Paneer Shimla Mirchi…
Food for thought..! Ever wondered how some dishes/recipes were named.. !?! I’m sure every cuisine has some very interesting names.. Since my interaction has been the most with Indian food … Indian food does have some real bizarre names like – pasanda, navratan, jalfrezi, tikka, ragda patties etc.. whoever came up with such fancy names.. hats off! Now come the other boring names, probably named by someone who was simply caught up on a day like this where he could not just come up with anything fancy…I’m talking about the use of names like masala, fry, curry, kadai, handi, tandoori etc. The name of this dish sounds familiar huh… just like Aloo Shimla Mirchi.. I know! But I couldn’t come up with a more innovative name…! I kept racking my brains over it.. Not one of my very innovative days when it comes to naming dishes I suppose & of course not for K as well..! I asked K to try the dish & give this dish a name.. he came up with this tacky name…! I smiled & asked him if it’s all he could come up with.. he replied “I’m hungry, right now this is what I can come up with!”. I did not want to bug him more.. so I just stuck with naming it this way.. !!!
I had a huge stash of Paneer in my fridge which I had completely forgotten about… Thanks to my 3 year twin nephews who were fighting for more Paneer on their plate during our Skype Video chat, I decided I’ll cook K a paneer dish for dinner!
With all the shows on TLC I watch.. K is always drooling on the Bacon, the numerous cheese’s, pink salmon, Ham & cheese, fish & chips, .. the list goes on..! You place paneer in front of K along with some roti’s, he is happy..! K’s vegetarian happy meal formula in Indian food has to have some Paneer…!
This dish is again something I just made up on the go.. ! It tangy, sweet & sour and mildly hot… with some lovely flavour & crunch added by the green peppers/capsicum/Shimla mirchi.
This is one of the first time I tried to shoot pictures this way.. not too much on the background, a less busy picture.. Just a little bored with my usual style of photography. Hope you guys find these pictures appealing..! Change is the only constant isn’t it??!
Ingredients: (Serves 2-3 ) Preparation Time: 30 mins
Paneer – 175 gms, cubed
Onions – 2 medium-sized, finely chopped
Bay leaves – 1/2 of a medium-sized leaf, roughly torn into 2-3 pieces
Dried red chilli’s – 2, medium spicy variety, each roughly torn into 2-3 pieces
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric – a pinch
Tamarind – 1/2 of a marble-sized ball, without seeds, soak in 1/4 warm cup water & keep aside
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
Capsicum – 1 medium-sized, de-seeded and cubed
Coriander – 2 sprigs, finely chopped to garnish
Cashews – 5, soaked in 1/4 cup milk for at least 30 mins, make a paste of the cashews with the milk
Tip: Skip the Cashews if you wanna go skinny with this dish
Cooking oil – 1.5 tbsp
Salt to taste
For the fresh paste:
Tomato – 1 medium-sized, roughly chopped
Coriander – 10-12 sprigs with the stems
Green chilli’s – 1, roughly chopped
Garlic – 8 plump cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
Ginger – 1 small piece,roughly chopped
Cardamom – 3 whole
Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
Heat oil in a kadai/deep bottom fry pan. Once the oil heats up, set heat to medium. Throw in the bay leaves bits & let them sizzle. In about 30 seconds, throw in the cumin seeds & let them sizzle, do not let them turn black. Add the finely chopped onion & add some salt to help fry them quicker. Let them turn translucent.
Meanwhile, grind all the ingredients mentioned for a paste except the tomatoes. Once the rest of the ingredients have turned into a rough paste, add the tomatoes & blend to as smooth a paste as possible. Add a bit of water if required.
Squeeze the juice out of the soaking tamarind & throw the pulp away, reserving all the water.
When the onion begins to turn a light brown, add the roughly torn dried red chilli’s, mix it around. Next add the freshly ground paste along with 1 cup water. Simmer. When the sauce thickens throw in the turmeric & coriander powder. Mix it around. Let it fry for a couple of minutes. Now throw in the sugar, tamarind juice & give the sauce a good mix.
Note: Do not let the sauce burn, reduce heat & add a little water if it is too dry.
When all the raw flavours fade away add the cashew paste if you wish to add & throw in the capsicum & fry till the capsicum cooks in to a way you like it, I like a bit crunch in them so I cook them halfway.
Note: If you need some gravy in this dish, add about 1/2 cup of water before you add the capsicum. Else you can let all the water evaporate & make this a dry dish.
Lastly add the paneer cubes, mix well so that the sauce coats the paneer. Cook the paneer till tender.
Garnish with some chopped coriander.
Serve hot as an accompaniment with hot Indian breads.
Else you can make them into rolls. Add a couple of spoons of the sabji with some freshly chopped onions, coloured peppers and make yourself a roll or a wrap. :) This sounds perfect if you have just enough leftovers right?