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PANEER PESHAWARI

March 1, 2012 5:38 pm 0 comments

Paneer Peshawari is a scrumptious paneer (Indian cottage) dish cooked in Peshawari style. Peshawar is the home to most of the exotic, rich, creamy and spicy Peshawari food. The Punjabi cuisine from Northern India has influences from the Peshawari style of cooking.

Paneer Peshawari is excellently made with paneer cubes cooked in a mouth watering cashew-onion gravy and finished with cream and aroma of kasuri methi. The highlight of this recipe lays on its distinct flavors of freshly ground spices like cumin, coriander seeds and red chilies. Garam masala is often used as flavoring to most the dishes.

There are a variety of paneer dishes that you come across especially in restaurant menus. Paneer Peshawari is one of the star dishes as it is rich in taste, has a creamy and smooth texture and looks appetizing. Most of the recipes from the Peshawari cuisine are heavily flavored with authentic spices and use rich gravies to make the dish ravishing and royale.

Paneer is a very popular Indian cottage cheese extensively used in North India and adapts well into most recipes. There are a wide range of dishes like the shahi paneer, paneer fry, paneer paratha, matar paneer and not to forget our favorite and delightful restaurant style Paneer butter masala. Paneer tikka is also adapted from the Peshawari style of cooking. Paneer is a versatile diary product that can be used in making tikkas to salads to adding in sweets etc. Unlike most other cheeses, paneer is completely a lacto-vegetarian providing the required protein for vegetarians in India. It is generally unsalted. Dating back to ancient India, paneer remains the most common type of cheese used in traditional South Asian cuisines. The use of paneer is more common in Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh due to the prominence of milk in their cuisine.

Peshawar is a relatively prosperous frontier town in Pakistan near the Khyber Pass, which gives it a distinct Afghan flavor. Peshawari dishes are known for using liberal amounts of oil which contributes in richness and use a wide variety of aromatic and spicy flavors like brown cardamom, green cardamom, mace, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cumin seeds, chilli powder, coriander seeds and bay leaves. Garam masala (a mix of aromatic spices) is popularly used in most of the recipes.

Peshawar is now officially recognized as being one of the oldest living cities in Asia. Being among the most ancient cities of the region between Central, South, and West Asia, Peshawar has for centuries been a center of trade between Afghanistan, South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. Peshawar is home to the delicious Peshawari food. Peshawari cuisine is very popular for their kebabs (chapli kebab, peshawari kebab), Peshawari roast lamb, Chicken Peshawari, Kheema, Korma and Kofte etc.

To enjoy this wonder dish, soak a handful of cashew nuts in warm water for few hours. Grind to a fine paste and keep aside Heat oil in a pan and when it gets hot, add cumin seeds and when it begins to splutter, add finely chopped onions and sauté till they are translucent and turn light brown in color Add the chopped tomatoes, cumin powder, coriander powder, chilli powder, garam masala and turmeric powder. Mix all the ingredients well and sauté till oil floats on the surface of the gravy. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes. Now add the sliced onions, tomatoes and bell peppers. Add about a cup of water and cook on medium heat. Let it come to a boil and allow the veggies to cook. Stir in the paneer cubes, cashew nut paste, cream and kasuri methi. Add salt to taste. Check for seasoning and Paneer Peshawari is ready to serve.

Serve hot either with naan, chapatti, roti, jeera rice or ghee rice. This dish also tastes excellent with pulaos.  Paneer or Indian cottage cheese is an integral part of South Asian cooking. Hence do try this recipe and enjoy its unique flavors and taste. For details on quantities of ingredients used, click on Paneer Peshawari. Enjoy Cooking!

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