Paneer and Broccoli Masala from ‘Indian Family Kitchen’

Every Week, Yahoo Food spotlights a cookbook that stands out from all the rest. This week’s cookbook is Indian Family Kitchen: Classic Dishes for a New Generation by Anjali Pathak (Clarkson Potter), a chef, food writer, and cooking teacher. Read more about Yahoo Food’s Cookbook of the Week here.

Photograph by Martin Poole

By Anjali Pathak

Serves 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Making a masala from scratch is a lot easier than you think. I’ve made a few changes to a classic recipe that uses flavors from the shores of southern India. Frying the paneer in a little oil before stirring it through the masala not only makes it crispy but also adds bags of flavor 

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra if needed
1 pack paneer, around 8 ounces, cut into large bite-size pieces
20 fresh curry leaves (see My Secret below; optional)
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
2 fresh red chiles, 1 finely sliced, 1 slit down the middle but left whole
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 ¾ cups coconut milk
4 ounces (about 1 ¾ cups) broccoli florets
1 tablespoon tamarind paste, or to taste
Sea salt, to taste
Sugar, to taste
Small handful of cilantro, to garnish

Gently heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the paneer until it’s golden brown on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside for later.

Throw the curry leaves (if using) into the pan to crisp up. Take them out and reserve for sprinkling over at the end.

Add a little more oil to the pan if you need to and toss in the mustard and cumin seeds. Once they start sizzling, stir in the turmeric and onion. Allow to soften for a few minutes before stirring in the garlic, ginger, and chiles. After a further minute, stir in the tomato paste, garam masala, and coriander.

Add a splash of water to the pan and pour in the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and toss in the broccoli and fried paneer. Stir through the tamarind and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and sugar. Garnish with the crispy curry leaves and the fresh cilantro before serving with some steamed basmati rice to mop up the sauce.

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