PALAK PANEER (SPINACH COTTAGE CHEESE GRAVY)




Palak paneer is one of the most popular paneer dishes. It is easy to cook and tastes great with chapathi, roti and naan.

Serves: 4
Ingredients

16 to 20 paneer cubes fried
A big bunch of Spinach leaves cleaned
1 Big onion chopped
1 Big tomato chopped
½ tbsp garlic paste
½ tbsp ginger paste
1 tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp salt
A pinch of asafoetida
Oil

Method

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan; add onion and sauté till it turns golden. Remove in a bowl and set aside. Then add tomatoes to the same pan, add oil if necessary and sauté for some time, remove in another bowl and set aside. Then add spinach leaves and little oil to the same pan and sauté till the spinach is cooked. Remove from pan into a third bowl. Allow all the three to cool down. Once they have cooled down, grind the three separately into a fine paste.

Then heat 3 tbsp oil in the same pan, add garlic paste and ginger paste and sauté for some time. Then add red chilli powder, salt and the onion paste. Mix well and cook for a minute. Then add tomato paste and ½ cup water. Cook till the raw smell goes. Now add the spinach paste and mix well. Cook for a few seconds. Finally add the fried paneer and bring the gravy to a boil. Reduce heat, close a lid and cook for 5 minutes. Serve hot.

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BEETROOT CAPSICUM GRAVY






This is a beetroot gravy cooked in Chinese style. It is easy to cook and goes well with chapathi, roti and naan.

Serves: 4
Ingredients

1 beetroot grated and steamed
1 onion finely chopped
½ capsicums chopped
1 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tbsp corn flour dissolved in ¼ cup water
½ tbsp garlic paste
½ tbsp ginger paste
Salt to taste
4 tbsp oil
A pinch of ajinimoto (optional)
Coriander leaves

Method

Heat oil in a pan; add onions and sauté till it turns golden. Then add garlic paste and ginger paste and sauté for a minute. Then add beetroot and capsicum. Sauté for some time till the capsicum is tender. Then add red chilli powder, tomato sauce, soya sauce, salt and ajinimoto. Mix well and cook till the raw smell goes and oil separates. Finally add ½ cup water and bring to a boil. Then add the corn flour dissolved in water, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Reduce heat, close a lid and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Beetroot capsicum gravy is now ready. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.





HOW TO MAKE PANEER (COTTAGE CHEESE) AT HOME




Paneer or cottage cheese is a must have in several Indian homes. It is protein rich and is an essential ingredient used in cooking a variety of dishes like Mutter paneerMalai koftaPalak paneer, rasgulla, etc. This cheese (paneer) can be easily prepared at home.


BASIC ORANGE CAKE



An evenly risen, perfectly cooked, soft, spongy, and sweet smelling cake is every cake maker’s ultimate desire. Given below is the recipe of a cake in which you can never go wrong. It tastes delicious, and is a perfect accompaniment with tea. It is also a great option for family get-togethers and parties.

Serves: 8 to 10
Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour (Maida)
1 cup oil
1 cup orange juice
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla or orange essence
2 circular cake tins, butter for greasing, maida for dusting the tins.

Method

Take maida, baking powder and powdered sugar in a bowl. Sieve together twice and set aside.

Then take a bowl and add the eggs. Separate yolk from the whites using a spoon. Beat the whites till they are fluffy.

Then in another bowl, beat the yolks till they are well combined, then add essence, orange juice and oil. Beat for a few more seconds till all the ingredients are mixed well.

At this stage, switch on the oven and allow it to preheat at 150 degree Celsius for 15 to 20 minutes with both upper and lower rods on.

Now grease and flour the two cake tins. (For this, take a cake tin, line the insides with butter. Then add flour, tap it at the sides such that the insides of the cake tin is completely covered with flour. Turn it upside down and tap at the sides to remove excess flour. Take care that your fingertips do not touch the insides. Every part inside the cake tin must be completely greased and floured).

Now add the egg whites to the yolk mixture and mix with hand or wooden spatula. Then add maida mixture little by little. Mix well. Do not beat. Take care that there are no lumps in the mixture. When ready, pour it in the two cake tins filling it up to slightly more than half mark. By now the oven would be ready. Place the cake tins in the central rack and bake at the same temperature for 25 to 30 minutes or till a knife inserted comes out clean. (Depending on the oven the timing may differ, hence keep a close watch after 20 minutes).

Once done, allow it to cool, slice it into pieces and serve. It can be had just as it is. For birthday celebrations, cover the cake entirely with cream along with toppings of your choice.



HOW TO MAKE NAAN WITHOUT AN OVEN



Naan is usually cooked in an oven. But it can also be cooked over the regular non stick tava. Naan differs from chapathi, roti and parathas due to the presence of yeast, curd and milk which give a distinct flavour to the naan. Given below is a very easy recipe to make naan at home.

Makes: 8 Naans
Ingredients
2 cups maida
2 ½ tbsp curds
1 1/3 tsp active dry yeast
¾ tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
¾ cup milk
2 ½ tbsp water

Method

Heat water to Luke warm (warm water which you can touch without feeling any burning sensation), take 2½ tbsps of it in a large bowl, then add yeast, sugar and salt. Stir for a few seconds, close a lid and leave it aside for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, check if the yeast has fully dissolved in the water (If not, stir again by adding ¼ tsp Luke warm water) and has formed a froth (we did not find any froth but the naan came out perfect). Now add curd and maida. Add milk little by little and knead several times to form a smooth dough. Cover with a cloth and then close a lid, set it aside for 2 to 3 hours till the dough doubles in size. If you want to speed up the process, place the bowl closer to the stove where you are preparing the curry for the naan. The heat waves from the stove will decrease the fermentation time.

After the dough has doubled in size, divide it into 8 equal balls and set aside. Heat a non stick tava on high heat. Roll one ball into a naan, apply little bit of water over the surface of the naan and place it over the tava with the water applied part of the naan touching the tava. Close a lid for a few seconds and then remove the lid, the naan would have puffed up by now, turn the naan and cook on the other side. Apply butter on both sides (optional). In the same way make all the other naans. Serve hot with any gravy of your choice.




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EASY POTATO GRAVY




This recipe is straight from my mother’s kitchen. It is very easy to prepare and goes well with chapathis, rotis, and dosas and also as a side dish with rice. You can even use it to make a sandwich.


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