14 May 2011

Spicy Paneer for Invite a Blogger to Your Table

Spicy Paneer

Forget the mystery of the Taj Mahal, the residence of the Dali Lama or the sacred waters of the Ganges River the true mystery for me is producing outstanding East Indian cooking and the intricate layering of spices. Most Indian dishes are easily constructed but complexly layered. The assortment of mouthwatering recipes of Indian food is simply awe inspiring and for a "newbie" like me rather daunting. It is often said that `variety is the spice of life, and never has a proverb held so true than it does to describe Indian cuisine

Nowadays I can at least spell asafetida and make paneer but finding most of the exotic ingredients used in Indian cooking is a fruitless safari here in K-town. Come to the rescue Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen who lives and blogs in Southern Ontario with a focus on East Indian cuisine. Lisa sent me a care package of some of her favourite spices and combinations to get me started. This gives me the confidence to skim, saute and sneeze my way through layers of spices, vegetables and meats and demystify East Indian cooking for life. I am looking forward to the day I no longer need to stop for East Indian takeout at one of our local hangouts and can move the cooking and recipe developing into my own kitchen. Thank you Lisa for getting me started and developing a life long passion for another cuisine.

For this months edition of Invite a Blogger to Your Table I cooked up a storm in my virtual kitchen where it seemed only fitting to collaborate with my friend Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen. Lisa chose this wonderful vegetarian dish where I would need to make my own paneer and layer complex flavours of Indian spices.

Your assignment, if you choose to accept it, is to "Invite a Blogger to Your Table"! This is a fun event and an outlet for us each to challenge ourselves and create stronger bonds within the blogging community. Nothing is more intimate, or more effective at creating friendships than cooking and sharing meals together, even it is virtually. But hey, if you live in the same area as another blogger what's to stop you from gathering in your own kitchen for this challenge.

With these personally imposed challenges my own culinary skills have been rejuvenated and back on track and I am once again inspired. With this ongoing event I will challenge myself and one blogging friend at a time throughout the year as the seasons change. I hope this inspires you to make new friends in the blogging community as well as create something you have been itching to try.

Your choice of recipe can be anything you would like it to be. Is there something you have been wanting to make and need feedback and encouragement from a friend to create on your blog? Is there a special dish that you just have to share sweet or savoury? Do you just want the fun of collaborating with other bloggers to come up with a tasty dish you feel you and your readers might enjoy. This is a fun event that creates friendships throughout the blogosphere. Invite someone you have followed for years or a perfect stranger. It is up to you!

Here are the "rules" as I see it for now.

Choose a dish to prepare and invite 1(one) blogger to create that dish with you. You can source your recipe from a cookbook, magazine, blog or any other source. Your dish can be sweet or savoury; easy or complicated.  
Decide upon a date that you can both mutually post your recipe within a 4 week time frame.

Link back to More Than Burnt Toast http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com/ somewhere in your post as the caretaker of this event.
Please feel free to use the Avatar/Badge above "Invite a Blogger to Your Table"
Once you have made your dish with your blogging friend or friends and posted it, you can choose to STOP or CONTINUE on and "invite another blogger to your table" to make something DIFFERENT on a mutually agreeable date within the next 4 week time frame.

If you would  please e-mail Val at bloggerstable(AT)gmail(DOT)com for no other reason than to let her know you have participated. She would love to see what you have accomplished.

Cut and paste these instructions into your post and contact a friend. Let magic happen and let's get cooking!!

**Spicy Paneer**

400 grams of paneer cheese, homemade or store-bought, cut into 1 inch cubes (recipe below)
2 tablespoons of ghee, or a mixture of butter and oil
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
3 tablespoons of dried fenugreek leaves
1 teaspoon of amchoor powder
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of sea salt
3 tablespoons of chickpea flour
a generous handful of fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped

1. Cut the paneer cheese into 1 inch pieces and set aside.

2. Heat the ghee, or butter and oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium heat.  Add the paneer cubes to the pan and cook, turning the cheese every minute or so until it is lightly browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

3. To the frying pan add the cumin seeds and stir and fry for a minute. Now add the ginger, ground cumin, green chilies, fenugreek leaves, amchoor powder, cayenne, coriander, red pepper flakes, turmeric and salt. Stir and fry for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes.

3. Add the paneer cubes, sprinkle chickpea flour over the paneer and stir to coat. Cook for another 5 minutes, flipping the cheese often, making sure to incorporate the chickpea flour evenly. Transfer to a serving dish and serve warm.

Serves 4 - 6.

**Home-Made Paneer**

(enough for two helpings, double for this recipe )
  • 1 litre full fat milk
  • 4 T white vinegar (or lemon juice)
1. In a heavy based pan, bring the milk up to a boil slowly.

2. As soon as the milk begins to boil, add the vinegar, reduce the heat and stir slowly.

3. At this point the curds and whey will seperate making the milk look green-ish grey with lumpy white bits. Perfect.

4. Line a colander with a tea-towel and pour the mixture into it. Leave for 20 minutes to let the whey drain off.

5. Squeeze out as much moisture as possible and shape the cheese into a patty. Tie the cloth with an elastic band around it. Place the cheese parcel on a board with another board on top of it and weigh this latter board down with tins to squeeze out more moisture.

6. After another 20 minutes your paneer will be ready. Unwrap and eat immediately or store for up to 24 hours in an airtight container wrapped in the same damp tea-towel.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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  1. A fabulous dish! I really have to make paneer soon.



  2. aaah Val this look amazing!! gloria

  3. Such a wonderful way of serving vegetarian dish. I love paneer, and never get tired of eating it too.

  4. That is a very chic table featured Val. Who wouldn't love to be invited to dinner there. Sounds like a fun event. I'll be looking forward to more.

  5. I've been reading Lisa's Kitchen for quite a while and anything inspired by her spices really must be delicious! Looks great. I'm always a fan of anything that involves paneer!

  6. Such a fun event Val and I am happy you are enjoying the care package I sent.

  7. Indian food is so wonderfully tasty! I have a friend from New Delhi who has taught me many dishes. One must have a spice cabinet filled to do most of them. I once asked her what kind of wine went with these dishes. She informed me that most people drink Scotch--straight!


  8. This is a fabulous dish that you choose for invite a blogger to your table. Looks so inviting.

  9. AnonymousMay 14, 2011

    Phew! I can feel the sweat on my brow already. Just gotta love the layers of flavors in a nice Indian dish.

  10. Every week I pass paneer at No Frills when I do my weekly shopping and I still haven't tried it! I love Indian food too. Sounds wonderful!

  11. Congratulations! I'm also wanting to cook a wider repertoire of Indian cooking. You did a beautiful job, and I can see that you are bonding with your new camera. What a great idea! If only I had more time. I struggle to blog once a week, with my insane work schedule. What a beautiful outreach to fellow bloggers!

  12. You make me crave for Indian food...! This looks totally inviting and my mouth is watering!!

  13. You are going to definitely wow that lucky blogger wit this awesome dish!

  14. I can only imagine how wonderful this must taste. What a beautiful job you did...Lisa will be proud, I'm sure.

  15. I love that your readers get to benefit from your collaboration with Lisa. This sounds wonderful and it looks very inviting. I'd love to try this. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  16. I've never tried homemade paneer, thanks for the inspiration. The dish sounds really delicious

  17. I'm glad Lisa was able to get your spices! Because now we all get to benefit from your creativity!

  18. Lovely pictures Val (as always). Just my kind of food - the recipe sounds Delish and it certainly looks yummy.

  19. I can almost smell all the spices. Very nice recipe!

  20. This looks delicious. I've actually never had paneer, but with all those wonderful spices, how could you go wrong?

  21. Who can say no to this flavorful Indian dish Val?

  22. I LOVE Lisa's Kitchen - and I haven't been there in ages! I wish she would send me a care package!!!

    Anway, Val, this is lovely! I have made Indian-esque or inspired meals 2-3 times in my kitchen and I am always surprised at how delicious and "authentic" is tastes (having never been to India, myself) and I always say that I will make it more often and then forget....

    But now that I am into cheese-making I have got to make paneer! :)

  23. I just lost a long comment, but I want to say how impressed I am with the dish. I am mystified just going to an International grocery storey.


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