When it comes to cooking veg curry, I don’t have many options to boast of, in fact, barring Paneer dishes, everything else is a task, and I am total novice in kitchen.Being proactive when wifey is not home or not well, the only curry I can cook is paneer (since she is a vegetarian).
Though I have cooked paneer many times, my biggest flaw is inconsistency. Sometimes it would turn out ohh so yummy, and sometimes wifey would ask me to quit cooking altogether. Well, it’s not limited to veg curries, but also my favourite non-veg curries. I guess it’s the irregularity with which I cook, and the generosity with which I sprinkle spices. There is no scientific approach to my cooking, but an arty one (did poetic justice, didn’t I?).
When I have to cook, I take recipes off internet, analyze them, compare them, and tweak them.
Sometimes I also call back home to ask mom if this is the correct recipe, and if something’s amiss.
Here is another shot at my cooking, a recipe that you can try as well. Though it’s Kadhai Paneer, I’d say it’s somewhere between a Punjabi Ghar Ka Paneer and Kadhai Paneer.
250gms Paneer cubes (can use Feta as well)
Around 4tbsp Canola oil (it’s the healthiest)
1 big onion
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
½ Green Chilllies minutely chopped
1 tsp crushed cumin (jeera) seeds (or powder)
1 tsp coriander seeds (dhania) crushed (or powder)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1 medium sized tomato chopped
1 tsp butter salted
½ cup water (or more if you want watery curry)
Coriander & fenugreek leaves (kasturi methi) for garnish
Do the homework first. Crush the coriander and cumin seeds in a mortar with a heavy pestle. Try to crush and grind it as fine as possible. Else you may use the coriander and cumin powder, which is perfectly fine too.
Slice the onion, chop the tomato into small cubes, slice the capsicum into small pieces, slice the paneer into small cubes. I usually cut very small pieces of paneer, so that it soaks up the masala.
Add oil in the already hot wok. Put the crushed coriander & cumin seeds and fry them for around 30 seconds, until they start spluttering. Skip this if you are using powdered form of the spices.
Slide the onions & minutely cut green chillies. Fry them till they get translucent. Say about 2 minutes.
Add ginger garlic paste to it and fry for another minute.
Add the spices – cardamom & cumin powder if you haven’t used them yet, and turmeric, red chilli powder and salt. Fry them for a minute.
If the frying is getting too dry or sticking to the base, it’s okay to splash a few drops of water onto it. Say about 3-4 teaspoon.
Add chopped tomato. Fry for another minute for two.
Add capsicum and paneer. Stir it for another minute, until the paneer cubes are smeared in spices. Add a teaspoon of butter as well.
Add water, stir it again and cover the wok with a lid, on low heat.
After 5 minutes, open the lid, sprinkle garam masala and fenugreek leaves (kastruri methi), stir it again.
Take it off the heat, add chopped coriander (fresh).
Tastes good with chapatti. Or you may pour the contents over a focaccia or ciabatta bread, duly toasted and buttered.
Blunders I committed:
Number 1: As I said before, I get generous with spices, hence added double the quantity of cumin and coriander seeds, which I could taste in abundant quantity in each bite. That’s why I said it’s perfectly fine to use their powdered form as well.
Number 2: The paneer used didn’t taste good. It ruined the taste of the dish, and the mood therefore. So choose fresh paneer, from a good place.