Indian feast

Mallika Basu - Indian feast

Posted 19th June 2007

paneer-and-corn-pulao.jpgI found myself in an Indian restaurant with a large group of non-Indians last weekend.

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!

Serves 2:

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.

39 responses to “Indian feast”

  1. binky says:

    I’m no expert but I don’t know if I’ve seen sweetcorn in an Indian dish before. Or was the “traditional” ironic? I would have bet money sweetcorn was unknown outside the Americas before the Spanish and/or Columbus.

  2. Mallika says:

    Hi Binky – there are many Indian dishes with sweetcorn and it’s a popular evening snack as well.

    Chilli was also unknown outside the Americas before Columbus. Does this make every searingly hot Indian dish non-traditional?

    Just a thought…

  3. Coffee says:

    Hey!!!! Good to see you bck after a long time. 🙂 And this pulav looks awesome!!!! Paneer and corn with basmati rice uuummmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!! 😀

  4. Maninas says:

    Lovely picture, Mallika!

  5. anusharaji says:

    they must agree now that indian food is not always spicy.
    cool colors……simple recipe 🙂

  6. sandeepa says:

    What else did you have ?

  7. Dilip says:

    I thought we lost you…great that you are back…how true that good indian dish does not have to be very spicy…best dish is when spicy adds to the dish but does not dominate…great recipe…thanks for sharing…lovely pic BTW

  8. dolly says:

    cool meal of lassi and pulao. this is the kind of meal we have in summer , try apinch of kasuri methi or fresh methi patta andchopped tomatoes , not toomany ,as a vriation of the same recipe. go baby, indian cooking is not all about spice and oil

  9. Thank you so much, this was very interesting. I was actually born in Spain ( not telling you when though!) but moved around europe and lastly settled in England when I was 6. I dont remember much of the few years I was in spain, but the smell of spanish food always seems to ring a bell in me or something. It’s weird how I dont remember anything except the smells,isn’t it! I even found a website dedicated to spanish recipes, which gave me great delight and thought I ought to share. Anyway, thank you again. I’ll get my husband to add your website to my rss app…

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