Self-isolation was fun, for the first few days. Binge-watching the series you never had time to commit to, picking up the book you intended to finish in high school. Maybe you’re feeling extra fruity and you’ve taken up jogging.
But let’s face it – it’s depressing. You’re watching re-runs of Friends. You miss your mates. Your trips to the supermarket enrage when you discover there’s no pasta (yet again.) So instead, you grab the off-brand tin of tomatoes and the last stale loaf of bread, resigning yourself to second-grade meals.
Which is why, my dear readers, it’s time to toss those tasteless tomatoes and the absent-minded swipes on Tinder. Grab your mask and gloves, and get cooking!
This dish is a creamy, spicy meal with notes of tangy and sweet slipping through every bite. The guidelines I’ve set below can be modified to your preferences, but I like my curry hot. If you’re unsure of your tolerance with fiery food, you should probably grab a glass of milk.
Paneer is a fresh, unsalted cheese. It has a mild taste which makes it perfect for marinades and strong flavours.
It’s commonly used in Indian dishes as a meat alternative. It doesn’t melt like other cheeses and retains its chunky little shape. This makes it fantastic to add to curries, soups and even kebabs.
At an estimate, I’d say this recipe serves about 4 people. But come on. It’s lockdown. Treat yourself and gorge on some spicy, cheesy goodness.
We’ve got five basic tastes.
Everything that we eat touches at least one of these flavour points. Complex dishes often marry these margins together, e.g. curry. But when we take that first bite, certain flavour points stand out more to us than others. For this recipe, we’d say these are:
Paneer Curry with a Citrus Twist
- 500 g Paneer chopped into 1 cm cubes
- 1 whole Onion finely chopped
- 5 whole Garlic cloves roughly chopped
- 3 whole Bird's Eye chilli roughly chopped
- 1 inch cube Ginger roughly chopped
- 3 whole Vine-ripened tomatoes quartered
- 1/4 cup White wine
- 3 tbsp Tomato passata
- 1 tbsp Lemon juice
- 1 tbsp Lime juice
- 1 cup Peas preferably frozen
- 1 tbsp Garam Masala
- 1 1/2 tbsp Turmeric
- 1/2 tbsp Chilli powder
- 1 tbsp Salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp Cumin seeds
- 2 pods Black cardamom
- 1 tbsp Garlic powder
- 1 tbsp Demerara sugar
- 2 tbsp Fresh coriander finely chopped
- 4 tbsp Sunflower oil
- 1 knob Butter
- Heat the oil in a large pan, add the cumin seeds and cardamom pods - toast for 30 seconds on high. Lower to a medium heat and add the onions. Fry these ingredients together slowly, stirring every 20 seconds.
- Blend the garlic, chilli, ginger and tomato for10 seconds. Add the wine and passata and blend until smooth. Add the cubed paneer to the caramelising onions and stir until the cheese has browned slightly.
- Then, add the blended ingredients to the pan and stir slowly. Place lid on pan and cook the sauce down for 10 mins on a low heat.
- Remove lid from pan and turn the heat up to medium. Add the peas, stirring into the sauce slowly. Add the remaining spices and juices and place the lid on the pan again.
- Grab a frying pan and turn the heat on high, adding a ¼ knob of butter. Throw in some chopped coriander and ¼ tbsp of garlic powder. Stir these in with the butter and lay a pitta bread over the top. Flip the pitta bread repeatedly until crisped on both sides. Repeat this with the other 3 pittas.
- Return to the paneer curry and sprinkle the remaining coriander over the top. Serve immediately and enjoy!