The best part about Navratri is that I know I will finish cooking very quickly! That’s because we don’t eat onion and garlic during these 9 days…as most Indians, I too have ‘Mata ji ki Pooja’ and ‘Ghatt’ at my place. 😇😇 🙏🌹
I love and eagerly wait for Navratri to begin each year…as I get to decorate the temple in my house!! Colourful bangles..chunni (scarf) for ‘mataji‘ and all the little ‘diyas‘ (oil lamps) lighting up the entire place looks so pretty!! 🎊
But the fact remains that my hubby has to go to work every morning and I love packing his lunch box! So during Navratri…I pack food that’s without onion-garlic. along with cucumber slices and some fruits to balance the meal.
So decided to pack Phalhari Kadhai Paneer today for his lunch box along with Rajgira ke Parathe (not in pics). They are very healthy and make a good accompaniment to the Phalhari Kadhai Paneer 😀 I was looking for a good paneer (cottage cheese) recipe and this one is perfect!
This recipe is very quick and required little efforts too! Let’s get going with it..
️Yield: Serves 1 (remember, this was made just for my hubby’s lunch box, pls adjust the ingredients to make a larger batch)
Equipment: a non stick pan/ wok, measuring cups/ spoons, blender.
1 cup cubed paneer
1 cup chopped tomatoes (de seeded)
1 nos green chilly
4-5 cloves (Laung)
1″ pc of cinnamon (dalchini)
2-3 green cardamom (Chotti elaichi)
1 tsp cumin seeds (Jeera)
1 tsp peppercorns (Kali miri)
2 tbsp chopped ginger
1/2 tsp degi mirch (optional)
A pinch of sugar (optional)
1 tbsp ghee
sendha namak to taste (rock salt, and if you are not fasting, use regular salt)
First, blend together 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes with all of the ginger and green chilly using 1 tbsp water. Make a smooth paste. Set it aside.
Dry roast the cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, cardamom and cumin seeds for 3-4 mins in the wok…careful not to burn them. Let them cool for a few a minutes. Grind them to a powder or little coarsely (if you like coarse spices) and set it aside.
Now, heat the wok and add ghee. Once it’s hot, add the paste you have made and sauté on medium flame for 5 mins or until the raw smell goes away from the paste. You will see some of the ghee separating from the sides too. Now add the sugar, salt and degi mirch (optional) and approximately 3/4 tsp of the spice powder you have kept aside (the remaining spice powder can be stored in an airtight container for about a month and reused in any curry).
Mix everything well and cook for another 3-4 mins. You can add some water to correct the consistency at this point (I added less than 1/4 cup of water). Next, add the remaining chopped tomatoes and cubed paneer. Stir carefully to avoid breaking the paneer. Now cook for another 6-7 mins. The paneer will absorb all the flavours and the tomatoes too will cook well. If you like, you can sprinkle some more of the spice powder at this stage (I did not as I was worried it will be too spicy)..turn off the flame. You can garnish with some chopped coriander leaves…I didn’t have any today..so I skipped it! 😬 It’s ready!
Adapted from Pankaj Bhadouria.
Hope you will try it out soon! 😊