Saturday, July 25, 2009

Palak Paneer, Aloo Gobi (Spiced Cauliflower), and Cumin Rice

This combination of dishes makes a nice meal and great leftovers. I like to use paneer when I can get it easily, but the recipe works well with firm tofu or even chicken (though then I guess it's a different dish). These recipes are based around Manjula's Kitchen, though I altered them a little to avoid hard-to-find ingredients. Check out the videos if you want step-by-step instructions or more recipe ideas.

My most recent attempt. I didn't have cilantro to add to the aloo gobi, but it's still delicious without it.

Palak Paneer

1 1/2-2 c. paneer, cubed (or extra-firm tofu, cubed and patted dry)
1 box frozen spinach, thawed, drained well, and chopped
2-3 plum tomatoes, pureed, or 1/2 can tomato puree
2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp. salt
2 tsp. whole cumin seed
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. cayenne
3 Tbsp. flour
1/4 c. water + more water
1/2 c. heavy cream or half and half
2 Tbsp. butter
oil for frying
tomato slices for garnish

Fry the paneer or tofu in a moderate amount of oil, so that the cubes seal and begin to turn slightly golden brown and crisp on the edges. Drain and set aside.

In a deep saute pan, heat up 2 Tbsp. oil until quite hot. Add the ginger and garlic and stir for a few seconds until it begins to brown. Add the remaining spices and stir for a few more moments (but don't let them burn). Add the tomato puree to the pan and bring it to a brisk simmer for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until the liquid is reduced and the mixture is thick.

Add the spinach,~1/2 c. water, and salt. Combine the 1/4 c. water with the flour to make a slurry. Add to the pan and stir, simmering until the mixture thickens.

Gently fold in the paneer and butter and heat until the paneer is warmed through and the butter is melted. Adjust the salt level. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the heavy cream. Serve with tomato slices on top (they really make it good!).

Aloo Gobi

1 cauliflower, cut into large florets
2-3 medium red potatoes, cut into ~6 wedges each
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
3 Tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/4 c. water + 1/2 c. water
1-2 jalapenos, seeded and slivered
2 bay leaves
2 Tsp. whole cumin seeds
2 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. tamarind sauce (or 2 Tbsp. lemon juice)
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the butter over medium in a large pot with a lid, until it just begins to brown. Mix the ginger, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne together in 1/4 c. water. Pour the spice + water mixture into the hot butter and stir as the spices sizzle and get fragrant.

Add the jalapeno slices, bay leaves, and cumin seeds and stir for a few seconds, as the jalapenos cook.

Add the cauliflower, potatoes, salt, and 1/4 c. water and toss gently to combine. Bring to a simmer and put the lid on, cooking for 7-8 minutes. Check the tenderness of the vegetables, stir gently, and add more water if necessary. Return to a simmer and cook until they are the desired texture.

Stir in the tamarind sauce (thinned in water if need be) and sugar and taste. Adjust seasonings if necessary. At the end, toss with fresh cilantro.

Cumin Rice

2 c. jasmine rice
adequate water
2 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. whole cumin seeds

Cook the rice as you normally do, but with butter, salt, and cumin seeds

Looks like I made this months ago, took pictures, but never added the recipe :-P. You can see I added peas to the palak paneer (making it palak muttar paneer?). I also made the paneer from scratch. The rice is just plain jasmine rice.

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