Thursday, 13 November 2014

Kadhai Paneer | Cottage Cheese and Capsicum in spiced gravy

I love partying and i love it more if it is with my family, friends and loved ones. And if its a house party...Gosh! You certainly know what you talking about..It is maddening to the core, yes, Indeed. Its fun hosting a house party and for me its a big event. I leave no stones unturned in ensuring that my guests have good time. Theme party with fun games, good food, music and huge list of guests is my idea of absolute enjoyment. Spending some good time with your favorite people around breaks the monotony of a routine life. 

Planning a party is an event at my house. Oh..my Mr.P goes crazy with the shopping and the level of detailing i do for the preparations. Be it the theme, the lightnings, the decor, food or games and gifts. I patiently manages with his freaky wife! He knows for me its an occasion! Throwing a party is a great way to celebrate life and share happy moments. I enjoy every bit of it, even the next day when i spent most of my time cleaning the post house party storm! No regrets ever..
Mr. P becomes our official bartender for house parties and me as always the chef of the house! So this time. Both of us make a lethal pair when it comes to parties. Cooking, bartending and exquisite photography, all courtesy US! :)

Last weekend was one such party which i enjoyed it to the core and not to forget my guests love it! This time it was a bit hatke..an Indian theme, with Indian food, cocktails with desi twist and ethnic decor! Whaooooo...my guests were overwhelmed and so was i seeing them happy and enjoying to the fullest.

Food like every time has to be the BEST..no compromises pls! I hate to repeat a menu until its on a guests request else i always try new to lay new dishes or those which i have mastered. So this time for Indian theme party, on my P's request, i served Kadhai Paneer, which he claims to be the best and totally restaurant style. Mr.P is very fussy about food and the flavors and if the appreciation comes from, you better acknowledge it. So like an obedient wife (which i am totally ;) ) churned out an elaborate menu for the party, with hubby's help. Voila!! My guests loved it and my Kadhai Paneer turned out to be a hit! Aaaahh..the real pleasure is in seeing eyes filled with contentment and happiness.
Ingredients:-

215 g - Paneer/Cottage cheese, cubed
1 big sized Capsicum, cubed

1 medium sized onion - cut lengthwise, cubed 
2 small sized onion -  grind to a paste
1 tsp - ginger garlic paste
2 tsp - kasuri methi
1/2 cup tomato puree
3 - green chillies, slit lengthwise
1 tsp - Cumin seeds
1 tsp - lightly roasted coriander seeds
1/2 tsp - lightly roasted fennel seeds
1/2 tsp - Red Chilli powder
1 tsp - Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp - Garam Masala
1 pinch of powdered black cardamom seeds
1 pinch - Asafoetida
1 tbsp Tomato Ketchup
Salt to taste
Oil for cooking
Chopped Coriander leaves and ginger julienne, for garnish

Steps to follow:-

1. Roughly pound coriander seeds and fennel seeds in a mortar & pestle.

NOTE: Just roughly pound. DO NOT make it a powder.

2. Heat oil in a wok and add asafoetida and cumin seeds. Let it splutter.
3. Gently crush kasuri methi between your palms and throw it in the oil.
4. Add green chillies, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, ginger garlic paste and saute for sometime over a low flame.
5. Add onion paste and bhuno till its goldenish brown in color.

NOTE: You could add a pinch of salt while sauteing the the onions as this quickens the 'bhunoing' process.

6. Add capsicum and onions saute
7. If the onion paste is sticking to the bottom of the pan, you could sprinkle some water intermittently to avoid the mixture from burning.
8. Keep sauteing for 2-3 mins and then add spices - Red Chilli, Turmeric and black cardamom powder.
9. Now add paneer cubes to the vegetable mix and saute with light hands ensuring paneer cubes do not break or crumble. Close the pan with a lid, leaving a small gap and let it cook for 5-7 minutes over a low flame.

Tip: You can keep the paneer cubes in warm water at the start of cooking. This will keep the paneer soft.

10. Mix in tomato puree and bhuno for another 7-8 mins. Let the tomato puree reduce in thickness and render the gravy a bit dry.
11. Finally add tomato ketchup and garam masala.
12. Sprinkle some chopped coriander leaves and ginger julienne.
13. Serve hot with lachcha parathas or naans.