with Sourdough Flatbread
Sourdough Flatbread, a jar of home-bottled tomato puree,
and Tomato Paneer Curry
Bottled tomato puree has many uses, and goes with every cuisine from Italy to India, and most parts of the Americas. Paneer is a uniquely Indian fresh cheese, which is firm but not matured. It is very bland in taste - I think of it as the dairy version of tofu. It is available in Indian stores in New Zealand, and I picked up some in Yogiji's in Christchurch on Friday.
When I got it home and went to find a recipe for a paneer curry, I found that my Indian vegetarian recipe book had done a runner, and not one of my four other Indian cook books had a recipe. Hooray for the Web! Within three minutes I had found an excellent recipe at Veggie Belly (interesting name for a website) and this is the basis of the recipe below. I have modified it slightly to simplify it, and to make use of my home-bottled tomato puree rather than out-of-season fresh tomatoes.
The Veggie Belly recipe says to serve it with roti or chapatis, classic Indian unyeasted flatbreads. I decided to experiment with using some of my sourdough starter (which lives in the fridge between weekend baking days, and is fed with flour and water every Wednesday) to make an easy flatbread. I made up the recipe below, and it made very tasty, soft, buttery flatbreads which went well with the curry.
TOMATO PANEER CURRY
[serves 3-4 as a main dish]
2 C pureed tomatoes (fresh, canned or home bottled)
1 t tomato paste
1 T oil
½ t cumin seeds
¼ t black mustard seeds
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 t ground cumin
½ t ground turmeric
¼ - ½ t chilli powder, to taste
salt to taste
1 T tomato sauce
350g/2 cups paneer, cubed
Heat the oil in a heavy pot, add the mustard and cumin seeds and cook them until the mustard seeds start to pop.
Add the onion and cook it gently until soft.
Add the rest of the spices and stir them for a minute or so.
Add the pureed tomatoes and tomato paste, and mix everything well.
Simmer the sauce for 20 minutes or so.
While it is cooking heat some oil in a heavy frying pan and fry the cubed paneer in batches, until golden brown.
As each batch is finished, drop it in a large bowl of very hot, salted water.
Leave the fried cubes in the hot water for 10-15 minutes.
When the tomato gravy is ready, drain the paneer cubes and add them to the sauce.
Add salt to taste, and cook for around 5 minutes.
Stir in the tomato sauce and turn off the heat.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
(makes 4 large flatbreads)
½ C sourdough starter mix
4 T melted butter
½ T salt
enough white flour to make a soft but not sticky dough
Mix all the ingredients into a soft, smooth dough.
Divide the dough in four, and shape each piece into a ball.
On a well floured board, roll out one piece of dough into a large circle, to fit into a frying pan.
Heat a heavy frying pan; melt a knob of butter in it.
Put the circle of dough in the pan, and as it starts to rise a little, press it down gently.
When the dough is light brown on the pan side, turn it over and repeat the process on the other side.
Keep the flatbreads warm in a low oven as you cook each one.