Homemade Paneer

2 litres whole milk
2-3 tbsp lemon juice

Line a sieve with a cheese cloth or muslin over a bowl. In a heavy bottom saucepan bring the milk to a boil on a medium heat. This will take up to 25-30mins but don’t be tempted to turn the heat higher. As the milk starts to rise turn the heat to a low setting, stir well and add 2 tbsp lemon juice a little at a time. Keep stirring on a low heat for 30-40 seconds; you can see it will begin to curdle and separate from the whey. If after this time it doesn’t start to curdle add the extra tablespoon of lemon juice.

Turn the heat off and strain the mix into the muslin over a bowl (you can save the whey if you wish). Run cold water and wash the milk solids to rid off the remaining whey. Gather the muslin and squeeze out as much water from it. Twist and flatten it. Sit it on a plate and place a heavy weight over it to set for 1 hour. Unwrap the paneer cut into bite size cubes and add to your favorite curry or refrigerate in an air tight container.

Dosas and Uttapams

1 cup urad dal/black lentils (split or whole, with or without skin)
500mL water + 2.5 Liters + additional 500mL for dosas
4 cups rice flour
1 teaspoon fenugreek seed powder, freshly ground
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup red onion chopped
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, freshly chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin, freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
vegetable oil for cooking (vegetable oil sprays are also pretty useful here)

Clean the lentils to remove any stones that might be present. Rinse under running tap water, place in a large bowl, cover with water and soak overnight. The next day drain the water and grind the lentils with the 500mL of water to a smooth paste with a blender. There should be no clumps in the batter. Transfer to a bowl and cover and let it sit for at least 12 hours or at this point you can either refrigerate the lentil mixture and use it within 2-3 days.

The next day transfer the lentil mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, fenugreek powder, salt and yeast. Add the half of the 2.5 Liters of water to batter and stir to form a smooth batter. Transfer the batter to a large container or stockpot (one with deep bottom will be useful when the fermentation causes the batter to rise and prevent it from overflowing. Allow the batter to sit covered (not airtight) for at least 6 hours before using. The batter will ferment and rise.

On the day of cooking, mix the tomatoes, onions, cilantro, chili, cumin and salt in a medium bowl and keep aside. (This will be used to top the uttapams)

To prepare Uttapams: Heat a large non-stick pan or cast iron skillet on medium-high. Pour and spread a teaspoon of oil on the surface of the pan. The batter will be thick resembling the consistency of a pancake batter. Pour about 1/2 cup of the batter in the center and allow it to spread by itself into an 8 inch circle. Sprinkle about two generous tablespoons of the mixed tomato-onion mixture over the top of the uttapam and then drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil. Cook until the edges get golden brown and they start to come off from the sides. Using a silicone spatula, release the uttapam from the sides, and flip to cook on the other side for about 1 – 1 1/2 minutes. Prepare the rest similarly. Serve hot.

To prepare Dosas: Add 500mL of water to the batter and stir. The consistency should be thinner like that of a crêpe batter. Heat a large non-stick pan or cast iron skillet on medium-low. Pour and spread a teaspoon of oil on the surface of the pan. Using a ladle pour about 1/2 cup batter in the center of the oiled pan and spread the batter with a circular motion using the ladle starting from the center moving outwards to form a large thin crêpe (don’t use too much pressure or it will tear the dosa as it begins to cook). Drizzle about 1/2 teaspoon oil over the dosa. Cook until the dosa begins to turn golden brown and begins to leave the sides of the pan. Using a silicone spatula, release the uttapam from the sides, and flip to cook on the other side for about 3 minutes. Prepare the rest similarly. Serve hot.

Rava Idli

Oil or ghee – 2 tsp
Cashew nuts – 4-5, broken
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Urad dal – 1 tsp
Rava/sooji/semolina – 1 1/2 cups
Ginger – 1 tbsp, finely grated or chopped
Green chili – 1, finely chopped
Curry leaves – 6-8, cut into thin ribbons
Cilantro leaves – 2 tbsp, chopped
Carrot – 1 medium-sized, shredded (optional)
Yogurt – 3/4 cup
Water – as needed
Salt – 1 tsp
Baking soda – 1/4 tsp

Heat oil (or ghee) in a large skillet. Fry the cashews, drain and keep aside.

Then add the mustard seeds and urad dal. Fry till the seeds crackle and the urad dal turns light golden.

Then add the rava/semolina and roast for a couple of minutes on medium heat, stirring all the while.

Remove this mixture to a large mixing bowl and cool slightly. Then add the fried cashews, ginger, green chili, curry leaves, cilantro and carrots. Sir to combine and add yogurt. Mix well till it the mixture is uniformly moistened. Add a little water to make a smooth, but thick batter. The batter should be thicker than a regular pancake or dosa batter. Cover the bowl and rest for half an hour.

After half an hour, add salt and baking soda to the batter and mix well. Adjust with a bit of water if batter seems to have thickened further.

Meanwhile, heat water in a steamer vessel. Grease and set aside the idli plates.

Pour batter in the idli plates and steam in the steamer vessel for 8-10 minutes or till idlis are cooked (check with a toothpick to see if it comes clean).

Remove from steamer, rest for 5 minutes and remove the idlis from the idli plates using a spoon.

Serve idlis immediately with hot sambar and spicy chutney powder. Store leftovers in a hot-pot or casserole. These can be re-heated in the microwave or lightly steamed again.

Idli, Dosa, and Uttapam Batter

For the batter,
Idli rice – 2 cups
Urad dal – 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
Cooked rice or rice flakes (called aval/poha) – 1/2 cup (do not use both)
Salt – 2 tsp (or to taste)
Water – as needed

For idlis,
Batter – as required
Oil – for lightly greasing the molds

For dosas,
Batter – as required
Ghee or oil – as required

Batter: Wash the rice, dal and fenugreek seeds in cool water a few times. Soak them in a generous amount of water in a large bowl for at least 4-6 hours. If you are unable to grind the batter that day, you can refrigerate the rice and dal and use the next day.

When you are ready to grind the batter, wash and soak the aval/poha in water for 5 minutes, just enough to soften it. Skip this step if you are using cooked rice. You only need either of these ingredients, not both.

Fill the blender only half-full with the drained rice and dal. Add water to just come up to the level of rice and dal; do not add a lot of water. Grind to a smooth consistency (a fine sand-line gritty texture is also fine). Do this in batches if needed.

Pour the batter into a large container. Make sure to fill the container only halfway, to allow room for the batter to rise during fermentation.

Mix the batter well with your clean, bare hands. Cover the container lightly and rest in a warm place (on the countertop or in a toasty oven) overnight.

Once the batter is risen (it will also smell fermented), add salt and mix gently to combine.

Make idlis and dosas with this batter. Refrigerate the batter if not using immediately to prevent further fermentation and souring of the batter.

Idlis: Fill the steamer vessel with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lightly grease the idli molds with a few drops of oil. Pour the batter to fill the molds. Slightly under-fill the molds so that the idlis have room to rise.

Place the molds in the steamer vessel, cover with the lid, and cook for 8-9 minutes. You can check if the idlis are done with a toothpick (it should come clean). If you overcook, the idlis can become dense and hard.

Remove the hot idli molds from the vessel, let cool for a few minutes, then gently remove the idlis with the help of a spoon. It should come away easily since you greased the molds.

Dosas: Place the well-seasoned dosa pan on medium heat.

Sprinkle a few drops of water, if it sizzles, the pan is ready. Add a few drops of sesame oil to the pan and gently wipe with a wad of paper towel.

Pour a ladle-full (around ¼ cup) of batter in the center of the dosa pan. Starting at the center, quickly make concentric circles of increasing diameter with the rounded cup of the ladle. This will form the dosa shape. Pour a few drops of ghee or oil on the dosa and around the edges. Cook for a couple of minutes till the bottom is golden brown, then flip with a wide spatula and cook the other side for a few seconds. If you have spread the batter thin enough, you may not even need to flip the dosa. Remove the dosa to a plate and serve immediately or keep it warm while you finish making more dosas.

Serve idlis and dosas hot along with sambar, coconut chutney, tomato chutney, chutney podi, etc.

Uthappam: Use the regular dosa batter to make thick, pancake-like dosas. Top the dosa with finely chopped onions, tomatoes, green chilies, cilantro and pinch of red chili powder before turning it over and cooking the other side. You can also add grated carrots and other vegetables like fresh peas. This is a great option for using up leftover dosa batter that has become too sour.

NOTES:
1. If the blender motor becomes hot while grinding, turn it off and wait for some time before starting it again.

2. If your dosa pan becomes too hot, use a lightly moistened towel to wipe the surface.Then add a few drops of oil, wipe with a paper towel, and make the rest of the dosas.

3. Dosas can also be made like a thick pancake without spreading the batter thinly. In this case, you will definitely need to flip and cook the other side too. Such thick dosas are called spot dosas or set dosas.

4. Leftover idlis can be stored in the fridge overnight. Re-heat them gently in the microwave or in a steamer vessel. Dosas on the other hand, are best served fresh.

Dosas

1 cup urad dal (black matpe beans; see headnote)
2 cups raw basmati rice (see headnote)
1 tablespoon methi seed (fenugreek; see headnote)
Water
1 teaspoon salt
Flour (optional)
Vegetable or coconut oil (liquefied)

DIRECTIONS

Rinse the urad dal and rice separately in a fine-mesh strainer to clean and remove any excess starch. Place the rice in one bowl and cover with water. Combine the urad dal and methi seed in a separate bowl and cover with water. Soak each for 6 hours.

Drain, reserving the soaking liquid from the dal.

Combine the dal and a little of the reserved soaking liquid in a high-powered blender; puree until very smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Clean out the blender, then add the rice and some of the reserved soaking liquid; puree until no individual grains or pieces are apparent.

Pour the pureed rice into the pureed dal, stirring until well incorporated. The mixture should be the consistency of pancake batter or slightly thinner. Season with the salt. Cover the bowl with a plate or loose-fitting lid. Let the batter sit at room temperature to ferment for about 8 hours. It will increase in volume and should smell slightly sour when ready. (In warm weather, keep the batter away from sunlight; in cool weather, place the batter in an oven or microwave (turned off) to ferment away from drafts.)

Refrigerate the fully fermented batter if you’re not going to make dosas right away. Otherwise, heat a griddle or 12-inch nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, pour 1/3 to 1/2 cup of batter onto the griddle or pan, and very quickly use the bottom of a ladle or bowl to spread it, in one rapid, clockwise motion, into a thin round that’s 6 or 7 inches across. (If the batter seems too thick, add water to the mixture in the bowl in small increments; if it is too thin, flour can be added to thicken it.)

Use a spoon to sprinkle a small amount of oil on the edges of each dosa for crispness and to ease removal from the cooking surface. When the dosa’s underside is a golden brown, gently roll so that one end is a little wider (a slightly loose cone shape), or fold in half. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining dosa batter.

Source: Adapted from Ananda Poojary, owner of Woodlands in Langley Park.

Fried Chili Paste

10 dried red chilies
3 red chilies (seeded and cut into pieces)
5 shallots (peeled)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (80ml)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

Break dried chilies in half and squeeze out the seeds. Soak in hot water for 30 minutes to soften. Drain.

Blend dried chilies, red chilies, and shallots with ¼ cup (60ml) water until smooth.

Heat vegetable oil in a medium size saucepan over low heat. Add blended chili paste, salt, and sugar. Stir continuously until chili paste darkens and oil separates. This will take about 12 to 15 minutes.

Remove and store in a jar.

Steamed Rice Cakes

1 1/2 cups rice flour (195g)
1/3 cup corn starch (43g)
4 cups water (960ml)

Combine rice flour, corn flour, and water in a medium non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Stir as it comes to a gentle boil. The mixture will begin to thicken to a paste like consistency. This will take about 5 minutes. Turn off stove.

Prepare a steamer. Transfer rice and corn flour paste to a greased bowl or tray. Place the bowl or tray in the steamer and allow it to steam for 1 hour. Top up water in steamer if necessary.8

Remove and allow rice cake to cool completely. Refrigerate overnight.

Cut rice cake into 3/4 inch cubes.

Perfect Dumpling Sauce

1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon hot water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon chili oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 tablespoon hot water. Then add soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili oil, minced garlic, sesame seeds, and sesame oil. Stir to combine.

Serve with freshly cooked dumplings.

Sichuan Chili Oil

3/4 cup peanut oil (175g)
1 tbsp Sichuan pepper
2 dried chilis, chopped

Heat the wok and add in the oil. When the oil is hot add in the chopped chilies and sichuan peppers. Cook over low heat for 10 mins.

When cooled to room temperature, put in a sterilized covered glass jar.

We decided to keep the chilies and pepper in but if you like you can strain them out after 3 days and just keep the chili oil.

Store in a sterilized covered jar in a dark, cool closet for up to 6 months.

Pin Noodles

1 1/2 cup wheat starch, 200g
1 cup plus 2 tbsp rice flour, 184 g
6 tbsp tapioca starch
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups hot boiling water

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together except the water in a large mixing bowl. Add in boiling water and stir until the water is all mixed in and the texture is crumbly. Wait until cool enough to handle, sprinkle working surface with flour and knead into a soft pliable dough. Separate into 9 equal parts and with your palms roll each part into 1/2″ thick rolls, then cut into 1/4″ slices. This portion of dough, when hand rolled, will make a noodle about 2″ long. If you want longer noodles adjust the thickness of the slices.

Place one piece of dough in the palm of your hands and roll into a 2″ length noodle, letting the middle of the dough plump up and the ends to taper. Place rolled noodles into a tray that has been dusted with flour.

When all noodles are made, heat a pot of water, adding 1 tsp of oil. When the water is boiling add in the noodles. When the noodles float back to the surface remove and rinse immediately in cold water and then drain thoroughly. Your noodles are now ready cooking in whatever wonderful noodle dish you have planned!

If not using right away, carefully stir in a tiny bit of oil to prevent noodles from sticking together and store airtight in the refrigerator for up to a week. Enjoy!

Pressure Cooked Eggs

Prepare an ice bath.

Place trivet in pot.

Pour in 1 cup of water.

Place eggs on trivet.

For soft boiled “dippy” eggs, set pressure cooker to low pressure (4 psi) and quick release. Cook for 2 minutes. As soon as the pressure releases, plunge eggs into an ice bath. Peel when cool.

For jammy yolks or soy eggs, set pressure cooker to low pressure (4 psi) and quick release. Cook for 3 minutes. As soon as the pressure releases, plunge eggs into an ice bath. Peel when cool.

For slightly soft yolks, set pressure cooker to medium-low pressure (6) and quick release. Cook for 2 minutes. As soon as the pressure releases, plunge eggs into an ice bath. Peel when cool.

For set yolks, set pressure cooker to medium-low pressure (6) and quick release. Cook for 4 minutes. As soon as the pressure releases, plunge eggs into an ice bath. Peel when cool.

Perfect Brown Rice

1 cup short, medium, or long-grain brown rice
Kosher salt, to taste

Rinse rice in a strainer under cold running water for 30 seconds. Bring 12 cups water to a boil in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over high heat. Add the rice, stir it once, and boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Pour the rice into a strainer over the sink.

Let the rice drain for 10 seconds, then return it to the pot, off the heat. Cover the pot and set it aside to allow the rice to steam for 10 minutes. Uncover the rice, fluff with a fork, and season with salt.

Chinese Egg Noodles

16 oz bread flour
1 tsp salt
4 egg yolks from large eggs beaten
4 oz water (added gradually; start with this amount)

PREPARE DOUGH USING A STANDMIXER:
Mix the flour with salt in a mixing bowl of stand mixer or large mixing bowl.

Attached a dough hook and run it on low to medium speed (speed 4 on kitchen aid) and gradually add in the water until the dough come together and let it knead until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. You may need to add more water, you may not. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.

PREPARE DOUGH BY HANDS:
Mix the flour with salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a small well in the middle and add in beaten egg yolks.

Add a bit more water teaspoon by teaspoon if the dough is a bit dry. Gradually incorporate the flour with the egg yolks and knead until the dough is no longer sticky to your hand and smooth.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.

SHAPING THE NOODLES:
After 30 minutes, the dough is soft and pliable at this point. Lightly flour your work surface and divide the dough into 4 and work with one dough at a time and keeping the rest covered to prevent them from drying out. I flattened the dough with my palms (flat enough to feed through the roller) and generously dust it with some flour and set the roller to 1 and roll and fold again and gradually up the setting to 4 until you get a nice “sheet” of noodles. It’s the thickness I like, not too thin and not too thick.

COOKING THE NOODLES:
If you plan to cook immediately, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, place this sheet of noodles and liberally dusted with flour and roll the rest of the dough. Change to cutter (I used fettuccine cutter for this) and feed it through the cutter and repeat with the rest of the sheets
Cook the noodles in a rolling boil water with a pinch of salt for about 1 1/2 – 2 minutes. It doesn’t take long to cook fresh noodles. Do not overcook them. Once they are cooked, drain the water and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. You may toss the noodles with a bit of oil to prevent it from sticking to each other (depending on what you are using it for). Proceed with your recipe using the noodles.

DRYING THE NOODLES:
If you don’t cook them on the same day, it is best to hang them on a drying rack to let them dry completely. Cooking time may take few minutes longer after you dry them.

RECIPE NOTES:
You may store the fresh noodles by freezing them. After you finished cutting the noodles, toss them in generous amount of flour and then roughly shape into several small round nest and place in a freezer bag. They go straight from freezer to boiling water to cook

Mee Hoon Kueh (Hand-Torn Noodles)

MEE HOON KUEH:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup water and add more as needed
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 Tbsp cooking oil of your choice

Mix all the ingredients for mee hoon kueh, except for oil, in a large mixing bowl. Start with about 1/4 cup of water and knead with your cleaned hands until it forms a large dough and no longer sticks to your hands. You may need to add more water or more flour to get to that point. Let the dough rest for at least 1 hour and cover with damp cloth. You can leave it in the refrigerator 24 hours prior to cooking too.

When ready to use the dough, Prepare a big pot of boiling water with some salt and 1 Tbsp of cooking oil. When the water is boiling, start pinching off small pieces of dough and flatten with your fingers and pulling it into thin wide sheets of irregular shape noodles. into the boiling water. Cook for about 1 minute. They will be about half cooked.

Transfer to any hot soup to finish cooking.

Quick Kaya

200 ml canned coconut cream
50 gr palm sugar
50 gr white sugar
3 pandan leaves/screwpine leaves knotted
4 egg yolks from large eggs beaten

SEPARATING EGG YOLKS FROM THE WHITES:
Make sure you separate the egg yolks from the white very carefully. Leaving as little trace of egg whites as possible when separating. If there is a trace of egg whites, you can run the egg yolks through the sieve. This is to ensure you don’t get any lumps in the kaya. Otherwise, beat the yolks until smooth just using a regular fork is perfectly fine. Run it through the sieve if you want to.

TEMPERING THE EGG YOLKS:
Place coconut cream, both sugars, and pandan leaves in a saucepan over medium heat and just cook until the sugar melted. It shouldn’t be boiling, just heated to warm.

With one hand still beating the egg yolks, the other hand holding the saucepan with coconut cream, very gradually pour 1/4 of the coconut cream mixture. Then you can pour the egg mixture back to the saucepan. Stir to mix everything and then place this on the stove over medium heat.

Continue to stir over medium heat. The mixture started to thicken for me at around 8 minutes mark and continue to stir. It may still appear a bit runny, but it will continue to thicken once it cools down completely. Discard the pandan leaves.

Once the kaya has cooled down completely, transfer to a glass jar and secure the lid. Put in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Pressure Cooker Ketupat and Lontong (Rice Cakes)

1 cup Jasmine rice
2 cups water

Rinse the rice in several changes of water and then completely drain off the water.

USING RICE COOKER:
Transfer the rice to inner pot of rice cooker. Add water. I use white rice setting in my rice cooker, which takes about 20 minutes to cook.

USING INSTANT POT PRESSURE COOKER FEATURE:
Transfer the rice to inner pot of instant pot. Add water. Cover the lid. Turn the steam release valve to sealing. Press pressure cooker, then high pressure. Set timer to 3 minutes. When it’s done, wait 10 minutes and then release pressure and proceed to moulding the cake.

USING INSTANT POT RICE FEATURE:
Transfer the rice to inner pot of instant pot. Add water. Cover the lid. Turn the steam release valve to sealing. Press RICE and the time will automatically be set. When it’s done, wait 10 minutes and then release pressure and proceed to moulding the cake.

MOULDING THE CAKE:
After it’s done cooking, immediately transfer to a loaf pan or container. Use the rice paddle or the back of the spoon to spread and really push the rice down to pack it. Repeat this process until all the rice is in.

Once all the rice is in, use a parchment paper to cover the top of the rice and use your palms to gently push down all over the surface to ensure you really pack it down and to smooth the surface.

Let cool at room temperature for 3-4 hours or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting.

Use in soups and salads, or with Lontong Sayur Medan, a multicourse meal with savory dishes such as rendang, vegetables in coconut milk, jackfruit curry, shrimp, and serundeng.