As much as I love to cook, I love to laze around as well. Last week was one of the weeks I hardly cooked anything. Not that I had no time or my routine was unusal. But just didn't feel like spending more time in the kitchen. Well, somehow I was managing with some quick and easy comfort food to feed our hungry stomachs. But then today, while I went to drop my daughter for her music class, I could smell this delicious spicy curry from someone's house! Usually my nose is very adept at recognizing my favorite food from a distance, but today I couldn't. I'm still debating if it was chicken or potatoes :) Well, thanks to whoever was making it, that aroma triggered me to make something good in the kitchen today!
With not much left in the fridge, I decided to make this warm, simple and flavorful paneer dish. As I started cooking this dish, I realized how much I was enjoying the cooking. The stirring of the onions, their roasted texture glittering beautifully from the bottom of the pan, and the seductive aroma of those spices... Hmm, I felt so great and rejuvenated! And was glad to be back into my very own kitchen world.. As silly as it sounds, it still true that I can't stay away from my kitchen for a long time :)
My daughter loves Paneer. So do I. But her intensity far surpasses mine. Because of her, I keep trying different recipes with Paneer, and thats one of the few things that she likes. Whenever she comes to the dinner table, if she sees a Paneer dish, she quietly finishes her dinner without her usual whine or groan - a very rare scene in our house. This dish is one of our family's most favorite paneer dishes. I learned this from my very good friend a while back. I fortunately also happened to watch her cook this yummy dish and since then it has taken a permanant place in my recipe book, and ends up in our dinner table frequently. What I like about this dish is the consistency - neither gravy nor dry - a perfect side dish for rotis and naans. I enjoy gravies mostly with rice and for rotis I usually prefer little dry side dishes.
Note: If you have a food processor, this dish is a perfect candidate for it! Use the food processor to chop the paneer and to prepare the tomato mixture given below.
- Paneer - chopped (2 cups)
- Onions - 1 medium
- Ginger garlic paste - 2 tsp
- Roma Tomatoes - 2 large
- G.chillies - 3
- Chilli powder - 1 tsp
- Corriander powder - 2 tsp
- Cumin powder - 1 tsp
- Kasuri Methi - 2 tsp (crushed)
- Cinnamon - 1/2 inch
- Cloves - 3
- Cardamom - 1
- Ajwain seeds - a pinch (optional)
- Cream - 2 or 3 tbsp
- Corriander leaves - to garnish
- Start with boiling the whole tomatoes for 5 mins. Drop them into cold water and let them rest for a few mins.
- Meanwhile give the paneer cubes a quick spin in the food processor. Don't make them too powdery. They should be still in mini bitable chunks. Otherwise, slice or chop them finely using regular knife. It should come to 2 cups after chopping. Set aside.
- Chop the onions in food processor too. If no food processor, chop them extra fine.
- Peel off the tomato skin, puree in food-processor along with the g.chillies, 1 tsp ginger/garlic paste, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.
- Heat oil in a pan, season with Ajwain seeds (if using), add onions and fry in medium heat for 3 mins.
- Add the remaining 1tsp Ginger/Garlic paste and fry for a min.
- Now add the tomato puree, chilli powder and Kasoori methi and mix well. Add salt and cover and cook for 5-6 mins. You can add 2 tbsp of water if you need.
- Finally add the paneer and give it a good stir. Cover for 2 more mins. Add corriander leaves and mix well.
- Keep frying the mixture in medium heat until it turns almost dry (Be cautious not to let it too dry).