Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Paneer and Spinach Balti

I am no fan of tins and jars, but Indian food contains so many different combinations of spices that need such fine balancing it could take all day and night - not appropriate when tending to the house and working hard.  This is one of the only times I will cheat!

Paneer (Indian Cheese suitable for vegetarians) is not unlike haloumi in that it never fully melts.  It absorbs flavours better than any meat would and has a most palatable texture - if it's good enough for Shakils then it's good enough for my kitchen!  You can, of course, substitute the cheese for the meat or fish of your choice.  

First up, the sauce:

Balti Paste (this is not sauce but forms the basis for the recipe - Tesco are particularly good for paste)
Add a small pack of Passata
Soften one onion, five cloves of garlic and one red chilli (deseeded) in olive oil then add to the sauce
Add a teaspoon of Turmeric and Garam Massala powder

How to prepare the Paneer (or Indian Cheese):

Roughly cube one pack of Paneer cheese and lightly fry in olive oil until the sides start to brown. Remember to keep turning the cheese over as it is very sensitive to heat (and so was my arm when hot fat splattered on me!)

Add to the sauce and start to gently heat on a low setting.

After the sauce has slowly cooked over 20 minutes, add around 200g of raw spinach to the mix.

Turn off the hob and wait until the mix has cooled down completely (this seals in the flavours) then when ready eat, put the sauce back on for 15 minutes and make your choice of rice.

Serve with naan, poppadoms and chutneys - we use our homemade chutneys and pickles - just ask if you want any !

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