Certain food brings back the memories associated with it, the person who cooked it, the people we ate with, and the occasion it was cooked for. When Alicia Cowan of My Dish contacted me to write about food which makes me nostalgic, it took me a while to zero down to just one recipe! Oh yes... this cottage cheese in exotic gravy mom prepared for almost all the parties we used to host at home is a nostalgic recipe. Though not for the flavors and the recipe itself but for the fun & frolic we had during those parties with friends. And mom was quite famous for this Paneer Jalfrzi with her hot Kulchas. Even now whenever (read rarely) I cook this recipe I make sure to call at least one childhood friend to talk about those wonderful childhood days of yesteryear.
200 gm Cottage cheese or Paneer
50 gms fresh sweet corn kernels
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. sugar
Salt as desired
Water 1 cup or more
Ground to paste
1 large onion
2 large tomato/1 cup tomato puree
2 tbsp. grated coconut
8-10 cashew nuts
1 small green chilli
1 inch ginger
2 cardamon pods
1 tsp. red chili powder
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. coriander powder
Shredded fresh coriander leaves
4-5 strands of saffron (optional)
2 tbsp. cream (optional)
Peel and chop onion. Slice tomato and onion and grind it along with rest of the ingredients (ground to paste). Slice the cottage cheese into small pieces.
Heat oil in a kadai/wok and crackle cumin seeds add cardamom pods & clove followed by the ground paste. Add all the spices mentioned. Saute' well till for about 7-8 minutes till the raw smell of the ground paste disappear and the oil starts floating over the masala.
You can fry the cottage cheese cubes into the oil before making the gravy or just use them as it is.
Boil 1 cup of water or more if you require more gravy. Pour the boiled water into the cooked gravy and simmer well for another 5 minutes.
Serve the exotic Cottage cheese in nutty gravy - Paneer Jalfrezi with Indian flat breads, or Kulchas.
Notes;I used tomato paste in the recipe, since I had an open packet of the same in my refrigerator.You can avoid coconut and cashew altogether and still get a rich gravy for the recipe.Slightly deep fry the Cottage cheese cubes for much better texture ad taste.Add fresh green peas instead of sweet corn for much better color contrast in the dish.Use Tofu in place of cottage cheese for much healthier option.
Yes, I got my credits when hubby ashed me, "Did you get it from somewhere", as I rarely cook such rich and heavy dishes on normal days. Recreate the magic of a restaurant at your home, make your weekends special and surprise your guests with this delightful recipe.
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