|Lifestyle||Shopping||DIY||Eat & Drink||Arts & Entertainment||Home & Garden||Money||Travel||Kids & Pets||Support Us|
It's totally true what they say about New England: If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes. Sure, I've heard several other parts of the country lay claim to this motto in my travels over the years, as well, and between the nationwide heat wave last week and the historic nationwide cold snap this week, it does seem to be a common theme.
So, with everyone whining about the weather and me doing cartwheels about finding a new Indian grocery (in the old Somerville Boxing Club space), I thought it was the perfect time to share one of my favorite cheap eats:
If you've never had saag paneer, it's basically fried Indian cheese (paneer cheese) in a spinach (saag) sauce, which you serve with rice. It's a spicy, vegetarian staple of Indian cuisine that'll make you sweat and cool you down when the sun is blazing and also a hearty, comforting, yet healthy dish that'll warm you from the inside out when the sun is nowhere in sight.
Here's my slightly Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee -like version:
= $10.14 (serves two people)
First, you want to prepare and then fry the paneer cheese in a skillet. I like to use sesame, coconut or peanut oil for the flavor, but any kind of cooking oil you have on hand will work. Here's a quick video tutorial on cutting & frying paneer cheese from MonkeySee.com:
Once cooked, set the cheese aside on a plate. Pour the saag sauce into the skillet along with the frozen peas and simmer until heated through. While the saag sauce is simmering, cook the brown rice according to the directions on the box. When the saag sauce is heated through and the peas are cooked, toss the paneer cheese back into the skillet and simmer for another five minutes so the cheese absorbs the sauce's flavors. When the rice is ready, portion evenly between two plates and top with the saag paneer.
If you want to make & share this dish as a date night or celebratory meal, try pairing it with a sweet white wine, which will perfectly complement the Indian spices — I served it with the 2009 Westport Rivers Reisling ($14.99) from our wine club (a host & hostess gift from some dear friends who often stay with us when they're in town) — or a light lager, like yummy Kingfisher beer ($3.99 per 22oz bottle) imported from India but widely available in the US.
Indian food has taken a more and more prominent place in my family's culinary adventures over the last few years, between regular chicken tikka masala lunch dates at "our spot" — Punjab Cafe in Quincy, MA — with my friends from Nextcat.com (a social networking site for the arts & entertainment industry that I helped launch in 2006) to scratch meals made at the home of our mind-bogglingly smart friends (and former neighbors) KC and Feanil. I hope it finds a way into your heart and kitchens, too. Enjoy!
Story & images: Copyright 2011, Shoestring LLC.