Tuesday, September 8, 2009

So, You've Got Your Paneer Cheese , Now What??

The other day I made my first batch of paneer cheese. It was easy, I was stoked but then what?? I had a whole pan of this stuff and wondered if there was life with paneer cheese beyond spinach.
Almost everyone who's eaten Indian food has had spinach and paneer cheese, it's a classic dish.
I looked in my fridge, there was no spinach but there was zucchini, this time of year there's always zucchini but what to do with it.
I remember one of the recipes I used to make from Lord Krishna's Cuisine. It was a dish that involved paneer cheese, summer squash and red bell pepper. Why, I thought couldn't I try making it with zucchini,paneer cheese and fresh heirloom tomatoes? Most Indian dishes are very forgiving, and open to improvisation, especially those involving vegetables. In other words, you work with what you've got.
So this is what I did with what I brought home from he farmers market.
I mixed
1.) 1/2 Tbs of ground coriander
2.) 1/2 tsp of ground cumin
3.) 1/4 tsp of turmeric
4.) 3/4 tsp of garam masala
5.)1/4 cup of dried shredded unsweetened coconut
6.) 1/2 cup of water
in a bowl and put it aside for later

In a karhai or heavy pan heat about 4 Tbs mixed vegetable oil and butter.When it's hot toss in about a cup of cubed paneer cheese. Note about this:
I you don't have a non stick pan ( I didn't but I'm for sure getting one now) the paneer cheee is going to stick and break up and crumble. Sorry.

Fry your paneer cheese about 5 minutes till it gets sort of toasty brown. Take it out and set it aside.
Add to the hot oil
7.) 1 dried red chili
8.) a 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger sliced into very thin rounds. Stir thatup and fry it a bit, it'll start to darken in color..then
Toss in
9.) 4 small zucchini diced
10.) 2 small crook neck yellow squash..in short, whatever you have. Eyeball it to the amount you're going to need. stir this around and cook it for about 10 minutes till the squash is cooked through.

Then add:
11.) 1 1/4 tsp of salt
12.)the spice paste you set aside earlier,the paneer cheese cubes you browned and 2 small tomatoes or one medium tomato chopped up.
Stir it around and cook it up till the tomatoes are soft and the dish is nice and thick.

13.) 3 Tbs of chopped cilantro and serve it up.

This is a great dish that cooks up fast, and can be made with virtually any squash you might have around, heck you could even add in small diced potatoes, eggplant, just allow for the vegetables cooking time. Also, I have to say it's delicious!

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