Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Eats: Paneer Masala

Growing up in a small town didn't yeild much in the way of cultural experience, especially in the food department. Over the past few years I've become totally fascinated with the opporunities that are presented by living in a larger city. Strongly enough that I've decided I definitely want to raise my children with such opportunity. Whether it be introducing all different types of food to the dinner table of our farm house in the country or at the restaurant we walk to down the street from our condo.

I'd like to mention that this is an area of life I've personally found passion in. It's not as important to some as it is for me. And that's okay. Those little kiddos may not have interest in it like I do, but at least the experience will have happened so that when they move on one day, they'll know a wee more about the rest of the world, through food. That can't be a bad thing...right?

So on to Indian food. It seems I've taken a strong liking to dishes specifically titled with the word Masala but havent been able to consistently order the correct dish when eating out. Through a little research I've discovered Masala means "a mix of spices." There is a specific blend of Masala called Garam Masala that is more typically used in North India and some nearby countries. The spices in this mixture can differ from region to region, home to home.  I'm still searching for the blend I like best. For starters though I thought I'd start with a store bought Garam as a base and work on my version of the recipe found on the blog Edible Garden.

The "restaurant style" portion of this recipe lies in the cream! Apparently they go heavy on this ingredient. And that's probably why we love it so much more when eating out versus cooking it from scratch at home. So in desperate search of the delicious dish we've tasted and crave, I started with this recipe and went heavy on the cream.

Pan fry paneer in a few tbsps olive oil until browned on all sides.
place on paper towel until masala is complete
in the same pan add a bit more oil and saute a medium sized onion half way through
then add 1 tbsp grated ginger and minced garlic
cook until light brown
then add1 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tbsp coriander powder, and 1 tsp of salt. stir well and cook for about a minute
then add 1 tbsp tomato paste and almost 1 tbsp ketchup. stir well
add a good handful of fenugreek (shown here is a ground version which probably wasnt the best type to use) the original recipe calls for dried fenugreek leaves so if you can find them go with that and add a good amount.
making sure the pan is on medium (not too hot) slowly 1/2 cup yogurt.
give it a good stir and cook for a good 2 minutes. Once back to a simmer, add 1 cup cream
then add peas...raisins could work here too..
add cooked paneer, stir well and cook for a bit longer to give the paneer a chance to soak up the flavor of the masla
 serve over a bed of basmati rice along side a piece of naan and there you have a delicious homemade Indian dish.
Shopping List:

 1 package Paneer
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger/minced garlic
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp Garam Masla
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp tomato paste
almost 1 tbsp ketchup
1 large pinch dried fenugreek leaves
 1/2 cup yogurt
1 cup cream
olive oil
Salt to taste

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