Tips for Stuffed Parathas

Yummy hot stuffed parathas on a cold winter night with curd….they can be aloo parathas, mooli parathas or gobhi parathas….I love them all. Here are a few tips to get them right every time.

1. The most important part is the stuffing. Squeeze out the water from grated mooli or gobhi before using.

2. Always keep the salt and chilli a bit strong. This will make the stuffing the center-stage and counter the blandness of the dough. Add a little amchur and a little bhuna jeera.

3. Rest the dough for atleast 5 mins before using.

4. The dough ball should be larger than that for a normal roti.

5. After stuffing the dough ball, it is preferable to roll it out with hands and then using a rolling pin. This will prevent the stuffing from being shoved into one corner of the paratha and will also prevent wear and tear.

6. In case of too much wear and tear, sprinkle generous quantities of flour.

7. Always use low to medium flame to cook the parathas to ensure it is always cooked all the way through.

8. Don’t skimp out on the butter!

The Daring Cooks’ July, 2011 Challenge: My Noodle Hands!

Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks’ July hostess.  Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine.  She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with!

July’s challenge was a really tough one as it is not easy to make pasta at home. The only reason I was tempted was because it is supposed to taste much better than the ready-made one. Well, the verdict is yet out on that. Meanwhile, check out the recipe for home made egg fettuccine below.

Ingredients

1 (200 gm) cup all purpose flour + extra for rolling and coating

2 eggs

2 tbsp olive oil

Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour the eggs and olive oil in the middle. Start mixing slowly till the dough starts getting together. If the dough is sticky, add a little flour and if starts to dry up, add one more egg yolk. However, the thumb rule is one whole egg for 100 gm flour.

Notice how yellow the dough is cos of the egg yolks

Divide the dough in four portions. Work with one part while keeping the rest covered as it will start drying up fast.

Sprinkle some flour on the kitchen top and roll out the dough portions one by one to form an elongated rectangle.

Sprinkle some dough on each side of the rolled out dough portion. This will prevent the dough from sticking.

Roll out the dough to form long rectangles

Carefully roll the dough into a cylinder. Cut into equal parts. Unroll.

Roll Cut and Unroll

This pasta can be prepared immediately by boiling in water for 5 mins or can be dried for later use. You can dry the pasta on bamboo sticks or the backs of chairs as shown below. The time taken by the pasta to dry will depend on the thickness as well as the environment.

Pasta hanging out to dry

Once pasta is dry, store in an air tight box or freeze it for later use.

Dry Pasta 

Check out the amount of pasta obtained from 200 gm of flour. Can’t wait to try it.

Lifafa Paratha

Sometimes it is good to put a twist on the ordinary things. Same goes with Lifafa paratha. It is the same as a wrap but folded like an envelope and then cooked on a pan. The filling can be of your choice. I have used a mixed veg sabzi for the filling.

Ingredients – For Rotis

1 cup wheat flour

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp oil

Mix all the ingredients and knead with water to form a dough. Divide the dough into golf sized balls and roll them into rotis.

Cook the rotis on a pan without oil till brown spots form on both sides. Keep aside.

Lifafa Paratha

Ingredients – For Stuffing

1/2 cup cauliflower florets

1/2 cup sweet corn

1/2 cup green peas

1/2 cup chopped bell peppers

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tomato, chopped

1 tbsp oil

1 tsp kasuri methi

1 tsp dry mango powder

1 tsp cumin powder

Heat the oil in a pan and cool the tomatoes. Add the rest of the veggies with the spices and cook. The result should be a dry sabzi.

Lifafa Paratha

Assembly

2 tsp oil

Place sabzi on a roti. Fold the roti like an envelope so that opposite sides overlap each other.

Spread 1 tsp oil on the pan and cook the folded paratha. Press slightly to seal the edges. Flip and repeat.

Serve hot.

Paneer Stroganoff

Memories have a way of creeping back into your life. The best ones are those which transport you to another world and make you wish you were there. Needless to say, I am talking about a food memory. Hubby and I used to visit a small restaurant called Mash on the Chennai beach side. It was a ramshackle place filled with nicks and nacks and wooden furniture with hardly any place to move. Thankfully the place was air conditioned but one could look out on the beautiful sunny beach with the waves crashing against the shore. It was like being in heaven but a cool one (cos of the air conditioning…he he he). We loved the sandwiches there but we also had our favorite – paneer stroganoff. It was creamy and yummy and we could never get enough of it. Unfortunately, we moved from the city and stroganoff was a thing of the past…..until….I got loads of time on my hands with nothing to do but try all the recipes in the world.

There is always a roadblock though, isn’t it? I searched on the net but there is no paneer stroganoff recipe to be found. Moreover, no two recipes are the same. Some add vegetable stock and some use red wine. Some use creme fraiche and some use cream. Basically, I came to the conclusion that I will have to invent my own recipe. I used very few vegetables but more can be added depending on taste. Veggies like mushrooms, corn and bell peppers go well with this dish.

Ingredients

200g paneer

1 onion

2-3 garlic cloves

200ml creme fraiche

1 green bell pepper

1 red bell pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp flour

2 tbsp oil

Paneer Stroganoff served with rice

Cut the panner into cubes. Heat the oil in a pan and sear the paneer till browned on the sides. Remove from pan and keep aside.

Chop the onions and saute them in the same pan. Chop the garlic and saute with the onions.

Cut the bell peppers into juliennes. Saute with the onions.

Mix the creme fraiche with the flour. If it is too thick, add a little water or milk for more creaminess. Add the creme fraiche to the pan and bring to a boil.

Add paneer and salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve hot with rice or noodles.

Crispy Sabudana Vada

Potato might be a staple but it is very difficult to use it sometimes. Take the example of sabudana vada. Various recipes suggest using boiled and mashed potatoes but it is very difficult to form perfect vada with them. There are many problems. First of all, the vada sometimes breaks off in the oil and does not hold its shape. This dirties the oil and also spoils vada. Second, the vada ends up being very soggy and oily. Here is a recipe which rescues the vada and makes it crisp as well as makes sure the shape is held together.

Ingredients

1/2 cup soaked sabudana

1 medium potato

2 tbsp peanut powder

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp red chilli

1 tsp chaat masala

1 tbsp chopped coriander

Oil for frying

The recipe calls for 1/2 cup soaked sabudana and not the dry version. This will make around 10 vada. Squeeze out as much water as possible from the sabudana.

Peel and grate the potato. Again, squeeze out as much water as possible.

Mix sabudana, grated potato, peanut powder and the rest of the dry ingredients. Make 10 equal sized balls and press slightly to form disks.

Heat the oil in a skillet or a pan. Make sure the oil is boiling hot before frying the vada in it or they might break.

Fry the vada till golden brown turning once. Drain the vada on a tissue and serve hot.

The Perfect Sabudana Khichdi

It is truly said that cooking is an art. Everyone can do it but it takes time and patience to master it. Take the simple dish of sabudana khichdi. I learnt to make it 3 years ago and I have been beating my head as to how to get the perfect khichdi.

My sabudana khichdi used to be sticky and gooey. I had been told that peanut powder helps to separate the sago pearls but no matter how much peanut powder I added, it stayed that way. The worst thing is people rarely divulge their trade secrets so I had to go on my own quest to perfect my khichdi. Here are some tips to get it just right.

1. After soaking the sabudana, wash it in rice sieve to get rid of the small particles.

2. Squeeze the sabudana to remove as much water as possible.

3. Always prepare the khichdi in ghee to get the best results.

4. Saute the sabudana in ghee for a few minutes till it gets translucent. This will help in separating the pearls too. This will also ensure that a small quantity of peanut powder is required.

5. Now add the peanut powder and other spices and mix. Cover and simmer for 5 mins before serving.

Restaurant-style Paneer Butter Masala

The quest for good food is never over. There are so many recipes to try and replicate at home. So after a hope skip and jump, I landed on Paneer Butter Masala. Any Indian will know that paneer butter masala or PBM is a favorite Indian restaurant dish. It is most frequently ordered and is delicious. The secret to this recipe is locked within the doors of the restaurant kitchen and is guarded from the ears of novice home cooks. No fancy dinner is complete without this dish.

However, after ordering PBM for the gazillionth time from various restaurants, my hubby suggested I should try it at home. After all, I had a very nice blog with a lot of followers and I should keep trying new dishes to keep the blog-ness flowing…he said. So after a great boost to my ego, he left me scavenging in the fridge for ingredients. Why should this recipe be so difficult, I thought? It sounds so similar to Matar Paneer. The names are so similar – Matar Paneer vs Paneer Butter Masala. Just substitute cream for matar. Easy peasy…no sir. It did not turn out to be the same. The result was a disaster. Then I knew, I had to go on a journey to get the real recipe for PBM.

The journey did not last long. The internet is full of blogs with loads of recipes for PBM. So back to the market. Got some more paneer and cream and this time, I added kasoori methi to the dish. Added a bit of plain flour to the cream before mixing with the gravy. The result was good. However, it did not taste like the restaurant PBM. Dinner was a success but the tongue was not satiated.

Life is not easy after all. Best way out was to continue ordering PBM from various restaurants. Then came Valentine’s Day and I realized the PBM bug was still biting me. If only I could make this dish, it would be the icing on the cake to my surprise candle-lit dinner. Here I was back at the market for more paneer and more cream. Nevertheless, the secret ingredient was missing. I searched a lot of recipes, and I mean a lot, but no two recipes were the same. Some were extolling microwave recipes and some were adding red color to get to the right result. But as we all know, the test for a good dish is when you take the first bite and you are elevated to the next level of foodie heaven. I knew then I had to create my own recipe to take my PBM to that level. So a few snips here and a few additions there and viola, the PBM was amazing. Finally I got a nod from my hubby.

I present my restaurant-style PBM recipe here. I have not added red food coloring but you can if you have some in your kitchen. Also, when cream is added, the flavors become mild. Hence, add more spices than normal to give PBM its strong lingering taste. All the ingredients mentioned below are indispensable to complete the flavor spectrum.

Ingredients

250 gm paneer

2 tbsp oil

1 pinch asafetida

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 large onion or 2 small ones

2 large tomatoes or 3 small ones

1 inch cinnamon stick

2 cloves

1 tbsp ginger garlic paste

1 green chilli

2-3 tbsp tomato ketchup

1/2 cup milk

1 /2 cup double cream

2 tsp chilli powder

1 tbsp coriander powder

1 tbsp turmeric powder

1 tbsp kasoori methi

2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp salt

1 tsp garam masala

Oil for frying

Restaurant-style Paneer Butter Masala

Grind the onions, tomatoes, green chilli, cinnamon and cloves to a fine paste. Add ginger garlic paste to it.

Heat oil in a skillet or a saucepan and add asafetida and cumin seeds. When the cumin starts to crackle, add the onion tomato puree. Cook the puree till the oil separates.

While the puree is cooking, cut the paneer into cubes. Fry in oil till golden brown on all sides. Keep aside. This is optional. You can add the paneer cubes without frying also. However, frying gives a solid shape to the paneer and makes the dish look more professional and restaurant-style.

Once the onion tomato paste is ready, add the tomato ketchup. Cook on low heat for 3-4 mins.

Add milk and the remaining spices. Bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the cream slowly in a thin stream while mixing continuously. If the gravy seems thick, add more milk.

Add the paneer cubes and simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve hot with naan or paratha.