If the winter blues are getting you down, this dish is certain to cheer you up. The only positive thing I can say about the snow is that it gives me a chance to get some exercise with all of the shoveling that needs to be done lately. I am especially eager for spring this year. Let the global warming begin!
This is my entry to My Legume Love Affair, a popular monthly event started by Susan of the Well Seasoned Cook and hosted this month by Mirch Masala.
Chickpeas and Paneer in a Spicy Creamy Cashew GravyMore paneer recipes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
1 1/2 cups of dried chickpeas
400 grams of paneer, cut into cubes and fried in oil and evenly browned
1 cup of cashews
2/3 cup of cream or milk
1 large tomato, chopped
1/4 teaspoon of saffron
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
3 - 4 green chilies, chopped
2 tablespoons of ghee, or a mixture of butter and oil
1 teaspoon of sugar
a small handful of dried curry leaves or a bay leaf
2 - 3 whole red dried chilies
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
1 inch piece of cinnamon stick
3 black cardamon pods, split in the middle
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of red chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of garam masala
1/4 cup of fresh parsley, chopped
1 2/3 - 2 cups of water
1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
Soak the chickpeas overnight in enough water to cover. Drain, transfer to a large pot, cover with water, bring to a boil and then cover and simmer until the chickpeas are buttery soft - roughly 1 hour. Drain and set aside.
Using a blender or a large mortar and pestle, make a paste of the onions, garlic, ginger and hot chilies. Add a bit of water if necessary to blend.
Soak the cashews in the cream with the saffron for 30 minutes or so. Transfer to a blender or mortar and pestle, along with the tomato and process until the mixture is turned into a paste.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, curry leaves, sugar, whole red chilies and cardamon pods. Stir and fry until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to pop. Add the ground cumin, cayenne, crushed red chilies and turmeric to the pan, stir and then add the onion / garlic paste. Stir and fry until most of the liquid is evaporated.
Add the chickpeas to the pan and stir and fry for another 5 minutes or so. Now add the cashew / tomato paste, fried paneer, along with the water, parsley, garam masala and salt, and simmer until the gravy is thickened. You may need to adjust the amount of water to achieve your desired consistency.
Serve with rice or an Indian flatbread such as roti or naan.
Serves roughly 6.
Paneer Mushroom Masala
Macaroni and Paneer Cheese
Kidney Beans in a Slowly Simmered Tomato Sauce
Shredded Paneer with Tomatoes, Chilies, Mushrooms and Chickpeas
On the top of the reading stack: Tales of Love & Loss by Knut Hamsun
Audio accompaniment: Drawing Of Sound by Windy and Carl