This cookbook lists 100 simple paneer curries. Paneer is first stir fried to prevent it from crumbling, and cooked with onions, tomato and spices. This cooked paneer is then combined with ten different bases and ten different flavouring techniques to create a hundred different recipes. The ten different bases are listed below :
The bases :
0.: Onion - An extra dose of onions is used as a base in the famous Dopyaza ( Double onion curry)
1.: Cream is used as a base to cook up a mild, rich Muglai style curry, the Muglai Paneer
2.: Nuts / Seeds Using nut paste and milk as a base is to cook up the royal Nawabi Paneer.
3.: Herbs - Mint / coriander is blended to a paste in which paneer gets cooked.
4.: Yogurt is cooked until dry and is used as a curry base in the Kashmiri cuisine. The easier version listed here uses drained yogurt to reduce the cooking time.
5.: Coconut milk. is widely used as a curry base in all the coastal cuisines and it is combined with paneer in this recipe from Goa.
6.: Tomato is a widely used curry base across the country.
7.: Spinach is used as a base to cook up the famous Palak Paneer.
8.: Boiled pulses are cooked along with Paneer to cook up Paneer Dhansak, from the Parsi cuisine.
9.: A mixture of these bases can also be used. For example, in the last row of the table, the recipe number for Paneer butter masala reads as (016)5. The numbers (016) indicate a combination of bases 0,1 and 6. That is, the base is a cup of a mixture of onion paste, cream and tomato puree. Take equal proportions of each to make a cup of base, but actually the exact proportions do not matter. Similarly, you can mix up your own combinations of bases or flavouring to create unique curries.
The flavouring techniques :
10 different flavouring combinations are listed in the cookbook. Most of these are North Indian flavourings, as paneer is chiefly used in North India.
0.: Butter is all the flavouring you need for a simple Paneer curry.
1 & 2.: Garlic & Ginger - A few garlic cloves or a bit of ginger, though simple, lend a complex flavour.
3.: Panchphoran. The Bengali spice mix is used across East India to flavour a variety of curries.
4.: Cumin - Ginger- Garlic is the basic North Indian flavouring.
5.: Spice powders are simple to use and are handy to cook up a spicy curry.
6.: Cloves – Cinnamon is the basic Muglai flavouring.
7 & 8 .: Fried & Ground spices, Roast & Ground Spices are used across North India
9.: Experimentation time ! You can try using fusion flavourings like Soya sauce / Stir fry sauce or European herbs like oregano / thyme / rosemary or use a combination of the flavourings listed above. Paneer would taste great with any flavouring, or with none at all !
This is the second of three posts for Siri's Say Cheese event. 1001 Paneer recipes follow....