Chaman Qaliya

Sometimes you need a small push to get back on track. This post is a result of the push that I got from a group of talented bloggers, who have come together to try new cuisines. So, this is the post of the month where I take the Spatula Force monthly challenge given by my very talented friend Anshu, who blogs at The Secret Ingredient (Do check her monthly post on Rogan Josh). The theme of this month is Kashmiri and if you know me, you know how I love paneer. I have been meaning to put some paneer dishes on the blog since a long time now. So, this gives me a chance to take care of both the things. Smart, eh? 😉

Chaman Qaliya is one of the loved dishes from the beautiful valley of Kashmir. It is one of the wazwan (the ultimate formal banquet in Kashmir) dishes.  It is royal yet very simple to make. With the flavours of whole spices and the creamy broth, the dish is simply scrumptious. I took inspiration from a couple of blogs, but my main go to was a video by Savita Malhotra. Here is what you need to do to make it.

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Ingredients for Chaman Qaliya

Serves  2 people

  • Paneer – 300 gms
  • Milk – 1/2 cup (warm)
  • Saffron – 1 pinch
  • Yogurt – 1/4 cup
  • Green chillies – 2 (slitted length-wise)
  • Cinnamon – 1/2 inch
  • Black cardamon – 1
  • Green cardamom – 1
  • Cloves – 2
  • Bay Leaf – 1
  • Cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida – a pinch
  • Turmeric – a pinch
  • Saffron  – a pinch
  • Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Fennel powder – 1 tbsp
  • Dry ginger powder – 1 tsp
  • Cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Garam masala – 1/4 tsp
  • Ghee or clarified butter – 3 – 4 tbsp (you can also use cooking oil)
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Fresh coriander to garnish

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Method for Chaman Qaliya

Preparing Paneer

  1. Cut paneer into 1.5 inches pieces
  2. Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a pan and shallow fry the paneer pieces.
    Note: Traditionally, the paneer is deep fried, but I am not very fond of deep fried stuff, so opted for shallow fry. You can totally skip frying as well. Also, make sure you don’t over fry paneer; that will make it chewy.
  3. Remove the paneer pieces and put them on an absorbent paper.

Preparing the Curry

  1. Add saffron to the warm milk and set aside.
  2. Boil water in a pan and add a pinch of turmeric to that.
  3. Turn off the gas stove and add the fried paneer into this water. Cover with lid and set aside.
  4. Take the pan in which we fried the paneer and heat 2 tbsp ghee.
  5. Add asafoetida, let it turn light brown and then add cumin seeds. Let them sputter.
  6. Now, add salt and the coriander powder. Stir and saute for a minute.
  7. Next, add bay leaf, cinnamon stick, black cardamom, green cardamom and cloves. Stir it a little until you see the coriander powder changing color and the aroma fills your kitchen 🙂
  8. Add the paneer along with the water to this spice mix and let it boil for 5-7 minutes with the lid on. You will notice that after 5-7 minutes a lot of water will evaporate and the gravy will be thick.
  9. Add the fennel powder, dried ginger powder, cardamom powder, and garam masala.
  10. Add milk and stir the gravy. Let it boil for 5 minutes with the lid on. Do this on low heat.
  11. Now, add yogurt and stir continuously in one direction making sure that the milk doesn’t curdle.
  12. Finally, add the slit green chilies. Make sure you add the chilies at the end. This will enhance the flavor of the dish.
  13. Garnish with fresh coriander and enjoy with chapatis, paranthas, naan or rice.

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