Sunday, November 30, 2008

Makhani Paneer (Or close enough)

I went to Bombay Sweets the other day on Hillcroft, and I had this really good dish called Makhani Paneer. After my visit, I stopped by the Patel Brother's grocery store just to browse around. I picked up some shredded coconut and cashews for potential biryani and some ghee and paneer.

Tonight I decided, I'm gonna try to make that Makhani Paneer, so I got on the Internet. I didn't have all the ingredients in the recipes I saw, as they needed fenugreek and more chili powder than I had, so I improvised. I think my "close enough" Makhani Paneer was really good, and my husband gave it a 9.4, and requested another helping about 10 minutes ago (I said "it is too late to eat, he is eating mango now instead--marriage is about compromise ;)

I served the makhani paneer with a basmati rice with cardamon and cumin seeds and turmeric and a dash of curry. The recipes for the "close enough" makhani paneer and the rice are below.

Cumin and Cardamon Seed Rice (4-6 servings):

1 1/2 c. basmati rice (washed 5 times)
1/8 c. canola oil
1 tblsp. cumin seeds
8 cardamon pods, opened and seeds removed
3 c. water
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp Indian curry powder
salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a rice cooker and let it do it's thang.

"Close Enough" Makhani Paneer (4-6) servings:
1 medium size onion, sliced thin
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 heaping tblsp. ghee or regular butter
28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
14 oz block of paneer, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tblsp chili powder
1/2 tsp turmerics
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tblsp garam masala
1 tblsp Indian curry powder
salt to taste
3/4 c. heavy whipping cream

(I didn't really measure the spices, but taste it as you go to see if you want to add more or less of something)

In a medium saucepan fry the onion with the ghee for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and saute for an additional 5 minutes or until soft and translucent. Mix in all the spices and saute with the onions for about a minute. Add the crushed tomatoes and cook until simmering. Mix in the cream and let it thicken a bit. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree. Pour puree back into the pot and add the paneer cubes. Let the makhani paneer cook for another 3 minutes. Serve with the rice, and share with friends :) I'll be eating this for lunch tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Soy Maple Glazed Salmon

This salmon recipe is insanely simple. 

1/3 c low sodium soy sauce
1/3 c brown sugar
1/4 c olive oil
1 tsp citrus juice of your choice 
pepper to taste

Marinade the salmon steaks in the sauce in a Ziploc bag for at least two hours. In a large frying pan cook the salmon with the marinade, occasionally spooning the marinade over the fish.  

I served this with wasabi mashed potatoes and peas and sake glazed carrots. 

Monday, November 10, 2008

Curry-Orange and Carrot Sea Scallop with Pureed Sunchokes

This is what I served as the third course of a 7 course dinner I hosted for Houston area food-bloggers/critics. It was one of the most liked dishes of the night, and a complete innovation of my own. 

Recipe for the pureed sunchokes:
1 bag of sunchokes (available at the Whole Foods on Kirby)
the juice of 1/2 orange
Heavy whipping cream
dash of salt, pepper, and cumin

Peel the sunchokes and cut into equal size pieces. Boil sunchokes until the are soft (like you would a potato). Drain the water and mash the sunchokes. Pour in the orange juice and enough cream so that it has a creamy consistency. Mix in the pepper and cumin to taste. 

Recipe for the Orange/Carrot/Cumin Puree:
 1 carrot peeled, chopped in 1/2 inch slices
chili powder
cayenne pepper

Boil the carrots until soft. Mash up and mix in a little cream, but not too much. Add salt and spices to your own taste. I think a little spice in this is good. 

Creamy Curry Sauce Recipe:
Heavy Whipping Cream
garam masala
curry powder
salt and pepper

Here is a little trick I used to not over or under salt my sauces. I mix it all up and taste cold, before I start heating it. I do this because everytime I want to taste for salt and it is cooking, I burn my mouth :) For this sauce don't add too much curry or garam masala, because I think it takes away from the flavor of the sunchokes. But really all you have to do is cook it on medium until it thickens a bit. 

Fried Carrots Recipe:
Using a peeler, peel long sliced of carrot. Fry until crispy like you would a potato chip! Easy...

Pan fry scallop until cooked. Ladle out some mashed sunchoke, add a dollop of the mashed carrot, top with scallop, pour a tablespoon of the curry cream on top and around side, add the carrot chips (dust with a little cumin--optional). Ta-duh!

Iranian Yogurt Dip (Maast-o Khiar)

This is very easy and very delightful and refreshing. The photo of the kuku below has the image of the dip.

3 Persian cucumbers, diced
1/2 c golden raisins
2-3 c of HIGH quality whole milk yogurt
1/4 c chopped scallions
1 tblsp chopped fresh mint
2 tblsps chopped fresh dill
2 crushed garlic cloves
3 tblsps chopped walnuts
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Garnish with mint and rose petals

Just mix it all up! Serve with lavash bread and feta.

Iranian Herb Quiche (Sabzi Kuku)

My father in law once made Sabzi Kuku when he was visiting my husband and I in St. Louis. It is his specialty, and my husband goes gaga over it. This was the first time I tried it. That day he spent hours washing, mincing, and mixing herbs (insane amounts). He then mixed berries and walnuts and eggs into it. I thought to myself, that seems really weird, and it was intensely green! The end result was so unusual and fantastic I learned it myself. Here is how I make it, with a few modifications of Batmanglij's recipe.

5-6 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
dash of cinnamon
dash of cumin
dash of cardamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 c finely minced scallions
1 c finely minced parsley
1 c finely minced cilantro
1 c finely minced dill
1 tblsp flour
1 tbslp dried fenugreek
2 tblsp barberries
1/4-1/2 c chopped walnuts
1/2 oil or clarified butter
3 tbslp chopped tarragon
1 romaine leaf

First soak all of the herbs to clean them very well. Finely chop all of the herbs. In a large mixing bowl whisk all of the ingredients together. I think it is good to give it a good whip with an electric mixer to allow some air bubbles--this makes it fluffier. Preheat oven to 350. Grease (generously) a 9 inch cake pan. Pour the mixture into the pan, and cook in oven until cooked all the way through. You can then just plop it out and cut in wedges. Serve with feta cheese or yogurt.