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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mad about curry! My mum's recipe for Methi Paneer....

Recently, I was asked to submit an entry for a "wet curry" for a monthly food blogger event organized by The Spanish Wok. I realized that I hadn't posted that many curry recipes on my blog so it wouldn't hurt to participate :) This is the first time I'm submitting an entry to a blogging event of any kind so it feels nice to be part of something outside of my own blog.


Curry is a generic term used primarily by the Western world to describe a variety of dishes originating from the Indian subcontinent and certain other countries. A common feature of all curries is the incorporation of more or less complex combinations of spices and/or herbs, usually (but not invariably) including fresh or dried hot chillies. Curries may be either "wet" or "dry." Wet curries contain significant amounts of sauce or gravy based on yoghurt, coconut milk, legume purée (dal), or stock. Dry curries are cooked with very little liquid which is allowed to evaporate, leaving the other ingredients coated with the spice mixture. 

Even though mine is a South-Indian household, I've grown up eating a lot of North-Indian style curries. This particular curry contains cottage cheese (paneer) and fenugreek leaves (methi) in a subtly spiced onion-cashew-tomato gravy. This is a recipe with a typical punjabi touch which results in a lip-smacking curry best served with naan/rotis/paranthas or basmathi rice. The last time I was in India, my mum made this for me and I liked it very much. I got the recipe from her and now it is a regular in my home too!

Methi Paneer

Preparation time: 45 min
Recipe level: Easy but requires a little patience!
Serves: 4-5
Recipe source: Mum 

Ingredients:

1 cup paneer cubes (fresh or frozen)
11/2 cup fresh fenugreek leaves (methi), washed thoroughly, stems removed and finely chopped
2 large onions, 1 for ground paste and 1 finely chopped
15-20 cashewnuts
3-4 dry red chillies
1/2 tsp nigella seeds/kalonji
1/2 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 cup tomato puree
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp kitchen king masala
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
Salt to taste
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp ghee/oil
Fresh cream for garnish
Vegetable oil for deep frying

Method:
  1. Heat some vegetable oil and when hot, drop the paneer cubes and fry until golden brown. Drain the paneer cubes in a bowl of warm water (this makes the residual oil come out of the paneer and makes them soft). Keep aside. 
  2. In a skillet, fry 1 roughly chopped onion until golden brown and then add in and sauté the dry red chillies for a few seconds. 
  3. Blend the onions and red chillies with 10-12 cashews & 1/2 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji) with a little water to a smooth uniform paste. 
  4. In the same skillet from before, heat a little more ghee/oil and add in the cumin seeds (jeera). Once it begins to splutter add the ginger-garlic paste and 1 finely chopped onion. Fry until the onions turn translucent. 
  5. Add in the chopped fenugreek leaves and fry until they are cooked (takes 2-3 minutes). Now add in the onion-cashew paste, red chilli powder (if desired), coriander powder, kitchen king masala, turmeric and simmer on low flame for a few minutes. 
  6. Drain the water from the fried paneer cubes.
  7. Add the tomato puree, fried paneer cubes, salt & sugar to the curry. Add quarter to a half cup of water. Mix well and bring to a boil. Check the seasoning. 
  8. Once the curry thickens to the desired consistency, switch off the heat, add in the kasoori methi, mix well and garnish the curry with fresh cream.
  9. Serve hot with naan/rotis/parathas or steamed basmathi rice.  

Notes:
  • Fenugreek leaves can be bitter so you don't want to add too much of it. 
  • If you don't find fresh fenugreek leaves, you can substitute with the frozen variety but I wouldn't recommend it (I find that they are full of stems!). 
  • I don't use store bought tomato puree/paste because I find it too sour. I normally don't like any curry that brings tangy to the forefront. For this recipe, I use 1 medium sized fresh ripe tomato, blanch it in hot water till the skin comes off and then puree it in a blender. It is just a matter of personal preference....whatever works for you!
  •  Microwaving the kasoori methi for a few seconds of warming it between your palms brings out the flavor

References:

9 comments:

  1. I love this recipe. Looks absolutely delicious@ Love the photos too.

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  2. this is one of the best curries mom makes n she never goes wrong with it! now im hungry!!

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  3. OMG how delicious does this look.

    Thanks for submitting to THE SOUP KITCHEN.

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  4. A bowl of this with some naan..bliss! Lovely picture!

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  5. Thanks for giving delicious Methi Paneer recipe is looking great and healthy. Here different taste of Curry recipes are giving you and easy to make at home.

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  6. Awesome recipe ! trying it out now, I can also see ur passion for cooking, given u put in lots of work into this recipe, one too many blendings ;) definitely a weekend relaxer for me =)

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  7. Thank you all for your encouraging words :)

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  8. Wow, this looks yummy! i have been collecting Indian recipes to my Pinterest board and I love to add this one if you won't mind. Thanks!

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