Saturday, 4 January 2014

Veth Chaman-- From the Valleys of Kashmir

One of the many benefits of having a blog, a food blog at that, is the constant urge to try out new recipes and different cuisines. India itself has so many different cuisines that many a times they are either completely forgotten or remain confined to their specific regions. Kashmiri cuisine is one such cuisine which I, personally, haven't eaten much or cooked anything till date. The speciality of this cuisine is its spicing. Most of the spices which go into their dishes are homemade rather than bought from the market. The aroma and taste of freshly prepared spices is the star of this cuisine. Today's recipe is a pure vegetarian dish with paneer. Have it with your hands in pure desi style and enjoy the aroma of the spices. Fingerlicking good!!

1 cup warm water
1/4 tsp hing/asafoetida
Mustard oil for frying
250 gms paneer, cubed

For the garam masala
4-5 cloves
4-5 cardamoms
1 inch piece cinnamon
1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
1/2 tbsp black peppercorns
1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
1/4 tbsp dry ginger powder

For the paneer base
1 tsp cumin seeds
3-4 cloves
3-4 cardamoms
1/2 inch piece cinnamon
3 tsp saunf powder
3 tsp dry ginger powder 
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp kashmiri chilli powder (I added about 1 tsp since I like it less spicy)
2 tbsp curd, whisked
1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
2 tsp garam masala prepared above
2 tbsp mustard oil

Heat oil in a pan sufficient enough to fry the paneer cubes till golden brown. Add hing to the warm water and mix well. Soak the fried paneer pieces in the hing water for about 20 minutes.
In another pan, dry roast the ingredients listed  under garam masala and grind to a fine powder. Keep aside.
In the same pan where you fried the paneer pieces, add additional oil if required and heat. Add the cumin seeds and cloves. Now add the dry ginger powder, turmeric powder, and chilli powder. Fry for a minute. Now add about 2 tbsp of the hing water to deglaze. Stir. Tip in the whisked curd, milk, cardamoms, and saunf powder. Mix well until smooth. Now add the fried paneer pieces, salt, and garam masala. Coat the paneer pieces evenly with the gravy. Add the sugar and simmer for 5-7 minutes covered. The gravy should not be too watery. Check for seasoning and serve it hot with plain rice.


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