I often think that I must have been Indian in a previous life. I love bold colours, I love accessories and I love spicy food. But above all, I’m simply smitten with Indian food. Of all types of world food, there is just one cuisine I couldn’t possibly live without, and that’s the Indian cuisine.
It’s spicy. It’s hot. It’s oh so comforting and if things couldn’t get any better: vegetarians will never be neglected! Indian cuisine literally overflows with fragrant and rich veggie dishes! My current food obsession: paneer. (For the food dummies among you: paneer is a non-melting fresh cheese that is very popular on the Indian subcontinent. If you have no idea what it tastes like – shame on you! – you should definitely try the very popular dishes mattar paneer (with peas) or saag paneer (with spinach)! They taste divine!)
However, you don’t have to go to an Indian restaurant to experience the rich flavours of Indian cuisine. You can easily experiment with Indian spices and flavours in your own little 70s-inspired kitchen. It may not be as authentic, but it will definitely give that same comforting richness. Plus, you don’t have to stick to the traditional dishes. You can experiment and create dishes with all the left-overs you have lying around in your fridge. The following dishes were packed full of spicy, sunny flavours (they brought an instant smile to my face!) and they were dead easy and super-duper quick! I swear, these dishes are so speedy, it would even make Jamie Oliver blush!
Fruity Paneer red curry
If you are looking for an explosion of flavours: this is it! I know it may sound really weird to combine cherry tomatoes, curry paste and pineapple juice (it actually sounds really icky!) but it works so well, you’ll be in an utter state of culinary delirium!
Ingredients (serves one):
• 100 gr paneer, cut into cubes
• half a red pepper, finely sliced
• 200gr canned apricots, roughly chopped
• Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1dl pineapple juice
• 2 tbsp red curry paste
• 1 tbsp garam massala
• ½ tbsp turmeric
• Fish sauce
• Fresh coriander
1. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a frying pan and stir-fry the red pepper for a couple of minutes. Add the pineapple juice and curry paste and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
2. Add the apricots, cherry tomatoes and the spices and put on a low heat for a further 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, grill the paneer cheese in a very hot pan for a minute on each side. Sprinkle on some salt and garam massala.
4. Finish the curry with a splash of fish sauce to taste and the fresh coriander.
5. Serve the crunchy paneer on top of your steaming fruity curry and serve some naan or fluffy rice on the side.
Comforting bean-endive-peanut paneer curry
I was feeling a bit down and depressed the other day…
Wait! Let me rephrase that, since I’m not in the mood to be euphemistic: I was having a severe panic attack about my fast approaching thesis deadline. (That’s more like it 😉 ) So I was looking for something really comforting to have for dinner and so this dish was born. The peanut butter and soy cream make it incredibly creamy , the endive provides that bitter tang and the beans are high in protein and an excellent source of iron. This dish is the perfect spirit lifter!
Ingredients(serves one depressed lady in need of some real comfort)
• 200gr endive, blanched and drained (you can substitute it with spinach are pak choi if you prefer)
• 200gr small can of white beans
• 100gr paneer, cut into cubes
• 100dl soy milk
• 1 tbsp peanut butter
• 1/2tsp turmeric
• 1 tsp curry powder
• ½ tsp sambal oelek
1. Heat the soy milk in a pan over a medium heat, together with the peanut butter, turmeric, curry powder and sambal. Bring to the boil.
2. Add the blanched endive and white beans and let is simmer on a low heat for a couple of minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Meanwhile, grill the paneer cheese in a very hot pan for one minute on each side and season with salt, pepper and curry powder.
4. Serve the steaming curry in a large bowl and top with the grilled paneer. Serve with some delicious naan or Turkish bread ( whatever you prefer really, but I believe there is no better way to lift your spirits than to dunk some bread in a yummy sauce so that it gets all juicy and soggy. But hey, that might as well just be me 😉 )