Of all Kashmiri dishes Lyodur Tsāman ("Yellow/Tumeric Paneer) /Tsāman Qaliya is a paneer (a halloumi like cheese) dish which I, much like many Kashmiris, am not particularly fond of. Yet I felt it needed some revamping to make it into a more enjoyable experience. Due to religious prohibitions, Kashmiri Pandits traditionally don't use onions or garlic in their cooking. Breaking with such restrictions I find that adding fried onions (and kasoori methi- dried fenugreek leaves) renders it from mundane to sublime. Interestingly, qaliyas are not native to Kashmir- they reached the valley from the Delhi Sultanate in the 13th century. Meat was cooked slowly in a thin broth with lots of tumeric for soldiers due to the immune boosting properties of tumeric- collectively being a nutritious meal for the army. This dish was adopted by Kashmiri pandits who also make version with lamb. Recipe:
1. Cut 200g of paneer into squares. Pan fry until golden brown. Boil some water with 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp tumeric and 1 tsp of asafoetida. Soak paneer in this for 15 mins.
2. In a pan heat some mustard oil, add 5-6 cardamom pods, 5-6.clovrs, 2 black cardamom pods, 2-3 bay leaves, 1 star anise. Allow it to flavours the oil. Add 2 large handfuls of fried onions, 2-3 tsp of tumeric powder and 100ml of water. Cook on a medium heat till the onions forms a paste.
3. Add 2-3 heaped tsp of fennel seed powder, 1 tsp dried ginger powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp asafoetida and 1/2 tsp of garam masala and 1/2 a vegetable stock cube to the onions. Add some water and let this cook until the grittiness of the spices is gone. .
4. Add drained paneer and 200 ml of water. Simmer. Add 50 ml single cream mixed with 50 ml milk. Reduce heat and simmer further. Once it has all come together finish with 1 freshly ground black cardamom pod (seeds only), 4 freshly green cardamom pods (seeds only) and a handful of kasoori methi. .
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