South Indian Style Paneer Mattar

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Yesterday was one of those days. Yes one of *those* days. I woke up early, feeling amazing with a big smile on my face, leapt out of bed with a huge bolt of energy and drew back the curtains to see…oh what have we here? Grey skies, rain, a sodden garden and general wetness and dullness…everywhere. I immediately let out a long grunt type noise, that phonetically spelt out, would be something along the lines of UGGHH. My first thought was to jump straight back into bed and stay there. I mean, Wednesday is nearly Friday which is practically the weekend…right?! I spent a few more minutes trying to rationalise the idea but then opened up my reminders app on auto-pilot, and saw my epic “To Do” list staring at me. Grave error – my dreams of returning to a quilty haven shattered in a single click of the Home button. 

Some may call me over dramatic (my other half regularly does) but I’m a huge believer that weather can truly affect your mood. I knew that I needed something to “pick me up”. After a quick visit to the gym, (they say you only start burning fat after 20 minutes of cardio – I thought 21 minutes on the step machine was as a solid time) I decided I would make lunch before I started my day. Cooking generally puts me in a good mood and I figured it would give me something to look forward to!

This brings me to today’s recipe. Have you ever made paneer before? I make it ALL the time. It’s so quick to cook, a good source of protein and super versatile. Paneer Mattar is a dish I cook regularly at home – it’s lovely and comforting. Imagine a creamy and chunky casserole but with a depth of warm spiciness and just a cheeky little kick.  This time round, I decided to “pimp” my usual recipe by giving it a South Indian twist with mustard seeds & curry leaves. Let’s just say my pre-lunch frown was quickly turned upside-down!

If you have never used curry leaves in your cooking before, you must try. They’re beautifully warm and fragrant and bring any dish to life.

Give it a go!

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South Indian Style Paneer Mattar
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 220g paneer, chopped
  2. 5-6 tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 tsp cumin
  4. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  5. handful of curry leaves, washed, dried & roughly chopped
  6. 2" ginger, grated
  7. 2 cloves garlic, peeled & grated
  8. 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  9. 1 1/2 tsp salt or according to taste
  10. 1/2 tsp paprika
  11. 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  12. 1 tsp garam masala
  13. 2 tbsp greek yoghurt
  14. 2 plum tomatoes & 2 tbsp tomato juice
  15. 1 cup peas
Instructions
  1. Heat 1-2tbsp oil in a non-stick pan. Once hot, add the cumin seeds. When they begin to splatter, add the paneer and a pinch of salt. Cook for 2-4 minutes or until golden on one side. Turn over the paneer pieces and cook until golden on the other side. Remove paneer from pan.
  2. Add remaining oil to a non stick pan. Once hot, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. You will see them begin to splatter immediately. At this point, add the ginger, garlic and chilli. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until golden.
  3. Now add the salt, paprika, turmeric powder & garam masala. Add the yoghurt and stir quickly. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the yoghurt blends well with the masala.
  4. Add the tomatoes and juice and mash well into the masala. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Now add the peas and 2 cups of water. Bring to boil. Now add the paneer and cook for further 2 minutes. Check for salt and adjust accordingly. Remove from heat.
  5. Serve with hot chapattis or naan bread!
Notes
  1. You can leave the skin on ginger, before grating - just make sure it's washed and clean. This way you have zero wastage from peeling!
  2. You can sauté the paneer in cumin before hand and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge until you want to use it. This paneer can also be used in salads as a tasty topping!
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

 

Indian BBQ Masala Chicken Recipe & Sainsburys Magazine Front Cover Feature

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Earlier this year, I was approached by the lovely people at Sainsburys Magazine in regards to a feature on spice inspired recipes for the Summer barbeque season for their July issue. I decided to write a recipe inspired from my Punjabi roots and created a Barbeque Masala Chicken recipe that is packed full of flavour and spice and is great cooked on the barbeque or on the grill. This recipe features a marinade made from yoghurt, fragrant Indian spices and pureed deep fried golden onion to add delicious depth. Sound like your kind of thing? Then, check out the recipe below. I also made a recipe for a simple yet satisfying Indian salsa made from radish and red onions which is refreshing and light and serves as a great accompaniment to the spicy masala chicken.

I am delighted to announce that my recipe was featured on the front cover of the magazine which I am thrilled about! The feature also included mouth watering recipes by last years Masterchef winner Shelina Permalloo, Private Chef and Indian food writer, Maunika Gowardhan and Persian food writer and Supper Club host, Sabrina Ghayour so be sure to grab yourself a copy of this month’s issue!

high res 2The sun is supposed to be making an appearance this weekend so all the more reason to haul out the BBQ and get grilling. Check out my recipe below and facebook or tweet me your thoughts.

Serves 4

What we need

For the Masala Chicken:
250ml vegetable oil for frying
1 onion, thinly sliced4 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 lime
50g root ginger, peeled & grated
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled & grated
1 whole green chilli, finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp roughly chopped coriander
4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp sea salt
4 skinless chicken breasts
For the Salsa:
200g radishes, finely sliced
1  small red onion, thinly sliced
2 large ripe vine tomatoes, finely diced
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
a small handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

How to:

1) Pour the oil into a wok so it’s 3-4 cms deep and heat. Deep fry the onions on a medium-high heat for 6/7 minutes or until they  turn golden brown. Turn off the heat and leave to cook until fully golden. Remove from oil using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Leave to cool.
2) Put the onions, olive oil, lime juice, ginger, garlic, green chilli, tomato puree and coriander into a food processor. Blitz until thick paste forms and transfer to a mixing bowl.
3) Stir in the yoghurt, paprika, turmeric, garam masala and sea salt.
4) Add the chicken breasts and turn in the marinade until well coated. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
5) Light the barbeque. For the salsa, put the radishes, tomatoes, onion, black pepper, lime juice and coriander in a bowl. Season with salt to taste and toss together.
6) Barbeque the chicken for 20-25 minutes, turning regularly, until cooked through. Serve with  the Indian salsa.

Spicy Potato and Mushroom Curry

This dish is perfect if you’re looking to cook something wholesome and nutritious but don’t want to sacrifice on flavour and taste! I love the combination of vegetables in this recipe-the meatiness of the mushrooms combined with the comforting potatoes marriages together wonderfully to create a delicious and satisfying dish. I’ve also added peas to add a little bit of colour and slight sweetness. The beauty of this recipe is that how customisable it is. If you’re not a huge fan of mushrooms, you can omit them (potatoes and peas is a very popular Punjabi dish!) or you can even replace with paneer.

I cooked this dish in a pressure cooker and it literally  took5 minutes. However, it can be cooked in  a normal pan too and this is the recipe I’ve written below for you.

With Autumn around the corner and the temperature dropping slightly, served with some hot chapatis, this dish is a great “warmer-upper”! Try it out and comment or tweet at me to let you know what you think @thespiceclub.

Serves 4

What we need:
3 tbsp olive oil
3 medium potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
250g button mushrooms, halved
1 cup peas
1 tsp cumin seeds
Pinch of asafoetida (optional)
1 tbsp ginger, grated
1 green chilli, finely chopped
2 tbsp yoghurt
3 plum tomatoes with 2 tbsp juice
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp paprika
1tbsp kasuri methi (optional)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Handful fresh coriander

How we do:

  • Heat the oil in a pan. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and asafoetida. When the seeds begin to sizzle add the ginger and chilli. Stir for 1-2 minutes until they begin to turn slightly golden. Now add the yoghurt and mix well.
  • Add the plum tomatoes and mash well. Add the salt, garam masala, paprika, turmeric, kasuri methi and fresh coriander and stir together. Cook on medium heat.
  • When the oil begins to separate, add the potatoes, mushrooms, peas and enough water to just cover the vegetables.
  • Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and put the lid on.  Let it cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes become tender.
  • Best served with hot chappatis!