seeds soaked in warm water

3-4 fat red bullet chillies

For the tempering

2 tbsp. sesame oil

5-6 curry leaves

2-3 green chillies

Method

  1. Start by slow roasting the tomatoes and garlic on 150 degrees, for approximately 45 minutes. Make sure the tomatoes are all cut side up before you roast them and then drizzle them very lightly in rapeseed oil. Once the tomatoes have cooled to room temperature, blitz them smooth with the chillies, garlic, and fennel seeds and salt. Leave the paste to a side.
  2. To make the Khandvi, combine the gram flour, yoghurt and water in a mixing bowl and beat it until the lumps are softened and removed. Add the minced ginger and salt. Then pour the mixture into a non-stick saucepan (on a low flame) and with a spatula, mix it circular motions until it starts to leave the sides. You can check if it is ready by spreading a small amount onto the side of a non-stick pan and if, after it cools it can be peeled away then it is ready. Once the mixture is ready, work quickly by spreading thin lengths with a wide spatula onto the non-stick surface. Once it has cooled, spread the paste onto it, thinly. Next sprinkle a thin layer of paneer, desiccated coconut and finish off with coriander. Cut even sized lengths (mine were 3-4 inches wide) and then carefully roll them
  3. To make the tempering, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and chillies and once the seeds pop and a perfume of the curry leaves is released then turn the heat off. Evenly drizzle the tempering onto the Khandvi.

 

Paneer, corn and sundried tomato pakora

12 May

These unusual, golden little gram flour fritters are crispy and light. They give way to spongy paneer, sweet corn and the light tang of sundried tomatoes. Sit back, relax, watch it rain and devour steaming hot, crisp and fluffy pakora. The paneer adds great texture, depth and succulence. I have used Savera paneer which is the closest out there to homemade paneer…best for this kind of recipe as you wont get a rough chewy texture, but instead you will get an awesome light and pillowy feel. Pillowy…sleep…now that sounds like a great plan doesnt it?

How do you eat yours? I am a tamarind chutney kind of girl and my husband uses ketchup or siracha sauce. I reccomend the later or a coriander and chilli chutney. Oof, comfort food. And guess what, it is easy peasy. It

Alas, no time for sleep right now (boo) but I will be taking these indian vegetarian snacks with a twist to our next picnic (setting is at the zoo). My toddler eats them as do his friends, which, as you will understand if you read my posts regularly is a really, really big deal. I am using some of the gram flour as a face pack. I need it. Have you seen me recently? Shocking.

paneer pakora

Serves 10-12 as a snack

Cost per serving: 60p

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

 

Ingredients

225g paneer, cut into bite sized cubes

250g gram flour

250ml water

1 large red onion, diced

100g sweet corn

120g sundried tomatoes, sliced (the ones that are preserved in oil)

Salt to taste

½ tsp. Turmeric powder

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. fennel seeds

1 tsp. minced ginger

2 cloves of garlic, minced

¾ tsp. garam masala

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1-2 green chillies, finely chopped

Oil for deep frying

Method

  1. Heat the oil on a medium to low flame whilst you prepare the batter
  2. In a wide bowl, collect the corn, paneer chunks and sundried tomatoes. Sprinkle in the salt, fennel, chillies, cumin, turmeric, garlic, ginger, garam masala and onion and combine all the ingredients well.
  3. Stir in the lemon juice and toss the mixture together well.
  4. Introduce the gram flour, stir the mixture thoroughly before pouring in the water and then form a thick batter.
  5. Drop a little gram flour batter into the oil to test the oil. If the oil is hot enough the batter will rise to the surface of the oil and sizzle.
  6. Form small and equal sized balls of batter and aim to include paneer, corn and sundried tomato within each ball. They should be smaller than a golf ball.
  7. Fry them until golden brown and then remove them with a slotted spoon onto some kitchen paper in order to drain them.

This is a sponsored post but any views expressed are my own.

Barley, tomato, paneer, channa dal & cashew nut salad

27 Mar

 

Recipe 2: Barley, tomato, paneer, channa dal salad & cashew nut salad The definition of a salad seems to have evolved; this glorious, warm, spiced and zesty salad is full of wonderful surprise. The barley adds silky and nutty depth, the sweet tomatoes and spices mingle well with the spongy paneer and the channa dal adds a bite.  I like it with a bit of heat, so I went for the green chilies but you can moderate this if you wish.

I used Savera paneer for this dish and it works really well because unlike some brands of paneer, Savera paneer is moist and spongy (not hard and rubbery) so takes on the flavours and juices of the salad so well and is soft enough to add to the party of ingredients. Keep the paneer moist warm so that it retains a bit of that chewy glory.

 

Serves 4-6

Prep time: 40 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

225g paneer, cubed

75g channa dal, washed

100g pearl barley, washed

220g baby plum tomatoes, quartered

One medium red onion

100g cashew nuts

¾ tbsp. vegetable oil

For the dressing;

3 tbsp. rice wine vinegar

Salt to taste

3½ tbsp. sesame oil

1 tsp. cumin seeds

15g coriander, finely chopped

½ tsp. turmeric powder

2 green chillies finely chopped (use one if you prefer less heat)

6-8 curry leaves

Method

  1. Boil the barley on a vigorous simmer for ten minutes and then on a medium flame for a further 30minutes. Drain it and allow it to cool
  2. Boil the channa dal for 15-20 minutes. It should retain a bite but be cooked. Wash the channa dal in cool water and drain it when it is cooked.
  3. Put the channa dal, tomatoes, onion and barley into a large shallow bowl.
  4. Heat the vegetable oil in a non-stick pan and stir fry the paneer until it catches a golden colour. Remove it from the heat and add it to the other salad ingredients.
  5. To make the dressing, heat the sesame oil in a non-stick pan add then chillies, curry leaves, turmeric and cumin seeds. Allow the seeds to sizzle before turning off the heat.
  6. Drizzle the dressing onto the salad and mix it well. Pour in the rice wine vinegar and then sprinkle in the salt and chopped coriander and toss the salad.
  7. Toast the cashew nuts on a non-stick pan until they are lightly golden and then allow then allow them to cool before tossing them into the salad.

 

 

This is a sponsored post but any views expressed are my own

Baked spring rolls filled with paneer, courgette and sweetcorn for children

8 Dec

Baked spring rolls with paneer, courgette and sweetcorn

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We live in a culture where bigger is better and somehow, that has become a popular way of thinking when it comes to babies too. As I sat in a circle with other mums at a baby group with my little one on my lap I listened, ‘mine is only 6 months old but wears 9-12 month clothing’. Her friend quipped, ‘mine is 9 months old and where’s clothes for 18 month olds as she eats loads and she even ate some our pizza and garlic bread last night.’

I felt like I was doing my boy an injustice and I worried for his health. No matter which concoction of vegetables or fruits I offered him, he just would not open his mouth. I sang to him, sat him in the garden and even did messy play with food for him to befriend it. I cut his milk back to trigger off more hunger, but nothing. When he was about 8-9 months old I sought medical advice and you know what they told me? They told me he would probably never be an eater, he would always be smaller than average and that he would just not be interested.

I took a deep breath and hushed the expletives roaring around in my head. How can they doom him to a life of food indifference with such conviction? I calmly and firmly told them that I was a very fussy eater as a child and now I am healthy, food loving food writer.

I have learned a lot along the way to getting my boy interested in food. He now loves yoghurty dhal, dosa and spicy vegetable pasta dishes and of course spinach pizza. Here’s some of the things that helped me;

1. I had an ‘aha’ moment when one of my friends pointed out that my boy was getting lots of lovely flavours of Indian, Chinese, Mexican, Italian food through his milk from what I was eating. So then why would he want a boiled carrot. Introducing flavour and spice in food helps to keep it exciting. kids like flavour too.

2. Eating together as a family means that meal times are a fun and a sociable activity and my boy loves to join in.

3. Variety. In the earl days of weaning I would just give my boy his one bowl of food and if he stopped eating, I thought he was no longer hungry. What I found however is that smaller portions of a variety of items keeps the taste buds and mind stimulated and the tummy ends up fuller. It need not be laborious; I make home-made spiced and unsalted butter and spread it on seeded bread, for example.

4. Eating with other children is fun. I sometimes invite his friends over for pasta and veg with garlic bread. My boy loves to join in with his friends and especially with crunchy, spice and veg filled spring rolls.

5. Taking a picnic or a packed lunch for a day out makes for fun eating. Unravelling goodies whilst sharing special moments as a family is a delight that little ones will share too.

6. Sometimes, he is just not hungry and that’s fine. We don’t always eat three full meals. It’s ok to take the pressure off and leave it until the next meal.

My recipe works really well with my boy and his friends because these spring rolls are crunchy, packed with flavour and they are great hand-held treats for independent eating or eating on the go. Parents love them because they are baked and can be frozen, which is really handy for busy weekdays when you can just whip a few out and put them in the oven

For the full recipes head over to Great British Chef

Festive nibbles- broad bean and paneer fritters

27 Nov

Festive nibbles- broad bean and paneer fritters

 

It took three of us to shell broad beans very quickly, whilst the oil rose to the correct temperature. There is a knack to it. My technique is different to my husbands; I pinch them lightly at the base, until the silky broad bean pops out whilst my husband thinks he’s mastered it by using two hands and creating a little slit. Don’t ask.

The reason for removing the skin is to take the bitter layer away and to leave a silky, sweet and nutty bean. The three of us concentrated quietly as we secretly competed to pop the most beans out of those shells. I reflected on what had inspired this recipe and smiled.

Everyone loves a good fritter. For me they are the ultimate picky food. Whether they evoke memories of eating paneer pakora in the monsoon rain during holidays to India, or falafels being fried in huge quantities by friendly chefs who rolled them off their hands like balls of cotton wool. Whether they are eaten whilst sat under warm showers with smiles from beloved family, or nibbled whilst perched on a stool in a busy restaurant in Cairo. There is nothing quite like biting into a steaming hot and crispy shell to reveal bright green and moist beans tumble into the mouth.

These fritters are mildly spiced, fresh and moist. They make for wonderful party nibbles. For the full recipe head over the Great British Chefs 

A royal Diwali- paneer and sweetcorn curry in a cashew and tamarind gravy

26 Oct

A royal Diwali- paneer and sweetcorn curry in a cashew and tamarind gravy
I asked a question over my Facebook group the other day about what sort of foods people liked to eat as children. The funny thing is that tastes haven’t changed for many people. Gourmet and Michelin food have their place but when we are hungry, what hits the spot? A pizza with pineapple? Chips with loads of vinegar? Samosa? Baked bean curry? Macaroni cheese? A big bowl of spaghetti. Yes…now we are talking! Food nostalgia is a beautiful thing.

I won’t lie. I have been called a food snob on more than one occasion. I can’t make a meal of beans on toast (I make my own ‘baked beans’ ) and I like roasted garlic and artichoke on my pizza. I don’t like to use generic curry powder and I do not, ever, cook chilli paneer. I can almost hear the shrieks of surprise. I eat it if I am a party, but I won’t actually order it or make it. Chilli paneer is a cliched and over rated dish that was popularised in the 90’s. It is essentially paneer that is stir-fried in peppers and onions, lots of garlic and then doused in soy sauce and ketchup.

I was at my boys playgroup the other day when one of the mums mentioned that she tried out one of my recipe. I love it when I hear that! Then she mentioned that she’s been looking for a good paneer recipe and asked if I would post one. I kept my fingers crossed that she wouldn’t mention the word chilli to prefix paneer. Anyway, so then as she and another mum talked about paneer and take-always their eyes lit up in excitement…so here we are.

There are some tastes and textures that will always make us smile. They anchor us to happy memories and smooth us, sweetly. Some foods are like a taste lullaby, they sing us into a natural rhythm and give us flavoursome satiety. Sweetcorn and paneer are two of these ingredients.
With Diwali coming up I have been reminiscing about the Diwali’s of my past. Festivities are so exciting in childhood and I really hope that I can instil the same memories and sense of fun with tradition for my baby. Fireworks, family, food, fantasy and fantastic clothes. Dark cold nights, watching mum dress up and sitting on dads shoulders to see the pretty lights and fireworks. Eating hot pakora in the street, jacket potatoes or of course, chips. Throwing bangers on the floor, aunties chattering. It’s Diwali.

My recipe is one that will definitely add the sunny colour and creamy flavour to enrich your Diwali. It is based on some of the shahi (royal) dishes I ate in Delhi during my last trip. I have used a creamy cashew nut paste and tangy tamarind; rich and special, just like Diwali. This is a full on show-off curry, so if you are entertaining definitely whip this one out. The colour a depth are impressive.

Ingredients

250g paneer, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup of sweetcorn kernels
1 cup of chopped tomatoes (I used tinned tomatoes)
One red onion, diced
2 bay leaves
2 cloves
1 stick of cinnamon
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
3/4 tsp garam masala
2 green chilies, chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
Salt to taste
2 large cloves of garlic , minced
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp coriander powder
3/4 cup cashew nuts
1 cup milk
2 tbsp tamarind paste
3 tbsp ground nut oil
2 cups of warm water

Method

1. Soak the cashew nuts in the milk for 15minutes or until you are ready to use them. Grind them to a smooth paste just before you add them to the curry.
2. Take a non-stick pan and add 1tbsp of oil and stir fry the paneer until it is golden brown. Remove it and place onto kitchen paper, allowing it to cool.
3. Heat the oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, chilies cinnamon, cloves and turmeric.
4. Allow the seeds to sizzle before you add the onion and the salt. Soften the onion for a couple of minutes before adding the ginger and garlic and sauté for another couple of minutes.
5. Add the tomatoes, tamarind, cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala and simmer for 4-5 minutes on a medium flame before adding the cashew nut paste and the water. Bring the gravy to a simmer before adding the paneer and sweetcorn.
6. Cook for 8-10minutes before serving hot with buttery chappati.

Mung bean sprouts and paneer curry

18 Oct
Mung bean sprouts and paneer curry

Mung bean sprouts and paneer curry

We recently met a health conscious family where the elderly matriarch walked for miles each day, the parents played sports daily and even the kids were athletic both in lifestyle and body structure. There was no ghee, jaggery or samosa in sight within their Gujarati kitchen.

They told us that they started each day with steamed sprouts, karela or vegetable juices and seeds. Now, I am not stereotyping, but….it’s not often I see people of Indian ethnicity omitting gulab jamuns, rasmalai or jalebbi sweets. And what about the pakora, puri’s and cassava chips? What about paneer pizza and chilli cheese chips?

The thing that I find most impressive with the mentioned family is the constant awareness is that we are not immortal. We get damaged if we neglect ourselves. Hair falls, eyes weaken , teeth chip, break fall or rot and ears deafen. Skin shrivels and organs deteriorate. I know it sounds miserable, but life is quite fragile.

14 weeks after having had my baby I was having a brief period of relaxation during the weekend, soaking in a hot bath tub whilst the baby was sleeping and husband was tidying. I wash washing my hair to the tunes of 1970’s Bollywood music and experiencing a bit of escapism. Then I slid my hand through my hair and a found lumps of hair on my hand. It just kept coming away. I called for my husband with blurry eyed confusion and heart racing, I thought I had some sort of illness, my poor baby.

Husband frantically googled away. It turns out (after a visit to the docs) it was postpartum hair loss and I was anaemic. I had no warning or preparation about this post-baby hair loss stuff, but it seems that it just happens. The reason is that hair is dormant in pregnancy and doesn’t go through the natural growth and shedding cycle, so a few months after pregnancy it sheds.

Anyway, I focused quite heavily on eating foods that were rich in iron and had growth properties (protein). I ate dried apricots, kale, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, soy beans, kidney beans and tofu…amongst other stuff. I, like the healthy family, ate mung bean sprouts which are a good source of protein and vitamin B6, but particularly good for vitamin K and C, as well as good source of fibre and folate. For a while I stayed diligent and I think it helped. Nature is forgiving and the body does recover.

I’m not so diligent now, I kind of swing back into eating whatever I fancy and whatever tastes good, but I chipped a tooth today so I think for the next few weeks I want to look after myself. I’m using paneer because it tastes great and gives the dish a contrasting texture to the crunchy and filling mung bean shoots and we all need some fat don’t we. It’s a source of protein too.

Nutritious food tasting brilliant, that sounds like a good deal to me. This curry is dense, has a bite, is a lovely and juicy. The contrasting textures play well with the sense and you know that I enjoy that. I bought the mung bean shoots during a visit to the indian grocers, in fact my toddler picked them out. You can make them at home by soaking them in water overnight until they swell and then draining the water and leaving them covered, in sunlight until the they shoot. It normally takes a day in the summer, but seeing as we don’t have much day light now, I just bought them. Easy, I like easy…do you?

Ingredients

400g mung bean sprouts
200g paneer
One red onion, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red chilli, finely diced
3/4 cup chopped tinned tomatoes
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp ground nut oil
1/2 cup water

The spices; 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 3/4 tsp garam masala, salt to taste (go easy, soy sauce is salty), 1/4 tsp, brown mustard seeds, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Method

1. Grate the paneer and leave it to a side for a couple of minutes
2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard and cumin seeds. Once they sizzle add the onion and sauté with the salt and turmeric for a couple of minutes. Introduce the garlic and sauté for another couple of minutes
3. Stir in the paneer and add the cumin powder, coriander powder and black pepper.
4. Mix the spices and the paneer together and then mix in the mung bean sprouts. Add the lemon juice, garam masala, soy sauce and tomatoes. Mix again before adding the water and cook on a low to medium flame for about 12 minutes.

Serve with hot chappatis and yoghurt. Don’t forget the salad!

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