For all our readers who don’t understand Hindi or Urdu, lajawab means “unanswerable”, literally, though it actually signifies “matchless”. This serves to say that we’ll be aiming high with this dish. The fusion of spices will smack your tongue and your family be compelled to mop off the plate with their fingers.
Here’s our paneer (cottage cheese) recipe containing some mild spices, fresh garden herbs and veggies, and a whole lot of passion and flavour meant to tickle your tastebuds.
Yields 2 servings.
- 250 grams of paneer (if you don’t have it, can be replaced by tofu)
- 1 cup of tomato paste
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 green chilies, slit lengthwise
- 4 tablespoons of oil
- 3 tablespoons of fresh cream
- 2 tablespoons of tomato ketchup
- 2 tablespoons of dried and crushed fenugreek leaves
- 2 teaspoons of ginger garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon of coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon of chaat masala
- 1 teaspoon of pav bhaji masala
- 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon of carom seeds
- 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- Salt, to taste
- Dice the paneer into cubes.
- Inside a deep bowl, combine the paneer with the dried fenugreek leaves, chili and turmeric powders, chaat masala and salt.
- Mix gently and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Finely chop the onion.
- Cut the tomatoes into quarters and put them in a small mixer jar. Add 3 tablespoons of water. This will enhance the smoothness of the paste.
- Blend it into a soft paste.
- Take a non-stick griddle and heat 2 tablespoons of oil.
- Add the marinated paneer and shallow fry them for only 3 minutes, on high to medium flame. Toss occasionally.
- Remove from the pan and keep aside.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, then add the carom and cumin seeds. Sauté on medium flame for 30 seconds.
- Add the finely chopped onion and sauté still on medium for 3 more minutes.
- Add the garlic paste and green chilies. Mix well and cook for 1 minute until the raw smell of garlic is gone. Stir occasionally.
- Add the coriander powder and a pinch of salt. Keep cooking for 3 more minutes on medium.
- Add the fresh tomato paste and fennel seeds. Mix well and let cook for 3 minutes.
- Add tomato ketchup and pav bhaji masala. Cook well for 5 minutes.
- Finally, add the cooked paneer plus 3/4 of a cup of water, and it should cook for 3 to 4 minutes, now on low flame till the flavors infuse the paneer cubes.
- Add fresh cream and garnish with coriander leaves.
- Mix it up a bit to mingle all the aromas and colors… and it’s ready to plate!
Give this Indian treat a try and come up with lovely comfort food that has all the taste without much of that sometimes painful spice. Truly a dish one can cook on any occasion to win the hearts of even those who are skeptical about vegetarian food.