Navratan Korma

My south Indian Navratan Korma is a curry comprised of 9 vegetables, comforting spices, and is thick, rich, and creamy. Cooking this dish is a bit of a process with about 3-4 different cooking steps, but it is well worth the time and effort. I like making a huge batch of this once every couple of weeks on which I’ll feast for 3-4 days straight. Although navratan korma may be a process, it is absolutely delicious and my favorite curry to make at home.

Veggies

  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 tbsp tahini or yogurt*
  • 1-10 oz block paneer or tofu*
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 package mushrooms*
  • 2 carrots*
  • 1 squash*
  • 1 bell pepper*
  • 1/2 c green beans*
  • 1/2 c frozen corn*
  • 1/2 c frozen peas*
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 2 c+ water

Spices

  • 1 tsp pulao masala for paneer*
  • 1 tsp pulao masala for veggies*
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
  • 1 heaping tbsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp pulao masala in curry*
  • salt to taste

Recipe

To begin, slice your onion and throw in a pan with oil on high heat and salt to fry until browned. While onions are cooking, chop your paneer into small cubes and fry with the pulao masala until it becomes golden brown on edges (a nonstick pan is best for the paneer).* Set the paneer aside. Once the onions are browned, let them cool for about 5 minutes, and transfer them into a blender and add tahini.

Begin cooking your onions, carrots, and mushrooms in a pan with oil on high heat. Once they start browning, add the squash, bell pepper, and frozen veggies. Cook until the frozen veggies are thawed, sprinkle on the pulao masala, combine well, and set aside. Blend the fried onions with the tahini and a little water until it forms a thick paste.

Heat a pan over medium heat with oil. Add the jeera and let splatter. Now empty the tahini/onion mixture into the pan and cook. After 3-5 minutes, incorporate the ginger garlic paste, and cook another 3 minutes. Chop roughly and blend the 2 roma tomatoes into a puree. Now, dump the chili and coriander powder into the mixture. Cook another 2-3 minutes or until the raw aroma of the spices subsides.

Pour the tomato puree into the onion/spice paste, and mix well. This will need to cook for 5-10 minutes, or until it appears that most of the moisture from the tomato puree has evaporated.

Ok, time to add the water and make this an actual curry. Slowly begin adding the 2 c water to the paste. Stir as you go, and stop adding water once you’ve reached a desired consistency. Once you think you’ve reached a good consistency, add the pulao masala, vegetables, and paneer and cook for another 2+ minutes. Alrighty, your navratan korma is ready to devour!

Serve with rice, parathas, naan, chapatis, or as is.

*Paneer and yogurt are totally optional as this recipe makes a great vegan dish as well with the tahini giving a creamy texture and tofu acting as a substitute for paneer. Also, this might be a recipe for a “9 vegetable” dish, but use what you have. It is absolutely delicious with 4-5 veggies as a regular vegetable korma. Traditionally, garam masala is used in this recipe as opposed to pulao masala. However, I prefer pulao masala so… use what you enjoy!

P.S. It may not look delicious, but it’s freaking amazing!

Fast Homemade Pizza

Ladies and gentlemen, I tried to make a quick fast homemade pizza dough recipe for years and finally came to a good recipe about a year ago. You can make this dough in about hours, or longer if you desire, and the crust is great! The crust is thick, chewy, crispy, and full of flavor. Thanks to ArtisanBreadwithSteve for introducing me to this recipe and showing me just how easy and fast it is!

Ingredients for Dough

  • 13 oz warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 1/2 c bread flour
  • 2 tsp paprika for color and flavor
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 garlic clove

Toppings

  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 6-8 oz gouda and cheddar cheese (usually I use mozzarella)
  • 1/2 onion – carmelized
  • 1/2 c pineapple
  • whatever your heart desires
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • garlic clove from above

Recipe

For the dough you need to heat your bowl and water a little; I do it at the same time in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes.

Next add your salt, olive oil, and yeast to the water. Mix well, and add your flour and paprika. Now mix the flour and dough until all the flour is incorporated into the dough. Cover it with a lid or plastic wrap add let sit in the oven with only the light on for about 2 hours. (I made this recipe with active dry yeast, let it rise 4 hours, and it was perfectly fine!)

Once the dough has about doubled in size, it’s ready to spread onto a baking sheet and top with tomato paste, cheese, and the rest of your favorite things! If you use a little olive oil on your hands and the pan, it will make spreading the dough easier. Heat up the 1 tbsp butter with the clove of garlic in the microwave for about 20 seconds, and brush on the crust before placing in the oven.

Totally forgot to take a pic of the dough. So sorry!

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the crust starts to turn golden brown. Heat up the 2 tbsp butter with the garlic clove from earlier some salt and pepper for about 30 seconds, and now you have your own garlic dipping sauce! Your delicious fast homemade pizza is ready to enjoy!

Palak Tofu

Palak tofu is healthy, zingy, and full of fiber and protein; it is my version of palak paneer. Created out of a need for an economical paneer substitute, palak tofu is just as delicious. If you can find/make and afford paneer, you can use this recipe to make an amazing palak paneer, but palak tofu is fantastic and happens to be vegan!

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch or 9 oz bag of palak/spinach
  • handful of coriander/cilantro
  • 1 block tofu*
  • oil for cooking*
  • 1 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
  • 5-8 cloves garlic*
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 jalepeno*
  • 1/2 bell pepper*
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1 c water
  • salt to taste (about 1 1/2 tsp for me)
  • 1 heaping tsp garam masala

Recipe

Wash your palak and boil some water to blanch it. When blanching your palak, you only need to let it sit in the water for about 15 seconds or until it turns bright green. Once it is blanched, drain it and rinse with cold water to stop it from continuing to cook. Now blend your spinach and cilantro together; it may require a little water to blend properly which is ok.

It should look smooth like this, and will be about a cup or so of puree.

Now, heat a pan over medium heat with the oil (I used butter, oops) and chop your garlic and tofu while it heats. Once the oil is hot, add the jeera and garlic and allow to turn light brown before adding the tofu. You’ll want to fry your tofu until it gets some color and add some salt as both add flavor.

I’m very much a “use as few pans as possible” girl. You can cook the tofu separately if you like though, so it doesn’t break or crowd the pan.

While the tofu is cooking, chop your onions and tomatoes. Once the tofu is cooked to your liking, add the onions and let them turn translucent. Once the onions are translucent, add the tomatoes and let them soften. After they become fairly soft, smoosh the tomatoes on the side of the pan so they will break down into a paste faster. At this point, you can add your garam masala as well to let it cook a minute before adding the coriander/palak puree.

When I add the tomatoes, I add them to the side of the pan, so I can pay special attention to them and smoosh them up later more easily.

Add your coriander/palak puree to the pan after the tomatoes cook another 2-3 minutes and combine everything well. If the consistency is too think at this point, begin adding the cup of water until it reaches a consistency with which you’re happy. After your palak tofu is all combined, taste for seasoning, adjust, and let cook about 2 minutes before taking off the heat. The longer you cook everything, the darker your palak will become. So if you want it to remain bright green, keep your cooking time low. Time to enjoy!

This can be a fairly fast recipe, I’ve got it down to 20-30 minutes now depending on how I prep it!

*I encourage substituting paneer for tofu if you can, and it’s your thing. Also, use what you like or can eat! There is a lot of garlic in this recipe, and I think it works well. But adjust the garlic and jalepeno to your liking!

Hummus

Great hummus is amazing, and it can be life altering. It has been an obsession for me, for the entirety of my adult life. However, most people haven’t had great hummus; they’ve had store bought versions or their own homemade types that aren’t necessarily true to traditional flavors. You can choose to eat it from the store, or you can make this incredible recipe that you will much prefer as I have poured years of time, passion, and love into this hummus.

Ingredients

  • 32 oz canned chickpeas (best if you start fresh, soak, and cook, but canned are more convenient for me at the moment)
  • 1+ c tahini
  • 1 lemon (or lime in a pinch)
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • salt to taste (1/4-1/2 tsp)
  • chickpea water from cooking
  • olive oil for garnish*
  • paprika, zaatar, cumin, harissa for garnish*

Recipe

It’s not so much the ingredients that make a good hummus, but the method and ratios. To begin, drain and rinse your chickpeas until there are no more bubbles. Plop them in a pot on medium heat with the garlic. Fill the empty can with water 1 1/2 times and add to the pot. Make sure to boil the chickpeas until they smoosh between your fingers VERY easily, but not until they disintegrate. (Approximately 30 minutes.)

Chickpeas once cooked and looking about to burst.

Once the chickpeas are cooked, take a utensil with slots and fish them out of the water, so you can keep the water for later use.

Into the blender or food processor goes your lemon, tahini, and some (about 1/3 c) of the hot chickpea water. Blend until you get a smooth, light, and fluffy consistency. It may take a little extra water or tahini here or there until you get to that point, which is ok. One cannot have too much tahini.

Shown above is the evolution of the sauce (enlarged so you can see it clearly), from the ingredients and first blend to the second blend after adding more chickpea water. The picture to the far right is the end consistency you want (this sauce doubles as a salad dressing :0 ).

Once you have achieved this, dump in your salt and chickpeas (they must hot out of the pot), except a couple spoonfuls chickpeas to serve on top of the finished yumminess. Blend everything together until you reach a fluffy light consistency again; it may take more tahini (1-2 tbsp) and hot chickpea water (1/4 c) to reach this point. Do not despair; it took me YEARS to get to this recipe. All you need to do is tweak your ratios a bit.

This is the consistency you want: velvet.

After reaching that light, fluffy, and creamy heavenly goodness, plate it while hot and fresh, top with the leftover hot chickpeas, olive oil, and your choice of spices. Serve with naan, pita, roti, flatbread of some sort, potatoes, roasted vegetables, pulaos, biryani, chorizo potatoes, huevos rancheros, fresh greens, rice, etc; seriously, whatever you have! You can even use hummus as a pasta sauce if you cook the pasta and add it to the hummus with some pasta water to thin it out. I’ve done it with pasta and broccoli; it was delicious. Whatever you do, I highly, highly recommend that you eat this fresh instead of popping it in the fridge. It may be good cold, but it will be amazing fresh.

*None of these ingredients are optional except the garnishes if you want quality hummus, otherwise it will be mediocre.

The tahini I buy at a middle eastern market. The seeds aren’t toasted as much for this tahini (making it lighter and less bitter) than the seeds in the tahini you find at American chain grocery stores.