This recipe which is a fusion recipe, combines the tanginess of mustard and the smoothness of coconut milk. East India merges with south India. Mustard is one the most important spice in Bengali cooking, whole mustard seeds, or paste of mustard seeds are happily incorporated into daily cooking, used liberally to coat fish and wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. I have also used Panch phoran to temper this dish, panch phoran is a combination of 5 spices, mustard seeds, onion seeds or kalonji as they are called in hindi, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, and fennel seeds are mixed together and used whole to temper the oil in the beginning of the cooking process. The use of mustard oil here imparts a nice nutty flavour. I love using mustard oil , coconut oil or ghee in all my Indian cooking , these oils bring out the true regional flavours of dishes from all over India. The use of coconut milk in this recipe balances out the tartness of mustard and vinegar used.
Paneer, or cottage cheese is so widely used in India, more so in the western, northern and eastern states. We Indians love our paneer in different forms, paneer pakodas, shahi paneer, paneer parathas, paneer bhurji, rosgollas, or kalakhands. Most Indian gatherings or parties will surely have a paneer dish on their menu. I remember, when my mom magically transformed curdled milk into a delectable sabji, just by adding a paste of green chillies and corriander leaves and some garlic. Paneer has been very subtly introduced into the chindian cuisine in place of tofu, paneer chilli fry and paneer manchurian for example. My love for paneer started with a cold paneer sandwich which was served in Greenfields restaurant in main street way back in the seventies when I was a very young girl, this awesome sandwich had thin slices of paneer sprinkled with only salt and pepper, sandwiched between 2 slices of white bread, slathered with mayonnaise and topped with crisp lettuce. Sadly, this restaurant shut its doors long ago. Puneites will surely remember this restaurant fondly.
Do try this recipe, and serve it with chilli oil kulchas, recipe of which i will be sharing here.
2 cups of diced paneer
1/2 cup of green peas.( I have used frozen peas)
1 big onion, finely chopped
4 green chillies ,finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic. roughly chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, sliced
3/4 tbsp mustard seeds
2 tbsps vinegar
2 + 2 tbsps mustard oil
1/2 cup thick coconut milk
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp paanch phoran
salt to taste
1/4 tsp sugar
PANCH PHORAN..( 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp fennel (saunf) seeds, 1/ 2 tsp fenugreek seeds and 1/2 tsp onion seeds.. mix. Use as required.) In this recipe I have used 1 tsp.
1.. Heat 2 tbsps of mustard oil, add the mustard seeds, when the seeds stop crackling, add chopped green chillies, ginger and garlic. saute for a while, shut the gas, and cool this mixture. When it cools down add 2 tbsps of vinegar and grind this mixture to a fine paste. add water if required, keep aside
2. Heat 2 tbsps of mustard oil in a pan, add 1 tsp of paanch phoran and wait till seeds splutter and there is an amazing nutty fragrance in your kitchen, now add chopped onion and saute till light brown, add the paste of green chillies, garlic and ginger. saute for another 5 minutes.
3. Now add the chopped paneer and green peas, season with salt, sugar and turmeric. and add the coconut milk.
4.. Add half a cup of water and cover, cook till a thick gravy is left. about 5 minutes.
serve garnished with grated cheese and chopped corriander leaves.
CHILLI OIL KULCHAS
1 cup flour
100 gms boiled and grated potato
1/4 cup yogurt
1 tbsp chilli oil
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 tsp shah jeera..(caraway seeds)
Mix all the ingredients to form a dough.
Divide into 8 balls and roll out the kulchas.
Roast each kulcha on a hot tava
Finally brush with chilli oil .