Sep 12, 2009

Paneer Korma

Continuing on the Indian theme, I found another dish that seemed pretty interesting. I've had korma in Indian restaurants, but this was a little different. Yogurt makes this dish a really rich and creamy one, but I felt that it overwhelmed the actual taste. In the pan it smelled amazing, but on the tongue the sweet and sour nature of the yogurt blotted it all out.

This recipe comes, again, from, but I'll reproduce it here since there were some necessary alterations.


  • 1/4 cup whole cashew nuts
  • 2 small green chilies
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 2 tbsp coriander (minced)
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • Whole garam masala (broken up cinnamon stick, 4-5 pods of cardamon, 3-4 whole cloves)
  • 2 tbsp garlic paste mixed with 1 tspn ginger paste
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup paneer (cubed)
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp ground pepper

In a large pan, add 2 tbsp cooking oil (I used grapeseed) and bring to medium heat. Add whole garam masala mix. Let this cook for a minute, then add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add the cumin seeds. Let those cook just a little, then add the onion. Add a pinch of salt to the onions and let them fry (disturbing them very rarely) until they've started to brown.

In a separate mixer, combine cashews and grated coconut. Blend this into a smooth paste. Add the garlic and ginger paste to the hot pan and let cook for about 30 seconds. Add the cashew and coconut paste to the onions, along with the coriander and cumin powder, chilies, turmeric and curry leaves. Let some of the moisture cook out of this, being careful not to let it burn.

When the texture of the mixture is no longer very wet (can be molded / formed into clumps) add the yogurt and paneer. Cook this slowly until it has mingled with the spices and is the consistency you like (not too runny, but not too dry either).

Before you serve this, try to make a pass and pull out as much of the cinnamon, cardamon and cloves as you can; they can be nasty surprises!

You can spice this dish a little hotter than you might otherwise because the yogurt does an incredible job of soothing that heat.

Sep 7, 2009

Butter Paneer

Okay, so maybe I just lightly complained about rich, buttery Indian food that has more to do with tourist restaurants than true, authentic Indian dishes. But you really can't argue with butter paneer (more commonly called tikka masala here, since most things with butter in the title set off alarm bells for Westerners).

Again, VahRehVah comes through with another great recipe. While they use chicken in their preparation, it's a simple matter to substitute paneer instead. For my dish I simple cubed the paneer and added it at the end of the dish.

When they say "butter paneer", there really sure be an emphasis on butter. This recipe calls for 100 grams of it. If, like me, grams means little to you, here's a helpful way to think about it. Take a stick of butter and cut about a half-inch knob off on of the ends. Now put that knob back in the refrigerator and add the rest of the stick to the pan. Oh, and it also has about half a cup of cream in it as well. Also, ketchup. But you know what? It tastes pretty good, so I really can't fault it.

Sep 5, 2009

Baingan Bharta

While vegetarian food is becoming increasingly prevalent these days, it's still a long way from India. Not surprising when you take one of the largest cultures on Earth and remove meat from the equation. Without Indian food, becoming a vegetarian would have been a hard start. Most of the Indian food I was introduced to were buttery, rich dishes. They tasted great, but you left feeling a little overwhelmed. Recently we found a great alternative, a restaurant called Spice Route near our house. Serving southern Indian food, they have a great collection of spicy dishes that aren't all swimming in butter. One of those dishes featured eggplant that was smokey and rich without being overwhelming. It's one of the dishes that made us re-evaluate eggplant. It was called baingan bharta. As I do with so many things, I wanted to know how to make it at home.

I stumbled upon the site which showcases a great collection of Indian recipes and little cooking demonstrations hosted on YouTube. This dish came from that site.

For this one you'll want to get a good sized eggplant and coat it with oil. One tip that the recipe leaves out is that you'll want to poke a few holes in the eggplant before you put it into the oven. If you don't, you might have exploding eggplant. Throw it into a 475 degree oven and let it cook for at least 30 minutes. You can see in the picture below that the eggplant on the right is venting steam.

The video for the dish can be found here.

An update...

After a little investigation, it seems that coconut milk was completely wrong for the banh mi tofu. Instead, garlic and young coconut juice creates the marinade. I'll be trying this later in the week. Also, I completely forgot red onions as an ingredient!