For our Meat Free Monday, I am introducing you to Paneer. I love everything about food. Eating them, making them, sharing them and taking photos of them. I am not as crazy about food before as I am now, I’m thinking maybe it’s the change of environment. I got my cooking passion from my mom, she is a great cook. She was the one who thought me how to cook, starting from simple dishes to somewhat complicated and favorite Filipino dishes. From time to time we eat out so I had chance to try other food. Filipino food is like a fusion of many cuisine. We have large influence from Spanish and Chinese, not to mention North American as well, so I’m exposed to it. But I cannot recall seeing a lot of Indian or Mediterranean restaurants back then, or maybe they were there I was just not aware of the that time.
Moving to Canada gave me a lot of exposure to different kind of cuisine. It is in Canada the discovered my love for Mediterranean food, Greek, Persian, Turkish and more. And to that list I’m also adding Indian food. I have quite a lot of favorite Indian food, some of them I don’t even know what they are called. There are some that I can remember like tandoori chicken, paneer curry, buttered chicken, tikka masala and biryani rice. The biryani! Don’t even get me started with biryani, I’m head over heels in love with it!
With Indian food, it’s all about spices, flavor and texture. Actually it’s the spices that got me hooked, I love spicy foods and hence my blog name SweetNSpicyLiving. Spices and cooking technique are the key to the amazing Indian cuisine. I can never make any of their dish in an authentic way, because I cannot simply complete the list of spices needed to make their dish. I’m not familiar with a some of them, and if they have it in groceries they sell it in bulk. It would last years in my cupboard before I used all of it, but by then it’s already expired. But that doesn’t stop me from making some of their dishes at home. It’s not authentic, it’s my version but I’m happy with it.
My version of Paneer Curry
Paneer or Indian Cottage Cheese is one thing that I’m recently obsessed with. I had this in our favorite Indian restaurant and I simply cannot get enough of it. It’s a simple curry dish but the flavor was amazing! The sauce, so thick, so creamy, so tasty! Because I don’t eat out often and I certainly cannot go buffet every time, I decided to make a version of it, my sweetnspicy version. So what is my version? Well, it’s the original and traditional minus the spices that I cannot find. So if you make this, and you think you have the spices that it normally used to make this dish, feel free to add it. I’m pretty sure it will taste even better.
I’ve sautéed all the ingredients, tomato, onions, all the spices. I’ve learned that adding the spices tends to extract the flavor of the spices better thus giving better flavor. I also used fresh tomato, to give a natural sweetness and also to help thicken the sauce. Then comes the coconut milk, sorry but I cannot make my curry without coconut milk (with the exception of my Chickpea Curry which turned out amazing without it), it’s just something that is so natural to me when it comes to curry. It’s a simple dish, my simplified version and I like it. The sauce came out thick and flavorful which is by the way very important when using paneer. Paneer doesn’t have a taste on its own, it’s like tofu so the taste depends highly on the sauce of the dish. Let me show you how I made it. Let’s get started!
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 small (about 1/3 cup) onion – chopped
- 1 small tomato – chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp paprika
- 3/4 tsp turmeric
- 3/4 tsp chili pepper
- 1/3 cup coconut milk
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 3/4 tsp curry powder
- 200g paneer (It is in the galss standing freezer Asian section in the grocery)
- 1 small green bell pepper
- In a heated pan under medium heat, add oil, onion tomato, salt, paprika,turmeric,chili pepper, sugar,cumin, and curry powder. Stir until tomato and onions are well cooked, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add paneer and bell pepper and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Stir to coat the paneer with the spices.
- Add coconut milk. Cover and simmer until sauce is reduced to your liking. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. I find that it taste even better after few days because the paneer absorbs the seasonings, but it’s ready to serve once it’s done.
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