Paneer, spinach and pea makhaniPosted: July 8, 2012
Hello, it’s been a while. Don’t worry, this isn’t another one of those “sorry I haven’t blogged in ages” posts because I don’t really see the point of those. Personally, I blame the year round availability of unseasonal fruit in our supermarkets – people just think they can have what they want when they want it all the time. Perhaps it might help if you just think of me as an organic greengage, or something.
Anyway. Aren’t peas brilliant? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve podded and ploughed my way through a fresh bag fully intending to use them in a meal but with absolutely nada to show at the end. I had to exercise a lot of self restraint for this dish, but am super pleased I did because it’s bloody sensational.
At about 4am last Tuesday I had a proper hankering for mutter paneer, palak paneer and also for makhani paneer (think butter chicken but with paneer instead of poultry). You might say I really, really wanted paneer.
This was the result – a glorious mash up of all three. Packed with sweet fresh* peas and spinach for all those crucial vits plus sour cream (SO authentic, I know) butter and cashews for a healthy dose of hedonic richness. A win-win dish if ever there was one.
2 large onions
4-5 cloves garlic
2 inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
60g roasted cashew nuts
A little blitzing water
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. curry powder
salt to taste (I used a teaspoon)
¼ – ½ tsp. chilli powder
½ – 1 tsp. dried fenugreek (methi) leaves
1 tsp. coriander powder
½ tsp. turmeric powder
1 tbsp. tomato puree
2-3 tbsp. sour cream (coconut milk would be lush)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 green chillies chopped finely
2 tbsp. coriander stems, chopped finely
1 tbsp. sunflower oil
A large knob of butter
2 tsp. cumin seeds
227g paneer cubed
300ml veg. stock
chopped fresh tomatoes (250g-ish)
200g spinach leaves-wilted in a colander with boiling water from the kettle then chopped
145g shelled peas (*you can of course use frozen if you don’t have fresh)
coriander leaves chopped fine to garnish
A few extra whole toasted cashews to serve
- Blitz onion, cashews, garlic and ginger to a rough paste in a blender with a little water.
- Mix sugar, curry powder, salt, chilli powder, fenugreek leaves, coriander powder, turmeric and tomato puree in a bowl. Add the cream and lemon juice, green chilli and coriander stems
- Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add oil. Once it’s hot add the butter and cumin seeds and wait for them to splutter.
- Add the onion mix and fry until it turns a sort of frazzled beige colour (this took about 20 minutes over a low heat, giving any excess water the chance to evaporate). Add the paneer cubes and cook until everything is well crusted and golden.
- Stir in the stock, spiced cream and fresh tomatoes. Cook for 10 mins on a low heat.
- Finally, add the peas and spinach. Adjust seasoning to taste, scatter over the toasted cashews and coriander leaves. Serve with hot plain rice.