Creamy Matar Paneer

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When I first cooked this dish, I followed a recipe my sister-in-law gave me.  Sometimes, I would search the internet and compare.  But last week, I finally had the courage to make my own recipe and it turned out great.  When a friend asked me for the recipe, I realized that I did not even write it down.  So today, I made it again just so I can write down the recipe.  This is my own recipe and I am really, really proud of it.  If you like it, please leave a message.  If you have a suggestion on how to make this dish better, leave a message.  Let’s help each other make a perfect Matar Paneer dish.

I never tasted Indian food until I was already in my 30s and I think that was too late for me to discover the richest, tastiest food in the planet.  A lot of Filipinos are turned off by the smell and by the number of spices in Indian dishes so Indian restaurants never really became popular in the small city I grew up in.

Now, I will try to cook Indian dishes with subtle flavor that I know Filipinos will love.  This way, I will be able to slowly introduce Indian dishes to my Filipino friends.

As for me introducing Filipino food to the world, don’t worry, I will get there.  Just wait for the world domination of Filipino food.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups                Paneer

2 Tablespoons        Ghee (Canola or Vegetable oil).

1/3 cup                     Cashew

1 cup                         Red onion (coarsely chopped)

1 teaspoon               Ginger paste

1 teaspoon               Garlic paste

2 teaspoons             Coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon            Red Chili powder (lessen or add according to taste)

1/4 teaspoon            Turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon            Garam masala

1 teaspoon                Salt

1/2 cup                      Tomato Puree (Note 3)

1 cup                          Water, warm

1 1/2 cup                    Green peas

                                    Coriander, chopped

PANEER PREPARATION:

    1. Cut paneer into 1/2 by 1/2 inch squares.
    2. Place paneer in a deep bowl.
    3. Add 1 1/2 cup hot water.  (See note 1)

CURRY PREPARATION:

    1. Heat non-stick pan over medium high heat.  Add ghee.
    2. Once ghee is heated, add cashew.  Once cashew turns golden brown in color, take it off from the pan and place it in a plate.
    3. Add onion and cook it until it turns into a caramel color about 5 to 7 minutes.  (See Note 2)
    4. Add ginger paste, garlic paste, coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric, garam masala, and salt.  Cook for 1 minute.
    5. Add tomato puree.  Cook for 1 minute.
    6. Transfer curry mix to a deep bowl, add the cashew,  and using an immersion blender, blend the mixture into a fine paste.  The finer the paste, the better and creamier your sauce will be.  Alternatively, you can use a blender to blend and puree the ingredients.
    7. Return the paste into the pan and add 1 cup of water.
    8. Add the green peas and the paneer (make sure to strain it).
    9. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 5-8 minutes stirring every once in a while to make sure the sauce does not stick to the pan.
    10. Add more water to change sauce consistency.  Add more salt to taste.
    11. Serve with fresh chopped coriander.

NOTES:

    1. In my experience, adding hot water to the paneer makes it softer.
    2. Make sure that the onion is well cooked because curry made of still raw onion does not taste good.  I wait for the onion to “caramelize” before I proceed to the next steps.  Make sure to constantly stir it so that it will not stick to the pan.
    3. Some people use fresh tomatoes but I like using tomato puree because I am sure that the tomatoes they used for the puree is ripe.  Sometimes fresh tomatoes are not that ripe yet and adding them into a curry dish makes it lean towards the sour side than the sweet side the puree gives.  You can use fresh tomatoes if you want, too.  Just puree it and use the same measurement.

 

 

Panda Express’ Pepper Chicken

I am not ashamed to admit that I like fast food and I crave them all the time.  You just don’t know what I would give to eat Jollibee spaghetti, chicken joy, palabok, and tuna pie now.

We watched Mamma Mia and I had to stop myself from singing along with the songs.  By doing that, I used up all my energy so I needed food.  When I am hungry, the easiest way to make me happy is to give me rice.  So we went to Panda Express.  It has been years since I last ate from Panda Express because I don’t usually go to malls but I still think their food is good.

So I tried to make their version of Pepper Chicken.

This is the recipe I followed.

That site has a lot of recipes that follow Panda Express’ menu.  I will try to make Orange Chicken next.

So here are the changes I made:

  1.  Skipped the onions because I did not have onions so I added more celery
  2.  Changed the ginger powder to real ginger but I took them out when I cooked the chicken
  3. Used vinegar and cayenne pepper instead of chili vinegar
  4. Used dark soy sauce instead of light soy sauce (like Kikkoman) that this recipe calls for so I only used 3/5 of what the recipe calls for
  5. I used a little bit of ground pepper because I did not have pepper grinder

Although what I cooked was nowhere near what Panda Express’ Pepper Chicken taste like, I still think it turned out good.  The chicken was tender and the taste was good.  Of course, this dish is best served with rice.

Highly Recommended

Chicken Macaroni Salad with Apples

Mama made this every time there was an occasion.  Even then, I was not a fan of apples.  I guess my taste in fruits is really local – santol, rambutan, indian mango – but never apples, cherries, or oranges.  The only time I liked apples was when Mama made her Chicken Macaroni Salad with Apples.

Mama did not leave a recipe so I just tried to remember what she did and what ingredients she used.  I still do not have the heart to read her notebooks so I don’t know if they are there written there or not.  So I had to ask my sister if one ingredient is there and she confirmed.

This salad is very easy to prepare.  Just mix the following:  cooked macaroni, shredded chicken, and chopped apples.  I added celery because I love celery.  Mama never added it before because it was not easy to find in our city.  Mama also had this version where she put pineapples and raisins instead of apples.  I loved that version, too.

For the dressing, add:  real mayonnaise (Hellman’s) and chopped or shredded cheese (I used Velveeta in lieu of Eden Cheese).  And here’s the secret ingredient, add sweetened condensed milk.

I like my salad to have a mix of the sour from the mayonnaise, salty from the cheese, and sweet from the milk.

I love it.  I can eat it all day long.  And it’s the only way I get to enjoy eating apples.

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Chocolate Brownies

I am not a fan of chocolate anything – chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, chocolate brownies.  But I was going to visit a friend with two kids so I figured I would bake chocolate brownies since kids normally like anything chocolate.

I got my recipe from my favorite food blogger RecipeTin Eats.

She had an instruction on the timing if I want my brownies to be moist.  I followed it but something did not turn out right.  Maybe it’s because I really don’t like chocolate so whatever recipe I would follow, I might not like it, too.

The good thing though is that the son of my friend loved it.  He ate 3 slices one after the other.  So I guess it is still a success.

Here are some changes I made:

  1.  I used Ghirardelli’s Bittersweet Chocolate instead of dark chocolate chips.  I don’t know if there is a difference when it comes to taste.
  2. I added semi-sweet chocolates on top of the brownies.
  3. I did not have parchment paper so I put butter without dusting it with flour.  Maybe this is why my brownies turned out crumbly.  I should really buy parchment paper.

 

Highly Recommended (1)

Double Chocolate Crinkles

What a difficult cookie to make!

Seriously.  I don’t even like crinkles but my friend R requested that I make one so I tried.  The first batch that I made was not successful because the icing sugar melted into the cookie making it damp.  The second batch I made was a little bit better but it still is not that good.

I did not taste it but my taste testers said the following:  (1) It tastes bitter and (2) It tasted like crinkles.  I wish I tasted it but as I have said, I don’t like crinkles that much.

I don’t know if I my failure at baking this cookie stemmed from me not choosing the right recipe to follow or it is a really difficult cookie to make for an amateur like me.

You can find the recipe here.  Let me know if you are able to successfully bake one.

Some of the changes I made are:

  1.  I used Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Cocoa instead of Dutch cocoa.
  2. I rolled the cookie balls in white sugar before coating them in confectioner’s sugar so that it will not come out damp.

Highly Recommended (1)