June 27, 2017

Instapot Palak or Saag Paneer

Instapot Palak Paneer

When it comes to trying out a new technology, A is better than me. He got us hooked to Echo (now kids have more conversation with Alexa than us), fitbit, and now Instapot.

When we got it last year, he was the one who cooked food in it - delicious egg curry, then sambar, rice, dal and Palak paneer was the ultimate. Since it is Lil A's favorite we make it every week.

And soon enough I was hooked to the Instapot too. The masala chole was another discovery. But I digress.

I cook the palak in the instapot and saute the paneer in a pan and it's ready within 30 minutes.  The one trick I have learned is to add some herbs with the greens and it makes it taste fresh and delicious.

Here is how to do it.

1 big bunch of greens - I have used both Palak (spinach) and Chard fairly regularly and both come out well.
cilantro - handful, chopped
1 medium onion - chopped
1 tspoon ginger and garlic paste
1 medium tomato - chopped
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder
1/4 tspoom red chilli powder (I make mine with no chillies, but you can add heat as per your taste.)
1/2 tspoon coriander powder
2 bay leaves
1 tspoon cumin seeds
1/2 tspoon garam masala powder
1 tbspoon oil
2 tspoons ghee
salt to taste
1 packet of nanak paneer - chopped into cubes

Instapot Palak Paneer

Heat the instapot to saute, add the ghee and then add the cumin seeds and bay leaves.

Immediately add the ginger garlic past and saute for a minute. Then add the chopped onions and let it cook for a couple of minutes.

Then add the chopped tomato along with turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and let it cook for another couple of minutes.

Now add the greens except for a handful and the cilantro. Add a cup of water and mix it all well. Let it saute for another minute and then change the setting to poulty and cook for 20 minutes.

You can still follow the same steps without an instapot.

The leftover handful of greens - soak it in hot water and take it out immediately.

In a saute pan, add the oil and saute the paneer cubes - a couple of minutes on either side. Then soak it in salty warm water.

Take the greens out, add the wilted greens and puree it together. The wilted green gives it a vibrant color.

Add in the paneer pieces and serve with parathas or rotis.

June 13, 2017

Tarkari diye chanar dalna (Paneer and vegetable curry)

Vegetable and paneer curry

When all the leaves fell down last fall, we discovered an abandoned nest in the red maple tree in our front yard. It was small and lasted through most of the winter. In the spring rain last couple of months, it almost disintegrated.

The leaves came back in the maple and we forgot about the nest. Then just yesterday, we found that the birds have come back to the nest, readied it and made it their home again. Now there are four little babies hanging out in the nest.

In other news, the veggie patch has been planted, the roses are blooming again and it is the last week of school.

The temperatures are soaring, we had a few days in the 90deg F. When it happens, I switch to light curries and this chanar dalna or paneer curry is one of them. With onion, ginger and tomatoes as the base, you can add any vegetable available. I added potato, carrot, peas and beans, but you could add some cauliflower, broccoli, summer squashes too.

Here is how I made it:

(serves 4-5)
1 1/2 lbs chana or paneer, cut into cubes  
2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped  
1 medium onion - sliced thinly
1 tspoon grated fresh ginger
2 green chillies
2  potatoes cut in cubes
1/2 cup green peas
2 carrots - cubed
1/2 cup green beans cut
2 tspoons  cumin and coriander powder
2-3 green cardamoms
1 stick cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 tspoon cumin seeds
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder  
4-5 tbspoon oil
1/4 tspoon sugar
Salt to taste
bunch of cilantro for garnishing

Heat all but 1 tbspoon oil and put in the paneer pieces and saute them till they start to turn brown. Then put them in salted warm water. 

In the same oil, add the potatoes next and saute them lightly. Keep them aside.

Now add the rest of the oil and temper it with cumin seeds, bay leaves, green chillies. Then add the cardamom and cinnamon. Saute for a minute and then add the onions. Story for 3-4 minutes till it turns translucent  Now add the ginger and the turmeric powder. 

After a minute add the vegetables - carrots, beans, potatoes and peas. Let it all salute together for a minute. Then add the tomatoes, cumin and coriander powder. 

Let it cook together for a couple of minutes till it starts to stick. 

Add the salt and about 1 1/2 cups of water. Let it cook for another 5-6 minutes till the potatoes and carrots are cooked.

Vegetable and paneer curry

Take it off the heat, garnish with cilantro (optional) and serve warm with rice or chapatis. 


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