Friday, December 21, 2007

A recipe and a reminder

Remind me to never, ever fry paneer. I never do, even when it's recommended, but did that in the interests of authenticity as I make Kashmiri dishes so rarely, but it just made the entire thing rubbery even though I kept it soaked in some water.

Even a half measure like shallow-frying it robbed it of its texture, something The Spouse demonstrated long ago. But the gravy was quite a scorcher if you could discount the oily blobs that overran it. This is my third Grindless Gravy for the event, and it just makes the deadline. What's happening with your entries? If they're sitting in your drafts, please rush them as the deadline ends today.

On to the recipe now, adapted from The Pleasures of Kashmiri Cookery by Anu Wakhlu.

Cottage Cheese/Paneer - 500 gm, cut into 3-cm squares.
Red Chilli Powder - 1 tbsp
Aniseed Powder - 1 tbsp
Ginger Powder/Sonth - 1/2 tbsp
Curds/Yoghurt - 2 tbsp, beaten
Black Cardamom/Badi Elaichi - 2
Regular Cardamom (Green) - 2
Cloves - 3
Peppercorns - 2-3
Bay leaves - 2-3
Oil - 2 tbsp
Water - 2 cups
Salt - to taste

In a pan, heat the oil. Add the red chilli powder and a little water and heat till bright red.

Add the beaten curds and fry for a few minutes. Add all the spices and salt and mix well.

Add 2 cups of water and let it boil.

Add the cottage cheese pieces and cover and cook on a slow fire for about 20 minutes till the gravy thickens.

According to the book, the paneer has to be deep-fried beforehand. Also, once the curry is done, it's finished off with a splash of ghee and shahjeera (caraway) for garnish - I only shallow-fried the paneer, which was bad enough, and didn't have the ghee so didn't use that, or the shahjeera.

PS: Anita has a tip on frying paneer in the comments, take a look.


  1. woww so spicyyyy and yummy dish

  2. Been there , done that! NEVER do I fry the paneer now, whatever the recipe may say - just doesn't suit my taste, though others seem to like it!

    The gravy looks tempting...

  3. Decadent, Sra. I am sorry that I couldnt participate in your event. Had too many things on my plate. I hope you don't mind. I will make it up by sending a delicious entry next time you host an event. :(

  4. HeHe! I TRIED frying or sauteing the Paneer once, didn't like the texture or taste.I add them just as they are now.
    Love the color of the gravy, bit oily. I gently spread a white paper napkin on top of the gravy and blot the oil out sometimes when that happens.
    Have a great weekend, it's busy busy time for us here. See you next week!:))

  5. Looks quite great and easy. I am going to try this very soon and thanks for giving the tip for not frying paneer, I do it often.

  6. Hey Sra, this looks yummy! When you fry panir, let the oil be smoking hot, so that it browns the outside soon as you add the paneer cubes. This keeps the paneer pieces soft. You don't need ghee for this recipe. Use mustard oil if you can.

  7. It's not the process of frying but the paneer! If you have not-so-good paneer it is better to consume it without frying, but if you have good paneer, it will stay as soft even after frying, no change in texture (except for a crispy outside when consumed immediately). Try frying home made paneer (made with whole milk) and you'll know what I mean! For kashmiri recipes, frying is an important step - it will also keep the paneer from breaking up.

  8. this looks really flavorful. though RCI didnt happen this month for some reason, there are some lovely kashmiri recipes floating around. saw one in jugalbandi too..

  9. sra..this is what i do when a recipe asks for deep frying...i just take a tsp of oil..rub it on the surface of the non stick pan and plop the paneer on it. This is cooked on med-high flame. This way the paneer gets browned and the texture really does not try it. and the dish looks really we get in hotels (it is a compliment :)

  10. Sagari, actually it's not all that spicy, believe me. It's a surprise!
    Miri, yep, must have fried paneer just a couple of times long ago before this. But see what Anita has to say.
    Suganya, don't worry. I know what it's like.
    Asha, that paper napkin is a good tip.
    Lata, thanks. You may want to see Anita's tip, too, in the comments.
    Musical, will check out both options.
    Anita, thanks for the explanation. I've just got creamier paneer to try out what you said.
    Nags, yes, it's flavourful, not spicy at all tho' it looks fearfully red. I think all the frying removes the bite out of the spices and brings out their flavour.
    Rajitha, my dream is to make food that looks like hotel food - gravies especially. Thanks so much :)

  11. I just love reading these - so many unfamiliar ingredients that I can imagine to tantalize my tastebuds. I'm going to have to research online spices...

  12. yumm... Love that color... It looks hot... I could try this with chicken I guess...

  13. Yeah they do get rubbery when fried. I found that it's better to do a quick saute just getting the edges or perhaps only 1 side brown.

    Happy Holidays!

  14. Hmm I have tried frying home made paneer and loved it. I will pay more attention to the taste next time. It is 24th Dec here, and so time for me to wish all of my blog friends a wonderful time with family and friends. May it be a peaceful and blessed time for you, where each of us can give a lot of joy to those around us.

  15. *yum*!

    I'm totally with you on the paneer thing - seems like frying totally robs it of any flavor and freshness.

    Yay for Grindless Gravies :)

  16. Katie, tantalize it does, the frying renders everything mild and flavourful.
    Sig, trust you to look for a non-veg equivalent :)
    Cynthia, hmm ... I'll try Anita's suggestion soon.
    Vegeyum, thanks for the greetings, the same to you.
    Kaykat, thanks :)


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