A Delectable Diwali!

by Rashmie Jaaju on October 20, 2011 · 8 comments

in 'Me' Time,Food

Diwali is just round the corner, friends, and our home and city is brimming with festive spirit. But alas, I am not able to post as frequently – about all that we've been doing – as much I would have wanted to. For the next 2-3 days though, before we head off to Dharamshala, I'll try to capture our artful activities, traditions, food etc. And, may be even do a round-up post after Diwali. (smiles)

Talking about Dharamshala, it's the most beautiful hill town in the lap of the Himalayas and is the centre for Buddhist teachings and activities of the Dalai Lama. We will be celebrating Diwali there as we will also attend the Dalai Lama's teachings.

I don't remember if I told you all before – while I'm from North West India (Rajasthan), Avie's (my hubby) family is from down South (Karnataka). So, when we meet, the culinary flavours simmering in our kitchen can be utterly fascinating for the senses!

Besides Rajasthani, being a Delhi-ite, I also cook Punjabi dishes. And then, since I was born in Orissa (East), I have a huge bias toward Oriya delicacies and cook those often. I have a sweet tooth, so I can't help but try my hand at a few Gujarati dishes – most have a hint of sweetness to them.

OK, alright, I proclaim to be a foodie! Hence, festivals and food go hand in hand for me!

I can't help, can I – being in a country like India, which is a food lover's paradise? It's unbelievable how vast and varied the menu in each corner of India is. Every cuisine is so utterly different from the other in its preparation, flavour and even the way it's served and eaten.

Today, I share with you a paneer (cottage cheese)-based curry that also has the richness of cashew and the tang of unique Indian spices and herbs like cinnamon, cardamom and cloves.

This paneer dish is very uncommon in its flavour and rarely seen in restaurants etc. The most common paneer-based curries being – Shahi Paneer, Kadhai Paneer, Paneer Buter Masala, Methi Paneer, Palak Paneer etc.

I made this for 10 people. Accordingly, the ingredients are:

  1. 400 grams paneer – dice them into cubes
  2. 2 cups Onion Paste (to make this – first peel the onions, boil them and make a paste in grinder)
  3. 2 cups Cashew Paste (wash, boil in enough water and once cool – make a paste)
  4. 2 cups curd – blend lightly in a blender to get a uniform consistency
  5. Cumin seeds – 2 teaspoons
  6. 1 table soon cinnamon powder
  7. 2 teaspoon cardamom powder
  8. Chopped Green chilly – 1 table spoon
  9. 1 teaspoon Clove powder
  10. Curry Leaves (tej patta)
  11. 2 Table spoons ghee (clarified butter)
  12. Salt to taste

Note: Please don't get scared looking at this long list, for the requirements can be easily found in your kitchen. And, once you have these in place, the preparation is just a matter of adding one after the other. And, voila – you have the most exotic and original dish to your credit! (winks)

Here are a few photos of the ingredients to make it visual for you.


B
oiled cashews


O
nion Paste


C
innamon Powder

Method:

  1. Take a large pan and add the ghee (clarified butter). 
  2. When hot, add whole cumin seeds for the 'tadka'. Once cumin seeds are brown, add chopped green chillies and then the onion paste.

  3. Saute the onion paste till light brown and then add the cinnamon, clove and cardamom powder
  4. Now, add the cashew paste and saute for a minute.

  5. Add the paneer cubes
  6. Add blended curd (when adding the curd, switch off the stove or the curd starts to curdle and break)


     

  7. Finally, add the salt, a cup of hot water and simmer for 2-3 minutes. 
  8. Garnish with cinnamon sticks
  9. Serve with roti (Indian bread), pita bread or just normal bread.

I hope you will like this delicacy. I absolutely love it for its unique blend of flavours. It's not spicy, its not pungent. But, has extremely rich and unique flavours and the softness of the paneer with the cashew/curd gravy instantly melts in your mouth.

I'd like to add that despite having cashews, this dish doesn't feel heavy on your tummy due to the digestive effect of curd.

My guests absolutely loved it that evening.

Hope you try it and let me know what you think!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Pallavi October 20, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Sure looks yummy! Going to try this very soon :)… One way to compensate for all the fun we’re missing out on. Will come back here to give my review. thanks for sharing!!

Reply

Rashmie Jaaju October 21, 2011 at 7:46 pm

My Dear Pallavi,
Food cooked at home is definitely a great way to compensate for the loss of being outside one’s country during festivals…
Hope you make this, and in the bargain, it brings in festive fervour in your home :)

Reply

Stacy October 20, 2011 at 3:14 pm

This sounds heavenly! And nothing like I have ever tasted, I absolutely can not wait to try it. Thank you so much for sharing. I think a post Diwali wrap up would be great, especially for readers like me who would love to know more. Are the teaching something you do every year or is this something special you are doing?
Stacy’s recent fabulous post..Little and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

Reply

Rashmie Jaaju October 21, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Stacy,
I would love for your to try this dish :)
The teachings of the Dalai Lama are something that we are going to attend for the first time.
At home, I chant a Buddhist mantra everyday and it gives me immense peace but never before have I attended live teachings.
So, it’s going to be very special. :)
The Diwali round-up that you mentioned – yes, I’ll try my best to do it, Stacy. Thank you for all your support. :)

Reply

Reshma@masalamangomantra.blogspot.com October 20, 2011 at 4:10 pm

This looks really good…must try and will let you know…
Reshma@masalamangomantra.blogspot.com‘s recent fabulous post..Decorating with Pink

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Rashmie Jaaju October 21, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Thank you, dear Reshma :) I really appreciate your being here….

Reply

Pallavi October 26, 2011 at 8:23 pm

it’s finger licking good!!! I am taking it to a diwali potluck tonight and already foresee lot of oooh’s & aahh’s :) this recipe is a keeper. thanks rashmie..much love to you & pari. And A VERY HAPPY DIWALI !!!!

Reply

Rashmie Jaaju November 3, 2011 at 7:25 am

My dear Pallavi,
Woohoo! So glad you made the dish and liked it. When are you coming to India? I’d love to join you in your potluck parties ;)
Hugs to you, my dear friend!

Reply

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