The Paneer Parantha

Best paneer is not from the market, it is from the kitchen. Prepare by curdling the boiling milk (with vinegar). Draining the liquid, squeezing through a thin cloth and pressing with some weight.

If you do not know the process, experiment a little. You can not go wrong, no-one till date has gone wrong.

Now you have paneer, think about all the other stuff you like, ajwain (carom, Bishop’s weed), salt, red chillies, onion. Add them to the crumbled paneer. Use this stuff as a filling. May use cilantro for visuals and aroma. Up-to you. Green chilly, same remark applies.

Whole wheat dough, take a ball, and use the filling. Lift the sides and cover itself. Roll a nice flat circular chapati out of this.IMG_20150924_170412 IMG_20150924_173557 IMG_20150924_173606 IMG_20150924_173619

Place this on the hot griddle, bake one side, flip over, bake on the other side. NOW….only now paste a little oil on this side. Flip over, repeat the oil application. Keep a spatula to press the parantha (after oil application, chapati becomes parantha).

If pressed properly, on the right places, and the gods in heaven benign, it may even puff up. Even if it does not, it is delicious to look at and heavenly to eat.

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I saw this squash in Farmers Market at Mountain View CA, and fell in love. This was a pomegranate type fruit color and size-wise. The farmer told me that the skin is edible, and is like butternut squash.

I took the two home and planned a vegetable dish similar to North Indian Pumpkin that we eat in marriage festivities.

I baked it whole in the oven at 400F for 10 minutes, maybe 20. I am not too sure, because we were in the process of making a cake, and my d-in-law said she will do the squash to save time. Whatever…..the squash was well done when it was given back to me, cut in half and cleaned of the seeds.


Naturally, I cut them in small slices and assembled my ingredients. The Fenugreek (methi) seeds were already dipped in water to soften. Tamarind paste, unrefined sugar, garlic, onions, de-skinned tomatoes, cayenne, and salt were around.

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I took a frying pan and added some oil, allowed it to smoke (smoking is allowed in the kitchen). I added the fenugreek seeds still a little wet, to see spluttering and a little caramelizing of the seeds, probably a mistake. I quickly added the crushed garlic, and the onions, and reduced the heat a little. After a while, the tomatoes and sugar went in to give a thick red slurry. In our household the liquids are called slurry as a reminder that this is a mechanical engineer cook.IMG_20150924_160701IMG_20150924_161343IMG_20150924_172124

A little cooking of the tomatoes and then added some tamarind paste diluted with water. Then the squash, and a little water, just a wee bit. Cooked for a while, not too much. Took it off the stove, and allowed it to absorb the spices’ aroma. IMG_20150924_172737IMG_20150924_172245

After a few adjustments of salt, addition of garam masala (Indian curry powder), it was perfect.

Indian cooking, with no oil

IMG_20150511_211240Cooked French beans with carrots and potatoes in a North Indian “Sabzi” to be eaten with chapatis.

The Carrot is an “English” carrot lighter than the Indian variety, and is less juicy and less sweet, it does not get squished. hence preferred.

This has no oil added and is a pretty simple dish to prepare. all the time taken is in dicing one carrot, potatoes (two medium), and a pound of beans with ends clipped. I like my vegetables washed and skinned (pesticides reside in the skin….so do the vitamins and minerals…but…) Everything cut small for ease of cooking. Time taken in winters and in summers are different, ambient in summers is 32C in kitchen, and in winters 10C. So after the Pressure cooker emits first whistle and we switch off the gas on the stove, the remnant cooking in winters is not that prolonged as in summer, you got the point! I also chose to add two diced tomatoes.

Loaded the French beans, potatoes, carrot and tomatoes in a three liter cooker and added 50ml or so water. Also a little turmeric, two chopped green chillies, chopped ginger, some coriander powder, and a little salt. Closed the lid, waited for the whistle and switched off the gas immediately after the whistle.

Garam masala (Curry powder) and lemon juice (a tea spoonful) was added after the pressure in the cooker had come down on its own, that is the cooking time. Tomatoes juices mixed with the 50 ml water, and the coriander gives the dish the required “body”. I did not add any onion, garlic, or cilantro leaves, because they overpower the delicate aroma of the beans.

Aroma unfortunately does not travel on the internet circuit. Sirf ehsaas hai ye rooh se mahsoos karo. I am sorry, even ehsaas and rooh can not be effectively translated in English language.

“Season it, and season it again” my favorite chef says. I love those guys who love to cook, simply by feel. It is heavenly. Ever seen an accomplished artist painting by measurements. The scale is for school kids. Same is true for kitchen, scale is for the novice. What says thou?  I taste the beans, adjust the seasoning, and taste it again. Heavenly!

English carrot
English carrot