Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Chilli Paneer

Paneer is a cheese normally made by adding citric acid or lemon juice to milk to curdle. The curdled mixture is then put in a muslin cloth to get rid of the moisture present in it. It is then compressed by adding a weight on top to give a block shape. Or we can get it processed from supermarket, already made in blocks. Paneer on its own is tasteless and doesn’t have any flavour. But when it is it prepared in specific ways, it is so tasty that you will have an unending craving for it.
My husband loves Paneer; I came to about it from him for the first time! Whenever we go out and spot paneer, he picks one and asks me to make something out it. I have prepared quite few dishes before with paneer, but we were not at all happy with the result. It used to be disappointing at times and I always think I would never prepare a dish that has paneer in it again. But I still keep trying because that’s the way to learn I suppose. Well, I had this block of paneer sitting in the fridge for some weeks and have been approaching its expiry date. So I thought I had to make something out of it that I have never tried before….I started searching for the recipes and finally came up with the Chilli Paneer that I spotted on and thought of giving it a go without much hope. For my surprise, it came out excellent. Here is the recipe that I followed:

125 gm Paneer
3 tbs Corn flour
1½ tbs Plain flour
2 Green chillies (cut into thin & long strips)
4 large Garlic pods
1 onion, sliced thin
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vinegar
¼ tsp Sugar
¼ tsp Black pepper
2 tsp Soya sauce
2½ tsp ketchup
1 tbsp Chilly sauce
4 tbs water
Oil for deep frying

1. Make a thin paste of plain flour, corn flour and 1/2 tsp of salt.
2. Cut paneer into small square pieces. Dip them in the paste and fry till they become golden in colour. Don’t brown it, it will become hard and lose the texture.
3. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan and fry green chillies, garlic and onion until the onion and garlic turns soft, but not brown.
4. In a separate small bowl mix salt, sugar, black pepper, chilly sauce, tomato sauce, soya sauce, vinegar and 4 tbsp water. Add it to the pan and cook for half a minute.
5. Add Paneer pieces and mix well. Serve hot as a starter,or side dish.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Oatmeal Cookies

This might be my last post for this month...might be. Since Im preparing for my driving theory test, got some reading to do-which is moving real real slowly. I thought I wont have anymore tests after my college....Now here is another one...Im a bit nervous for some reason. May be it is because Im doing a test for first time in UK...
These cookies are easy to make, and are packed with lot of nutrients and fibre. Did you know that Oats lowers the cholesterol content in the body and helps to maintain a healthy heart? Apart from Oats, these cookies are enriched with different nuts and fruits. And what more, to please my craving I added some chocolate as well. Since I made large cookies just one was enough for a breakfast or tea and was so filing and refreshing. You can include this in your kid’s breakfast box and it will give them energy throughout the school day. This cookie is quite versatile as well. You can omit raisins if you don’t like them and add more nuts or chocolate, or you can omit nuts and add raisins or any dried fruit.
The cookies that I made before had a dough that has to be rolled out and then cut with the cookie cutter or has a thick batter like dough with dropping consistency. I expected somewhat the same texture for this cookie as well. But the dough was quite dry and had a crumbly texture just breadcrumbs or oats moistened with little water. I was very unsure how this was going to turn out, seeing the texture of the dough. I took ¼ cup of the dough, pressed in round shape using hand and then kept it on parchment paper, and pressed down with wet hands and popped it in the oven eagerly waiting for the first batch. The cookies were perfect; unlike I thought it would be. Sigh.
Some points you need to take into account while baking this cookie or generally many cookies is just bake them until you see the edge has started turning golden brown. If you will wait for the whole top to get golden brown, the cookie will be almost charred underneath and when it cools, it becomes very hard. If you need the cookie to be crispy and chewy, just bake them until the edges turn golden brown and the centre is still a bit wet. Apart from that, leave the cookie to cool in the parchment paper (outside the oven of course) itself for around 5 minutes before taking them out. If you try to take the cookie out at this point of time, they will be soft and it will crumble. After 5 minutes of cooling in the parchment paper, turn them on the wire rack for further cooling and to let the steam out. If you don’t cool them in the wire rack, they will tend to get soaky holding the moisture in. Once the cookies are completely cooled, transfer them to an air tight container.

This recipe is adapted from Joyofbaking .

170 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup Muscavado sugar or light brown sugar
2 medium eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup Plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon powder
3 cups oats (I used Quaker Oats)
½ cup Raisins (Optional)
½ cup white or Milk chocolate (cut into chunks)(Optional)
1 cup nuts, toasted and chopped (You can use walnuts, hazelnut, pecans, cashews or mixture of any nuts. (Optional)

1. To toast nuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and toast nuts for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and then chop into pieces. Set aside.
2. In the large bowl, using a hand whisker, cream the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth (about 2 - 3 minutes). Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat to combine.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and fold in slowly until incorporated. Stir in the nuts, oats, Raisins and chocolate chips.
4. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. For large cookies, use 1/4 cup of batter or an ice cream scoop and space the cookies about 2 inches (5 cm) apart on the baking sheet.
5. Wet your hand and flatten the cookies with your fingers so they are about 1 cm thick. Bake the cookies for about 12 - 15 minutes at 350 degrees F (177 degrees C), or until light golden brown around the edges but still soft and a little wet in the centers. Remove from oven and let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.
Makes about 20 - 24 large cookies
This post is another entry for the 'the love of chocolate' Hosted by Poornima of Poornimastastytreats.

Monday, 6 April 2009


I hate strong vinegary smell some mayonnaise has and decided to try my own. I got this recipe from a small cookery booklet of Filippo Berio Olive oil. I mainly use mayonnaise for making Caesar Salad dressing or simply as a dip for sausages or for sandwiches as a light spread. Since I like it less tangy I used only ½ tbs of lemon juice. The original recipe states 1 tbs. It’s so easy to make, but I never knew mayonnaise used so much of oil.

Let me ask you guys something now.
Do you know how to check the freshness of an egg? Yes/No?
I think this was one of the most valuable tip that I read somewhere long ago and has been using it ever since. Just take a small bowlful of water. Slowly submerge the egg in the water. There should be enough water for the egg to submerge in completely. If the egg stays at the bottom of the saucepan, the egg is fresh and is really good. Crack it and make an omelette if you wish. If you see the egg in the middle of water, the egg is getting old. you still can use it,but see if it is good. And if the egg floats on water, it is stale and rotten. Don’t even think of cracking it as it smells awful and unless you really want to faint.

1 large egg yolk
1 tsp mustard paste
½ tbs - 1 tbs lemon/lime juice or vinegar
¼ tsp pepper powder
a pinch of sugar to taste
1/8 tsp salt
150 mls vegetable oil/Light olive oil

1. Put 1 egg yolk, mustard paste, ½ tbs lemon juice, salt and pepper and whisk thoroughly using a balloon whisk until everything is fully blended and is homogenous.
2. Very slowly add in olive oil drop by drop at a time or ¼ - ½ tsp at a time and whisk at high speed until you get a creamy texture. Do it until all the oil is used up. You can easily do it in the food-processor which is easier to handle.
3. Add more seasonings and lemon juice if needed.
1. It’s common that if you add in too much oil at a time the mixture doesn’t mix well and it looks curdled. You can see the oil is separated from the rest of the mixture. If at all it happens, take another egg yolk in another bowl and whisk it until it completely breaks up. Add the curdled mayonnaise to this beaten egg yolk little by little and whisk well until combined.

Dates & Walnut Bars

I couldn’t wait to share this Recipe with you all. When I was a little child I used to participate in drawing and painting competitions. I also happened to participate in one of the drawing competitions conducted by Nestle group of companies. Even though I dint win any prize, after the participation they have been sending me so many little little stuff and few recipe books using the nestle products like the Nestle condensed milk and nestle cream. Those books contain few recipes but all are scrumptious with even more appealing pictures. Among those recipes was this Walnut and Date bar with a lip-smacking picture which made me drool every time I see them. But when I took the picture, first think that struck my mind was that it looked like a piece of granite that resembled one in our kitchen back home in Kerala. I was disappointed with the picture, but very pleased with the taste. I loved them so much that I just couldn’t wait to post.
1½ cup Chopped Dates
½ tin x 397 sweetened condensed milk
2 tbs butter
(I used 1 tbs of sugar and 1 tbs of water instead)
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup grated coconut
3 cups biscuit crumbs (I used 18 pieces digestive biscuits crushed it in the processor)
50 g dark chocolate.

1. Heat a sauce pan on medium flame. Add in condensed milk, sugar, water, chopped dates, butter and stir well continuously until dates just turn soft. (About 7 minutes)
2. At this stage, remove the pan from heat and add in chopped walnuts, coconut and biscuit crumbs to make a firm mixture. Mix well thoroughly.
3. Press the mixture into a lightly greased medium size sponge tin.
4. Melt the chocolate in a medium bowl over a medium saucepan of containing a quarter of simmering watering, stirring it.
5. Drizzle the chocolate over the bars and refrigerate until set. Cut into 16-20 bars.

1. The original recipe calls for 2 tbs of golden syrup or sugar syrup. I just added sugar and water. I never used golden syrup in my recipes and so don’t really know how it tastes.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Beetroot and Couscous Salad

½ cup Dry Couscous
¾ cup boiling water
3 spring onions
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 large beetroot diced (2 cups)
1 – 1½ tsp lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Soak couscous in ¾ cup boiling water and leave it covered for 15 minutes to cook. Drain off any excess water.
2. Cook beets along with ½ cup of water and salt until tender; covered. Drain of any excess water. You can also pressure cook them.
3. Chop the spring onions.
4. In a serving bowl, tip in the couscous, cooked beets and spring onions.
5. Mix olive oil with the lime juice and pour it in the couscous and beetroot.
6. Season well with salt and a pinch of pepper.
1. You can add more lime juce if preferred. i personnaly dont it too tangy, so tend to use less lime.
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