Archive for the 'vegetarian' Category

Curried Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Paneer

Brussels sprouts and paneer 1

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.

Brussels sprouts and paneer 2

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
pinch cayenne
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.)

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May 14 2015 | cheese and vegetarian | 8 Comments »

Samosa Stuffed Potatoes

samosa stuffed baked potatoes

There are few kitchen techniques as basic as baking a potato – yet I’ve been asked a handful of times over the past couple of weeks how to do it. What’s the best variety? Does it require a foil jacket?

A good baked potato can be a beautiful thing – as basic (yet infinitely more satisfying) as a bowl of popcorn with butter and salt. I dig out the fluffy innards, then butter the crispy skin and eat it like a thin, floppy piece of toast.

And sweet potatoes. I roast them when the oven is on, and keep them in the fridge to reheat for lunch. (If you happen to have a jar of bacon jam in the fridge? Ridiculous.)

Trio of baked potatoes

There’s nothing like a good traditional russet – which also happens to be the cheapest of the potatoes. To bake, give it a wash, dry it off and rub it down with whatever cooking oil you generally use in your kitchen (canola, olive, sunflower) and sprinkle with salt, then roast directly on the oven rack at 350F or so for about an hour. A sweet potato will take less time to cook and wind up deliciously caramelized inside, with thin skin that separates itself from the flesh, making it easy to peel off with your fingers if you’re after mashed potatoes or something to add to soup. Bonus: you can roast potatoes while the oven is on for other things, and have a head start on lunch or dinner.

Chili baked potatoes were a staple of my teenagehood, and these days I’m discovering how well suited they are as a vehicle for leftovers – imagine the last of the butter chicken, spooned over a baked potato? I was also imagining how much I love the inside of a potato-pea samosa, and how seldom I actually make the real thing, and it occurred to me how well that combination of ingredients would do reassembled and piled back into a baked potato shell.

Samosa Stuffed Potatoes

Stuffed potatoes don’t require a recipe per se – it’s just a matter of unstuffing a baked potato, mashing the insides along with other tasty ingredients, then piling it back into the potato shell. I winged it when I made these samosa potatoes, but this is essentially what I did. (The recipe can be multiplied to feed however many you like.)

2 baked russet potatoes
canola or olive oil, for cooking
a dab of butter
1/2 small purple onion, chopped
some chopped cilantro stems (optional)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2-1 tsp. curry powder or paste (or to taste)
1/2 cup frozen peas, straight from the freezer
a few cherry tomatoes, halved
salt and pepper

In a medium skillet, heat a drizzle of oil and dab (about a tablespoon?) of butter over medium-high heat. Saute the onion for a few minutes, until soft; add the garlic and curry powder and cook for another minute. Add the frozen peas, cherry tomatoes and the insides of the potatoes, scooped out into the pan; cook for a few minutes, until the peas are heated through, tomatoes have wilted and everything is coated with curry and browned bits. Season with salt and pepper.

Pile back into the baked potato shell and serve immediately, topped with a dollop of plain yogurt and/or extra cilantro if you like. Serves 2.

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February 03 2015 | vegetables and vegetarian | 10 Comments »

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