Thursday, May 28, 2020

Fresh Cherry Jam-What To Do With Fresh Cherries |No Pectin| No Artifical Colours Or Flavours

During this lockdown, a local vendor is delivering vegetables and fruits in our area and I cannot thank him enough. Just being at the comfort of your own home and ordering through phone at this tough time is such a blessing. I messaged him to send cherry tomatoes in the last order but he instead sent lots of cherries, yes the fruit.  We did eat the fresh cherries for few days, I served the fresh cherries in porridge, with ice-cream and also made milkshake.  Very quickly then it started to become mushy and I had a feeling that if I don't make something out of it soon, cherries will rot.

I did not want to waste food so I had this idea to make Cherry Jam and I decided to infuse it with cinnamon. I haven't made fruit jam at home ever, so I had no clue what to expect and where to start. After google search I understood that jams need pectin. Pectin is a type of starch that occurs naturally when sugar is mixed with fruits. Majority of ready made jams the one we get in store contains artificial pectin ( heteropolysaccharide) that makes thick jam. It is like gelatin that makes desserts thick but Pectin is a water-soluble fiber derived from non-animal byproducts, whereas gelatin is a protein derived from animals.

After seeing the information on google I understand that commercial pectin is bad for your health and cause lot of health issues such as stomach cramps, gas and diarrhea. So my next hurdle was to think about a substitute that would make the jam thick and that’s when I decided to use cornstarch. Cornstarch dissolved in water and then cooked with sugar and cherries helped the jam to thicken beautifully.

We don’t bring jam as a part of grocery. So I was also thinking about the ways I am going to consume this fresh homemade jam without pectin in our daily diet.
  1. Spread on the toasted bread for breakfast.
  2. Use it in porridge instead of honey with some nuts and fresh fruits.
  3. Serve along some crackers and cheese.
  4. Layer it up on overnight oats.
  5. Simply roll it up in parathas.
  6. On ice-cream scoops.
  7. Mix it with lemon juice and make fruit salad dressing.
This Cherry Jam is infused with Cinnamon and is sweet and sour in taste. I also used a hint of black pepper to spice it up a bit. Overall, I am so glad I put together jam at home. With it being homemade I know it is not overloaded with sugar. I know it has no artificial flavour or colours.

3 cups fresh cherries.
1 cup sugar
1 piece on cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grounded black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons water

Wash cherries. Take out the seeds. (the most annoying part)
In the mixer, blend the cherries roughly. (leave some pulp)
In the heavy bottom pan, mix cherries, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and black pepper.
On a low heat, keep mixing continuously till you see that cherries has started to boil.
Mix water and corn starch and make a paste.
Mix the corn paste in the cherries mixture and cook till cherries reduce half in the quantity.
Let it cool down. Store in airtight container.

You might need to increase or reduce sugar based on the sweetness of cherries.
When the cherries starts to boil, be careful because it will sprinkle the hot bubbling juice on hands. I cover my hand with a cloth to be on a safe side.
This jam will stay good in the fridge for up to 2 months.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

How To Make Aloo Ki Subji Without Onion, Tomatoes And Yogurt/Dahi

Aloo Ki Subji needs no introduction. This is very staple in every Indian home and is cooked in various styles- aloo matar tamatar, dahiwale aloo, rassewale aloo, bhandarewale aloo or puja vale alu, sukha aaloo and what not. Today's aloo ki subzi is perfect lockdown recipe because it is aloo ki sabzi without tomatoes, onion or even yogurt (curd).

Aloo Puri is a very popular simple breakfast or brunch item that is served in almost all Indian homes on the weekends. But it is also something royal that is served to guests in weddings (shaadi), birthday parties or even house warming parties. The fact is that -the combination of raswali (gravy) tari (a bit oily) aloo ki sabji and puri is a synonym for celebration .Period!

How to make Alloo Ki Subji without Tomatoes/Curd? Infact this version tastes so good that you will stop using tomatoes in your raswali (liquid) potatoes curry all together. This kind of alu ki subji is very popular in Mathura and Banaras-also called as Dubki Vale Aloo or Ghaat Ke Alu Or Banrasi Aloo. It is mainly served with urad or moong daal puri or kachori with some green chillies on the side.

So if you are stuck in the home with some potatoes and wondering what to do with it-worry not, just make this version. Serve it along with ajwain puri or palak puri or just simple parathas. This aloo ki sabzi is cooked with basic Indian spices, and is prominently flavoured with hing. You will need to boil potatoes beforehand for this curry to get that good thick traditional dubki vali subji. This type of rasile tari aloo ki subji is also satvik because it has no onion and is also without garlic. Let's see how to make this.

2 medium size potatoes/aloo boiled
3 tablespoons oil
2 dry red chilli
1 teaspoon cumin seeds/ jeera
1/4 tablespoon asafoetida/ hing
1/4 tablespoon turmeric powder/haldi
1 tablespoon coriander powder/dhaniya
Red chilli powder to taste
Salt to taste
1 tablespoons dry fenugreek leaves/kastrui methi
1/4 teaspoon garam massala
1 teaspoon dry mango powder/amchur (see notes)
1 teaspoon cornflour/ararot or chickpea flour/besan
3 cups water

Roughly break the boiled potatoes with your hands.
Heat oil in a kadai. When it is hot add cumin seeds, dry red chilli powder and hing. Cook till cumin crackles. Turn the heat to low.
Add in turmeric, red chilli powder, salt, coriander powder, garam massala and dry mango powder. Just sauté the spices till it is coated in the oil.
Add potatoes. Mix well and let potatoes cook for 1 minute. Keep stirring.
Add the water and cook till water comes to boil
Mix the corn flour with two tablespoons water and make the paste. Add this paste in the curry and cook again covered  for 4-5 minutes.
Finally throw in kasturi methi. And serve.

You can use lemon juice if you do not have dry mango powder.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Indian Style Tomato Spaghetti Noodles Pasta | No Sauce | One Pot Meal Idea

here is the fact. I will claim it is a fact because that's how sure I am. The fact is that give Indians few ingredients and they will make you something really good with it. Not only that, they can indianised any dish so well that you will forget the origin of the dish. We have indo-Chinese, indo-Mexican, indo-Italian- basically all cuisines that we have adapted to Indian version.

Today's post is another example of such fusion cooking. It is Indian style spaghetti noodles. I, to be honest do not know what to name this dish. It is both Italian and Chinese, I guess. I have used ingredients such as soya sauce, schezwan sauce from Chinese kitchen and then I have used Italian herbs, basil, tomato sauce too like the way you would do in Italian arrabiata sauce.

There are various shaped in which pasta in available such as penne, fussili, ribbon, tagliatelle but Spaghetti is the most popular one in India considering it looks just like noodles. The recipe I have today is one pot meal idea that gets ready in a jiffy and is defiantly a good Indian Style Tomato Spaghetti Noodles Pasta.

Indian style means it has to be rich in colour, spicy and saucy. We don't like our pasta to be dry-we like it where every stand of noodle is coated with massala and sauce. This is pakka desi vegetarian pasta with tomato, garlic, capsicum and all basic spices. Also you don't need to make any fancy sauce beforehand, this recipe is no sauce pasta recipe too.

If you want to check the recipe please see the video below.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Dry Paneer Bhurji |Without Tomatoes|For Weight Loss|

Paneer as you know is the crowd pleaser ingredient for vegetarians. There are so many ways and recipes in which you can use paneer -right from starters to sides, to even desserts. Some of the paneer dishes doesn't even need any introduction such paneer dishes are either cooked at home or eaten at a dhabha as Mutter Paneer, Paneer ButterMassala and Palak Paneer.

Then are some paneer dishes that you always eat at a restaurant such as Kadai Paneer, Achaari Paneer, Paneer Tikka Massala and Paneer Kofta. Today I shall talk about Paneer Bhurji. What is Paneer Bhurji? Paneer Bhurji is a popular north Indian dish made with cottage cheese, with spices (massala) and with or without veggies. It is eaten with roti, paratha, naan, puri, kulcha, bhatura, bread, pav or as a side dish. It is also used as a stuffing for sandwiches, kathi roll, frankies, pitta bread, paratha and bread rolls.

Is paneer healthy? Can we eat paneer every day? Is paneer good for weight loss? After a quick google search and speaking to a friend who is a dietician and a nutritionist  I have come up to the conclusion that paneer is a power house of protein, healthy fats and is very low on carbohydrates. It is recommended for weight loss only if you make it in a healthy way that is not by deep frying and also using lots of vegetables in the process.

When I initially started cooking paneer bhurji, I saw so many recipes and videos of Sanjeev Kapoor, Ranveer Brar, Harpal Singh etc but slowly I understood that you need to decide as an individual what you want in your paneer bhurji. Paneer Bhurji is one such paneer dish that is super healthy and can be altered in so many ways. You can use onions garlic or not. You can use capsicum (I love to use) or not. Some people like it with gravy, I just prefer it dry. You can add veggies like corn, peas, spinach etc to make it even healthier.

You can put together fresh paneer from scratch for this recipe, I like to use store brought ones. In the market you will find two types of paneer-one will be soft white paneer and other will be slight yellowish paneer (bit hard, that looks like a block of cheddar cheese) -use that hard one for paneer bhurji recipe. Reason, because hard paneer is easy to grate and when it cooks it doesn't become a mushy mess. Also if you are using frozen paneer, give a good boil in the pan full of water, when it cools down-grate and use.

I use very basic daily spices and powders to make this. Also I don't like to use tomatoes as well. so Let's see how to make paneer burji.

1 cup grated paneer
1 medium sized onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic grated
1/2 capsicum chopped
1 green chilli chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons oil                      
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon kasturi methi
1/4 teaspoon hing
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon garam massala
Red chilli powder as per taste
Salt as per taste
Coriander leaves for garnish
1/4 cup water

Heat oil in a pan, when it is hot add in hing and cumin seeds. Let it splutter.
On a slow heat add in garlic and onion. Cook till there is now raw smell and onions become soft.
Add in capsicum and cook it till it turns soft.
Add in grated paneer. Mix in all the spices-salt, red chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder. Also throw in green chilli. Mix well.
Add in water and lemon juice. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes and mix in kasturi methi and garam massala. Mix and let it cook for another 2 minutes.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

If you want to have gravy, after onions, garlic and capsicum is cooked add in 2 chopped tomatoes. When tomatoes are done follow the remaining steps and paneer bhurji with gravy will be ready.
Some recipes call for pav bhaji or kitchen king massala, I just feel that these massala over powers the actual taste so I avoid using it. Feel free to add if you wish.
You can make stuffed parathas with this bhurji and also use it as stuffing for sandwiches and rolls.