Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bok Choy Pakora

Bok choy is a Chinese leafy vegetable that I hadnt cooked with before though I had come across many recipes of bok choy along the lines of spinach poriyal/kootu etc. To me bok choy is a hybrid between Indian spinach and cabbage. It is a very nutritious vegetable and I am glad my friend S suggested that we try a recipe with bok choy. S who blogs here [a super creative cooking blog] and also has a super awesome art website here - something I go wow about every time I open it, came up with this fun idea about choosing one healthy vegetable every month that we would cook with and post the recipe on our blogs. So I went ahead, bought bok choy and it was lying in my refrigerator waiting to be made into something. Being in Florida we have these daily evening showers quite often and on one such gloomy and rainy Saturday me and S were in mood for some pakora and chai time in our balcony and that is the story of my bok choy pakora :)


Serves - 4
Spice Level - Moderate
Prep Time - 15 min
Cook time - 15 min

Bok choy - 1 , chopped in thin strips
Onion - 1 , sliced thinly
Besan/Chickpea Flour - 1 cup
Rice flour - 2 tbsp
Ajwain/Omam - 1/4 tsp
Water - as per need
Hing - 1/4 tsp
Salt - as per need
Red chilli powder - 2 Tsp
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Oil - for deep frying

How do you do it

1. Mix besan, rice flour, salt, baking soda and all the spice powders in a bowl. Add water to this as necessary to make a thick paste of dropping consistency.

2. Mix in the sliced onions and bok choy now and mix well.

3. Heat oil in a kadai for deep frying. Add spoonful of the pakora batter into the oil. Deep fry in medium flame till golden brown. Drain on tissue paper.

4. Serve these pakora with tomato ketchup of green mint chutney.

Enjoy these yummy pakora with chai :)

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Homemade Paneer - Step by Step Pictures

Its been quite some time since I put in another recipe here, too many things going on with the new job and my 1 hr commute to work has made it quite a crazy schedule :|. I am still in the "get IT access/permissions" phase in the new company and have nothing much to do around here at the moment. So I decided I would do my blog update from office and here it is :).

Home made Paneer is a luxury and though it doesn't take much of an effort to get it done, I hadn't bothered about it in the past since I had access to fresh Paneer in Bombay. The frozen stuff I get here is just about OK and decided its time to add one more to the "to make at home" list in addition to the already hazaar existing items on it. I had made fresh Paneer at home a couple of days before S's birthday for making Paneer Butter Masala and I am so glad that I decided to do it. The Paneer was super soft and tasty and it was the perfect Paneer Butter Masala. I paired it up with Methi rotis and Mango Lemonade drink for S's birthday dinner at home. For the appetizer I made egg puffs and I had plans for dessert too, but we were so full and stuffed we had to skip dessert :).

Making Paneer at home is not a tough task, just requires a lot of patience. If you happen to have a lazy weekend at home, I would suggest you to try your hand at this and am sure you wouldn't regret it


Whole Milk - 2 L - yields 200 gm of Paneer
Lemon Juice - of 2 lemons
Cheesecloth - 1 big size [ I used veshti thuni for this]
Few Heavy weight items

How do you do it

1. Line a strainer with a wet cheesecloth and place it on top of a bowl/container. Keep aside.

2. Bring milk to a boil and simmer. Once it starts to boil again gently, add half of the lemon juice first and keep stirring until the whey and milk solids start to separate. Add in the remaining lemon juice, stir, all the whey and milk solids will separate. Remove from flame immediately.

3. Now empty this into the cheesecloth lined strainer. The bowl will have all the whey - reserve this and keep aside.

4. Wash the Paneer crumbs collected in the cheesecloth in cold water twice to remove the smell of lemon juice.

5. Squeeze the excess liquid from the paneer crumbs gently.

6. Bring the ends of the cheesecloth together and tie them into a knot and hang it from a kitchen cabinet handle [Place a bowl below to catch the excess liquid] or the sink tap. Leave it in this position for about 3 hrs for all the water to drip. I squeezed it gently twice in between the 3 hrs to remove water.

7. After 3 hrs, take the cheesecloth and wrap it tightly to form a circle shape and place it on a flat plate. Place the heavy weights on top of it now. I used the following in this order - marble roti stone, iron dosa pan, Marble mortar/pestle as seen below. Leave it in this position for another 3 hrs.

8. After 3 hrs, remove all the weights and open the cheesecloth to find firm Paneer. Now refrigerate this overnight before you slice them into cubes, so they are very firm and hold shape.

9. Once you slice them into cubes, put them in a zip lock bag/air tight box and freeze and use whenever needed.


Once the whey and paneer has separated, remove from flame immediately, retaining it on heat will cause the paneer to be hard.

Make sure to drip all the excess water from the paneer crumbs, this is essential for the paneer to hold form later. So squeeze the cheesecloth now and then gently to remove water.

Remember to tightly wrap the cheesecloth around the panner crumbs forming a circle shape before placing heavy weights on top of it to avoid the sides of the paneer block turning out crumbly.

Make sure to hang the cheesecloth for atleast 3 hrs and keep them under heavy weights for atleast 3 hrs. Be patient.

Refrigerate overnight before you try to cube them.

Use the reserved whey for making chapathis or add it to any curry/sambar you make, its a very nutritious liquid.

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Mint Tomato Chutney

Mint and Coriander are the most favorite herbs in my kitchen. I make coriander chutney quite often to go with ghee rice but mint leaves in most cases is reserved for chicken based dishes. S loves mint and often requests for this mint chutney but somehow I don't make it very often. I have tried many different versions of mint chutney but was never really satisfied with the taste. My last weekend trail with mint chutney was absolutely delicious and decided to make this version more often. Its a great side dish for dosai or idlis.


Serves - 4
Spice Level - Moderate
Prep Time - 10 min
Cook - 10 min

Mint leaves - 2 handful
Onions - small sized 2, chopped roughly
Tomato - 2 medium sized chopped roughly
Grated coconut - 2 Tbsp
Turmeric - a pinch
Oil - 1 Tsp

To roast and grind
Channa dal - 2 Tbsp
Dry red chilli - 4
Oil - 1 Tsp

To temper
Oil - 1 Tsp
Hing - a generous pinch
Mustard seeds - 1 Tsp
Urad dal - 1 Tsp
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs

How do you do it

1. Heat a tsp of oil and saute the channa dal and red chillies until golden brown. Keep aside. In the same pan, saute the mint leaves for a couple of minutes until they shrink in volume and is cooked well. Keep aside and cool.

2. Heat a tsp oil, add chopped onions and saute until translucent. Add the tomatoes, turmeric powder and half the salt now and cook until they turn soft and mushy. Keep aside and cool.

3. Blend everything together along with grated coconut and salt with required water into a smooth paste.

4. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and add hing. Add mustard - let it pop, add urad dal - let it brown, add curry leaves and pour it on top of the chutney. Mix well.

Serve with idli/dosai

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