Getting Fixed [Paneer Do Piaza]

With Arthur just over four months old, m hay and I face a decision: do we get him neutered?

It seems this isn’t much of a choice nowadays. The vast majority of people I’ve talked to are pushy in their thoughts that it’s the thing to do to control aggression and population, among other things.

At every vet appointment,”when Arthur comes back to get neutered” is hinted at.

Ultimately, I think it’s an unnecessary surgery for Arthur.

He’s always supervised, so population control isn’t a concern for me.

When to controlling aggression, I think that argument is trash. An aggressive dog isn’t aggressive solely because it isn’t neutered.

I was quite surprised when I heard from three dog owners in my neighbourhood that their dogs actually became more aggressive after being neutered than they were before. These dogs are now aggressive towards whole dogs. Maybe they’re scared or jealous in a doggie sort of way. Who knows. They obviously feel different and uncomfortable, or insecure, with themselves.

I don’t want to make Arthur uncomfortable, physically or mentally.

He’s a lovely dog. If he needs the surgery for health reasons at a later date, then we will have it performed at a later date.

Today’s recipe uses paneer, the pressed, non-melting Indian cottage cheese. This cheese has a mild flavour and semi-firm, slightly squeaky texture. It’s a common source of vegetarian protein in India.

Paneer Do Piaza is more of a stir-fry than a curry. “Do Piaza” means “double onion”. Onion is used twice in this dish — caramelized ones in the sauce and strips of red onion in the stir-fry assembly.

Paneer Do Piaza

For the sauce:

3 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
8 red thai bird’s eye chilies, pounded in a mortar and pestle
1 green chili, finely chopped
2 tbsp ginger, minced
1/4 cup garlic, minced
4 large tomatoes, finely chopped
2 tbsp coriander seeds, coarsely ground
1 tsp garam masala
1 1/2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves, crumbled
ghee, for frying
salt, to taste

In a large, heavy bottomed pot, caramelize the onions in 3 tablespoons of ghee. Remove from pot.

Over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of ghee in the same pot. Brown the garlic until golden. Stir in the ginger, coriander seeds and red chilies. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Don’t breathe in the fumes!

Return caramelized onions to the pot. Add the green chili and tomatoes. Cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes are fully broken down and all excess moisture has evaporated.

Stir in the garam masala and the dried fenugreek leaves. Season to taste with salt.

For the assembly:

600 g paneer, cut into batons
1 large red onion, cut into strips
3 red, yellow or orange bell peppers, cut into strips
juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp cilantro leaves, finely chopped
ginger julienne, for garnish
ghee for frying
salt, to taste

In a large frying pan, brown the paneer batons on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add the onion strips to the pan and saute over high heat until they just begin to colour, about 3 minutes. Add the pepper strips and saute another 2 minutes. Add the sauce and mix well.

Add the paneer batons and 1 tablespoon of the chopped cilantro. Toss. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Plate and garnish with remaining chopped cilantro, crushed dried fenugreek leaves and ginger julienne.

Serve with basmati rice, naan or roti.

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