Arusuvai Friendship Chain and RCI:Bengal

mystery from mandira
mystery from mandira

For me, the best part of blogging isn’t the food, it’s the people.

It would be so easy to toss up some recipes for nameless, faceless folks to read — but where is the fun in that? Here across the ether, it’s somehow easy to sense a kindred spirit, and countless friendships spring up as we share snippets of our lives: tales of kids and pets, gardening tips, healthy doses of humor and more. Food is tastier when sauced with friendship, and ‘here’, I like to think I am cooking for my friends :)

One special person I am fortunate to call a friend is dear Mandira of Ahaar.
A fellow Michigander with a generous spirit and a way with words, Mandira’s imaginitave writing and cooking inspire me every time I visit her lovely blog.

Thank you Mandira, for including me in the Arusuvai Friendship Chain! :)

The Arusuvai Friendship Chain was started by Latha and her family at
The Yum Blog along with Bharathy of Spicy Chilly and Bhags of Crazy Curry.
Thanks to all of you ladies, for this wonderful idea.

I love Latha’s descrption: “Arusuvai means six tastes (aru=six, suvai=taste) in Tamizh and is used to refer for Tasty preparation with six tastes – inippu/ thithippu (sweet), orappu/ karam (hot), kassappu (bitter) , pulippu (sour), uppu(salt), tuvarpu (tastes that one gets in raw leaves)”. I received many of these tastes in my package!

My surprise mystery-melange was a super-fresh and fragrant bag of that beloved spice mixture unique to Bengal — panch phoron! For something different, I dry-roasted some of this and ground it to a powder. Then I used the powder to season a dish of paneer and potatoes, simply cooked with onion, tomato, and very little else. Needless to say the panch phoron turned the simple into the sublime!

Notes:

I first read about dry roasting panch phoron in Sandeepa’s post,
My Spice ~ Panch Phoron. Because the recipe uses this classic Bengali blend, I will send it off to Bong Mom’s Cookbook for RCI: Bengal. So nice to see you around, Sandeepa!

The gravy is heavily based on Sudha’s Paneer Butter Masala.
Hope all’s well with you Sudha :)

panch phoron
fresh and fragrant ~ panch phoron

Paneer and Potatoes with Panch Phoron

12 cubes paneer (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 – 1 cup cubed boiled potato
1 big onion, peeled, blanched, and ground to a paste
1/2 c tomato puree (I used 6 ice cubes of fresh tomato puree from the freezer, thanks coffee!)

1 tsp panch phoron, dry roasted and ground
1/2 -1 tsp kashmiri chile powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
salt to taste

2-3 tsp butter
2 TB half and half cream (optional)
water as needed

~~~

Heat half the butter in a small frying pan and brown the paneer. Remove and in the same pan, brown the potatoes. Remove and add the remaining butter. Saute the onion paste until brown. Add ground spices and stir a few minuntes, adding water if the mixture is too thick (I needed about 1/2 cup water in all). Add tomato puree and cream, if using. Cook a few minutes until thickened, then fold in the paneer and potatoes. Add salt to taste. Serve hot with any bread.

potatoes and paneer with panch phoron
spicy paneer and potatoes with panch phoron

For my part, I will be passing the chain along to ISG and Cynthia… what fun! :)

Also, my apologies for not replying to those of you who commented on my last post — I have been having an awful time with WordPress and my computer in general. Pages are not loading as they should. Imagine what we all did before the internet! Thank you for all the kind words about my ‘sunrise from home’ :)

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22 Comments »

  1. cheeryblossoms said

    “Food is tastier when sauced with friendship” love it!. You should consider writing as a profession seriously Linda.

    As for the Paneer and Potatoes that brings to mind another profession that you should definitely pursue. Looks delicious, with a piece of chapati or some rice I will be in bliss.

    Thank you so much for your kind words, cheeryblossoms! Love the name :) This was really yummy with chapatis. I should try with rice too :)

  2. Seena said

    Lovely dish… :)

    Thank you, Seena :)

  3. Jayashree said

    Looks delicious, Linda…..and I totally agree with you that blogging is more about people than recipes….

    Thank you Jayashree! I tried leaving a comment on your blog the other night, but my computer is really acting up so I don’t know if it ever posted. Anyway, your dosas are gorgeous! :)

  4. arundati said

    i admit i have never cooked with paanch phoron…the more posts with this that i see, the more i think i am really missing something…..looks good….

    I have hardly cooked with it either, Arundati — maybe once or twice. I guess it wasn’t traditional to powder it but it was surely tasty. Thanks! :)

  5. Vani said

    That looks yum, Linda! I’ve never used panch phoron so far. Will get some and definitely try. Love the color & texture of the gravy, L!

    Oh, do try Vani — you will love it. So fragrant and different! Thanks for your nice comments :)

  6. mandira said

    Linda, this looks fantastic! I want some of it :) Thank you for your kind words, and for playing along.

    Anytime, Mandira; thank *you* for including me and the chance to use this lovely spice mix! :)

  7. Mamatha said

    “Food is tastier when sauced with friendship”

    Truer words were never spoken. All the camaraderie and good-will among the food-blogdom makes me want to be a part of it but I know I’d could never do justice to it and be as committed as all of you. Hats off to all the food-bloggers.

    The paneer gravy looks so rich – I can only imagine how sublime it must taste.

    Mamatha, you *are* part of it every time you stop by to say hello! Happy to see you and thank you for your kind words :)

  8. TBC said

    That sounds delicious. Panch phoran is something that I hadn’t discovered until recently. I just love it now.
    BTW, I too make tomato puree cubes. It is such a timesaver!

    Thanks TBC. The panch phoran is going to be used more often in my kitchen now, too. And yes, can’t beat those frozen tomatoes! :)

  9. Bharathy said

    Very apt secret ing for RCI-Bengal !!..

    I read abt Panch phoron first in Sandeepas place..
    Very rich and yummy gravy here,Linda :)

    Hope you enjoyed being a part of the chain!
    Hugs! :)

    I really did enjoy it, Bharathy, thanks! I’m glad you liked the gravy. Hugs to you! :)

  10. sra said

    Nice post, Linda! And powdering the panch phoron – wow!

    Thanks Sra, nice to see you :)

  11. sandeepa said

    You are one innovative lady Linda. Trust me, I have not used panch phoron pwder in a gravy based dish yet !!!
    The dish looks awesome, thanks for the entry dear

    Thanks for all your hard work hosting, Sandeepa! Panch phoron powder really perked up simple tomato and onion :)

  12. Namratha said

    A lovely dish Linda, like all the flavours in it!

    Thank you Namratha! :)

  13. Saswati said

    hi linda my first time here and i have just fallen in love with your space:)panch phoron is used daily to flavour our curries as i belong to the eastern part of India.felt very proud to see the spice mix used in your blog dish.

    Thank you Saswati — I’m so glad you passed by! I will have to check out your blog too :)

  14. elaichietcetera said

    Hey, nice use of panch phoran this way- had never thought of it! but I love dry-roasted kalonji and cumin…so, what a nice way to cook low-fat! I’m on panir-probation right now until my whey is used up… :-(

    Haha, Pel! Glad to see you can police yourself — you’re better at that than I am! ;)

  15. Nupur said

    What a beautiful post this is, Linda. Your truly captured what food blogging is all about- much more than a collection of recipes.
    This is the very first time I have come across panch phoran being used in this creative way- by being powdered together! I think you will need to patent this, Linda :)
    The curry is too delectable for words.

    Aw, thanks so much Nupur :) I am a rebel when it comes to tradition, I guess! ;)

  16. richa said

    aah! paneer & potato, what more can one ask for ;)
    lovely gravy!

    What more indeed, Richa, can’t go wrong! Thanks :)

  17. Nags said

    that gravy looks soooo yummy!!

    Thank you Nags! :)

  18. Happy Cook said

    Wow this paneer dish looks so creamy.
    Have bookmarked it.
    I am on a break but then when i saw arusuvai chain i had to come and take a peep to know wht the mystery indridient was.

    Hi HC, I’m so glad you passed by and liked what you saw! Hope you have a great enjoyable break! :)

  19. Harini said

    Hi Linda, beautiful layout, that one is a really good snap…I would like to take one like that, and yes! I love the music……must look around a bit more!

    Hi Harini, I’m so pleased you liked the post! Thanks for your kind words. I have to look around your blog, too :)

  20. Meera said

    Simply delicious & creative too!

    Thanks so much, Meera! :)

  21. vineela said

    Potatoes with paneer really taste yum.PP gives nice flavour .
    thanks for sharing.
    vineela

    Thanks Vineela, so happy to see you here :)

  22. Natasha M said

    Hi Linda,

    I found your blog today and spent a couple of hours browsing through your recipes and pictures of your cats.

    I plan to try this recipe for lunch tomorrow – it looks simple and delicious (i’m a sucker for any recipe with fried boiled potatoes)

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