As per my previous post, I’m currently enamoured with all things curried – and with using my masala dabba, which when I hold in my hand and dip into by the stove makes me feel like part cook, part abstract painter, and which turns out curries I didn’t realize I was capable of.
Also? I must have curry on the mind because this very weekend I’m flying to London to go to lunch at Fifteen and MEET JAMIE OLIVER. My apologies if I drive everyone crazy with my Jamiepalooza this coming Monday. (Also? I have a 5-10 minute Q&A with him – what do you want to know??)
All of which is to say I couldn’t resist another curry – I’m not even going to apologize for it, because this particular one is made with Brussels sprouts, bacon and paneer. If you’re a frequenter of Indian restaurants you may recognize peas and paneer, or spinach and paneer, but this. It’s dense and chewy and crunchy and soft, and I’d never think to add bacon to the mix, but it’s brilliant. I flipped by it in one of Vij’s books while looking for an interesting thing to do with the paneer I just made, and then kind of winged it, not really following the recipe exactly, shredding the B. sprouts rather than quartering them, and not bothering to add water, so it’s thicker and more intense.
Paneer, if you’re not familiar with it, is a fresh curd cheese – common in Indian cooking, but essentially the same thing as ricotta – you can make it (easily!) by adding an acid like lemon juice or vinegar to warmed milk, making it split into curds and whey. You scoop out the curds into a piece of cheesecloth, sprinkle it with a bit of salt, then weigh it down under a plate to press out as much whey as possible, making it firm enough to cut into chunks. Honestly, I could nibble on squares of homemade paneer all day.
Curried Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Paneer
6-8 slices bacon, chopped
1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
canola oil, for cooking, if you need it
1 lb Brussels sprouts
1 14 oz (398 mL) can pureed tomatoes
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 lb paneer, cut into 1-inch cubes
Cook the bacon in a skillet set over medium-high heat until crisp; remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate, leaving the drippings.
Toast the cumin seeds for a minute in the drippings in the pan – add a little oil if you like – and then add the Brussels sprouts, cooking until they’re soft and starting to brown a bit on the edges.
Add the tomatoes, coriander, cumin, turmeric, salt and cayenne and cook until bubbling and thick; tuck in the paneer and cook for another minute, coating the cheese with the tomato sauce, until everything is heated through and looking like exactly what you want to eat. (Vij instructs to pour the sauce over the paneer, if you want to serve it that way.)
Serves 4. (Or 2 for lunch.)