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/

 

Roasted Chicken Masala

In today’s recipe I’ll be teaching you how to make chicken masala very simply and very quickly. Chicken masala (or chicken curry as it is more popularly known as) is THE classic party dish made at all Punjabi dinner parties. My brother and I used to get so excited when my Mum used to make this when we were younger-it was only made on Sundays when we had family get-togethers at my grandmother’s house or on special occasions. Served hot with basmati rice or fresh tandoori rotis, it is sure to go down well! Infact, it is particularly popular when served at The Spice Club. This version of the classic chicken curry recipe ensures the chicken is really succulent and flavourful as we marinade the chicken and roast it before adding the masala. It can sometimes be difficult when cooking boneless chicken in a tomato masala to make sure the chicken does not turn tough in texture, but this recipe does not fail in that department. It’s also a really straight forward recipe and is quick to make! Check it out:

Serves 2-4

What we need:

For the marination:
500g boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bitesized cubes
2 tbsp yoghurt
2 cloves garlic, grated
2″ ginger ginger, grated
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp coriander powder
Handful chopped fresh coriander
2 tbsp olive oil
For Masala:
4 tbsp olive oil
4 whole cloves
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 green cardomom pod
2 medium sized onions
3 cloves garlic
2″ ginger
1 green chilli
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tin plum tomato
1/2 cup fresh coriander
2 tbsp greek yoghurt

How we do:

  • Preheat oven to 250 C
  • In a bowl, mix the chicken with the all of the ingredients listed under “marination”.
  • Place marinaded chicken in an oven proof dish dish and place in oven. Cook for 5-6 minutes.
  • Whilst the chicken is cooking, in a food processor, add the onions, garlic, ginger, green chilli, salt, garam masala, turmeric powder, coriander powder and chilli powder.
  • At this point, turn the chicken over and cook for a further 5-6 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  • Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the cloves, cumin seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and the cardamom pods to the oil. Once they begin to sizzle, add the processed masala paste.
  • Mix and cook until golden brown, constantly stirring every few minutes
  • Once golden, add the plum tomatoes and mix well. Continue to stir and cook until the oil separates from the masala.
  • Now add the chicken. Add the greek yoghurt and sprinkle on the fresh coriander and cook for 5-7 minutes.
  • Serve hot with rice or chapatis. Enjoy 🙂