When I found out that Challenge #2 for Project Food Blog was to tackle a classic ethnic dish, I immediately had a horrific flashback to my attempt to make Weight Watcher friendly pad thai. Lets just say that 3 years later, The Scientist is still traumatized and I have a permanent scar on my right hand. True Story.
I raced through my mind of all the different cuisines I have been introduced to since moving to Boston…Thai, Ethiopian, Korean, and my absolute fave, Indian. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but I love all things Indian. The clothing, the food, the spice, one of their men.
I went to the Indian grocery store to get some much needed spices and some inspiration. So much to look at!
I decided that for Project Food Blog Challenge #2 my objective is to either Go Big or Go Home. Here is my BIG!
Hello Kadai Paneer!
Kadai=Indian Wok Paneer=Indian cheese
The first step to making some stellar Kadai Paneer is to make the paneer. Yep, you read that right. I made cheese. Sure, you could buy this pre-made, but it is so simple to make at home. Easy peasy with only 2 ingredients.
In the mix
-4 cups whole milk
-3 tbsp lemon juice
*Bring your milk to a low boil. Make sure to keep stirring the milk. It burns pretty easily and the last thing you want hanging out in your house is burnt milk. Take my word for it.
*Once the milk has started to boil, turn the heat off.
*Slowly add in the lemon juice.
*It will immediately start to curdle. This is one of the few times that we will yell “YAY for curdling!” in the kitchen. Enjoy it!
*Allow it to cool and separate for about 30 minutes.
*Enjoy a tasty adult beverage.
*Cooking and drinking! Caught in the act…oops!
*Once cooled, pour the mixture into a cheesecloth lined colander.
*Wrap the cheesecloth around the curd really tight in order to squeeze out all the moisture.
*I decided to make use of my super fun Tofu Xpress to get the rest of the moisture out. WOOT! I love when things serve multiple purposes. You can place a heavy plate or skillet on the top if you don’t have a handy dandy Tofu Xpress.
*Stick it in the fridge for about 2 hours. CHEESE!
Paneer doesn’t have a ton of flavor, so the rest of this recipe is the killer part.
In the mix (Serves 4):
-2 tsp oil
-1 red onion, finely diced
-1 green chili (2 if you are feeling adventurous!), finely diced
-1 tsp ginger garlic paste
-2 tomatoes, pureed
-3-4 cloves of garlic, diced
-1 tsp red chili powder
-1/8 tsp turmeric powder
-1/2 tsp cumin seeds
-1 tsp coriander powder
-Pinch of dried fenugreek leaves
-salt to taste
*Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add in onions and chili.
*Mix together all dried spices, except fenugreek leaves.
*Add the spices to the onion and chili mix, along with the pureed tomatoes and ginger garlic paste.
*Allow this to simmer for about 2 minutes. Add in fenugreek leaves and simmer for a few more minutes. Finally, add in the paneer.
*Slowly fold the paneer into the mixture. This paneer breaks apart easily and you want it to stay in cube form. Allow it to cook for about 2 more minutes and then pull off the heat.
*Serve over basmati rice.
*On a side note, the rice cooker is the one of the best inventions EVAH.
Tada! The classic Indian dish, Kadai Paneer!
By keeping the paneer in tact, you have some great textures and bites of cheese with spice!
I also paired my dish with a piece of pratha that was home-made from the Indian grocery store.
The final piece of my meal to pull it all together? A mango lassi! A lassi is a yogurt based drink. And it is delish!
Ready for one last recipe?!
In the mix
-1 6 oz. yogurt
-1 cup mango puree
-1 cup ice
-Honey to taste
-Salt to taste
Phew! Every bit of the meal was so much fun to make! Stepping outside of my comfort zone not only brought me a variety of different foods to try, but also brought me to a new grocery store, introduced me to new spices, and got me to try new techniques. Exciting stuff kids!
I hope that you all had an exciting/relaxing/invigorating/ lovely weekend. You know, whatever your boat needs to float.