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

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 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!


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...