We Punjabis are known for our “Jugaad”. Jugaad has no English equivalent as far as I know. According to me it would mean a quick fix or improvise and other close meanings are; any kind of creative and out of the box thinking or life hacks. For example, Punjabis may use jugaad to make a Biryani without spices or use their steel kada or bangle as a bottle opener!I think this malai ki sabzi was one kind of jugaad, improvised by a harassed mom! It is a quick curry to feed hungry mouths.
Long before the fast to cook and good to eat-2 minute Maggi was launched, my mom used to churn out this lip-smacking Malai ki Sabzi or Cream Curry for me in a jiffy. It has been ages since I have made Malai ki sabzi. I am lactose intolerant since many years now and there has been no malai in the house.( Malai is the cream formed over milk when it is boiled) The other day my brother who was alone for a couple of days, persuaded me to take 2 packets of full-fat milk from his fridge. I was cooking for him so I took it to set fresh curds. But when I saw the layer of cream on it, I had to make Malai ki sabzi with it.
The Punjabi Malai ki sabzi is a speciality and savoured by all connoisseurs of Punjabi food; either with Paranthas or with roti and people like me relish it with steamed rice. This curry is slightly tangy and rich; cream is added to tomato gravy cooked in butter and topped with fresh coriander.
The delightful colour comes from the marriage of turmeric and tomatoes. You can make it with fresh cream too but it would taste a little different.
Malai ki sabzi is usually made for breakfast, as it hardly takes any time and goes well with parathas. But you can have it for lunch or dinner too. Although it is made with cream it sits quite light on the stomach if you make a semi thick gravy.
Recipe for Malai ki sabzi or Cream Curry
1 cup cream from full-fat milk
2 tomatoes pureed
1/4 cup fresh or frozen green peas
1 green chilli
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ghee or clarified butter
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp red chilli powder
2-3 tablespoons milk
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander leaves to garnish
Heat a frying pan and add the ghee. Once hot, add the cumin till they splutter and give out a flavorful aroma. Now add the sliced green chilli.
Next add the pureed tomatoes and cook till done nicely or the ghee separates. Add the peas or mutter and saute.Add the salt, turmeric and red chilli powder and stir.
Stir in the cream and cook. If it is too thick then add some milk to thin the gravy. I add water as I cannot take too much milk.
Remove from fire and transfer to a serving bowl.
Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot with parathas(stuffed bread), roti(flat bread), bread or rice.
I had made kale Paranthas( kale stuffed bread) for my brother and served them with Malai ki sabzi or Cream Curry for breakfast. I am sure he was thinking of mom too while eating it.