Indian Comfort Food: Paneer Makhani

Fall is officially here in Chicago, which means it’s time to take out those pea coats, woollen scarves, and boots out of their summer slumber. This is also that time of the year when my body begs for carb-loaded, hearty meals to make it through those miserable Midwestern winter months.

So when I had Columbus Day off last week, I decided to get all my spices out and prepare my favorite Indian comfort food – chicken biryani, a delicious rice pilaf, and paneer makhani, a creamy cottage cheese curry. I had never made paneer makhani before and always assumed it was too complicated to try at home. After searching recipes online (there are so many to choose from, it’s overwhelming!), I finally found one on Show Me The Curry that seemed pretty simple and easy to follow.

The results – oh. my. GOD. I only have this one Instagram picture unfortunately (this was before I decided to start a blog), but I wish you could see the curry close up! The paneer was scrumptious – completely hit the spot, and so easy to make.

photo

Here’s my slightly revised version of the Show Me The Curry Recipe:

Recipe for Paneer Makhani 

Cut a 14 oz block of paneer (I got mine from Costco – surprisingly delicious!) into small-ish squares. Then, chop up one tomato and crush the pieces so that you have one cup of crushed tomatoes. If you’re seriously low on supplies, you can substitute with ketchup.

Heat up some oil and add four tablespoons (a little less than half a stick) of butter. Once the pan is hot, add 1.5 teaspoons of garlic paste and ginger paste and saute for a minute or so. Add in the crushed tomatoes and 1 teaspoon of coriander powder, garam masala, a pinch of red chilli powder and salt to taste. Cook for a minute or until the oil separates. Add in the paneer squares and mix until they’re coated by the spices and tomatoes. Then, add half a glass of water and simmer for five minutes. Lower the heat, add 1/3 a cup of heavy whipping cream (the recipe calls for 1/2 but it’s a little too rich and heavy) and mix gently. Allow it to come to a boil, then add a pinch of sugar.

As the recipe says, garnish with cilantro and serve hot! Best with brown or white rice.

UPDATE: I tried this recipe one year later subbing the heavy whipping cream with 1 tablespoon of greek yogurt and it was just as delicious! Healthier alternative with the same great taste.

Wedding Mood Boards: Midnight in Venice

When I started planning my big fat Indian wedding over a year ago, I had my heart set on a Midnight in Venice reception theme. I knew I wanted a cobalt and gold lehenga*, dazzling midnight blue/silver/gold florals and decor, and Venetian masks for guests to take fabulous pictures with. I spent hours scouring Pinterest and Indian wedding blogs, but never found pictures of a real wedding with a Midnight in Venice reception theme. Instead, as all brides-to-be do these days, I created a private Pinterest board and collected as many pictures of all things midnight blue & Venetian to guide my decor inspiration for my dream reception.

Here are some of my favorite images that I’ve compiled into a Midnight in Venice Mood Board. 

venetianmoodboard

I highly recommend creating a mood board to figure out what colors and style most speak to you for your big day. For me, I knew I wanted something more glamorous and glitzy for the reception, since the colors for my other wedding events were extremely soft, feminine and romantic.

I mean, just look at that picture of Venice at night. I could just get lost in those colors. The perfect inspiration for a classy reception!

Thanks to my mood board and the amazing work of our decor team, our reception decor/mood/overall vibe was pretty spot on. We didn’t have as much emphasis on the Venetian part of the mood board as I would have liked (turns out Venetian masks are pretty expensive), but everything else was simply perfect. If any of you are struggling to find a color theme for your Indian reception, I really think blue & gold is the perfect choice – classy, timeless and elegant.

*lehenga: the gorgeous Indian outfit these lovely ladies are wearing above!