Monday, October 5, 2015

Looking inside fridge

The cool air rushes out of the fridge as I open the fridgd and the aroma of the left over fish curry hit my nose. I inhaled and think of my lunch at noon with rice and fish curry forgetting my intention of noting down the contents inside the fridge for a moment.  My eyes fall on the two cartoons of milk one Almond silk milk for my daughter and the other regular one  meant to be consumed by rests of the family. My daughter is allergic to regular one. Today she has just got the food stuffs necessary for the week and already  all  loaded in the fridge. I see vegetables, salad leaves, tomatoes, cucumber, cheese, butter, ketchup, hot chilli sauce and so on. In the frozen section the drawers are difficult to close with all the frozen packs of meat and other food items. So I decide to skip looking at all the contents. Otherwise I might have to spend whole day doing that.  I decide to write about one thing which is missing from her today’s purchases. That is cottage cheese known as Paneer which is one of the popular luxury  food items in North India.  Paneer motar curry ( cottage cheese and peas)  curry used to be one of the items cooked for the vegetarian guests when I was a young mother. As reminiscence of my life’s cooking experiences I plan to write something about Paneer today.
Method of making Paneer at home:
Paneer was not available in regular stores those days . There used to be only at particular locations where paneer was sold in different localities of Delhi. Hence we rather made it at home boiling the milk and adding lemon juice to curdle. Once the solid is formed and clear liquid, it was strained through a thin muslin cloth and hang for few minutes to drain off remaining liquid. Then it was placed in between two steel plates to make it flat with weight on top, making it quarter inch thickness, After about one hour or so it was ready to be cut into cubes,(the size of one’s preference, usually cubes 1 ½ “by ½”.)

There are quite a few ways to prepare for the day’s entrees with paneer.
1.      Paneer motar curry( cottage cheese and peas)
2.      Paneer sag (spinach)
3.      Sahal paneer (with lots of onion)
4.      Paneer wrap (wrapped in tortilla)
5.      Paneer pakaura ( this is usually a starter or a side item) It is dipped in flour batter. And then it is deep fried in hot oil until crispy and brown.

Today here is the recipe of the “Paneer motar curry” which I used make at home when I was a young mother and even now sometimes.
Paneer  ½ lb, Peas ¼ lb,
olive oil 1 table spoon.       
ground ½ onion {big sizes}
Ginger ground 1 tsb
2 Big tomatoes thinly sliced.
Green chilli 3 cut into small pieces, cilantro already cut into small pieces.
Jeera/cumin seeds ½ tsp, turmeric powder ½ tsp, coriander powder 1 tsp. Salt to taste.
Heat the oil in a wok or fry pan. Add jeera/cumin seeds, stir till it turns brown. Add ground onion, stir till it is light brown, add all the ingredients except cilantro, salt and stir till the tomato become paste . add fresh peas and ½ cup hot water and simmer When the peas are cooked add more hot water enough to make gravy. Add paneer and salt. Keep for 5 minutes to simmer and lastly sprinkle the cut cilantro into the curry
It can be served with rice or tortilla.
Thus I venture today into my cooking and the recipe and hope everyone enjoys this recipe for an Indian meal. Wishing you all good luck and enjoy.  

As a young mother and wife I had all the enthusiasm and excitement of doing something  new always. Those days when we were settled in Shillong, a hill town of  Meghalaya state in North East India our girls were studying in Loreto Convent and our son was in St Edmund’s school. Those were the perfect days of our live. Every year when the children had three months winter break  we drovel to New Delhi by car spent  winter with my inlaws at 7/18 South Patel Nagar . My husband had to be at the site where his work was going on and hence we travelled mostly without him. But we had our driver who dropped us and returned to  the site where my husband worked. The kids enjoyed their time in Delhi along with their cousins.
My sister-in-laws and their husbands along with their kids visited mmm my mother-in-law’s house  most of the weekends.  My mother-in-law Neni was very welcoming and always ready to give special non vegetarian   meal for her son-in-laws. Even though she herself was vegetarian she cooked excellent non vegetarian chicken kabab, mutton curry,  we two daughter-in-laws, I and my brother-in-law’s wife cooked different vegetarian dishes.

During this time I also joined classes like doll making with costumes of different countries, dress making, machine embroidery, and some special cooking classes. My youngest sister in law who was still studying in college joined  me in most of  these classes. I was always up to something and learned an new one every time I came to the city of Delhi. Those precious days are my unforgettable ones.  

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