A very happy new year to all my readers! Hope the year brings you good luck, good health and good taste. I am sorry for keeping you waiting for this post. Let me tell you all that we have shifted our base from Hong Kong to my own motherland: India. We are living in Mumbai now, which is not only the financial capital of India, but also an amalgam of different cultures across India. I am lucky that now I will have a chance to bring to your palate some of the tastiest Maharashtrian, Gujrati and Goanese dishes with detailed recipes, so that anyone, anywhere across the world can try these. I will also continue to put up other Asian and Continental dishes from time to time.
Hong Kong was truly memorable for me as my blog Cosmopolitan Currymania was born there and I truly enjoyed experimenting with different Asian food ingredients there. And now, my tastebuds are relishing authentic desi food here, with fresh ingredients. Street food is amazing here. I can’t stop myself eating these Mumbai sandwiches at a stall in Ville Parle.
Mumbai vada pav is worth a try for all the foodies visiting here. This stall is one of the vada pav stalls in Ville Parle and they make mouth-watering vada pavs, with just the right blend of sweet, sour and hot flavours for that “kick” to your tastebuds. Highly recommended!
So what did I cook in the new year? Well, it was on a Tuesday: the day when my family, due to some religious reasons, eats strict vegetarian food. Tuesday cooking at my home excludes the use of onion and garlic. But it is new year after all. So I made some parathas, potato-cauliflower curry, green mango chutney and my special paneer (Indian cottage cheese) curry: all made without using onion and garlic.
Tomato-paneer curry (without onion and garlic)
[Homemade paneer-curry powder is made by roasting cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, dry ginger, dry chillies and cinnamon sticks in equal quantities and grinding them together to a fine powder.]
- Ripe tomatoes (medium-sized): 3
- Fresh or frozen paneer (cut into cubes): 600 g
- Potatoes (medium-sized, cubed): 2
- Ginger paste (unsalted, homemade): 1.5 tbsp
- Turmeric powder: ½ tsp
- Star anise: 1
- Cumin seeds: ½ tsp
- Cinnamon sticks (one-inch): 2
- Green cardamoms: 4
- Cloves: 5
- Green chillies (slit): 5
- Homemade paneer-curry powder: 1 tbsp
- Coconut milk: ½ cup
- Salt: according to taste
- Sugar: ¼ tsp
- Light oil: ½ cup
- Coriander leaves (chopped) 1.5 tbsp
- Water: 1.5 cups
Make a smooth paste of the tomatoes and ginger in the food processor. Shallow-fry the potato cubes with a little salt until these are breakable with the back of a kitchen spoon and the colour turns light brown as well. Take the cubes out and keep aside.
Shallow-fry the paneer cubes, sprinkling a little salt, till these just turn light brown. Plunge them in a bowl of water. This is done so that the paneer becomes very soft and juicy. Also, by doing so, the paneer cubes will not absorb the water in the gravy totally and turn the gravy absolutely dry.
Heat oil and let it smoke. Add the star anise, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon sticks and green cardamoms. As these just start sputtering, add the tomato-ginger paste and sauté for 5 min. Add the turmeric powder and the homemade paneer-curry powder dissolved in a little water. Sauté continuously till oil separates. Add salt and sugar. Sauté for 1 min.
Add the fried paneer cubes, chillies and the fried potatoes. Simmer the gas and cook this for 7 min, ensuring that the paste is smeared all over the paneer cubes and potatoes.
Add the sugar and coconut milk as well. Cook for 5 min. Pour in the water and cook for 10 min, lid on.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.