On one of my daily travails around the internet, I discovered Maria's blog which is a delightful collection of recipes and South Asian delicacies. There was an interesting 2-in-1 recipe she had for paneer balls, which could be served up as an appetizer, and then an elegant creamy curry that then utilized said dumplings again. This I had to try, especially since I was giddy from having some freshly made paneer ready to go.
Ooops, Paneer. Gots to have some to make this recipe.
But before you all get your bloomers in a twist and blow off this recipe, the Indian version of cottage cheese is surpisingly easy to make at home - and so now that I have mastered the feat of making my own paneer, I don't recommend using the store bought paneer cubes that you see languishing in Asian grocery store freezers. Unless there is someone (emphasis on the ONE in someone) out there who can prove me otherwise, store bought paneer has always tasted like a subtle mixture of chalk and cardboard. And since I have eaten both earnestly in my heady youth, I can attest to that review strongly.
Step 1 - Paneer Dumplings (adapted from Maria's Menu blog)
1 cup crumbled Paneer (cottage cheese)
2 medium Potatoes (boiled & mashed)
Crushed pepper - 1 heaped tsp
Red Chilli flakes - 1 heaped tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 teaspoon
Cornflour - 1-2 tablespoon
Salt - to taste
Oil - for frying
1. Mix potatoes and paneer together in a bowl. I like to do this when the potatoes are still warm so that the paneer cheese gets to melt slightly
2. Add all the seasonings and salt - adjust to taste.
3. Add cornflour and mix thoroughly - this is to help bind the mixture.
4. Form small balls or patties.
5. Fry lightly in hot oil. I chose not to deep fry, but ended up browning the dumplings a little.
At this stage, you may end up scoffing up the paneer balls as they are tasty little treats in of themsleves. Try them with a chilli sauce or dip.
Step 2. Gravy for the Malai Kofta Curry (reproduced entirely from Marias Menu blog)
2 medium onions - sliced
Tomato puree - made from 2,3 tomatoes
Gingergarlic paste - 1 tablespoon
Turmeric powder - 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 tablespoon
Chilli powder - 1 tablespoon
Garam masala - 2 teaspoon
Cream - 1 cup
1.Cook sliced onions in 2 cups water. Make sure you have the vent fan going, this is going to "smell" a little...
2.Once the onions have cooked (they will look blanched and lighter in color), drain the water completely and grind the onions into a smooth paste.
3.Heat oil in a pan and saute onion paste.
4.After 5 minutes add ginger garlic paste and saute for 2,3 minutes.
5.Add all the spice powders and stir for 5 minutes or until the oil starts forming a layer on top.
6.Add tomato puree and once the puree is mixed well in the gravy add the cream.
7.After 5 minutes, remove from heat. Spread prepared koftas in a plate and pour the gravy over it.
This is best served with a mixed fried rice or Indian bread like Naan or Paratha.