Dakshin paneer do pyaaza

Regional flavours of India are truely amazing. The same type of dish will taste differently in every state of India. The secret lies in the spices of course. Each state and sometimes even cities have some favourite spice which is dominant in most dishes. Todays recipe is the do pyaaza. Almost every indian is familiar with this dish where onion is used in 2 forms, a ground paste of onions as well as sliced onions. In todays recipe, I have used whole shallots ( also called sambhar onions) as well as sliced onions. The Dakshin or southern twist is in the simple masala made dominantly with udad dal also known as black lentils. Udad dal rules southern India where its use in almost all idli and dosa preparation is extensive. Using Paneer in this dish gives it a north Indian twist.

Growing up in Pune, my knowledge of south Indian food was limited to dosa, idli and medu wada. Going to Priya restaurant for these treats was often, and something to look forward to. The fragrance of food as you entered this small and cozy restaurant on main street was mouth watering . Of course, the waiters would always direct us to go upstairs where it was for families and ladies only.

My interest in cooking led me to try out different dishes from all over India, leaving a medly of recipes in my cookbook. Spices in the south use udad dal which is roasted slowly and powdered with red chillies and asafoetida, peppercorns etc. Aside from the mainstays,South India also has a huge variety of delicious vegetatarian and non vegetarian food.

Todays recipe is based on chettinad style of cooking. Please do try this simple dish and serve with chappaties or adai rotis made with rice flour.

Ingredients

200 gms paneer cut into cubes

15 shallots

1 sliced onion

2 sprigs of curry leaves

1 tbsp tamarind paste

1 tsp mustard seeds

1/4 th tsp hing/ asafoetida

2 or 3 dry red chillies

15 black peppercorns

1 tbsp split udad dal

Corriander leaves to garnish

Method

1. Dry roast together, udad dal, black peppercorns and dry red chillies. When the dal turns a light golden brown, shut the flame and keep aside to cool. Grind into a fine powder and keep aside.

2. Heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil, add mustard seeds , hing and curry leaves.

3. Now add whole shallots and stir fry on a low flame till the out skin of the shallots starts turning soft and light golden…about 4 to 5 mins.

4. Add the paneer and stir fry further for 5 mins and add sliced onions. Also add the tamarind paste.

5. Add salt to taste and powdered spice mixture. Mix well.

6. Cook further for few mins and add chopped corriander leaves.

Serve hot.

SARSON(MUSTARD) PANEER AND PEAS WITH CHILLI OIL KULCHA

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, cum20171125_10462320171126_151055in 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 mayonn20171125_144846aise 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.

INGREDIENTS

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.

METHOD

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

Ingredients

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)

METHOD

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 .