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Wednesday, February 1

Lazy Creamy Paneer

When I was about 11 years old, I stayed at a friend’s place for a sleepover and woke to a random statement:

“Today, we’re going to record an interview with the mice from Babe.”

Having just woken up, my first thought was that my friend was talking in her sleep. But no! She had laid in bed waiting for me wake up, planning how to use multiple tape recorders to record our voices at various speeds. Sure enough, it worked, and we recorded ourselves interviewing ourselves, ending with a very squeaky rendition of “Blue Moon”, a la Babe.

Michelle, if you ever read this, know that I have wonderful, kooky memories of hanging out at your place.

This fun memory returned to me when AJ said, out of nowhere, that he was going to make butter paneer with fenugreek. He had suddenly thought that fenugreek would be tasty in a butter paneer gravy, and therefore he had to make it straight away to prove it to himself.

Creativity can hit someone at any time. I’m lucky enough to eat it.

This recipe has some similarity to butter paneer in that the gravy is the glorious orange tone of tomato and cream. But where butter paneer (or butter chicken) has a bit more process to it, this quick and tangy paneer is a lazy short cut.

Lazy Creamy Paneer

What’s in it?

  • Paneer (400g)
  • Cream (200ml)
  • Tomato puree (200g)
  • Fenugreek leaves, dried (3 heaped tbsp)
  • Onions (2 medium)
  • Oil (2 tbsp, but you can use more)
  • Sugar (2 tsp)
  • Paprika (1 tsp)
  • Salt (1 tsp)
  • Chicken masala (1 tsp)
  • Turmeric (1 tsp)

How do you make it?

  1. Dice the onions and cut up the paneer however you like. I go for cubes of paneer, but AJ likes longer pieces that remind me of domino tiles.
  2. Sauté the onions, then add the puree and fenugreek. Give it a stir, and add a splash of water to help spread the puree around.
  3. Cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes, until it bubbles and have a “saucier consistency” – AJ’s very technical terminology.
  4. Grab a teaspoon and get busy – one tsp each of  salt, turmeric, paprika and chicken masala. Stir it up. If you’re a bit intimidated by too much spice, only add half a tsp each of the paprika and chicken masala.
  5. Cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes. If it starts to look a bit thick, add another splash of water.
  6. Add the cream and sugar and stir it yet again. Now we actually want it to get thick, so simmer  it for about 4-5 minutes, until it thickens.
  7. Time for the final stir – add all the paneer and gently stir until it’s all coated in creamy orange goodness. Cover and simmer for another 2-3 minutes until the paneer softens and is heated through.
  8. Take it off the heat and let it rest, still covered, for 5 minutes before serving with rice and/or naans.

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