Chickpeas with Paneer Cheese


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Chickpeas with Paneer Cheese

Though I have enjoyed cooking for many years, not all that long ago I would sometimes refrain from eating when faced with emotional stresses. Needless to say, this was counter-productive and not a very healthy approach to stress. One of the most important lessons I have learned this past year is the therapeutic nature of cooking. If you like to cook, producing delicious nourishing food is an excellent way to channel negative energy — we all must eat after all. 2007 was a challenging year for me, the most serious trial being the death of my mother back in June. To this day, I am thankful that my Mom taught me the joy of baking and cooking because it has helped me deal with the blues on many occasions.

It is now January, a rather cheerless time of year for those of us who do not enjoy the short days and cold temperatures we get in Canada over the winter months. That means it's time for some serious comfort food. Two of my favorite foods are chickpeas and paneer cheese, so I made this warming spicy Indian chickpea and paneer cheese dish just for that reason.


Chickpeas with Paneer CheeseChickpeas with Paneer Cheese
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on January 15, 2008

Warming, nourishing and comforting dish of buttery soft chickpeas simmered with tender pieces of fried paneer cheese in a savory spiced tomato glaze

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Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 cups dried chickpeas (3 3/4 cups cooked)
  • 4 tablespoons ghee or oil
  • 1 cup paneer cheese, cut into bite-size cubes
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf, crumbled
  • 2 to 3 fresh chilies, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • juice from 1 lemon (3 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
Instructions:
  • Rinse the chickpeas and soak for 8 hours or overnight in several inches of water. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a large saucepan and cover with 4 cups of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 2 hours or until the chickpeas are buttery soft. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

  • Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the ghee or oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. When hot, add the paneer cubes and gently fry, turning often, until the cubes are nicely browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

  • Heat the remaining ghee or oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. When hot, add the onion, garlic and ginger and sauté until the onions are browned. Add the cumin seeds and bay leaf, let sizzle for a few seconds, then add the chilies, ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric, cayenne, salt and pepper, and stir for another minute. Stir in the tomato and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the ghee or oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. When hot, add the paneer cubes and gently fry, turning often, until the cubes are nicely browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

  • Now add 1/2 cup of the reserved chickpea cooking liquid (or water) and stir in the cooked chickpeas and fried paneer cubes. Cook gently for another 5 - 8 minutes, adding more liquid to achieve the desired consistency. When the dish is nearly done, stir in the lemon juice and garam masala. Serve hot.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Chickpeas with Paneer Cheese

6 comments:

Lucy said...

Two of my favourite comfort foods too. There's little better than a bowl of chickpeas when you're feeling down.

Lisa, I'm sorry to hear that you lost your mum last year. I'm glad that you shared a love of cooking with one another - that is evident in all of you recipes.

Holler said...

I am up for making that, although I have found tinned chickpeas good, so I will use those, I could just eat and eat them stright from the tin! They are just so velvety!

MapMaster said...

Stir in just a dab of butter on warm chickpeas and toss on a little sea salt, and you've got yourself a great snack. Add spices and paneer, and you've got a gourmet meal. Yum both ways.

teeth whitening said...

I never have really ate chick peas, mostly because I do not know what to do with them. I have to go to the store today for groceries, so I will pick them up and give this a try.

basil said...

This was awesome.

Marypana said...

Followed your recipe and made it for some guests I had yesterday for lunch. It went down a real treat. Made other curries too, but this one was most welcomed. Thanks for posting this.