Quickest Shahi Paneer ever- with a vegan option- No Ghee- No Butter

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This is the easiest and most quick recipe for a complicated sounding yet most popular Indian delicacy. People in love with aroma of spices appreciate this preparation the most. Read through handy tips at the end of the recipe to try out vegan and no fat options. 

SERVES: 4

Why this recipe? How is it green? How am I contributing to making this earth green by following four steps or less recipes?

Using Pressure Cooker will take 5-7 minutes whereas it will take 20-25 minutes in a regular pan. 

You save: 40% of fuel energy and 20 minutes of your precious time that may be about 20 to 30% of the total time you spend in kitchen on an average (assuming you spend a total of 1-2 hours in a day in the kitchen)

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoons oil
1 cinnamon stick (small)
1 star Anise
1 brown cardamom
5 pieces of cloves
1 teaspoon of tandoori masala
3 medium tomatoes cut very small (preferable pureed)
½ kilo paneer (cottage cheese, feel free to replace it with Tofu, I love it)
1 inch frozen garlic or 2 crushed cloves
2 inch frozen or 25 grams fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon red chilly powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
20 cashews or almonds (powdered)
200ml full cream milk (I usually make it with low fat milk)

STEP 1. Put all whole spices into heated oil, sauté until brown, should take about a minute or less.
STEP 2. Add small cut tomato/puree, red chilli and sugar and cover pot, let simmer for 3-4 minutes before you add powdered nuts with ¼ glass of water and put pressure cooker lid. Cook for 3-5 minutes in Pressure Cooker until pressure builds up. In an regular pot with lid it will take about 15-20 minutes.
STEP 3. Remove whole spices and run the hand grinder for 1 to 2 minutes right into the pan to make gravy smooth.
STEP 4. Add paneer pieces and half cup of cream/milk to curry as it becomes thick. Let it boil for 5 minutes before you serve.

HANDY TIPS:
1. You can replace cashew nuts/almonds with peanuts or other nuts as per your taste.
2. You may want to garnish it with cut fresh coriander leaves and if you don’t care about making it lean (fat free), feel free to add a tablespoon of fresh cream or butter while serving. For vegan options replace milk with soy milk, coconut milk or almond milk and paneer with Tofu.

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Homemade gluten free Dhokla

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SERVES: 4

GLUTEN FREE

Why this recipe? How is it green? How am I contributing to making this earth green by following four steps or less recipes?

Quick to make, great to store, steam in a pressure cooker, pan or in microwave. 

Dhokla is chickpea flour steamed savoury cake. It is one of the most healthy snacks to have at a time when you carve for something savoury but do not want to have some off the shelf thing that usually has pastry flour or shortening in abundance.IMG_2844

Dhokla is readily available in local India market and indian sweet shops in North America. However, it may not be completely gluten free as semolina is a common ingredient for Dhokla. This recipe however is gluten free. I have been making Dhokla using readymade mix for sometime but now, in my zeal to avoid all preservatives and emulsifiers, I have tried this recipe many times and now have got it perfect. The dhokla comes out really soft and spongy. I have been making it more in the microwave than the conventional steaming in a pan or cooker.

INGREDIENTS:

For Dhokla
1 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup olive oil or cooking oil
1 teaspoon yogurt
½ cup water
1 teaspoon fruit salt or ( mix of 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
2 inch frozen or 25 grams fresh grated ginger

For Dhokla Garnish
1 teaspoon oil
½ tablespoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon sugar
2 hot green chillies cut in thin long slices
½ cup water

STEPS:
STEP 1
. Mix all ingredients except fruit salt (baking soda/baking powder) making sure there are no lumps.  The mixture should not be too runny, it should be something like that for crepes or pancakes. Add more water if needed.
STEP 2. Let it rest for 5 minutes while you prepare the steamer with enough water and grease the dhokla container with oil.
STEP 3. Mix fruit salt into the mixture, you will see it rising as you mix it, stir for a minute and pour it into steaming dish. Steam it for 4-5 minutes in microwave or 15-20 minutes on stove steamer or pressure cooker without whistle.
STEP 4. Remove from steamer and let it cool down for 10-15 minutes before removing from the container.

STEPS for Dhokla Garnish: 
STEP 1
. Put oil in a very small pan and add mustard seeds to it.
STEP 2. As they start to splutter (will be in few seconds) add green chillies, water and sugar slowly and carefully. Let it boil for 2 minutes.
STEP 3. Cut Dhokla into even sized square pieces.
STEP 4. Pour mixture evenly on prepared dhokla.

HANDY TIPS:
1. For microwave steaming, if you do not have a dhokla stand ( that has a water tray, a flat container and a cover), just use any container/tray to fill water, keep a small bowl upside down in the water tray to raise the level at which dhokla mix container will be put. Cover the tray and container with microwave lid so that steam remain between the tray and dhokla container.
2. Put some fresh coriander or parsley leaves to garnish before serving.

Invigorating Lamb-नशीली गोश्त करी

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SERVES: 4

Why this recipe? How is it green? How am I contributing to making this earth green by following four steps or less recipes?

Using Pressure Cooker for this recipe will take 10-15 minutes for the meat to cook whereas it will take 30-45 minutes in a regular pan. 

This recipe saves you : more than 70% of fuel energy and 30 minutes of your precious time that is about 16 to 20% of the total time you spend in kitchen on an average (assuming you spend a total of 2-3 hours in a day in the kitchen)

Allows you to explore your creative side. For vegetarian options, substitute lamb with baby potatoes, baby pumpkins, cottage cheese or other veggies.

TOTAL COOKING TIME: 25-30 Minutes

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon oil
1 daal chini (cinnamon stick)
1 chakraphool (star anise)
1 brown elaichi (cardamom)
2 green elaichi (cardamom)
50 grams of khus khus (poppy seeds)
2 tez patta (bay leaf)
6 palm sized pureed or finely chopped onion
2 medium sized pureed tomatoes
1 inch frozen ginger
2 inch frozen garlic
2 teaspoons meat masala/ curry powder
1 kilo lamb shoulder cut to small pieces
1 teaspoon red chilli (if you like it hot)
1 inch frozen green chilli or 2 fresh green chilies
1 teaspoon garam masala (All spice)
2 teaspoons salt

STEP 1. Put daal chini (cinnamon), chakraphool (star anise), elaichi (cardamoms) and tez patta (bay leaf) in heated oil, after 30 seconds to a minute add pre sautéed onion and poppy seeds or if using freshly chopped onion, sauté until onion are light brown.
STEP 2. Add lamb and meat masala , Stir for 2-3 minutes, add frozen ginger, frozen garlic, green chilli, salt and red chilli powder .
STEP 3. Sauté for 5-7 minutes and then add pureed tomato, and stir it well, add half a glass of water before you close the lid of the pressure cooker.
STEP 4. Cook on low heat for 10-12 minutes (or for three whistles) in pressure cooker or for 30-45 minutes in pan with lid on and add garam masala before serving.

HANDY TIPS:lambcurry

  1. You can replace lamb with pork, chicken, beef and baby potatoes or vegetables for vegetarian option.
  2.  Always wait for the steam in pressure cooker to release by itself. This is a safety precaution as well as retains all flavour of the food.
  3. Add a few drops of Kewra essence (a floral essence) to get that unique rich muglai flavour.

Tandoori Naan in Toaster

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thumb_img_3032_1024 SERVES: 3-4

Quick Light Fresh Baked Bread

COOKING TIME: 5-7 minutes

INGREDIENTS: 
400 grams all purpose flour
400 ml plain yogurt
5-10 drops of oil

STEPS:
thumb_img_3033_1024STEP 1.  Add yogurt to the flour, make dough soft enough that is not sticking to your hands. Take oil on your hand and roll the dough with greased palm to finish. Wrap the dough in wet cloth napkin (water squeezed). Rest the dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling into naan.
STEP 2.  Make balls of dough for the size and thickness that you want the naan to be. Roll the balls with pastry roller to make naan.
STEP 3.  Place rolled naan on to heated non-stick pan, turn it around when you see brown dots on one side.
thumb_img_3031_1024Step 4.  Once both sides of the roti have been on the heated pan once, move the naan into the toaster on high setting. Fluffed and crisp tandoori naan will pop out of the toaster.

HANDY TIPS:
1. Keep rolling the dough balls into naan while one is cooking on the pan so that next one is ready as soon as you move the first one into the toaster.
2. Usually a tennis ball size of roll would make a 6-8 inch diameter naan.
3. Due to elasticity of all purpose flour the dough may not be able to be rolled in round shaped naan, they usually come out oblong shaped. This shape fits well into toaster slots.
4. Depending on the size of the slot of your toaster you may want to cut the naan in half before sliding it into the toaster so that all of it bakes well.

 

Tandoori Roti in Toaster

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SERVES: 3-4

Quick Light Fresh Baked Bread

COOKING TIME: 5-7 minutes

INGREDIENTS: 
400 grams whole wheat flour
200 ml water
5-10 drops of oil

STEPS:
STEP 1.  Add water to the flour, make dough soft enough that is not sticking to your hands. Take oil on your hand and roll the dough with greased palm to finish. Rest the dough for at least 15-20 minutes before making roti.
STEP 2.  Make balls of dough for the size and thickness that you want the roti to be. Roll the balls to make roti.
STEP 3.  Place rolled roti on to heated non-stick pan, turn it around when you see brown dots on one side.
Step 4.  Once both sides of the roti have been on the heated pan once, move the roti into the toaster on high setting. Fluffed and crisp tandoori roti will pop out of the toaster.

HANDY TIPS:
1. Add water cautiously to the flour not to make dough too soft. Dough should be hard enough to easily roll the ball with a rolling pin. You can add more dry flour to the dough or give the balls a pat of dry flour on either side before and during rolling it.
2.Keep rolling the dough balls into Roti while one is cooking on the pan so that next one is ready as soon as you move the first one into the toaster.
3.Depending on the size of the the slot of your toaster you may want to cut the roti in half before sliding it into the toaster so that all of it bakes well.

Facts to know with freezing and thawing cooked food

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  1. Always discard any items in the freezer that have come into contact with raw meat juices.
  2. Do not leave cooked food at room temperature for too long before freezing. Remember, we freeze food because bacteria develops when its left at room temperature.
  3. Thawing completely and then refreezing food not only loses taste, texture, and nutrients but could also result in the development of bacteria due to frequent temperature changes.
  4. Never taste food to determine whether it is safe to eat. You also should not rely too heavily on appearance to determine whether the food is safe. If in doubt, throw it out.

Also check- How do I manage excess cooked food? Freeze or not? and How best to thaw frozen food?

How to use a Pressure Cooker?

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After the required number of whistles, the stove should be turned off. Once the heat is off, all the steam releases naturally in 5-10 minutes. This is the best way of cooking as it retains all flavours and nutrients. However, steam can also be quick released by using the steam release valve or by gently lifting the whistle (depends on the model of cooker and instructions that came with it). Check out my video to see how steam can be released early before its usual time.

In general, perform these safety checks and you will be good to go:
1. Check to make sure there are no dents or cracks in your pressure cooker or the rubber gasket before using it.
2. There must always be some sort of liquid in your pressure cooker before you close the lid.
3. The pressure cooker should never be more than ⅔ full as there needs to be room for the steam to accumulate.
4. Never try to force open the lid of the pressure cooker when there is steam inside. You can get seriously burnt.
5. Even when it is safe to open the lid, lift the lid away from your face, as the contents will be steaming hot.
6. All pressure cookers have a quick release valve/system. Follow the instructions to make sure you are doing it correctly.