Kids can sometimes embarrass you like anything! A familiar, not-so-pleasant-situation for most parents. They say the most innocuous things at the most inappropriate of times. Innocent words which will have all the 5 liters of blood rushing to your face at that instant and in retrospect send you into peals of laughter. A mother of two, I have had many many such moments. Once, we were at a friend's place for lunch and the meal included pooris. My then 3-year-old son had asked me ''Amma, what is this?'' I sheepishly told my amused friend that deep-frying is something I rarely do. . I had once made pooris at home, my parents had called and hubby gleefully told them the highlight of the day. My Mom was shocked, brother wanted to know if the pooris were ahem, actually 'real' pooris or microwaved or baked ones. Oh yes, they had fun at my expense! My daughter had once wanted to know if Gulab Jamoons can also really be made at home!
Seriously - I really have a reputation for not making deep fried stuff. And no, am not proud of it. Not that I don't use fat or I would not be writing a baking blog. I have a huge mind block against deep frying. Even now. I like to eat deep fried things, but not enough to make them now and then at home. They do not figure first on my can't-do-without food and I won't crave for them if I don't eat them for months, err..lets make that a month. Yes, desserts are my can't live without food. Put me off desserts for a week and they will start multi-starring in the blockbusters of my dreams. I am a complete die-hard dessert person.
A friend of mine had got some special paneer from Amritsar for me. I was wondering what I must do with it. A wicked idea, a sinful treat, a recipe I have been drooling over since aa...ges. Cottage Cheese Fingers! Throw caution to the winds. Make it double sinful. Full fat super soft paneer (nothing less from Amritsar!), marinated in tomato and chilli sauce, encased in crispy, crispy covering. Mind-blowing! It was so so good, I could not stop eating at a couple of pieces, kids loved them to the hilt, hubby ate them with his eyes closed. No exaggeration this! I made these again as I wanted to put these on the blog;-) called son's cycling friends to help finish them, and they were a very happy bunch!
Well, all I want to tell you is - please, please do try this out! And don't blame me if you get very seriously addicted!
The recipe has very few simple ingredients and paneer is undoubtedly the star here. If you would have to have the perfect, melt-in-the mouth contrast of textures, use best quality full fat paneer. If the paneer is not soft, it may become chewy and the dish will lose its wow factor.If you do not want to use paneer, you could use babycorn or tofu.
A Sanjeev Kapoor recipe again..can't help it!
Cottage Cheese (paneer) - 200 grams (full fat, best quality works best)
Tomato Sauce - 2 tablespoons
Red Chilli Sauce - 2 teaspoons
Cornflour - 1/4 cup
Maida / All purpose flour - 1/2 cup
Cooking soda - a pinch
Milk- 3/4 cup (approximately)
Salt to taste (remember, the sauce in the marinade has salt too)
Oil for deep frying
Procedure: Cut the cottage cheese into 20 or 25 long fingers. In a mixing bowl, mix together the tomato and chilli sauce. Marinate the paneer fingers in them, taking care not to break the fingers. Keep aside for 15 minutes. While the paneer is marinating, mix the cornflour, maida, salt , soda and enough milk to make a medium thick batter. Start with half a cup and then add more as needed. I used about 3/4 cup approximately. If the batter is thin, the fingers will not be as crisp. Rest the batter for 15 minutes.
Heat enough oil in a deep kadhai. Dip the marinated paneer in the batter and deep fry on medium heat till the fingers are golden and crisp. Drain on a kitchen towel.
You could serve this with any sauce of your choice, but I feel that the subtle taste of the fingers can be best savored when the fingers are eaten hot as is.