Chilli Paneer Dry 

This is a really Indian take on a Chinese style inspired spicy starter with cottage cheese – which is an Indian favourite for vegetarians. This can be as spicy or mild as you like it. 

I used the following vegetables but you can add whatever you like 

Red peppers – diced into large cubes 

Green peppers – diced into large cubes 

Fresh ginger and garlic – finely chopped or minced 

Spring onions -finely chopped 

Red jalapeño- cut into slices 

Fresh green chillies – slit lengthwise 

Ground black pepper 

Chinese sauces – green chilly, soya, black pepper, red chilly sauce 

Oil 

1 spoon of cornflour.

How to cook : 

Chop paneer into large cubes. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of cornflour, some black pepper, salt and red chilli powder if desired on the paneer and let it sit for 10 min. 

Take a wok, I added just 1 tablespoon of oil for 400 gm of paneer.Lightly toss the paneer in this oil until cooked and soft. You can deep-fry them if you like but I made a low cal version. 

Keep aside. 

In a bowl add 1 tablespoon or more (per taste) of soya sauce, red and green chilli sauce abd black pepper sauce. Blend well and ksso aside. 

Use the same pan used for paneer, add 1 teaspoon of oil, add the ginger and garlic and cook slightly. Now turn the flame high. Add in chopped vegetables and stir fry for a few minutes.  Add the blended sauces and cook for a minute or two. Toss in the cooked paneer and coat well in sauces anand veggies.

Check seasoning and serve hot.

Be cautious of adding salt because all the sauces are high on salt so you want to check and taste before adding more. 

Spice level can be adjusted per taste.  

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Mildly spiced chicken curry

This is a simple and quick recipe for a north Indian style chicken curry.

You need

  • 500 gm Chicken – cut into curry sized pcs. I use chicken on the bone, but you can use what you like. (If you are using lesser or more quantity of chicken, adjust the spices accordingly.
  • I have added the hindi names of the ingredients in italics too
  • Marination of the chicken (1 to 2 hours works well
    • 1/2 cup thick curd/dahi/yogurt
    • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder/haldi
    • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder/or per taste/laal mirch
    • 1 teaspoon ginger – garlic paste (you can use finely chopped or minced fresh ginger and garlic too) adrak-lehsun
    • Salt to taste/ namak
    • 1/2 teaspoon of oil (if you can use mustard oil, great. If not usual cooking oil will also work)
  • Mix everything well, it should be a thick paste. Now add this to washed chicken, mix to coat the pcs well. Cover and refrigerate for marination. If you are planning a quick marination, you can consider leaving it out too, but check to see how best this would work, in your ambient temperature.
  • Other ingredients for curry
    • Finely chopped onions/pyaz, slice them lengthwise – 2 large onions
    • Finely diced tomato/tomato puree/paste/tamatar – 1-2 teaspoons
    • Whole coriander seeds/dhania sabut – 1 teaspoon
    • Whole cumin seeds/jeera sabut – 1/2 teaspoon
    • Dried bay leaf /tezpata– 1
    • Green cardamom/choti elaichi – 2
    • Black cardamom/badi elaichi – 1
    • Cloves/laung – 2 to 3
    • Oil – 2-3 tablespoons
    • Salt to taste
    • Dry powdered spices – coriander, cumin, garam masala
    • Freshly chopped coriander for garnish
  • Take a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil/enough to lightly fry the onions.
  • Add the cumin, coriander seeds, green and black cardamom, cloves, bay leaf (careful, all these are splutter-worthy)
  • Now add the onions and cook on medium heat until translucent. If you want your curry to be nice and brown, cook them a little more until just brown. But onions burn in a second, so watch it like a hawk. You don’t want them to burn, then they are no good for your curry
  • When the onions are done, add in the dry spices. About 1 tablespoon of cumin and coriander powder, and a pinch of turmeric powder. Cook well until oil separates from the sides.
  • Now toss in chopped tomatoes. At this point, you can add in some fresh green chilies if you like it hot. Else just leave it out.
  • Cook on medium heat until tomatoes are soft and everything is blended and cooked well. It will still be chunky but should be combined well. Will need about 7-10 min.
  • Now, add the marinated chicken pcs into this wok, keeping the heat on high. Toss in whatever is left of the marinade too.
  • The chicken pcs will cook slightly, when tossed. keeping the heat high make sure they get slightly seared (sort of). After 3-4 minutes, you can turn the heat to medium, mix everything well, add salt, 1/2 teaspoon garam masala (optional) and cook.
  • Give it about 10-15 minutes to cook the chicken well.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning. It should be stronger than you finally want it because we have not added the water for the curry yet. That will dilute the spices a bit.
  • Add in 1-2 cups water, or as desired. Give it a boil on medium heat.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander.
  • P.S if you want to use a chicken curry masala/spice blend, replace the dry spices with that. I still recommend you marinade the chicken as suggested, and simply omit the dry spices from the curry. Use the whole spices (coriander/cumin/cardamom/bay leaves) they give a very nice flavour to the curry.
  • Enjoy with rice, or roti/paratha/naan

Fresh Tomato Basil Soup 

Such a simple recipe and it tastes so AMAZING…I have a short cut for the tomatoes. I cut off the tops and make slices on the skin and pop them in the microwave for 7 to 8 minutes.  This cooks the flesh slightly and separates the skin. You can just remove the skins when this is cool. Next I roughly cut up the pulp if needed ..take some garlic in a wok with half a teaspoon of oil. Add some finely chopped fresh onion to it and slightly cook.  Now toss the tomato pulp in, fresh basil leaves, add salt, black pepper and a wee bit of sugar. Simmer for 5 min or so.Add water ..say 1 to 2 cups of water depending on how much pulp you have and how much soup you need as well as how thick you want it. 

Now cool this slightly. Blitz it in a mixer and you are done. Adjust seasoning and garnish with basil. You can add in some fresh cream if you like ..but make sure it’s not piping hot when you add it in.

Sabudana or sago khichdi

This is an absolutely delicious preparation of sago or sabudana as it’s called in India.  Soaked for a few hours and then tempered with cumin, black mustard, green chillies and cooked with peanuts, coriander, potatoes and some fresh lime juice squeezed. It’s a popular dish in maharashtra and cooking it takes some skill ..else it’s too soggy or uncooked or too oily. 

One of my fav breakfast dishes for sure.

Chicken Seekh Kabab 

I am always looking for low oil recipes that don’t require potatoes, flour and other fattening ingredients. I tried this chicken seekh which turned out really well without the use of any of  lot of oil other potato. 

I used minced chicken. To that added some vinegar, salt and pepper, ginger and garlic which was finely chopped, coriander leaves again finely chopped, some green chillies and seasoned with chicken masala. I had to add some bread to provide it a firm shape. Also added 1 egg. 

That’s it ..mix well and refrigerate for a better hold when trying to shape it on the skewer. I cooked them in a pan on the gas ( not oven) but I guess you could do either. Squeeze lime before serving. 

Steamed prawns in mustard 

This is a fantastic way to consume prawns without any oil or masalas. The freshness and pungency of the mustard appeals to me …and with plain rice it’s just super tasty.

Wash and clean prawns and marinate in 1 tsp of lime juice. Then all you need is 2 tbsp of ground mustard seeds, haldi 1/2 tsp, salt, 2 green chillies and 1 tsp of Mustard oil. Mix it all together with the prawns and out in a covered karahi or any vessel on a low flame. It should be done in 5 to 7 mins. You can add a little water if you want it runny.

Enjoy with steamed rice.