Punjabi Paneer Mattar

Paneer mattar is a classic Punjabi party dish. For those who aren’t familiar with paneer, it’s a type of Indian cheese. Mild in taste but creamy in texture , paneer works well with really flavourful masalas as it absorbs all the aromas and seasonings of the spices. Paneer comes in two forms. If you make it at home it’s in a crumbles cottage cheese type consistecy (recipe here). If you get it from the store, it comes in block form. Today’s recipe uses the latter form. This dish is delicious and always goes down well at the The Spice Club. This recipe is dedicated to Matt Hall @codebeef who was our 600t follower on Twitter!

Serves 4

What we need:
5 tbsp olive oil
1 block of paneer (approx 250g), cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1-2 tsp salt (or according to taste)
1 tbsp ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 green chilli, finely chopped
handful of fresh coriander, chopped
1/2 tin plum tomatoes
1/2 cup peas (if frozen, thaw in water and strain)

How we do:

  • In a non stick frying pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the cumin seeds. Once they begin sizzle, add the paneer cubes. Now add the salt and half of them amount of turmeric powder.
  • Lightly fry until paneer turns golden on both sides. Remove from heat.
  • In a food processer, add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. Now add the salt, paprika,ย  turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala and half the amount of coriander. Blitz until a coarse paste has been formed
  • In a pan, heat the remaining olive oil.ย  Add some cumin seeds and allow them to start sizzling. Now add the ground masala paste. Cook on medium heat until golden brown stirring continuously.
  • When you see the masala paste is nice and golden, add the plum tomatoes and mash well so it blends with the masala. Keep stirring and cook for 4-5 minutes. Once the oil begins to separate from the masala, add the peas. Mix well and toss in the fried paneer.
  • Add water so it is just covering the vegetables and paneer and continue and bring to boil. Let it reduce to about half the amount. Check for salt and adjust accordingly.
  • Sprinkle in the fresh coriander and you’re done! Best served with hot, fresh chapatis.

Spicy Okra (Bhindi) with Yellow Peppers and Onions

I love making this okra dish. It’s one my brother’s favourite dishes and he ensures that it is made at least once a week in the house. He does nothing to help his desire become a reality of course, apart from vocalizing his wants in the kitchen. However, luckily for him, I’m an amazing sister (and it’s ridiculously easy to make, but don’t tell him that). Best served with chapatis and a lot of people eat it with yoghurt too. The good thing about okra is that it can be made in so many ways-I think this is my third okra recipe now! Also, it’s really nutritious.
Check it out, let me know how what you think ๐Ÿ™‚

Serves 4:

What we need:
1lb okra
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion sliced
1/2 yellow pepper, diced
2 tomato roughly diced
1 tsp cumin seeds
Pinch of asafoetida powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp amchur (mango powder)
Handful fresh coriander (cilantro)

How we do:

  • Heat oil in pan. Add the cumin seeds. Once they begin to sizzle, add okra, salt, turmeric powder and asafoetida powder. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring continuously on medium heat.
  • Add the onion, yellow pepper and the rest of the spices except amchur. Mix and cook until you see the sticky threads disappear.
  • At this point, add the tomatoes, fresh coriander and amchur and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • When you see the oil has separated from the okra, your dish is ready!
  • BALLE BALLE! Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

Urad Dal Masala

If you go to anย  Indian grocery store you will see that urad dal is available in three types:
1) Whole urad dal which is black
2) Split urad dal which is black and white
3) Split and washed urad dal which is white.

In today’s recipe I used the 3rd type also known as ‘white lentil’. In Indian cuisine it is generally used to make a dry dal masala dish, unlike most dal dishes which are quite liquidy in consistency. I was never the biggest fan of this dish as a kid but I’ve got older I’ve oddly grown to love it. The thing that I love about cooking this dal is that it’s so simple to make-you don’t need a pressure cooker. You won’t find this dish at any Indian restaurant but it’s regularly made in the Sawhney household!ย  Check out the recipe and try out this authentic dal dish for yourself ๐Ÿ™‚

Serves 4

What we need:

For dahl:
250g split washed urad dal (white in colour)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
For Masala:
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
Pinch of asafoetida powder (hing)
1/2 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, grated
2 tbsp ginger, grated
2 large fresh tomatoes
1 tsp tomato puree
4 mushrooms, diced (optional)
1/2 green or red chilli, finely diced (optional)
1/2 cup of fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garam maslala
Pinch paprika powder

How we do:

  • Soak the dal in water for 2-4 hours.
  • In a pot, add the dal and add water so it is approx 2″ above the dal. Add salt and turmeric powder. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the dal becomes soft. If there is any excess water, drain it.
  • Heat the oil in a pan. Once hot, add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and asafoetida powder. When they begin to sizzle, add the onion and fresh chilli. Mix well and cook until golden brown.
  • Add the garlic and ginger. Cook four a couple minutes and add the salt, garam masala and paprika powder. Add the tomatos and puree. Mix and cook for aย  few minutes. Now add the mushrooms and stir.
  • Once the oil begins to separate from the masala, add the dal and mix well for 2-3 minutes. Add the coriander.
  • BALLE BALLE! You’re good to go. Best served with hot chappatis.