Embrace local. Take pride. Learn about them or they may be lost forever until Americans patent them and National geographic makes a documentary.
Dr. Lakshmi, our family friend often recounted tales of how she’d stay up all night during Shivaratri playing Dhaaya kattai with her sisters and cousins. It sounded like fun but I have never stayed up during Shivaratri. I don’t stay up for New year’s eve either. I generally don’t stay up.
I wish I’d stayed up for shivaratri, I’d woken up for Vaikunta yegadesi, accompanied my mother for the golu round-ups and learnt to make adhirasam from Ammama. I wish I’d slept less.
- Paneer/Cottage cheese – 200 gm cut into cubes
- Onion – 2 medium sized, chopped roughly
- Green chillies – 3 slit lengthwise
- Cashews – a handful soaked in ½ cup milk for about 15 minutes
- Ginger-garlic paste – ¾ tsp
- Whole peppercorns – ¼ tsp
- Cinnamon stick – 2 inch piece
- Cloves – 2
- Kasoori methi – 1-1/2 tsp crushed between fingers
- Fresh cream – ½ cup
- Butter – 2 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Heat a thick bottomed pan. Pour in about ½ a cup of water. Throw in the roughly chopped onions and let the water boil away till the onions are softened and all the water has dried up. Switch off. Let boiled onions cool down completely. Grind along with ginger to a fine paste. Set aside.
- Grind soaked cashews and milk to a fine paste. Set aside.
- To the same pan, add butter and wait for it to melt. Then add the whole peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon stick. When they turn fragrant, add the ginger garlic paste and green chillies and fry for a couple of minutes.
- Scoop in the onion paste, pour some water and stir it all in. Let the mixture come to a boil. Turn heat down to low, cover and cook for about 7-10 minutes checking in between to make sure the mixture doesn’t burn.
- Stir in the cashew paste. Pour in the fresh cream. Stir it all up. Add salt. Taste and adjust seasoning. Keep heat down low.
- When the mixture comes to a boil, drop in the paneer cubes and sprinkle a generous helping of kasoori methi. Switch off after a minute. Serve hot with rotis or rice.