Mangoes & Curry Leaves

Here’s a winter recipe to keep you warm from Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent. This is one of my all time favorite things to make, it’s simple but does require almost 2 hours of simmering.

Simmered Kashmiri Paneer

2 lbs very ripe tomatoes or 3 cups crushed canned (I use San Marzo from the Earthfare)
1 lb paneer (Store bought is fine here, but making your own is super easy)
2/3 c ghee
1/2 c minced garlic
3 tbsp minced ginger
3 cups chopped onion
3-4 cups water
2 tbsp minced green cayanne chile (or other green hot chile)
3-5 cardamom pods smashed
2 cloves
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp Spanish pimenton or 1/2 tsp cayenne
2 tsp salt

If using fresh tomatoes, peel them by bringing a large pot of water to a boil and submerging tomatoes 1-2 minutes so skin will peel off. Crush tomatoes and set aside.

Slice the paneer in to 1/2 inch thick rectangles and about 1 by 2 inches. Set aside.

Fill a wide heavy skillet or wok with just over 1/4 inch of ghee or oil. Heat over medium-low heat, then add only as many paneer slices as will fit int the pan without overlapping and cook, turning once, until lightly browned on both sides. 4-5 minutes per batch. Lift out and let drain on a plate with a paper towel. Repeat until all the paneer is browned.

Measure out 1/3 cup ghee from the pan and pour into a large heavy bottomed nonreactive saucepan (I usually just use the same pan I’ve friend the ghee in.) Heat over medium-high heat then add the garlic and ginger, lower the heat to medium, and stir-fry for about a minute. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and pale honey in color but not caramelized to brown, 10-12 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and stir, then add 3 cups of water. the mixture should be very liquid; if your tomatoes are not juicy add up to 1 more cup of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the green chile, cardamom, cloves, tumeric, pimenton, and salt. Lower the heat to maintaina  steady simmer and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. As it thickens lower the heat to prevent burning and sticking.

Add the paneer to the sauce and simmer for another 45 minutes.

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In the end you will have a fairly thick tomato sauce that is amazing with broiled or steamed fish, served over rice, served the next day with scrambled eggs, or with grilled lamb chops.