Tuesday, January 26, 2010

You have Naan? I have a dinner (1), Onion Bhaji, Cucumber raita

So what did we have with our Naan?
From the top right: chicken balti, tandoori chicken, onion bahji and Saag Paneer Palak Paneer in the center.

During a Skype session Tanna suggested Saag paneer (which in effect became Palak Mozzarella... center of the plate), I found some long forgotten Tandoori spices in the pantry and made grilled chicken Tandoori.
I remembered a cookbook featuring all kinds of Asian dishes, and while I told Tanna that I never had anything like Saag Paneer I flipped the pages to find a recipe for it! Right there in a book I've had for ages.

Paneer being a firm cheese, the Palak stands for spinach and spices. Ok, that settled it. Timewise I substituted mozzarella for paneer. Both Husband and I didn't like the way it looked, didn't like the way it smelled. We tentatively took a bite.... Not bad at all! Paired it with Naan... delicious! Between the three of us (oldest son helped) we polished off the entire bowl.

I gladly refer you to Tanna for the recipe, I used the one I found in the book but as certified sources have it that one should be called Palak Paneer because it uses spinach. Saag Paneer is made with mustard greens... I think I'm confused. Maybe not. But it's good and you should try!

Next I made Balti chicken (recipe follows soon), fairly mild to accomodate the twins, they loved it!

A lonely cucumber I found transformed into cucumber raita, simple but a delicious aside.
Cucumber Raita

2 cucumbers, peeled, deseeded and chopped
200 ml -thick- yoghurt
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp grated gingerroot
salt and pepper
paprika for garnish

Roast cumin and mustard seeds in a dry frying pan until fragrant. Mix cucumber with yoghurt and spices plus gingerroot. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Quickly scatter some aleppo chili flakes in before anyone notices hehe). Serve!

Something else I made were little onion fritters, not entirely sure how I think about them though, in potential these sound delicious but I detected a hint of something strange. My oil? The chick pea flour too old? I do know I want to try again because as I said in potential... yum!

Recipe Onion Bhaji (onion fritters):

80 gr besan (gram flour/chickpea flour)
60 gr ap flour
1.1/2 tsp baking soda (baking soda is what they said, maybe I should have used baking powder?)
1 ts ground chili
1 egg
3 dl water (add as you see fit, you'll want a thick batter, this is way too much)
4 large onions, peeled and sliced in rings
4 garlic cloves, chopped
oil for frying (I used sunflower seed oil)

Sift flours, baking soda and chilipowder in a bowl, mix egg and water and add to whisk into a thick batter. Add garlic, whisk and finally add the onion.

Heat 1/2 to 3/4 inch of oil in a large frying pan and make small "pancakes", using approx. 2 tbs of batter for each fritter. Fry on each side until golden and done. Leave to drain on paper towels and serve as hot as possible with mango chutney or chili sauce. (Or cucumber raita!).



  1. An indian feast for sure.
    Never had that cheese, curious what it's like. Great fun to do this while skyping! This naan has been inspirational.

  2. We had palak paneer last night too because of Tanna's post. (J'adore palak paneer!)


  3. What a delicious dinner!!
    And I love that stewing/roasting pot there, so pretty!

  4. It all looks yummy, but now I need to try the onion pancakes...they look awesome with the chickpea flour and spices.

  5. Lien: I'm going to try and find it somewhere in a toko.

    @ejm: yes, we're converted!

    Natashya: and you know what? It's actually a present my sis brought from the US!

    @Elle: do try please and let me know, I love the idea of onion pancakes, I will try again as well.

  6. That all looks delicious!!! Can I come over for dinner? :o)
    I made paneer before (my Indian friend came over to my house and showed me). It's WAY different than mozzarella. It's very similar to making ricotta cheese. You bring milk to a boil, then add vinegar or lemon juice, let it do its thing, and strain it in a cheesecloth. The longer you let it sit and drain (with or without weights on top), the firmer your paneer gets.

  7. Wow, what a feast! I love that you and Tanna made this (virtually) together.

  8. Sounds yummy! We avoid Indian food over here, because ... well, it's greasier than anything else in the city. Bleh. This, though, sounds quite tasty!

  9. I'd like some of that naan, hot and slathered with some butter and tea!

  10. That looks great - I like the spinach whatever...... And I have to find a place to get chickpea flour. I've heard of a health food store but haven't found it yet. I think I'll have to park and comb the area on foot.

  11. We made some naan today! It was wonderful! I suppose I'll write it up at some point, but just wanted to say thank you for inspiring. :)

  12. it looks great! i LOVE onion bhajis.

  13. Wow, what an amazing feast :)

  14. What a feast! I absolutely adore onion bhajis!

  15. Thanks for stopping by! What have you been up to lately? I haven't seen any recent updates :o) Hope all is going well for you!!

  16. @Hanaâ, I know... I am baking/cooking but never seem to find the time to take pictures or think it's not worthwile enough. Being a bad blogger here!


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