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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Chinese Five spice Paneer Tikka

Paneer Tikka!! When you hear this words, you start visualizing this succulent, slabs of paneer baked in tandoor oozing with butter and has this wonderful grilled aroma. For me, that's absolute heaven. But I thought of taking Paneer Tikka to a whole new level with this different spice to see how it fares and I leave it to you for the final verdict.

So here is my Chinese Five Spice Paneer Tikka

Chinese five-spice powder is a spice mixture commonly used in Chinese cooking. It is a combination of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, star anise and szechuan peppercorns. There are variations to it too. Some people use nutmeg and dry ginger. And some people use black peppercorns since Szechuan peppercorns are not easily available.
I used fennel seeds, star anise, cinnamon, cloves and black peppercorns.

To make the five spice powder:

1 tbsp Fennel seeds
2 big sticks Cinnamon
6-8 whole cloves
15-20 Black peppercorns or 1/2 tsp Szechuan peppers
2 Star anise (whole)

Dry grind the above ingredients in a blender or coffee grinder and use as required.

Since this is my own creation, I just eyeball the ingredients. I don't have precise measurements of the ingredients.
I took about a pound of home made paneer and cut it into bite size rectangular slabs.

Now for the marinade:

I used ginger-garlic paste, soy sauce, Tamari sauce, salt, vinegar, five spice powder, rice flour and cornstarch and 2 tbsp of yogurt and mixed everything together to marinate the paneer pieces. I marinated them overnight and next day I baked them in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. (200 degrees Celsius) for 15-20 minutes and after that broiled them for 5 minutes to give them a nice grilled look.
When baking in the oven line the baking sheet with foil and use the cooking spray or brush it with butter and then when you place the paneer pieces, spray once again with the cooking spray or brush them with melted butter. After they are done brush them once again with butter. This is optional, it just gives better flavor.

You can use the grill if you have one to make this paneer tikka . You can skewer the marinated paneer pieces with diced onions, green peppers and red peppers and grill it till its done. And sprinkle them with some lemon juice and five spice powder.

I sauteed the diced onion and peppers in little oil till they sweat a little bit and then skewered the paneer pieces along with onions and peppers in my plastic skewers to make it easy for my kids.
For more heat and spicyness you grind green chilies and add to the marinade and then once the tikkas are done sprinkle more of the five spice powder for intense heat and flavor.

The other nice thing about cooking with Five Spice Powder is not only the intense flavor that it adds to the food but also the beautiful perfume it imparts to the entire house.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Melon, Mint and Lime salad

As you know by now I am a sucker for good salads. And this one really is a fresh take, on amalgamating different textures and flavors. I was seriously doubting about the ingredients that goes into this salad. But once I tasted it, I would say, it definitely has the wow factor.

Super refreshing, cool salad.

I have used the Jellied Mint Sauce in this salad. You can find that in most American grocery stores in Jelly and Spreads isle. You can certainly use fresh mint for this, but the jellied sauce has both Spearmint and Peppermint and has great taste so try to use the jelly and see how you like it. There are two varieties, Mint jelly and Mint sauce, both has same ingredients. Except that the mint sauce has two mints in it.

For the salad:
1/2 cup mint jelly or mint sauce (jellied)
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 melon, cantaloupe or honey dew, peeled, and cut into cubes
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper

Mint sprigs, for garnish

In a medium shallow bowl, whisk together jelly, lime juice and olive oil. Add the melon and veggies and toss. Season salad with salt and pepper and serve with mint sprigs.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Superfoods: 4 Buckwheat

This is the link to the article Superfoods: 4 "Buckwheat" on Meeta's Daily Tiffin blogspot.
I contribute article on Superfoods to her blog every month.