Deprecated: Hook custom_css_loaded is deprecated since version jetpack-13.5! Use WordPress Custom CSS instead. Jetpack no longer supports Custom CSS. Read the WordPress.org documentation to learn how to apply custom styles to your site: https://wordpress.org/documentation/article/styles-overview/#applying-custom-css in /var/www/wp-includes/functions.php on line 6078
Monica's Spice Diary – Indian Food Blog – Page 24 – A collection of my recipes & food related thoughts…

Diwali Sweets-Part 1: Rasmalai

Remember remember, the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot AND DIWALI! Yep, that’s right 2010 has conveniently brought us Bonfire Night an Diwali on the same date. Works for me as it means fireworks either way. Diwali is much like Christmas in that familes and friends come together and exchange gifts, enjoy a delicious feast but instead of Christmas pud, we overindulge on Indian sweets.  Diwali is the busiest times for ‘mithaiwalas’ or sweet shops in India. People order sweets in bulk and distribute them amongst family and friends. For this reason, last night Ma and I got in the kitchen and made some goodies including Rasmalai which is a sweet Indian delicacy made from paneer served in a chilled, sweet milk sauce or malai. It’s  surpisingly straight forward to make and is a good recipe if you’re making it for a lot of people. I will be posting a series of Indian sweet recipes over my next few blog posts, so stay tuned!

Makes 48

What we need:
For Ralsmalai patties:
16 cups milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
5 cup water
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2tsp cardomom powder

For Milk Malai:
5 cup milk
400ml condensed milk
1/2 tsp cardomom powder

Garnish with:
Shaved almonds and pistachios

How we do:

  • To make the rasmalai, in a pot, boil the milk. Just as it begins to boil,  add the lemon juice, stirring gently. Reduce heat to the lowest setting and stir to help the milk curdle.
  • This should only take a couple of minutes at maximum. The curds will coagulate and separate from the watery whey. At this point, remove from heat.
  • Line a sieve with a muslin/cheesecloth and place it on top of a saucepan or bowl. Strain the cheese and run some cold water through it. You can  discard the watery whey but  I love keeping it aside and using it to make chappatis as they come out really soft.
  • Wrap up the cheese tightly in the cloth and firmly squeeze out any excess water.
  • It is essential to ensure all water has been removed.
  • In a food processor, blend the paneer for a couple of minutes. To check if enough water is out of the paneer, take a little piece of paneer on your palm and rub into a little ball with your fingers until. You should be able to make a smooth, firm ball.
  • Remove paneer from processor and places on a dry surface. Begin to knead the paneer until it  rolls into a smooth dough.
  • Now, divide the paneer dough into 48 parts and roll into balls. Press each ball slightly on top with your palms so a pattie shape forms. The patties should be firm and smooth with no cracks.
  • In a pressure cooker, mix together the water, sugar and cardomom powder. Places the patties into the pressure cooker and cook for 8 minutes after the first whistle. ( We had to do this in two batches). Remove from heat.
  • Wait a couple of minutes before carefully removing the steam and open the pressure cooker.
  • Remove the patties and gently squeeze them.
  • To make the malai, bring the 5 cups of milk to boil and the condensed milk and cardomom powder, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and let it simmer, stirring gently every few minutes. Continue to do this for about 15-20 minutes or until the milk thickens.
  • Add the patties to the milk and let it simmer for a few minutes.
  • Place in a serving bowl and garnish with the almonds and pistachios.
  • Serve chilled.

Fresh Paneer Homemade in 10 minutes

As you can probably tell, I am quite the fan of paneer. It’s just a really good vegetarian alternative and tastes good in pretty much everything! Also being mild in flavour, it absorbs flavours really well. I was really surprised at how easy it was to make paneer when I first made it. I mean just look at the ingredients list. It consists of 3 items (well technically 2 because does apparatus really count?). Regardless, I think all paneer lovers out there should learn how to make it at home because firstly, as the title suggests, it only takes 10 minutes to make and secondly, it tastes so much better than the store bought stuff. You will find out in a wee bit, that this recipe shows you how to make the soft crumbly paneer (excellent for stuffing) and the classic solid cubes (see pic above).  Either way it’s yumness.


What we need:
1l Whole milk
3 tbsp lemon  juice (or 1/2 cup water mixed 1/t tsp citric acid)
Muslin Cloth/Cheesecloth

How we do:

  • In a pot, boil the milk. Just as it begins to boil,  add the lemon juice or citric acid mixture to the milk. Reduce to heat to the lowest setting and stir to help the milk curdle.
  • This should only take a couple of minutes at maximum. The curds will coagulate and separate from the watery whey.
  • At this point, remove from heat.
  • Line a sieve with the muslin/cheesecloth and place it on top of a saucepan or bowl. Strain the cheese and run some cold water through it. You can  discard the watery whey but  I love keeping it aside and using it to make chappatis as they come out really soft).
  • Wrap up the cheese tightly in the cloth and firmly squeeze out any excess water.
  • At this point you can use the paneer in this soft crumbled form. It tastes awesome if you stuff peppers with it (recipe to come!), use it to fill samosas,  naans or parathas or even to make crumbled paneer masala.
  • If you want to make the solid paneer it takes slightly longer than 10 minutes but it is so easy to make. All you need to do is place the cheese on a work surface and place a heavy weight on top of it. I used a 5 litre stock pot filled up with water. Once the paneer has flattened and formed a solid block (best to leave it overnight), you can cut it up into cubes and cook it  in its solid form.

Chicken Masala

When I decided to make Murgh Masala (Chicken Masala) I was pretty excited but also kinda nervous as I was cooking for the family which meant  I was cooking for Dad who fancies himself as a bit of critique when it comes to non vegetarian dishes. Regardless I got to cooking, and to make a long story short, Dad essentially compared my dish to my Mum’s cooking so yeah I was pretty happy to say the least!!!
So yes, do try it out. Let me know how it goes. It’s a nice creamy masala  but without the calories as I use yoghurt instead of cream so you can sneak in the extra chappati or two into your plate. Check it out y’all!

Serves 4-6

What we need:

1 whole chicken, pre portioned and skinned in DCW Casing
1 black cardamom
6 whole pepper corns
1  1/2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp ginger, grated
3 tsp salt
1  tsp garam masala
1 tsp haldi
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tin plum tomatoes
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into 4 (optional)
3 tbsp yoghurt
handful fresh coriander, chopped
4 tbsp olive oil

How we do:

 

  • Heat the oil in a non stick pot on medium-high heat. Add the cardomom and peppercorns. Once they begin to sizzle, add the onions.
  • Stir constantly for 5-7 minutes. Once they turn a slight golden colour, add the garlic and mix well. Now add the ginger and mix again.
  • Now add all of the dry spices and mix. Add the plum tomatoes at this point and mash well.
  • When the oil separtes from the masala, add the chicken pieces to the masala and stir on high heat for 10 minutes.
  • Within 10 minutes, you will see water forming in the pot. Then add the lid and stir every 2 minutes until the water reduces.
  • Add the peeled potatoes at this point (optional).
  • Add 1 cup of water and cook on low-medium heat for 30 minutes with the lid on, checking and stirring it every 5 minutes.
  • After half an hour, the meat should be soft and tender. At this point add the yoghurt and let it cook for 2 minutes. Turn the heat off. Add the fresh coriander and 1/4 tsp garam masala.
  • Put the lid back on and leave it for 10 minutes
  • BALLE BALLE! You’re done! Best served with hot chappatis or basmati rice.