29 November 2011

Good Stuff with Paneer

I started making paneer a lot more often when we lived in Tokmok and even though buying fresh whole milk isn't quite as convenient in Bishkek, we still eat lots of paneer.  Here's what I like to do with it now.  The third recipe is based on a Bhutanese dish, the last is similar to a Greek dish, and the first two are mostly Indian.

When I say spices, I mean to just add what you like.  For these recipes I add about a teaspoon each of coriander and cayenne pepper, then 1/2 tsp of turmeric, cumin, fennel, mustard seed, and nigella.  Other people like garam masala.

Paneer and Garbanzos

Paneer made from three liters of milk, cubed and fried till golden
2-3 cups cooked garbanzos
One chopped onion
Lots of minced garlic
Salt to taste
Chopped cilantro

Heat the oil in a wok, then add the spices and stir-fry till they're fragrant, then add the onions and stir-fry till they're just starting to brown.  Add the garlic a little before that.  Add the paneer and garbanzos and salt and stir-fry for a few minutes.  Adjust the seasonings, then stir in the chopped cilantro.  This is good right off the stove, but it's also good warm.  Serve with naan (and of course Central Asian is best).

Paneer and Potatoes

This is the same as the previous recipe, except use diced cooked potatoes (boiled, baked, or fried, just don't use mushy ones) instead of the garbanzos

Paneer with Spicy Tomatoes

4 cayennes, chopped, or more if you want them seeded- 8 isn't too many if you seed

1 large onion, sliced
1 1/2 cups water

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups tomatoes, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
Paneer from 2-3 liters of milk, cubed (you can fry it ahead of time if you like)
1 tsp salt, or to taste

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Put the chiles, onion, water, and oil in a medium pan and bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and garlic and bring back to a boil to simmer for 10 more minutes. Add the paneer and salt cook for a few more minutes.  This is best served warm, so remove from the heat, cover, and let sit for ten minutes before adjusting the seasoning and stirring in the cilantro. You can serve this with rice, but I think it's best with naan.

Potatoes Simmered with Tomatoes with Paneer

About 8 potatoes (not baking, if possible), peeled and cut into wedges like an apple
1 cup water
1 cup tomato sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Simmer the above till the potatoes are just barely tender.  While it's simmering, heat some oil in a wokand add some spices that make you happy.  I did cumin, coriander, mustard seed, cayenne, turmeric, and nigella.  Add a chopped onion and as much garlic as you like and fry till the onions are soft.  While that's cooking, heat oil in another frying pan and fry 1/2 pound of sliced paneer till it's crispy and golden.  Or you can skip the frying; the cheese will be quite soft if you don't fry it first, although it won't melt.  Add the fried-or-not paneer to the onions and cook for a couple more minutes.  Season to taste and dump into the potatoes and cook a minute or two more. Like always, best with hot, crusty naan.

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