Monday, 12 May 2014

Paneer & vegetable curry recipe.

Growing up with Indian parents we often ate vegetarian meals at home and meat wasn't a necessity at the meal table. In fact I barely noticed that meat was only eaten occasionally and cheaper ingredients like seasonal vegetables and pulses made meals go further in our home. In those days we always used to complain that we wanted to eat 'English food' instead of the Punjabi cooking my Mum painstakingly prepared from scratch. Now I appreciate how lucky we were to have such delicious food and a Mum who wanted us to learn how to cook it. We never order Indian takeaway as we find them far too fatty and I prefer to choose what goes into my meal.

In advance of National Vegetarian Week (19th-25th May) I'm sharing a recipe that is really simple to prepare and is really tasty.

spices, paneer and veggies

Paneer - I bought this in Sainsburys ready cut into cubes
Mixed vegetables (I used frozen for ease)
Frylight oil spray
2 small Onions - chopped
2-3 cloves Garlic - chopped finely
a thumb sized piece of Ginger - chopped finely
Tomatoes 4-6 fresh or 1 tin chopped
Spices including; turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala and salt 
Fresh coriander

naan, rice and samosas

To serve: 

Naan bread
Ready made rice

Paneer is an indian cheese that cooks a bit like Halloumi, but without the squeak. I found it in a large Sainsburys store near me, but my Mum used to make it at home. She's not a shirker my mother. You don't have to cook it first for this recipe, but I prefer to so that it doesn't break up when added to the vegetables. I cooked it in a non-stick pan using Frylight oil and kept turning it to make sure all the sides were brown. This keeps the inside soft and the outside a bit crunchier depending how long you cook it for. Set aside the paneer once cooked.

paneer cooked in Frylight
The tomato base is made by frying some onions then adding chopped garlic and ginger - if the garlic is fried too soon it burns and tastes bitter - then add the tomatoes and spices. You can experiment with the spices to suit your taste. but generally I find a few tsps of salt - too little and your curry will be too sweet - a couple of turmeric and some garam masala work well, you can adjust by tasting. I don't use exact measures because it is made to suit my taste and I don't like it too hot so I don't use chilli, but you can add that too. Turn the heat down to simmer until the onions have melted away and the tomatoes have all become liquid. Stir a few times to check it's not sticking to the pan.

paneer and mixed vegetable 
Once the tomato mix is ready add the paneer and frozen or fresh vegetables and stir through. Pop a lid on and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through. A low simmer for 15-20 mins occasionally stirring so it doesn't stick works well. When you're ready to eat it, stir in some fresh coriander and scatter some leaves on top for decoration. I served this with hot fluffy naan bread and a veggie samosa on the side.

The curry is vegetarian and gluten-free. If you prefer gluten-free side dishes there are lovely cornbread rotis or chickpea flour pakoras you can try instead of samosas, rice or naan bread.

Meat free and ever so delicious 
Storage: You can freeze this curry, so I make lots and freeze half for another meal. Defrost thoroughly before reheating or the paneer tends to fall apart. It keeps in the fridge for up to a week - if you can keep your hands off it that is !

Give it a go, it's really simple to prepare and ever so tasty.

Enjoy :)

This post is my entry to the Betta Living Vegetarian Recipe competition #Bettarecipe

1 comment:

  1. Will be giving it a try this weekend! Looks delish! Xx