Palak Paneer

I really enjoyed teaching how to make this dish during yesterday’s LIVE cookery class. It’s such an easy, quick “throw together recipe” which is perfect for a weeknight meal or as part of a more elaborate spread.

As it’s a dry dish, it also works incredibly well as a filling in a wrap or even in a pitta bread! Palak paneer pitta pockets anyone?

I received an amazing response from those who cooked along with me during the live class. If you missed it but want to watch, you can view it right here. Let me know how it goes and don’t forget to share a photo of your recreation on Insta, Twitter or Facebook.

Oh and FYI, I will now be doing live classes every other Friday so my next live cook-along will be on 29th May. I am working on an exciting project in the mean time and am excited to share the details very soon.

Happy cooking y’all.

Palak Paneer

Ingredients
  

To toast paneer

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 225 g paneer cut into 2 cm cubes
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • salt

To make the palak paneer

  • 3-4 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp butter/ghee optional
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic very finely chopped
  • 2cm ginger very finely chopped
  • 1 small tomato finely diced
  • 3 tbsp tomato pasata
  • 1 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 3/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 300 g fresh spinach washed, dried & finely chopped/shredded
  • 1-2 green chillies finely chopped

For optional garlic tempering

  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 clove garlic cut into paper thin slices
  • 3 good pinches dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) optional

Instructions
 

  • To toast the paneer, heat oil in a pan (ideally non stick) on a low/medium heat setting. Once hot add the paneer, cumin seeds and a pinch of salt. Allow the paneer to cook for 10-15 seconds until it is light golden in colour. Then turn over each piece and cook on the other side. (You want just a light golden skin on each piece). Remove from pan and keep aside.
  • In the same pan, heat up oil and butter/ghee. Once hot, add the nigella seeds, garlic & ginger. Keep mixing continuously on a medium heat until light golden in colour. (It won't take long – do not allow it to brown too much as it will burn and become bitter).
  • Now add the chopped tomato and pasata and cook for 2 minutes on a medium heat whilst mixing. Then add the salt and remaining spices.
  • Once you see the oil begin to release at the edge of the tomato paste, add the toastetoasted paneer pieces and green chilli and mix. Now begin to add the spinach a couple of handfuls at a time, mixing as you do it.
  • Once all the spinach is in the pan and has started to wilt, reduce to a low/medium heat and place a lid on top. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring halfway through. The spinach will start to release its water. Keep cooking until all water has evaporated and you have a dry dish where the palak and paneer pieces are both well combined. Taste for salt/chilli and adjust accordingly.
  • For the tempering, heat oil in a small pan. Then add the garlic slivers and dried fenugreek. Keep stirring and as soon as you see the garlic take on a light golden colour, turn off the heat. Drizzle over the paneer palak and serve with your favourite Indian breads.

Channa Dal Keema Mattar

Keema Mattar is one of my favourites. This recipe is cooked with channa dal (optional) which add delicious nuttiness and a lovely bite. I love to mop it up with hot buttery chapatis and sometimes with a fried egg on the side when I feel like I need an extra hug in the stomach department!

When I fancy something lighter I sometimes make keema lettuce wraps and sometime swap out the lamb for quorn (which also works a treat!).

There was no live cookery class this week but I shall be back next Friday, 15th May cooking up another delicious storm on my Facebook page so I hope to see you then. Until then, enjoy the below recipe!

Keema Mattar with Channa Dal

monicasawhney
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 6-7 tbsp oil for cooking
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 black cardamom coarsely crushed, optional
  • 2 green cardamoms coarsely crushed, optional
  • 2" “ piece of cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion (150g) cut into small rough chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1" ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 5 tbsp tomato passata
  • 1 tsp double concentrate tomato puree
  • 2 birds eye green chillies sliced vertically in half
  • 400g lamb/mutton/quorn mince
  • 5 tbsp peas defrosted
  • 2 small potatoes cooked, peeled and cut into bite size chunks
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 150 g channa dal lentils soaked & boiled with salt for 45 minutes or until tender** – optional
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Large handful coriander
  • Juice of ¼ lime optional

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oil in a pan. Blitz the onion, ginger and garlic, together in a food processor until coarsely ground together. Once the oil is hot, add the bay leaves, crushed cardamoms, cinnamon stick and cumin seeds to the pan.
  • Now add the ground paste to the pan and cook on a medium heat for 6-7 minutes. Once you see the paste has turned golden in colour add 3-4 tbsp water and continue to cook for 7-8 minutes on a low/medium heat. If it ever catches, add a splash of water or a little more oil.
  • Now add the salt, paprika, turmeric and garam masala. Cook for a minute and then add the pasata and tomato puree as well as the chillies. When you see the oil separate from the masala, add the lamb/mutton/quorn mince and cook for 4-5 minutes or until you see the colour change. Then add the peas, potato, channa dal as well as the remaining spices and sugar. Mix well.
  • Add 1 cup of water then place a lid on top and cook for a further 10 minutes on a medium heat, stirring every few minutes.
  • Finish with the coriander as well as the lime juice. Taste for salt/chilli and adjust accordingly.

Notes

*I cooked the dal exactly as I did for the lentils in my tadka recipe which can be found here. You can soak the channa lentils for 3-4 hours for warm water to help soften but it’s not essential. 

Tadka Dal

I’ve made Tadka Dal hundreds of times and it’s often my “go-to” recipe when my brain is having a moment and can’t decide on what to make for dinner, or if we have ran out of everything and I haven’t got round to doing the big shop (both happen regularly).

I decided to teach how to make this hug in a bowl for this week’s LIVE Spice Club “isolation cookery lesson” and the feedback has been amazing!

Dal is not a seasonal dish. I make it all year round and it’s a staple in most Indian homes. Everyone makes it their own way and this recipe is what I would consider to be my “full fat” version. Sometimes If I’m feeling lazy or if I am incredibly hungry I will omit the onion and make the tadka with just ginger & garlic or even just ginger on its own. Sometimes if I’m in a rush I make these lentils without soaking (perfectly fine to do with red split lentils). My favourite way to eat dal is on top of some steamed basmati rice and I never use a spoon. I always eat it with my hand. Extra satisfaction guaranteed!

If you missed the live cookery class but want to catch up and watch, you can do so by clicking here. Also, if you have any dish suggestions for next week’s live class, comment below or drop me a message on Instagram or Facebook. I would love to hear from you!

Tadka Dal

Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

To cook the lentils:

  • 1 cup (165g) red split lentils aka masoor lentils, rinsed well until the water runs clear. Not essential but ideally allow lentils to soak in a bowl full of water for a couple of hours
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Water

To cook the tadka

  • 3-4 tbsp ghee/butter/oil or a blend og ghee/butter & oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp of asafoetida optional
  • 1 small onion (90g) finely diced
  • 3 cms ginger grated
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 4-5 tbsp tomato passata
  • 1-2 green chillies or you can use 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp mango powder/amchur optional Amchur/Mango Powder or Lime/Lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • Handful fresh coriander roughly chopped

Instructions
 

  • Place the lentils in a pot along with salt and turmeric and 4 cups (approx 1litre) of boiling water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat slightly. Cook lentils on a gentle rolling simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are soft and tender mixing every few minutes. Use a spoon to skim off any foam that forms and discard.
  • The water & lentils should be blended together & creamy in texture once cooked. If the water reduces before the lentils are cooked, you can add a little more.
  • Whilst the lentils are cooking, heat the ghee/oil in a separate pan. Add cumin seeds, and asafoetida. Then add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft. Now add the garlic & ginger. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes until golden in colour. Now stir in the tomato passata and chilli.
  • Reduce the heat. Then add salt, paprika, turmeric and mango powder, Mix well and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until the oil begins to separate from the masala.
  • Once the lentils are cooked, add them to the pan the tadka was cooked in. Mix well and bring to a boil. If you think the dal is too thick you can add a little more water (you may need to adjust seasoning accordingly).
  • Finish with the garam masala and fresh coriander. Taste for salt and chilli adjust accordingly. Remove from heat and serve with rice or your favourite Indian bread.