Saturday, June 4, 2011

Paneer Kalia ~ Bengali style

I love Bengali food, thanks to my dear friend Deltu who got me into the habit of eating true Bong food. This was many years back. Through her I got to learn the importance of Paach Phoron, a blend of five spices which add the authentic taste to any Bong dish; numerous ways to make Koccha Kela, serve the raw banana plantain vegetable as a side dish with chopped vegetables cooked in mustard oil or pan fry them with little Haldi, I also learnt how to make Begun Bhaaja which is tiny thin slices of Aubergine marinated liberally with Haldi and Salt and then pan-fried in mustard oil. This along with host of other dishes like Aam Tok, Maccher Jhol, Jhaal Muri, Aloo Posto, Fish r' Chop, Kolkata Kathi Rolls, I could go on. Though I must confess, Aloo Posto is my favorite and the dish can roll me into a peaceful slumber for good 2-3 hours in the noon.

Recently, I tasted Paneer Kalia at a Bong friend's place. This is my version of Paneer Kalia as per the faint memory of the dish I sampled. The taste of this dish is very faint and non-spicy with subtle flavours of Yogurt making it ideal for kids and tiny tots. I am not a big fan of Yogurt however the flavour of yogurt disguised in a curry took me by surprise. Traditionally, Kalia dishes are thick and semi-dry in texture and do not have a runny curry like texture opines my Bong friend, I added little broth to my curry since I was pairing it with Roti and ginger-garlic paste to spruce up the flavour.

~ Paneer Kalia ~
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

Paneer (cubes) - 2 cups
Green Peas (fresh or frozen) - 1 cup
Yogurt - 1 cup
Red Chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin-Coriander powder - 1 tablespoon
Tomato paste - 3 tablespoon
Ginger-Garlic paste - 1 tablespoon

In a deep bottomed pan, heat few spoons of oil/ghee, coat the bottom of the vessel evenly with ghee/oil, add ginger-garlic paste and tomato paste. Saute for a while till it forms a clump and oozes out oil. Add the spice powders now and switch to a low flame. Add Yogurt as well, don't worry if it begins breaking down. Add the Paneer pieces and Green Peas and adjust water and salt as desired. Cook on low flame for about 2-6 minutes or till completely cooked. Serve hot with Rotis.


  1. Looks Yum Ash! I tried alternating yogurt with cream for a richer taste. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. @ KamS - Thanks. That's a very good tip. Glad you liked it. :)


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