Instant Ramen Fried Rice

One 2.5-ounce (71g) cup instant ramen noodles, such as Cup Noodles, in flavor of your choice
Boiling water
3 tablespoons (45ml) canola oil or other neutral oil
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup (7 3/4 ounces; 220g) cooked medium- or short-grain rice (see note)
Kosher salt

Transfer contents of instant noodles cup (dried noodles plus all seasonings and mix-ins) to a zipper-lock bag or mixing bowl. Crush noodles well into roughly rice-size pieces, but don’t obsess about it.

Return crushed noodles and seasonings to cup.

Add just enough boiling water to wet contents of cup but no more than that. Cover and let stand while you continue with the recipe.

In a large nonstick skillet, wok, cast iron, or carbon steel pan, heat oil over high heat until shimmering. Add egg and cook, stirring, until just scrambled.

Add rice and cook, stirring constantly and breaking up any small lumps, until heated through and glazed in the oil, about 2 minutes.

Add soaked ramen along with any liquid and cook, stirring and tossing constantly, until excess moisture has cooked off and rice and noodles are lightly golden and toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt.

Transfer to a serving platter or pack into a heatproof bowl, then invert bowl on a plate to make a compact mound of rice.

Note:
If a heartier meal is desired, you can whip up a 4-egg omelette and unfurl it on top of the mound of rice; top with ketchup and anything else you want.

Paneer (or Chicken) Tikka Masala

Paneer Tikka:

250 gms paneer (or chicken… see note)
3 tablespoons yogurt, preferably thick curd
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon paprika powder
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder, or to taste
salt, to taste

Masala/Curry:
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3-4 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 inch ginger, cut into small pieces
1.5 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cream
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves, and some more to garnish
1 cup water, or as required
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon salted butter
salt, to taste

Paneer Tikka:
Cut the paneer into small cubes, add in the chopped ginger, garlic, coriander powder, garam masala powder, paprika powder, salt and red chilli powder.

Add in the yogurt and mix till all the paneer pieces are well coated with the spices and yogurt.

Cover and keep this marinated paneer in the refrigerator for 30-40 minutes.

Masala/Curry:

Heat 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of oil in a pan. Once hot add cinnamon stick and cumin seeds.

Once the seeds crackle, add the chopped onions, crushed garlic pods and chopped ginger. Fry till onions turn golden brown in color.

Once onions are done, add the tomatoes and the curry powder and mix. Also add the the salt and sugar.

Cook the tomatoes on medium flame till they are soft, around 6-7 minutes.

Once the mixture is cooked, switch off the flame and allow it to cool a bit.

Pour the mixture into a blender and puree it. Set aside.

Roast (or grill… see note) the marinated paneer till golden brown in color from both sides.

Pour the pureed masala in a wok/kadhai and add water to it. Stir and add cream and chopped coriander leaves.

Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes on medium-low flame.

Add the roasted paneer pieces, let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Switch off the flame and garnish with chopped coriander leaves and cream.
Serve hot with butter naan or any bread of your choice.

Recipe Notes:

Use 1/2 teaspoon paprika powder in the curry for a deep red/orange color.

The quantity of butter and cream in the recipe depends on your taste and preference.

The paneer should ideally by grilled so in case you have a griller use that to make the tikka.

You can also drizzle around 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice on the curry once it’s done.

If you want, you can strain the pureed mixture before putting it back in the pan. This will just make the curry totally smooth.

You can make this recipe exactly the same, but with chicken.

Kadai Paneer

Kadai Masala:

2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 dried red chilies
4 green cardamom
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
3 cloves

Kadai Paneer:

1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
1 tablespoon oil, 15 ml, I used avocado oil
1 medium red onion, 150 grams, finely chopped
1 green chili, sliced
2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
3-4 medium tomatoes, 450 grams, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste, optional
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
3/4 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
1 inch ginger, julienned, divided
1/2 cup water, 4 oz/120 ml
2 tablespoons heavy cream, 30 ml
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large green bell pepper (capsicum), cut into 1-inch pieces
225 grams paneer, cubed, if using store-bought paneer soak it in warm water for 20-25 minutes before using
1 teaspoon kasuri methi, dried fenugreek leaves
cilantro, to garnish

Make the Kadai Masala:

To a small kadai or pan, dry roast the spices for kadai masala for 3 to 4 minutes on medium heat until fragrant. Add more red chilies for a spicier masala.

Remove kadai from heat and transfer the roasted spices to a spice grinder.
Let it cool down a bit and then grind to a fine powder. Set aside. You can also make this kadai masala in advance and store it.

Make the Kadai Paneer:

In a large kadai or any other pan, now melt butter with oil on medium heat.

Add the chopped onion and saute for 3 minutes until softened. Then add the sliced green chili and ginger garlic paste and saute for another 1 to 2 minutes.

Then add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste. Mix and cook for around 6 minutes until tomatoes are really soft.

Then add 3 to 4 teaspoons of the kadai masala that you prepared earlier (or add the whole thing if you like it spicy). Also add the garam masala, kashmiri red chili powder.

Add half of the ginger julienne. Stir the spices and cook for 30 seconds.
Then add 1/2 cup water and stir.

Add cream, salt and sugar and mix. Cook for one minute.

Add in the paneer and bell peppers (capsicum) and mix. Cover the pan or kadai with a lid and cook for 5 to 6 minutes on medium heat until bell peppers are slightly softened. You only want them half cooked here.

Crush kasuri methi and add to the pan.

Garnish with remaining ginger julienne and cilantro. Serve kadai paneer with naan or paratha.

To make this Kadai Paneer spicier:
• use double the amount of red chilies while making the kadai masala.
• use the entire kadai masala in the recipe. I have used 3 to 4 teaspoons of the masala and was left with some.
• use 1/2 teaspoon garam masala in place of 1/4.

Paneer Butter Masala (Paneer Makhani)

2 teaspoons oil, 10 ml, divided, (use any flavorless oil)
1 bay leaf
1/2 inch cinnamon stick
3-4 cloves
6-7 large garlic cloves, 25 grams, roughly chopped
1.5 inch ginger, 15 grams, roughly chopped
1 large white onion, 180 grams, roughly chopped
3-4 large tomatoes, 460 grams, roughly chopped
10-15 whole cashews, raw
1 cup water, 8 oz
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala, + 1/4 teaspoon, if needed
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 tablespoon tomato paste, optional
3-4 tablespoons cream, 45-60 ml
250 grams paneer, cut into cubes
2 teaspoons crushed kasuri methi, dried fenugreek leaves
chopped cilantro, to garnish

Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves and saute for few seconds.

Then add the the onion, garlic, ginger and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until the onion is translucent.

Add the tomatoes and cashews and mix. Then add 1 cup of water. Cover the pan and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, remove the pan from heat. Remove the bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cloves.

Let the mixture cool down a bit and then transfer to a blender. It’s important to let it cool down a bit else it will all blow up from the mixer. Grind the masala to a smooth paste and set aside.

To the same pan now add 2 tablespoons butter along with remaining 1 teaspoon oil on medium heat.

Once the butter melts, add the red chili powder and the Kashmiri red chili powder and fry for few seconds. This will give the curry a nice orange-red color.

Then add the ground paste back into the pan along with the garam masala (start with 1/2 teaspoon and add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon at the end only if you feel like the curry needs that extra bit of garam masala), cardamom powder, sugar, salt and tomato paste (if using). Mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Then add the cream and mix.

Add in the paneer and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat. Finally add crushed kasuri methi.

Garnish paneer butter masala with cilantro and serve hot with naan or rice!

Chana Masala

1 cup white chickpeas, raw, 200 grams, soaked overnight or use 2.5 cups canned chickpeas
3/4 + 1/8 teaspoon salt, or as needed, divided
2.5 cups water, to boil the chickpeas, skip if using canned chickpeas
1 inch ginger
3-4 large garlic cloves
1 green chili, or more to taste
2 tablespoons oil, 30 ml, I use avocado oil
1 bay leaf
4 whole green cardamoms
3 cloves
1 inch cinnamon stick
7-8 whole black peppercorns
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, pureed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon kasuri methi, crushed, dried fenugreek leaves
1-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Soak 1 cup raw white chickpeas (200 grams) overnight in 3 cups (24 oz) water. In the morning, drain the water and transfer the soaked chickpeas to a pressure cooker along with 1/2 teaspoon salt. After soaking overnight, the volume of chickpeas increased to 2.5 cups (425 grams)!

Instant Pot: Cook on high pressure for 25 minutes with natural pressure release.

Stove-top pressure cooker: cook on high heat for 2 whistles, them lower heat to medium and cook for additional 10 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.
Once pressure cooked, the chickpeas will break easily when pressed between your thumb and index finger.

If using canned chickpeas, you can skip these steps, use 2.5 cups canned chickpeas and directly move to cooking the chana masala in the pot.

Using a mortar and pestle, crush the ginger, garlic and green chili. Set it aside.

Heat a pot/pan over medium heat on stove-top. Once hot, add the oil and then add the whole spices- bay leaf, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns and cumin seeds.

Let the spices sizzle for 30 seconds and become fragrant.

Add the finely chopped onion and stir. Cook for 3 minutes until the onions soften. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt here so that onions cook a little faster. Meanwhile puree 2 tomatoes using a blender and set aside.

Add the crushed ginger-garlic and green chili. Stir and cook for a minute or two until the raw smell of the ginger-garlic goes away.

Add the pureed tomatoes along with 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. Stir and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring often.

Then add the ground spices- coriander powder, cumin powder, paprika, turmeric and garam masala. Cook the spices for 30 seconds. The oil should ooze out of the sides of the masala at this point.

Stir in the boiled chickpeas and mix. Also add 2 cups of water and stir. I used the same water in which the chickpeas were boiled. You can add more water here if you prefer more gravy in your chana masala.

Taste test and adjust the salt at this point, I added 1/8 teaspoon more salt here.

Cover the pot with a lid, set heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes for the flavors to mix-in together.

Stir in crushed kasuri methi and chopped cilantro.

Garnish with more cilantro and serve Chana Masala with rice or naan! You may also squeeze some fresh lemon juice if desired (see notes).

Recipe Notes:

You can use a can of diced tomatoes if you don’t have fresh tomatoes. Just cook the tomatoes for 2 minutes only then compared to 5 minutes with fresh pureed tomatoes. If your tomatoes aren’t that tangy, squeeze some lemon juice before serving.

If you prefer spicy food, add 1/4 teaspoon (or even more) of red chili powder for that extra-kick. You can even increase the green chilies in the recipe.

I haven’t done this in the recipe, but to elevate the flavors, you can do that extra-step of frying ginger julienne in ghee and adding it to the chana masala. Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee in a small pan on medium heat. Once hot, add sliced ginger julienne (from 1-inch ginger) to it. Fry until the ginger julienne starts changing color, then add this to the chana masala.

Chole

To pressure cook:

2 cups + 2 tablespoons raw chickpeas
5-6 green cardamom pods
4-5 black peppercorn
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tea bags
salt, to taste
5 cups water

For the chole masala:
1 tablespoon oil
3-4 cloves
3/4 cup pureed onion , from 2 small onions
2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
2.5 cups pureed tomatoes , from 4 medium tomatoes
3 teaspoons chole masala
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon paprika powder
3/4 teaspoon cumin powder
salt, to taste

To garnish:
1 tablespoon ghee
1 inch ginger, cut into julienne
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 tablespoon crushed kasuri methi, also known as dried fenugreek leaves
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Soak the chickpeas overnight in enough water to cover them. In the morning, drain the water.

In a pressure cooker add the soaked and drained chickpeas, 2 tea bags, bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon stick, salt and 4 to 5 cups water. Pressure cook at high flame till you get 1-2 whistles. After that lower the flame to medium and let the chickpeas cook for another 10-12 minutes.

In a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Once hot, add cloves and grated onions. Fry the onions till the raw smell goes away and they are light golden brown in color.

Add ginger-garlic paste and cook for 3-4 minutes till the smell of ginger-garlic goes away.

Now add the tomato puree , stir and let it cook for 12-15 minutes on medium-low flame. Cover the pan to prevent the splash all around.

Add the chole masala, red chilli powder, paprika powder, cumin powder, salt and mix for a 1-2 minutes.

Add the chickpeas next and stir will all the chickpeas are coated with the spices, around 2 minutes.

Add water (which was used for boiling the chickpeas), cover the pan and let it simmer at medium-low flame for around 30 minutes. The gravy will thicken after 30 minutes so add water accordingly.

To temper, heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a pan and the ginger julienne to it.
Fry till the juliennes are golden brown in color but do not burn them. Add to the chole curry, mix and switch off the flame.

Sprinkle some garam masala, kasuri methi and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve with roti, paratha or plain rice.

Notes: freezes well.