There is that old saying about what do you do when God gives you lemons and of course the answer is make Lemonade which was covered in a previous post. Now the next question is what do you do when your Grandchildren come to visit and leave you with a full gallon of milk. The answer is not quite so obvious but it is”Make paneer” and once again thanks to Monica, there is a good recipe online that works well.
I refer you to her site because while I made it slightly differently, I ended up without pictures but the paneer which is not locally available tasted great so I decided on a simple Paneer Masala, once again from Monica. Now probably the biggest change I made to the recipe was to cut the amount of paneer used in half because four ounces was all that came out of the half gallon of low fat milk. So what I had is what I used.
The other change was partially logical and partially pragmatic. Since I cut the amount of paneer in half, I cut the turmeric used to season it in half. Locally, turmeric is $6.99 for less than an ounce and that provided another incentive to the logical reduction. I also cut the salt to season the paneer in half because overall there is still a lot of salt in the rest of the recipe.
From a pragmatic perspective, I used a full tin of drained diced tomatoes instead of half and the final change was to substitute a dried red chili for the unavailable green one. Well the meal was fantastic and my friends loved it. Perhaps this is true because none of us had ever eaten very much Indian food in general or Monica’s in particular. However I really can’t imagine a meal much more flavorful than this one was.
If I had thought of it at all, I would have made an additional change and that was to use all of the peas in the recipe. It’s about a week since I made this meal and all the paneer, sauce and tomatoes are gone but the other half of the can of peas still lingers in my refrigerator. Oh well, I am still learning to think beforehand about preparing meals for one or two and I hate wasting a thing or building a meal around one minor ingredient that I rarely use. Next time I will add it all. And this is good enough that there will be a next time.
To season the paneer:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 block of paneer (1/4 pound), cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
To make the Marsala:
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp grated ginger
3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 green chilli
handful of fresh chopped coriander
1 tin plum tomatoes drained but retain liquid
1/2 to 1 can peas drained
1 small can mushroom pieces
1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add 1 tsp cumin seeds. Once they begin to sizzle, add the paneer cubes. Now add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder.
2. Stir occasionally until paneer turns golden on all sides. Remove from heat and hold for later.
Spiced and Cooked Paneer
3. In a blender, add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. If done in a blender you will have to add the olive oil to the blender instead of the pan. Also add 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp garam masala and the coriandor. Process until finely ground.
Blend the Masala and Oil Paste
4. In a pan, heat the masala containing the oil. Cook on medium heat until golden brown, about 1/2 hour.
5. Add 1 tin drained plum tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes. Once the oil begins to separate from the masala, add the peas. Then add the mushrooms and the previously prepared paneer. Stir
6. Add the saved tomato juice so it is just covering the vegetables and paneer and bring to temperature.
7. Serve with rice.
This is another full flavored Vegetarian meal from the kitchen of Monica as adapted for my coffeepot or your crockpot.