Food

Hearty Paneer Chilli


Until recently, I was afraid to cook with paneer. I just did not understand how it could be used in everyday cooking. Having cooked with paneer a few times now, I am a huge fan of the taste and texture it brings to ordinary ingredients.

In this rather quick recipe, I paired paneer with capsicum/green bell pepper, and those two combined create an amazing flavor. At first I thought, I would add more East Asian flavor to this recipe, but then I decided to stick to the South Asian spice palette to avoid any unpleasantries on Tuesday night. 😛 Would you like to see an East Asian variation? Let me know in the comments!

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This dish can be served with quinoa, rice, or flat bread. I will be taking leftovers in a wrap for lunch tomorrow. Why not, right?

So without any more story around paneer, let me list what you’d need to make your Tuesday evening slightly brighter. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Oil (1/4 cup)
  • Onion (1 large chopped)
  • Ginger Garlic Paste (2 tablespoons)
  • Green chillies (4 chopped)
  • Tomato paste (3 teaspoons) or tomatoes (3 chopped)
  • Turmeric powder (1/4 teaspoon)
  • Garam masala (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Red chili powder (1 teaspoon)
  • White pepper (1 teaspoon)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Green bell pepper (1 chopped)
  • Paneer (250-300 grams)

Method:

  • Sauté the onion in oil.
  • When the onion is golden brown, add the ginger garlic paste.
  • Once the ginger garlic paste is fragrant, add chopped green chillies, tomatoes/tomato paste, and all the spices. Cook this mixture until oil separates.
  • Now add the green bell pepper and cook until it is 80% cooked. Add water if needed to make more gravy.
  • Once the bell pepper is cooked, add paneer and gently mix. Cover and cook for five to ten minutes. Voila!

Tips:

  • Garnish with chopped coriander if you’ve it on hand.
  • Serve with naan, wholewheat chapati/tortilla or rice.
  • Use leftovers to make a wrap for lunch on the go.


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Food

One-Bowl Oatmeal & Blueberry Muffins

Even though I wake up early to give myself enough time to kickstart the day, I seem to always be in a rush. And as much as I love breakfast, I cannot bring myself to cook anything on weekday mornings.

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On most Sunday evenings, I make a loaf of banana bread to eat for breakfast. My banana bread recipe is healthy-ish, but not completely clean. Therefore, I would rather not have it everyday. As a consequence, I had been on the hunt for an alternative which would be clean, light, and make a portable breakfast.

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I stumbled upon the Pick Up Limes One-Bowl Oatmeal & Blueberry Muffins recipe, and was immediately drawn to it because Sadia’s recipe is dairy and gluten-free. I knew I had to give it a try. So, last Sunday, first thing in the morning, I baked these clean and delicious muffins.

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Because the recipe does not use wheat, the texture of the muffins is not dense. They are slightly crisp on the outside and soft inside. The blueberries give the muffins a nice tartness which is balanced by the sweetener used in the recipe. These muffins have my 100% vote for a healthy, portable breakfast or snack. 🙂

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I used an airtight container to store the muffins, and they remained fresh for five days. You can find the recipe here or follow the the instructions below (courtesy: Pick Up Limes). I hope you will like them as much as I did!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp (14 g) ground flax seeds
  • 6 Tbsp (90 mL) water
  • 1/3 cup (8 mL) soy milk 
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (63 mL) coconut oil, melted 
  • 1/3 cup (85 g) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup (75 g) sugar, or sub agave or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups (160 g) old-fashioned rolled oats blended into a flour*
  • 1.5 cups (150 g) blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 Tbsp (7 g) white whole wheat flour (if using frozen blueberries) 

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C) and lightly grease a muffin tin.
  • Whisk together the flax seeds and water and allow it to sit for 5 minutes until the flax gels, stirring once after a couple minutes.
  • To the flax gel, add the soy milk and vinegar, whisk, and allow to sit for another 5 minutes. Meanwhile, blend the oats into a flour.
  • Add the oil, applesauce, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon and whisk.
  • One at a time add the baking soda, baking powder and salt  stirring after each addition. Then gently mix in the oat flour until just combined.
  • Gently stir in blueberries until just combined. If frozen, do not and thaw. Toss first in flour until coated and then stir into the muffin batter until just combined. Divide evenly into the muffin tin.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Tip:

  • If you don’t have a food processor, you can buy oat flour. If you opt for this, use 1+3/4 cups (160g). ​

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Food

Tofu & Potato Curry

If you follow me on Instagram, you would know my husband and I are trying this seven-day detox diet which prescribes a very strict eating plan. Consequently, I have caught myself in a constant battle about what I want to eat (rice and curry) and what the diet asks (vegetable soup). I will do a detailed post about this diet in a post next week, so watch this space, if you are interested.

Being on a detox diet, or not, why can’t I do some wishful thinking about dinner, right? That’s where this recipe comes in. A couple of weeks, back I finally took the plunge to try cooking with tofu, and believe you me, I am converted from never eating tofu to including it in my weekly meal prep. Since after making the curry, I have used it in a few meals, including a killer fried rice skillet – let me know if you want me to share that recipe.

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Back to the curry – this is one you must try. I promise it won’t have the rubbery texture that tofu served in restaurants mostly has.

Ingredients for the tofu marinade:

  • Organic natural tofu (200 grams)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Yogurt (2 tablespoons)
  • Red chili powder (1/2 teaspoon)*
  • Cumin powder (1/2 teaspoon).

Remaining Ingredients:

  • Oil (3 tablespoons)
  • Onion (2)
  • Minced garlic (1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • Chopped green chillies (2)
  • Tomatoes (3)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Crushed red chilli (1 teaspoon)
  • Coriander powder (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Turmeric powder (1/4 teaspoon)
  • Garam masala (1/4 teaspoon)
  • Potatoes (2 large or 250 grams)
  • Peas (1/2 cup)
  • Coriander (for garnish).

Method:

  • Roughly chop the tofu in chunks and marinate it using all listed ingredients.*
  • In a pot or pan, heat oil. Chop onions meanwhile.
  • Once oil is heated, sauté onions until golden brown. Chop the tomatoes meanwhile.
  • Sauté the minced garlic with onions until fragrant.
  • Add tomatoes, chillies, and all spices to the onion and garlic goodness.
  • Stir until the tomatoes are mushy and the oil is separated.
  • Add potatoes, peas, and tofu.
  • Break the tofu further with your spatula/spoon as everything cooks. The tofu you will end up with will have a minced meat texture.
  • Cook for at least ten minutes on medium high heat.
  • Now turn down the heat, add some water, and let those potatoes soften.
  • Once the potatoes are cooked through, garnish with chopped coriander and serve with rice, wholewheat wrap/chapati, or naan. Voila!

Tips:

  • Add more chili powder if you like heat.
  • Mix the spices first in the yogurt and then add tofu chunks to it while making the marinade.
  • For extra flavor, leave the tofu marinade in the refrigerator overnight.

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Food

Egg Fried Quinoa With Vegetables

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Sunday evenings are normally quite busy for me. I am occupied prepping meals and work outfits for the week ahead. Today, I was even more pressed for time because I had to make a quick trip to the city center to buy a present (from my team) for a colleague who has just bought a house.

When I returned home, the thought of meal prepping just put me off. May be also because all week I struggled with a neck sprain that got the best of me. Now, I wanted some downtime. So, I decided to make about two servings of this easy peasy meal that came together in under 30 minutes. I will take the second serving for lunch tomorrow. And for the meal prep…we will think about it tomorrow after work, I think.

Let’s get right into this recipe that is uber convenient and quick, so that I can go back to my downtime. 😛

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Ingredients:

  • Quinoa (1 cup)
  • Oil (2 tablespoons)
  • Onion (1)
  • Minced garlic (1 tablespoon)
  • Chopped Chillies (3)
  • Chopped carrot (1 cup)
  • Peas (1/2 cup)
  • Eggs (2)
  • Soy sauce (1 tablespoon)
  • Sriracha sauce (to taste)

Method:

  • Boil two cups water. Add quinoa to the pot and bring heat to medium low. In 8-10 minutes quinoa should be cooked.
  • Heat up oil in a wok/pan.
  • Chop onions and fry until translucent.
  • Add minced garlic. Fry for two minutes.
  • Add chopped chillies and carrots, as well as peas.
  • After the vegetables are 1/3 cooked through, push them aside, and scramble two eggs in the same pan.
  • Now add the cooked quinoa, Sriracha and soy sauce. Stir until everything is well combined! Serve with lemon wedges. 🙂

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One Pot Mixed Veggie Galore

First of all, sincere apologies for not posting in nearly two weeks. I had to unexpectedly travel to London for work just before taking a week off for a holiday in Mallorca. It got busy! But now I am back and kicking things off with this absolutely delightful mixed veggie recipe that I learned from my father. 🙂

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Growing up, my father rarely cooked vegetables, but come winter and he would be cooking this recipe for the family. I have fond memories of going grocery shopping with him and then watching him be a “chef” in my mother’s kitchen while me and my three siblings acted as “sous-chefs.” It was a wonderful time when the whole family sat together relishing the rare delight that is my father’s “finger lickin good” mixed vegetables with hot naans out of the local tandoor.

While I was in Mallorca for my holiday, I ate a variety of different foods, but as cliche as it sounds, nothing matched the taste of a home cooked meal. So when I returned last night, I made a mental grocery list of everything I would need to make this warm, spicy, and hearty mixed vegetables with minimal gravy that is so reminiscent of family time and cold weather in Karachi. This recipe could also be served as a side dish alongside my all time favorite daal.

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So while the clouds covered Amsterdam skies, instead of being grumpy, I enjoyed this warm meal in the cosiness of my bed with the noise of rain falling on the windowpane, all while watching the first two episodes of Suits Season 7. Do not judge, I am returning to work tomorrow! 😛

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If you fancy a warm and cozy meal such as mine, follow the recipe below.

Ingredients:

  • Oil (1/3 cup)
  • Onions (2)
  • Ginger garlic paste (3 tablespoon)
  • Tomatoes (2)
  • Green chillies (4)
  • Chili flakes (1 teaspoon)
  • Chili powder (1 teaspoon)
  • Garam masala (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Turmeric powder (1/4 teaspoon)
  • Cumin powder (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Potatoes (400 grams)
  • Cauliflower (500 grams)
  • Green peas (2/3 cup)
  • Carrots (1 cup)
  • Salt (1 1/2 teaspoon)

Method:

  • Finely chop onion, chillies, and tomatoes.
  • Heat oil in a pan and fry onions until golden brown. This would be a good time to chop the potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower if you have not bought pre-chopped vegetables.
  • Add ginger garlic paste to the onions and sauté for two minutes. If using store bought paste, lower the heat prior to frying the paste. That prevents the oil from splattering.
  • When the garlic and onion are fragrant, add chopped tomatoes and chillies.
  • After a minute or so, add all spices and stir until oil separates from the mixture.
  • Now add the potatoes and carrots and cook/stir for 10 or so minutes. Then, add the cauliflower and peas. Stir on medium heat for another 10 minutes.
  • Add half a cup of water and blast the heat until everything is sizzling. Cover the pot and bring the heat to medium low. Let cook for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  • Serve with boiled rice or naan. Better yet, make a wrap out of it and bring it for lunch! That is what I do. 🙂

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