Monthly Archives: August 2012

Palak Paneer (Spinach & Cheese Curry)

This week was the birthday week for my beloved. It’s kinda our thing that we dedicate a week for our birthday…instead of just a day. Speaking of greediness eh? ;P

It’s not like I have shower him with gift every day for a week. Oh nothing like that! It’s more like I will have to be nicer to him….you know, cooking the stuff he likes to eat, let him have the remote control and keep my nagginess down to a minimum ha!

Since he has requested for Indian food to celebrate his birthday, my friends and I have prepared an Indian feast to celebrate his special day. :)  My contribution to the feast was Palak Paneer and Chicken Briyani with Boondi raita.

Snapshots of  our Indian feast (top from left, clockwise) – Chicken Biryani, potato samosa but with puff pastries, lamb curry & palak paneer (recipe below).

Palak Paneer (Spinach & Cheese Curry)

(Serves 2 to 3 people with rice)

What you’ll need:-

  • Cooking oil
  • 1 x 200g/7 ounces Paneer, diced
  • 1 brown onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp store-bought garlic paste
  • 1/2 tbsp store-bought ginger paste
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp ground paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 cup low fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup diced tomato (canned)
  • 2 X 250g/9 ounces of frozen chopped spinach
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste
  • Slices of fresh onions as garnish – optional
  • Chopped fresh coriander leaves as garnish – optional

 (1) Dice paneer into about an inch cubes. (2) In a medium sized pot, add some oil and pan fry the paneer until golden brown – see Note 1.  Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb any excess oil. (3) In the same pot, add sliced onions and saute until golden brown over medium heat. Add more oil in this step is necessary. Turn the heat to low, add ginger & garlic paste, ground cumin, ground paprika, turmeric powder, yogurt and diced tomato and stir to combine. Turn the heat up to low-medium, and cook until the oil separates – see Note 2. (4) Add frozen spinach (no need to thaw) and cook over medium heat, covered, until the spinach is fully defrosted and bubbling. Then turn the heat to low and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, covered. Season with salt and sugar to taste. Stir in paneer and mix well. (5) Garnish with sliced onions and chopped coriander just before serving. Serve hot with rice.

 Note 1 – Just before pan fruing, pat the paneer with paper towel to reduce the oil splatter while pan frying. I actually pan fried the paneer covered, to avoid the oil to splatter all over the stove.

Note 2 – Sometimes it may take some time until oil separates from the sauce. If it seems like the oil ain’t going to separate, I cheated by adding a tablespoon or two of cooking oil and let the sauce continue to simmer until the cooking oil changes to red colour.

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Toasts – 4 Ways

I have gone through a phase where I was living on toasts. Especially when I have to cook for myself, toasts are my choice of meal as it is pretty easy and versatile. Not to mention it was a cost-saving exercise. :)

There 101 ways to make your toasts interesting and fanciful. Here are my top 4 ways of having toasts: 2 savoury and 2 dessert toasts (or how I would like to regard them hehe..) Enjoy!

Sauteed mushrooms with dried herbs and garlic + baby spinach leaves + sunny side up egg { I love this so much that I have dedicated a post just for this.}

 Sliced avocado + sunny side up egg + sweet chilli sauce

 Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread + strawberries

 Peanut butter + banana + maple syrup

From a toast lover to another, why not share your favourite way(s) of having them? I open to try new ways! :)

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Banana, Strawberry & Chia Seeds Smoothie

Beginning from the past weekend, I have been making banana smoothie for breakfast. I am trying to take breakfast seriously and this super easy and fruit laden smoothie has been a great motivator. It is surprisingly filling and I have been feeling a bit more energetic than usual ever since (perhaps it’s psychological hehe!).

The beauty of homemade smoothie is that it can be jam-packed with fruits. I sometimes find smoothies from the shops do not contain as much fruits as I would like. They tend to be heavier on the fruit juices, sorbet and yoghurt which can be a wee bit too sweet. Having said that, I did enjoy my fair share of adding sorbet and flavoured yogurt in my smoothie. Whoops!

Since this is my breakfast smoothie, I want to keep it simple and as wholesome as possible. For a start I remove the sorbet from the equation as I wonder how others feel about me starting the day with sorbet in my smoothie. :P

Banana, Strawberry & Chia Seeds Smoothie

Makes about 300ml/10 fluid ounces – about 2 short glasses

What you’ll need:-

  • 2 bananas, peeled & sliced
  • 6 fairly large strawberries (almost 200g/7 ounces), hulled and diced
  • 1 cup low fat milk or soy milk
  • 2 tbsps Greek yogurt (vanilla flavoured is preferred)
  • 2 tsps chia seeds as toppings

Equipment – a stick blender + a large tumbler or bottle

(1) Hull and dice strawberries. Add to a large tumbler. (2) Peel and slice bananas and add to the tumbler. (3) Then add milk and yoghurt with the bananas and strawberries. (4) Blend until smooth. Transfer to 2 glasses and top with chia seeds. Serve immediately.


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“Creamy” Chicken, Corn & Rice Soup

As a continuation of my love for substance, may I present you with my alternate take on our beloved Asian-styled chicken and corn soup?

For those who are long time readers, you may remember in my last post on chicken and corn soup, I added spaghetti. You may also remember my Western take on rice soup (aka congee, rice porridge – whichever way you want to call it).

Aha! You probably can see where I am going with this now right?

Basically, this is an amalgamation of chicken and corn soup plus rice soup. I know I really, really should treat chicken and corn soup as what it is – an entre. However, I feel it makes an easy light meal. We all have one of those days, haven’t we?

“Creamy” Chicken, Corn & Rice Soup

(Serves 3 – 4 people)

What you’ll need:-

  • 2 cups of cooked rice ( I used cooked Basmati rice)
  • 1 – 2 chicken breasts depending on the size (I used 2 small chicken breasts)
  • 2 inches (lenghtwise) of fresh ginger, peeled and slice into 2 large chunks
  • 1 cup frozen sweet corn
  • White pepper
  • Sesame oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste
  • Recently boiled water (get ready a full kettle of boiling water) – may vary depending on your preferred consistency and how long cook it for; it took me about 4 cups of boiling water
  • Spring onion/scallions, sliced – as garnish

Equipment required – a stick blender or a food processor.

Note – if you don’t have leftover rice, you can add 1 cup of uncooked rice instead. That means additional time is required to cook the rice in the stock until fully cooked.

(1) To make chicken stock – add chicken breasts, ginger slices and hot water into a pot. Cook over high heat until the stock is boiling and then reduce the heat to low and allow it to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes until the chicken breasts are fully cooked. While making the stock, skim off the scum with a ladle.  (2) When the chicken breasts are cooked, discard the ginger and transfer the chicken breasts on to a plate. Set aside while you add the cooked rice.  Let the rice soften a little in the stock by cooking it for say 5 minutes. (3) Then take the pot off the heat and use a stick blender to process the rice mixture until smooth. (4) Return the pot to the stove over low heat. Add frozen corn and cook the rice soup to thicken to your desired consistency. In the meantime, finely shred the chicken breasts (I used my fingers for this) and add the shredded chicken to the rice soup also. At this stage, you can add more water or continue to reduce the rice soup to your desired consistency. I prefer the consistency to be like fresh cream. Once you are happy with the consistency, add salt and sugar to taste, 2 drops of sesame oil, 3 dashes of white pepper. Stir to combine the ingredients. (5) To serve: scatter some slice spring onion, a dash of white pepper and a few drops of sesame oil. Serve immediately.

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