I have always loved this time of the year. Back in Assam too, the weather begins to get slightly cooler at this time of the year and heralds the beginning of the festive season. Although that was where I was born and spent the first two and a half decades of my life, I always used to look forward to the cooler months. As I said earlier, it also meant the arrival of the festive season and I loved the hustle and bustle that surrounds it. We are now far from Assam, but each year, during this time, as the weather changes and brings in the nip in the air; as the leaves change colour and begin to fall from the trees, the heart does long to go back and be a part of the festivities. Can you tell someone’s nostalgic?
Nothing liked a good home cooked meal to get one back into the mood. I had soaked some chickpeas to make a curry, when the cubes of paneer languishing in the fridge stared back at me. The mind was in the mood to indulge, so the two were brought together in a rich, creamy and indulgent cashew nut gravy, ready to be scooped up with some warm rotis.
Here’s how I made it-
4 C of boiled chickpeas
1C of cubed paneer
1 C cashewnuts soaked in 1/2 C of milk and a pinch of saffron strands for 1/2 an hour and ground to a paste
a paste of -1 onion, chopped;3 cloves of garlic, halved and1 inch piece of ginger, chopped
2 and 1/2 tblsp of oil
1 tsp of sugar
1 bay leaf
2 whole red chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 inch cinnamon stick
3 cardamoms, split at one ebd
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp ( more or less) of crushed red chillies
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp finely chopped coriander
3 c of hot water ( more or less)
salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds, whole red chillies, bay leaf cinnamon and cardamoms along with the sugar. When the sees begin to splutter and the sugar begins to caamalise, add the onion-ginger-garlic paste along with the turmeric and cumin powders and crushed red chillies . Cook the mixture, stirrring constantly till most of the poisture has evaporated and the mixture is lumpy.
- Add the chickpeas and mix well. Stir everything for 5-7 minutes.
- Dilute the cashew paste with the three cups of hot water and add it to the pan along with the paneer. Season with salt and stir constantly till everything is bubbly. Add the chopped coriander and the garam masala powder and stir till the gravy has thickened. * You may or may not need a little more water.
- Remove from heat and serve hot with any Indian flatbread or rice dish.
That’s it. It is very easy to rustle up and makes a wonderfully indulgent dish. We enjoyed ours with some warm rotis and a fresh salad, and yes, we licked our plates clean!