Cooking with Anj’s mom: Part 1

My friend’s Indian mother was generous enough to share her culinary wisdom with me over palak paneer and paratha bread. From a spinach and paneer dish, I learned about common Indian spices, of which there are many, and how to utilize them at various points in the cooking process. Here is a summary of our menu:

paneer
-8 C. 2% milk
-1/4 C. lemon juice
-1 C. warm water
-Bring the milk to a low boil while stirring, then add combined lemon juice and water until the milk starts to curdle into cottage cheese. Then strain the curds in cheese cloth and squeeze out moisture.
-Knead the cheese until smooth in consistency
Finally, press the cheese into a square between paper towels and under a heavy weight for one hour. Done!

Palak Paneer (with tomato and use of olive oil instead of ghee and without onion or garlic due to Hindu food restrictions)
-in 1/4 C. of olive oil, heat oil and add spices: 3 cloves, half a cinnamon stick, cardamon seeds, bay leaf, 1 dried chili, peppercorns, cumin seeds, pureed ginger
-after several minutes, remove chunk spices and add chopped fresh tomato and let cook down (add onions and garlic at this time if desired)
-then add more spices: salt, tumeric, cayenne pepper, ground cumin/coriander, fenugreek leaves and garam masala
-wait until oil and water separate and smush all tomatoes with wooden spoon.
-add mixture to blender that already has one big package of spinach that has been quickly blanched
-put blended mixture back into pan and add 1 C. of yogurt
-fry paneer cubes in olive oil and add to the spinach puree
—-this dish was so delicious and the fresh fried paneer was extraordinary.

so green!

paratha flat bread
-2 C. multi-grain flour
-2 T. olive oil
-1 tsp. salt
-little less than 1 C. water (lukewarm)
-combine ingredients, knead a bit, then roll out small pieces of dough into flat circles. Fry up the pieces in olive oil and eat immediately!

Warm and flavorful

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