Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Paneer Bagh E-Bahar

This is one the strangest things I've ever made which is saying a lot considering I cooked frog legs for New Years, once spent 8 hours waiting for ox tail soup to finish cooking and made green fairy ice cream for the fella's birthday.  And that isn't to say it wasn't tasty because it truly was but in an odd am-I-really-putting-this-in-my-mouth kind of way.  First of all it's so high in fat and all that naughtiness that even as someone on a low carb diet I felt weird eating it.  Secondly fried cheese and pineapple in the same dish?  That's just crazy.  Yummy but crazy.  And like so many things, this meal is all the fault of the fella and the chef.

See the fella went through a faze a while back where he was buying a ridiculous amount of pineapples.  We always seemed to have 2 in the fruit bowl.  It was as if I would cut one up and put it in the fridge to snack on when another would appear in the house magically while my back was turned.  And I like pineapple but those suckers are labor intensive to cut up so eventually I got fed up with the pineapple and left one to languish in the bowl figuring if the fella wanted to keep buying them he could cut the freaking pineapple up himself.

You know, typically passive aggressive chick behavior towards someone you've lived with for a while and drives you crazy in the best possible ways (mostly) and occasionally drives you to perform small scale sociological experiments to find out if the other person of their volition will ever do the thing you're sick of doing when it stops magically getting done for them.  Why does this ever seem like a good idea?  It never works.

Anyway at some point the chef came over and he noticed the pathetic pineapple and in his typical fashion started dreaming up totally insane things to do with it.  I just shook my head and hoped to not encourage the behavior.  The fella then hops in with the helpful suggestion "Let's smoke it."  Which then became plans to fry it or, marinate it in fish sauce or turn into a hat rack.  Who knows by then I was in my happy place thinking about socks and puppies and ignoring them both.  When I drifted back into the conversation they were contemplating using apple wood to smoke the poor pineapple then debating whether that was kosher or not.  All this at 8AM or so.  This is my life.

It was then I  knew I would have to give up my silent pineapple cutting strike.  So being that this was during the great early winter paneer surplus I went looking for a crazy Indian recipe that would take care of the remaining paneer and the pineapple at the same time.  Imagine my surprise when such a recipe existed.  I gathered the ingredients to cook this that night before the pineapple fell into the hands of philosophical extremists.  Image how surprised I was when what started as a joke ended up as a great dinner.  The super sweet pineapple somehow works with the salty paneer to make something wonderful.

I can't make any of this up.  It's all true.  So long story short, if you're looking for a really interesting curry to impress yourself and anyone lucky enough to be eating with you, this is it.  Pineapple curry, who knew?

Paneer Bagh E-Bahar

1 cup paneer cubes (about ½ pound)
1 cup yellow or red pepper, chopped
1 cup pineapple, chopped
1 cup tomato, chopped

1/4 cup cashews
1/2 cup cream

2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped

2 tablespoon tomato sauce

Cut paneer, pepper, pineapple and tomato all into 1 inch pieces.

Make a paste of cashew nuts by placing them in food processor along with a few teaspoons of water and grinding until smooth. Add the cream and process again briefly.

Heat oil in deep frying pan over medium high heat to fry garlic and chilies until browned. Mix in the cashew paste. Increase heat and stir fry pepper in cashew and garlic mixture until softened. Add pineapple and tomatoes and stir frequently until cooked through. Mix in paneer, tomato sauce and salt and pepper to taste.

Stir fry one minute longer, combining ingredients fully. Serve sprinkled with a couple tablespoons of cream.

Original recipe from Indian Food Forever.


Hudson Gardner said...

I'm using your Lamb Korma recipe from last year for an Indian dinner tomorrow night. We're going to watch a DVD of a composition by Ravi Shankar called Arpan
I thought you might be interested in it since you're interested in Indian food. Thanks for the recipe, I hope it turns out well!

Emily said...

Thanks for the link, I'm sadly lacking in knowledge of Indian culture in all areas other than food so that was fun to listen to.

Hope the Lamb korma worked out well for you, that's one of my favorite recipes since starting this blog.