Sunday

Paneer Curry with Peas


I have a bit of a Palak Paneer addiction. The spinach-cheese-curry mixture represents all that is good in this world. My frequent cravings often result in a drive to Mother India for their palak paneer roti. But you see, Simon is working in California for 3 weeks. Simon who knows how to drive the car and is therefore the bringer of rotis. So, instead of starring longingly at the unusable car outside the window I decided to do something about it. (Before anyone comments: I know, I need to get a driver's license. I am grossly aware of this fact).


I made Paneer Curry with Peas from Epicurious.com. Can I just say how impressed I am with my local natural food store for carrying fresh paneer. So, anyway, I buy the thousand different ingredients needed for any Indian cooking.


And I decided to add some chicken thighs. I did the chicken by mixing some garam masala with yogurt, marinating the chicken in it, then baking them. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly and I have to say, it was kind of gross. It was overly tomato-y and didn't have the rich gravy that I associate so much with delicious Indian curries.














It was really not good. The paneer tasted funny, and  sort of tinny. I had enough leftovers to last the three weeks Simon is away (why do I feel the need to cook for ten times the number of people I will be serving?) so I had to do something to revive it.

















The next night, I fried up some more onion and added three tablespoons of garam masala. Once that was cooked, I added half a cup of yogurt and the left over sauce. I have to say - it was a lot better.

This is the curry after altering it the second night. Less pretty, but definitely more tasty.

It was richer and much less tomato-y. I don't think I would make this recipe again, though. As much as I love a cooking challenge, some things are better left to the pros and the fine people at Mother India make better, cheaper food than I could ever hope to. I do feel that I have to add, though, that Simon's mum has mastered Rogan Josh. So, once I get my hands on her recipe, I'll be up for trying another curry.





















Paneer Curry with Peas
from Epicurious.com


2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 pound paneer or firm or extra-firm tofu, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes

5 tablespoons usli ghee, divided

1 large onion, cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 serrano chile, minced with seeds

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas (from about 1 1/2 pounds peas in pods) or 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Steamed basmati rice

Place flour in medium bowl. Add paneer to bowl; toss to coat with flour. Heat 2 tablespoons ghee in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Shake excess flour from paneer; add to skillet and cook until browned in spots, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes. Transfer paneer to plate; set aside. Reserve skillet.

Place onion pieces in processor. Using on/off turns, process until finely chopped but not watery. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons ghee in reserved skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and stir until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add chopped onion and cook until beginning to brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add minced ginger, minced garlic, ground coriander, and minced serrano chile with seeds; stir 1 minute. Add crushed tomatoes with puree, 1/2 cup water, and turmeric; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium low; cover and simmer until mixture thickens slightly and flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

Add shelled fresh peas and cooked paneer; gently fold to incorporate evenly. Cook mixture over medium-low heat until peas are tender and paneer is heated through, folding occasionally, about 5 minutes. 

Fold in garam masala and cilantro. Season curry to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with steamed basmati rice.

3 comments:

David Toms said...

Must admit it even looks better the second time around.

Sara said...

OMG, this looks amazing! I will have to make this...yum!

Bitter Endive said...

Thanks!