Monday, November 16, 2015

Baked Potato Wedges: Two Kinds: Red Chilli and Coriander Powder and Salted

Honestly no meal is complete without side. Can you imagine your pasta dishes without bread on side? Or Indian rice and curry with no side dish? Or burger without fries? No right? That’s why a side is always needed to add on that extra ‘yum effect’ on your plates. A good side is complete when you pair it up with zingy, spicy or sweet chutney, sauce or pickle. Being a foodie I love pairing up my dishes with sauces-. Spread it, pour it, mix it, dip it or pair it up-you always need good sauces in your kitchen. That’s why when I was approached to review and pair Encona Sauces I said yes in one go.

Encona has a range of over 20 delicious sauces and marinades to enjoy. Encona is not a new name or brand for me, I already love its mango chutney and it is always available in my kitchen pantry (no matter what). With Encona you can choose heat at levels, from mild to extra hot, there’s something for everyone! All the sauces are wonderfully versatile. Great as a dipping sauce, a marinade, a cooking ingredient or as a delicious, everyday table sauce for all your favourite foods!  Why not try drizzled into stir-fries, rice dishes, dips and salad dressings. Also great if brushed onto food during grilling or barbecuing, and stirred into soups and stews.

I was sent two new flavours. Encona Peruvian Amarillo Sauce which is a blend of authentic Peruvian Amarillo chillies, roasted onion, spices and herbs creating a sweet, subtle chilli flavour with a hint of garlic – the perfect way for eager taste explorers to get their taste buds tingling without the cost of a plane ticket. I love this with anything and everything- no seriously this one is sooooo amazing that you can use it up in sandwiches, wraps, as salad dressing and what not.

Launching alongside their Peruvian sauce, they have created a Mexican Smokey Jalapeno-A delicious blend of chillies and spices gives the rich sauce a subtle smokey flavour and a warm and fruity taste to compliment your Mexican meals. I paired it up with potato wedges. Not fried but Baked Potato Wedges. Two types. One, plain simple butter and salt roasted and other exotic one roasted with coriander and red chilli powder. Sometimes simplest things are the best- Just potatoes, light spices and a nice dipping sauce.

Butter and Salted potato wedges are crisp on the outside and bit tender on the inside. - A simple & straight forward recipe for a healthier, yet equally satisfying & addictive way to enjoy potatoes. Coriander and red chilli powder wedges is one step above, it is aromatic, richly spiced and flavoursome. No matter which one you choose, you ought to ask for more and more.

5-7 medium size potatoes
1 tablespoon butter melted
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon coriander powder
Red chilli powder to taste

Line a baking tray with baking paper or aluminium foil.
Preheat the oven at 180C.
Cut potatoes into wedges. Keep them medium thick.
Take a bowl and put chopped potatoes in it. Add in salt and melted butter.
Mix and make sure every wedge is coated with salt and butter.
Line potato wedges on the sheet keeping some space in between each one.
Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Keep shaking and turning the tray after every 10 minutes.
Enjoy the salted one.
For coriander and red chilli roasted one, heat oil in pan or wok. When oil gets hot add baked potato wedges, red chilli powder, coriander powder and mix. Serve hot.

Disclaimer: I was not paid or told to write positive review. The post is based on my experience and is unbiased. Thanking Encona and SatellitePR for sending sauces for review.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Palak Paneer: Punjabi Dhabha Style

A green recipe for today.

A popular one.

A Punjabi recipe.

No its not saag.

It has paneer.

Oh now I have said it all. Yup it is Palak Paneer. Put three Ps together –Punjab, Palak and Paneer and you know one is talking about Palak Paneer. So palak paneer is northern Indian delicacy made with palak (spinach) and paneer (cottage cheese). Honestly there is no right or wrong way to make this curry. Some like to use boiled and purred palak in the gravy; some use chopped spinach while some put coarsely purred spinach as well. In the restaurants here in the UK I have noticed huge chunks of paneer are used in medium spicy spinach gravy (coarse spinach). Back in India the spinach is grinned into a smooth paste and later mixed with tomato gravy.

Looking for more Paneer Recipes? Check these out:
Paneer Kofta (fried paneer balls in tomato gravy)
Achari Paneer (Paneer curry in spicy pickled spices)
Palak Mutter Paneer (combination of spinach and peas in tomato gravy)
Paneer Corn Bhurji (grated paneer with chunks of corn)
Hydarbadi Paneer (paneer stir fry with bell peppers)
Paneer Butter Masala (paneer in creamy and rich tomato gravy with butter and tomatoes)
Kadai Paneer (paneer cooked in wok with whole spices)
Paneer Tikka Masala (marinated paneer chunks coated with spicy garlic gravy)

What I share today is the authentic dhabha style Palak Paneer. Whats dhabha? Dhabha are typical roadside restaurants (rural) mostly present on the highways in India. If you ever take road trip in India, you will surely find at least one dhabha on the highway. Food served in dhabha is simple and flavorful. Simple in terms of menu, you will find basic menu, no exotic dishes. Flavorful because they don’t compromise on taste-the food is richly spiced with garlic, spices and lot of oil and butter. So if you want dhabha style cooking, don’t shy from adding oil or butter. Some recipes are good with calories-worth it, I promise.

I clearly remember that taste. Papa, mummy, my brother and me- we stopped at a dhabha in Jhalander (city in Punjab) and ordered Palak Paneer , Plain Kulcha and Aloo Subji. It was a cold night. We sat on a khaat (Indian rural style bed) and between was a wooden patta (plank) on which they served food. After placing the order, the waiter came with a steel jug of water and four glasses. Second round, he placed some chopped onions, pickle and spicy garlic chutney.  After 20 minutes of wait, the food arrived. Piping hot kulchas, aloo subji and palak paneer.  Maa, look how much oil they have added in palak paneer, I told my mother. My mom grabbed a spoon and gave palak paneer a quick mix. Now oil is not visible she said. I smiled.

First bite of that curry was burst of amazing flavors in my mouth. Lot of garlic, ginger julienne, spice from whole red chillies, tang from chopped tomatoes and velvety paneer- all mixed and made into scrumptious Indian subji. This is the best thing ever, my brother said as he licked his fingers. Last weekend, when I was on call with mummy, we were recalling that taste. She gave some instructions and tips and then I dared to make that tasty Palak Paneer.

This is my replication of the Dhabha Style Palak Paneer.  Pair it with any Indian roti, paratha or puri. Even good old basic jeera rice taste very nice with this.

2 cups spinach/palak chopped
1 cup paneer chopped in cubes
1 large tomato
1 medium size onion
2 green chillies
10 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger chopped in juleins
3 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon ghee
2-4 whole red chillies
1 cinnamon stick/dal chinni
1 bay leaf/tej patta
½ teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder/haldi
¼ teaspoon coriander powder/dhaniya
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon garam massala
Salt to taste
Water 4 cups

Put 4 cups of water to boil. In it add chopped spinach. Boil for 2 minutes. Strain the water and keep aside. Puree spinach and green chillies coarsely.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds, bay leaf, whole chillies and cinnamon. Let it cook for few seconds.
Add chopped onion. Cook till onions are soft and transparent.
Add chopped tomatoes. Mix in turmeric powder and coriander powder. Cover and cook for 5-8 minutes.
Mix paneer in the tomatoes gravy. Cook covered for 2 minutes.
Add in purred gravy, salt, garam massala and lemon juice. Mix and cook for 2 minutes.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. When hot, saute chopped garlic and mix in the gravy.
Finally mix in ghee and ginger julienne. Cover and turn off the heat.

I used baby spinach, but you can use spinach bunch as well.
Green chillies and whole red chillies will bring the spice. You can add more red chilli powder if you like it hot curries.
The paneer I used is very soft so I just added in the curry. If you wish you can put paneer in hot water and then use it.