Thursday, June 5, 2014
Stir-fried paneer and peppers
The warm weather has arrived here and when it starts to get hot, I like to eat all sorts of Asian foods with Indian food being toward the top of that list. This amazing dish was inspired by this recipe, although mine is quite different. Ever since I learned to make paneer and used it to make Saag paneer, I've been thinking about other ways to use this cheese. This idea of using it with peppers sounded really good to me (plus I had a few different colors already in the fridge). The whole dish was bursting with flavor and freshness - perfect for a warm day. You may be able to find paneer at your grocery store, but if not it is quite simple to make your own at home.
My husband and I enjoyed this a lot. I mean, a lot - we ate the whole plate ourselves with no lunch leftovers. I served this with a side of steamy Basmati rice and some sliced cucumber, but Naan bread would also be a good accompaniment. This dish has a bit of heat to it, but it is mellowed by the cheese and sweet peppers - the rice and cucumbers also help with that.
Stir-fried paneer and peppers
about 12 oz. paneer cheese, cut into about 1-inch strips
3 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee
1 serrano chile, seeded and roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
about 10 stalks of fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 medium tomato, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon Garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 small bell peppers, seeded and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small sweet white onion, cut into strips lengthwise
juice of half a lemon, plus extra wedges for serving
In a wok or large non-stick skillet, heat the coconut oil or ghee over medium heat. When hot, add the paneer in an even layer. Season with a couple good pinches of salt. Cook until golden and carefully turn using a thin metal spatula. Let the other side fry until golden. Carefully remove the paneer from the pan to a plate and set aside.
While the paneer cooks, add the serrano chile (be careful as this chile is very hot), garlic, ginger, cilantro (stems and all), and tomato to a food processor or blender. Puree until fairly smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
After removing the paneer from the pan, add the bell peppers and onions. Cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes. Stir in the Garam masala, turmeric, and coriander and cook for another minute. Then stir in the mixture from the food processor along with 1/4 cup of water. Let the mixture come to a low bubble and reduce the heat. Cook, stirring often, until the sauce is slightly thickened and the peppers are fork tender, about 5 minutes.
Carefully return the paneer to the pan and stir gently. Allow the paneer to warm through. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt, if needed.
Serve hot garnished with extra chopped cilantro, lemon wedges, and a side of rice and/or Naan.
What was I cooking one year ago?: penne and asparagus carbonara
Two years ago?: strawberry spoon bread with vanilla cream
Three? potato and Swiss chard hash with eggs
4?: cheese and onion salad with creamy chive dressing