An Indian Adventure…

by agirlandhermutt on September 26, 2010

When I found out that Challenge #2 for Project Food Blog was to tackle a classic ethnic dish, I immediately had a horrific flashback to my attempt to make Weight Watcher friendly pad thai. Lets just say that 3 years later, The Scientist is still traumatized and I have a permanent scar on my right hand. True Story.

I raced through my mind of all the different cuisines I have been introduced to since moving to Boston…Thai, Ethiopian, Korean, and my absolute fave, Indian. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but I love all things Indian. The clothing, the food, the spice, one of their men. πŸ˜‰

I went to the Indian grocery store to get some much needed spices and some inspiration. So much to look at!

I decided that for Project Food Blog Challenge #2 my objective is to either Go Big or Go Home. Here is my BIG!

Hello Kadai Paneer!

Kadai=Indian Wok
Paneer=Indian cheese

The first step to making some stellar Kadai Paneer is to make the paneer. Yep, you read that right. I made cheese. Sure, you could buy this pre-made, but it is so simple to make at home. Easy peasy with only 2 ingredients.

In the mix:
-4 cups whole milk
-3 tbsp lemon juice
-cheesecloth

*Bring your milk to a low boil. Make sure to keep stirring the milk. It burns pretty easily and the last thing you want hanging out in your house is burnt milk. Take my word for it.

*Once the milk has started to boil, turn the heat off.

*Slowly add in the lemon juice.

*It will immediately start to curdle. This is one of the few times that we will yell β€œYAY for curdling!” in the kitchen. Enjoy it!

*Allow it to cool and separate for about 30 minutes.

*Enjoy a tasty adult beverage.

*Cooking and drinking! Caught in the act…oops!

*Once cooled, pour the mixture into a cheesecloth lined colander.

*Wrap the cheesecloth around the curd really tight in order to squeeze out all the moisture.

*I decided to make use of my super fun Tofu Xpress to get the rest of the moisture out. WOOT! I love when things serve multiple purposes. You can place a heavy plate or skillet on the top if you don’t have a handy dandy Tofu Xpress.

*Stick it in the fridge for about 2 hours. CHEESE!

Paneer doesn’t have a ton of flavor, so the rest of this recipe is the killer part.

In the mix (Serves 4):
-2 tsp oil
-1 red onion, finely diced
-1 green chili (2 if you are feeling adventurous!), finely diced
-1 tsp ginger garlic paste
-2 tomatoes, pureed
-3-4 cloves of garlic, diced
-1 tsp red chili powder
-1/8 tsp turmeric powder
-1/2 tsp cumin seeds
-1 tsp coriander powder
-Pinch of dried fenugreek leaves
-salt to taste

*Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add in onions and chili.

*Mix together all dried spices, except fenugreek leaves.

*Add the spices to the onion and chili mix, along with the pureed tomatoes and ginger garlic paste.

*Allow this to simmer for about 2 minutes. Add in fenugreek leaves and simmer for a few more minutes. Finally, add in the paneer.

*Slowly fold the paneer into the mixture. This paneer breaks apart easily and you want it to stay in cube form. Allow it to cook for about 2 more minutes and then pull off the heat.

*Serve over basmati rice.

*On a side note, the rice cooker is the one of the best inventions EVAH.

Tada! The classic Indian dish, Kadai Paneer!

By keeping the paneer in tact, you have some great textures and bites of cheese with spice!

I also paired my dish with a piece of pratha that was home-made from the Indian grocery store.

The final piece of my meal to pull it all together? A mango lassi! A lassi is a yogurt based drink. And it is delish!

Ready for one last recipe?!

In the mix:
-1 6 oz. yogurt
-1 cup mango puree
-1 cup ice
-Honey to taste
-Salt to taste

Phew! Every bit of the meal was so much fun to make! Stepping outside of my comfort zone not only brought me a variety of different foods to try, but also brought me to a new grocery store, introduced me to new spices, and got me to try new techniques. Exciting stuff kids!

I hope that you all had an exciting/relaxing/invigorating/ lovely weekend. You know, whatever your boat needs to float. πŸ˜‰

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Tina September 26, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Wow! You killed this entry. What a great recipe. You’re so talented. πŸ™‚

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agirlandhermutt September 26, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Thanks so much! I had a lot of fun with this one. πŸ™‚

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Sues September 26, 2010 at 8:16 pm

This looks wonderful!! We made Indian too, but now I totally want to make my own cheese. We live in Boston too πŸ™‚ Good luck!!

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agirlandhermutt September 26, 2010 at 9:51 pm

I’m so glad you came for a visit! Good luck to you guys too!

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Jenni September 26, 2010 at 9:18 pm

You made cheese?! Good one! πŸ™‚ It’s a beautiful dish, and I have to tell you that mango lassi is my favorite drink ever. It is physically impossible for me to sip it; I must guzzle it down. I just whacked my head into my monitor screen. Thanks a lot. πŸ˜‰

Looking forward to voting tomorrow!

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agirlandhermutt September 26, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Ha! Thanks for the laugh. πŸ™‚

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Carol (CGtheFoodie) September 26, 2010 at 10:01 pm

I love that you made your own cheese. That is awesome! And I am totally dying to have a tofu express!!! Can’t wait for voting to open!

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Jan/Thella @ I Love. Therefore, I Cook. September 26, 2010 at 10:04 pm

wow you made Paneer!? πŸ™‚ +1 vote from me! congrats on making it to round 2 and here’s hoping we both get to the third. you made Paneer? (can’t get over it) πŸ™‚ fantastic!

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Kristina @ spabettie September 26, 2010 at 11:10 pm

Mmm, cheese… I think I need to make that.

This looks great, girl! πŸ˜€

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Jessie (Bites and Pieces) September 27, 2010 at 12:48 am

I think it is SO cool that you made your own cheese! Very ambitious of you! And by the way, I was totally drinking a beer as I made the meal for my entry too. πŸ™‚

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Paige @ Running Around Normal September 27, 2010 at 8:40 am

I had no idea that’s how paneer was made! Awesome job, girl πŸ˜€

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Noelle September 27, 2010 at 9:47 am

You killed this one girly! You had me at I love one of their men too. LOL I can not even believe you made the cheese. You really are a rock star! I can however believe that your darling apron matches your super cute canisters on the counter! You burned your hand so badly the Scientist is traumatized? That can’t be good! Burns are the WORST, the smell and the pain are tied for me EWWWWWWWW
I’m off to vote!

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agirlandhermutt September 27, 2010 at 5:06 pm

HA! No, unfortunately (or fortunately?) it wasn’t a burn that traumatized him. It was the taste! *Shudder* Bad idea on my part!

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Tanya Riley September 27, 2010 at 10:21 am

Nicely done! Wish I could have tried your dish and the best part about cooking is enjoying an adult beverage while doing so. πŸ™‚

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agirlandhermutt September 27, 2010 at 5:05 pm

I completely agree! πŸ™‚

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Marie (Food Nouveau) September 27, 2010 at 12:49 pm

What an awesome meal! How easy is it to make your own cheese! I love Indian cuisine and they often have recipes with homemade cheese but I never dared making my own. Now that I’ve read your post, I feel ready to try it – I will definitely cook this recipe. Thank you for sharing and good luck with the challenge.
P.S. How lucky are you to have an Indian grocery store close to your home?! I’m jealous!

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agirlandhermutt September 27, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Good luck! You will love making it. Super easy! I love having such a variety of stores around town.

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Biz September 27, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Great entry – I am voting for you! πŸ˜€

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agirlandhermutt September 27, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Thanks so much!

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Carrie (Love Healthy Living) September 27, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Ohhh, thanks for the instructions and recipe! I tried this once and it didn’t turn out very good. Definitely going to try it again using your technique.

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agirlandhermutt September 27, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Great! Let me know if you have any questions. πŸ™‚

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Amy (Sing For Your Supper) September 27, 2010 at 5:46 pm

I love it!!! You should be really proud of yourself for tackling this- I’m super jealous of your awesome paneer making skills! πŸ™‚ You’ve got my vote!

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Amanda (The Culinary Passport) September 27, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Congrats on making your own cheese! This dish looks delicious; I can’t wait to try it.

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ashleigh September 27, 2010 at 8:58 pm

That is intense! Awesome job! You’ll be getting one of my votes for sure! Good luck.

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jen cheung September 28, 2010 at 12:19 am

this looks delicious πŸ™‚ Good luck with project food and you got my vote for this one! Feel free to drop by πŸ™‚ Good luck and best wishes for making to the top !! WOOHOO

jen @ http://www.passion4food.ca

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notyet100 September 28, 2010 at 11:42 am

platter looks so yum,..

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Jane Ko September 28, 2010 at 12:16 pm

YUM!

Voted for you and good luck with PFB πŸ™‚

I would like to invite you to participate in my giveaway
http://atasteofkoko.blogspot.com/2010/08/mini-pistachio-tea-cakes-40.html

Here is my entry for PFB http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/2/view/1039

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Renate Valencia September 28, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Wow! Great job! This dish looks excellent, but, oh, the dishes! πŸ™‚ You have my vote!

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Katharina September 29, 2010 at 12:45 am

This post made me so hungry!!! You’ve got my vote πŸ˜‰ But seriously, what a great sounding dish. Indian food is by far my favorite, and paneer dishes make my heart melt more than usual hehe. Kudos to you for making it out of scratch, and taking it a step further and making a wonderful recipe to put it to delicious use. And good call on the mango lassi!

XOXO best of luck!

http://www.ohonemorething.wordpress.com

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Gina Ruiz September 30, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Looks great! You have one of my votes. Best of luck to you!

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Lisa September 30, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Yummaroo! I cast a vote for you.

Lisa.

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