Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Cauliflower, Pea and Paneer Curry

I used to be terrified of curries.  I've always loved them, but the idea of making my own curry seemed beyond impossible.  Growing up in an Italian household meant that my spice drawer only had like oregano, and seeing these curry recipes with 2 dozen spices was incredibly overwhelming.

But then eventually I had the urge to make my own curry.  It's because when going to Indian restaurants, I only know how to order the creamy stuff, and if I were feeling the need to be healthy, I'd have to be an ignorant foreigner and ask the waiter  if there's anything...dry.  And I hate being the ignorant foreigner in a restaurant.

I'll keep this short and sweet because I have to go back to Maths.  The thing is once you've read a couple of curry recipes online, you'll understand the harmonious relationships between all the spices, and you can create your own!  The following spices are pretty prevalent in most curries, so it may be a good idea to stock up your spice drawer with these (it's only like 69p each) so you can have a curry fest whenever you want.

Prep time: 15 min   Cook time: 30 min  Serves: 2   Suitable for:  satisfying healthy Indian cravings 

1 tbs oil
125g paneer, cubed
1/2 head of medium cauliflower, cut into florets
1 cup peas
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1cm ginger, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala
6 curry leaves
1 1/2 tsp chili powder (less if you can't take the heat)
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp yoghurt
1 tbsp brown sugar

- Dry roast the cumin:  put the cumin in a pan and toss them around on medium heat until fragrant.  Put aside.
- Heat the oil in the pan, add the  paneer and brown the sides over medium high heat.  Put aside.
- Add the onions in the pan and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, ginger, and all the spices and cook for one minute.
- Add the tomatoes and cauliflower, toss to coat them in the spices.  Add water, turn the heat down, put the lid on and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes until cauliflower is softened but not mushy.
- Add the peas and paneer, stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Add brown sugar and yoghurt, and season to taste.

-If you're not comfortable enough to mess around with the spices yet then just mess around with the veggies. Use the spice mixture as a base for other vegetables or meats or tofu or whatever you fancy.

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