Celery is one herb who loves me the most I guess. No I am quite sure about it.
Because the ones who love you can wait till you make your mind .
And celery waited till I started liking it. I was never too enthusiastic about celery as the flavor was new to my palate and I had to experiment a lot to make this flavor mine. I tried a paneer and celery scones long time back , when I had just one pot of celery growing , and that was the time I had started having a genuine liking for this herb. I had found the perfect desi videshi fusion for this herb and I knew the garden needs some more celery. The celery has it's own bed in the garden now and a few more containers for a lush green corner ...
I will tell you how celery expresses it's love for me . This is the only herb which I could grow from seeds and which is growing happily in my garden while all the other herbs are being snooty and demand great care. The ribs are not very thick and fleshy as I keep cutting the outer ribs for my soups , salads , smoothies, daals and even curries. This herb is growing despite some insects biting it's legs, literally...
And the recipe takes just about 25 minutes , if you start from skimmed milk to make your own fresh paneer too.
celery ribs and leaves a bunch
(i used all the ribs in the picture, about 4-5 thick ribs will be great)
finely diced onions 3/4 cup
garlic finely chopped 1 tsp
red chilly powder 1/4 tsp
freshly milled black peppercorns 1 tbsp or more
freshly grated nutmeg 1/5 tsp
oil (i used sunflower oil) 2 tsp
fresh cream (i used malai) 1 tbsp
milk 1/4 cup
freshly made paneer 100gm (i made it from 500 ml skimmed milk)
salt to taste
Start boiling the milk in a pan for making the paneer and do the chopping in the meantime . Chop the celery sticks finely and onions in the same size too . The celery was about 1 1/2 cups loosely packed.
Add lime juice or vinegar to the milk just before boiling , wait till it curdles and strain to make paneer . See details here.
Heat oil in a pan and throw in the chopped garlic first and let it get pinkish . Keep the flame at medium level so the garlic doesn't burn.
Add the chopped onion , stir well to coat and then add the chopped celery too . Add salt and mix well to cook lightly . The vegetables are cooked to just make them sweat in the pan and not too much to make them mushy.
Add the milled peppercorns , grated nutmeg, the fresh cream , milk and the cubed fresh paneer (there is no need to hang the paneer or to press it under weight) .
Cover and cook for just 2-3 minutes.... the first time i made this curry i was thinking of liquidizing the cooked vegetables before adding the paneer but went ahead with them as it is . I like the texture in any flavorful dish and the husband liked this curry this way too. The curry has been an oft repeated one in the same tidbits n paneer avatar ....
Actually this is one of the curries which get instant thumbs up . Do liquidize the cooked vegetables if you feel you may not like the texture .
Rest assured about the flavors it brings to your table...trust me.
Serve with whole wheat chapatis ..
Sometimes the chopping is not as fine as i write , you can see the bits of celery rib and the onions in the picture , but trust me on the taste . A tingling nutmeg and black pepper corn notes leave you asking for more... and the softness of the freshly made paneer doesn't help much in reaching out for second and third helpings...