Healthy Paneer Makhni Recipe

Paneer is a simple un-aged, acid set, non-melting fresh cheese that is easily made at home. And a favoured restaurant recipe is paneer makhni which is quite rich in fat. Here we give it a healthy twist and call it the Healthy Paneer Makhni.
Paneer (originating from Persian word for cheese) takes on various forms depending on which part of the country is comes from. For the northern parts of India, paneer means huge pressed blocks whereas Bengali paneer is beaten or kneaded. Paneer is easily made at home and should be consumed fresh. It becomes stale with keeping and brittle and useless with refrigeration. First, milk should be heated to boiling point. To coagulate the milk, add the required amount of acid coagulant (at home add some lemon juice or citric acid) to the milk and stir continuously. If using citric acid, first dissolve it in water. When the white curds separate from the yellowish whey, switch off the heat. Cover for three to four minutes. Drain into a muslin cloth or cheesecloth. Tie up the cloth and hold it under running water. Press out excess water. From this point, the preparation of paneer diverges based on proposed use. In Mughlai cuisine, the paneer-cloth is put under a heavy weight, such as a stone slab, for two to three hours, and is then cut into cubes for use in curries. Pressing for a shorter time (approximately twenty minutes), will result in a softer, fluffier cheese. Bengali cuisine demands paneer-dough produced by beating the paneer by hand into a dough-like consistency.
Here we need paneer cubes for Healthy Paneer Makhni:
Cut 200 grams paneer into two thick slices. Heat two teaspoons oil in a non-stick pan. Add 4 green cardamoms, 6 cloves, 2 inch stick cinnamon, 7-8 cloves crushed garlic and 1 ½ inch chopped ginger and sauté till fragrant. Add 2 chopped green chillies and continue to sauté. Cook 3 cups freshly extracted tomato puree in another non-stick pan with little salt till it reduces slightly. Add this to the ginger-garlic masala and cook. Heat 2 more teaspoons of oil in a grill pan and place the paneer slices on it. Sprinkle some salt and ½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder and grill, turning sides once, till both the sides are golden. Add 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves to the tomato gravy and mix. Add salt, 1 teaspoon red chilli powder, 1 teaspoon garam masala powder, 1 teaspoon kasoori methi and 2 tablespoons honey and mix well. Once the paneer pieces are well grilled, take them off the pan and cut into cubes. Add these cubes to the gravy and mix. Just before serving add ¼ cup skimmed milk and mix. Serve hot with chapatti.
Make some tandoori rotis or naans at home and serve it with this Healthy Paneer Makhni and enjoy some restaurant style food!

Balanced nutritious diet – sensible eating plays an important role

Ever wondered why you feel so tired by late afternoon? In fact, some people say they feel so tired that it is difficult to cook for the evening, let alone eating the food! The fact is that the body requires refueling during the day and if not done timely, the blood sugar level takes a dip: hence you feel tired and irritable. Without nourishment, your body begins to reach out for the next best thing – stored fat and the protein in your muscles and organs. This weakens you and could eventually make you sick. Some recent research also shows that you might be increasing your chance of gaining weight. Your body thinks it’s starving when you don’t eat, so it slows down and saves all the food you ate yesterday and before. By the time you do eat, it has a stock kept ready for the next bout of starvation.

A good change that one can make to have a life with healthier eating habits is to introduce some snacks that do not provide high calories. For having a snack between meals to satisfy the hunger pangs is just as important as having a full meal later on. It also helps to keep your plan of a balanced diet in line. The best way to stave off starvation without guilt is to snack on good food. Like fresh fruits, a bowl of yogurt made with skimmed/ cow’s milk, raisins, plain popcorn, raw vegetables, whole-wheat flour cookies, home-made milk shakes (made with skimmed milk, fruit and ice), fruit and vegetable juices, low-fat cottage cheese etc.

Health Tips

· When it comes to milk and milk-based products that can threaten the heart, the safest is skimmed milk.

· Soya milk, which is readily available, is a good idea with breakfast cereal. It is a better source of protein than cow’s milk. For a nice change in the dessert category, try Soya Milk Brown Rice Pudding.

· Tofu might taste bland on its own but is good in stir-fries and kebabs. Stir Fried Broccoli and Tofu with Cracked Pepper is a palate cleansing starter.

· Chickpeas, green gram and lentils are other good sources of protein that need to be included in the daily diet.

· Research on fats also states that the body needs some fat and since it is good to have mostly monounsaturated fats. Have onions and garlic to protect the heart.

· Include dark greens, carrots and tomatoes too. Fish eaters who can have oily fish twice to thrice a week will be including omega 3 that helps in controlling heart disease, eczema and arthritis. Grilled Fish with Corn and Pineapple Salsa is a wonderful meal by itself.

You can lower your cholesterol

Greetings from Singapore! I will be back home in a day or two. I am enjoying seafood and so are Alyona and the kids. In fact, fish always gets me thinking about cholesterol and how it is a food that can actually help to lower cholesterol. In case you do not eat fish there are other foods that cleanse the arteries. In fact, by consuming foods that are low in cholesterol, your body has more of a chance to remain ‘heart-attack’ free!

Fish (Omega 3) – Diets high in omega-3 can lower the risk of heart disease and reduce blood pressure, as well as reduce the risk of blood clots. Not only do fish high in omega-3 reduce the risk of heart disease, they also are very important for the development of good eyesight and nervous system function, and can even fight off some forms of cancer.

Nuts – Nuts also contain omega-3 fatty acids that can help eliminate the risk of heart disease. Nuts, such as walnuts and almonds can help lower cholesterol.

Lean Red Meat – Pieces of meat with all of their fat intact, are cholesterol high foods, but take away the fat, and you now have healthy, low cholesterol meals. Lean meat does not raise cholesterol levels, is low in saturated fat, and is a great source of vitamin B12, zinc, iron, and protein.

Reduced-Fat Dairy Products – Foods, such as whole milk, cheese, and eggs contain large amounts of cholesterol. However, there is no need to cut dairy out of your diet. Simply look for reduced-fat or cholesterol free foods. For example, rather than drinking whole milk, opt for skim milk or 2% milk, instead. Eat fat-free or low-fat yogurt with fresh fruits. Choose reduced-fat cheeses, made with skim milk.

Fruits and Vegetables – Fruits, such as apples oranges, and apricots and vegetables, like cabbage and sweet potatoes are not only cholesterol free foods, they are also high in soluble fibre and pectin. Both of these things have been proven to help lower cholesterol levels.

Oats and Grains – A soluble fibre present in oats and grains is crucial in lowering cholesterol. Doctors recommend two to four cups of oat or barley cereal each day to gain the cholesterol-lowering effect of this fibre.

What good is all this if you cannot make something out of them? So here are some recipes that make good use of these foods!

Fish in Foil
Fruity Salad
Oats Pancake with Maple Syrup

Till I write again,
Sanjeev Kapoor.