Thursday, February 26, 2015

Paalaadai Katti Varuthadhu (Cottage Cheese) avec Port Wine Reduction and Channa Dal Fritters

Pondicherry Cuisine is a unique fusion of both French and South Indian Cooking. This was the theme or challenge for this month of Chefs Across Boundaries, an initiative where a few of us food bloggers and food enthusiasts widen our knowledge on different regional recipes. 

This month the challenge was hosted by Hetal Kamdar Blogger at Global Tadka, The theme was Pondicherry Cuisine. 

First, when I heard about this cuisine, it sounded greek and latin. Once I started researching I really started liking the entire blend of South Indian and French flavors. Though I'm very well aware of South Indian Cuisine, French was a total out of the box for me. So after a lot of searching, this dish came up to my mind.

 'Le Pondi Cheese' - is a soft cheese and to give a South Indian flavor, it is mixed with curry leaves. I replicated this cheese at home by making Cottage Cheese (Paneer). Gave a tadka of mustard seeds and urad dal. 

The Channa dal Fritters were spicy and crunchy were as the the Port Wine Reduction was sweet and just balanced the entire dish rightly.

What you need:

Paneer Tawa Fry:

  1.  Paneer - from 1/2 liter milk
  2. Dried Curry Leaves - a bunch
  3. Mustard Seeds - 1/4 tsp
  4. Urad Dal - 1/4 tsp
  5. Oil - 1/2 tsp
  6. Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
  7. Potato (boiled) - 1 small
  8. Salt - to taste
Port Wine Reduction:
  1. Port Wine - 2 cups
  2. Onion - 1 medium (chopped)
  3. Bay leaf - 1
  4. Pepper powder - 1 tsp
  5. Dried Red Chilli - 2 nos
  6. Butter - 2 tbsp
  7. Cinnamon - 1/2' stick
Channa Dal Fritters:
  1. Channa Dal - 1/2 cup (soaked for 2 hours)
  2. Green Chilies - 2 (deseeded and chopped finely)
  3. Ginger - 1/2 tsp (finely chopped)
  4. Garlic - 1/2 tsp (finely chopped)
  5. Salt - to taste
  6. Oil - for deep frying

How to go about it:
  1. Soak Channa dal in water for 2 hours and keep aside.
  2. Make Paneer and crumble them and keep aside. 
  3. You can use an oven to dry the curry leaves or natural sunlight to dry them. Crush them or powder them finely and keep aside.
Paneer Tawa Fry:
  1. To the crumbled paneer, add the crushed or powdered curry leaves, boiled potato, salt, chilli powder.
  2. Make a tadka of mustard seeds and urad dal in oil and add it to the paneer mixture.
  3. Knead this mixture well and make small cutlet or tikki shapes.
  4. Heat a griddle with oil. Fry the tikkis on both sides and drain them on a paper towel.
Port Wine Reduction:
  1. Heat a pan, add butter. Once melted, add cinnamon, bay leaf and onions. Stir until onions turn soft.
  2. Now slowly add the port wine and reduce to flame (simmer). 
  3. Let it reduce to 1/2 cup. This will take somewhere between 20 - 30 minutes.
  4. Once done, strain the liquid and let it cool.
Channa Dal Fritters:
  1. Coarsely grind the soaked channa dal. 
  2. To this, add salt, chopped chilies, ginger, garlic and mix.
  3. Make small balls and deep fry them. (I used the appam pan to fry them)
Assemble and serve them hot with sweet reduction of the wine.

Njoy with your loved ones...