Friday, 24 January 2014

Weekday Dinner with Paneer Gravy-ed and Sumac-ed Cous-cous!!

Zouqh got a mention recently in DNA after hours. Apparently our Pinwheel Kachoris is in the must watch list from Famebox Webchef channel. So that propelled me to do more all veg recipes. A very good veggie friend of mine, since school, had always been asking me to give her recipes which are easy main course and non-baked. And so we figured, let’s go 100% veggie this time!

This is my go to meal on a boring Tuesday. After all the hoopla in the day, I would settle for a nice plate of warm curry and cous-cous. Intererstingly, this is very simple to conjure up, as it has no weeping onion or smelly hand garlic, involved!

Week day Dinner 2:- Curried vegetable-Paneer with Sumac cous cous with Nimbu ka achar (Lemon Pickle) and home-made curd.
Carbohydrates, in the form of Sumac cous cous

Protein and veggies in the form of curried vegetables and paneer

A fresh zing in the form of fridge cold, fresh homemade curd and nimbu ka achar (Lemon Pickle)

The pickle was store bought, from a certain gujrati food stall. The tangy sweet taste of the pickle was perfect accompaniment for the dinner. If you don’t have it, you could easily substitute it with homemade imli chutney (tamarind chutney) or mango chutney.

For the gravy dish, you would need:

200 gms Fresh Paneer (cottage cheese)
A handful of peas
3 small potatoes, cubed
½ tsp nigella seeds
Fresh coriander powder chopped
3 Green chillies slit
2 small tomatoes, pureed
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp red chilli powder
¼ tsp cinnamon powder
Salt to taste
Oil as needed
Water for the gravy
1 tsp Ginger paste
1 tsp of wholewheat flour


I know, the big list of ingredients look endearing, but these are very basic things which you would find lying in your kitchen shelf anyways.

In a non-stick wok, put in a couple tbsp of oil to heat up. Any flavourless oil will do. Once hot, let the nigella seeds crack in it.

I like to crack up my nigella seeds first so that I m ensured it’s got cooked and flavoured out. 

Now scatter the seeds on the sides, while u put half of the fresh cubed paneer in the hot oil to grill. I do just half as I like the flavour profile of a grilled paneer in a gravy, but I enjoy the soft creamy texture of the non grilled ones. So I went through lord buddhas’s middle path and grilled half for the flavour and kept half raw for the texture.

Once, both sides are seared, take them out and drain on a paper towel.

Now put in the cubed potatoes and fry till golden. Take them out and drain.

Now, put the nigella seeds back on the mid section and add the tomato puree mixed with turmeric, cumin, coriander and chilly powders. Let all the spices cook down well and reduce. The best way to know when it’s done is by checking the sides of the paste. If oil seeps out, the spices are well toasted and aromatic.

Now add in your peas and fried potatoes. Mix well and add water to the mix. Add enough water to cover all the veggies and let it come to a boil.

Once there, add the paneer and reduce the gravy to your liking. Check and season well.

As the last step, in a small bowl mix together the flour, ginger and cinnamon powder with a tbsp of water. Add it in the gravy and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle on the coriander leaves and take it off the heat.

Serve hot with a simple dish of cous cous which needs:

A big bowl with a tight lid
A cup of cous cous
Boiling hot water in a jug
Olive oil
Sprinkling of sumac powder (to your taste)

Put the couscous in the bowl and salt it well. Add the oil and mix well.

Now cover the cous cous with an inch more of hot boiling water and clamp on the lid.

Let it stand 5 minutes and fluff it well with a fork.

Now sprinkle on the tangy sumac powder to taste or squeeze on some lime juice.
Cous cous ready in literally 5 minutes!

Home-made creamy curd and some chutney; and you have a wonderful dinner ready in 30 minutes. Hot and steamy, perfect vegetarian comfort meal for the cold weather! 


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