MUTTER PANEER aka PEAS & COTTAGE CHEESE DISH (INDIAN STYLE)

Now that you have started reading my blog and enjoying it too( Do i sound conceited? :O just kidding :P But I do hope you ARE enjoying), I’ll be generous enough to let you in on one of my little secrets! Which is, if given a choice, I will have dessert for breakfast, lunch AND dinner every day, for the rest of my life!!! I have a bad case of sweet tooth syndrome, I guess!!! :D Yeah! That’s how much I love my dessert! But for your benefit I’m gonna throw in an occasional savory recipe! Let’s start with an Indian dish called Mutter Paneer. Paneer or firm cottage cheese is most popular with the northern Indians. It is a healthy substitute with a meaty bite to it for when you are craving for something non-vegetarian. There are many yummy versions of Mutter Paneer. This one, I found in one of the many cook books I own. The recipe is very easy yet rewarding. It goes well with hot, thick parathas (Indian bread). Trust me, it was as yummy as it looks. Do try! :)

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Ingredients:

6 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
225 g/8 oz paneer/firm cottage cheese, cubed
1 onion, finely chopped
few mint leaves, chopped
50 g/2 cups/2 oz fresh coriander(cilantro), chopped
3 fresh green chillies, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 piece fresh ginger, 2.5 cm/1 in long, sliced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder(optional)
1 tsp garam masala
salt, to taste
225 g/8 oz/3 cups tiny button mushrooms, washed and left whole
225 g/8 oz/1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed and drained
175 ml/6 fl oz/3/4 cup natural(plain) yogurt, mixed with 1 tsp cornflour(cornstarch)
mint sprig/coriander leaves, to garnish

Method:

Heat the ghee or oil in a frying pan(skillet) and fry the paneer cubes until they are golden brown on all sides. Remove and drain on kitchen paper(paper towel).
Grind the onion, mint, coriander(cilantro), chillies, garlic and ginger in a pestle and mortar or food processor to a fairly smooth paste.
Remove and mix in the turmeric, chilli powder if using, garam masala and salt.
Remove excess ghee or oil from the pan leaving about 1 tbsp. Heat and fry the paste until the raw onion smell disappears and the oil separates.
Add the mushrooms, peas and paneer. Mix well. Cool the mixture and gradually fold in the yogurt. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Garnish with a sprig of mint or coriander leaves and serve hot.

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VEGAN CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

Who would have thought you could bake an equally delicious cupcake without the very obvious ingredient “Egg”. At least I never did, until I came across this wonderful vegan chocolate cupcake recipe on allrecipes.com. These cuties fluff up so gorgeously in the oven; it is almost bewitching to look at. And the recipe is ever so simple. To get more of the chocolaty yumminess with every bite, I tossed in small chunks of milk chocolate in my batter! The result was splendid as you can see. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

4 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

3 cups white sugar

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup vegetable oil

3 cups water

3 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, soda and salt. Add sugar and mix together. Add oil, water and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into lined cupcake pans 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.

CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES WITH CHOCOLATE GLAZE

 I thought I should start with somethin’ Chocolate. A yummy moist Chocolate Cupcake maybe? I stumbled upon this wonderful recipe a few months back on a lazy Sunday afternoon while browsing online for some new recipes to try. I don’t remember which website it was! But Cheers to whoever the recipe belongs to! :D  The original recipe had butter cream to go with their chocolate cupcakes but I went with chocolate glaze for mine! And don’t they look just heavenly!!!  You need these in your life. I tell you.

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I made the vegan version of these Yummies  for the girls at a mini-potluck we organized in college recently… And they loved the cupcakes so much, bless them. How do I know? Compliments aside, I was left with an odd fallen crumb or two. And I’m not complaining, no.

The cupcakes turn out sooo good… there will surely be calls for an encore by family and friends! Beware! Hehe! Here’s the recipe for the cupcakes and the chocolate glaze. Happy Munching!! 

CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

(makes 40)

Ingredients:

2 Cups boiling water

1 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 3/4 Cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 Cup butter

2 1/4 Cups white sugar

4 eggs

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 180. Whisk water and cocoa together until smooth, then refrigerate until room temperature. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in eggs one by one and mix in the vanilla. Add the flour and cocoa mixtures alternately, in fourths. When fully combined, pour the mixture into lined cupcake pans 3/4 full and bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in middle. My cupcakes took 25 minutes to bake. . . Allow to cool to room temperature.

FOR THE GLAZE

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/4 cup milk, warmed

2 tsp vanilla extract

100 grams bittersweet chocolate, chopped

2 cup icing sugar

Directions:

Combine butter, milk, and vanilla in medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until butter is melted. Decrease the heat to low, add the chocolate, and whisk until melted. Turn off heat, add the icing sugar, and whisk until smooth. Place the mixture over a bowl of warm water and dip the cupcake tops immediately. Allow glaze to set for 30 minutes before serving.

How It All Began…

Ahem!!! Here we go… After months & months of convincing myself that there actually is enough in me to sit down and create a blog, type out some yummy recipes that I try and share them with you; here I am finally, trying my best to put the plan into action. All I needed was a push. Well, Don’t we all? And for those little nudges & a whole lot of wonderful ideas that helped me start this blog, I thank my friends, my brother and of course my mum & dad from whom I inherited the passion for good food. I couldn’t have done it without any of them.

There was a time, long long ago (yep that long!) when I whined to my mum that if I ever had to set foot in the kitchen it will only be for reading out the menu (like a spoilt princess, yup) to my cook in the future and after I’m done I’d prance out of the kitchen happily and wait for the feast to be laid out in front of me!

Somewhere around this time, I remember my dad getting home a small baking oven. The die-hard chocolate fan that I am and of course was as a kid too, I stood in front of the magic gadget and pictured myself whipping up a scrumptious chocolate cake. That’s when my dad bought me a box of Betty Crocker chocolate cake mix. I followed the instructions on the box to a ‘t’. Yes… those three steps were a huge deal for me at the time. I waited anxiously, biting my nails off while the cake fluffed up lusciously in the oven. When the timer went off, I gingerly removed the cake pan and waited patiently for the cake to cool down!  And that’s saying something, coz I’m not really known for my patience! Ha! Then I cut the cake into perfect little pieces and all of us took a bite each. Then my dad high fived me!!!  I jumped up n down with joy! Somewhere in the vicinity I could hear my mum snigger. Ah well! So much for being a princess…

Now where was I? Yeah, so I finally picked up the apron and there was no stopping me! After many mishaps in the kitchen much to my mother’s chagrin (she had to clean up after me & she still does! :P) I conjured up a respectable number of dishes and surprisingly enough they were all quite edible! Yay!!!

After all these years I’ve turned into a big foodie. I try out new cuisine whenever I get the chance, then hunt down their recipes to try them out myself; make the end result look pretty as much as I can and hover around the dish clicking lots and lots of pictures. I love the whole process! And I especially enjoy baking!

An Indian by birth, brought up in the KSA, my flavour palate has been influenced by Indian as well as Arabian cuisine. But like I said, me being a foodie, I love experimenting with different foods from all over the world. I’m gonna share with you a few of my experiences with food and also recipes that have turned out very well for me.

I hope to help those of you who doubt your cooking skills. Trust me… if I can, so can you!!!

Hungry are you?? Then let’s get our Grub on!!!

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