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Showing posts with label MUGHALAI CUISINE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MUGHALAI CUISINE. Show all posts

Thursday, April 4, 2013


I first tasted Paneer Lababdar in a restaurant here in Singapore. I liked the dish so much that I decided to try making it at home. Being a Hindi teacher I started searching for the meaning of Lababdar and couldn’t find it in the Shabdkosh (Hindi dictionary) as well. There are some words that we have which are imports from Urdu & Arabic. This must be one such word. After much research I got something which describes what ‘Lababdar’ means.
‘Lababdar’ means a strong desire for something and a desire to indulge in it.
I wonder if this is a dish with some Mughal influence hence I categorize it under Mughlai and Punjabi dishes. I love the creamy red sauce in which the cottage chesse is cooked. The tenderness of the paneer, the texture of the light creamy tangy sauce. It’s truly a delight.

Malai Paneer (Cottage cheese) - 500 gms
Onions – 2 big sized
Tomatoes – 5 / 15oz Can of Tomato Puree
Ginger -  ½ tsp
Green chillies – 3-4
Kasuri Methi (dried fenugreek leaves) – 1tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Coriander powder - ½ tsp
Red chilly powder – ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Garam Masala powder - 1 tsp
White Sesame seeds (White Til) – ½ tsp
Full Cream Milk – ½ cup
Fresh Cream – 200gms
Butter - 1-2tbsps
Cardamom powder – ½ tsp
Dry Red Kashmiri Chilly -2 pieces
Oil – 2 tbsps
Fresh Green Coriander leaves (chopped) - 1/2 tbsp
Mint leaves – 3-4 leaves
Salt as per taste

For the paneer
I recommend making this dish with the fresh Paneer as the texture of the Paneer will be smooth and silky.
I used frozen paneer in this dish and I usually soak them in some hot water for about 15-20 minutes until they become soft like fresh paneer and drain the water after a while through a colander.
Cut the paneer in small cubes and keep aside.
In a Wok (Kadhai), add 2 tbsps of butter, lightly sauté the paneer and keep aside. The reason we sauté the paneer lightly in butter is to make it tough and not so easy to crumble inside the gravy.

For the tomato puree
You can either use 5 big red, ripe tomatoes and make a puree in the blender. I have used the tomato puree from the can as they have a deep red color and I usually stock a few cans in the case of an emergency.
Make a coarse paste of one onion, ginger and the green chillies. Finely chop the other onion.
Meanwhile dry roast the white sesame seeds and once it cools down make a powder, Don’t grind until the oil comes out.
In a Wok (Kadhai), add 2 tbsps of oil, add the cumin seeds and the carom seeds. Once it crackles, add the finely chopped onions, once it is transparent, add in the onion-ginger-green chilly paste. Add in salt and sauté until the oil comes out of the masala.
This indicates that the masala done.
Now add the tomato puree, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and cardamom powder and cook for
4-5 minutes until the oil separates and the gravy becomes thick. The tomato paste makes the gravy thick.
Now add the powdered sesame seeds and mix well.
After this add the milk and mix well. Let it boil for a while, till you feel the gravy becomes thick again and the color becomes uniform.
Now add the Paneer cubes.
After this add garam masala powder. Mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Mash the Kasuri Methi (dried fenugreek leaves) with your hands and add into the gravy.
Cook for another minute or 2.
Then, add the fresh cream and let it cook on sim.
Now in a small pan, melt some butter and add the dried red Kashmiri chillies and pour into the gravy.
This is a dressing and looks better on top so don’t mix.
Garnish with finely chopped fresh green coriander leaves, mint leaves and some ginger strips.
Serve hot with fulkas, roti, Naan, kulcha, paratha or even rice. Tastes best with Indian breads.


-          You can add garlic as well for extra flavoring, I don’t use much garlic in my cooking  hence I avoided it. If incase you are adding garlic, make a paste along with the onion-ginger-chilly and follow the recipe.

-          Instead of using the full cream milk, you can use low fat milk or skimmed milk.

-          You can completely avoid fresh cream or use low fat  fresh cream

-          If the gravy is very thin, the paneer will crumble, so you must ensure that the gravy is thick.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


 Jalfrezi (also jhal frezi, zalfrezi, and many alternative spellings) is a type of curry in which marinated pieces of vegetables are fried in oil and spices to produce a dry, thick sauce. It is cooked with green chillies, with the result that a jalfrezi can range in heat from a medium dish to a very hot one. Typically those eating jalfrezi cool it down by combining it with cream.[1] Other main ingredients include peppers, onion and tomato. From the times of the Chinese, when it was created as a way of using leftover meat; the chillies helped to disguise any disagreeable taste. The name comes indirectly from Chinese and Bengali jhāl, spicy food, and Urdu parhezī, suitable for a diet.  It is the most popular dish in UK Indian restaurants. (Info courtesy- Wikipedia)

My husband Yo likes rich mughalai food especially when it is loaded with vegetables, He always orders for dishes like these in the restaurant. What can be made in the restaurant can be made better and healthier at home, hence I decided to surprise him one evening with this wonderful dish and he (being a man of few words and not very generous with his compliments unless asked for) gave me his feedback in action, when I saw him licking his fingers and finishing bowl after bowls until I had to make more chappatis than his usual quota to eat with the Jalfrezi. 
I have explained to you both ways how to cook this by without marinating (below) and by marinating(under Tips). Try both ways. Enjoy!!!!!


Onion – 1
Tomatoes – 6
Capsicum – 1 (You can use different colors for added color to the dish)
Potatoes  - 1
Carrots – 1-2
Green peas – 1 cup
Beans – 1 cup
Cauliflower florets – 1 cup
Baby corn – 2-3 (Optional)
Paneer (Indian Cottage cheese) – 1 cup (Optional)
Ginger Paste – ½ tsp
Garlic Paste – ½ tsp (Optional)
Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
Kasuri Methi powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Coriander powder -2 tsps
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Chilly powder – 2 tsps
Kitchen King Masala – 1 tsp
Fresh garam masala – 1 tsp
Salt as per taste
Oil – 3-4 tbsps
Fresh green coriander leaves for garnish – 1 tbsp
Fresh cream – 1 cup (optional)

Cut all the vegetables into long medium sized strips as shown in the picture.
Chop the onions into small pieces or you can chop them into fine strips as well.
Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. Once they start to sizzle, add onions and ginger-garlic paste. Saute` on medium-low heat for few minutes.
Add the tomatoes and sauté  until the tomato is mushy. Now add in the capsicum and sauté for a few minutes. Add in the vegetables. Now add in all the masala powders and salt as per taste, mix well and cook covered. The vegetables will release their own water. Don’t add in extra water. Cook covered on a low flame. Keep stirring once or twice in the middle.
Check after some time if the vegetables are taking too long to cook add 2-3 tablespoons of water and cook covered for some time. Cook until the vegetables are still crunchy and not mushy.
At this point of time add in the paneer. Squeeze the water out of the paneer pieces and them to the vegetables. Mix gently else your paneer will get crumbled. Ensure that the spices evenly coat the paneer. Let this cook covered on a low flame for another 10-15 minutes. You will notice that the oil starts to rise from the sides indicating that the dish is done. After this, turn off the flame. Serve hot garnished with freshly chopped coriander leaves. Enjoy this delicacy with fulkas, parathas, naans, rotis or rice.
  • You can make this dish richer by adding 1 cup of fresh cream. If you are doing this, add the cream at the end, mix well and cook for 5 minutes
  • You can marinate the vegetables for added taste.-  In a bowl add in some oil, the ginger-garlic paste, the masala powders, salt as per taste and all the vegetables and the paneer and leave it covered overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning cook as above (except don’t add in the ginger-garlic paste and the masalas and salt). In the oil, sauté the cumin seeds, onions, tomatoes and capsicum & add in the marinated vegetables, sauté and cook until crisp and crunchy and serve garnished with coriander leaves. Since its marinated it cooks faster. Try to remove the paneer and add it during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Otherwise the paneer may crumble. 


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