Balti Paneer

Sit-Fried Homemade Cheese
(Serves 6)

1 tablespoon soriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 onions, minced
2 teaspoons miced garlic
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon hot chili powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
salt, to taste
2 tomatoes chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
1/2 green bell pepper, julienned
1 lb low-fat paneer cut into 3/4-inch cubes

Place the coriander, sumin, peppercorns, and frenugreek seeds in a coffee grinder or blender and grind corsely by pulsing the machine on and off, or use a mortar and pestle. Set aside.

Heat the oil and butter in a wok or any other round-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions just start to turn golden. Add the pounded spices along with the other spices and salt. Stir-fry for 30-seconds, then stir in the tomatoes and peppers. Continue to stir and cook until the peppers are tender but still crunchy. Stir in the paneer, lower the heat, and stir-fry for about 5-7 minutes or until the paneer is heated through. Remove from the heat. Dress with lemon juice and salt and pepepr to taste.
– From Indian Flavor by Jeeti Gandhi


Malabar Coconut Shrimp
(Serves 4)

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 cupt finely chopped red onion
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
2 tablespoons shredded fresh ginger
2 to 8 green chilies, stemmed, seeded and shredded
24 kari loves, or 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
2 cups cocnut milk, fresh or canned
11/2 lbs medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Corase salt

Heat the oil in a large heavy nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and cover the pan with the lid because the seeds will pop and spatter. When the sputtering subsides, add the garlic and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to color, about 6 minutes. Stir in the cumin, ginger, chilidies to taste, kari leaves (if using), and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Cook uncovered, until the sauce thickens, about 8 minutes.
Add the shrimp and cook, stirring constantly, until they curl up and turn pink, about 3 minutes. Add salt to taste. If you are using cilantro, add it now. Serve immediately.
– From Indian Regional Classics by Julie Sahni




Spicy Split Peas, Parsi Style
(Serves 6-8)

1 lb. yellow / green split peas, washed and soaked for 2 hrs.
1 small bunch fresh spinach, washed and coarsely chopped
3 hot green chillies
1 large onion, cut in 4
1 large potato, diced
1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into large pieces
A few sprigs of fresh coriander (cilantro) washed, stemmed and chopped fine ( about 1-2 teaspoons)
A sprig of mint, washed, stemmed and chopped fine ( about 1 teaspoon)

Vegetables to be boiled with split peas.
2 lbs. lamb or veal cubes, washed well
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 cup oil
2 onions chopped fine

Blend to paste next three items with a little water

1/2″ piece fresh ginger root
6 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1-1/2 teaspoons chilli powder
1-1/2 teaspoons sambhar powder
4 teaspoons dhana-jeera powder
1 teaspoon gram masala powder
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 lemons, cut into wedges

Place the soaked split peas (dar) in a large heavy-based pot with the vegetables, the lamb cubes, salt, tumeric and 6-8 cups of water. Put on high heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium. Skim off the froth from the dar. Cover lightly and cook till meat is tender, about 30-45 minutes. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and keep aside. Pour the rest of the dar into a colander which has been placed over another pot. Mash dar through colander. or puree in a blender, if necessary. Any rough residue remaining in the colander may be discarded.

Meanwhile, in another pan, fry onions in oil till golden brown. Add the powdered and blended spices and cook over low heat till you get the aroma. Add the tomatoes and simmer till the tomatoes are soft and the mixture thickens.

Add this mixture to the stained dar and mix well. Now add the lamb cubes and a cup of water, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Serve steaming hot with brown rice, kawab and Kachumber and lemon wedges.

Pressure cooker may be used to shorten the cooking time. You must remember to use half the amount of water.
Masala Dar is a vegetarian version of Dhansak. It is served with brown rice as the main course at a Parsi community luncheon (Ghambar).
– An Adventure In Exotic Parsi Indian Cooking by Nergish Karanjia & Nergis Unwalla  

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