June 19, 2007
As the nominated expert for the evening, I took responsibility for working out the interesting menu of classic curry house fare and more new fangled modern creations.
It’s almost impossible to tell what the food will be like without trying it first. So I summoned the waiter and he gave us his sales spiel about their Oberoi chef’s specialties, announcing that “English Indian” was also available. For those who had more “traditional tastes”.
Brilliant. I never thought I’d hear “English Indian” and “traditional” spoken in the same sentence.
I spent the rest of the evening trying to convince my diners that we Indians don’t eat such spicy, masala charged food every day. This recipe might seal the deal.
It’s a simple paneer and corn pulao, with subtle aromatic whole spices. My kind of traditional Indian!
1 cup raw Basmati rice
Half a cup of sweetcorn
125 gm paneer, cut into 2 sq cm pieces
1 tsp cumin
1 bay leaf
Half a star anise
1 inch cinnamon
2 cups hot water
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Bring the oil to heat in a medium-sized pan over a high flame. When it is hot, fry the paneer on two sides until golden. Remove from the pan.
In the remaining oil, add the star anise, cinnamon, bay leaf and cumin. In a few seconds they will start sizzling and releasing their gorgeous aromas.
Toss in the rice and the sweetcorn. Stir vigorously for two minutes until the grains of rice turn bright white.
Now add the paneer, salt and hot water. Bring to the boil and then cover and simmer until the rice grains are cooked. Don’t stir the rice to get a perfect fluffy finish.