Cottage Cheese in Spinach gravy (Palak Paneer)
This is one of my regular weeknight dinner items - served with whole grain tortilla/chapati/pita bread/naan, etc., it is a very wholesome and nutritious meal that can be prepared in just a few minutes.


Ingredients: (serves 2)

spinach leaves (palak) - about 150 grams (a couple of bunches)
fried paneer cubes - 100 grams
green chillies - 2
ginger paste - 1/2 tsp (or 1/2 inch ginger finely chopped)
cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
garam masala - 1/2 tsp
salt - 1/2 tsp (adjust to taste)
turmeric powder - a pinch
asafoetida - a pinch
lemon juice - 1 tbsp
oil - 1 tsp
water - 1 cup

Method:

Boil the washed spinach in minimal water for a few minutes until the leaves turn bright green. Cool and blend to a paste along with green chillies, ginger and the remaining water to a coarse paste in a food processor. Heat oil and add asafoetida. Add spinach mixture, turmeric powder, cumin powder, salt and garam masala. Stir and cook covered for a couple of minutes. Add paneer and lemon juice. Simmer for a couple of minutes and serve hot.

Notes:
1. If the spinach paste is overcooked, it turns pale. This should be avoided.
2. After paneer is added, the gravy should be simmered just enough to make the paneer soft. If undercooked, the paneer will be hard, and if overcooked, the paneer collapses.
Vermicelli Upma (Noodles)
A quick, light anytime meal, especially when served with chutney, pleases the taste-buds and provides nourishment - a blessing to the busy and industrious!


Ingredients: (serves 2)

vermicelli - 1 cup
carrot(diced)+beans(cut)+cabbage(grated)+peas(boiled) - 1 cup
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
black gram - 1/2 tsp
cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
green chillies - 2
broken cashews - a few
curry leaves - 1 stalk
salt - about 3/4 tsp (adjust to taste)
asafoetida - a pinch
oil - 1 tbsp

Method:

Heat 2 1/2 cups of water along with vegetables and salt (for about 2 minutes on high if you use the microwave).
Heat oil in a sauce pan and add mustard seeds, black gram, cashews, cumin seeds and asafoetida. When it splutters, add green chillies and curry leaves. Then, add vermicelli and roast until it turns light brown (this step can be skipped if roasted vermicelli is used). Add the water+vegetables and cook until done.
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