Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Paneer Tikka Masala

Heat beats heat or so it seems...  With many visiting and week end meet ups, I've been chilling myself in the hot kitchen ;) Now, time to catch up with my blog. Yesterday's preparation in my kitchen : Paneer Tikka Masala, Dhal Makhani, Peas pulao, and rotis with some yumm ice creams.

Paneer (Cottage Cheese / Cheese) is a regular when we plan for a vegetarian platter (exceptions overruled;). Recent times I tried Paneer Butter Masala and Paneer Tikka Masala. Quick to cook, adaptable to tastes, paneer can be given any tasty shape you want to. Here you go with Tikka Masala.


  • Paneer : 200-250 gm
  • Ginger Garlic Paste: 2 tspn
  • Green Capsicum: 1 medium
  • Big Onion: 2 small or 1 medium
  • Tomato: 1 medium 
  • Green Chillie: 1-2 (as spicy as you like)
  • Curd : 2 tbsp (as tangy as you like)
  • Oil: 4-5 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds: 1 tspn
  • Turmeric powder: 1 tspn
  • Coriander powder: 1-1.5 tspn
  • Chillie powder: 2 tspn (as spicy as you like). I added 0.5 tspn of Kashmiri Chilli powder 
  • Pepper powder: 1 tspn
  • Soya Sauce: 1 tspn
  • Garam Masala: 1/2 tspn 
  • Kasoori Methi: 1-2 pinch
  • Salt: To Taste
  • Coriander Leaves: For Garnishing


    Steps to marinate paneer:
    • Cut paneer into cubes or rectangles
    • In a bowl, add a tspn of ginger garlic paste. To this add, 1 tspn of Chili powder, 1 tspn of pepper, 1 tspn of coriander powder, 2 tbspn of curd (or as tangy as you like), salt. Mix and allow it to rest in the fridge for 1 hour
    Steps to make paneer tikka masala:
    • In a small kadai or tawa, add 1-2 tspn of oil. As it heats up, place the paneer cubes and roast them to deep red / brown both sides. I did it in small batches
    • In a kadai, add 1-2 tspn of oil. As it heats up, add cumin seeds. As they splutter, add onion along with the remaining ginger-garlic paste. Sprinkle a little of salt and allow the onion to cook till red.
    • To this add the sliced green capsicum and saute it.
    • Grind tomatoes with chillie to a smooth paste and add the same to the onion/capsicum mix. Add a bit of water, and allow it to cook for a few seconds with covered lid.
    • To the above mix, add the powders: turmeric, coriander, chillie (including kashmiri chillie), garam masala, salt (per taste) and add some more water. Allow it to cook for a minute or two.
    • Then add the fried paneer cubes to it. Saute it well. I added a tspn of soya sauce to it.
    • Garnish with kasoori methi and coriander. Stir and remove from fire.
    Serve it hot with hot rotis / chappatis / paranthas or just as a starter. 

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015

    Vada Pav : Indian Veg Burger

    Vada Pav originated in the state of Maharashtra, India, but now is a staple food for many across... A simple yet most tasty dish that can be cooked in a few minutes. For many it serves as the breakfast, lunch and dinner along with a hot cup of tea!

    It is almost similar to a burger, just that this is made out of simple and easily available pav (buns, small breads) with a Vada (potato based stuffing) in between along with some spicy and tangy green chutney accompanied by some green chili and spicy garlic chutney / powder.

    After tasting at a few places, I always wanted to try my hands at it. Finally, my first attempt at making Vada Pav is a reality and a complete success with my dearies :)


    To prepare the Vada / Tikki:

    • Potato                    :2 medium boiled and smashed 
    • Green Chillies       : 2 crushed
    • Garlic                    : 1 tablespoon crushed 
    • Ginger                   : 1 tablespoon crushed
    • Mustard Seeds      : 1 tspn
    • Curry Leaves        :  a few
    • Turmeric Powder  : 1/2 tspn
    • Coriander Leaves  : 2 tbspn finely chopped 
    • Salt                        : To Taste
    • Oil                         : 1 tbspn
    • Asafoetida             : a pinch
    To prepare the Flour / Batter for Vada:
    • Gram Flour / Besan : 3/4 cup
    • Turmeric Powder     : 1/2 tspn
    • Baking Soda             : a pinch
    • Salt                           : to taste
    • Oil                            : to fry

    To prepare the Chutneys:

    Green Chutney:

    • Coriander leaves : a bunch (as much qty as you need)
    • Mint leaves           : a bunch (I take it in almost equal qty)
    • Green Chilies       : 4-6 (as spicy as you need it)
    • Sour Curd            : 1/2 cup (to make the chutney tangy)
    • Mango Powder    : 1 tbspn (optional; if used accordingly quantify the curd)
    • Salt                        : To taste 

    Red Coconut Garlic Chutney: 

    • Coconut                      : 1 cup
    • Garlic                          : 6-8 cloves
    • Red Chili Powder        : 1 tbspn (as spicy as you like)
    • Sesame Seeds (white)  : 1 tspn 
    • Lemon Juice                : 1 tbspn


    To make the Vadas:
    • In a bowl, mix the mashed potatoes with chilies, ginger and garlic
    • In a pan, heat the tbspn of oil and add mustard seeds. As they crackle, add curry leaves, asafoetida, and turmeric powder. Remove from fire immediately and pour it to the mashed potato mix. 
    • To this, add the remaining ingredients including salt and mix. Make small round vadas and leave them aside for some time
    To fry:

    • In a bowl, mix the gram flour, turmeric powder, baking soda, salt and beat it to make a nice batter (consistency similar to making dosas)
    • In a kadai (deep frying pan), add oil to fry. 
    • Add a spoon of this oil to the batter prepared and mix.
    • Dip the vadas in this batter, and add them to the heated oil. Fry them till golden brown and place them aside.
    To make the Chutneys:

      Green Chutney: Just grind all ingredients and place it in a bowl.

      Red Chutney: 
         The way I prepared: Slightly roast the sesame seeds, and grind all ingredients to a  smooth mix. If you like, add a bit of lemon juice and mix well.

         Typical Method: Roast coconut to a deep brown color. Roast the sesame seeds to light brown color. You can roast the garlic and red chili powder as well. Cool them and grind them to a mix (with very less or no water).

    To make the Vada Pav:
    • I slit a pav (a bun) into two and slightly roasted them on a tava (this is optional; typically it is had raw)
    • Apply the Chutneys you have made (green, red etc), and place a Vada / Tikki in between two loaves and serve it hot with green chilies.
    Note: Green Chilies can also be slightly sauteed in oil and some salt and mustard seed powder can be sprinkled on it before serving. 

    Serve it hot with the accompanying green chilies and chutneys, with a hot cup of tea or any of your favorite drink!

    Monday, January 5, 2015

    Tomato Masala Gravy / Chutney

    More than the main dish, the challenge lies in making an interesting yet varied yet tasty side dish; one that gels well with the main dish in the making. Whenever we have Idlis / Dosas / Idiyappam etc, we typically run short of ideas... So, we need to keep innovating with chutneys and gravies. One such is this Tomato Kurma / Chutney (Tomao Masala Gravy).

    While visiting many cookery blogs, some dishes stay with you and you want to try it out for your taste budzz... this is one such recipe, a Chettinad preparation.


    • Tomato                  : 5-6 medium (based on Qty required)
    • Onion                    : 2 medium or a handful of small onions
    • Turmeric Powder  : 1/2 tspn
    • Chili Powder         : 2-2.5 tspn (as spicy as you like)
    • Coriander Powder : 1-1.5 tspn
    • Salt                        : To Taste
    • Coconut                : 1/4 cup grated 
    • Green Chilies       : 2 (optional)
    • Garlic                   :4-5 cloves
    • Ginger                  :1 "
    • Jeera                     : 1/2 tspn
    • Clove                     :2-3
    • Cinnamon             :1"
    • Saunf (fennel)       : 1/2 tspn
    • Oil                         : 2 tbspn (or more as rqd) - I used sesame oil (nallenai)
    • Curry Leaves        : A few
    1. In a kadai, add a spoon of oil. Fry Cinamon, Cloves, Jeera and Saunf. Remove from fire and take it in a mixer. Just saute garlic and ginger and add it to the mixer.
    2. To this add the grated coconut, green chilies (if rqd) and grind it to a smooth mix
    3. Separately, grind the tomatoes and keep it aside
    4. In a kadai, add remaining oil. To this add the onions and let it cook to golden brown with a pinch of salt. To this, add the ground masala and coconut mix. 
    5. Allow it to cook till the masala smell is absorbed
    6. Add the tomato mix and cook it for a few mts.
    7. To this add all powders :turmeric, coriander and chili (While adding chili powder, if you add a bit of oil and then the powder, it will give a rich color)
    8. Mix it well along with salt. Add enough water and allow it to cook till oil starts oozing on the sides. You can either make it semi gravy (like Kurma) or like chutney; accordingly remove from fire. 
    Serve it hot with Idlis, Dosas, Idiyapam, Rice etc.

    • You can use more of green chilies and less of red chili powder to get the typical kurma color (pale green)
    • You can make this as semi gravy like kurma or as Chutney (like i did)
    • You can adjust the quantity of the masala items based on the flavor you need. I choose to keep it mild.