Posted in Indian, Recipes, Vegetarian, tagged cheese, creamy, delicious, Easy, healthy, home-made, soft, tasty, tomato gravy on December 7, 2012 |
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This is an absolute favourite of our household, but to be honest the gravy is usually laden with butter and ghee which is really bad for you, so I prefer to make my own so that it’s healthier. The Makhani gravy is from this recipe, but as I mentioned in the menu post, I had to add a little sweetness (I used Agave Nectar) to counter the very acidic tomatoes — I suspect that the full butter and cream of the original recipe would do the same, so if you choose to go full fat on this baby, omit the agave. There I said it.
The paneer is a soft unripened cheese made similarly to Ricotta, but instead of leaving it loose, you press it into a rectangular shape to be cut into cubes. Easy.
A delicious, rich tasting tomato gravy with gently firm paneer
This is the original recipe I just doubled the quantity
Serves 4-6 as a part of several dishes
- 4 liter Fresh whole milk
- 4-6 tbsp lemon juice
- Heat the milk in the deep and heavy bottom pan at medium heat (this is really important, otherwise you will need to spend at least a half hour trying to clean the burnt milk off the bottom). Allow it come to a gentle boil and stay there for a minute. Make sure the milk is not vigorously boiling (also important, see note above). If it does, immediately reduce the heat and bring the milk back to gentle boil. But if you do burn your enamel pan, I have a great tip at the end.
- Add two tablespoons of lemon juice and quickly stir it in (because I had doubled the recipe, it took a bit longer to develop). At this point, you will start to see small curdles in the milk but no whey. Add another tablespoon or two of juice and again stir it in. The curdles will increase and you will slowly begin to see the yellowish whey. Add the last tablespoon of juice and with this, you should be able to see a clear yellowish whey separating from the curdles, switch of the gas immediately at this point. Depending on the acidity of the juice, the amount of juice you require may differ. Start with one tablespoon at a time till you achieve the results.
- You could save the whey, and if you do: Line another pan with double layered cheesecloth. Make sure the cheesecloth is long enough to be bundled up and hanged later. Run the whey through the cloth which will collect all the curdles. Set the whey aside.
- Wash the curdles in the cheese cloth, by running it through cold water to remove the lemon taste.
- Tie up the cheesecloth in a tight bundle and let it drain for about 30 minutes. Then place weight on the cheese to get it to be flatter and drain out extra moisture. I wanted a nice block of cheese so I pressed the contents of the cheese cloth into a square cake pan about 20 cm (8 inch). Then I took the still wrapped cheese and placed it between two cutting boards and put a heavy pot on top for 1-2 hours.You don’t want to add too much weight for too long as it can drain out way too much moisture from the cheese making it hard and crumbly. Your cheese should have a slightly elastic texture so when you lightly press your finger into it, it will bounce back.
- Wrap it and store it in the fridge for up to a week.
- Reheat very slowly in the microwave for 30 second spurts until too warm to touch. Add to the makhani gravy at the last minute (I didn’t want my paneer to fall apart).
TIP: if you happen to burn the milk to the bottom of your pan, try this handy tip, cover burnt area with a good thick layer of table salt, add a bit of water and heat but don’t hard boil. Using a silicon scraper, see if it comes off. If it doesn’t, do the same but instead of water, use lemon juice and this time bring to a soft boil. Using a silicon scraper, peel away the burnt layer. Voilà!
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We had good friends over for dinner on Saturday night and I wanted to make a light, healthy dinner which we could all feel good about. The couple recently down-sized about 22.6 kg (50lbs) combined total weight and I sure did not want to make them feel bad with a heavy meal. Plus it’s been ridiculously hot in Toronto, with high humidity so a heavy meal isn’t even appealing. I also planned the meal so that we had little kitchen time, other than plating and serving. We served family style to allow each individual to have as much or as little as desired.
Over the following few days, I will document the recipes that I served; here is the menu to give you a little taste:
Cocktails: Home made Ginger Ale (recipe below. I was inspired by The Cook’s Sister with this recipe)
Hors D’œuvres: Bite-sized Caprese Salad with EVOO and Himalayan pink salt.
Appetizer: Chilled Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup with Warm Sesame Encrusted Goats Cheese Balls (Barb at Profiteroles and Ponytails gave me the idea for this recipe, but I did the ol’ switcheroo and made the soup cold and the balls warm)(insert all goats cheese ball jokes here )
Intermisso: Lemongrass and Thai Basil Granita
Main: Susur Lee’s Singapore Slaw (aka 19 ingredients slaw) with Thai Marinated BBQ Steak (steak prepared as per Lorraine at Not Quite Nigella)
Dessert: Armenian Nutmeg Cake with Hazelnut Frozen Yogurt and Caramel Drizzle (the Armenian Nutmeg Cake was reinvented from a previous post)
Late night snack: Fresh Ontario Strawberries and Cantaloupe bites
Our guests last week were on a sabbatical from drinking alcohol so I wanted to make a special cocktail for the evening, I came across this recipe from The Cook’s Sister recently and bookmarked it for the occasion. I changed it up only to reflect the time I had to spend on the recipe, otherwise it was pretty similar. The ginger was strong enough to be refreshing and the added sugar made it just sweet enough to cut the heat from using fresh ginger. I really enjoyed it, it was a refreshing summer beverage. Of course, you can add booze to it to make it that much more interesting: gin, vodka, amber rum or whiskey seem to be preferred choices to add to ginger ale on the net.
A refreshing cocktail that aids in digestion! What more could you want?
Home made Ginger Ale
Original recipe can be found here
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup freshly grated ginger (you will notice this is significantly less than the original recipe, but because it’s grated, it seems to infuse the water with enough flavour)
- 2-4 tbsp Demerara sugar
- 1 liter San Pelegrino (this is a lightly carbonated natural spring water)
- 1 lime, cut into eights
- To prepare the syrup, place the water, ginger, sugar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. I allowed it to boil for about 10 minutes to concentrate the flavours and reduce a bit.
- Remove from heat, cover with a lid and allow to cool completely. Refrigerate over night.
- When ready to serve, strain the ginger bits out of the syrup, pressing as much of the ginger juice out as possible.
- To serve, add 4 tbsp (or to taste) of the syrup to each glass mixing in the San Pelegrino. Serve with lime wedges and garnish with mint. Individuals can add as much freshly squeezed lime juice as desired.
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My latest endeavour was the home made Ricotta from my BB (blogging buddy) John, and it was a huge success; even so, we had left-overs. We’re having our nephew Brian over for Sunday dinner and I thought it would work perfectly in a little hors d’œuvres of whole wheat-flax pan cakes with ricotta and chives and a little lightly pan fried chicken and turkey, spinach feta sausage (another left over from our little brunch on Saturday).
Pass the canapés, please.
Ricotta and Sausage Pancakes
Makes about 14 little pan cakes
- 1/2 cup Home-made ricotta (or store bought, but the home made is so darn easy)
- 1 tbsp finely chopped chives
- 14 sausage slices, very thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp whole wheat flour
- 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
- 1/2 cup soda water
- 3 tbsp egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- Mix the chives into the ricotta and set aside.
- Mix well together WW flour, flax seeds, egg whites, soda and salt. If it’s really runny, set aside for 2-5 minutes (you want a slightly thicker mixture than crèpe batter).
- Heat a large cast iron pan and spray lightly with a non-stick cooking spray.
- Drop small spoonfuls of the batter onto the hot pan so that they each form a 5cm or 2 inch little round. Cook both sides until golden. Repeat until the mixture has been all used up.
- In the same hot pan, spray another little squirt of non-stick cooking spray and sauté each side of the thinly sliced sausage until golden and slightly curled.
- Top each little pan cake with a dollop of the home-made ricotta and one slice of the sausage.
- Enjoy with a martini.
And a new friend…
Meet Brown Squirrel.
As many of you already know, my favourite pet in the whole world was my dearest little bunny, Dustie. Sadly she passed away about 7 years ago at the age of 10, and the impact of her friendship has prevented me from trying to find another pet, any pet. Until I met brown squirrel. The strange thing about brown squirrel is that she is the same golden colouring as my Dustie, and that this type of colouring on squirrels in the Toronto area is not common (we have mainly black, some grey and a couple of white squirrels). Brown squirrel is not really a pet, but she has become a ‘friend’. I wonder if she’s on FB?
Now it’s not just the colouring on Brown Squirrel that makes her special, she is a lot tamer than the other squirrels in the hood. She will come when she is called (she’ll even cross the road when we call out to her; she doesn’t look both ways (she IS a squirrel) but we do!). She responds to munching noises (my Dustie did that too!). She’ll even come right up to you and eat from your hand (although I wouldn’t recommend it, after all, she is still a wild animal). We always have to remember to close the front door because she would follow you in (never happened but I sure wouldn’t want to chance it). Brown Squirrel comes to the house every morning for her treats. I snapped this photo from the dining room window through the screen (hence the weird overall colour); normally we wouldn’t feed her on our front porch, but it was darn chilly at 7:30 that morning, and we only had PJs on!
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