Veth Chaman From Jammu and Kashmir – Paneer Subzi made the Kashmiri Style

11th April, 2014

J % K Vedh Chaman %%

Jammu and Kashmir is a state in the Northern part of India. This state is located mostly in the Himalayan regions and shares the border with Himachal Pradesh and Punjab and the international borders with China and Pakistan. The state consists of three regions, Jammu, the Kashmir valley and Ladakh. Srinagar is the summer capital of the state and Jammu is the winter capital. Kashmir valley is very famous for its beautiful mountains and landscape whereas Jammu has numerous shrines that attract many Hindu pilgrims through the year. Ladakh, which is also known as the ‘Little Tibet’, is known for its remote mountain beauty and Buddhist culture.

Kashmiri cuisine has had the earliest influence on Kashmiri Pundit cuisine. Pundits usually do not eat meat, but the Pundits of Kashmir have always eaten meant except the beef. Hence the Kashmiri cuisine is heavily meat based. Also the use of yogurt based gravies and dishes are very common. Kashmiri cuisine also uses a wide variety of dry fruits and nuts which adds on to the richness of the cuisine. Tea drinking is very important in the cuisine and hence a lot of importance is given to tea. The Kashmiri Pundit cuisine has less importance for desserts and prefers tea.

Kashmir valley is also famous for its bakery traditions. Bakery shops are elaborately laid out and the bakers sell various kinds of breads topped with sesame and poppy seeds.

The recipe I made today is a paneer based dish, which uses spices such as fennel and dry ginger that are unique to Kashmiri cuisine.  This dish also does not have onions or garlic and hence is made during religious celebrations. The dish tends to dry out quickly and hence needed quite a bit of milk to be added before serving. I was debating if my kids would eat this as it was very high on spices like fennel powder that I don’t usually use that much. But my son loved it and also has placed a request to be made again soon. Next time when I make it, I will make sure to have the paneer cut in small pieces. When browsing through the recipe, many had mentioned that for this dish the paneer has to be large piece and hence I followed through.

J % K Vedh Chaman %%

Preparation time – 15 minutes
Cooking time – 30 minutes
Difficulty level – easy

recipe source – Purely Pedestrian

Ingredients – Serves 4-6

  • Paneer /Indian cottage cheese – 1 block (about 450 grams, chopped into large pieces)
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Asafetida – ¼ tsp
  • Oil – 2 tbsp
For the Gravy –
  • Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon – 1 stick
  • Cloves – 4
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  • Red chili powder – 1 tbsp (if using Kashmiri chili powder, if not use only 1 tsp)
  • Dry ginger powder – 1 tsp
  • Curd – ¼ cup
  • Milk – 1 cup
  • Cardamom – 4
  • Fennel powder – 2 tsp
  • Garam masala – 1 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
J % K Vedh Chaman %%
    Procedure –
    • In a large pan, heat 2 tbsp of oil and then shallow fry the paneer pieces until it is golden brown on all sides. Drain it on a paper towel lined bowl.
    • In another sauce pan, heat 1 cup of water along with the asafetida. Once the water comes to a boil, simmer it.
    • Transfer the paneer pieces to the simmering water and then turn off the heat. Let the paneer pieces soak in the hot water until it is ready to go into the gravy
    J % K Vedh Chaman
    • In the same pan in which we shallow fried the paneer, add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil. When the oil heats up add the cumin seeds, cinnamon and cloves. Fry for about 30 seconds and then add the dry ginger powder, turmeric powder and red chili powder. If the masala seems to be burning, ass about 2 tbsp of asafetida water and stir everything.
    • Beat the curd and add it to the spice mixture. Cook it on low to medium heat until the oil starts to separate out. 
    J % K Vedh Chaman
    • At this stage, add the milk, fennel powder and cardamom. Mix well and then add the paneer pieces. Also add the garam masala powder now. Add asafetida water to adjust the gravy consistency. 
    J % K Vedh Chaman %%
    • Simmer closed for about 5 minutes and then serve! I found that it needed more milk before serving, since the paneer pieces absorbed a lot of it. So I added some water and milk and heated it up again just before serving.

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