I’ve had a lot of pale foods lately. You know what I mean. Things with creamy, white sauces, pastas, potatoes. I needed some COLOR and some SPICE! I can’t go very long without reverting back to my roots. There are lots of times we eat completely vegetarian meals, not really on purpose but because we never miss the meat. Especially food from my part of the world. The flavors, the spices and the textures are so great, you never even think to yourself…”where’s the beef?” This is one of those dishes. Paneer is a South Asian cheese. Paneers can be used to make desserts, to put into breads or made into savory dishes. It’s versatility can take on any flavors, kind of like tofu. Paneer can also easily be made at home. I didn’t have time today to make my paneer from scratch (I shall post a paneer making post really soon). I just bought some from the store. Nowadays you can pick up paneer even at the specialty section of regular grocery stores. This dish is pretty quick and it’s very, VERY tasty. I love to serve it with Aloo Naan (savory potato stuffed flat bread) and some Raita (a cucumber, tomato and yogurt side salad). It’s one of my favorite comfort foods.
Subzi Paneer MasalaHere’s the recipe:
12 ounces of Paneer, cut into strips or cubes
1/8 cup of oil
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger
1 Serrano Chili
1/2 tsp Jeera (cumin seeds)
1/4 tsp Hing (Aseofatida powder, it stinks but it’s awesome to cook with)
1 tbsp Coriander powder (Dhania)
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Red chili powder
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1 red bell pepper, cut into little chunks
1 green bell pepper, cut into little chunks
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt (or adjust to your taste)
In a blender or food processor mix the tomatoes, garlic, ginger, onion and green chili into a puree. Set aside.
In a skillet or pan heat the oil and shallow fry the paneer pieces until they are golden brown. Take them out and put them in a paper towel lined pan. In the same oil add the green and red bell peppers and cook for about 3 minutes until tender but not over cooked. Take out and put in the same pan as the paneer and set aside.
Add to the pan the Cumin seeds and hing and stir fry until the seeds pop (should take only a few seconds). Add the tomato puree, coriander powder, salt, turmeric, chili and bay leaves. Cook over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes or until the oil separates a little from the tomato puree and the whole sauce reduces to almost half the quantity.
Mix yogurt and water together and add to the sauce. Stir and simmer for another 3 minutes or so. Add the Paneer, bell pepper and green peas to the sauce, cook for about a minute until the peas are tender. Add the garam masala, sugar and cilantro and stir well. Cook another minute or so and remove from heat. Fish out the two bay leaves. Serve hot with Aloo Naan or plain Naan.