Indian Food Part 3

WordPress tells me that the most popular post on this blog is my recipes for Aloo Gobi. This surprises me… I am neither Indian nor profess to know anything about cooking Indian food. It also amuses me greatly and I can’t resist posting my last regular Indian vegetarian dish, Mattar Paneer (Curried peas and cheese). It sounds awful and looks like a dog’s breakfast in these photos but I promise you, it’s delicious.

Mattar Paneer
adapted from

20 ounces paneer, cubed (I use this recipe for homemade goat’s milk cheese)
2 tablespoons grape seed or vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1 small onion, finely diced
1/4 teaspoon ginger, grated or minced
3 -4 garlic cloves, minced
2 large tomatoes, cubed
1/4 teaspoon sugar
salt (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 cup water
1 cup peas
1/4 cup coconut milk or cream
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and fry paneer cubes until they turn golden brown. Remove from oil and set aside to drain on paper towel.

Return skillet to heat and add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add mustard and cumin seeds, and quickly cover (the seeds will turn color and sputter within a minute or two. When they begin to sputter, add chopped onions and ginger. As onions soften, add garlic and cook for about a minute. Add tomato, salt, sugar, and stir well. Once the tomatoes soften, add garam masala, chilli powder, turmeric, coriander, and cumin. Stir in the water, mix well and add the peas.

Once the peas are tender, pour in the coconut milk or cream and mix well. Add the paneer and simmer for 5 minutes on medium heat. Serve over rice, garnished with cilantro. We like it as a compliment to Butter Chicken.


Zucchini Pasta

We have a long-term plan to convert some of the flower jungle in our yard into a vegetable garden. In the meantime, we’re immensely thankful for a number of friends who sent zucchinis, pears, corn, tomatoes, apples, lettuce, kale etc. our way this summer. It was a good year for zucchini… which required us to increase our repertoire of zucchini dishes to eat our way through two huge ones.  This adventure introduced us to a new favourite-  zucchini pasta.

Zucchini Pasta
adapted from Patisserie Natalie

3 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons butter, margerine or olive oil
1 teaspoon thyme
2 cloves garlic, crushed
grated parmesan

Cut the ends off both zucchinis. Using a julienne peeler, peel the zucchinis until you reach the soft center. Save the center for a stir fry or omelette. Place a quarter of the julienned zucchini into a large colander and generously sprinkle with salt. Repeat three times with the remaining three quarters of the zucchini. Let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse well with cold water and let sit for 15 minutes to drain. Place half the zucchini in a large kitchen towel and squeeze as much moisture out of it as you possibly can. Repeat with the other half.

Heat a large skillet on high heat. Add butter or olive oil and add zucchini, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper, just until soft. Sprinkle with fresh parmesan and enjoy!

* The julienne peeler is a handy kitchen gadget that turns any vegetable into a spaghetti noodle. It works great for carrots and zucchini. 

Pan Roasted Cauliflower

I think this might be one of the simplest recipe I have ever shared here but simple is often the best.  

Pan Roasted Cauliflower
made up in my own head
serves 4 as a side dish

1 head of cauliflower
1- 1.5 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 Tablespoon grated parmesan
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Remove outer leaves from cauliflower and trim the core so it is flush with flowerettes. Place the cauliflower core side down and slice the whole head into 2 inch slices (as if it was a  loaf of sourdough bread). In an 8 inch cast iron skillet, add olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle dried spices, parmesan and parsley evenly over the surface of the oil and arrange the cauliflower slices over top. Some of the cauliflower slices might break apart- use these segments to fill in the whole surface of the pan (a regular sized head of cauliflower usually fills the entire pan).  Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is just cooked through.  Do not turn the cauliflower- it cooks through evenly even though one side will remain lightly coloured while the side in the spiced oil will turn a wonderful golden brown. In summer, we usually cook the pan directly on the BBQ along with whatever meat we’re grilling for dinner. Because the cauliflower cooks fairly quickly, it’s easy to coordinate with both slow and fast cooking cuts of meat or fish.

Beet Greens

Jeff and I went to the Farmer’s Market yesterday evening and came home with two bags of feshly picked produce. For dinner it was grilled zucchini, beets and sausages, fresh tomato salad, and sauteed beet greens. Jeff says the beet greens are so good they deserve billing here. The secret is the last two ingredients- don’t skip them.

Sauteed Beet Greens 
adapted from Simply Recipes
serves 4

1 pound beet greens (greens from 6-8 beets)
1 strip of thick cut bacon, chopped (or a tablespoon of bacon fat)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup white wine
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Wash the greens in a sink filled with cold water. Drain greens and wash a second time. Dry the greens (I use my salad spinner) and cut away any woody stems. Chop stems into 1/4 inch lengths and leaves into small bite-sized pieces.

In a large skillet or 3-qt saucepan, cook bacon until lightly browned on medium heat (or heat 1 Tbsp of bacon fat). Add onions, cook over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions soften and start to brown. Add beet greens,  gently tossing greens in the onion mixture so the greens are well coated. Reduce heat to low, add wine, cover and simmer for ~5 minutes. Stir well and add garlic and sugar. Raise heat to medium and continue cooking 2-5 more minutes or until the greens are tender and the liquid is absorbed. Stir in vinegar and remove from heat. Enjoy!

Indian Food Part 2

Two weeks ago, I shared my recipe for non-dairy Butter Chicken. When I make Indian food, I usually make a curried meat, a curried vegetable and Basmati rice with peas. Our favourite curried vegetable dish is Aloo Gobi which is basically, curried cauliflower and potatoes with tomatoes and ginger. It’s a very common dish in India and Pakistan (with thousands of variations) and we love it.

Aloo Gobi (Curried Cauliflower and Potatoes)
adapted from All Recipes
serves 6

To cut down on cooking chaos, I usually pre-measure spices

 2 teaspoons oil (vegetable, grapeseed or olive)
½ onion, finely chopped
¼  teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon garam masalla
¼ teaspoon coriander
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon turmeric
Pinch dried red pepper flakes (optional)
3 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
1 potato, diced into small cubes
1 head cauliflower, broken into small florets
½ teaspoon white sugar
salt to taste
½ cup of water
chopped cilantro

Heat oil over a medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until brown and slightly crisp. Toss in the mustard seeds; when they start to pop, add the garam masalla, coriander, cumin, turmeric and red pepper flakes.  Stir well to incorporate the spices into the oil. Add the chopped tomatoes and ginger, stirring well. Cook for about a minute, until tomatoes begin to soften. Add the potato, cauliflower, sugar and salt; stir well. Add the water and cover, cooking until the potatoes are cooked and the cauliflower tender yet crunchy, about 10 minutes. Stir well and serve garnished with chopped cilantro. 

Adding cauliflower to the spiced tomatoes
The completed meal: Aloo Gobi with Butter Chicken, Basmati rice with peas and naan bread