Monday, February 27, 2012

Paneer Butter Masala with a Chance of Chicken Pieces!

Mothers are great time and money savers. Mothers like me use that saved up time and money to do things they like! Like shopping for their little bub.


Remember the Anaarkali Butter Chicken from the other day?


Well, I saved its leftover gravy/sauce for a day like today. Sunny, bright, warm at eight degrees. Perfect to go out for a stroller walk. Little time to spend in the kitchen.

I work well when I get my dose of vitamin D. That affects the way I think. And today I came up with an award-winning idea of making paneer a little differently. To go into the leftover butter chicken gravy. This is how meals on the spur are made in my home now that I have a baby who vies for attention all the time.


I boiled three litres of whole milk. While the milk was bubbling, I added about four tablespoons of white vinegar to curdle the milk.


I quickly chopped some fresh coriander leaves, about 10 raisins and crushed some kasuri methi to add to my paneer. No pre-meditated thought about these ingredients. I just thought that they would go well with the butter chicken gravy.


As soon as I added the herbs, I turned the heat off and mixed everything well. I wanted to retain the color of the coriander.

A colander lined with two layers of cheesecloth was already kept ready in the kitchen sink.


Twist and turn the cheesecloth to tightly pack the curdled cheese in it. I used the kitchen faucet to hang my cheese for about 20 minutes to get the last drop of liquid drip off.


Then I used two large dinner plates and the granite mortar to squeeze out the last remains of moisture from the paneer and give it some structure.


Since I was still gripped with a rare bout of creativity, I cut the paneer block into little diamonds. Or so I thought.


I heated the leftover sauce with a little warm water. Added a handful of green peas and dunked the paneer in.


And voila! I had the most beautiful-looking Paneer Butter Masala for dinner today. But hush, no one should know that it was made with leftover butter chicken gravy. Not until someone bites into a little piece of chicken!


On another day, I’d make a paneer dish like this or this.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Anaarkali Butter Chicken Revisited–For the Hasty Cook!

Its a pity the link to the sample recipe does not work anymore on the Anaarkali Butter Chicken site. In fact, the site is unavailable too.

Which meant that I was flooded with questions about this recipe, which is NOT mine. I found it a little disconcerting to be encroached upon during my personal time with emails, text messages, personal messages on Facebook, etc. I manage this Blog and my Facebook page when I have the time from more important things in my life. I do it because I want to, not because I HAVE to.

The Anaarkali Butter Chicken is one recipe which is time taking and takes some amount of planning. So any precipitated, last minute approach to it (and other involved recipes) will probably not work. And if your go-to person for a recipe is limited, make sure you have enough time and give enough time to the person to respond to your questions!

It just makes life easy for everyone. And the Butter Chicken tastes out of the world too.

Anyway, I have vented out what irked me last night around midnight my time. Now the sample recipe for Anaarkali Butter Chicken.

You already have the marinade recipe and method from one of my previous posts.

Here is how you will make the sauce for the Anaarkali Butter Chicken:

Anaarkali Sample Gravy

Anaarkali Sample Tips

These are screenshots of the sample recipe by the Anaarkali team. I have made changes and adapted ingredients I find here in Canada. I cannot post a PDF document here, hence the screen prints. If you want the PDF, please leave me a message for me on my Facebook page with your email. I will be happy to email you the document.


Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Baba’s Baghdadi Mutton

Red onion is great. If you minus the lingering onion-breath and the tears it makes you shed when peeling and cutting. Growing up in Patna, every year the price of red onion would sky rocket during winters.

003We are an onion-loving family! We love onions in everything. Raw, cooked, crisp-fried, or dunked in hearty stews. Onion inflation was a sore point in my Mum’s kitchen, like any middleclass housewife on budget cooking. Its another story though that that budget included gourmet meals pretty much every day.

One day in the middle of the onion price-rise, my Mum would announce – No onions from now in salads or jhalmuri. Its 80 rupees a kilo.


In spite of her I-am-the-Tiger-Mom approach towards onions, we would still find slices of them in our salad or a good amount of it in her Mutton Do Pyaza. I still wonder why she even bothered with that onion embargo, with that feeble willpower when it came to serving onions to her family.


I don’t have my Mother’s Mutton Do Pyaza recipe today.
But what I do have is a simple, full of character goat meat dish. My Father-in-law’s actually. Its not one of those flashy recipes, where you can’t lay your hands on half the ingredients mentioned. It is basic, hearty and once you can crack it, you will be the most clever cook in town. And I am talking to kitchen virgins here who think cooking mutton is the most difficult thing.

077To make good mutton, that fall-off-the-bones kind is the best thing I have learned in (slow) cooking. So here it is, Baba’s Baghdadi Mutton. Any relation with Iraq and this dish is highly doubtful. Just enjoy the name and the recipe.

Ingredients for  Baba’s Baghdadi Mutton are:

500 grams goat meat, bone in, cut into two inch pieces (no lean meat please, get meat with good marbling. I usually get the shoulder portion of a baby goat)
1 very large red onion, slivered thinly
300 grams plain yogurt
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1 heaped tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
7-8 whole dry red chillies (I usually add about 20 since my husband and I have a high heat quotient, so adjust the heat accordingly, play safe if kids are eating)
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable or canola oil

031033034For starters, get a large bowl, and marinate together the mutton, sliced red onions, yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, black pepper and the dry red chillies. Keep refrigerated overnight or on the counter for at least 5-6 hours.

005Warm (not heat) oil in a thick pan, use the pressure (cooker) pan if you want to. Add the marinated mutton and coat well with the oil. Cover and cook, mixing and moving the mutton and spices for the next 40-50 minutes on low-medium heat.

You will see the mutton release its natural fat and juices as it comes close to being completely cooked. Add salt and a little water if needed. Move it around well. Do a taste test and remove from heat.

001073003Serve the Baghdadi Mutton with a big garden salad (don’t forget the onions!) and phulkas/chapatis/ruti.

078This is probably the quickest and easiest mutton dishes I have made. But no less tasty for that. Very few ingredients, simple flavours and takes you to a different direction of cooking mutton – with so little oil! Go try.