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Monday, June 1, 2015

Paneer Korma

Sometimes you just need to satisfy yourself...make yourself feel appreciated and give yourself a thoughtful gift.. a homemade gift.
Today is one of those days.  I made myself a feast, and then people were summoned to my table to observe me in my passion.  Guests are completely peripheral when I'm in one of these moods.  I wanted to make a silky royal Indian feast, and that I did..
What makes this dish such a gift is the process which is relatively methodical, but in which each step reveals its necessity in the end.
The creaminess and richness comes from the cashew paste.  The original recipe does this with almonds, but I could not get the cashew image out of my mind.  It was driving me to desire.  I needed to make cashew korma!!
Serves 6 as a side
Borrowed fron VegRecipesofIndia, a site that never lets me down.
Cashew paste:
22 cashews soaked in 1/4 cup boiling water 40 minutes
4 Tbsp of the soaking water
Onion paste:
2 chopped onions
1/4 cup water
200g (7oz) cubed paneer
2 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1 inch piece cinnamon stick
3 green cardamoms, cracked
4 cloves
1 bay leaf
1 green chile, slit
3 strands mace (I subbed angel hair chile)
6 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 inch piece ginger, grated
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp coriander powder
6 Tbsp beaten yogurt
1 cup water
3 Tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp rose water (I wish I had this)
saffron for garnish
1.  Make the cashew paste by grinding 4 Tbsp of the soaking water with the soaked cashews.  Set aside.
2.  Make the onion paste by cooking the chopped onions directly in the water until onions turn soft.  This should take about 10 minutes.  Blend into a paste and sed aside.
3.  Make the curry.  Heat the oil in a heavy based pan or wok and add the caraway seeds, cinnamon, cardamoms, and cloves.  Cook until the seeds sputter, then add the bay leaf, green chile, and mace.
4.  Add the onion paste, stirring, being careful not to brown it.
5.  Add the ginger and garlic and cook until the pungent smell disappears.
6.  Add the cashew paste, the pepper and coriander powder and stir, then add in the beaten yogurt 1 Tbsp at a time while continuing to stir until it makes a paste.
7.  Add the water while continuing to stir, making an even sauce.  As it cooks, it will thicken.  Simmer for 5 minutes on low heat.
8.  Add the paneer cubes and cook for another minute.
9.  Remove from heat and stir in the cream.  Add the saffron and let sit until ready to eat.

This is best served over rice.
I served mine in a thali along with some Punjabi Chicken Curry and Three-way daal.
The paneer in this recipe is glorified in its slightly spice rich golden cashew sauce.  The rice enhances the flavors by absorbing the curry, every mouthful making you feel like Royalty. 

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