KASHMIRI TSAMUN (CHEESE IN TOMATO GRAVY)

This dish is truly a comfort food for me. Immersed in the spices, flavors and memories of the beautiful valley of Kashmir. The spices are what makes it different from many other cuisines and similar cheese and tomato dishes so do pay special attention to the seasoning. The cottage cheese is best if made at home, cut in about 2 inch chunks and pan fried until just about brown on each side. The pieces are soaked in warm water right out of the pan and this is what will make the cheese (panner) soft on the inside.

Here is what you need:

About 5 ripe chopped tomatoes

2 tsp of garlic paste

8 green cardamoms

2 pieces of cinnamon stick ( 2 inches each)

4 black cardamom

2 tsp of tumeric

2 tsp of dry ginger powder ( sonth)

2 tsp of onion paste ( fried onions and that then ground in a processor)

2 tsp red chilis soaked in a cup of hot water

for the red color you can use dry cockscomb flowers poweder or annato seed oil ( or you can skip this)

2 tsp dry mint

1 tsp black cumin ( zeera)

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In a pan add the chopped tomatoes and let them cook down until a puree is formed. Add garlic, cardamoms, cinnamon, tumeric, ginger, onion paste, chili water and 4 cup of water  and let it cook until it gets a sauce like consistency and smells fantastic.

This is when you would add the cockscomb flower powder and then the cheese. Cook for about 5-7 minutes. Add dry mint and black zeera and cook for another 2 minutes.

Serve with rice.

A tip for the leftover sauce: Add boiled eggs the next day to enjoy the leftover sauce.

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