Curry is my definition of comfort food. Coconut cream with all the fragrant memories of my first solo travel abroad. Curry renditions have been a staple in my home cooking and a dependable cuisine found in all major cities. In fact some of my most memorable meals from Lisbon to Bangkok, Denver and Los Angeles have been from the Indian and Thai restaurants in unassuming locations, amongst embroidered cushions, Buddha statues or Ganesha decorum. And my favorite thing on the menu? Yep, curry.
Scroll all the way to the bottom to see where my travel, healing and cooking journey all began.
I am a little embarrassed to admit that its taken me 15 years to make homemade paneer, my favorite dish. But wow, paneer foreverrrr please.
Making paneer is far too simple and scrumptious. The buttery, chewy, crumbly texture is a dream boat addition to any array of vegetables. I had some milk that was just on the edge of going bad and thought it to be the perfect no waste option. You’ll need about 6-8 cups to make a nice block of paneer enough for 2-3 servings. Make sure to use whole milk then pour it into a pot and let it come to a boil.
That’s it, just about! Stir from the bottom of the pan frequently to keep the milk from burning.
After it comes to a boil turn the stove off and squeeze one whole lemon into the milky pot. Wait a few minutes and the milk will start to curdle. If the milk isn’t curdling add more lemon. Set the pot aside and let it cool for another 20 minutes.
Strain the mixture into a hand towel or cheesecloth over a colander. Take the cheesecloth and squeeze all the water (whey) out and then place it on a plate, still wrapped in the cloth. Flatten out the squishy mixture with your palms and place a bowl over it (this keeps it weighted down) which allows it to condense and harden. Leave this in the refrigerator over night.
Retrieve the lovely paneer round from the fridge and cube it into bite size pieces. Set it aside while you get the curry going on the stove. For this recipe you’ll need:
1 Organic Red Bell Pepper
1 Organic Sweet Potato
1/2 Bunch of Organic Kale
Fresh Ginger Shavings
2 Cloves of Garlic
Chopped Organic Cilantro
1 can of Organic coconut milk
3 tbsp Tandoori Spice or Curry Spice Powder
Cube the sweet potato and let them boil till tender. In another pan sauté the bell pepper with butter or ghee, add garlic and ginger. Add a bit of vegetable stock or water and mix in the tandoori spices. Add the finely sliced kale then the coconut milk and bring to a gentle boil. Add the cubed paneer and turn off the stove, cover for 2 minutes and let the steam settle all the flavors together.
Serve over Jasmine Rice or Quinoa. Top with chopped cilantro.
The three months I spent in India were transformative! Here I am, nineteen, belly full of curry and at ease lost in foreign lands.