With 10 million dwellers, Bangkok is the largest city we have ever lived in. Travelling across different neighbourhoods is like moving between movie sets of, among others, the Blade Runner, Kabi Kushi Kabi Kan and the Sex and the City. With people, comes diversity, visible mostly in their food. Little India is part of Bangkok’s China Town, much quieter than the famous Yaowarat Road. Street restaurants in this part of town remind me of those I dined at when in Delhi. Breakfast dosas, fragrant masala chay, samosas, pakora, moreish paneer in a thick spicy gravy – you name it. Everything is available. Little India is our “place to go” to stock up on fresh paneer at 200 TBH/0.5kg, ghee, gram flour, a variety of lentils and many more.
Enjoying this abundance, I unearthed Indian recipes shared by Preeti, an owner of a home-cooking school in Delhi. In 2019, Michael and I cooked up a storm in Preeti’s apartment. What I liked the most about it, was that she did not only provided us with recipes but gave us the very basic formula for cooking any Indian curry or gravy:
Start with oil, brown cumin, fry onion, add garlic and ginger paste, other spices and your sauce, if you are using one.
Following these basic steps, I came up with this Follow-no-recipe Paneer with Mustard Leaves. Stick to the basic steps but feel free to experiment with spices and your preferred greens! If you do not have access to ready-made paneer, you can always make your own cheese using our recipe.
Paneer with Mustard Greens
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 4 fresh chillies (chopped)
- 3 tsp garlic-ginger paste (I used a ready-made one that was pretty salty)
- Mustard leaves (about 250g, chopped)
- 250 g paneer (cut into 1.5×1.5cm cubes)
- Half onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 tsp Coriander seeds
- 6 dried curry leaves
- Heat up ghee and add cumin and coriander seeds. Fry for about 1-2 minutes until the seeds are golden brown.
- Add chopped onion and fry for about 2 minutes until brown.
- Add ginger-garlic paste, fresh chillies and fry for another 2-3 minutes stirring from time to time.
- Throw in some chopped mustard greens and dried curry leaves and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
- Lastly, add paneer and keep stir-frying until some cubes get brown and crispy.
- Serve with rice of your choice.