Wooden plank tables, a big wooden door, jeera paani, lemon wedge, tangi onion, mirchi pickle, spicy sabzis, tantalizing tandooris, utterly butterly flat breads,a tired traveller’s paradise.. Yes you have got me right! “Dhaba” Though Dhabas refer to the roadside restaurants in India and Pakistan, it is a name to represent any restaurant that serves authentic Punjabi food. I personally like dhabas for the food they serve with a homemade feel.
The punjabi dhaba nearest to my hostel is one of the “two” Angels that God sent me when I was missing home and homemade food. On a relaxed weekend with zero homework, nil imposition, empty laundry bag and all craving for some north Indian food, we get the dhaba guy deliver a big parcel of hot rotis, sabzis and that crunchy munchy aloo gobhi, infront of the hostel; go happily collect them; and go join the circle of girls waiting in the TV room with plates ready; finish a complete meal with all fun & love and start a new week with the punjabi aroma 🙂
How can I finish the post without writing about my other Angel? I should do some justice 🙂 Having only one girl of your native in your class, who is native patriotic like you, who thinks crazy like you, who grabs the best friend space in few days, who becomes a dayscholar in few more days, whose home is reachable by walk in minutes, most notable thing- her mom is a super chef who treats you like her younger daughter, what else would you want when you are homesick? I am happy to dedicate this post to Suji, my best friend 😀 We have not even wished each other today, but we always know that there is someone to count upon 🙂 I am sure you had a fabulous friendship day rewinding all those golden olden memories 🙂 One funny thing is the world calls us twins or sisters 🙂
And I want to encourage you today that, wherever you are & wherever you may go, God shall send you angels to guard you, feed you and comfort you!! “Do not be worried about tomorrow”, He says 🙂
Today I am happy to present you the dhaba style Kadai paneer that i have finally arrived after few attempts. Dhaba style Kadai Paneer for me, is a rich flavoured, spicy, mild dark colored, garam garam aromatic, with cubes of heaven – paneer, peppers and onions that are soft and crunchy floating in a delectable onion tomato based curry. Above all, it is quick and easy to be done in minutes and serve with hot parathas. I have used oil since I made it for my family and replacing oil with butter/ghee would add to the flavor. If it is for guests, I would definitely dig my ghee pot 😀
I actually made some garlic naan to go with them but I am not posting the tutorial for it as of now as I have not reached the desired texture! Ok lets go to Kadai Paneer recipe.. oh crap, I forgot to keep the lemon vedge & onion
Here is what you will need..
3 tbsp oil, Butter/ghee can be used
200 gms paneer cubes, I used homemade paneer..recipe here
2 tsp homemade kadai masala powder..recipe here
1 green bell pepper or capsicum cubes, mix of all colours can also be used.
1 big onion cubed
1 big onion chopped
3 chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 slit green chillies
1 tbsp crushed kasoori methi
1 pinch garam masala
Few sesame seeds to garnish
1/4 cup fresh cream ( optional )
A step by step tutorial below..
1) Brush 1/2 tsp oil on a hot tawa and shallow fry the paneer cubes until they are light golden on both sides. Remove them from the tawa and keep it aside.
2) Fry the green pepper and onion cubes like step 1. Chop the tomatoes.
1) Onion Tomato Gravy:
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a hot pan, fry one chopped onion until they turn dark golden brown. This helps us to attain the rich colour. Add the ginger garlic paste until the raw smell goes off. Then add the chopped tomatoes and saute them until they are cooked. This might take 5 mins. Add red chilly powder and saute well for the next 2 minutes until a nice thick masala.
Once the masala is cooled, grind them by adding little water to a smooth paste.
The onion tomato gravy is ready. keep it aside. I usually prepare this before night so as to save time.
2) Take a Pan, add 1 tbsp oil, chopped garlic, slit green chillies and saute them for less than a minute. Add 1.5 tspn kadai masala and saute them in a low heat for 30 seconds.
3) Now add the onion tomato gravy and 1/2 cup water to it; let the gravy simmer for 5 mins. If you want the gravy to be thick and dry, you can omit adding water. Then add the paneer, pepper and onion cubes and let the gravy simmer for another 5 mins.
3) This is right time to add fresh cream can to increase richness. However I did not add this time. Finally add crushed kasoori methi, pinch of garam masla, pinch of kadai masala and switch off the flame.
I garnished the gravy with sesame seeds. Ready to serve, hot spicy aromatic gravy with any flat Indian bread 😀
Please do try and let me know the feedback. Do not forget to click & send a picture. I am collecting them on my FB Page 🙂