Hungry stomachs don’t really eat any d*&m thing that is placed in front of them.
Au contraire, beyond a certain point, hunger makes you very choosy and you’d rather remain hungry than eat something you don’t want to.
I used to think this was true of small kids who get cranky when they are sleepy or hungry. But funnily, when my family gets hungry, they actually get cranky- and no food suggestion seems to hit the spot. Maybe it’s got something to do with being spoilt for choice!
But paneer is my gambit!
This sure shot favourite puts an end to all squabbling over whether we should have pulao or fried rice, sheera or upma, upma or pohey, chapati or jowar roti, pithala or sambar...
But wait, this is only a momentary ceasefire - before the four hungry characters in search of a paneer dish make another go for it. “Paneer makhani... kadhai paneer... paneer bhurji... “
This time I try a trick, “Okay, let the fridge be the mystery box and yield whatever it wants to.”
Move conceded, the characters rummage through the fridge and find...
500 gms paneer, cubed
200 gms yoghurt (beaten)
1 red pepper, cut into small squares
¾ cup green peas
100 gms cream
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
2 green chillies (or more)
1 tbsp chopped coriander
The pantry panders ...
1 medium onion, chopped
1 star anise
1 tbsp garam masala
A pinch of turmeric
1 tsp sugar or sweetener
Salt to taste
1 tbsp oil
The characters have found their dish. The family stops arguing. Pirandello is put to rest.
How did I make it?
Heated the oil in a pan added the green chillies, fried the onions, followed by the ginger and garlic paste. Then, added the turmeric, followed by the star anise and garam masala. Sautéed the mixture for a minute more and added the red pepper, peas and paneer and tossed it around. Then added the beaten yoghurt and let the gravy boil for some time. Added the cream, salt, sweetener and adjusted all tastes. The chopped coriander was happy to grace the dish, which barely stayed in the lovely red bowl it was served in. The hot chapatis were waiting to enfold it on their way to deliverance- into our hungry tummies!
Just realised this is very similar to Aman Kahlon’s Dahi Paneer. Coincidence?
No- must mention T.S. Eliot’s essay, “Tradition and the individual talent” here.
Now that is another post, another time, another dish. Till then...