Friday, July 18, 2014

Coconut Khaskhas Jhatka Curry - Matar Paneer

Story: Time to spice things up for this weekend... Love this curry for the jhatka - the little kick you get from black pepper and red chilies. Also, love the richness from the khaskhas (poppy seeds) and coconut combo. All in all - just an awesome mix of spices - just right to get the weekend started..

The spice-level of this recipe works well for chicken or eggs. It may be too much for a vegetarian dish. Since this is a matar paneer recipe, I have toned down the proportions a bit. You would want to kick it up a notch for a chicken or an egg curry.

Interesting story - the confusion over an ingredient - The written recipe asked for Dagad phool or Pathar phool - literally means Patthar ke phool :-). When I called my friend, and asked where she got it from, I realized that she used Star Anise - which is a different ingredient altogether. I am glad I called!

Let's savor the recipe while singing this tune from Patthar ke Phool

Source: My friend Dhanashree aka Dhanaa Kotwal

Time: About an hour 
Ingredients: Serves 4 adults
  • 300 gms Paneer - cut into small cubes
  • 1 big onion finely chopped
  • 1.5 inch ginger - grated or minced
  • 5-6 garlic cloves - grated or minced
  • 1 cup greek yogurt 
  • handful of cilantro
  • 2 two inch pieces of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (double for non-veg gravy)
  • 3 cloves (double for non-veg gravy)
  • 3 red chilies (double for non-veg gravy)
  • 1 star anise
  • 1.5 tsp khas khas or poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup fresh/frozen coconut
  • 3-5 tsp oil
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
Recipe: Most of the time is spent making the chutneys for this recipe:

For the yogurt mixture - mix the yogurt with half of the ginger-garlic paste, and all of the turmeric powder and garam masala. Add salt to taste, mix well and keep aside. If you are making chicken curry, this would be your overnight marinade.

For the green chutney, grind half of the ginger-garlic paste with handful of cilantro.

For the third chutney in the picture, heat 3 tsp oil in a pan, shallow fry half of the onion till its golden brown, then add black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, star anise and saute for 2 minutes or so. Then add khas khas / poppy seeds and saute for a minute. Add coconut and saute till it gets a golden brown tinge. Grind this mixture into a supersoft paste - add very little water - just enough to get the grinder going.

The rest is easy - heat 2 tsp of oil in a large pan, saute the rest of the onion till golden brown. Add the green chutney, saute for a minute. Then add the ground masala with coconut and saute for a few minutes till the mixture starts to give out oil. Keep the heat on slow-medium and be patient.

Finally add the yogurt mixture, mix well and heat the mixture covered till it comes to a boil. Add water to adjust consistency. Add matar and paneer or eggs or chicken :)

For paneer - I usually soak the paneer cubes in warm water so they are nice and soft before putting them in the gravy.


Star Anise image from: tasteoforegon

Pathar phool image from: gourmetIndia

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