Monday, June 25, 2007

Panicked Paneer

We returned home yesterday to a near empty refrigerator and hungry stomachs. It was simply too hot to go out for dinner, so I asked A to get some paneer. It was almost 8pm when I ventured into the kitchen to find that I was left with a motley bunch of ingredients. I made a mish mash of the various paneer recipes I knew to come up with this:

Ingredients or what I started with
So, at random, I chopped 2 onions.
2 small capsicum / Shimla Mirch cut into sqares (like in chinese dishes)
Eeks. Out of garlic...completely
One potato cubed (that's all that was there)
Paneer 200gms
Panch phoron (bengali 5 spice)
Jeera powder / Cumin 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder 1 & 1/2 tsp
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Oil
Salt

Here is how I did it:
1. I heat 2 tbsp oil in a kadai
2. Added panch phoron. Panicked as I was, I forgot the 5 spice combination and made up one of my own (jeera / kalonji / methi / anise / ajwain instead of the mustard).
3. Added powdered jeera, dhania and turmeric to the oil and fried well with a little bit of water. (When the water dries up, repeat the process couple of times so that the masalas are well cooked).
4. Then I added the cubed potato (I had to cube really fine since all I had was one aloo), stirred well. Added a cup of water, salt, covered and lowered flame to cook till potato were softened.
5. Egad. I had to fry the onions in the oil first. Which I didn't. Never mind.
6. In between, I managed to heat some water with a little bit of salt. When it started boiling, I removed it from flame and add the paneer to it, cubed (so that it could soak up the salt).
7. In another pan, I heated 2 tbsp oil, fried the diced onions and capsicum. Then I drained the paneer and added it to the pan. Till it was lightly fried.
8. In the meanwhile, in my other kadai, the potatoes had softened. I put another half cup of water in to make some gravy, adjusted the salt, let it come to a boil. 9.Then I added the onion/capsicum/paneer fry to the gravy.
10.Added half tsp grated ginger. Covered it and let it cook over low flame for a few minutes.
11. Adjusted seasoning and then served with chapatis (which thankfully came out fine).

And what do you know...it was nice. A asked for second helpings and we finished all of it. Phew.

Umm, so, the lesson I learnt was:
It is not the recipe which is important (it is, but not overtly so, atleast when u are cooking at home and in a rush), but keeping a cool head while all about you is hot (the weather -- it was so humid and hot...I had difficulty in keeping the sweat trickling down everywhere, but mostly into my eyes) is equally important while cooking!

3 comments:

Andy Martin said...

Nice blog thats wat i eat most of the time..
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Jayashree said...

I like the honest way in which you've described how you went about this recipe.

Sukanya said...

Thanks Jayshree...