Living in my current city I’ve come to know a few bloggers very closely at personal level and there are many bloggers whom I have met in person and there are a lot many bloggers with whom I’ve connected virtually, who are from India and across the globe. But a chance to meet many at the same time, I guess any blogger would jump to grab such an opportunity. To meet the faces behind the creative world of food blogging under one roof would definitely be a dream come true.
I came to know about the first of it’s kind, an all India food bloggers meet about two months back when Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen had called to up to check out if I could be of any help in getting some one I know, to be a part of the the event. She told me that four bloggers, Arunadati, Revathi, Nandita and herself, had come up with idea of having a bloggers meet and have been putting in all the efforts to organise the event. I was all excited to be a part of that and I told S to keep himself in the city to be with the kid while I was away attending the meet.
There are a few sessions and more importantly the people behind those sessions which got me really excited. These are the bloggers whom I’ve been following and learning a lot from them. They are big names in the field of food blogging and their work is always inspiring the first being Deeba of Passionate About Baking who would be taking a session on Food Styling, then Aparna herself will take a session on food photography. I’ve done one workshop with her earlier, so her session will give me a chance to revise my basics. Then there’s a session on food writing by Rushina, who is the author of recently published book A pinch of this a handful of that and also is a food consultant but the most important session of all which I am personally looking forward to, as I feel I’m pathetic at is, would be conducted by Nandita on the topic Social Media For Food Bloggers
There’s much more in the offering at IFBM about which one can read here. And if you have still not registered, the registrations are open till 15thJuly. I’m all reserved by train and booked in the guest house along with my fellow bloggers of the city where we get to stay together and have a party of a time with the girls. Just counting my days to the meet .
Coming to today’s recipe, I can tell you that this recipe has been very well received. I had tried this recipe for an all girls potluck party and the curry was loved by all. Later, my friends requested me to share the recipe which I had promptly shared with them through a social network.
If my readers would remember, a few days back I had posted a picture on my FB fan page, of a curry getting cooked and their was also coal on fire in the picture. I had asked them to guess what’s cooking and my dear blogger friend Rajani Vaidya’s answer was the closest to what I could call a correct answer.
It was this curry which I had put on the fan page as I had made the curry once again and this time it was for the lunch boxes accompanied by ajwain paratha/carom seed flatbread. I was flattered by the feedback I got from my husband’s colleague and son’s friends. His colleague R said that ‘Sir your wife is a Master Chef and she should be doing many more important things in her life to receive more accolades’. Kid’s friends were all gaga about the preparation and told him that his Mom cooks finger licking tasty food. The son was beaming with joy when he came home. I was surely humbled by those praises and thought people are really generous. I decided to share the recipe asap with all my readers, so that many more could devour such a tasty preparation at their homes and enjoy their share of praises too.
I’m in love with the unroasted Garam Masala and I keep making it regularly. This masala has been picked up from Raghavan Iyers cook book 660 Curries and this preparation is an adaptation of his recipe. Though, I have modified the recipe to make it low calorie and also tried to add my own touch to it by adding the smoke flavour, what I haven’t changed is the spice mix that is a part of the original recipe. As the name suggests that the spices in the spice mix are unroasted and hence, the spice mix gets added in the curry early in the cooking, which gives the spices enough time to release their subtle flavours. The freshly ground spice mix has fresh and complex flavours which are missing in the packaged spice blends.
Since the curry is gluten free, I’m sending it to my event ‘ONLY’ Gluten Free cooking, hosted here through this month.
Smoked Cottage Cheese & Peas Curry Flavoured With Unroasted Garam Masala
बिन भुने गरम मसाले वाले मटर पनीर
Preparation Time:15mins | Cooking Time:20-25mins | Serves:3-4 | Difficulty Level: Easy
Ingredients (In the sequence of Use)
For Unroasted Garam masala
1tsp cumin seeds
1/2tsp cardamom seeds from green cardamom
2dry bay leaves
3-4 red chillies/ bedagi chillies/ cayenne chillies
1medium onion, roughly chopped
3-4 garlic cloves
1-1/2inch piece ginger
2medium size tomatoes pureed or 1/4cup ready made tomato puree
2-3tsp fresh unroasted garam masala
salt to taste
1/2 to 3/4cup frozen peas
150gms paneer/cottage cheese, cubed
1tsp oil for shallow frying
100ml low fat cream
1tbsp finely chopped coriander/cilantro
a piece of aluminium foil folded four times to fit in the bowl
1tsp clarified butter/ghee
1tsp cream for garnish
Take all the spices under the spice mix and grind in a coffee grinder to a fine powder.
Grind together the onion, garlic and ginger to a paste. If required add a little water to make grinding easy.
Heat oil on a low flame in a non stick pan and add the bay leaves.
Tip in slowly the ground paste of onion and sauté on a low flame. Since the oil used is very less, add two-three spoons of water at regular intervals to prevent burning. Ensure that the paste gets cooked and does not dry up during cooking. One always has a choice of adding more oil but I avoided it as cream also gets added to the curry which releases oil.
Meanwhile in another non stick pan, on a medium high flame, shallow fry the cottage cheese cubes so as to get a nice golden colour on them. Take precaution not to over cook else the cheese will turn chewy. It gets done in 2-3mins.
Once the raw smell disappears (takes about 10mins) from the onion paste and it gets a reddish brown colour, stir in tomato puree, salt to taste and the unroasted spice mix. The sauce starts to bubble and thicken quickly and it splatters while cooking, so one needs to be careful.
Simmer the sauce and once the oil starts to separates around the corners add peas and mix. Also, pour in about 1/3- to1/4 cup water. Bring the curry to a boil and simmer for 3-4 minutes till the peas turn tender.
Finally add the shallow fried cottage cheese and cream and a little cilantro. Mix and cover, simmer cook and gently stir once or twice during the cook. This takes about 4-5mins.
While the curry simmers, burn the charcoal on live fire/flame. Once the curry is cooked, take a bowl and place aluminium foil inside it. Place the hot charcoal over the foil and using tongs place the bowl in the curry. Put a few drops of ghee and cover the bowl so that smoke produced from the coal gets trapped inside and can’t escape. This smoke provides a tandoori flavour to the curry. Keep covered for 3-4mins and not more else the smoky flavour dominates the curry. What we want is a subtle smoky flavour that lingers gently on the palate and hits the nostrils gradually. To understand how smoking is done, check the green tea smoked sprouted finger millet cutlet post.
Before serving remove the bay leaves and garnish with cream.