Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Sebanik with Paneer


blanching and preparing the spinach puree:

  1. rinse the spinach leaves well in water and then keep them in a colander, so that the excess water drains off. if the stems are tender, then keep them. but if they are hard or fibrous, then discard them.
  2. boil water in a pan. add the spinach leaves in the water.
  3. stir and blanch the spinach leaves in water for 3 minutes.
  4. when the spinach leaves are blanching, in another bowl, take some water and add 8 to 10 ice cubes in it.
  5. after 3 minutes, remove the spinach leaves and add them to the cold water.
  6. stir gently so that all the leaves are immersed in the cold water. after 1 minute, remove them.
  7. place the leaves in a grinder or blender jar.
  8. grind or blend to a smooth puree. no need to add any water while grinding or blending.

pan frying paneer cubes:

  1. this step is optional. but lightly golden pan fried paneer cubes taste good in palak paneer. heat oil in a well seasoned or non stick pan. place the paneer cubes.
  2. turn over when one side is light golden and fry the other side.
  3. fry till the paneer cubes are light golden evenly. don't fry too much as then the paneer cubes become dense.
  4. remove and then drain them on kitchen paper towels to soften the paneer more, keep them immediately in water for 3-4 minutes.

     preparing the gravy/sauce:

  1. now in the same oil, in which we pan fried paneer, add cumin seeds and tej patta. saute till the cumin seeds crackle.
  2. then add finely chopped onions. stir well.
  3. saute the onions till they turn light golden.
  4. then add ginger paste, garlic paste and finely chopped green chilies. you can also use green chili paste instead of chopped green chilies. alternatively instead of green chilies, red chili powder can also be added.
  5. stir and saute till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
  6. now add the spice powders - a pinch of turmeric powder, ½ tsp black pepper, crushed in a mortar-pestle (optional) and 1 tsp kasuri methi/dry fenugreek leaves. crush the kasuri methi and add.
  7. stir well. then add the spinach puree.
  8. season with salt. then add a pinch of sugar. stir well and on a medium flame, simmer the gravy for 5 to 6 minutes or till it thickens slightly and the spinach is cooked well.
  9. add ¼ cup low fat cream or 3 tbsp whipping cream along with ½ tsp garam masala powder. stir very well.
  10. the cream should be mixed very well with the palak gravy. then switch off the flame.
  11. add the fried paneer cubes. mix them well with the rest of the gravy. cover the pan.

    dhungar or smoking method:

  • burn a small piece of natural charcoal on a stove top with the help of tongs.
  • place a small flame proof rack on the stove top and on top of the rack, place the charcoal. burn the charcoal till its red hot.
  • now place a small bowl or some layers of onions in the palak paneer gravy. place the charcoal on top. add ½ tsp oil on the charcoal. you can also keep 1 clove or ½ tsp cumin seeds on the charcoal and then pour the oil. as soon as you pour oil, smoke will emit from the charcoal.
  • immediately cover the pan with a lid. keep the pan closed with the lid for a minute, so that the charcoal flavor gets infused with the palak paneer gravy. for a slight tang you can add ¼ tsp dry mango powder or a few drops of lemon or lime juice and stir before serving.
  • serve palak paneer hot with tandoori rotis, naan, chapatis, paratha or jeera rice or biryani rice.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Maglooba, A dish meant to eat upside down

A wonderful dish eaten in most of the Arab world made of mixed vegetables, chicken & rice, served inverted on a large platter - and shared by all.


2   Tablespoons (T) virgin olive oil
2   Teaspoons (t) salt
1.5 Cups of rice *
3   Cups of boiling water
1   Large eggplant
1   Cup of Grape Seed Oil or Virgin Olive Oil **
2   Cups of sliced zucchini (green coosa)
.5  Pound of lamb meat, no bones
.5  Pound of chicken, boneless and boiled
1.5 Sticks of unsalted butter
1  Tablespoon salt
1   teaspoon pepper

* About rice:  - Uncle Ben's converted rice is nice and firm for this, however a basmati or any long grain rice will work well
** About oil - Grape seed oil is great for high heat cooking, such as a quick fry - or making samboosa 


Heat the 2 T olive oil in a large heavy saucepan with the 2t salt. When the oil is hot, stir in the rice and saute until the rice becomes fragrant and golden in color. Now - pour in the boiling water and cook the rice, covered over a low heat until all the later has been absorbed. Set aside.

Peel the eggplant and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Saute the slices in 1 cup of the oil by adding a few slices at a time. Make the slices golden on both sides, adding oil as needed. When done, drain on paper towels or cotton kitchen towels. 
Treat the zucchini as the eggplant, adding the slices to the oil and frying until golden.  Remove and drain. 

Cut the lamb into 2 inch pieces, and brown in the remaining oil. 
Cut the lamb into 2 inch pieces

Preparing the pot

Cut half of the butter into small pieces and put it on the bottom of a large heatproof dish. Mix the 1t salt and 1t pepper into the rice. Layer the bottom of the dish with a small amount of rice, make sure the bottom is covered. 
Next - begin the layering of the vegetables and lamb by arranging a layer of 1/3 of the zucchini and eggplant over the rice, adding another layer of rice, then add half of the lamb, covered with another 1/3 of the zucchini eggplant mixture. 
Add another layer of rice.
Add the remaining chicken and another layer of rice
Layer the remaining zucchini-eggplant mixture, and cover the vegetables with the remaining lamb. 
Cover this all with the remaining rice. 
Dot with the remaining butter and sprinkle 1/2 cup of water over it all. 

Cover the casserole with a lid or aluminum foil and cook on top of the stove over low heat only until all of the ingredients are hot. 

This meal serves six to eight grateful people.

Turkish Baharat

  • 2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground mint
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • pinch of ground cinnamon

Khaleegi Baharat

This spice mixed is used in Dishes of the Khaleeg, the Eastern part of Saudia

1 tablespoon red pepper
1-1/2 teaspoon cumin
1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoon ground (dried/black lime or lemon)
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon kolengan

Jeddawi Baharat

Jeddah, KSA 2011


Used in Kabsa, Adam Dishes and more

2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
6-1/2 teaspoons paprika
4-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mahallabiyya - Queen of the Rice Puddings

    Mahallabiyya - Rice Pudding with Pistachios and Rose Water- MILK RICE PUDDING

    Easy Mahalabiya (Milk pudding) recipe. Mahalabiya, mahalabia, muhalabia or mahallabiyya is a favorite desserts dish both in summer and winter, especially liked by children. In the Middle East the rice may be purchased already pulverized. It could also be pulverized at home with a mortar and pestle or in an electric blender ( use the spice grinder unit to gring egyptian rice )

    1 qt. milk
    1/4 cup pounded rice
    3/4 cup water
    3/4 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon ma'ez zahr (orange blossom essence)
    1/4 cup chopped blanched almonds and skinned pistachio nuts
    Mix rice with water and add to milk which has been brought to a boil.
    Stir and cook until thickened and then add sugar.
    Continue cooking and stirring until mixture coats the spoon.
    Add flavorings and boil a few minutes longer.
    Pour into individual serving dishes and decorate with chopped nuts.

Basbousa with Semoline and Lemon Syrup

  1. Syrup Ingredients
  2. 2 1/4 cups sugar
  3. 1 1/2 cups water
  4. juice from 1 lemon (or 2 tablespoons orange juice)
  5. 1 teaspoon honey(optional)
  6. ------------------------------------
  7. Cake Ingredients
  8. 2 cups semolina
  9. 1 cup sugar
  10. 1 stick butter, softened
  11. 1 cup whole milk
  12. 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  13. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  14. 1 tablespoon baking soda
  15. 2 eggs
  16. blanched split almonds
  17. whipped cream (optional)

  18. Preparation:
    Prepare syrup first. Dissolve sugar in water in a medium saucepan. Add lemon juice and bring to a boil. Once the syrup begins to boil, add in honey. Reduce heat and allow to slowly boil for about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 9x12 baking dish.

    Cream together butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add eggs and vanilla.

    In a separate bowl, combine semolina, baking powder, and baking soda. Slowly add to butter and egg mixture. Stir in milk.

    Pour mixture into baking dish and smooth with spoon.

    Take a butter knife and make diagonal lines from left to right and complete to make diamond shapes. Place an almond in the center of each diamond. Bake for 25 minutes.