A Passion for Paneer

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Up in the northern parts of India, food lovers have a powerful passion for Paneer, the Indian version of cottage cheese. Indian chefs make some truly amazing dishes using Paneer as the main ingredient. Today, we will look at one such recipe – an innovative combination of Paneer, spices and Mustard Oil.

First, let’s list the ingredients that you will need:

  • Cottage Cheese (Paneer): 250 grams
  • Mustard Oil: 4 tablespoon
  • Coconut Milk: 250 millilitres
  • Cinnamon (Dalchini): 1 one-inch stick
  • Cardamom (Ilaichi): 2
  • Turmeric (Haldi) Powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Cloves (Laung): 2
  • Red Chilli Powder: Just a pinch
  • Bay Leaf (Tej Patta): 1
  • Onion: 1, large
  • Ginger (Adrak): 1 one-inch piece
  • Garlic (Lasan): 3 pods
  • Sugar: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt: to taste

Preparation:

Cut the Paneer into cubes. Use a little of the Mustard Oil to fry the cubes lightly.

Grind the onion, ginger and garlic into a thick paste.

Mix the red chilli powder and the turmeric powder in a little water.

Method:

Heat the remaining mustard oil in a pan. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom and fry lightly. Next, add the paste of onion, ginger and garlic and continue frying till the paste takes on a brown colour.

Pour in the mixture of red chilli powder and turmeric powder, and continue frying.

Now it’s time to add the fried Paneer cubes along with sugar and salt. Then pour in the coconut milk.

Cook for around 7 minutes on medium heat, stirring gently – making sure the cubes of Paneer don’t crumble. Then cover the pan and continue cooking for another 3 minutes or so.

Your Paneer in a rich coconut gravy is now ready to be served. It is best eaten with steaming hot rice.

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Mustard – Flying High!

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Earlier this year, in January, the humble little mustard seed reached a new milestone, a truly incredible one. A Boeing Dreamliner 787-9 created aviation history when it flew from Los Angeles to Melbourne using biofuel – derived from mustard seed! The Qantas flight that made the journey produced 7 percent fewer carbon emissions. Engineers say that in a pound-for-pound comparison, mustard seed biofuel produces 80 percent fewer emissions than traditional fuel. That’s great news for the environment.

The Qantas flight spanning 13,000 kilometres used a blend of 90 percent standard jet fuel and 10 percent biofuel. Currently, airlines are permitted a maximum of 50 percent biofuel – but Qantas is hopeful that someday soon, flights could be 100 percent powered by biofuel.

In India a few months ago, SpiceJet operated India’s first biofuel-powered flight from Dehradun to Delhi. In the Indian case, however, conventional Jatropha based biofuel was used. However, since India is the Land of Mustard and Mustard Oil, we hope that soon mustard-based biofuel will become a reality in the aviation sector.

And in these dark times filled with atmospheric pollution that would certainly be good news for our lungs and for our health!

Winter Woes

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Like it or not – the advent of winter inevitably brings with a set of aches and pains and ailments, in particular for infants and the elderly. Fortunately, we Indians are well prepared for it; we have our very own set of time-worn tried and tested home remedies to fight Winter’s Woes.

Winter brings with it a wide range of bone and muscular ailments – joint pains, muscular aches and arthritic irritants. But there’s a simple way to tackle all of these. Warm mustard oil in a small pan – not too hot, just enough to be comfortable. Take a tablespoon of this warm mustard oil and mix it with one tablespoon of onion juice in a bowl.

Take a damp towel and use a hot iron to heat it. Now gently apply the mustard oil-onion juice paste over the afflicted area. Cover the area with the hot moist towel. Don’t apply any pressure… and don’t massage the mustard oil-onion juice mixture into the skin. Just let it be. Remove the towel after around 10 minutes. The aches and pains will start fading soon.

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Here’s another home remedy for the little ones. To prevent coughs and colds during the winter months, heat one tablespoon of mustard oil and add three cloves of garlic. Mix thoroughly and apply the mixture to the soles of the feet before a bath or before going to bed at night.

With Mustard Oil you are always ready to face the winter!

A Unique Wazwan Delicacy

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The cookery show Mezbaan-e-Wazwan presented by P Mark Mustard Oil has come to an end – but the excitement continues. One of the most talked about dishes in the show was Aab Gosht. Its uniqueness stems from the fact that it is the only dish in the Wazwan repertoire that is made with milk. Just imagine – milk and mustard oil in the same recipe!

Here are the ingredients that you will need:

  • Mutton: 300 grams
  • Mutton Stock: 300 millilitres
  • Mustard Oil: 200 millilitres
  • Milk: 200 millilitres
  • Cinnamon (Dalchini): 1 one-inch stick
  • Small Cardamom (Ilaichi): 4
  • Large Cardamom (Ilaichi): 1
  • Cloves (Laung): 2
  • Kashmiri Pran paste: 2 tablespoon
  • Fennel (Saunf) Powder: 1 tablespoon
  • Sugar: 2 tablespoon
  • Salt: to taste
  • Green Chilli (sliced): For garnishing
  • Shahi Jeera: For garnishing

Preparation:

Cut the mutton into smaller pieces. Ideally, for this recipe, the mutton should be shoulder pieces. Boil the mutton for an hour on a slow flame and keep aside.

Boil the milk and keep aside.

Method:

Take a large pan and pour the Mutton Stock in. Add the boiled Mutton pieces and cook on low heat. When the stock starts boiling, add the cardamoms (large and small), cloves, cinnamon, fennel and Kashmiri Pran. Keep cooking and stirring.

When the aroma of the spices rises up and fills the room, add the milk. Your gravy will now take on an off-white creamy colour. Keep stirring gently.

In a separate pan, heat the Mustard Oil on a high flame. When the Mustard Oil begins to smoke, gently (and carefully) add it to the other pan containing the meat, stock, milk and spices.

Add salt to taste – and also add the sugar. Continue stirring for two or three minutes.

Transfer the contents to a serving dish and garnish with Shahi Jeera and green chillies.

Your Aab Gosht is now ready to be served. It is traditionally eaten with steaming hot Basmati rice. It truly is a unique experience!

Bon appétit!

The Wisdom of Our Ancestors

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The inherent wisdom of our ancestors is truly amazing! In ancient times, when the sun set on the horizon, earthen lamps were lit around the house for illumination. The lamps were filled with mustard oil and had cotton wicks that were rolled by hand. These wicks were then lit. Sounds overtly simple, doesn’t it? However, these simple lamps had a lot of “technology” built into them.

The choice of mustard oil was a brilliant move. The smoke produced by burning mustard oil has therapeutic properties. It has a purifying effect on the surroundings. It also repels mosquitoes and other insects that emerge when the sun goes down. The smoke also emits a pleasant aroma that has a deodorizing effect on the home.

That is probably why earthen lamps with mustard oil are lit during the festival of Diwali. It isn’t only about illumination and auspicious lighting. Diwali marks a distinct change of season – bringing with it the onset of seasonal diseases. By purifying the air and keeping insects away, these lamps played a very important role in preventing diseases that would become rampant with the change of season.

So as we celebrate Diwali with lights and sweets and delicacies, let’s remember with gratitude the enduring wisdom of our ancestors. Their knowledge was truly fascinating.

Tips and Tricks from Master Chefs

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P Mark Mustard Oil made its foray into television production with a cooking show called Mezbaan-e-Wazwan in collaboration with News 18. The show began airing on 6th October 2018 and continues till the first week of November. The series features authentic Wazwan recipes, techniques and methods demonstrated by two highly respected chefs: Chef Harpal Sokhi of Turban Tadka and Namak Shamak fame, and Chef Abbas Bhat – an expert in authentic Wazwan preparations.

In the course of the series, the two expert chefs shared many interesting tips and tricks – in particular, some innovative ways to soften meat before cooking. We all know what a damper it is to have a delicious meat dish where the meat is all tough and chewy. Well, here are three techniques that Wazwan chefs (Wazas) use to make the meat soft before starting the cooking process.

The first technique involves a special walnut-wood mallet known as Tukni. The meat is placed on a stone slab and is hammered steadily with this mallet. This action breaks the muscle fibres and softens the meat into a pulpy texture.

The second method is to use a large kitchen knife to place a series of cuts and slices across the meat – always making sure to cut across the muscle fibres. These cuts enable heat to penetrate deeper into the meat as a result of which, the meat cooks faster and becomes softer.

The third technique is a bit time-consuming. The meat is boiled for an hour on a slow flame. This slow steady heating process breaks down the tough fibres, collagens and tissues, making the meat soft and tender; it becomes softer still when the boiled meat is further cooked while making the dish.

There you have it – three simple but highly useful secrets… taught to you by expert chefs.

Wazwan… Now on National Television

For those food lovers and cooking enthusiasts who particularly enjoy all things exotic, spicy and out-of-the-ordinary, here’s a television series that will tickle the taste-buds and entice the olfactory system. It’s called Mezbaan-e-Wazwan and it tells you all about recreating the wonders of the rich culinary tradition of Kashmir… in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Wazwan expert – Chef Abbas Bhat from Srinagar – takes viewers on a fascinating journey into authentic recipes, traditional preparation methods and the nuances of juggling spices, exotic ingredients and unique flavours and fragrances. He is accompanied by well-known food-and-fun expert Chef Harpal Sokhi. Together they take Wazwan to a different level altogether… keeping the heritage value intact and, at the same time, making this ancient culinary tradition relevant for contemporary audiences.

The recipes are authentic… the flavours are incredible… and the mood is upbeat!

Watch the episodes online… right here:

 

And don’t stop at just watching Mezbaan-e-Wazwan on national television… become a Waza and make your own Wazwan dishes.