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Old 12-27-2011, 09:56 PM   #1
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My Yogurt Substitute for use with Tandoori Cooking

I've found the following mixture makes an excellent substitute for yogurt when cooking tandoori spiced meats in clay cookware, like Romertopf.

I combine 1/2 cup ricotta with 1/4 cup sour cream. Mix thoroughly and then combine with your favorite tandoori spices. If the mixture is too thick, simply blend in a little water to achieve the desired consistency.

It's only 6 grams of carbs for 3/4 cup, and the carb count is not in question.
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:04 PM   #2
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I often sub sour cream alone for yogurt in Indian dishes if I don't have yogurt on hand. Your ricotta idea is intriguing. Thanks for sharing your "recipe"
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:09 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codewiz51 View Post
I've found the following mixture makes an excellent substitute for yogurt when cooking tandoori spiced meats in clay cookware, like Romertopf.

I combine 1/2 cup ricotta with 1/4 cup sour cream. Mix thoroughly and then combine with your favorite tandoori spices. If the mixture is too thick, simply blend in a little water to achieve the desired consistency.

It's only 6 grams of carbs for 3/4 cup, and the carb count is not in question.
Wow, that sounds interesting. So now that you have the mixture, can you show/tell us how to use it? I don't have a clay tandoori pot but I know what they are.
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Old 12-31-2011, 06:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buttoni View Post
I often sub sour cream alone for yogurt in Indian dishes if I don't have yogurt on hand. Your ricotta idea is intriguing. Thanks for sharing your "recipe"
I found sour cream alone was too tart. My first experiment was with softened cream cheese and sour cream. The result? Yucky!

I tried Paneer, an Indian fresh cheese. It worked well, but you can't buy it anywhere, you have to make it at home. So, on a lark, I tried Ricotta and it worked better than Paneer. Lucky I had it sitting in the frig that day.

It has a mild tartness, similar to yogurt and it is smooth and "clingy". Perfect for marinating meats.
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Old 12-31-2011, 07:01 PM   #5
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Clay Cookware and Tandoori

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tilly View Post
Wow, that sounds interesting. So now that you have the mixture, can you show/tell us how to use it? I don't have a clay tandoori pot but I know what they are.
I use Romertopf clay cookware. You can use it in the oven, sort of like Corningware. I mix tandoori spices into my sour cream mixture and then I like to marinate boneless, skinless chicken thighs overnight. I mash the chicken into the side of the Romertopf as best I can, trying not to let it slide to the bottom. I do not use the Romertopd top when I roast the chicken in the oven.
Update: I left out that I preheat the clay pot to about 450 deg F and then place the chicken in the pot. You need to let the chicken come to room temperature before you place it in the pot, or you will crack the clay. I was surprised to find out you can also use a well fired clay flower pot to accomplish the same thing. Just place it on a tray on the bottom rack and slap the chicken on the side. It sticks! Just like a tandoori oven.

Last edited by codewiz51; 12-31-2011 at 07:07 PM..
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Old 12-31-2011, 07:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codewiz51 View Post
I found sour cream alone was too tart. My first experiment was with softened cream cheese and sour cream. The result? Yucky!

I tried Paneer, an Indian fresh cheese. It worked well, but you can't buy it anywhere, you have to make it at home. So, on a lark, I tried Ricotta and it worked better than Paneer. Lucky I had it sitting in the frig that day.

It has a mild tartness, similar to yogurt and it is smooth and "clingy". Perfect for marinating meats.
I can buy it locally but made it myself. Pretty easy but it made too much and so bland. I like your idea of ricotta.
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Old 12-31-2011, 09:42 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Tilly View Post
I can buy it locally but made it myself. Pretty easy but it made too much and so bland. I like your idea of ricotta.
Paneer is bland, but I dearly love Palek Paneer, the Indian curried/creamed spinach recipe. I substitute a turnip for the potato. I like to par-boil the turnip in chicken broth, or water containing Splenda and salt for a couple of minutes to remove any trace of bitterness, but still leave the turnip flesh firm.
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Old 01-01-2012, 06:10 AM   #8
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Any chance you can share the recipe on here?
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Old 01-01-2012, 08:11 AM   #9
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DH and I love Palak Paneer. But I just eat it out, as I don't want to make paneer at home again. Tried it once and wasn't pleased with the result. But personally, I just keep yogurt (drained of whey) in my fridge pretty much all the time, so a sub for it just isn't necessary for me.
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tilly View Post
Any chance you can share the recipe on here?
Ingredients

1 lb baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp canola or peanut oil (olive oil is too strong)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1" piece ginger, peeled and crushed
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 Roma tomatoes diced
1/2 - 1 tsp Salt (to taste)
8 oz paneer, cubed
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (substitute dried celery leaves or fresh watercress leaves)
1/4 tsp garam masala (I usually sub in 1 tsp of McCormick Hot Madras curry powder)
2 tbsp whipping cream (half and half in a pinch)

Preparation

Remove spinach leaves from stems and wash, coarse chop after drying. Blanch in boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes then refresh in cold water, drain, squeeze out excess water and puree until smooth (or not).

Heat oil in a cast iron or heavy skillet. Add cumin seeds, ginger, garlic and onions and fry until clear and softened.

Add tomatoes and cook until they become a soft paste. Stir in spinach puree and season with salt. Add the paneer cubes. Finish with fenugreek leaves, garam masala and cream. Serve hot.

Note:
If I am in a hurry, I chunk it all into a frying pan (execpt paneer and cream), cook it and then puree the lot. After pureeing, add the cream, mix well and then incorporate the paneer.

Frozen spinach can be substituted for fresh spinach. Fresh spinach need not be pureed to achieve a more textured dish typically served in Indian homes.

Fresh tomatoes can be replaced with chopped canned tomatoes
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buttoni View Post
DH and I love Palak Paneer. But I just eat it out, as I don't want to make paneer at home again. Tried it once and wasn't pleased with the result. But personally, I just keep yogurt (drained of whey) in my fridge pretty much all the time, so a sub for it just isn't necessary for me.
I had to smile. Watch the youtube videos a couple of times, and then buy enough milk to make three batches. Have mop, paper towels and bucket close by, this stuff can get messy. Make sure any large dogs are outside and cannot get in the way. Be prepared to throw away the first two batches.
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buttoni View Post
DH and I love Palak Paneer. But I just eat it out, as I don't want to make paneer at home again. Tried it once and wasn't pleased with the result. But personally, I just keep yogurt (drained of whey) in my fridge pretty much all the time, so a sub for it just isn't necessary for me.
I keep dewatered plain yogurt around for use much of the time. I like to drain and squeeze over a two day period to remove about 50% of the whey. The "greek" or de-watered yogurt is still about 20% - 40% water by weight. I don't make any assumptions about the carb content. I simply limit my intake and cut the volume by half in recipes.
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Old 01-01-2012, 12:35 PM   #13
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Your PalakPaneer recipe sounds GREAT! Just printed it out to try some time.
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Old 01-01-2012, 01:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codewiz51 View Post
Ingredients

1 lb baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp canola or peanut oil (olive oil is too strong)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1" piece ginger, peeled and crushed
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 Roma tomatoes diced
1/2 - 1 tsp Salt (to taste)
8 oz paneer, cubed
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (substitute dried celery leaves or fresh watercress leaves)
1/4 tsp garam masala (I usually sub in 1 tsp of McCormick Hot Madras curry powder)
2 tbsp whipping cream (half and half in a pinch)

Preparation

Remove spinach leaves from stems and wash, coarse chop after drying. Blanch in boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes then refresh in cold water, drain, squeeze out excess water and puree until smooth (or not).

Heat oil in a cast iron or heavy skillet. Add cumin seeds, ginger, garlic and onions and fry until clear and softened.

Add tomatoes and cook until they become a soft paste. Stir in spinach puree and season with salt. Add the paneer cubes. Finish with fenugreek leaves, garam masala and cream. Serve hot.

Note:
If I am in a hurry, I chunk it all into a frying pan (execpt paneer and cream), cook it and then puree the lot. After pureeing, add the cream, mix well and then incorporate the paneer.

Frozen spinach can be substituted for fresh spinach. Fresh spinach need not be pureed to achieve a more textured dish typically served in Indian homes.

Fresh tomatoes can be replaced with chopped canned tomatoes
Thanks very much! My older daughter LOVES the taste of Indian cooking, so I know I can share this with her. (My younger daughter will eat just about anything, so nice she is not picky!)
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Old 01-01-2012, 05:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buttoni View Post
Your PalakPaneer recipe sounds GREAT! Just printed it out to try some time.
If it turns out well, post it in your blog with a picture. It's nice and "low carby", with lots of exotic flavors. I think the carbs are probably around 10 per cup. I haven't calculated it in a while and I didn't write it on my recipe notes.
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:27 AM   #16
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I have a similar dish posted there, but mine doesn't have tomatoes or the paneer in it. It's really just my take on Indian creamed spinach you see on all the Indian buffet tables.
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Old 01-02-2012, 11:13 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buttoni View Post
I have a similar dish posted there, but mine doesn't have tomatoes or the paneer in it. It's really just my take on Indian creamed spinach you see on all the Indian buffet tables.
I use the same recipe substituting finely sliced Bok Choy leaves (preferably baby Bok Choy leaves). The leaves are in fine strips, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide. Instead of blanching, I sautee the Bok Choy leaves in peanut oil for a couple of minutes to soften them. I don't puree the mixture. The flavors work well together and the texture is heartier; goes well with grilled pork loin or chicken.

I've also done this recipe with Arugula. It was OK. I am not an Arugula fan, and I didn't think the flavors worked well together. My wife disagreed and loved it. To each his own!

Last edited by codewiz51; 01-02-2012 at 11:15 AM..
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:42 PM   #18
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Well aren't you the creative cook! Thanks for the BokChoy and Arugula sub idea. I bet they WOULD be good, CW.
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Old 01-06-2012, 01:41 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codewiz51 View Post
I use the same recipe substituting finely sliced Bok Choy leaves (preferably baby Bok Choy leaves). The leaves are in fine strips, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide. Instead of blanching, I sautee the Bok Choy leaves in peanut oil for a couple of minutes to soften them. I don't puree the mixture. The flavors work well together and the texture is heartier; goes well with grilled pork loin or chicken.

I've also done this recipe with Arugula. It was OK. I am not an Arugula fan, and I didn't think the flavors worked well together. My wife disagreed and loved it. To each his own!
Coincidentally I am making saag (palak) paneer tomorrow. Almost any green will work. My mother uses mustard greens, watercress, etc. Good recipe Codewiz, very close to my mother's.
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Old 01-06-2012, 01:45 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codewiz51 View Post
I've found the following mixture makes an excellent substitute for yogurt when cooking tandoori spiced meats in clay cookware, like Romertopf.

I combine 1/2 cup ricotta with 1/4 cup sour cream. Mix thoroughly and then combine with your favorite tandoori spices. If the mixture is too thick, simply blend in a little water to achieve the desired consistency.

It's only 6 grams of carbs for 3/4 cup, and the carb count is not in question.
I use yogurt because it isn't too many carbs anyway. However, if I don't have yogurt or sour cream, I use a little mayo in the marinade and it works out nicely, especially if the protein is going to be grilled.
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