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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Paneer Pasta - Pasta with Indian Cottage Cheese and Mixed Vegetables

A nutritious delicious one pot meal. Its a Pasta dish with the goodness of the vegetables of your choice as well as leafy vegetable (Spinach) and Paneer (Indian Cottage cheese). The good news is, it is a ONE POT MEAL. Since I use ready to use store bought Pasta sauce, its a quick to make meal as well. This is a great meal for a lazy Sunday or a work day when you are too crunched for time.

 The idea for this recipe came along when my kids wanted 2 different things for dinner one night. One said Palak Paneer and one said Vegetable Pasta. It was one of those busy work days and I had very little time to prepare dinner. So I thought about a fusion of both those dishes into one and Voila Paneer Pasta was created. It was a big hit as my younger one who is 4 and a picky eater exclaimed, " I love this Paneer Pasta Mommy !!!". So there I got the name for this recipe from him.

Ingredients :    
  • 12 oz Rotini and Rigatoni Pasta *
  • 1 24 oz jar Ragu pasta sauce**
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno chopped
  • 8oz Paneer / Cottage Cheese cut into cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1/2 cup cut frozen Spinach
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • grated Parmesan cheese 
  • freshly chopped Basil leaves
* You could use either kind of pasta. Sometimes I find mixing two different kinds of pasta gives more texture to the dish. 12 oz is almost 3/4 of the 1 lb box.
** Also for this particular recipe I've used Chunky Ragu sauce with Garlic and onion.


  • Cook pasta according to package directions. 
  • In a pan over medium heat add olive oil. Once its heated add the minced garlic. Let it saute for a minute. Now add the chopped jalapeno followed by Ragu sauce. Add the vegetables (peas, carrots,corn,beans,spinach). Add the paneer cubes. Mix it well. Add the red chili flakes. Adjust the salt. Cover and let it cook on medium low for about 4-5 minutes.
  • Next add the drained pasta and mix it well. Let it cook on medium flame for a minute. Remove from heat. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and freshly chopped Basil leaves. There your Paneer Pasta is ready to be served. This recipe serves 4. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sooji Ka Halwa - Semolina Halwa

Sooji ka Halwa is a very popular Indian Dessert. Its quick and easy to make with just a few ingredients. Now halwa is a kind of pudding and there are different kinds of halwa - like Carrot Halwa, Moong Dal Halwa,  Pineapple Halwa to name a few. By the way  you can find all the recipes here at my blog.

Ingredients :
  • 1 cup Sooji /Semolina
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter/ghee
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (cashews, pistachios)
  • 3 cups water
  • *1 tbsp Orange Food color (optional) or ** pinch of Saffron 
* 1 tbsp food coloring is prepared by adding just a bit of color(solid/liquid)  to 1 tbsp water.
** If you are considering using Saffron-  Take a pinch of saffron and dissolve it in 1 tbsp warm milk. 

  • In a sauce pan or pot add 3 cups of water and sugar. Heat it on medium flame until the sugar dissolves.Keep this aside.
  • Now in a Kadhai or thick bottomed pan, melt the butter on medium flame. Add the chopped nuts and fry. Next add Sooji / Semolina and roast this in butter/ghee for about 5-6 minutes. This eliminates the raw smell of Sooji. Roast till you get a beautiful golden color.   Make sure to keep it on medium low flame or else the Sooji could get burnt. Keep stirring continuously. 
  • Next very carefully add the water+sugar mixture to this roasted Sooji. Stir it well and keep it covered on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. The water will all be absorbed and it will get dry. (Now if you would like to add some food coloring you do it at this stage. Just add about 1 tbsp of saffron/orange color and then cover and cook for 2-3 minutes). Your Sooji Ka Halwa or Semolina Halwa is ready to be served. Also when you add the color it could be called as Rava Kesari. This recipe serves 4-6.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache Filling and Frosting

Just celebrated our anniversary yesterday on Valentine's Day. That shows my love for Valentine's Day, as I chose that day to get married. Its been 12 years and it still feels like yesterday. 

As I was still thinking what cake to bake for this occasion , my younger one who's 4 said he really wished for a heart cake. Since it was Valentine's day and our anniversary chocolate heart shaped cake did not seem like a bad idea. My older who's 8 and my DH said that  anything's fine. Its the usual  guy thing I guess and I'm outnumbered being the only  girl in the house. 

So this is what I baked- Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache  filling and frosting. Also used some Chocolate shavings to garnish the cake and make it extra special.

Chocolate Cake  
Ingredients :
  • 1 + 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 orange juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs


  • Preheat oven to 350 deg F (180 deg C). Grease a 9 inch heart cake pan.
  • In a bowl sieve together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl mix together sugar, vegetable oil , eggs, orange juice and vanilla essence until all ingredients are blended , either by hand or by using an electric mixer at slow speed. Then add the dry mixture and  mix it well.
  • Pour into the prepared cake pan. Bake in preheated oven for about 35 to 40 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool. Then slice the cake through the middle to make two layers .  Apply a liberal amount of the Chocolate Ganache filling on the top of the lower layer. Carefully place the top layer. Then add the rest of the Chocolate Ganache  and cover the entire cake. Try to make it as smooth as possible and then garnish it with some Chocolate  Shavings.

Chocolate Ganache  
Ingredients :
  • 1 cup heavy whipped cream 
  • 12 oz Ghirardelli semi-sweet Chocolate baking chips
Preparation:  Heat the cream on medium high flame. Now pour this hot cream onto the semi-sweet chocolate chips. Whisk it well until  the chips dissolve and make a smooth chocolate Ganache frosting.  Ganache in French simply means a mixture of chocolate and cream. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mutter Paneer - Peas and Indian Cottage Cheese with creamy tomato sauce

Mutter Paneer

Mutter Paneer is a popular North Indian Dish. Its a delicious preparation made with Mutter(peas) and Paneer(Indian cottage cheese) in a creamy tomato/onion sauce. I do add fresh cream to this dish which is optional. Also many prefer to fry the Paneer cubes before adding to the gravy/sauce. This depends on you as well. I do not fry it anymore and I find that it does not make a big difference to the dish flavor-wise but it does give the paneer cubes a beautiful golden color.

  • 225 gms / 1/2 lb Paneer (Cottage cheese) cubed
  • 225 gms / 1/2 lb  frozen Peas
  • 1 large red onion pureed
  • 2 large tomatoes pureed
  • 4-5 cloves garlic and 1" ginger -minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste(optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1tsp- 2tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin-coriander powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup cream
  • salt to taste
  • Oil

Mutter Paneer

Preparation : Heat  oil in a Kadhai/thick bottomed pan. Add the bay leaves and Black cardamom followed by the onion puree. On medium flame saute the onion till its golden brown and add the minced garlic and ginger. Fry for about a minute. Add the tomato puree. Let it cook for about 3-4 minutes till it combines well with the onion /garlic. Now add the dry spices-turmeric, red chili powder, cumin-coriander powder. Mix it well. Add the tomato paste. Add a little water for the gravy about 2-3 cups. Bring it to a boil. Add the peas and cubed  paneer. Cover and let it simmer on medium low for about 10 -15 minutes. Now add the cream. Mix it well. Adjust the salt. Take it off the heat. Garnish it with fresh Cilantro. Mutter Paneer is ready to be served. Enjoy it with any Indian bread or Cumin Rice. This recipe serves 4.