So I'm in my kitchen making a pot of mattar paneer. I can cook this recipe in my sleep. I say this with complete confidence because, on more than one occasion, I have dreamed about making it step by step. I've got the peas going on the stove and turn away for a second to mix a teaspoon of cornstarch into the yogurt, because I'm out of arrowroot, and then back to the peas.

When I turn back to the yogurt I'm surprised to find it spilling over the lip of the measuring cup. Oh, god, I think, is this because they put pectin in the yogurt? I hate it when they put pectin in the yogurt. I should have just paid more for the real stuff. I carefully carry the measuring cup across the kitchen and begin folding the yogurt into the sauce.

Which begins to boil. Now I'm cursing myself for not having let it cool down enough before adding the yogurt. (I have never actually boiled yogurt before.) Hoping I haven't just ruined dinner, I set it to cool and start to wash the dishes. I happen to lick the spoon before I dump it in the sink. It tastes oddly salty.

Which is when I realise I haven't used cornstarch at all, but baking soda. For what it's worth, it lends a slightly salty-bitter taste to the dish, and seems to have dissolved most of the paneer on contact, but otherwise it's wholly edible.

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