On Monday, I decided that I cannot be lazy anymore and must start trying out new dishes again. With the Deepavali holiday coming up, must cook an Indian dish, right? I asked my colleague Shefali if she has a good recipe to recommend and she immediately said, “Butter paneer.” I swear I have never heard of this in my life (and even asked her to spell it wtf) but the pictures I googled looked amazing and seemed like what Jason likes to eat. I was game!
I don’t usually eat Indian food because there’s almost always a lot of carbs and gravy involved. BUT I love most of them, except dhal curry which is mushed up beans, peas or lentils in curry. How like that? So much carbs. And must eat them with rice. Beans with rice. Best combination for my diet. But I love keema (spice minced meat with peas), butter chicken, biryani (can’t eat dhal but can eat biryani, yeah right) and whatever Diana cooks!
When shopping for ingredients for this dish, I went to Sri Murugan Trading just opposite my place. They have five stores in Bukit Batok alone! I was quite confident of getting paneer (fresh cottage cheese) which is sold in a package and placed around the dairy products, but where was I to find kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)? Are they sold in bottles like McCormick, in little herb packages, loose, or what? I had no idea. I also had to get garam masala, a blend of spices including turmeric, cinnamon, black and white peppercorns, cumin and so on.
Luckily, when you’re an alien in an Indian store, the store owners pay special attention to you, in a good way. In two minutes, I had everything I need- all I had to do was ask. The kasuri methi is sold in packet form, like potato chip packet:
My version isn’t as bright and orangey as what I googled on the net. I kinda knew when I saw how pale my fresh tomato puree turned out, and I didn’t have chili powder so I substituted it with paprika. NOT the same. Diana’s mom said I could have added too much milk which would have diluted the colour. Diana said she always mixes chili powder with the blended tomatoes. Ok, that’s what I’ll try next time!
I added cubed chicken to the butter paneer because I’m not a cheese fan, and served the dish with ready-made chapati. Jason mopped up everything! Now I’m gonna have to think of more Indian dishes to use up that packet of kasuri methi and garam masala.. please send some ideas my way!