paneer jalfrezi.

Indian food is not easy. In fact, I can't think of a cuisine whose dishes are consistently more time-intensive and just generally difficult to reproduce accurately in one's home kitchen when cooking from scratch. At least in this home kitchen, with these cooks.

We just made paneer jalfrezi with raita, cardamom/clove basmati, and faux-peshwari naan, and though it really only took 90 minutes or so, it felt like a considerable effort, maybe because we were really insecure about the results until we took the first everything-combined bite. Which was pretty much tasting gorgeous like the real thing.

Thus: we try to document. Recipe in progress.


paneer jalfrezi.

2 medium onions, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 green Holland chiles, chopped
2 cans plum tomatoes
1 cup water
2 tbsp ground coriander
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp cumin seed
2 tsp turmeric
5 tbsp ghee

300 grams paneer, sliced (recipe to come)
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 tbsp garam masala, or another masala...we used a Surinamese masala that worked really well
1 male adult big toe-sized knob ginger, peeled
salt to taste (very important, as always)
freshly ground black pepper to taste ( a couple of grinds at least)

In a food processor, chop onions, garlic, green chile. Saute over low heat in 1 tbsp of ghee until browned, 10 minutes or so. Add 1/2 cup water and simmer for 10 minutes.

Elsewhere, zhoom up the tomatoes until smooth. Heat another pan, gently fry the coriander, cumin, and turmeric in a splash of oil for about a minute, then add the pureed tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes or so. Add onion mixture from Step One and get that good and goin'. You might need to add the rest of the water here. Simmer for 20 minutes or so.

This is the part of the recipe I'm unsure of. It seems like the ginger should be added with the garlic. But here's what we did. Zhoom up the red bell pepper and the ginger, and add to the pan along with the remaining ghee and the masala. Simmer for 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Then, eventually, you shallow-fry the paneer in yet another skillet, with coriander and cumin and salt and ghee, ingredients which are probably not in the ingredient list yet, and then add the finished sauce from above. Garnish with fresh coriander and sliced green chiles (if you like heat), serve with raita and cardamom/clove-scented basmati rice, recipe to come.



1 cup yoghurt
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp kalonji/nigella seed
1/2 tsp cumin seed
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
shredded carrot
1/4 cup grated cucumber


It's a pretty gross picture, but:

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