Friday, December 4, 2009

Paneer Breakfast

Deciding on an attempt to eat a healthy breakfast, I knew veggies were paramount. I know this puts me at odds, in general, with most of the U.S., for whom breakfast vegetables are usually limited to potatoes, onions, and, rarely, to what is included in a Spanish omelet - tomatoes and peppers and such. And of course, a bean breakfast burrito. Or the mushrooms, or spinach in other kinds of omelet. All of which is starting to sound not too awful, actually. All right, I surrender: there are more healthy options to American breakfast than I realized.

Anyway, I had some paneer left over. I made it using this recipe from The Paupered Chef. Using the sour milk (yogurt, actually) to curdle the fresh milk was a clever trick which, although thousands of years old, had eluded me. When I made it, I used it in an eggplant and potato dish, but didn't document any of it.

But for today I planned this breakfast dish last night and early this morning, and fine tuned it as I made it. Here's what we have:
One last poblano from the garden, a small green one the size of a big jalapeƱo; and a small onion, chopped and begun browning in butter. Meanwhile, I began heating a 6" iron skillet to toast some spices in. But first I measured out a half teaspoon each of mustard seed and cumin seed, and tossed that in with the cooking onions. Then I measured out the following:
1/2 a dried Thai red pepper, chopped
1 tsp commercial garam masala powder (this has some cinnamon in it.)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
6-7 black pepper corns
2 cloves
5-6 cardamoms
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
and toasted it in my little skillet. I kept it moving and tossing; the turmeric and garam masala powder needed the toasting most but was most likely to burn first, so I watched it. Then I emptied my little skillet full of toasted spices into a coffee cup, and as soon as it cooled I ground everything into a spice mix in my coffee mill / spice grinder.

Before it cooled, I had diced up the leftover paneer - a chunk about as big as a tennis ball- and begun browning it. And then added the generous handful of frozen green peas. Stirred in those spices. And finally, some diced leftover sweet potato which had been made the previous evening with a sprinkle of sugar and drizzle of molasses (which equals "brown sugar;" I usually make my own when I need it.)

I stirred for a few minutes, wanting everything to brown just lightly, and when it had I added a splash of water, a little salt, and it was done in another minute.

If you want some Indian recipes, check out Tigers & Strawberries, one of my favorite food sites.

There are some paneer options I've just begun to ponder, such as adding heavy cream for a richer paneer. I could have made my own yogurt, too. Sometimes I'll buy some and start a batch with one spoonful of the store-bought mixed in a quart of milk.

Milk used to be more heavily subsidized in this country. Dried milk used to be substantially cheaper than whole milk. Still, money can be saved if it's bought in the big sizes and I'll champion homemade yogurt made from dried milk as being good as any other.


lauramkelley said...

Looks awesome!

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