Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Palak Paneer - a perfect sunday lunch!

Sundays are for relaxing and catching up with friends and family. Lately I've been socialising a bit too much and the odd-sunday at home is a refreshing change and more than welcome.
Sunday is synonymous with lazying around, eating a delicious home-cooked meal and catching a movie. I did just that!

After much debating, my cousin and I settled on Palak paneer and chapatis for our cook-it-yourself-sunday-lunch. As a cook in compulsion, chapatis weren't such a complex task (save for the snail's pace execution) but palak paneer was something I had been savouring for years, never paying attention to how it is prepared.

Nevertheless, I borrowed my aunty's recipe, fused it with mom's recipe and added the ingredients that were available at home! Read the recipe here-

(Serves two)
  • One bundle palak
  • Two green chillies
  • 2 tablepoon cooking oil
  • 10-15 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 250 grams paneer, cut into cubes
  • Jeera for the tadka
  • 1 finely chopped onion (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoon fresh cream (optional)
  1. Clean the palak by breaking off the hard stem and wash it twice or thrice to remove all the dirt.
  2. Steam the palak for 4 minutes in a microwave cooker. Alternatively, you could boil water in a steel vessel, dip the cleaned palak in it till it gets cooked.
  3. Once steamed, run cold water over the palak. This will held retain the nice green colour in the final preparation and not make it look blackish.
  4. Grind the palak and green chillies with a little water to make a smooth paste.
  5. Heat the oil. Add jeera and chopped garlic to the heating oil. Let it sizzle and cook until the garlic turns brownish.
  6. Add onion and cook it until it turns golden brown.
  7. Add the palak paste and give it oil boil.
  8. Add water to bring the palak gravy to a nice consistency (remember the gravy will thicken slightly once it cooks)
  9. Add salt as per taste and chilli powder if needed.
  10. Add paneer cubes and give it one stir without breaking the paneer cubes.
  11. Let it simmer on slow fire for 2-3 minutes.
  12. Add fresh cream for a creamy look to the gravy.
  13. Serve hot with chappatis or rice.

Once the palak paneer was almost ready, my cousin set the table while I made a small surprise salad!

I mixed boiled macaroni and steamed american corn with one spoon of Fun & Foods Pasta & Pizza Spread and good old Amul cheese spread. I finished up the one minute salad by adding salt and freshly ground pepper for taste.

The food turned out to be pretty good. The salad was a quick-fix and a rather taste one. The black grapes for dessert (my cousin's surprise) was a perfect end to a sumptuous home-cooked lunch on a lazy sunday afternoon, while the 'Hip-hop' movie 'You Got Served' kept us glued way past lunchtime.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Cook in Compulsion, and Lovin' it!


Looking at me no one would ever say that this girl isn't a foodie for I'm a BIG FOODIE and proud to be so. But funnily, my foodiness was restricted to relishing good food. I never really took interest in preparing food, or the effort to learn the art of cooking. I know it is a paradox, perhaps even hard to believe, but that is how things were.


My look still the same. But I've begun appreciating mom's more for the three meals that they churn up for us, without being lazy. I've begun appreciating the art of cooking, chopping vegetables, playing with spices and cooking up full meals for my tiffin! having lived on the bad hostel food for nearly 1.5 years, the desire to made my own 'dabba' at 5:30 am, before leaving for class was just too strong. I wanted to eat good food, and not the dabbas I had been eating just for the sake for eating without ever looking forward to it.

In one line, 'I'm a cook and compulsion and strangely I'm loving it'!

Till date I've taken wide-varities of food in my tiffin - idlis, uttapams, pizza, pasta (very popular with my collegues), dal fry and roti, parathas, pulao, roti/sabzi, salads, thalipeth, pav bhaji etc :) I've even tried making new stuff - tacos, khajur pak etc.

I feel proud of myself. I always kept cribbing because mom tried forcing me to learn cooking. But I'm the kind who'll not do anything until I feel like I should do it. In this case, it worked in my favour. For now is the time when I can take tiffinf and I'm taking tiffin. I'm learning each day about the nuances of cooking and it has opened up a whole new world ready to be smelled, tasted and explored.

It has also given new a whole new confidence. I can be on my own and not just survive on bread. I too can make a full meal of Dal, chaval, sabzi, roti, salad, maybe even soup. Though, right now I'm keeping the dishes simple, but soon I can probabily match upto mom.

This new 'cooking' fad in my life has also made my mom happy on two levels, viz. she is proud of me for finally learning to cook, but the strongest one possibly is the fact that I have another quality for an eligible bride! The former makes me proud. The latter.....well, I'd rather not comment on it! ;)


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