Join the new Indian cooking revolution!!! Modern Spice releases in India on May 15th 2010! 

"On a recent visit to Bangalore, I was proudly shown the new kitchen some friends had installed in their home. It was a modular, “no carpenter required”, Italian-style kitchen and they were very excited about it. After the tour, my friends took me to the market where they shopped. It looked nothing like the markets I remembered from my days in Bangalore in the early nineties when I studied engineering there. Folks were buying exotic herbs, foreign vegetables and fermented dosa batter, ready to use…."

Read the entire piece here -

MS COVER_final after Wet proof-1

Paneer with Orange-Apricot Chutney

– makes 54 pieces paneer and about 1 3/4 to 2 cups chutney –

From Modern Spice by Monica Bhide (Random House, 2010) 


Photo courtesy of Peggy Bourjaily 


For the Paneer:

400-gram/14-ounce paneer slab
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the Chutney:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds 
4 to 6 fresh apricots, pitted and diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon minced, peeled fresh ginger
1 small green serrano chile, seeded and minced
2 cups fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon red chile powder or red chile flakes
Pinch of saffron
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup chopped dates, such as Dole's chopped dates
Table salt


1. Cut the paneer into six slabs, 2 1/2 by 2 inches by 1/4-inch thick. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the paneer slabs. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until the paneer is well browned. It should be a medium golden brown color. Don't overcook; it will make the paneer rubbery. Remove from the heat and drain on a paper towel.

2. While the paneer rests, prepare the chutney. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When it begins to shimmer, add the mustard seeds and cook for about 30 seconds, until they begin to sizzle.

3. Add the apricots, ginger, chile, orange and lemon juices, chile powder, saffron, and dates. Mix well. Cook over medium heat for about 25 minutes, until the chutney has thickened and the apricots have mostly dissolved. There will be a few pieces left.

4. Remove from the heat and stir in salt to taste.

5. Cut each slab of paneer into 9 cubes. Place the warm chutney in an attractive bowl in the center of a platter. Surround with the cubed paneer. Add toothpicks to the paneer pieces and serve.

Note: Mustard seeds burn easily so keep an eye on them when they are cooking. They tend to sputter and spew as if they are angry and want to make their presence felt. So watch yourself when you cook them! There is no saving burnt mustard seeds; discard them and start again.


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  1. What an interesting and novel use of chutney. I love cottage cheese recipes and this sounds intriguing. Congrats on the Indian Edition of Modern Spice Monica… good wishes being sent your way!!

  2. Looks very delicious. I’ve never tried Indian cuisine. When I see your photo above, I was interested to try it. I’ll give this recipe to my wife and beg her to be made. Can you recommend a good Indian restaurant in New York? Thank you…

  3. November 12 to 21, 2010 will see Bangaloreans rushing to some of the best restaurants participating in the Bangalore Restaurant Week. Witness a buzz of activities, events, contests and food related records being broken.

    Everyone involved in the food and beverage and hospitality industry of Bangalore must attend and witness history in the making.

    More details at:

  4. I did taste a couple of Indian variants like the paneer with butter masala but i’ve never tasted Paneer with Orange-Apricot masala. Would it taste sweet? I will give it a try and get back to you with an update…

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