Tangy Pressure Cooker Paneer (Cottage Cheese)
My parents are here for some time while the in-laws are away in Assam to celebrate Durga Puja with the other grandchildren. Suddenly, I am no longer the apple of my parents’ eyes. All they can think of is their grandchild, my two year old brat. I am no longer their centre of the universe – that position has been proffered to the gibberish-speaking toddler. They are delighted at every syllable he utters and at every little action. They go into a tizzy at every little sneeze and every little cough. I am driven to frustration by Deta’s countless accounts of “Has he eaten?”, “He must be hungry”, “He is feeling cold”. Ma, in the meantime, gives me accusatory glances whenever the kid opens his mouth to bawl.
But then, that’s what my maternal grandmother had done as well. Every time we went to her place during vacations, I would be pampered royally and Ma and my aunts would be directed to keep me well-fed. “Has she eaten?”, “Give her something to eat, she is hungry” would be her constant diatribe. I can imagine what would have gone through Ma and my aunts’ minds then.
And so, all that gastronomic indulgence by my grandmother finally ended up in me being an outright foodie. Anyways, let’s get on to the recipe now. This one is a quick-fix solution to those days when you don’t even want to lift up a pan and go through the usual motions of sauté, stir and cook. Instead, all you have to do is lift up the pressure cooker. The cooking vessel may be heavier in this case, but the time would be much shorter, your chores minimum and the resultant dish practically oil free, if you wish. *Evil grin*
Here is one of the fastest ways to cook paneer (cottage cheese) that you would have come across.
Tangy Pressure Cooker Paneer (for want of a better name)
200 grams fresh paneer, cut into cubes
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh ginger-garlic paste
1 large tomato (or 2 if you want it to be tangier), chopped
2 green chillies, split length-wise
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt and sugar to taste
For the tempering:
1 teaspoon Jeera (cumin seeds)
3 dry red chillies, broken into halves
2 tablespoons desi ghee or clarified butter (now you know why it is oil-free)
Take a pressure cooker and tip in the chopped onion, tomato, green chillies, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, salt and sugar (a tiny pinch). Pour in a small cup of water, stir and put the lid on.
Now, put the cooker on high heat, till it releases one whistle. Lower the heat and let it simmer for a minute or two before taking the cooker off the gas.
Then, let the cooker cool off and open the lid carefully. Give a good mash to the contents inside. Add a little water if you want more gravy.
Put the cooker back on the gas on low heat and gently slide in the paneer pieces. Stir and simmer for around 3-4 minutes so that the paneer is softened and the gravy becomes thick. Adjust salt.
Meanwhile, take a small pan or a deep ladle and prepare the tadka or tempering. Heat the ghee in the pan and let the cumin seeds and red chillies crackle. Pour this flavoured ghee over the paneer and mix well. Take the pressure cooker off the gas and transfer the contents on to a serving bowl.
Serve hot with fluffy phulkas (Indian breads) or even plain rice. Nothing beats a dish as simple as this one. Try and see!
By the way, the pictures did not turn out too well since the husband could not be bothered to get up from the sofa. These were clicked on a ‘reclining mode’.
Note: If you want to make the dish spicier, maybe you can add chilli powder, cumin powder and coriander powder. I have not tried, though.