In Kashmir, Chaman typically refers to “Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese)” and Kaliya means “creamy sauce”. A favourite amongst the vegetarian Kashmiris, this dish is fairly quick and easy to make. Serve it with plain rice, preferably Basmati, for a divine meal.
Serves 5 to 6
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons mustard oil or vegetable oil
300g Paneer (Indian cottage cheese), cut into 1-inch/2.5-cm cubes
1-inch/2.5-cm piece of cinnamon stick
1 star anise
2 whole green cardamoms, lightly crushed
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dry ginger powder
½ teaspoon asafoetida
2 green chilli peppers, halved lengthwise
Salt to taste
1½ cups/375ml low-fat or full-cream milk
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves
Combine the turmeric and 1 cup/250ml warm water in a medium bowl. Using a spice grinder, grind the fennel and cumin seeds until smooth.
Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a medium pan and fry the paneer cubes over low heat until golden; transfer to the bowl containing the turmeric water.
Heat the remaining oil in the pan. Add the whole spices and bay leaf, and fry over low heat until aromatic, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the ground powder, ginger powder, asafoetida and fry for a few seconds. Add 1 cup/250ml water followed by the paneer cubes, along with the soaking liquid, green chilli peppers and salt to taste. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the Paneer is soft.
Add the milk and simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens to your liking. Garnish with the coriander leaves and serve hot.