Sunday, September 1, 2013

Paneer with red and green bell peppers

I just dropped off my oldest son in college.   We spent one whole day setting up his dorm room and shopping for things I think he will need.  I probably went overboard, but he indulged me.  It was really tough to let go.  I know he will make the right choices and being away from home will help him grow as a person and will teach him responsibility.  I went away for my undergraduate education and so did my husband, but somehow, things seem to change when you are sending off your child. Things have changed so much since my college days – he is only a phone call or a text message away, so it is really not so bad.

I gave him a few hugs and shed a few tears on the phone to my husband and my friends.  Now, am trying to get back to my routine knowing that he will be back for Thanksgiving.  This is one of his favorite dishes and I made it the week before he left.

Whenever I make some paneer dish at home, my kids don’t complain about having to eat “Indian” for dinner.  They love paneer in any form – I can grill it, sauté it, make it into a gravy, add it to pizza, or to pulav, and they will eat it.

Paneer with red and green bell peppers

I almost always have a block of paneer at home.  It lends itself to a variety of dishes and on days when I make some total tam bram (Tamil Brahmin) dish that my kids won’t eat, I can quickly whip up a paneer dish and serve it with rotis.

Here is what you need:

  • 2 tsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. jeera (cumin seeds)
  • ½ large onion, sliced
  • 2 green chilies, slit
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp. chili powder
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. amchur (dried mango) powder
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 block of paneer , cut into cubes
  • salt to taste
  • cilantro for garnish

Here is how I made it:

  1. Heat oil in a sauce pan.  Add cumin seeds
  2. When the seeds change color, add the onions and green chilies.  Sauté for a few minutes.
  3. Add garlic and fry for some more time.
  4. In a small bowl, take the chili powder, turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder, and the amchur powder.  Add a little bit of water and mix well.  I learned this trick from my friend, Usha.  This keeps the spices from getting burnt.
  5. Add this to the saucepan.  Cook on medium heat till the spices are well blended and water is almost evaporated.
  6. Add the peppers and sauté for five minutes.
  7. Now add the paneer.  Toss to blend well.  Cook on low heat for about 5 - 10 minutes so that the paneer absorbs all the flavors.
  8. Garnish with cilantro.

Serve with pulao or rotis.

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