Saturday, 1 June 2013

Guest Post by Anjali Hall: Anjali’s Sunday Paneer Curry (Vegetarian)



I confess that I do not cover anywhere enough meat free food on this blog. Him Indoors is a passionate meat eater, and is only up for veggie food which packs a big flavour punch. And I love meat and fish too much to insist on Meat Free Mondays or anything similar. So other than a handful of vegetarian recipes, most of my dishes are meaty ones.

Indian vegetarian food is, however, marvellous. Somehow the spices, variety of vegetables used and the cooking techniques make dishes which are full of flavour and satisfying to even hardened ‘meat heads’ like us. We have both remarked if we ever had to give up meat, we would have to survive on Indian vegetarian food. The various dry and wet curries, the lentils, bhajis..... drool!

Anjali Hall is yet another of my young, super talented former students. So I am delighted that she offered to write me a guest post with an original recipe for a vegetarian Paneer Curry.

Anjali is a former BPTC student from 2010-12. Everything you need to know about her inner strength, perseverance and staying power is evidenced by the fact that she did the course Part Time whilst looking after her daughter and holding down a job. I’m exhausted just writing about that achievement!

She’s an amazing, intelligent, lively person, who was always a friendly face in my drafting lectures and employment law seminars. If you are a twitter person, you will find her at @anjalisagenda

Anjali is also a committed vegetarian who somehow puts up with my meaty obsessions at Snig’s Kitchen. Thanks to her influence, I will put more effort into covering meat free dishes. 

Paneer is a fresh Indian cheese made without any aging process. It literally is all the curds compacted, with the fluid drained off until it forms a solid block. My mum used to make her own. Thankfully you will be able to get it in many supermarkets (particularly if you live in an area where there is an Indian community) or you can get it from Indian run grocers. 

So I’m so pleased she has shared her culinary talents with me and my readers. I’ll hand over to her, without further ado!


Anjali’s Sunday Paneer

Not a healthy dish by any stretch but it tasted very good! My mother in law actually asked me for the recipe, so I’ve taken the time to write it down for her, and at the request of Snigdha, who admits that her superb food blog is lacking on the veggie recipes front! Dedications over.

We had this on a Sunday when I was scraping the bottom of the fridge and freezer for ingredients. I rarely follow recipes because I never have the right stuff in and I’m terrible at organising shopping but do love reading recipes and stealing the best bits from all of my faves.

Anjali’s Sunday Paneer Curry

Ingredients:
Paneer
Onions
Ginger
Garlic
Sweet pepper (thought this might bring a nice touch of colour to the dish)
Peas
Milk
One tub of honey flavoured greek yogurt

Spices:
Haldi (turmeric)
Jeera (cumin)
Garam Masala

I cut the block of paneer into cubes and shallow-fried them until they had a nice brown colour. Afterwards I plunged the cubes into a bowl of warm water. I don’t know why I did this, but I saw someone do it once and you see all the oil floating to the top so it somewhat eases my health conscience. Oh and it keeps the paneer moist.

Then I sliced an onion and red sweet pepper into thin slithers and fried them in a little bit of oil. I was going for the hot-dog sweet caramelised effect so this took about 5 mins. To this I added garlic and ginger (I cheated and used the frozen cubed ones as it was all I had) and fried these for a bit.

In a bowl I added half a teaspoon of haldi, two teaspoons of jeera and two teaspoons of garam masala to a bowl, added a bit of water to make a paste and then poured the mixture into the pan with the onions & co. 

I will at this point admit that my choice of spices was *entirely* based on trying to manipulate the colour of the finished dish.  I was also going to make a spicy tomato dish so I didn’t want this curry to have any red in it. Silly, I know.

So, I let that bubble away for a few minutes then added a cup of frozen peas, half a cup of water and a cup of milk.

At this point I panicked- the ‘curry’ was very watery and I didn’t have any cream in or plain yogurt to thicken it. Decided to add a tub of Yeo Valley Greek honey flavoured yogurt and hide the evidence so no one would know what had gone into their lunch.  I added it spoon by spoon initially as I didn’t want it to turn the dish sweet, but then got bored and added in the whole thing. The sauce thickened up nicely and I took it off the heat once the peas were cooked. I added the paneer, gave it a taste and actually the honey flavour worked really well with the spices.

Delicious!

….and now my in laws know the truth about what really went into our Sunday lunch!

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