Paneer, pepper and spinach curry

Featured

Paneer is an Indian cottage cheese that is so versatile and can be used in a whole host of dishes however, sometimes, only a curry will do. I have written this recipe to be medium heat but of course if you are a chilli fiend then simply add in some extra along the way. After a festive season of excess and plenty of meat this recipe is a welcome break from heavy meals. Of course, if you can’t stand to wave goodbye to meat then this curry is perfect for chicken. I have kept the curry is purposefully light and fresh so the paneer is packed with flavour but not swimming in sauce. If, however, you want a curry that is saucier then you can add more tomatoes and reduce it less.

img_20170105_192342

Ingredients- serves 2-3
For the curry paste
2-2 Kashmiri chilies
3tsp each of ground cumin, ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 tso ground fenugreek
2 garlic cloves- crushed
2 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp curry powder
Pinch of salt

For the rest of the curry
Vegetable oil
1 block paneer- cubed
1 tbsp cornflour
1 onion- sliced
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp ajwan seeds
1 red and 1 green bell pepper- chopped
5 vine tomatoes- chopped
Small bag of spinach- washed and roughly chopped
1 tsp garam masala
Fresh coriander to serve (optional)

1. The first thing you will need to do is soak the dried Kashmiri chillies for a little while- around 20minutes will usually do the trick. Whilst they soak you can make the curry paste; simply combine all the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and add a splash of water to bring the paste together. Set aside.

2. In  a large bowl, toss the paneer cubes with the cornflour and a little seasoning. Heat a good glug of oil in a non-stick frying pan and heat to medium-high. Fry the paneer on each side until golden and crisp before removing from the pan and blotting onto kitchen paper to remove any excess oil. Take a third of the curry paste and toss through the paneer. Use a little more kitchen roll to wipe out the pan and add another glug of oil before turning the heat down to low.

3. Add the sliced onion to the pan and cook until softening. At that stage add the mustard seeds, ajwan seeds and cook for a further couple of minutes.Stir through the remaining curry paste. Pop in the chopped bell peppers and continue to cook for a few minutes. If the pan starts looking a little dry then simply add a splash of water and mix it through the onions and peppers.

4. Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan, an extra splash of water and simmer until the tomatoes start to break down and reduce. Don’t be tempted to rush this as the longer it has the richer the sauce will be! When the curry is a few minutes away from being ready, take the marinated paneer and roughly chopped spinach and add to the pan. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the paneer is warmed through and the spinach is wilted. Sprinkle over the garam masala and stir to combine. Serve the curry in warmed bowls with rice or flatbreads on the side. A liberal helping of coriander to finish the dish is optional!

Paneer, pepper and spinach curry- a great way to start the New Year, plenty of flavour and no turkey in sight!

Indian style spicy kale and chickpea curry

Everyone is talking about kale. It clearly is the green leafy vegetable of choice for many and for many good reasons. Not only is it purported to have a whole host of health benefits but it is also delicious! Brighten up your dinner with a spiced vegetarian dish that can be served as either a main or a side dish. This curry is not designed to be swimming in sauce but it is just as flavoursome so give it a go.

wpid-wp-1421340407788.jpeg

Ingredients- serves 2 as a main and 4 as a side
For the curry:
25g unsalted butter
1 onion- finely chopped
1 garlic clove- finely chopped or crushed
1 red chilli- finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp tomato puree
200g kale
400g tin of chickpeas
400ml vegetable stock
3-4 tbsp plain yogurt
1 tsp garam masala

To serve:
Good glug of vegetable oil
Handful of curry leaves
1 banana shallot- cut into rings

1. Get going by heating the butter over a medium heat in a large frying pan. Add the onion until it starts to soften before cooking the garlic and chilli for a further minute with it. Next up goes the cumin, coriander and turmeric to cook for another minute. Stir in the tomato puree.

2. Into the pan goes the chickpeas and stir well so they are coated in the spice mix. Then add the kale and stock to the pan before covering and steaming the kale over a low/ medium heat for 10 minutes until wilted and tender. When it is ready, pop in the yogurt, remove from the heat and cover to keep warm. Just before serving add in the garam masala to lift the flavour even more.

3. I like to serve this with a crispy fried shallot and curry leaves which adds another dimension. To make this, take a small pan and add an inch of oil and warm until hot. Test a shallot ring to double check the oil is the right temperature- it should sizzle as soon as it hits the pan. Fry off the shallot and curry leaves in batches until the piece turn golden, remove with a slotted spoon and blot on kitchen towel.

4. Serve the curry into warmed, deep bowls and sprinkle the shallot and curry leaves over before taking it to the table.

Spicy kale and chickpea curry- a moreish dish for a chilly evening!