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Saturday, 16 October 2010

DSCN6556

This is one of those recipes that isn't really a recipe. It just came together when I needed something quick to eat, but at the same time had to be fairly nutritious and full of flavour. When I need flavour, I always turn to my trusted chaat masalas (I use Everest Chaat Masala), a couple tablespoons of which can turn the most blah of ingredients into a tangy and spicy taste sensation. Chaat is normally used for street foods, but I think its a shame we don't use this versatile mix for everyday dinners as well. The spices are not overly spicy, and the amchur (dried mango powder) adds an unusual, but refreshing tang to the mix of spices.

I always have paneer in the fridge that I bulk buy from the Ezee Mart in Garneau. If I am feeling particularly chef-like I even make my own. But nothing beats the convenience of slabs of paneer that can be marinated, grilled, stir fried, barbequed, curried and pretty much made into anything you fancy, really.

Other vegetables for this stir-fry are flexible, just use whatever needs using up. Serve with chapatis or pita or rice for a easy one-pot meal that makes life that little bit easier. A sprinkle of fresh coriander finishes the dish off nicely. And if you're in the mood I was when I made this dish, a nice glass of white wine works well on the side too :-)

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Recipe:

A pack of paneer (abour 400g), cut into cubes
1 medium onion, diced fine
1/2 inch piece of ginger, grated
2 flakes garlic, grated
1 large, squishy tomato, chopped
Around 3 tablespoons of chaat masala plus a tbsp more for sprinkling
1/2 tsp mild chilli powder
Around 10 - 15 mushrooms, wiped and quartered
1 green or yellow pepper, chopped into squares
Salt, if you really need it (most chaat masalas almost always have salt in them)
A couple tbsp vegetable or olive oil
Handful chopped fresh coriander

In a saute pan, heat the oil, and toss in the onions. Cook for about 5 minutes, until softened, then stir in the ginger and garlic. Fry 1 minute, then add the tomatoes, chilli powder and the chaat masala. Fry for about 4 minutes or until toamtoes are soft.

Add mushrooms and peppers, and fry for 2 minutes. Add the paneer and stir and fry for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt if you think you need it.

Sprinkle over a tbsp or so of chaat masala, and the fresh coriander, stir once, then serve.

Note: Some people prefer to fry the paneer in a little oil till its golden, as then it tends not to break up in the dish. However, I prefer to just add it straight to the pan, as I feel it absorbs flavours better when its not fried, also it cuts down the amount of prep time and oil in the dish. I also really don't mind if it breaks up a bit. Feel free to go with what you like in this matter.

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