Friday 23 April 2010

Curried Paneer and Birthday Cheer

It was E's birthday this week and he requested a curry. I made a Rogan Josh Curry that I first made a year and a half ago. Rogan josh is a sentimental favourite for us. I made the sauce the night before and worried about the taste but once the vegetables, chickpeas and paneer were in, it tasted lovely and lasted a few nights. But today I will share with you the recipe for another curry I made recently with chickpeas and paneer that inspired me to try paneer in the rogan josh.

I found the recipe for Chickpeas and Paneer in a Spicy Creamy Cashew Gravy at Lisa's Kitchen. I always love her spicy mixtures but can never stomach as much chilli as Lisa. I reduced the chillis drastically and still thought it quite spicy. I also added quite a few vegetables.

It is one of those recipes where the preparation takes quite some time and then the cooking happens in the blink of an eye. You must have the ingredients ready at every step of the recipe. I had thought I needed to soak the cashews ahead of time but when making the dish, I found that the amount of preparation meant I just needed to start soaking them at the commencement of preparations.

I was partly inspired to make the curry because I had some unused cream. It made a rich gravy along with the cashews. The curry was very rich in flavour and proteins with the cream and cashews in the gravy and the chickpeas and paneer throughout. Not one for dieters. But the house smelled superb.

Of course, it also helps if you don't have a baby clinging to your legs as you cook. E lay on the floor and amused Sylvia while I cooked. She was grateful for my efforts and had a little curry through some rice with bits of paneer crumbled up and some extra peas in it. I have found frozen peas very useful in cooling a really hot meal for Sylvia. She loves peas and if I leave them in the dish for a minute or two the peas defrost and the dinner cools enough to eat.

Lastly I thought I would share the flat bread that I made to serve with the rest of the rogan josh. It was amazingly quick and easy. I found it via Ricki who had tried Meghan's protein flat breads or instant injera. I must try this again as I just cooked it as one big flatbread and when re-reading the recipe later I think I should have made lots of lacy thin flatbreads rather than one big stodgy one but it was very good, albeit a little salty. Made me think of socca.

E asked where I got the bread and was surprised to hear I made it just before he arrived home. If you used tofu instead of paneer and served the curry with these flatbreads you would easily have a substantial gluten free and vegan meal. But I hope to make both again because they taste so good.

Chickpeas and Paneer in a Spicy Creamy Cashew Gravy
Adapted from Lisa's Kitchen
serves 6

2 x 400g tins of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
400 grams of paneer, cut into cubes
2 tbsp oil
1 cup of cashews (I used 150g)
200ml of cream (or milk)
1 large tomato, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 green chili, chopped
2 tablespoons of ghee, or a mixture of butter and oil
1 teaspoon of sugar (I forgot and don't think I needed it)
a small handful of dried curry leaves (or a bay leaf)
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of brown mustard seeds
1 inch piece of cinnamon stick
3 green cardamon pods, bruised with the back of a knife
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of garam masala
1/4 cup of fresh parsley, chopped
300g pumpkin, peeled, cubed and microwaved til soft
4-5 button mushrooms
1 zucchini, thinly sliced (I used some leftover fried zucchini and tomato)
1 2/3 - 2 cups of water
1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • Soak the cashews in the cream for 30 minutes or so. Do not soak in blender as you will use it for onion paste. If you start the soaking when you start frying paneer, preparing spices and chopping vegetables it will take you about 30 minutes before you are ready to use cashews.
  • Heat oil in a frypan and fry paneer cubes over a medium heat until evenly browned. Ahem, mine wasn't evenly browned but it was crispy in places.
  • Chop and prepare the vegetables.
  • Using a blender (or a large mortar and pestle), make a paste of the onions, garlic, ginger and chilies. Add a bit of water if necessary to blend. Set aside in a small bowl.
  • Place curry leaves, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, cinnamon stick, and cardamom seeds in a small bowl so they are ready to throw in the frypan.
  • Transfer cream and cashews to the blender. Add tomato and blend to make a thick and chunky cream sauce. Mine was the type to dollop not pour.
  • Heat butter and oil (or ghee) over medium heat and add curry leaves spice mix.Stir and fry until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to pop. Remove cinnamon and cardamom.
  • Add the ground cumin, and turmeric to the pan, stir and then add the onion/garlic paste. Stir and fry until most of the liquid is evaporated.
  • Add chickpeas and stir fry another 5 minutes.
  • Add cashew/tomato paste, fried paneer, parsley, vegetables, garam masala, salt and water. Simmer until the gravy is thickened. This took me about 5 minutes. You may need to adjust the amount of water to achieved desired consistency.
  • Serve with rice or an Indian flatbread such as roti or naan or the below recipe.
Chickpea and Quinoa flat bread
Adapted from Making Love in the Kitchen
serves 2-4

1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup quinoa flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin, ground
1 Tbs cornflour (or arrowroot flour - helps things stick together)
1 cup of water (add by the 1/4 cup to manage consistency)
1 Tbs of oil

  • Mix all ingredients together - Meghan used a blender but I just used a spoon. The batter is very thin (which is why I only used 1 cup of water rather than 2 like Meghan did.)
  • Heat frypan over medium high. Spray with oil.
  • Pour in batter. I tipped all my batter in at once but on re-reading the recipe I think I was meant to do just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.
  • Cook until it is bubbling and looking dry. Flip it over and quickly cook on other side. (Or if you tip it all in like me it will be sort of dry and have golden brown spots when you flip it over.)
  • Best eaten hot but Meghan says it can be stored in the fridge and heated before serving.
On the stereo:
Platinum Collection: Genesis


  1. You know I'm a sucker for Indian food, and everything looks simply marvelous! Perfect for a birthday feast--happy belated to E! :) And glad you liked the flatbreads. I think I must make them again--perhaps for brekkie this morning!

  2. E is a very, very lucky man!! :-) This is one of the grandest curries I've ever seen... and I must, must fix this flatbread tonight, it sounds SO gorgeous! I quite like your idea of cooking it as one big chewy flatbread - yum!:-)

  3. Oh yum, this is our kind of meal! The bread does indeed look impressive for a homemade effort.

    Happy birthday to E!

  4. I am really interested with Indian food. They have this unique taste because of the spices that they use.

  5. Oh wow, I've never really considered trying to make any kind of bread before, but that chickpea and quinoa recipe looks delicious and quite doable! I've also never cooked with paneer before, but this week bought "farmer cheese" for the first time. When I googled it, someone suggested it could substitute for paneer, so I might try something like this soon.

    (Sadly can't replicate this exact recipe, as the place I'm housesitting at? Its pantry has... a few dried herbs, tea, sugar, two bottles of fish sauce, and chia seeds. THAT'S ALL. The mind boggles (and cries inside).)

  6. Hi, this isn't relevant to post, but I thought you would find it interesting
    (see comments) re raising veggie child:

  7. I so want to make this and invite my friend who hails from India hahaha i would imagine him to be so surprised... haha! thanks for sharing!

  8. Happy belated birthday to E! :D And I love these cashew gravies. They're so rich and creamy and so moreish! And even better that it's quick to cook too!

  9. Thanks Ricki - am sure this would be great for brekkie

    Thanks Astra - E loves these curries indeed and the flatbreads also went down well - so surprisingly easy

    Thanks Cindy - like most breads - it was wonderful warm

    Thanks dining room tables

    Thanks Hannah - how bizarre that an understocked pantry has chia seeds! I've never cooked with farmers cheese - didn't even know you could get it in Australia - hope you have fun with it

    Thanks Julie - had a look at this discussion - some interesting stuff

    Thanks Skip to Malou (cute name) - hope your Indian friend would be as excited to eat the curry as we were!

    Thanks Lorraine - cashew gravies are wonderful so long as I can accept my food processor wont do them super smooth!

  10. Mmm looks like an amazing birthday dinner! Happy belated birthday to E. =)


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