Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Glass Onion (part G)

Been a long time... I haven't invented anything for a while, until today when the bag of spinach I was going to use in a saag paneer had gone south.

1 medium onion
5 cloves garlic
2 inches of ginger
handful of coriander
1 big f*ck off red chilli.

Blitz in a blender until really roughly chopped but not a mulch. Fry this in some butter/ghee until it's beginning to look cooked.

1 heaped tbsp coriander powder
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp salt
pinch of sugar
½ tsp Chinese five spice
2 tbsp Kasoori Methi (or if you have it a bunch of fresh methi - but it'll make your wee smell)

Add this to the fresh masalla and fry until well combined.

5 very ripe and juicy tomatoes, blitzed in the blender and added until well combined. Cook until the oil begins to separate. Then add

A selection of peppers - green, yellow and red
1 slab (or equiv) of fresh paneer, fried off in a little butter so it's a light golden brown and still relatively soft to touch.

Add a dash of fresh cream, yoghurt or creme fraiche and serve with garlic infused naan bread and some peas kaju rice (which is boiled rice with added fresh or frozen peas, a handful of broken up cashew nuts and some chopped fresh coriander).

It's hot, but more spicy than nuclear and very tasty. Try it; it'll probably work with chicken really well, possibly even a firm fish.

An Aside

This isn't a recipe, just an observation.

People with long memories might remember a Monty Python joke which ran through an entire episode of the 70s seminal comedy programme. The entire team (and a few unexpected guest stars such as news reader Kenneth Baker and a weatherman) all looked at the camera and said incredulously, 'Lemon Curry?'

I can sort of imagine how this came about. Having read a lot of biographies about the Pythons in the last couple of years, I noticed that a few of them were in the middle east (prior to Life of Brian), where things such as lemon daal and hot and sour curries originated, which use lemons a lot. In fact, lemons in curries are as common as potatoes used for chips; but probably during the 70s the only things we associated lemons with were lemonade and lemon meringue pies; so they probably thought the idea of a lemon curry a bit odd, therefore making it this strange running joke.

Possibly the same happened when Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson and co put the Fast Show out. Remember 'Cheesy Peas?' (Or even 'New Strawberry Flavoured Cheesy Peas). I'm sure they were in their local Indian and saw muttar paneer on the menu and saw that it was essentially a spicy mix of Indian cheese and garden peas and thought it was an unusual combination and their running joke might have come from that!

If you like curries, don't mind the Hairy Bikers and are not put off by vegetarian food, you should see if the episode on last night is on the iPlayer. it features a 10 minute segment about a Punjabi family that run a secret restaurant, introducing strangers to the delights of Indian vegetarian cuisine. They cooked this curry comprising of lotus root koftas, paneer, peas and a really interesting sauce. It's something I'll be having a go at the next time I see lotus root on sale in my local Asian shop.

Now, go, eat.

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