Indian Cottage Cheese or Paneer is a staple in every Indian’s refrigerator. It is hard and so deceptive as you cook them, as you see it melt in the dishes and creamy and so delicious. Here I have a very easy dish made of Paneer for people out there who want to start cooking Indian food!
Onions- 3 medium diced fine
Tomatoes- 4 diced
Bell Pepper- 1- diced small
Grated Indian Cottage Cheese or Paneer-1/2 cup
Garlic- 5 cloves minced
1/2 inch of fresh ginger
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
1 Clove, 1 Cardamom, a small piece of Cinnamon
Salt to taste
Cayenne powder- 1 teaspoon
Curry powder or Garam Masala- 1 teaspoon
Cilantro for garnish
To a pan under medium flame, add a tablespoon oil, add clove, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric powder and toast for a minute. Now add tomatoes and cook covered for about 3/4 min s.
Blend this separately
Take another pan placed under medium flame and add a teaspoon of oil, add ginger, garlic, onions, bell pepper and saute with salt, cayenne powder, curry powder and saute’ for about 5 minutes.
Toss in the blended tomato and mix well.
Add the grated Indian Cottage Cheese or Paneer slowly while mixing in.
As promised, I am posting some pictures that were clicked while I was cooking @Williams Sonoma, Short Hills in NewJersey.
I was asked to start at 12pm and so I went 1 hour early so I can pick some pots and pans that I needed and few spices that WS carried.
Laura Edwards who is an outstanding Chef herself and the lead for all cooking demo’s at WS is a sweet heart and was so helpful. She helped me grab everything that I needed and made me feel perfectly at home:)
I placed all my stuff in a cart and rolled it to my cooking station. It was just about 12pm and I started heating my pan.
What was I making? I had pondered for weeks together to come up with something for the summer that everyone can relate to and enjoy a burts of flavor in their mouth!
I finally decided to make VEGETARIAN SLOPPY JOES for the first half which was from 12 to 1 30pm and then a SAVORY RICE CREPE with INDIAN COTTAGE CHEESE from 1.30 to 3pm!!!! Right around 12pm, I had my pan with all my veggies and was thrilled to mash everything in the pan to get to my desired consistency. I also had my grill pan with buns toasting and grilling them crisp so I can serve my Vegetarian sloppy joes with the grilled bun along with some cilantro and spring onions as garnish!
I had a few people who arrived at the store and it was going slow and I was enjoying my chats with the customers and providing them a detailed explanation of how to create the dish and completely enjoying myself.
All of a sudden after about 12.45pm or so, the store began to get crowded and I was wondering even if I could keep up with the pace. I am trying to toast my buns and get nice grill marks on them, at the same time spooning my sauce and garnish while talking to them. I have a couple of people who had some questions about the dish and my recipe. OMG!!!!!It was craziness at its best:)
Then I had this lady come up to me and ask me: “Is this what’s smelling so good that I was tempted to enter the store and see whats cooking”? I was thrilled and excited to listen to her say that and offered her and her kids some extra samplers!!!!
I had some people come up to me and ask me if I owned a restaurant and if they could come over for dinner:(. That is when I remembered Gordon Ramsay, Graham and Joe during Master Chef. They asked me what my food dream was and I said to them it was to own my own place/ restaurant one day! Ambitious but I think this country is about dreams and following your dreams so lets wait and watch:)
Meantime, I had a special guest who showed up- YAY! My room mate from Master Chef – I call her the CAKE GIRL- SAMANTHA KATE! I was jumping with joy when I saw her. This is the first time we meet after Master Chef! So I really want to thank her for stopping by and showing her support as a great wonderful friend. x0x0x0x0x.
I had some many kids come again and again and sweep my serving tray clean and I am thinking where did those 10 samplers that I just put out go? And then their mom would come running towards me and apologize saying ” Thats his/ her last one”.
I must tell you this that the Vegetarian Sloppy Joes that I made had cauliflower, peas, carrots, green bell peppers, potatoes and I cooked them separately with a bunch of my special masala/ curry powder blend that I make from scratch and then add it to this delicious spiced onion tomato mixture and mash them all up and finally add a touch of lemon juice for acidity!
How else do you think I get my kids to eat their veggies???? And so I was so happy to watch those kids grabbing those samplers and its all gone in a second- Vanished in thin air!
Some people came up to me and said that they would like a meaty texture in their sloppy joes and nothing but meat would do it! Well, I have an answer to every meat question you ask me, people! So there is something called as TVP which is Textured Vegetable Protein. TVP is made from reduced-fat soy beans and is used to replace or extend ground meats and you can basically use it to get that meaty texture along with the above veggies !
Now time flew by like crazy- It was like I blinked and it was 1.45 already! So I was lagging behind in making my Savory Rice Crepes. So I try to put my Veg Sloppy Joes aside and start on my pan of rice crepe. Once I take out the pan, I see a line of people gathering and eagerly waiting to see what I put out next! So I took out my Crepe dough that I MADE ALL FROM SCRATCH.
I had promised a lot of people at the store that I would post the proportions and the recipe to making Rice Crepe dough in my blog. So here goes:
The dough to my Rice Crepe has: 3 CUPS OF RICE GROUND TO A SMOOTH PASTE + 1 CUP OF WHITE LENTILS GROUND TO A SMOOTH PASTE! Then mix everything and add salt to taste and let the dough rest overnight at room temperature. This is important for fermentation to happen (thats my inner Microbiologist talking) and also for the slight acidity that you are looking for when you bite into a thin crispy crepe.
I start making the crepes and filling them with my Indian cottage cheese and placing my samplers on the serving tray. I am not sure if I was slow making the crepes or if it was the people lining up but it was all gone in a flash!!!! I was using 2 pans simultaneously to make Crepes so I can keep up with the crowd.
Finally, Laura came to my rescue and said that I can stop and start cleaning up!
Laura also mentioned that they needed people with great energy who would draw people in with their food and laughter! She has asked me to go back again and we are working on a few dates so will post the dates for my future sessions soon!!!!
I want to thank my husband without whom I couldnt have pulled it off so well…his immense support and encouragement motivates me to do the best I can of whatever life has to offer!
I hope you enjoyed reading and a big thank you to all my friends who showed up and all the rest who were so kind and appreciated my food and walked away friends!!!!
I want to start by introducing all of you to what a “Kadai” is? Kadai in India means a wok:) I prepare this awesome “currylicious” cottage cheese dish in a wok tossed with colored bell peppers, onions and tomatoes. I throw in a bunch of spices that the flavors and smell travel to my neighbours and they say “not again, Nandini- We smell another curry in the making. Are we invited”?
I just feel very generous today 🙂 and would love to share this recipe with all of you. I bet you will fall in love with this currylicious dish!!!