Paneer butter-masala|paneer makhani

Delicious and rich in flavour,this is one of the favorite side dishes for chapati/roti( Indian flat bread). Paneer is Indian cottage cheese and dishes of paneer are a must in Indian homes during special occasions. I must say that this dish is not just rich in flavor but also rich in fat😀.  Though not advised to consume  regularly, what’s wrong with an occasional treat? So, let’s learn to treat ourselves –

Servings: 4

Ingredients :

2 large tomatoes

One onion

4-5 toes of garlic

One small piece ginger

4 tablespoons of butter

5-6 cashew nut

Half tsp turmeric powder

3/4th tsp garam masala powder

1/4th tsp red chili powder

1/2 tsp each Cumin seeds, mustard and 3-4 lavang(Cloves).

Procedure:

1.Roughly chop the onion and tomatoes. Add 2 tbsp butter to a frying pan and fry the onion, cashews, garlic, ginger and tomatoes. Fry until the onions turns translucent. Ler them cool.

2.After they have cooled completely,blend the fried ingredients in a blender. Do not add water.

3.Cut the paneer into medium sized cubes. Into the same  pan , add little more butter and fry the paneer for around 2 minutes. Keep them aside.

3. Heat 2-3 tbsp of butter in the pan  and add mustard, lavang, cumin seeds. After the mustard splatters, add the blended mixture and add some water(around 1 cup).

4. To this , throw in turmeric powder , garam masala powder, and chili powder and salt as necessary. Cover with a lid ans let the contents come to a boil.

5.Now add the slightly fried paneer and let the mixture cook for five more minutes in medium flame.

6. The delicious paneer butter masala is ready. Serve it warm , with chapati/roti.

Note:

You could add 9-10 cashew nuts if you want the gravy to be slightly sweet. However if you like it spicier, add more garam masala.

Try this recipe and let me know your feedback.

Warm regards,

Manasa Rao

 

 

 

 

 

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Mango-shake rasayana|aamras

Summer definitely calls in for some mangoes and desserts/drinks using mangoes. In India rasayana(in Kannada) or aamras is a must during summer. However the present generation likes shakes , smoothies and juices compared to the traditional aamras/rasayana. So I thought to mix and blend both into one delicious dessert/drink this summer . Let’s see how to make this easy peesy drink-

Ingredients required-

Mango (3 ripened )

Banana (2 large)

Milk ( About 100 ml)

Cardomom ( 4-5 cloves)

Recipe:

1. First peel skin of all three mangoes and bananas. Chop mango and banana. Remove all flesh of mango. You can keep the seed aside (and lick it up later 😜).

2. Add 2 mangoes ,one banana,milk and blend in a blender(mixer)

3. Pour this puree to a vessel.To this purée add one well chopped mango and banana.

4. Take a mortar pestle and finely powder some cardomom and add them to the purée.No sugar required.

5.Since this is a thick shake, I haven’t added any water and it’s tastes delicious that way.

5. Refrigerate for an hour or so and serve chilled.

Note:

No sugar is added, as banana gives the sweetness required. So that’s a completely healthy and delicious drink.

You may want to eat this with a spoon like a dessert since there are some chopped fruits in this Mango-shake. That’s why I called it a rasayan/milkshake.

We always eat anything with mangoes after lunch, like a dessert, because nothing tastes better once you eat mangoes!

Enjoy your yummycious dessert/drink.

 

Cool regards,

Manasa Rao

 

Bitter-sweet tangy soup| Bitter gourd kayirasa

As far as I know, bitter gourd(Karela in Hindi) is the most hated vegetable of all 😄.I hope the hatred towards bitter gourd doesn’t stop you from reading or trying this recipe. As a fact , even I hated bitter gourd as a child. You might be wondering why I’m writing a post about bitter gourd as the main ingredient if I dislike it! Well, it’s because I stopped disliking  it after I learnt to make this tangy sweet and slightly bitter rasam/soup, a traditional recipe passed down from my mother to me.

Do you know there is this old Kannada proverb  about bitter gourd that my mother always says- “Adharakkke kahi aadaru, udharakke sihi”,-which means it may taste bitter to the tongue , but it’s healthy for your stomach! Stories apart, let’s learn to make this healthy and tasty bitter gourd rasam-

Ingredients
1.Bitter gourd( 2 medium sized)
2.Tamarind( 1 lemon sized)
3.Jaggery (1 lemon sized or atleast 2.5-3 tbsp of powdered jaggery)
4.Salt
5.Turmeric

For seasoning:
Mustard,cumin seeds,urad daal(black lentils),curry leaves,garlic and oil .

Procedure:
1.Chop bitter gourd into half at the center,remove the melon seeds and discard them.
2.Now chop the bitter gourd into small pieces and sprinkle atleast one tbsp of salt and 1 tsp of turmeric powder and  let them marinate for 15-20 minutes. The salt oozes water, squeeze off water from bitter gourd.
3. Meanwhile soak tamarind in water for at least fifteen minutes.
4.Now you can either cook the bitter gourd in a pan(kadai) by frying it or in a pressure cooker.
5. Once they are cooked, transfer bitter gourd to a cooking vessel , squeeze tamarind juice out of tamarind and add it.
6. Then add one lemon sized jaggery and extra salt as necessary.
7. Now you can add one tspn sambhar powder( udupi sambhar powder preferably) .
8. Pour water as necessary. It requires at least 2-3 cups of water. I make it very liquidy because it’s rasam.Bring the contents to a boil.
9. Now in a small frying pan, take 2 tbsp of oil, add mustard, cumin seeds, urad daal , garlic and curry leaves. Once the mustard splutters, add the the seasoning to the rasam/soup.
10.You can enjoy this delicious bitter- sweet tangy rasam with rice or you can drink it as a soup!

This super healthy delicious  rasam/soup is ready in just 10 simple steps! I have tasted it with rice and it tastes delicious. You can try it as an appetizing soup as well. You could skip adding sambhar powder and instead add one green chilly if you are drinking it as a soup alone.

Marinating bitter gourd with salt and squeezing off removes most of its bitterness. However the little bitterness left out , is for the good 😛😊

Do try this recipe and let me know how it tastes.

Warm regards,

Manasa Rao

 

Masala-puri chaat

One of the favorite evening chaats/snacks/street food of Karnataka , India . I remember savoring these delicious chaat on the streets of Mysore/Bangalore as a child. Whenever we were in Mysore for Dussera, or Bangalore to visit our relatives,we wouldn’t miss a chance to grab these delicious masala-puri.

Since I live in the United States now , I dearly miss these treats. I wondered how awesome it would be to eat these snacks in the cold winter ,with a cup of hot coffee! So.. I resorted to make these at home and they turned out delightfully good. So, for all those who want to make this savory at home , here’s the recipe-

Preparation time: 25 mins
Soak time – 8 hrs
Cook time – 15 mins

Ingredients for the gravy:
1 cup green peas(1 cup = approx 250 ml)
One large tomato, 2 large potatoes
One large onion
3 medium sized patatoes
4-5 green chillies
4-5 garlic cloves
1 inch ginger
Some corriander leaves or 1/4th tspn corriander powder
1/4th tsp of cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/4th tsp of turmeric powder
1 tbsp oil
salt to taste

Ingredients for the serving
1 packet of store bought puris/papdis
One finely chopped tomato
One finely chopped onion
Sev( preferably nylon sev)

Procedure for the gravy:

1.Soak a cup of green peas in water  for at-least 8 hours or overnight.If you have frozen store brought green peas, it’s not necessary to soak.
2. In a pressure cooker, cook the potatoes and green peas.It should cook in two whistles. Switch off and let the potatoes and peas cool down a bit.
3.Meanwhile chop onion,tomatoes and green chilies. Chop roughly.
4.Pour around a tbsp of oil in a pan,and fry the onions, tomatoes, garlic and green chilies.
5.Now, put these fried vegetables in a blender with one tbsp of cooked green peas and blend them untill it becomes a paste.
6. Pour some oil in a pan, add mustard, cumin seeds and urad daal. After mustard splatters, add the blended paste.
7.Smash the cooked potatoes and add them and the cooked peas as well.
8. Now add garam masala powder, cumin powder, corriander powder and a pinch of turmeric powder. Add salt according to your taste. Pour around 3 cups of water.
9. Let this mixtute come to a boil. That’s when the flavors are completely released.

Green chutney:

Blend a few coriander leaves and 5-6 green chillies in a blender. Add salt and water as necessary.

Sweet chutney

In a small steel vessel add around 3-4 tablespoons of water and 3 tablespoons of jaggery powder. Add one lemon sized quantity of tamarind’s juice to this. Bring them to boil.

Serving procedure:
1.Take a palte/bowl, crush  8-9 puris using your hand.
2. Add atleast 4-5 tablespoons of the gravy that you just prepared.
3. You can add 1/2 tspn of green chutney or sweet chutney according to your taste. You can also add a pinch of amchur(mango powder) for that tangy taste.
4.Sprinkle some finely chopped tomatoes and onions.
4. Sprinkle some coriander leaves and  sev on top of all of it.
5. Place 6 such plates and repeat the process, since you are serving for six people.

The best part about masala puri is, if the gravy is leftover, you can use it as a side dish for chapati/roti.

Note :

1.*When you buy puris from store, most of them come along with green and sweet chutney.

2. For best results, make the gravy in the morning and consume in the evening. During the 6-8 hours  it stays, all the masala gets absorbed well, and it tastes better.

This recipe might look lengthy, but it’s really not difficult to make them!Do try this recipe and leave your feedback.

Warm regards,

Manasa Rao

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pasta-masala

Pasta masala ! My favorite Indo- Italian food . The soft texture of pasta and the vibrant flavors of masala is yummy in the tummy ! Mr Rao, (my hubby dear) is best at pasta masala and I am presenting his recipe here –

Preparation time:30-35 mins  Serves:2

Ingredients

Pasta – 2 cups(1 cup = approx 250 ml)
Chopped carrots,beans – 1/2 cup
Green peas, sweet corn – 2 table spoon each
1 large tomato pureed
1 onion
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 tspn turmeric powder
1-2 green chilies
mustard,cumin,and vegetable oil for seasoning

Recipe:

1. Take a large pot/container and fill it with around 5 cups of water,bring the water to boil.Put the stove to medium flame and add pasta and 2 tspns of salt.
2. Let the pasta cook for around 8 minutes. Check if the pasta has become soft by inserting a fork,
if its hard, cook for another minute or two.
3. Once the pasta is cooked, drain water and put it in a plate so that they spread out and don’t stick to one another.
4. Now for the masala – take a cooking pan and add 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Once the oil has heated up add mustard,cumin,black gram(urad dal) and bengal gram(chana dal).
5. Once the mustard splatters, add cut onions and salt to taste and saute them.
6. When the onions become translucent, add green chilies and saute them a little.
7. Now add the chopped vegetables and the pureed tomato. Sprinkle some water for the
vegetables to cook.
7. Add 1 tspn of garam masala, 1/2 tspn of turmeric powder, mix it well and put the lid on.
8. Let the vegatables cook well and let the masalas do their magic.
9. After this sauce/mixture has really cooked well, add the pasta and give it a stir.
10. Do not mix too much. This may make the pasta mushy and brittle.
11. Serve it while it’s warm and enjoy a delicious pasta-masala !

Note:

It is advised to keep the ratio of pasta and water around , 1: 2.5. (for 1 cup = 2.5 cups water)

Add green chilies as required.

Black gram and Bengal gram is optional in seasoning.

 

Your comments/feedback  are appreciated and help me work better. Try this recipe and give a feedback. Thanks for taking your time to read my post.

Warm Regards,

Manasa Rao

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simple egg-less chocolate cupcake

Most of you might think egg-less cakes , don’t taste good.. I bet you won’t say that after you make these cakes ! This time I have made some egg-less chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting !My hubby asked me why chocolate cake with vanilla frosting ? Why not chocolate cake with chocolate frosting ! Well , I guess chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting is a great combination. The strong taste of coco goes very well with that sweet taste of vanilla … Agree ?                                                                                                                Try it yourself !

Preparation time : 15 mins    Cook time: 20 mins     Serves: 12

Ingredients for the cake :
1.5 cups all-purpose flour (1 cup = 160 ml)
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter (or ½ cup vegetable oil for vegan)
1/3 cup coco powder
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon yogurt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup water

Ingredients for the frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar
½ cup butter (it should be at room temperature)
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon vanilla
salt

First things first:

  1. Remove 2 cubes of butter from fridge and keep them aside to bring it to room temperature.
  2. Place the cupcake liners in the cupcake baking tray.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit for around 10 mins. If your oven doesn’t have preheat option, just keep it switched on for 10 mins before baking.

Cupcake recipe:

  1. Take a large pan and add all-purpose flour + baking powder + sugar + salt + coco powder . See that any of your dry ingredients do not have lumps. If they do, please sift them before you add each of them.
  2. Melt ½ cup butter or oil and keep it aside.
  3. Now mix the wet ingredients in a bowl – Add 1 tbsp yogurt ,1 tbsp water ,1 tbsp vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. When you add baking soda to vinegar it releases carbon-dioxide and produces a bubbling mixture.
  4. Pour this mixture immediately(important) into the large pan of dry ingredients.
  5. Also pour in the melted butter and add 1 cup water.
  6. Mix them well using a wooden spoon or spatula . See that there are no lumps in the mixture. Do not over mix or under-mix. The mixing should be done in less than 2 minutes.
  7. Pour the contents into each cupcake liner. Fill only up-to 2/3rd of the cupcake liner. We do not want them to overflow too much after they have baked.
  8. Place them in the oven and bake them for around 20 minutes at 350 Fahrenheit or 180 degree Celsius.
  9. After it has baked , wait for a few minutes , you can do the fork test or the press test. Lightly press the cupcake with your index finger , if it bounces back to its original shape , your cupcakes are baked!
  10. Top them with some sprinkles for that extra zing!

Frosting recipe:
1. Take ¼ cup butter at room temperature in large bowl .
2. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix it with a wire whisk or a electric mixer.
3. Add a pinch of salt , ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and milk.
4. You have to beat it rigorously using a wire whisk,wooden spoon or electric mixer until it is soft and fluffy. (See the consistency of the mixture and add milk accordingly , It shouldn’t be too runny or too thick)
5. Check if the cupcakes have cooled , you can decorate them with the frosting using an offset spatula or using piping cones like I have done. Enjoy the yummy cupcakes 😀 !

Note :

  • The bake time may slightly vary for different ovens.
  • Baking soda is used to risen the dough , baking powder also is used as a rising agent. So why baking soda when you have baking powder ?   — If you use only baking powder , your baked treat may taste too acidic . Baking soda neutralizes the acidic nature of baking soda.
  • Have patience until your cake is baked. Don’t open the oven every now and then. Most of the time even I am curious to see how my cake is baking. So I put my oven light on , and peek from outside  😛 . It doesn’t hurt 😀
  • Beginners – I always bake in a conventional oven. I do not prefer microwave ovens for baking.

 

Baking Regards,

Manasa Rao

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick masala oatmeal

 You want a healthy homemade breakfast , but you are in a hurry to go to office and have limited time?! Try this simple and quick breakfast recipe –

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quick oats/ steel cut oats
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped vegetables ( Here I have used  chopped carrots, beans and green peas
  • 1/2 teaspoon of your fav masala sauce /sambhar  powder
  • lemon juice
  • water

How to cook

  • Bring 3.5 cups of water to boil
  • Add salt to taste
  • Add  chopped vegatables
  • Add quick oats
  • Add your favorite masala sauce or  sambhar powder. ( tikka masala sauce ,Brahmin’s sambhar powder are few that  I have tried).
  • After the oats has cooked well ,switch off stove,  add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and mix well .
  • Serve it while its warm and enjoy a simple breakfast !

Note- Sambhar powder or masala sauce is available in any Indian grocery store . I have  found them in Walmart as well these days!