Monday, May 19, 2008

Paneer Tamatari...

I am an occasional participant in a community in Orkut...known as "Mrs.Telugu Inti Adapaduchulu.."...It is a community for Telugu-Speaking married women all around the world...created and maintained very well by some very close friends...(K & S...Thanks Gals)...

Anyways a few days back, there was a recipe contesteld for the members of the community and I happened to be one of the participants...The Theme was using just one ingredient in this case a vegetable, namely "TOMATO" and this was to be used in the form of a Curry (cuisine can be anything...)...

So I used very simple recipe but to make it special, I have changed the way it is prepared. The Recipe is a fusion of traditional Mughalai Cuisine and the ever popular Italian Cuisine…When I say that many will probably not understand why but the following recipe will tell you why…This Curry has a perfect Tomato Gravy that captures all the tanginess of this lovely vegetable/fruit, but the added feature is oven roasted bits of Tomato that enhance the flavour even more…The other spices and a little cream are added to add volume to the gravy and mellow the flavour Paneer and Green Capsicum are added to go with the gravy but any vegetable can be added as per liking….

So here's my Recipe for that Contest...
1 Medium Sized Tomato (diced to 1cm pieces) & 2 Medium Sized Tomatoes (cut into quarters)
1” (inch) Cinnamon Stick or Curl
2 Whole Black Peppercorns 2 Cardamoms (Elaichi)
1 Tablespoon Oil (use Olive Oil for a healthier version)
½ Green Capsicum (diced into 1cm pieces)
1 Teaspoon Ginger-Garlic Paste
1 Green Chilli (finely chopped)
1 Tablespoon Fresh Cream (fat free cooking cream)
150gms Paneer (diced into 1cm cubes)
Salt and Chilli Powder (as desired – I put ½ tsp of each in the gravy)

For Garnish:
1 Teaspoon of Fresh Cream (cooking cream)
Coriander Leaves (finely chopped)
Slithers of Capsicum
2 Paneer Cubes

Preparation Method:
1)Firstly Preheat oven to 180*C. Then on a flat baking tray place the diced tomato pieces of 1st tomato. Sprinkle a little Olive Oil over them. Cook them for 10 minutes in the oven till they shrink a little bit (a little like a semidried tomato but not as much as it).

2)Meanwhile also place the Paneer cubes onto another tray lined with foil (to prevent paneer sticking) and cook them along with the tomatoes to lightly toast them.

3)When the above two things are in the oven, cook the quartered tomatoes in a pot filled with just ¼ cup water. To this add the cinnamon stick, cardamom and peppercorn. Let it simmer on a medium flame for 10 minutes. Then blend these cooked tomatoes into a smooth puree along with the spices and ¼ teaspoon salt.

4)In a saucepan, heat the 1 Tablespoon of Oil and sauté the capsicum till translucent. Then add the Ginger-Garlic paste and chopped green chilli. Sauté them for about a minute.

5)Then add the blended Tomato puree and salt and chilli powder and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6)Finally add the toasted paneer, cream and oven-roasted tomatoes. Mix well and cook for 1 more minute and then take away from heat.

7)Serve hot garnished with a little chopped coriander and fresh cream drizzled over. (For presentation sake I used Paneer cubes and Slithers of Capsicum)

8)This curry goes well with Parathas or with Jeera Rice.

As the recipe using baking/ roasting when compared to frying/deep frying, it is naturally a healthier option. On top of it not much of fatty products like butter or ghee are used. Only a tablespoon of fat free fresh cooking cream is used so it is also not high in calories. The only other fat used is Olive Oil and it is less in cholesterol and in calorie content therefore making it a healthy option as well.

I won a Consolation Prize for the is my Certificate of Appreciation from the Contest Organisers and Judges...Thank you once again TIA...:-)

I am Very Happy...that my effort was appreciated....

Hope this is another Recipe that sparks your Interest...Happy Cooking...:-)

Mixed Veggie and Cous-Cous Shorba...

I Am Sorry...I know I promised to follow up with this Soup Recipe for the bread I posted below...But I just got caught up in doing stuff and been busy at could not find much time to update the blog as I would have wanted too...Anyways...I very much believe in the saying - "Better Late than Never.." So here goes...

Recipe Origin and Background

As I have already told you in earlier posts, nothing can ever beat the taste of our Mom's Cooking...and for me My Mom is the best known cook ever...So this recipe is hers...and is definitely one of my favourites and I will explain why?...

We always had these Multi-Cuisine Dinners on saturday....our mom used to cook different dishes she learnt from travelling abroad...basically to spark an interest in us towards part of training or preping us to be atleast passable cooks when the right time cooks...(Can't Thank her enough for that training...helped me in more ways than one...and obviously making a total fool of myself...)

Mom and Dad used to work in Algeria(North Africa) and the cuisine their had a lot of French Influence (being a french colony...) and also neighbouring Islamic Cuisine influences esp that of Moroccan...I heard from mom that this soup was like a speciality dish for large family gatherings because it was not only easy but also wholesome, filling and also nutritious...and dont get me started the importance of a balanced nutritious diet in the eyes of my mom...(she being a Doc...)...I can end up writing pages...on how she inculcated from early on the importance of a balanced diet...

Anyways...Cous-Cous is the Staple Food Crop of the North African Countries...(Just like how rice and wheat are to us Indians...) ...It is made from Corn...basically it is coarsely ground Corn or Maize...used as an accompaniment to soups, mains mainly made of meat or consumed as it is with a flavourings...

In this recipe I have added Cous-Cous into the soup to give it that extra bit of Oumph and also to make it more like a main dish rather than a starter...Now comes the recipe...


  • 2 Large Potatoes (cut into Big chunks)
  • 2 Carrots (cut into Big chunks)
  • 2 Tomatoes (Roughly Diced)
  • 1 Medium Onion (Roughly Diced)
  • 4 Green Chillies (Slit Length-wise)
  • 1 teaspoon of Ginger-Garlic paste
  • 1 Cup Boiled Chickpeas(Chole - Soaked overnight)
  • 1/2 Cup Cous-Cous(Medium Grain)
  • 1 Vegetable Stock cube
  • Spices - 1 teaspoon each of ground Cumin and Coriander
  • Seasoning - Salt, Pepper and a little Chilli Powder
  • To Garnish - Roughly chopped Corainder Leaves.


1) Firstly heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a pressure cooker...then add in the onion and green chillies and saute for a little while.

2) Then add in the ginger-garlic paste and the spices and saute it on a medium heat for one more minute till the raw flavour from the spices is gone.

3) Then add the veggies and saute them till the spices are well coated over them... add the Chickpeas and the Cous-Cous and mix then well..

4) Add the seasoning as required and suitable to your palate..

5) Finally add the dissolved vegetable stock cube and about 1 litre of water to the veggie mix.

6) Cover and pressure cook it on a low flame till you get 3 whistles.... and increase to high and let another 2 whistles come...

7) Cool and when the pressure is completely out... open the lid and check if there is enough liquid (cous-cous makes the soup thick)...if the soup is watery ...just let it simmer on a low flame for a little while...or else if the soup is too thick then add in a little more liquid and simmer it for a little while...

8) Add in a little chopped coriander to the soup as garnish..This soup is a main dish in donot need anything else...but I serve it with a little crusty bread on the slurp up all the yumminess...

If unable to get Cous-Cous, Broken Burghul wheat or Durham wheat (Goduma Rava) as a subsitute...Any vegetables can be used like Beetroot, Peas, Corn, Radish, Broccoli, Cauliflower etc..

So as promised - A Tasty, Wholesome Soup which is not only nutritious but also Very Very easy to make...

Image Source: My Trusty Phone Camera
Recipe Source: My Mom

Hope you enjoy this recipe of mine...Happy Cooking...:-)