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Comfort – Page 3 – Monica's Spice Diary – Indian Food Blog

Punjabi Murgh Masala

I can’t count the number of times I have cooked this dish; yet every time I sit down to eat it, I still get a tiny bit excited. It’s because it never disappoints. It is for that reason that I decided to teach my Punjabi Murgh Masala at my third LIVE COOKERY CLASS this afternoon. I have also decided that it deserves to be flagged under my “Spice Club Staples” recipe collection because once you have nailed how to make the masala part of this recipe, you can actually use it as a base for countless recipes, so tis a great go-to in our current climate.

The masala is also fantastic to cook in bulk, store in a jar, top with a little bit of oil & keep in the fridge. When you come home and fancy a delicious chicken/paneer/mixed veg/fish prawn masala…you know it will be ready in just a matter of minutes.

Sure you can reach for an expensive jar of a pre-made “curry” paste. But why would you when you know the fresh masala you have made from scratch in your own kitchen is (so much) tastier, has no additives/colourings, is more nutritious and not to mention cheaper. Okay my sales pitch is officially over. Now you have to try it for yourselves and let me know your thoughts!

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 class, comment below or drop me a message on Instagram or Facebook. I would love to hear from you!

Punjabi Murgh Masala (Chicken Curry)

Ingredients
  

For the chicken marinade:

  • 500 g skinned boneless chicken thighs cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt Plain/Greek works (a full fat type is preferred)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp garam masala

For the masala:

  • 5-7 tbsp oil or ghee, or a combination of both
  • 3 bay leaves optional
  • 3 cloves optional
  • 3 green cardamom pods optional
  • 1 black cardamom optional
  • 2 medium onions (approx 175g) very finely diced
  • 1 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 3 garlic cloves grated
  • 2 " ginger grated
  • 5 tbsp tomato passata/blitzed plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp double concentrate tomato puree, optional
  • 1-2 chillies finely chopped, (or you can use 1/4 -1/2 tsp chilli powder)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 heaped tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp sun dried fenugreek leaves/kasuri methi, ground into a powder, optional
  • Handful fresh coriander with stems finely chopped

You will also need:

  • 1 x Foil lined oven tray
  • Jug of water (room temp is fine)
  • Pestle & Mortar if you have one. Don't worry if not!

Instructions
 

  • Pre-heat your grill at the maximum temperature setting. Place all "marinade" ingredients into a bowl and mix together. Place the marinated chicken on a foil lined oven tray and spread out. Grill for approximately 10 minutes or until fully cooked (the chicken should be white all the way through and have a slight golden char all over). Remove from grill and keep aside.
  • Heat the oil/ghee in a pan. Using a pestle & mortar, coarsely crush the cloves and cardamoms until coarsely ground. Then add to the oil along with the bay leaves. Immediately after, add the chopped onions along with 1 tsp salt. Cook for 4-5 minutes on medium heat until soft and translucent.
  • Now add the grated garlic and ginger and mix. Continue to cook for a further 3-4 minutes until completely golden brown.
  • At this point, add the tomato passata as well as the puree and green chilli to the pan and stir for a a minute.
  • Now, reduce the heat. Then add the garam masala, coriander powder and paprika and mix well. Cook for a minute. When you see the oil begin to separate from the masala paste at the edges, add the grilled chicken. Add approximately ¼ cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly, place a lid on the pan and allow to simmer for 6-8 minutes.
  • Finish with the ground, dried fenugreek leaves and fresh coriander. Allow to simmer for a further 2-3 minutes.
  • If you like your curry to be even more saucier, you can add a little more water (you may need to adjust the seasoning slightly if you do this)
  • Taste for salt and chilli and adjust accordingly.

Chilli Cheese Parathas

Week two of my Facebook LIVE COOKERY CLASSES brought Chilli Cheese Parathas to the kitchen! Once you’ve been introduced to the deliciousness that is stuffed parathas, there is no turning back.

Chilli and cheese is such a great combination but you can stuff your parathas with whatever you like! Gobi Parathas (spiced cauliflower) are the paratha of choice in my home. Oh and Cheeni Parathas, which are stuffed with ghee and sugar. Honestly, you are winning whatever you choose. You can also use the dough to make plain chapatis or parathas which make the perfect accompaniment to your favourite curry or simply with a fried egg on top.

Have a go and let me know how they turn out for you! 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 class, comment below or drop me a message on Instagram. I would love to hear from you!

Chilli Cheese Parathas

Servings 4 parathas

Ingredients
  

For the dough:

  • 1 cup (130g) chapati flour you can also use plain flour
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup + 1 to 2 tbsp warm water (this is a rough guide, you may need more or water depending on your flour type)
  • Oil for kneading

For the stuffing:

  • 150 g grated cheese I like to mix 1/2 cheddar & 1/2 mozzarella for flavour & texture but you can you use what you like!
  • 1/2 medium onion finely diced (I like to use red, you can you whatever you have)
  • 1 green chilli finely chopped or you can use chilli flakes/chilli powder
  • Handful fresh coriander finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Carom/ajwain seeds optional
  • 3/4 tsp Salt or acc to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper

You will also need:

  • A non stick chapati tava pan/crepe pan/ non stick frying pan
  • A rolling Pin
  • A bowl with some chapati/plain flour in it for dusting

Instructions
 

  • Place the flour in a mixing bowl. Add the yoghurt and rub in really well using your finger tips until it is completely mixed in. Then, add the water little by little. Use your hand to combine the flour and water to make a dough. You are looking for the dough to be soft and tacky but not overly wet. 
  • Now, very lightly grease your hand and begin to knead the dough for 2-3 minutes until you have a smooth and pliable dough. Cover with cling film/damp tea towel and leave aside for 10-15 minutes.
  • In a bowl, mix together the stuffing ingredients. Keep aside. 
  • Now heat a tava/non-stick frying/crepe pan on high heat. Once the pan is hot, reduce to a low heat whilst you prepare the parathas.
  • Divide your dough into 4 equal dough balls. Roll each one so they are smooth and round. 
  • Dip one dough ball into the bowl of dry flour and with a rolling pin, begin to roll out until the size of a starter plate, forming a chapati
  • Divide your cheese stuffing into 4 portions. Place one portion of the stuffing in the centre of the chapati and bring together all of the edges so that they meet in the middle. Press down so it is sealed.
  • Dip the sealed stuffed dough ball in the flour and shake off any excess. Place on your work surface and roll out gently until it is 7-8″ in diameter and even in thickness all the way around.
  • Increase the heat of your pan to the maximum setting. Carefully pick up the paratha, web your fingers and flip the paratha from hand to hand to get rid of any excess flour.
  • Place it on the hot pan. When it changes colour and small bubbles begin to appear turn it over and cook the other side.
  • Cook until paratha is golden, then flip and cook until golden and all over and crispy. Finish by smearing a teaspoon of ghee or butter. • Make the rest of the parathas using the same process. Keep them wrapped in a towel or foil until ready to serve.

Punjabi Samosas

Presenting my Punjabi samosas! I didn’t intentionally make these samosas to be part of the #spiceclubstaples recipe collection but upon reflection I think they deserve a place here.

The pastry is made from plain flour, oil, salt & water = store cupboard classic. Stuffing wise, the classic is spiced potatoes & peas, but actually, you can technically stuff them with whatever you like. Sweet potato, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, paneer – feel free to mix together what you have in your fridge to create your own bespoke samosa. I’ve made chocolate and marshmallow samosas in the past so you have permission to go crazy.

There is a step by step tutorial on my Instagram Highlights which may help with giving you a better idea on things like dough texture etc. Making samosas are best shown how to be made in person but I have tried my best to jot it all down for you in this recipe!

Little tip – once the samosas have been filled and sealed, you can actually freeze the samosas. Then, when you’re craving a fresh samosa in the future, you can simply remove from freezer, defrost and then fry until golden! Also – if you have any leftover pastry, you can cut them into rounds using a cookie cutter and then fry until light golden and crisp – these are Indian savoury tea biscuits called Papdi – we eat these alongside a hot cup of chai!

Disclaimer – samosas are a labour of love to make, but they’re ABSOLUTELY worth the effort. I hope you enjoy making (and eating) them!

Punjabi Samosas

Servings 8 samosas

Ingredients
  

To make the dough:

  • 1 cup plain flour approx. 130g
  • ¼ tsp carom seeds (optional)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ¼ cup approx water using same vessel that was used to measure flour

To make the stuffing:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds crushed
  • 1 tbsp ginger grated (optional)
  • 8 tbsp peas (frozen peas work well)
  • 4 large cooked potatoes (approx 500g in total) I cook mine in the microwave but you can also boil.
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ¾ tsp amchur/mango powder If you can’t source this, you can add a squeeze of lime juice
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1-2 green chillies finely chopped
  • Large handful fresh coriander finely chopped

You will also need:

  • 2 tbsp plain flour mixed together with 4 tbsp water to create a thick, smooth paste (this will be our pastry glue)
  • oilf or deep frying

Instructions
 

To make the dough:

  • To a bowl, add the plain flour, carom seeds, salt and oil. Spend a couple of minutes rubbing the oil into the flour. It should create a bread crumb type of consistency. Once the oil has completely mixed in, gradually add the water little by little. Mix continuously – you are looking to create a tight dough that is quite firm. (Note, you may need to adjust the amount of water slightly depending on your brand of flour).

  • Cover dough with damp cloth or cling film and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes.

To make the stuffing:

  • Heat oil in a pan. Once hot, add the cumin seeds. Mix. Then add the crushed coriander seeds, ginger and peas and cook for 1 minute on medium heat. When the ginger turns light golden, turn off heat and keep aside.
  • Using your hands, peel the potatoes. Then roughly mash the potatoes using your hand, into the pan. Add the salt, remaining spices and fresh coriander and mix well. Taste for salt/chilli/tartness and adjust to accordingly.

To prepare the samosas:

  • Heat a non-stick frying pan on a very low heat.
  • At the same time, pour 4-5” oil in a small sauce pan/wok and heat on a low heat. (We will be frying our samosas in this oil).
  • Divide the dough into 4 portions and roll each one into a ball. Using a rolling pin, roll out a dough ball into a circle (approx. 8″ diameter).
  • Place the rolled out circle on the non-stick frying pan for 10-12 seconds and then remove and transfer to a chopping board (cooked side down, raw side up). Be careful not to overcook the dough – we cook it slightly to help firm it up so it is easier to handle. Cut the circle in half to create 2 semi-circles.
  • Spread the flour paste around all the edges of each semi circle and using both hands, fold the semi circle into a cone shape. Hold the cone and ensure that the joint of the edges creates a sealed seam in the middle of the cone. Hold this in one hand and begin to stuff with the potato mixture so the cone is 3/4 full.
  • Press the filling down with your fingers and seal the top of the cone to form a triangle shape. Pinch along the top edge to ensure it is completely sealed. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
  • Once the oil is hot, add each samosa to the wok for frying. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan (it’s best to fry in batches). Fry on low/medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Turn the samosas in the oil every couple of minutes. Once done, they should be golden brown all over and the pastry should be crisp to touch. 
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove each samosas – being mindful to drain off as much oil as possible before draining on kitchen paper. Repeat with remaining samosas and serve with your favourite chutneys.