Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Paneer Curry

How often do we all receive mails with stories and pictures from our friends and loved ones that have been forwarded by friends of friends of friends.  I, for one, read the first line and if it interests me, read on or the mail goes directly to the trash.  Recently I came across a beautiful story which caught my attention and which was so good; I wanted to share with you all.  It is a real story – a story involving a dictator and a community which has been persecuted unjustly in the past.  It is a story of how small things we do in life, decisions we make, kindness we bestow has long lasting effect – perhaps not immediately visible to us, but maybe down the line when we least expect it, and like in the story below, sometimes we might never be aware of how we impacted or influenced life.  I am not going to name names here in the story because I find that irrelevant here – what I want to convey here does not need names.

A particular religious community was tasked with delivering to a certain dictator who had proclaimed himself “President for Life” with a message about peace.  The regime was known throughout the world for being ruthless and human rights non-existent.  The community was concerned, but after putting their trust in God, set up an appointment with the President.  Surprisingly, it was granted with no problem.  

On the appointed day, the representatives of the community were escorted to the Palace by armed guards.  They sat there pensively awaiting the President.  Soon the office door opened and the President appeared and escorted them to his office.  He dismissed the guards which was unprecedented.  He served them all tea and cakes and went on to recount his university days in the 1940s in the US.  

In those days housing was scarce and since this person was black, it was impossible for him to find lodging.  The only shelter he found was with a white couple from the same religious community who was now visiting him at the Palace.  They took him in and treated him as family.  Because of the hospitality he was shown back then, the community was extended freedom of speech and freedom from unwarranted search and seizure.  The secret police was tasked to protect this community. 

This nameless couple, through one kind act, granted an entire community freedom in a nation where freedom was unheard of.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Serves 6


½  kg paneer, drained and diced
2 tablespoon cooking oil
2 large onions, sliced
1 large green capsicum cut in strips
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon chilli paste with garlic
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoon coriander leaves
Salt to taste


  1. Heat oil in a pan.  Fry the paneer cubes till brown on all sides.  Drain and keep aside.  
  2. Now to the same oil, add onions and capsicum and sauté for 4 minutes or till tender.  
  3. Stir in curry powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and salt.  Cook for 2 minutes.  
  4. Add soy sauce, chilli and garlic paste, tomatoes and the paneer.  Bring to a boil.  
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes.  Sprinkle with coriander leaves and serve with rice or chappatis.

Tip:  Paneer can be prepared by adding 2 tablespoons of lime juice to 1 litre of boiling milk.  When it curdles, pour into a muslin bag and hang till all the water drains off.  Put some weights on this till it is completely dry and then cut into cubes to use.

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