Time to Eat!
Yesterday was all about making paneer cheese, and today is all about eating it!
It was the heavenly dish, sagg paneer, that first sparked me undying affection for Indian food. Sagg paneer is a spicy and vaguely creamy curry dish made with pureed spinach and cubes of paneer cheese. Sadly, due to the intimidating list of required spices, I have as yet to tackle making my own sagg paneer from scratch (although I’ve stared at the recipe at least a hundred times, thinking “maybe this time…nah, I just don’t have all of those in my pantry yet”). But at least I have the paneer part down, right?
Since I’m lacking in the full breadth of middle eastern spices (I do have at least ten on hand at the moment, but it’s really the garam masala that always throws me for a loop. I’ve vowed to mix up a batch one of these days), I often buy pre-made Indian sauces from Trader Joe’s and toss in my homemade cheese. It’s certainly easy and pretty tasty. But this recipe for a delicately spiced stir-fry centered on the soft paneer curds is really my favorite vehicle for the cheese. Its ingredient list is, well, um, “approachable” in that you’ve probably got a lot of this on hand already. When making the paneer, I spiced my soft curds with dried dill and ground mustard, two flavors that go well with the components of this particular stir-fry. If you have a favorite stir-fry standard in your home, consider making the soft curds with spices that compliment it. Or conversely, just leave the paneer “plain” and toss it in whatever dish hits your mood.
On a side note, I used up the last of my swiss chard from the farm in this recipe. Fun fact: I’d had this swiss chard in my crisper drawer for over a month and it was still as fresh as a daisy. It really is a miracle veggie! Other WW Farm contributions were the scallions and some tiny sweet carrots. The carrots were so sweet in fact, it was very tough not to just gobble them up raw!
Vegetable and Soft Cheese Curd Stir-Fry
Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian
1 c. homemade Indian cheese, prepared in the soft curd style
1 bunch of swiss chard, roughly chopped
1/2 c. carrots, sliced thin on an angle
1/2 c. shelled peas, defrosted if frozen
2 scallions, chopped
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. tahini (sesame paste) OR sesame oil
3 T. low sodium soy sauce
prepared rice for serving
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. To hot oil, add the carrots, peas, and scallions. Stir and cook for one minute. Add the swiss chard and stir for another minute. Add 1/4 cup of water and bring to a simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and cook vegetables for three to four minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Add the tahini and soy sauce. Stir well and let cook gently for a minute while you break up the cheese curds into small pieces. Add cheese to the skillet and stir to coat with sauce and heat through.
Serve stir-fry immediately over prepared rice. Makes a nice leftover lunch too.