Its shocking for many at home, what I did today. I cooked a grand meal. Not a table for two, nor just some fancy thing but a real Pakistani traditional meal. Palak Paneer (Spinach with Cheese) and Zarda for lunch.
Thanks to the weekend and some friends who have been inspiring me to cook more new cuisines recently. My first idea was to prepare a pashtoon’s dish that someone mentioned to me last week and got me interested in it.
However, unable to grasp the recipe, this morning I scheduled myself to cook Hyderabadi Khatti Daal instead (a request by a reader, Hareem). Buh dang it ! itni bisti, by the time I woke up this morning it was already noon not morning and yes, guess what! once again my super mum had already cooked off the ‘daal’ I wanted to use for the Hyderabadi dish. It was tasteless and very destructive for many people’s stomach at home that are used to lavish food over weekends. So I stepped into the kitchen, checked out my refrigerator and luckily found blended spinach winking at me to be cooked ! 😛 Here you go.
Palak Paneer. Yum yum yum !!
I am not going to give you the exact measures. It all depends on how much you wanna cook. And besides, I am one of those people who work with the ingredients/spices not with the spoons or measuring tools but rather with my very own hands and fingers. I measure the ingredients the old grandma’s way. *andazan* Whenever I have tried to do the proper measuring by cups or spoons, I end up ruining it. So I prefer cooking with heart and soul than with measuring cups and logistics.
And I also hate typing out each and every recipe details Ughhh !! buh I am gonna try.
1- For Palak Paneer, You need to prepare the masala first. So fry some chopped onions. *Tip: If the onions give you tough time and don’t get brown quickly , just sprinkle some salt over and they will get brown before you blink*
2- Once the onions are brown, throw in the rest of the ingredients and spices. Garlic, ginger, Turmeric powders, green chopped chilli, red chilli powder, salt and yoghurt. The beautiful maddening aroma you gonna get from this will drive everyone awaiting outside the kitchen insane. The masala is simply mouth watering.
3- You’re ready to throw in your chopped/blended spinach. Mix it well with the masala.
4- Add some milk in it.
5- Mix well again, let it simmer for awhile and let the oil come on to the surface.
6- Fry the cheese meanwhile in cubes. I used home made cheese. Thanks to my mum. It was delicious.
7- When done, mix the cheese cubes with the spinach and there you go. Have it with rice or roti, its going to taste awesome.
When I was done with the shoot and everything, my family simply attacked on the palak paneer. Its a very irresistible dish. Plus healthy too. Your mouth’s watering right now, right? 😀
For Sweet dish, I cooked Zarda. Yellow soft sugary rice that people often have with yoghurt.
1- Boil some water with ilaichi, tej patta and few drops of vinegar.
2- Once the water is boiled, pour in the rice and add yellow food color in it. Let it boil for few minutes until its bit soft but you have to make sure the rice are not thoroughly cooked but only partly. They have to stay a bit undercooked for further recipe process.Once you have drained the rice nice and cooled them off. You’re half way there.
3- Take the pot in which you wanna cook the zarda. And Pour in few spoons of oil. *do this off the heat*. Make a layer of rice , then a layer of sugar over it. Repeat this until you have 2 to 3 nice layers of oil/ghee, sugar and rice. *You must know if you’re using one 2 cups of rice, don’t use exact amount of sugar – use less like 1 and a half cup. if you want to have your rice drenched in sugar syrup only then go for equal amount of sugar or more than that depending upon your style of zarda*
4- Put it onto the high fire and let the sugar melt with the rest of the things. Keep checking the consistency. Once its done, turn the heat slow and let it cook slowly for about 5-10 minutes.
5- When cooked, garnish it with almonds and kishmish (raisins)
Note to myself: Never ever will listen to two chefs at the same time. My aunt was going ballistic over why I put tez patta in the zarda boiling water , its used in Pilao, while my mum was of the view that it was supposed to be THERE you see!
They went on and on and …well. I was done with the rice by that time gladly. and I think they are stillllll having a debate outside over the use of tej patta. 😀 shoot! with my uncle being the judge , that is.