Paneer Capsicum Masala Restaurant Style

Paneer is a must order curry for most of us when we eat out and it is also one of the most cooked dishes in my kitchen. I have done innumerable experiments (some were successful too) to cook restaurant style capsicum paneer gravy and never came as close as this one. Got this recipe from a friend and who in turn got it from a chef (connections you bet). This comes closest to the Paneer capsicum at the restaurants and that too without an overdose of butter.

I prepare the gravy in advance and use it with paneer, peas, capsicum, corn and even sandwich fillings when required. You can substitute oil with butter if required but it really does not alter the taste much. Fresh paneer tastes the best and if you are using frozen paneer,  do dip it in hot water for few minutes before using it.

You can have this curry with roti and rice both. I have even tried it as a sandwich filling with whole wheat bread and it tastes superb!

Kadai Paneer

Ingredients

Serves 4-5

  • 4 tomatoes quartered
  • 1 big onion quartered
  • ¼ cup cashew nuts broken
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 ½ tsp kitchen king masala
  • 1 small capsicum diced
  • 1 cup paneer
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • ½ tsp honey
  • 2 tsp kasoori methi (lightly roasted and crushed)
  • 1 tbsp fresh cream for garnishing (optional)

Recipe

Boil tomato, quartered onions, and cashew nuts for around 8-10 minutes. Drain the water and let the onions, tomatoes, and cashews cool down completely. Grind them to a fine paste and keep it aside.

Heat oil in a non stick pan. Add ginger garlic paste and sauté. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the chopped onions and capsicum. Mix well and cook for 2 more minutes. Add paneer and mix well. Add the ground paste, red chilli powder, coriander powder, kitchen king masala, and salt. Mix well and let it cook for 3-4 minutes. Add little water (2-3 tbsp) if you find the gravy too thick. Add honey and kasoori methi and mix. Cook for one more minute and switch off the heat. Garnish with a dollop of fresh cream and serve hot with roti or jeera rice.

Raw Mango Rice (Kairi Ke Chawal)

Raw Mango Rice

Raw mango rice is the summer version of tamarind rice or lemon rice. Cooked rice is mixed with a paste made of raw mango, urad dal, chana dal and ground nuts.

Summers in Hyderabad can get super hot and my mom’s way to avoid getting into the kitchen is to cook dishes that can be made ahead and need very less time in kitchen before serving them. One of such dishes is the raw mango rice. It can not only be prepared ahead but is also good to beat the heat.

Tadka_mangoRice

You can replace groundnuts with cashew nuts if you like. Some people also add heeng and grated coconut to the tadka. Green chilli is the only source of spice in this dish. You can add more or less green chillies based on taste and the spice level of the chillies you are using.

Chatan

The quantity of raw mango depends on the sourness of the mangoes. Mix few table spoons of mixture at a time and keep tasting while mixing to get the desired taste.

You can prepare the mango paste in advance and store it in fridge for six to eight weeks. This is an excellent dish to transform leftover rice to a tangy treat.

Kairi ke Chawal

Ingredients

serves 2-3

  • 1.5 cup cooked rice
  • 4-5 tbsp oil
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 10-15 curry leaves
  • 4-5 green chillies
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 2 tsp chana dal
  • 2 tbsp groundnut
  • 3 dry red chillies
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cup grated raw mango
  • Salt to taste

Recipe

Heat oil in a kadhai or thick bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add curry leaves and green chillies. Saute and add urad dal and chana dal. Sauté and cook for 1 min or till the dals are lightly browned. Add ground nuts and dried red chillies. Cook for one more minute. Make sure the dals or groundnuts are not burned. Add the grated raw mango, turmeric powder, and salt. Mix well and cook for two minutes mixing in between. Switch off the gas and mix and let the mixture cool for 2-3 minutes. Mix few tablespoons of raw mango mixture at a time in the cooked rice until you get the desired tanginess. You can store any leftover mixture in the fridge for 1-2 months.

Fruit Shrikhand (Fruit Yogurt)

Fruit Shrikhand

Shrikhand is an Indian dessert made with hung yogurt, sugar, dry fruits, and cardamom powder. This is a fruity version of the traditional homemade Shrikhand. This is one of the desserts we had as kids (there were no pastries or doughnuts). We mostly had homemade desserts like these which we would help our grandmother prepare for us. My oldest memory of making Shrikhand is helping my grandmother whisk the yogurt as a 7-8 year old and waiting for her to divide it for us in bowls so that we can take our share and relish it in the summer heat.

Hung yogurt is basically the creamy thick yogurt you get when you drain out all the water from yogurt. You can use a muslin or cheese cloth and hand the yogurt on your kitchen tap or any other clean place for 4-6 hours. Since I wanted a very thick and creamy yogurt for this recipe, I left it over night. You can also use the Greek yogurt.

Fruit Yogurt

You can add any fruit of your choice. For me berries work the best and so does Mango. You can decide to leave the seeds or fruit bits in the Shrikhand or just pass the fruit puree through a fine sieve for a rich creamy shrikhand. Remember to chill it for 4-5 hours before serving. You can serve it with fresh fruits and drizzle it with the remaining fruit puree or make it a mini pickup dessert by piping it in mini tart shells. I made chocolate tart shells and piped the shrikhand using icing tips. However you serve it, this summer dessert is sure to please your taste buds with tangy fruits and health yogurt.

Fruit Shrikhand

Ingredients

Serves 5-6

  • 1 ½ cup Hung Yogurt*
  • Icing sugar to taste

Fruit puree

  • ½ cup strawberries
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup mango pulp
  • Icing sugar to taste

Recipe

For the Strawberry Puree

Wash and chop the strawberries. Put them in a nonstick pan. Add a table spoon of sugar. You can add or reduce the quantity of sugar based on the natural sweetness of the fruit. Mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes. Once the strawberries are soft, mash them using the back of a spoon or spatula. Make sure to scrape the edges while cooking. Cook for 1-2 minutes or till the puree comes to boil. Let it cool for 5-10 minutes. Pass this through a fine sieve for a smooth and shiny fruit puree or just leave it as it is if you like bits of fruit in your Shrikhand.

For the Blueberry Puree

Follow the same procedure as the strawberry puree. Make sure to pass this puree through sieve or you will have the fruit peels in your Shrikhand.

For Mango Puree

Depending on the thickness of the mango juice, you can just pass it through a sieve and use it or if it is too runny cook it for few minutes to make it thicker and then use it. As with other fruits, add sugar based on the natural sweetness of the fruit.

For Shrikhand

Whip the yogurt using a whisk or an electric mixer until it is smooth and creamy (approximately 2-3 minutes should be good). Divide the yogurt in three bowls. Add the fruit puree of your choice to each bowl. Add 2 table spoon of puree at a time and whisk well. Add more or less puree depending on taste and consistency requirements. I used approximate 2-3 tbsp of puree for half cup of hung yogurt.  Add icing sugar as per taste. Mix well and chill for at least 4 hours before serving. You can serve it with fresh fruits, fresh cream, or a drizzle of fruit puree on top. You can even fill the Shrikhand in plain tarts or chocolate tarts.

*To make hung yogurt, put fresh yogurt in a muslin or cheese cloth, tie the ends and hang it to your kitchen tap over night. Once all the water I drained out, transfer the thick yogurt to a bowl and chill.

Ras No Fajeto (Mango Kadhi)

Ras No Fajeto

Fajeto or ras to fajeto as it is addressed is a mango flavored Gujarati kadhi. Yogurt whisked with mango pulp and gram flour is tempered with spices like cinnamon, ginger powder, cloves etc and served with hot puris. Mango season in Gujarati homes means mangoes for lunch breakfast and dinner and may be in between for snacks too. When I first heard of this dish, I was very skeptical ( I hate sweet flavors in main course, especially with rice) but the taste won me over. Mango kadhi might not sound appetizing if you are not a mango lover but if you like Gujarati food, this dish is worth a try.

The richer the aroma of mangoes, the flavorful fajeto you will have. Ratnagiri or alphonso are the best choices for this kadhi.if you want to add more flavor you can replace the water in buttermilk with the water from mangoes (from peels and stone). You can adjust the sugar in this dish depending on the sweetness of mango pulp and as per taste. You can even replace sugar with jaggery. For the pulp, I would recommend a thick and strained pulp.

The dry spices especially ginger powder (saunth) complements the mango flavor very well. Try not leaving that out if you are short of ingredients. You can use oil instead of ghee for the tempering. Some people roast and powder the cinnamon, cloves, and dry ginger, but I like the taste with whole spices (I can take them out once I have the desired flavor).

While fajeto can be eaten with rice too, I love it with hot puris.

Mango Kadhi

Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 5 cup butter milk (1/2cup yogurt+1 cup water)
  • 1/2 tbsb gram flour (besan) besan
  • 1/4 cup mango pulp
  • 2-3 pinches turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste

For Tempering

  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • ¼ tsp mustard and cumin seeds
  • 1 dry red chilli
  • 1 green chilli
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 piece of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp dry ginger powder (saunth)
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 1 inch piece of ginger grated

Recipe

Combine the ingredients for fajeta in a bowl and whisk well. Make sure there are no lumps. Keep aside.

Heat ghee in a kadhai or thick bottomed pan. Add cumin and mustard seeds. Once the seeds crackle, add the curry leaves, dry red chilli, green chilli, cloves, cinnamon, ginger powder, and grated ginger. Sauté for 5-10 seconds. Add the yogurt mix and continue stirring till the mixture comes to a boil. You can do this on high flame too. Once the fajeta comes to boil, reduce the flame and cook it for 2-3 minutes. Serve hot with puri or rice.

Aalu Toast

Aalu Toast

Aalu toast is a fantastic lip smacking street food you can eat only in Hyderabad or so I thought until a friend from Jaipur shared this similar recipe. Aalu toast originally is triangle shaped bread topped with potato mix, deep fried and then served as a chat with various chutneys and lots of sev. This one is more of a bite sized DIY chat version. There is no match for the aalu toast you can get at couple of places in Hyderabad but this comes closest if you want to make it at home. Thank you Kshamta for reminding me of this delicious street food 🙂

You can use any bread you like. White, wholewheat, or multi-grain. I tried white and multigrain breads and both tasted fine. To make the chat healthier you can even toast the bread instead of frying it. The idea is to have a crisp and crunchy base. How you do is totally up to you. The fried one tastes better of course.

aalu toast

This is one of the best DIY snacks. You can prepare the chutneys, potato mash, and bread n advance and just let the guests decide on how sweet or spicy they want their chat. Since the chutneys and potato can make the bread soggy, this chat is best enjoyed immediately after it is topped with potato and chutneys.

Aalu Toast

Ingredients

  • 3 slices of bread
  • 1 potato boiled and mashed
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp chat masala
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • 2-3 tbsp thick yogurt
  • 2-3 tbsp mint chutney
  • 2-3 tbsp sweet chutney
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup thin sev
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil to fry the bread

Recipe

Cut the bread into bite sized pieces in desired shapes. I used cookie cutters to cut the bread into bite sized circles and squares.

Heat oil in a deep pan/kadhai and fry the bread till it is crisp and brown. Drain in on paper towel to remove excess oil. Keep aside. You can even toast the bread in oven if you want to make it healthier.

To the potato mash, add red chilli powder, cumin powder, and chat masala. Mix well and check for salt. Add salt if required.

Just before serving, put approximately 1 tsp potato masala on a piece of bread; top it with mint chutney, sweet chutney, yogurt, onions, and sev. Serve immediately.

Vegetable Kurma

Vegetable Kurma

Vegetable Kurma is a very popular south Indian curry. Assorted vegetables are cooked in gravy made with coconut, tomato, onions, and spices. This versatile curry can be served with poori as breakfast, with paratha or rice as lunch/dinner.  I don’t know if the place still exists, but there used to be a small south Indian restaurant called Rau’s near my dad’s shop; I have tasted one of the best kurmas there apart from in my mom’s kitchen ofcourse. There are different variations of this curry. This recipe is my mom’s version of the kurma.

The spices for kurma gravy differ from region to region. I like the flavor of poppy seeds in this curry but unfortunately, poppy seeds are not available in Singapore. Another change you can make is to replace fresh coconut with thick coconut milk to make the gravy creamier. If you want thicker gravy, reduce the amount of water from 2/3 cups to ½ cup. I keep the gravy little runny as I like to eat this curry with plain rice too.

I don’t know the reason but most of the restaurants have the veggies cut in diamond shape for kurma. I usually avoid cauliflower in this curry but if you like cauliflower, do add it. It adds to the flavor of the curry. Some restaurants add mushrooms too. I stick to the veggies I like.

Vegetable Kurma tastes best with hot puris and rava dosa. You can also have it with plain rice, biryani, parathas, or naan.

Vegetable Kurma

Ingredients

Serves 3-4

  • 1 carrot diced
  • 5-6 green beans chopped
  • 1 potato cubed
  • ¼ cup green peas
  • ¼ cup cauliflower florets
  • ¼ cup thick yogurt
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 2/3 cup water
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste

For Gravy (To be ground to fine paste)

  • 1 tomato
  • 1 onion
  • 2 green chillies
  • 2 red chillies
  • 5-6 cardamoms
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 1 small piece ginger
  • 2-3 pieces (appx 2 tbsp) coconut
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds (khus khus) (optional)

Recipe

Grind all the ingredients for gravy to a smooth paste. If required, you can even pass the paste through a sieve to get a smooth paste. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add curry leaves. Once the leaves pop, add the gravy paste and cook for 2-3 minutes or till the fat separates. Keep mixing every few seconds. Add the turmeric, garam masala, vegetables, salt, and water. Mix well. Close the lid and cook for 2 whistles. Once the pressure is released, open the cooker and let the curry cool down for few minutes. Add the thick yogurt and mix well. Serve hot with puri or rice.

Nutella Truffles

Nutella Truffles

I am a big hazelnut fan and for me Nutella is THE best hazelnut spreads. It adds the delicious nutty taste to any dessert. I have made cake icing, milkshakes, chocolate mousse and many more desserts with Nutella. Nutella truffle is one of the quickest recipes I know. This is a real quick recipe with very few ingredients.

I have tried using various biscuits as a base for these truffles but Marie works the best for me. You can try using digestive biscuits too but they don’t bind too well. Marie biscuits are easier to crush and bind. You can crush them using a rolling pin. I used a blender to make it quicker and easier.

You can coat these truffles with anything you like; toasted nuts, icing sugar, cocoa powder, sprinkles, melted chocolate. I like the toasted nuts and coconut coating for my truffles. Only tough thing in the recipe is to wait for the truffles to set. If you can resist that, you have amazingly quick and delicious truffles ready in minutes.

Ingredients

Makes 14-16 Truffles

  • 12 Marie biscuits
  • 7-8 tbsp Nutella

For Coating

You can use any of these or all of these or any other coating of your choice.

  • ¼ cup roasted and coarsely ground almonds
  • 7-8 tbsp dry desiccated coconut
  • 3-4 tbsp cocoa powder

Recipe

Put the biscuits in a zip lock bag and crush them using a rolling pin. Or simply put them in a blender and crush them finely. Put the crushed biscuits in a bowl. Add one tbsp Nutella at a time and make a moldable mix. Make small balls and roll them lightly in the coating of your choice.

Refrigerate for 2-3 hours. The truffles are ready to eat.