Sunday, February 04, 2007

Aloo, Wot 'Ave We 'Ere?

By now you may be wondering: so how did that Indian feast with homemade paneer turn out?

My guests showed up promptly at 5, thoroughly chilled by the Arctic air and ready to be warmed inside and out by a good meal. And yes, I was more than ready to oblige them.

The meal was simple enough: two veg dishes, rice (with spices and peas), chai, and burfee for dessert. But that hardly conveys the fragrance wafting from my kitchen or the mouth-watering flavors that had everyone clamoring for seconds.

The shahi paneer easily proved to be the best I’ve ever made. Imagine home-canned tomatoes pureed with fresh cilantro, simmered with an array of Indian spices, and then add creamy nonfat yogurt, whey reserved from the paneer-making, cream, and the paneer cubes. The aroma was, of course, heavenly, but the true bliss of the dish came from a lengthy simmer that allowed all the flavors to deepen and the paneer to soften into a velvety stew.

The other dish featured potatoes (aloo or alu) cooked with onion, garlic, mustard seeds, yellow split peas, coconut, and other spices. I ended up adding more water than the recipe suggested in order to cook the split peas adequately, but again, the extended cooking time softened the entire dish and enhanced the flavors beyond my wildest dreams.

All of the vegetables came from last year’s farmers’ market, and though of course the spices weren’t local, all of the dairy products (save for the yogurt) came from nearby dairies.

Everyone seemed thoroughly satisfied by the meal and dropped subtle hints that they wouldn’t mind being invited back for dinner another time. High praise, indeed!

But the leftovers are definitely mine.


At 2/07/2007 4:38 PM, Blogger Tina said...

Glad to hear it went well, the food sounds marvelous!:-)

At 2/09/2007 10:23 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

And the leftovers have been great, too! Must make paneer again soon... soooooo good!


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