Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Cashew, Kale and Paneer Masala

Cashew, Kale and Paneer Masala

I didn’t really intend for this to happen.  We're on our way to Portland, Oregon, USA very soon, and my mind is on the famous food trucks.  I'll be posting about that soon.
But while this was simmering away, it looked so pretty that I started taking pictures, thinking creatively, and adding stuff. 
It started out simple enough, just a cashew curry made with pre-packaged masalas, then things spiralled not out of control, but into.  Here’s what happened:

Garden fresh kale-hooray!
1 tablespoon mustard oil
2/3 cup raw unsalted cashews
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or less if not needed)
1 teaspoon dark mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 red onion, diced roughly
1 inch fresh ginger, chopped roughly
1 Anaheim chilli pepper, chopped roughly
2 heaping tablespoons your favourite packaged masala
1 large cinnamon stick
1 large sweet red pepper, chopped roughly
3 huge ripe tomatoes, chopped roughly
2/3 cup powdered coconut milk
4 cups mixed garden greens (I had kale and bok choy but spinach would be fine)
1 cup paneer

In a saucepan, heat mustard oil on high, then fry cashews for a few minutes till they’re golden.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Pour grapeseed oil (you may not need much) into the same pan, then sprinkle in a few mustard seeds.  As soon as they sizzle and pop, add all the mustard seeds, cinnamon stick, then the cumin seed.  Immediately add the onion, ginger and chilli, reduce heat to medium, stirring till onions get a bit golden and translucent.
Don't be a lazybone!  Pick up each leaf and wash!
Add the masala, stir and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the red pepper and tomatoes, cover and cook till they’re soft.  Add the powdered coconut milk. (I prefer powdered because you can control the thickness of the dish without having to reduce the water content, and over-cook the veg.)  Remove from the heat and set aside.  Now is the time to wash those greens.  Careful washing should take about ten minutes.  You can’t just run the greens under the tap.  Every leaf must be washed individually, both sides, while you examine it for cling-ons.  No cheating or you’ll likely find creatures in your dinner! 

Once the immersion blender was through with it...
Meanwhile the sauce will have cooled down a bit, so remove the cinnamon stick and either pour it into a blender or use an immersion blender to puré it.  Once it’s fairly smooth, put it back on the heat along with the greens.  
Kale cooks more slowly than many greens, so I cooked for another fifteen minutes.  Spinach would cook in about five.  If using frozen paneer, add it in the last fifteen minutes of cooking, if fresh, the last five.  In the last five, add the browned cashews.
You can serve this with rice, or chapattis.  This vegetarian recipe is quick, easy and super healthy.  It's the perfect dinner for when you need to be doing your laundry, charging your Kobo, and packing for a trip.
See you in Portland!