Indian curry: pea, potato, and cheese
A quick Indian dish that can easily become part of your weeknight repertoire.
If the immense diversity of New York City reveals itself in the faces of its people, and if, in turn, those faces can be said to reflect the myriad flavors of this world, then how should one interpret the wearing of “beats by dr dre” headphones by anyone north of 25 years old? With this eternal question in mind, I urge you to consider another conundrum for the ages, which may still puzzle some Hindu theologians: How to take enticing food photography of Indian food with its range of brownish-hued sauces? As we know only too well, appearances are crucial in the food world.Skip to next paragraph
We Are Never Full
Amy and Jonny Seponara-Sills (Amy’s American, Jonny’s English) run the food blog We Are Never Full. Through recipes, anecdotes and podcasts, it chronicles their borderline obsession with food from meals made at home to travels studiously built around the search for authentic regional and national dishes from all over the world.
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Since the majority of Hindus swear off most meats, dairy and legumes (pulses) are essential proteins for the citizens of the sub-continent, and paneer, a firm, fresh cheese, is an important component of that diet. Paneer – which comes in a variety of styles in India, from super firm to an almost goat-cheese consistency, but is mostly limited to the former in our hemisphere – is something of a strange beast in that it neither melts nor competes for flavor with even the mildest of curries. Also, due to being typically coagulated with lemon juice or vinegar rather than rennet, it somehow manages to be wholly acceptable to vegetarians, too.
A perennial, and, likely fruitless, desire to be good food bloggers but also possess the waistlines of triathletes, lately convinced us to expand our palates beyond our customary choices – lamb rogan josh and chicken bhuna – and include a vegetarian option and recipe on these here interwebs. Hardly groundbreaking, we know, but every day is a journey through the world, as described in a previous post, and another recent stop was Patel Brother’s grocery store at the far end of Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood.
Picking up fresh curry leaves, house-ground spices, and a fat block of paneer at Patel’s, we ransacked the springtime growth of our tiny garden for English peas and threw together a matar (pea) aloo (potato) paneer curry with some cumin-seed scented basmati rice and some of the best heat ‘em up at home naan bread we’ve had.
Satisfyingly protein-packed and redolent of sub-continental flavors with the curry leaves and toasted spices, it came together in no-time flat. If you have access to good Indian supplies, this can quite easily become part of your weeknight repertoire and, even if you don’t, non-melting mild cheeses (like halloumi) are readily available and good peas are only a freezer section away.