Monday, March 12, 2012

Holi Hai Bhai Holi Hai!

Hello everyone!! Hope you all had a great Holi! As I mentioned last year, the celebration doesn't end for us until 5 days after. So if you haven't played color to your heart's content, do so until you can't rub the it off your face.

I've been completely MIA in the blogosphere for a very long time now. Sometimes life throws things at you and you need to take care of one thing at a time. That is what's been happening with me lately. But you didn't think I had abandoned my blog, did you?? I certainly missed out on many events in the last 2.5 months. Most important of all, my blog's one year b'day! I'm so thankful to all the wonderful readers and fellow bloggers I've had the fortune of 'meeting'. It's been long - but what better occasion than Holi to get back in action? This festival announces the onset of spring and brings new colors and new hopes to our lives. It has certainly renewed my enthusiasm and I'm bringing you a recipe for a very colorful dish.

I had bookmarked Sanjeev Kapoor's recipe for Shaam-Savera a while ago, and I finally had a chance to make it. They say you eat with your eyes first. This recipe for palak-paneer koftas in a rich, creamy tomato sauce is a perfect example of how beautiful and colorful a dish can be. My version of the dish is somewhat simplified - mainly the koftas, which I made with rice flour. I love using rice flour in koftas/fritters since it makes them light and crispy. The other advantage of rice flour over corn flour is it doesn't get chewy after sitting for some time. The gravy recipe is pretty standard. A couple of changes I made were adding onion paste and some more whole spices for full bodied flavor. I had run out of heavy cream so I ended up making a paste out of some cashews. It made for a perfect substitute, adding creaminess and sweetness to the dish.

Shaam Savera: Palak-Paneer Kofta in Rich Tomato Gravy

1 Bunch fresh spinach
1 Cup rice flour (use as needed)
2 Teaspoons cumin-coriander powder
2 Teaspoons red chili powder (adjust spices per your liking)
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil for frying

1 Can (6 oz) tomato paste or 4-5 tomatoes finely chopped
1 Tbsp butter
3-4 Garlic cloves crushed and finely chopped
1/2 Small onion - paste or finely chopped (optional)
Khada Masala/Whole spices (3-4 cardamom cloves, 1 bay leaf, 1 inch cinnamon stick)
1 Teaspoon cumin-coriander powder
1 Teaspoon red powder (or to taste)
Salt to taste
Heavy cream/Cashew paste 

To make koftas: 

  • Clean spinach leaves and blanch in hot water for 2-3 minutes until soft. Drain well and chop finely. 
  • Add cumin-coriander powder, red chili powder and salt to chopped spinach and then start adding rice flour little by little until you have just enough to bind spinach together. 
  • Cut paneer into 3/4 inch cubes or, like I did, make small rounds with a melon baller! 
  • Take spinach mixture a little less than a golf-ball size, place a ball/cube of paneer at the center and make round koftas. Fry them until koftas are golden brown on the outside. 

  • Heat a wok on medium and add butter. Butter can overheat easily so don't keep the stove on high. 
  • Add the whole spices. Once they are fragrant (20-30 secs), add garlic paste and onion paste and slow roast until golden brown. 
  • I used tomato paste instead of fresh tomatoes for this recipe since it is much smoother. Add tomato paste, Garam masala, red chili powder and salt to taste and cook for 10-15 mins until all the flavors come together. Add some water if the gravy starts getting too thick.  
  • Once cooked, turn the heat to low and add 1/4 cup (or more if you like) heavy cream. Cook for 5 more mins and turn the heat off. Or to make cashew paste, simply soak them in warm water for 5 mins and grind to paste.
Now to put it all together, serve the gravy in a rather flat serving bowl. Cut koftas in half and place them on the gravy. Serve with some roti, naan or jeera rice.

Submitting this recipe to the Know Your Dairy event hosted by Motions and Emotions for Jagruti's Know Your series.


Deeps said...

And you are back!! So glad for that! :) Btw I had this exact recipe saved! And to top that, I have stopped using heavy cream all together! I use cashew paste for all my gravies and sometimes just a drizzle of half-n-half..does the trick for me..I tried the same thing for methi mutter paneer and it tasted awesome!!

Amrita Roy said...

Innovative dish...thank you for participating..


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