In the traditional version of this dish, the rice, paneer and vegetables all cook together.
I like the vegetables to remain crunchy, however, so I cook them separately, then stir them into the rice toward the end of its cooking time.
Serve this subtle pilaf lamb chops or spicy stews.
Wash rice thoroughly.
Place in a bowl, cover with water and let soak 15 minutes.
Cut paneer into cubes.
Brush with 1/2 tablespoon of the oil and broil 2 minutes per side.
Heat remaining oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat.
Add cauliflower, carrots and peppers.
Stir-fry for 5 minutes, or until edges of peppers start to brown.
Remove with slotted spoon and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium.
Add cashews and fry until light golden; remove and set aside.
Add raisins and fry until plump; remove.
Add whole spices to the pan.
Stir and cook 1 minute.
Add rice, increase heat to medium-high, and stir fry until rice is well coated with oil and begins to glisten, about 5 minutes.
Add water, tomato sauce and salt.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 12 minutes.
Uncover and gently stir in vegetables and paneer, Cover and cook 5 minutes longer.
Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes, Fluff rice gently with a fork and transfer to a serving dish.
Garnish with fried raisins and cashews.
PER SERVING: 365 calories, 11 g protein, 46 g carbohydrate, 15 g fat (6 g saturated), cholesterol (not available), 716 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.
From an article by Laxmi Hiremath from the San Francisco Chronicle, 9/1/93.