Say hello to your mutter for me...

I'll be the first to admit that I have a lot of different interests.  that's probably why I have a hard time finishing some things.  like a kitchen remodel...or writing a book...or lists of things that mames gives me to do around here... but you know what I'm good at finishing?  curry.  in most any shape or form.  I love it, and I can polish off a bowl of curry like it's no one's bizzz.
it's versatile, and up until recently, I've discovered, is a lot easier to make than you might think.  the recipe I am going to post is for a savory, somewhat spicy curry that has its roots in Indian and Pakistani cooking.  I made it two different ways this week, one with spiced meatballs (beef pork mixture (50/50), minced garlic, coriander, cumin, garam masala, cilantro) and peas, and the other I used to make a curry with peas and paneer (semi-firm indian cheese, found in asian markets, or made by yourself, which is actually quite easy).  both turned out really well and I'm sure there are tons of other possibilities for this sauce.  

ok, non-foods: I've been getting into photography a little bit more lately and am having a lot of fun with it.  As you can see, I am a fan of the close-ups. My sis sent me this crazy little toy from germany. If you press his backpack he squirts water out of his head. and he's really happy about it. 

these are pics of flowers from our yard that only survive because of my lady. she spends a lot of time trying to beautify things that I would probably otherwise kill.

the smell of lilac mixed with curry is intoxicating, lowering your inhibitions and whispering "go ahead, have another helping, we'll take it from here..."  I reckon it will soon be available in candle form, 

or available in a diffuser...

I'm going to label this recipe as Mutter paneer, because that is what I think it most closely resembles.  you can substitute whatever you want once the basic sauce has been made.  I would think that it would be good with chicken thighs, lamb, beef, or also with some root veg or chickpeas.
Mutter Paneer:
don't worry about being too even with the dice on your veggies, it's all going to take a ride in the blender...
all of these veg are roughly diced
1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter.  it's important to use this fat as it gives a unique flavor to the dish, you can use olive oil if you want, but it won't be the same)
2 onion
1 red bell pepper
3 clove garlic
1 inch ginger root, peeled
1 pablano or green bell pepper
small handful cilantro (stalks included)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1.5 tsp paprika (if you are using a hot paprika, omit the chile powder)
.5 tsp pure (hot) chile powder (check the ingredients, most reg chile powders have cumin, etc.)
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
salt and pepper
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes with juice
ok, in a wok or dutch oven, melt the ghee and saute the veg (except the toms, those are later) until they soften and start to get some color.  add a little salt and pepper and all of your spices. saute for a few minutes more and then add the can of tomatoes.  cook the sauce about 5-8 minutes more over med heat and then transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.  pour into a bowl and repeat until the whole batch has been completed ( you will have to do this in batches (only filling the blender to half, max) or you will burn your face off in a curry explosion, which might not be all that bad of a way to go...
1 tbs ghee
1 onion, minced fine
1 scant teaspoon cumin seed
sauce from above (the curry you just made, not gifts bestowed upon you from the heavens.  however, one could argue...)
small handful minced cilantro
bag of frozen peas
1tsp garam masala
1-2 tsp chat masala (start with one and then see if you want more) (you're going to have to go to an indian grocery for this, or track me down and I will give you some)
1.5 tsp fenugreek powder
salt and pepper
2 tsp sugar (I used sugar in the raw, because that's what i had)

.5 cups milk/cream/yogurt (optional, I only add this if it is getting a bit too spicy)
couple tbs butter (also optional, but I think it really rounds out the flavor)
14- 16 oz paneer.  they come in packages of differing weight, so just get close
ok, wash and wipe out your wok or dutch oven and heat the ghee over med heat.  now add the onion, cilantro,and the cumin seed, along with some salt and pepper and saute for about 5 minutes or until it is starting to soften and get some color.  now, add your sauce, peas, and the rest of the spices, sugar and simmer, uncovered for about thirty minutes to let the flavors party and thicken. taste your sauce, if it's too spicy for you, add the milk/cream/yogurt (the slashes mean "or" not "and") and stir. you may need to let it go a little bit longer to thicken back up to where you were before the milk. add the butter and stir until incorporated.  now, add your paneer cubes or squares or whatever you want to cut them/shape them into, and simmer for 2-3 minutes more, making sure that they are immersed in the sauce, and kill the heat.  put a lid on the curry and let sit for 10 or so minutes so the curry can get all of its flavors up into that paneer.  serve with rice or naan or chapati.  or whatever you want, really.


Amy said...

I would also add, if you have A LOT of self control you can wait and eat it the next day. For some reason stews and curries always taste better after a night in the fridge.

Vinculum said...

I agree with Amy, I always find that curry/or stew tastes better the following day, I think it is due to a 24hr marinade process. One question is it possible to put your measurements in UK format, as dozy Englishmen like me never knows how much a cup of milk is etc, If you said fl oz or pint I would be with you but cups just go over my head?

the DISH said...

no prob, vinculum. a cup is measured as 8 fl. oz. or half of a pint. a teaspoon (tsp) is roughly 5 grams, and a tablespoon (tbs) is roughly 15 grams. hope that helps.

Erin said...

Yum. I'm excited to pick up more whole spices and get started on constructing *actual* curries soon... I'm still searching for a Shahi Paneer that rivals Hema's Kitchen in Chicago, though... (-sigh-)

Erin said...


the DISH said...

Erin, I swear to you that this is one fine curry. Shove some into your face!