Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Palak Paneer

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted, but I've been a little busy getting ready for and now taking care of the newest addition to our family. I've mostly been feeding little brother or trying to get some sleep/rest, so I haven't really cooked anything of real interest in the recent past. But I did make some great palak (spinach) paneer one night to round out a meal of leftovers. I've tried a few different palak paneer recipes, being disappointed every time. This time I took the best of a couple different recipes and added some personal twists. It was a big hit with my mom & hubby! Unfortunately big brother couldn't have any as this dish contains dairy. I like to think this is a restaurant quality dish…hope you enjoy!

20 oz Fresh Spinach (or 2 boxes Frozen Spinach)
5-6 Tb Oil
1 lg Onion, blended
1/2 Tb Ginger, grated
1/2 Tb Garlic, grated
2 tsp Garam Masala
2 tsp Cumin Powder
1/8 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 Tb Madras Curry Powder
Red Chili Powder
Salt, to taste
14 oz Firm Paneer, cubed
1 c. Fat Free Half & Half

Clean and wash spinach well. Boil the spinach in water and cool it (or cook according to frozen package directions). Then puree in a food processor.

Heat oil in a kadai. Add onions and fry until golden brown. Add ginger and garlic and fry for a minute. Add all remaining spices. Stir in the spinach and a little water if needed and cook for 4-5 minutes.

Paneer can be fried to golden brown in a separate pan or can be used as is. Add paneer and half & half to the spinach and simmer on low heat until cooked through.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Beef Fried Rice

It's March now…and there's still over a foot of snow outside. I don't know when I'll get to see my lawn again. I have to admit, I've been struck by the wintertime blues. It would be nice to go outside and not see piles of snow everywhere! At least after today we should expect some warm, sunny days and I won't be stuck at home because of a snow storm. Hopefully yesterday's snow is the last of this season…I'll keep my fingers crossed, but I'm not holding my breath!

Last night I had no idea what to make for dinner and was feeling tired and, admittedly, a bit lazy. Then I realized I had all the makings for fried rice. Hooray! It's so quick and easy to make and, bonus, it's something that my son can eat too! What I like about this dish is that you can change it based on what you're in the mood for or what you have hanging out in the kitchen. It's a terrific way to empty out your produce drawer…just use whatever veggies you have on hand with the protein of your choice. This is a tasty and guilt-free version of a take out favorite.

One allergy related comment: my son does have a soy allergy, but he seems to be able to tolerate soy sauce. I don't know if perhaps soy sauce doesn't have any of the soy protein or because the quantity is so small that it doesn't bother him. My son can tolerate some soy, but not everyone who is allergic to it can. I don’t recommend this dish for anyone who cannot tolerate soy or is unsure about it.

Sorry, no pretty picture this time…the rice was all gone before I remembered to take a picture! That's how good it is!

1 c. Rice
1 lb Beef, thinly sliced
1/2 c. Soy Sauce, halved
1 Tb Chili Garlic Paste, halved
1 Onion, diced
8 oz Broccoli Slaw
8 oz Frozen Broccoli, thawed
5 oz Frozen Peas & Carrots, thawed

Cook rice night before and refrigerate.

Marinate beef in 1/4 c. soy sauce and 1/2 Tb chili garlic paste.

Heat oil in a large wok to fry onion until translucent. Add broccoli slaw, broccoli, peas & carrots, and 1/2 tsp salt. Fry for a few minutes.

Add rice, 1/4 c. soy sauce, 1/2 Tb chili garlic paste and fry for a few minutes. Remove rice and add more oil to fry the beef strips. Remove any excess liquid and add rice. Fry for a few more minutes and adjust seasonings as needed.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chicken Curry

Chicken curry. There are probably as many versions of this dish as there are households in India. This is my humble version, which I find to be yummy and versatile. It can be a comfy dinner to have with your honey on a cold night but can be elegant enough to serve to guests. And it's perfect to multiply for larger groups and make-ahead; just reheat in the oven. And for my veggie lovin' friends out there, I'm sure you could use potatoes and tofu instead of the chicken.

This dish happens to be one of my son's favorites! When he didn't have the teeth (or desire) to chew the bits of chicken, I would blend it up with a little extra water or chicken broth and stir it into his soft cooked rice. Of course I'm careful to remove the whole spices from his bowl and I go a little easy on the red chili powder when he's having the chicken.

1 large Sweet Onion
8 cloves Garlic
1 inch Ginger
1/4 c. Oil
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds
1/2 stick Cinnamon
4 Cloves
1 tsp Peppercorns
2 Cardamom Pods
2 Bay Leaves
2 small Tomatoes (Vine Ripe or Roma)
1/2 tsp Red Chili Powder (or Cayenne Pepper)
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 Tb Cumin Powder
1 Tb Madras Curry Powder (or any curry powder of your choice)
5-6 Chicken Legs, skinned (or boneless, skinless, chopped Chicken Thighs)
1 tsp Salt

Blend onion, garlic, and ginger together into a paste, using a little bit of water (no more than 1/4 c.).

Heat oil in a Dutch oven. Add cumin, mustard, fennel, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, cardamom, and bay leaves and toast. Add onion paste and fry until water is evaporated and oil separates.

Meanwhile, blend tomatoes and add to pot once onions are cooked through. Simmer until the liquid is gone. Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, and curry powder and stir. Stir in chicken and salt.

Add enough water to almost cover the chicken and cover. Let simmer on low until chicken is cooked through and is falling off the bone. Check the water level to keep from scorching and to maintain desired thickness of gravy. It may be necessary to simmer uncovered towards the end if the gravy is too thin.

Serve with basmati rice.

NOTE: For a creamier texture, use a little less water and add 8 oz. Sour Cream just before you cover to simmer. Do not stir in the sour cream, just pour it on top and cover.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Red Bean Enchiladas

Hello to the blogging world! This is my first foray into blogging and I hope to entertain, help, and maybe even inspire other foodies and moms out there.

To tell you a little about myself, I am an Indian-American, more specifically, a Gujarati-American married to a Bengali-American. Together we have created a spectacular little boy who is now 2 years old and expecting our second son in a few weeks. I am a full time mom and a foodie at heart. My husband and I both love food, and so by default, our son does too.

Our son does suffer from multiple food allergies…soy, dairy, wheat, peanuts, nuts, sesame, and eggs…so feeding him can be a challenge. We learned about his allergies in February '09 and it just about brought my world crashing down. I had no idea what to do as far as feeding him was concerned. He was eating his baby food just fine, but I knew we couldn't go on like that forever. I searched the web and book stores, went to a nutritionist, all of which just brought me back to square one. I was shocked at how few HELPFUL resources there are for parents of infants with multiple food allergies. But after a few months of baby steps (no pun intended), I am a little more comfortable in making foods that he can enjoy.

This blog is to serve two purposes. First to share my love of food and the recipes that I enjoy. And second, to serve as a resource for other moms out there that have infants/young toddlers with multiple food allergies.

For my first recipe, I've decided to share a dish near and dear to my heart, Red Bean Enchiladas. I know, I know, why a tex-mex dish with my Indian background? What can I say, I love my Mexican food! When I make this, I mix the bean filling with some rice to serve to my son.

2 Tb Canola Oil
1/2 tsp. Cumin Seeds
1 Onion, diced
1 clove Garlic
1 14-oz can Red Kidney Beans, drained
1/4 tsp. Red Chile Powder
1 tsp. Ground Cumin
Salt, to taste
2 Tb Tomato Paste
4 Tortillas
1 10-oz can Enchilada Sauce (Recommend: Old El Paso)
6 oz Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add cumin seeds and let sizzle. Add onion and brown. When onions are slightly caramelized, add garlic, beans, chile powder, cumin, and salt. Cook for a couple minutes then stir in tomato paste and cook for another minute. For a creamier texture, mash the beans with the back of a large spoon.

Coat a casserole dish with oil.

In a sauté pan, heat the tortillas with a brush of oil on each side. Pour enchilada sauce into a dish, then dip one heated tortilla to coat both sides with the sauce. Place the tortilla in the casserole dish and fill with the bean filling. Fold the edges of the tortillas over and repeat the process to fill the remaining enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheddar and cover with foil. Bake in oven for about 10 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling. Serve with your favorite Mexican sides such as refried beans, rice, and avocado salad or guacamole.