Thursday, August 11, 2011

Paneer Chatpata (Hot and Sour Paneer)

This was one of those moments where my mind and my hands went over the spice rack with total abandon and out came this dish, which I personally prefer to have as an appetizer along with some good single malt. Of course we ate it along with chapatis and dal! But you know what I am talking about :-)

We had a block of paneer (cottage cheese sitting in the refrigerator) and I just picked it up for a Sunday quick lunch fix. I also made another favorite of mine, eggplant masala that I shall post shortly.

Wife loved it, what else do I need? How can I describe the taste? It is spicy, tangy and crispy, more like an Indian and Asian fusion. Hope you enjoy it.

400 gms Nanak Paneer
3 tbsp + 1 tsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp chick pea flour
1/2 tsp Shan Tandoor Chicken powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red chili powder 30 gms Chinese Hot Chilis diced into really small pieces
130 gms green bell pepper diced into really small pieces
5 tbsp oil
4 tsp Asian chili sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp vinegar

1) Cut the paneer into 1/2 inch size pieces. Clean the hot chilis and the green pepper and dice them into really small pieces. Set all aside. Please have all the ingredients ready since there are a lot of them, and you don't want to miss any of them.

2) In a small mixing bowl, mix the flours, red chili powder and tandoori masala.

3) In a non stick pan, pour 3 tbsp oil. As it gets hot add the hot chilis and green pepper and cook on medium heat for a few minutes till the water from the pepper evaporates. Add the paneer pieces now and mix well.

4) Roast the paneer for a while till the sides starting getting slightly golden. At this point add the flour/chili/tandoori masala mix and salt (please add salt by taste. Although I have measured the salt, remember Shan tandoori masala has some salt in it as well). Mix everything well, making sure you coat the paneer pieces with the flour and tandoori masala mix.

5) Add 2 tbsp oil. Lower the flame to medium low, moving everything around so as to not burn anything. After the flour has cooked well, and the chilis/pepper and paneer are nice roasted with golden sides, drizzle around the Asian chili sauce, soy sauce and vinegar. 

6) Mix everything well for a few minutes till all the water from the sauces just disappears. Turn off the flame and transfer the contents to a serving dish. You are done.

7) Important: Ensure that you stop the cooking process just in time. If you cook it till its very dry, then the moisture from the paneer is lost and it doesn't end up tasting good.

8) Serve with single malt whiskey, or with rice and dal and just top it on a fresh green salad. Yum!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Deviled Eggs (Serves 10-15)

Phew! its been a while, isn't it? Didn't want to become extinct, no that is not in the plan after doing this for two years. There may be gaps like this, but don't ever plan to shut this down.

We had been to a friend’s place for a pool/BBQ party, an annual event which was combined with another friend’s farewell party as he and his family were moving to New Zealand.

Since it was a BBQ party I decided to load it up and made deviled eggs, something I had never tried preparing before. I think if one puts almost anything along with egg yolks and mayonnaise, in the right proportion that is, it’s going to turn out good.

Common ingredients in deviled eggs are mustard, tartar sauce, pickle, olives, etc. But I wanted to refrain from adding anything common, and came up with something of my own. Otherwise there is no fun, right?

This turned out great and got eaten up in a few minutes by the gang. Devils!! Absolutely tasty, wholesome and filled with lots of different flavors.

Here is the recipe. You may notice that I have used yolks from 2 extra eggs and and then some extra mayo. This was done to get the consistency of the filling right.

21 boiled eggs + yolks from 2 extra eggs
5 tbsp red onions minced very fine
6 tsp fresh jalapeno pepper minced very fine, with seeds
3 sprigs fresh oregano leaves
2 sprigs fresh parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh coriander leaves
2 tsp marinated small capers from bottle, minced fine
½ tsp cumin seeds
⅜ cup olive oil
⅜ cup + 2 tbsp mayonnaise
Salt to taste
cayenne pepper powder for garnish
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Preparation: Ridiculously simple :-)

1) Hard boil 23 eggs. Completely cool down the eggs. Peel the shell off and cut the eggs lengthwise into 2 halves each.

2) Scoop the yolks out from all the halves and set aside in a large bowl.

3) Set 42 egg halves on a large tray. We need only 42 egg halves for this recipe.

4) Mince all the fresh herbs as fine as you can with a knife. This will add to 3 tsp of fresh herbs, packed.

5) Dry roast the cumin seeds in a pan till you smell the aroma, and then grind it coarse.

6) In the large bowl with the egg yolks, first mash the yolks fully. To this add the olive oil, mayonnaise, minced red onions, minced jalapeno, minced fresh herbs, minced capers, ground cumin seeds, and salt to taste. Mix everything really well until it forms a nice smooth texture.

7) With a scoop or a spoon, add this mix into the hollow portion of the egg halves. Garnish on top with cayenne pepper and coriander leaves.

8) Refrigerate it for 30 minutes to an hour before serving. Enjoy!