Kashmiri cuisine traces back to centuries of tradition, spices and methods of cooking. While predominantly a meat centric cuisine, the vegetarian dishes hold their own and are unparalleled. History has documented well known saints of Kashmir to have been vegetarian for spiritual reasons.
The cuisine has evolved over the centuries absorbing influences from settlements and migrations. The flavors and spices of Kashmiri cuisine include dry ginger, fennel, cloves, cinnamon and saffron to name a few.
This particular dish is my version, not very common but most people are familiar with Kashmiri Dum Aloo ( potatoes). “Dum” is a technique that is essentially slow sealed cooking. The cooking vessels can be sealed by using a flour dough between the pot and the lid and placed on hot coals which are also added on the top on the lid. Of course this can also be accomplished in the oven ( just giving you alternatives in case you want to make this while camping :)). I used a even simpler route and used a heavy cast iron pot with strong sealed lid and used low heat on my stove.
A little about the spices I have used.
- Cloves: Dried flower buds that contain antiseptic properties and help in preserving food
- Fennel Powder: Ground fennel commonly used to flavor sauces and stocks
- Dry Ginger Powder: Fresh ginger is dried and then ground and has a distinct flavor aside from its healing properties
- Garam Masala: A mix of dry roasted spices that varies from household to household
- Asafoetida: a spice derived from the plant Ferula assa-foetida – a very distinct flavor and a pinch is all you need.
- Turmeric powder: Dried and ground root like ginger. Add the beautiful orange color.
The dish is served with rice ( I have used brown) and a side of Kashmiri Onion Chutney.
Enough about the history so let’s get to the recipe:
Dum Gobi Paneer - Kashmiri
- 1 Cauliflower head, cut in big florets
- 1 slab of indian cottage cheese (paneer) about 6-8 pieces
- 2 red onions finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp fennel powder (Saunf)
- 1 tsp turmeric ( Haldi)
- 1/2 tsp ginger powder ( Sonth)
- 1/2 red chili powder
- One pinch of Asafoetida ( optional)
- 6 cloves
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- Salt to taste
- Oil for frying and cooking ( I used Avocado oil for frying and then Mustard oil for cooking) Please use a mild flavored oil of your choice.
Fry the Cauliflower florets and Cheese separately in oil until lightly browned.
Let the florets drain on a paper towel. Soak the fried paneer in warm water until ready for use.
Use a heavy bottom pan, add a couple of tablespoons of oil, add cloves until they splutter and add the onions
Once the onions are light brown, add the spices, cauliflower and paneer. You can use a cup of the paneer water to add to the pot.
Mix the ingredients, seal the lid of the pot ready well and then leave it to simmer for about 15 mins.
Serve with rice, yoghurt and chutney.