Monday, February 25, 2013

Lunch in a Box: Vegetable Jalfrezie, and the Wonders of Paneer

I've eaten paneer in restaurants, but never really cooked it at home. Known as "vegetarian meat", it's similar to cottage cheese, but with a more dense texture. It's high in protein, which is helpful when cooking (or eating) dishes that are heavy on vegetables. I believe that you can find paneer at Whole Foods or Central Market, but I grabbed two blocks of it on my recent trip to Apna Bazaar. At only $4 a block, I really liked the price!

Paneer looks like this- in case you were wondering.

Sautéing paneer can often result in a rubbery texture, which is why I'm glad I came across this recipe for Vegetable and Paneer Jalfrezie (from Curry of a Life). She mentions a technique that soaks the paneer in boiled milk/water. I only had rice milk on hand, and didn't notice any funny aftertaste as a result of using it. But what I did notice was how much softer the paneer was after soaking it for 30 minutes. It made the dish so much better!

I chose this recipe because I had 3 bell peppers on their last leg, and I couldn't stand to throw them out. I'm also on a mission to cook as many dishes as I can from this blog (I learn something new every time I make something), and so this recipe was perfect. I had everything I needed (minus green beans and carrots), and other than cutting up all the veggies, it came together pretty quickly. I would always recommend using onions for the base, but you could substitute any other veggies you might have on hand to go with. I would imagine frozen ones would work just fine, too.

I followed the directions pretty closely, but chose to add only 1 tsp of vinegar at the end (it scared me a little, but really did give the dish a nice sharp taste in the end). I also decided to sprinkle on just a little bit of kasoori methi before serving. I used it in the Malai Kofta dish I made recently, and loved the way it made my kitchen smell.

Last night I served dinner over brown basmati rice, and with leftovers today I put some fresh berries and cottage cheese in my lunch box. I realized after the fact that paneer and cottage cheese in one lunch is a little over kill, but I was in a hurry this morning and that was the best I could do. At least it's low fat, and I only put 1/2 a cup in there!

I love dinners that taste equally good, if not better, the next day. This one was a hit for sure!

1 comment:

  1. AMY!! Thanks so much for your amazing recommendations! I can't wait to try Winflo :)
    And, I'm now up on Google reader and can't thank you enough! Looking forward to more posts... AND trying some of these amazing lunch box recipes!

    Thanks friend,