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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Jaipuri Vegetable and Paneer Subzi

After a meal made with as much love as this one, you are left with a full stomach, nourished body, a spicy mouth, a slightly runny nose, but most importantly, a sense of euphoria leaving you with dreamy eyes and a silly smile on your face.
It's a natural high (shall we take to the sky?)
The little kettle with the kala chana or (black chickpeas) will be the subject of another post.  They totally blew my mind.  It was my first time eating them and they taste very different than regular chickpeas.  More on that later.  This post is about that lovely vegetable and paneer curry on the right. I was originally researching Gujarati recipes, then I researched all types of vegetarian Indian dishes and came up with this one, which I borrowed from TheSpiceWhoLovedMe.  I can't always take all the credit for everything, but I do believe that I made it mine by adding yams (or sweet potatoes for those with handicapped vocab).  I'm not sure I would be ready to give up meat or anything else that I like, but you don't even notice you're eating vegetarian when you cook like this.  I waited until my "audience" finished their plates, or rather licked them clean before asking them if there was any meat in the meal.  The answer was (given with a confused look): I don't know but it was really really good!
4-6 servings depending on how you serve
1 cup peas (mine were frozen)
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped into thick chunks
1 eggplant, unpeeled and chopped into chunks
1 medium yam, peeled and chunked
100g paneer (Ididn't really weigh, but used the yield from 1L)
1tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp turmeric
2Tbsp oil
1 tsp amchur (or lemon juice)
1 cup milk or cream (or whey to make it fight food)
Salt to taste
Blended paste:
1 chopped onion
1 large chopped tomato
1" piece of ginger
6 cloves garlic
Handful cilantro
4 tbsp dried coconut
Dry Masala:
2 1" pieces cinnamon
4 cloves
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp nutmeg
6 whole peppercorns
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp poppy seeds (I used black sesame...ran out of poppy)
1 whole dried red chili
1.  Steam the carrots, eggplant, and yam together.  I did this in the steam basket of my pressure cooker for 5 minutes under pressure.  If you don't have a steaming opportunity, just boil them until tender, but look into the steaming option because you retain all the nutrients in the veggies this way.
2.  In a blender, blend all the paste ingredients.
3.  Dry roast the masala ingredients until fragrant, then grind into a powder.  I used my trusty mortar and pestle... I love that thing.  You can do this while you wait for the veggies to finish cooking.
4.  In a wok or heavy based pan, heat the oil, then add the paste.  Fry for a few minutes until the raw smell goes away.
5.  Add the dry masala and stir 1-2 minutes.
6.  Add the paneer.  Let color if possible before stirring it into the curry.
7.  Add the rest of the vegetables, being careful to coat them well with the curry.  Let cook at least 5 minutes.
8.  Add the milk, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.  Add the turmeric, salt, and chili powder.  Taste and adjust the seasoning and consistency.

Serve with plain or jeera rice or rotis or both as a main or side dish.
Lay down on the floor and let the wave of euphoria consume you slowly.

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