Earlier in the day I cooked this easy and quick paneer korma recipe, when I realized that I hadn’t yet posted this aromatic Indian cottage cheese curry. Luckily I was a bit early in preparing lunch, so I kept an extra hour for the whole picture making process, so that you could benefit of the flavors as well.
Believe it or not, creating a recipe post can take a while. Family and friends are at times very much surprised by the fact that the recipe post creation process can take up to 5-8 hours. I always make sure that the pictures come out half decent and that each cooking step has been captured, and then comes the writing, editing etc etc. I am not complaining of course, how could I?
Sometimes, before I dedicate my time on a post, I would read a well written book. In recent times I have been getting lost again in the history of the Moghul with the Empire of the Moghul’s 3rd book Ruler of the World. The first book is about emperor Babur’s fate in India, the second tells the story of Humayuns struggle, the third recounts Akbar’s live, the 4th turns around Jahangir’s tale and the 5th is about shah jahan (Taj mahal) and his son Aurangzeb.
The books transport you back to 16th century India, when the moghul ruled the lands from beyond Kabul, Bombay to Calcutta. The moghuls were descendents from Genghis Khan and Timurid and ruled their lands mostly wisely but also with a firm hand.
I completely loose myself in the Empire of the Moghul (mughal) book series each time again and again, they absorb my whole attention and I always learn something along the way. The story is full of details and you have the impression that you are there or that these long gone times are about to manifest in front of you. Although it’s a fictional historical book, the authors made sure to keep it true to the historical facts which makes the writing all the more precious.
My favorite parts in the books are the extensive description of the moghul feasts. You get the idea how certain dishes came to be, that’s when you take a peak into the soul of the ones who helped to define the food in this country. You also learn that some food dishes might not have changed much after all. In fact, 5oo years later and a dish such as Tandoori Chicken has been more celebrated then ever all over the world.
A passage from the Empire of the Moghul, ruler of the worlds writes and I may quote:
… rosewater bubbled from the fountains in the courtyard where, seated on a golden chair on a velvet-draped dais, Akbar watched his guests feasting on the best his accomplished cooks could provide: whole sheep roasted on spits over fires of applewood, ducks and partridges stuffed with dried fruits and nuts and simmered in copper pots of saffron-spiced butter sauce, and chicken marinated in yoghourt and spices before being baked in the searing heat of the tandoor – the portable clay oven used by a Moghul army on the march and brought to Hindustan in Babur’s time. As an extra touch of opulence, he had ordered loose gemstones to be scattered round the edges of the mounds of zard birinj – rice mixed with butter, raisins, dried cherries, almonds, pistachios, ginger and cinnamon – that were to be served to accompany the rich meats. He had even commanded that fragrant musk-melon and sweet-juiced grapes be packed in ice and sent down through the Khyber Pass from Kabul. The fruits had arrived two days ago in excellent condition. …
I wish I could learn more about the food habits of the ones who lived aeons ago. How did these portable tandoor ovens look like and why is it that we don’t get to buy portable clay tandoor ovens nowadays?
I also ask myself if the moghuls had discovered paneer for themselves because paneer korma is a mughlai shahi paneer dish. Mughlai stands for moghul and shahi means royal. The name indicated that one of the moghul emperors might have turned this firm cottage cheese back then into an empire-wide food trend. I wonder how the cooks would have prepared it, maybe somehow close to my own recipe?
One thing I know for sure, my easy and quick paneer korma recipe is indeed a royal dish in my house. If you have a hang for North Indian Food, then this is a dish for you. The mild curry will enthrall your senses and perhaps you will be transported through time and space, to a period when Akbar (the great) ruled this country known as Hindustan.
Do you like Indian curries? I may recommend my easy chicken curry, mushroom masala – mushroom curry recipe, goan meatball curry, easy potato cauliflower masala, easy butter chicken, as well as a collection of 18 fantastic chicken curry recipes from India.
Paneer Korma Recipe below:
- 6 Almonds
- 1 Teaspoon Poppy seeds (white ones preferably)
- 1 Onion
- 1 Tomato
- 1½ Tablespoon Oil
- ½ Teaspoon Turmeric powder (Curcuma)
- 1 Teaspoon Chili powder
- 2 Teaspoon Cumin powder
- 1 Teaspoon Coriander powder
- pinch Cinnamon powder
- 1 green Cardamom slightly crushed or around ¼ Teaspoon Cardamom powder
- 1 small Bay leaf
- ½ Teaspoon Black pepper
- pinch Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Ginger Garlic paste
- 5 Tablespoons Yogurt or Curd (I used Curd)
- 2 Tablespoons fresh Cream
- 100 milliliter Water
- 200 grams Paneer cubes (Indian Cottage Cheese)
- fresh Coriander (Cilantro) or Culandro leafs for garnish
- Toast your Almonds and Poppy seeds for a minute in a hot pan on all sides until you get the fragrant, good smelling aroma. Let the toasted almonds and poppy seeds cool, then transfer to a small spice/chutney blender jar together with the onion and tomato cut into rough chunks. Blend to a fine paste and keep aside.
- Add the Oil to a pan and stir fry for a minute all the spices, including, Turmeric, Chili, Cumin, Coriander p., Cinnamon, Cardamom, Bay leaf and Black Pepper. Then quickly add in the almond onion mixed paste, which you prepared earlier, and the Ginger Garlic Paste. Mix and stir cook for one two minutes.
- Reduce the stove heat or even close it and add the yogurt/curd and cream. Mix it all and return to very low heat. At that point keep the curry to cook for 2 minutes on low heat before adding the water. If the yogurt/curd is heated up too much, it will turn the curry very watery. The curry has to cook on very low heat for about 5-7 minutes so that it gains flavor. (When the curry cools it gets a bit thicker, the poppy seeds and almond make it a bit thicker as well)
- Then add the paneer cubes and cook for another 2-3 minutes on low heat before you garnish with fresh coriander (cilantro) or culandro leafs.
- Best served hot with Nan or Chapati.
You might like...
Latest posts by Helene Dsouza (see all)
- Road Trip Goa to Himachal, Manali – Travel Route planning Guide Checklist for Adventure trip to Himalayas India - May 25, 2017
- 21 Food & Drink Ideas to beat the Steaming Hot Summer in India - May 13, 2017
- Fried Fish Sticks Recipe with fresh Fish Fillet and Herbs – How to make crispy fried fish fingers [+video] - May 6, 2017