Matar Paneer is an easy, tomato based Indian cottage cheese curry that is full of flavor and pairs well with roti, naan, steamed rice or jeera rice too.
This recipe is one of the first curries I ever learned how to make. Paneer or Indian cottage cheese is not a typical ingredient used in most Goan / Mangalorean households, but it’s one that’s widely used throughout north India. If you haven’t tried it yet, you really should. It’s one of the tastiest things I have eaten. Right from the first time my mother made this curry for us, I was hooked. I think this is one of the main reasons I actually wanted to know how it was made.
To really enjoy your paneer, you need to source some good quality paneer. In India, most dairy shops have some great, fresh paneer and it’s quite easy to find. Outside India, you will have to try a couple of brands out to find something you really like. I’ve found that the brands in my local supermarkets just don’t cut it. The paneer is rubbery and chewy and is not that flavorful. Now that goes against everything that good paneer is supposed to be. So after a lot of trial, I found some great quality paneer at my local Indian grocery store. This paneer is locally made and ticks all the boxes for me, when it comes to taste and texture.
This curry is a tomato based curry. Ideally, use fresh tomatoes if they are in season. If not, you can always use some passata, canned tomatoes or tomato puree. You can serve this curry up either with some roti or naan and it even goes really well with rice. Plain steamed rice is fine, but I serve it up with a beautiful Jeera Rice that is perfect for curries like this one.
Let’s have a look at the recipe, shall we?
Check for seasoning and add more salt, if needed.
Breakfast happens to be one of my favorite meals of the day. Well, a weekend breakfast, that is. Its the perfect time to whip up a batch of pancakes or French Toast or muffins. And if you’re the mood for something savory, then eggs and toast with the optional bacon and sausages is a great option. If you’re in a slightly more adventurous mood, then only a masala omelette will do. We love a good omelette. It needs to have nice bold flavors, a little spice and a little bite as well. We love it so much, that it sometimes makes an appearance as “breakfast for dinner”. Anyone else like “breakfast for dinner” as much as I do? I cannot believe that I haven’t shared this recipe with you before. It is super simple and so good. We usually serve it with some plain / buttered toast or some hot chapatis. They also make a fantastic sandwich when served between 2 slices of buttered bread. Try it out this weekend and let me know what you think of it.
Yields 1 omelette
2 tbsp finely chopped onions
2 tbsp finely chopped tomatoes
1-2 tsp finely chopped coriander leaves and stalks
1/2 birdseye chilly, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
A good pinch of turmeric powder
1 tsp oil
Add the onions, tomatoes, chilly and coriander to a bowl.
Add the salt, pepper and turmeric powder to the bowl and mix everything thoroughly.
Heat a pan over medium heat.
Drizzle the oil in the pan. When the oil has heated, pour the omelette mix into the pan.
Cook it over medium heat till the bottom side has set and turned a light brown.
Carefully flip over and cook on the other side as well.
You can watch how I make it here –
These Beef cutlets have got to be one of my favorite recipes. When we were kids, my brother and I would wait for Mum to make a batch of these cutlets at home. It wasn’t made very often, but when it was, it was a real treat. I have, for the most part, stuck to my Mum’s recipe, with just a few tweaks.
These cutlets are very versatile. Make them smaller in size and serve them up with some tomato ketchup or Barbecue Sauce as starters or Finger food, make them larger and use them as patties in Burgers or make a medium size and serve it up with some Mashed potatoes / Roasted potatoes / Fries and a salad .
I have posted a beef cutlet recipe before, but that was a really long time ago. This recipe is the same, with just the addition of some Worcestershire sauce. I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to take some new pictures. After all, its been a long journey from ‘My Hobbie Lobbie’ to ‘The Aspiring Home Cook’. I’ve also filmed a little video with some handy dandy tips too. I will link the video at the end of this post.
Goan Beef Cutlets
(Makes about 14-15)
500g ground beef (beef mince)
1 large or 2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 birdseye chillies, finely chopped (optional)
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2″ ginger, finely chopped
1-2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
1/4 tsp black pepper powder
1/4-1/3 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Salt, to taste
2 slices of bread
Bread crumbs, to coat the cutlets
Olive oil, for frying (You can use whatever cooking oil you have on hand)
Soak the slices of bread in water for a few seconds, drain out all the liquid and crumble. Mix together all the ingredients except the bread crumbs and vegetable oil.
Make sure all the ingredients are well mixed and evenly distributed.
Shape into cutlets.
Coat with bread crumbs.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Carefully place the cutlets in the pan and let it cook on a medium heat till its done to your liking. Turn over and cook the other side as well.
Repeat till you’re done with the meat mix, adding more oil to the pan as and when you need to.
Here’s the video –
After a lot of searching, high and low, I found a recipe, that I tweaked to try and replicate the flavors I so vividly remember. Since I cook for just my husband and I, this recipe is scaled down. I also just use my favorite veggies from that day – okra (bhindi) and potatoes (aloo). I found that these are also some of the easy ones to work with. I don’t make this recipe very often, because the veggies start off by getting deep fried and are then tossed with a spice mix (tava masala), and the deep frying tips this to the slightly indulgent side.
The spice mix, or my version of the tava masala is hot a very hot mix. The spices used are warm and flavorful. The chaat masala is an integral part of this recipe. If you haven’t tried it before, it is a blend of a few spices like cumin, pepper and a few others with some powdered mango. So it has a unique flavor profile, you get a slight hit of salt, tang from the mango and delicious flavor from the blend of other spices. You can easily find this at any Indian grocery store. (This chaat masala also works well with other chaat recipes you find on my blog.)
So try this easy stir fry recipe. This is best enjoyed served hot with some chapatis, rotis, naan or other flatbread of your choice. It would also work well as a side dish to some hearty Dal & Rice.
Tava Style Aloo Bhindi
3 medium potatoes
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 – 1 tsp Kashmiri chilly powder (or any other mild chilly powder)
1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp chaat masala
Salt, to taste
1 1/2 – 2 tbsp oil, plus oil for deep frying
Place a pan with the oil for deep frying on medium high heat.
Wash and peel the potatoes and cut into evenly sized fries / chips.
Wash the okra and pat dry. Chop the stalks off the okra and discard. Try and use okra that is similar in size, if not, cut them down to about the same size as the potato pieces.
By now, the oil should be hot. Carefully, and in batches, add the potatoes to the oil. Don’t overcrowd the pan or the oil will froth over and spill.
Deep fry the potatoes on medium heat till they’ve cooked through. Drain using a slotted spoon and set aside on some kitchen paper to get rid of any excess oil.
Deep fry the okra on medium heat till they have start getting a little darker in color and have started crisping up.
Drain using a slotted spoon and set aside on some kitchen paper to get rid of any excess oil, like you did the potatoes.
Take the oil for deep frying off the heat.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan on medium heat. When the oil is warm, NOT hot, add in the turmeric powder first and then add the rest of the spice powders.
Stir that through for about 20-30 seconds or till the spices get aromatic.
Add the okra to the pan and toss well. Lastly add the potatoes and toss to coat the veggies with the spices evenly.
Check for seasoning and add salt, to taste. Toss well.
You can watch the video recipe here –
This sort of food takes me back to a simpler time. Back when I was in school (and that was a looooong time ago), every summer holiday was spent at the family home in Goa. I looked forward to those trips. The bus journey each way took aound 18 hours and was great fun. We’d pack a variety of munchies for the way. Bus journeys always made me hungry and sleepy. But I loved those long hours on the road. We actually looked forward to the journey almost as much the holiday in Goa itself. Have you every made that trip? What’s your favorite part? My late aunt was a fabulous cook. Unfortunately, I was very young then. Too young to be interested in learning about cooking from her. To this day, I wish I had. Back then, it was 2 months of Goan fare. And I never tired of it. Cooking was a labor of love then. Even though we had a modern Gas kitchen, my aunt chose to cook on a wood fired stove in clay pots. And the food, was absolutely out of this world. I have not tasted food like that ever again. Who knows? Someday, I may go back to Goa for a couple of months to relive those days. One of the dishes my Aunt cooked really well was a Tisreo Sukhem – a Goan Clam stir fry. And this is a dish my mother cooks really well too and it is very similar to the one my Aunt made. Fortunately, I have learnt how to make it too. Clams are more commonly known as Pipis in Sydney.
On my last grocery shop, I picked some up from the fish monger. Now, you can cook the whole shell and you know its cooked once the shells have opened up. But both, my Aunt and my mother always make it on the half shell. So I did the same. Once the clams are halved, the entire dish probably takes about 15 minutes to put together. I hope you decide to try this Goan delicacy some time. You can serve it up as a side dish to a typical Goan Fish Curry and rice meal, or serve this with some chapatis or even with bread. However you choose to serve it, you will love it.
Watch the step by step process here –
40-50 fresh clams / pipis
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
6-8 curry leaves
4 cloves garlic, lightly bruised / crushed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 green / red chillies, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
1 heaped tsp coriander powder
2-3 tbsp grated coconut
1 tbsp coconut oil
Salt, to taste
Wash and halve the clams / pipis. (You can also chose to leave them whole.)
Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat.
Add the mustard seeds. When the seeds start to sputter, add the curry leaves and the chillies.
Stir that around and add the garlic cloves. Let that fry off for a few seconds.
Now add the chopped onions and saute them till they have softened and the edges have just started to brown.
Add the turmeric, chilly and coriander powders to the pan and stir well. Add a dash of water (about 1 tbsp) to deglaze the pan. The prevents the spices from burning.
Now add the chopped tomatoes and stir fry that for a couple of minutes.
Now add the clams and gently stir them through the spice mix in the pot.
Add salt to taste.
Add a small splash of water to help the clams steam through. (2-3 tbsps worth)
Switch to a low heat, cover the pan and cook for about 5-8 minutes, or till the clams have cooked through. Stir at the halfway mark and add more water, if needed. Just a little to prevent if from burning. If you find that there is too much liquid in the pan, cook it uncovered for the rest of the time.
(You are looking to have most of the liquid absorbed into the dish.)
(If you are using the clams whole, you’ll know they are cooked, when the shells open up.)
About a minute before you take it off the heat, add the grated coconut and stir though. When the coconut has warmed through, take off the heat.
Today, I’m going to share with you the recipe for that amazing Goan Fish curry. This is a coconut based curry and combined with a few spices, you will be rewarded with the most gorgeous bowl of Fish curry. A good Goan Fish Curry is known for its color. They key to great color is good Kashmiri chillies. Kashmiri chillies are dried red chillies, very widely used in Indian cuisine. They are mild chillies so you won’t get much heat from them, but they are known for the vibrant color they lend to the dish in which they are used. You can find Kashmiri chillies in any Indian store. In Sydney, I have used a few brands and a lot of them don’t meet the mark at all. That was until I tried the ‘Uttam’ brand of Kashmiri chillies. Now, for the first time in years, I’ve managed to get a delicious curry with fantastic color. That made me very happy. Another important factor to a good curry is the curry paste. You need to grind the masala (spices) to a fine paste. Grind it for 3-4 minutes with a couple of breaks every now and then, so that your mixer (blender) doesn’t overheat and trip. Lastly, sourness or tang is very important to a great curry. The curry needs to be balanced, but without enough sourness, it just won’t taste right. That being said, add sourness to taste.
If you’re in the mood for a great Goan meal, try out this curry.
Goan Fish Curry
1/2 kg fish of your choice (I used Mackerel)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
A ball of tamarind, the size of a walnut
2-3 fresh green / red chillies, slit (optional)
Salt, to taste
2-3 pieces of Kokum / Mango sol (dried mango) (These are souring agents, use as much or as little as you need. If raw mango is available, use a few pieces of it and you curry will be even better)
** If you are using Mackerel, 4-5 tefla berries are added to the pot along with the curry paste and water and cooked. (I haven’t been able to find it in Sydney yet, so I left it out. But it makes a huge difference to the flavor of the curry, so try and get your hands on some, if you can.)
For the curry paste / masala –
8 dried red Kashmiri chillies
6 large cloves of garlic or 10 small ones
8 black peppercorns
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 coconut, grated
Water, as required
Cut the fish into pieces and season them with a little salt and set them aside.
Soak the tamarind in about 1/4 cup of warm water and set aside for about 5 minutes.
Grind the tamarind and the water it was soaking in and all the ingredients listed under “For the curry paste” to a find paste using water as needed.
Place the sliced onion, tefla (if using), the curry paste and 2 cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. You need to maintain the liquid content to have the right consistency. So top up with water, as needed.
Add the kokum / mango (if using), whole slit chillies and the fish pieces. Bring the curry to a boil again. Let this simmer on low heat for 5-10 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces of fish) or till the fish is cooked.
Check the seasoning and add more salt / sourness, if needed.
Serve with hot boiled rice.
To complete the meal, serve some fried fish and Kismur with it.
For those of you who’ve never heard of this, you must be thinking I’ve lost it. Most of us associate corn flakes with a morning breakfast cereal thats a little on the sweeter side. Today, I’m going to introduce you to a snack mix made of corn flakes, which is savory, crunchy, healthy and really tasty. As a matter of fact this is my husband’s favorite munchy. I’m convinced that given the chance he’ll snack on this every day. I enjoy this from time to time, but in the past the thought of making this myself has always been intimidating. After a fair amount of online research, I decided to try it out. I saw a few recipes that had elements I liked as well as stuff I really didn’t care for. What I’m listing below is a combination of a few, mostly inspired by a store-bought variety that I quite like. This is so easy, I think it take about 15 minutes to make and you can store it in an air-tight container and nibble on it over the next few days, if it doesn’t get wolfed down sooner.
Corn Flakes Chivda
2 cups cornflakes
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1-2 green chillies, slit (optional)
6-8 curry leaves
1/4 cup peanuts
1/4 cup roasted chana dal (dalia)
2 tbsp unsweetened coconut chips (optional)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 – 1 tsp red chilly powder
Salt, to taste
2 tbsp superfine sugar (You can also use granulated sugar, powdered)
Heat the oil in a large pan.
Add the mustard seeds and let it sputter.
Add the green chillies and curry leaves and let them fry off till they are nice and crisp. Be careful not to burn them.
Then add the peanuts. If you’re using raw peanuts, let them fry off on a medium flame till they are lightly browned and cooked. If you’re using roasted peanuts, this won’t take as long.
Add the roasted chana dal and cashew seeds and saute for a minute or so.
Next, add the raisins and let them fry for about half a minute.
Add the salt, turmeric powder, red chilly powder and stir well.
Add the corn flakes and toss well making sure that the corn flakes are well coated with the spice mix.
Take it off the fire.
When it has cooled a little but is still warm, sprinkle the sugar over it and toss gently but thoroughly.
Let it cool completely and store in an air tight container.
Please note – Snacks like this should be tweaked to your liking. Feel free to play around with the dry fruits and nuts added as well as the spice, sugar and salt levels. After you make this once, you’ll have a better idea of what you’d like to do the next time.
Have fun with this recipe.