Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Paneer Koftas in a Coconut gravy

Paneer is becoming a staple food in my household nowadays. I used to love Paneer in any form. But not anymore. I have been making Paneer dishes atleast once a week since my daughter loves it, and at one time it was colossally boring for me to make the same paneer dish again and again. Its everywhere. Whether its a party, or a Indian restaurant, a Paneer dish ends up on our plate certainly. Any Indian Restaurant menu has majority of dishes under Vegetarian made with paneer. Nowadays I repeatedly choose a paneer dish to prepare for a potluck party, so I can be sure my daughter will eat something.

However, I love to cook Paneer dishes regularly, because a good thing about Paneer is, its so versatile that it can be used with any combination of spices to give a delectable dish. I think, my blog itself has quite a few paneer recipes with different variations, and there's quite a few sitting in my drafts waiting to be posted.

Well, here is one of them - a Paneer dish with a different twist. Paneer Koftas soaked in a creamy coconut gravy. Koftas are usually combined with a thick and rich creamy gravy, primarily using fresh cream for thickening. This dish goes much like the usual gravy, but mostly uses coconut milk instead of fresh cream. I used 75% coconut milk and 25% fresh cream. I followed this recipe from different sources and I think vahrevah video cooking was very helpful to make the Koftas. Overall, this dish came out quite well and gave a completely new and different flavor.

For Koftas:
  • Grated Paneer - 1 cup (I run the fresh paneer cubes in a food processor or you can also grate the paneer)
  • Boiled and Mashed Potatoes - 1 cup
  • Boiled and mashed peas and carrots (don't mash the vegetables too much) - 1 cup
  • Raisins - a few
  • Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Corriander powder - 1 tsp
  • Grated Ginger - 1/2 tsp
  • All purpose flour or Corn flour - to dust the Kofta balls
  • Chopped corriander leaves - a hand full.
  • Salt as required
For Gravy:
  • Onions - 1 medium
  • Tomatoes - 1 large - diced
  • Ginger/Garlic paste - 1 tsp
  • G.chillies - 2
  • Corriander Powder - 2 tsp
  • Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
  • Crushed paneer - 1 tbsp
  • Broken Cashews - 2 tbsp
  • Cream - 1/4 cup
  • Coconut milk (light coconut milk is better) - 1 cup
  • Chopped corriander leaves - a hand full.
For Koftas:
  • Combine the crushed paneer, mashed potatoes in a wide bowl.
  • Squeeze the water out of the boiled vegetables (you can use this water for the gravy), and mash the vegetables until they lose shape (don't make it a paste). Add this to the paneer and potatoes.
  • Add Chilli powder, corriander powder, ginger, salt and corriander leaves. Mix well.
  • Make a small balls from this mixture, pat it a bit flat, place 2 raisins in the middle, and roll it back to a ball. Adding raisins is completly optional, I make it this way as my daughter enjoys it and also definitely adds a kick to the koftas. You can certainly make just a plain ball.
  • Roll over these balls on the flour (I use all-purpose flour). Set aside.
  • Deep fry the Koftas in oil. Set aside.
Tip: To get perfect Koftas, all the ingredients should be free from water as much as possible. I remove the potatoes from water as soon as they are cooked and let it dry for 5 mins before I mash them. I also drain the water from the vegetables as soon as they are cooked.
Try to deep fry only one first. If it breaks, add some Rava or bread crumbs to the mixture and mix well. This may absorb that extra moisture.
For Gravy:
  • Heat oil in a pan. Fry the onions until they trun color, then add ginger/garlic paste and tomatoes and fry again.
  • Add turmeric, chilli powder and corriander powder. Add salt and fry for a few mins until the tomatoes are well cooked. Let this cool, add cashews and grind this mixture to a paste.
  • Heat a little oil in the pan again, and add this blended mixture. Fry for a min or two and add the squeezed vegetable water. Cover and cook for 5 mins.
  • Now add the crushed paneer, boil it for a min.
  • Finally add the coconut milk and fresh cream. Boil for 2 mins. If required add some water.
  • Add the Koftas and remove from heat immediately. Garnish with corriander leaves. The Koftas will absorb the gravy quickly. So the gravy should not be too thick.
Serve hot with Rotis/Parathas.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pal Kozhukattai (Dumplings in Coconut milk)

Happy Ganesh Chathurthi!

I'm back from a extra-long summer break.. Hope everyone had a wonderful summer! I was at India for the majority of this summer and time just flew away. I know I missed a lot of yummy recipes from my blogging world here, but actually I've also been checking some blogs now and then and have bookmarked some interesting recipes too. Though it feels good to blog after a long time, I have to say that my brain is completely blank now. In fact, a few minutes back, I felt like I have plenty to ramble, but as I sat down to write this post I feel as if there is nothing to write. I can't seem to form rational sentences, and have seem to lost touch in my usual scrawling. Hope to get back to my regular blogging mind set soon.

Well, Today is Ganesh Chathurthi and I cooked a traditional lunch special after a long time - ofcourse with our Ganesh Chathurthi special Kozhukattai too. I always relate our traditional Kozhukattai (Modak) to the Japanese dumplings called Mochi. Somehow, the basic concept seems to be the same, although the ingredients are slightly different. Actually, there are quite a bit of our traditional dishes that I can relate to the dishes across the border, but this one I feel is closely tied to the Japanese dumplings. The sweet filling, rice flour base, steamin process etc. sound so similar to each other. Ofcourse, me and my family enjoy the Indian Kozhukattai more, as we all grew up enjoying that version.

Though I had prepared the regular steamed Kozhukattai for puja and lunch, interestingly during lunch time, my daughter asked me why this time I did not make the Pal Kozhukattai which she enjoys more! It didn't strike me until then, that I missed making her favorite. But as I had some left over rice flour, I decided to prepare this sweet just for her in the evening. Glad I was in a cooking mood yesterday!


Fresh Shredded coconut - 2 cups
Regular milk - 1/2 cup
Rice Flour - 1.5 cups
Cardamom powder (or crushed cardamom) - 1.5 tsp
Sugar - 1.5 cups (or as required)
Raisins - a few for garnishing


1. Add 2 cups water and 1.5 cups of shredded coconut in a blender. Strain the milk using a strainer and then squeeze out the milk from the coconut remains. This will be a thicker version of coconut milk. Set aside.

2. Repeat this process with the squeezed coconut and the remaining 0.5 cup of shredded coconut and strain the milk one more time. This will be the lighter version (diluted) of coconut milk. Set this aside too.

3. Take the rice flour in a large pan. Add salt and mix well with the rice flour.

4. Boil 4 cups water in a pan and pour this in the rice flour slowly. Mix the flour rapidly with the back side of a wooden ladle and keep mixing until it becomes a thick dough (like chapathi dough). Pour only the required amount of water so the dough is in the right consistency.

5. In a thick bottomed pan, pour the lighter version of coconut milk, add sugar, cardamom powder and the regular milk and mix well. Bring it to boil, then simmer the heat and let it boil continuously.

6. Make small balls with the prepared dough and drop them in the boiling coconut milk. Once the balls are cooked, they come up to the surface of the milk (float).

7. Once all the balls are cooked well, add the thicker version of coconut milk, mix well and remove from heat immediately. Garnish with raisins.

You can enjoy this either warm or cold.