Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Trick for soft Paneer (Indian Cheese) when cooked - Cooking Tips

Two news reports based of course on research. One was about the amount of time parents spend with their children. The quantity of time does not matter as much as the quality. I breathe a sigh of relief that I did not completely mess up my kids ;). Want to read about the research here is the link.

The other research that was interesting is this one - Link. There is always a nagging suspicion what all the pesticides and chemicals will do your body? Do you think that buying Organic is waste of money?

That is all the Food for Thought I have for today.

With that out of the way I will share with you the secret for soft paneer once it is cooked. I do not cook paneer regularly but maybe every couple of weeks or so. The kids seem to adore them. The other reason that is very easy to cook and it tastes good in a variety of ways. The only problem is that the paneer gets hard when it is cooked. The problem is easily solved with a quick trick.

Cut the panner into desired shape. Saute them in a ghee .
Once the paneer is sauteed to your liking, heat a sauce pan of water till boiling and add to the paneer.
Drain from the water and add to the desired gravy.

Depends on how you with the paneer without adding them to gravies. I like to saute them in butter till they are browned on all sides. It makes the paneer super tasty but it also removes the moisture and makes it hard. So what do you do?

Tip - For Soft Paneer when Cooked
  1. Cut the paneer into your preferred shape.
  2. Heat a saute pan, add butter and roast the paneer till it browned on all sides. Turn off the heat.
  3. Heat a sauce pan with water and let it come to a boil.
  4. Pour the hot water over the roasted paneer. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes.
  5. Remove from water when ready to add to the gravy.
No fail soft panner every time.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pasta with Chicken Meatballs

DD and DD2 both like these chicken meatballs. Teriyaki Pineapple chicken meatballs available at Costco are a handy thing to have on hand for those days when you want a quick meal. These are great as snacks or in a sandwich too. They are available in the prepared food section not in the freezer.

I usually fry them in a little oil and if I am not careful they will disappear even before I get to add them to the dish I am preparing. Anyway they are perfect in Pasta in some spicy tomato sauce. The meatballs are slightly sweet so a spicy sauce goes well with them. They can also be added to Indian style gravies like this one - kheema urundai kuzhambu.

Cook the meatballs. Prepare the sauce and add them in.
Add in the cooked pasta, sprinkle with cheese and it is done.

I am not a big pasta fan but for some reason I was craving for some and the kids are always happy when pasta is on the menu and along with these chicken meatballs nothing can go wrong. If you are interested in making your own meatballs you can use this recipe here - Slighty Sriracha'd turkey meatballs with ginger soy sauce.

Pasta with Chicken Meatballs
Cooking Time:30 minutes
  1. 15-20 chicken meatballs (store bought or home made)
  2. 1 cup finely chopped onions
  3. 3-4 roughly chopped garlic
  4. 1 tbsp pepper sauce
  5. 3-4 very ripe tomatoes chopped fine
  6. 2 tsp black pepper powder
  7. 1/2 tbsp red chili powder
  8. 1 tbsp olive oil
  9. salt to taste
  10. 6-7 oz whole wheat Penne paste
  11. 1/3 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese or Asiago cheese (I used Asiago Cheese)

  1. Heat half the oil in a dutch oven or a wide mouthed pan and add the chicken meatballs and saute till they are heated through and nicely browned on all sides.
  2. While the meatballs are cooking, set a pot to cook the pasta as per the cooking instructions.
  3. Remove the chicken meatballs aside, add the rest of the oil and when hot add the onions and garlic and saute till they are starting to brown on all sides.
  4. Add salt, black pepper powder and red chili powder and give a good mix.
  5. Add in the tomatoes and saute till they are mushy.
  6. Add in the cooked meatballs and let it cook for another 6-8 minutes.
  7. Drain the pasta and add it into the tomato sauce with the cooked meatballs. Cook for another 5-6 minutes.
  8. Add cheese mix and turn off the heat.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spiced Idly with Rajma and Potatoes - Kids Lunch Box

Hello Everyone, Hope all of you are doing good. I try to post at least a couple of recipes a week but could not due to other things taking over. It is supposed to be Spring around here but the temperature tells otherwise. But that is no the reason for the absence of posts.

Now to the recipe of the day,
When I soak beans for making a curry I usually soak about 1/2 cup extra to use it for a quick stir fry for the lunch box or add it to curries to give some extra taste. I was planning to make some idly upma for lunch box but realized there were not as many idlies as I would have liked. It is for these kind of situations that the soaked beans sitting in the fridge comes in handy. The combination of idlies and beans along with the potatoes ended up being a tasty treat. Not much in the way of recipe but an idea that can be expanded upon.

Spiced Idly with Rajma and Potatoes
Cooking Time:20 minutes
  1. 1 cup of cooked Red Kidney Beans (Rajma)
  2. 1 Potato peeled and cut into small cubes
  3. 4-5 day old Idlies
  4. 1/2 cup of finely diced onions
  5. 2 tsp of sambhar powder or slightly less quantity red chili powder or use about 6-8 slit green chilies
  6. Salt to taste
  7. seasonings: mustard and split urad dal - 1/2 tsp and curry leaves
  8. 1 tsp of oil

  1. Cook the red beans and let it drain.
  2. In a wide mouthed pan or kadai heat oil and the urad dal and when it starts to turn brown add the cumin seeds and then the curry leaves.
  3. Add the chopped onions and saute till they get translucent.
  4. Add the potatoes and saute for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle about half a tbsp of water, cover and cook for 5 minutes or so.
  5. Add the sambhar powder and salt half way and give a good mix. Let the potatoes cook completely.
  6. Now add the drained beans and mix it well.
  7. Crumble the idly and add them to the mix and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Check for salt.

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