Paneer Paratha

Paneer paratha is made with the cottage cheese or the Indian cheese; I usually prepare paneer at home. I prefer to prepare crumbled paneer dishes such as koftas, bhurjis, paneer parathas with home made paneer. I had my first and best Paneer paratha in the Punjabi household where I stayed as a paying guest. Punjab is where the recipe originated and I was gifted to learn it from the authentic source itself.
Ingredients:
1. Paneer grated – 1 cup
2. Onion – 1/2 cup finely chopped
3. Green chilies – 2 finely chopped
4. Chaat masala – 1 tsp
5. Coriander – 2 tbsp finely chopped
6. Wheat flour – 2 cups
7. Salt as required.
8. Oil – 1 tbsp
9. Carom seeds – 1/4 tsp
10. Butter as required for preparing parathas

Method:

Step 1: Knead wheat flour, carom seeds, oil, salt and make a soft dough, slightly  more moist than phulka dough. 
Step 2: Mix the grated paneer, onion, green chilies, chaat masala, coriander and salt in a bowl.
Step 3: Take a 50 gm portion of dough, roll into ball and flatten with a rolling pin as a palm sized circle with edges thin and center thick.
Step 4: Grease the center with some oil and keep a big spoon of paneer mix in and cover it with the edges like a stuffed dumpling. 
Step 5: Now by dusting some dry flour on to it roll it into a paratha, make it flatter until it doesn’t get torn.
Step 6: Grease butter on a heated tawa and prepare the parathas on both sides.

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Alfredo Sauce Pasta

Alfredo sauce is from Italian origin; white creamy sauce got by mixing melted cheese, butter and flour; this is used to coat the cooked pasta along with some spices. Though this sauce is simple to make, it is also available in processed ready-to-eat forms that can be bought, mixed with cooked pasta and consumed. They are yummy but dairy rich and high in calories though.

Ingredients:

1. Pasta – 2 cups
2. Butter – 2 tbsp
3. Corn flour – 1 tbsp
4. Milk – 1 cup
5. Parmesan cheese – 3 tbsp
6. Salt and pepper
7. Garlic – 3 cloves

Method:

Step 1: Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the cover with some salt. Drain the excess water and toss with a few drops of oil.

Step 2: Melt butter over low heat in wide sauce pan and saute peeled and grated garlic in it.

Step 3: Stir in flour and mix with a ladle until blended.

Step 4: Slowly add milk to pan, keep stirring to avoid lumps.
Step 5: When the ingredients got mixed well, increase heat and reduce for 5 minutes to thicken the sauce.
Step 6: Adjust consistency, if sauce is too thick, add more milk; if it is too thin, add more diluted flour.
Step 7: Add the pasta, and cover with grated cheese.

Step 8: Adjust salt and sprinkle pepper as per taste.


• Serve immediately.

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Vanila/ Chocolate Eggless Cake

I have seen Urmila aunty preparing eggless cakes at home for birthdays but this is not the exact version of her’s. I got this from a cookery show and tried it; this surprisingly turned out great at the very first go. It is such a straight forward recipe.

Ingredients:

1. 1 cup maida (all-purpose flour)
2. ½ can condensed milk (I used Nestle Milkmaid)
3. ¼ cup ghee (unsalted butter)
4. 1 tsp vanilla essence or 4 spoons of cocoa powder
5. 2 tblsp baking powder
6. ½ cup milk
7. Edible food colors (optional)
8. Candied cherries (Tutti-frutti optional)



Method:

• Sieve flour with baking powder and cocoa powder (In case you want chjocolate flavour)
• Mix condensed milk and butter seperately.
• Roll the flour in the butter mix. Add milk to make the batter thin.
• Mix the cherries and vanilla essence. Put three teaspoonfuls of the coloring on the batter and give it one single swirl with the rolling pin.
• Heat the pressure cooker for 5 mins. Grease and dust the baking dish. Pour the batter in it and place the baking dish in the cooker. Keep the cooker on low flame (sim).
• Insert a toothpick in the cake after half an hour to check if it is done. If the toothpick comes out clean, take out the cake. Cool on a wire rack before serving. The cake should be spongy and spring back on pressing.
* Decorate with icing or nuts or gems as per your imagination and resource availability

TIPS:

* Keep all necessary ingredients handy and then prepare the cake mix immediately; because baking powder would lose its effect after it gets moist
* Let the cake cool a bit before taking it out; hot cake top would stick to the vessel when toppled

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1 2 3 4 . . .

Lemme start it sweet. 1 2 3 4… yeah, the sweet’s name is 1234 Cake. This is one of the easiest sweets one can prepare as a learner and I learnt this recipe from my sister, Viju. The name of the sweet explains the portions of ingredients that go in it.

INGREDIENTS:

1. Ghee – 1 Cup
2. Coconut – 2 Cups
3. Sugar – 3 Cups
4. Milk – 4 Cups

METHOD:

• Take all the four ingredients in a deep pan and mix well
• Place it on the stove and close with a lid to avoid spluttering out
• Occasionally take off the lid and stir until the consistency is thick. This will take quite some time say, an hour
• Then take out the lid and stir continuously until the ghee seeps out and the sweet leaves pan
• Take a tray and grease with ghee and pour over the sweet
• Garnish with nuts/ saffron/ rake as required
• Cut into squares/ diamonds once it cools a bit.

TIPS:

* There is no particular order for adding the ingredients. Mix them all at once.
* Keep lid closed until sweet solidifies; else it will splutter on hands and around pan
* Be patient; the moisture in the mixture should completely evaporate to get required consistency
* Cut after few minutes of pouring in the tray when warm, but separate the pieces from tray after it cools down completely

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My Cooking Journey

Firstly, I must start with a confession that I am not a great cook at all. Until recently, after I got married and had to cook myself, I never knew that I would like cooking. However, I am developing a passion for it now and this blog is gonna play my teacher. My mom always used to tell that one can easily get the hang of cooking if he/she can taste and relish food.
Well, I can’t call myself an elaborate food explorer but I like trying new food, both eating and cooking. Akkama, my paternal granny who recently passed away was known for her innovative cooking; I think we can call her a legend of cooking for her creativity, experimentation, interest, activeness, multitasking, tasting sense and even her metabolism (she used to eat lots of sweets and fried food until she got bed-ridden at the age of 84).  It may seem an exaggeration but for her education level and age that was actually awesome. While my mom is a quick learner of any new recipe, she also is smart at making up dishes or giving them a quick-fix. I admire her confidence in kitchen again considering the walls of liberty she lived in. My amma always encouraged both my sister and me to cook and handle stuff in kitchen independently from the beginning, which could be a reason why kitchen did not intimidate me at all post wedding. I remember an incident of my childhood vacation in our native village when she was preparing elladais, a rice cracker kind of snack; I was just 7 then and I bugged her that I wanted to drop the adai myself into the hot oil which was on the firewood stove (Viragu addupu is not very safe as you can’t control the fire level like in hobs), she did not scare me or scream at me instead let me do it and taught me how to do it safer. Thank you ma, for befriending me with kitchen. Viju, my sister is my first conscious inspiration on cooking; she has a great love for cooking. I used to keep helping her at kitchen and lived only watching her cooking until she got married and when I had to cook during amma’s and grandma’s absence. I can’t forget the crazy trials and time that I spent with Viju in the kitchen. They are unforgettable experiences… Kundan, my husband had mentioned before wedding that my mother in law is also known for tasty traditional sweets & savouries. So, summing up I am surrounded by kitchen jambavans and it is definitely a little nervous to venture out into kitchen because the expectations are set high.
Nevertheless, I have some rich experiences of food:  childhood memories of eating north Indian varieties from Urmila aunt’s (Our family friend); my time spent as a paying guest in Delhi with a Punjabi family introduced me to aunthentic punjabi cuisine and also I learnt from them the art of loving the food.  Pondicherry, a cosmopolitan town in the real sense is where we siblings were brought up majorly and this in itself had exposed us to variety of culinary tasting right from childhood; be it rajasthani – it has a good marwari population or bengali or french and even the spiritual kitchen of ashram. My hostel dining hall in Bangalore had very good chefs who were dedicated and gave quite interesting menu. Not to mention that our appa is a good explorer; we ate marmalade, cheese, macroons, croissants, mushrooms, pickled gherkins and olives, flax seeds, different kinds of fruits and so so many such stuff which people around us had not even heard of at that time. This probably inculcated in me a slight experimenting attitude.
Pattamma’s rasam, Pattathai’s pongal- kesari, padma aunty’s vadacurry, sindu anni’s mango curry, poornima’s pav bhaji, Geetha’s kaara kuzhambu, Usha akka’s idli podi, I really can’t end the list…Last but not the least, I want to mention Meenakshi (My ex-colleague & friend) has been a strong stimulus for me in terms of healthy cooking. These keep me all the more excited about the kitchen enterprising. Wish me luck 🙂
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