Sunday, 29 June 2014

Kashundi Paneer (Cottage Cheese in English Mustard Gravy)

Last weekend was fun. Fun because we were mostly eating out and shopping. At the end of it, by Sunday evening we wanted to eat something simple and homemade. However, these days while cooking, I have to take note of what my baby is in mood for. She said paneer and so paneer it was. I had set out to cook the simple Bengali style Paneer in onion tomato gravy. But the unfinished bottle of Kashundi or English Mustard Paste, as more popularly known abroad, caught my fancy and I decided to create something interesting with it. I had about 3-4 tbsp of the paste and it was sufficient enough for the flavor. In case you do not have Kashundi available, you can also substitute it with fresh mustard paste. However, I would recommend using kashundi as it has a beautiful tangy zesty flavor which perfectly balances the zing of the mustard. The gravy was a perfect balance of tanginess, spiciness, and the subtle zing of the mustard paste. Try this recipe for a refreshing change with your regular paneer curry.

300 gms paneer, cubed
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed (optional; Bengalis like potatoes in their curries)
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 inch piece ginger, thinly sliced
2 tbsp tomato puree (use 1 tbsp puree if using fresh mustard paste with tomato)
3-4 tbsp kashundi (or 2 tbsp mustard seeds soaked and made into a paste with 1 large tomato)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 whole red chillies
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp good quality garam masala (optional)
Salt as per taste
Oil as required

Heat oil in a pan and fry the paneer cubes till slightly golden. Remove from heat and soak in warm water till further use. In the same oil, fry the potato cubes and fry till golden. Keep aside.
Add a little more oil if required and splutter the cumin seeds, dry chillies, and mustard seeds. Add the sliced onions and fry till translucent. Now add the ginger and fry for a couple of minutes till browned. Add the puree, chilli powder, and turmeric powder and fry till oil starts coming out from the sides. Now add the mustard paste or kashundi and mix everything well. Frying the paste for too long at this point may turn it bitter. Now add the fried potatoes and coat them well. Now with the help of a spoon, add 3-4 tbsp warm water from the vessel where the paneer is soaked. Stir and bring to a boil. Now add the paneer into the gravy and the soaked warm water as per your requirement for gravy. Add salt as per taste and bring it to a boil. Now cover and simmer the flame and cook till the gravy thickens to desired consistency and potatoes are cooked through. Check the seasoning and if desired, add a wee bit of garam masala to enhance the taste. Remove from heat and serve hot with steamed rice or pulao. Mustard tastes best with rice and hence roti or paratha might not be a good serving suggestion.

While choosing the english mustard sauce in place of Kashundi, make sure you pick the one which is more coarse in texture. The fine paste may not give the best results.

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