While I was busy becoming an Outdoors Woman this past weekend, my partner got an itch for some kicky indian fare.  Our gastronomic love affair with all dishes indian — curries, buryanis, kormas, dahls — goes back many years.  Fortunately, we have dear friends who shared their indian cookery with my partner, imparting in him some of the finer nuances of this cuisine.

He started the kitchen tricks with malai korma, a recipe which he had never tried before but which came from the cookbook of one wonderful woman and fiesty friend who constantly exhorted us to give up our carnivorous lives, though to no avail.  So, with many thanks to and fond memories of Bharti Vibhakar who has brought the pleasures of blue lentils and spiced cashews into my life, here is the malai korma recipe.

Malai Korma

This vegetable dish has lots of ingredients but is still fast and easy to make.  It has a delectable sour, creamy sauce and plenty of protein from the paneer.  Try it with naan, chapatti or rice.

  • 1c  peas
  • 1/2c carrots, cut into small pieces
  • 1c cauliflower, cut into small pieces
  • 1c green beans
  • 1c paneer, crumbled
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp korma masala ( he made this with: coconut milk, dried coconut flakes, garlic, ginger, red chilies, curry leaves)
  • 1 tbsp khus-khus (poppy seeds)
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp amchur
  • ¼ c cream (plain yoghurt was substituted)
  • ½ c oil

Steam the peas, carrots, cauliflower and beans for about 10 minutes.  In a blender, grind khuskhus, tomatoes and onions with all the spices in about ½ c water.  Blend to make into a thick paste. Cook the paste in the oil on medium heat for 10 – 15 minutes.  Add the vegetables, paneer and yoghurt; cook about 5 more minutes.

malai korma with rice

malai korma with rice

Chickpea curry was also  constructed on Saturday.  Chickpeas soaked overnight Friday and were cooked Saturday morning, ready to do their duty in this delicious vegetarian dish.

Chickpea Curry

  • 6 tbsp oil
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger root
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 fresh green chilies, chopped
  • fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2/3 c water
  • 1 large potato, cut in small cubes
  • 14 oz prepared chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add onions and sauté until golden brown.  Reduce heat, add ginger, cumin, coriander, garlic, chili powder, fresh green chilies, and fresh cilantro leaves.  Stir fry for 2 minutes.  Add the water to the pan, stir well to mix.  Add potatoe cubes and chickpeas, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 – 7 minutes.  Sprinkle the lemon juice over the curry.  Serve with flatbread such as chapati or roti.

chickpea curry cooking

chickpea curry in saucepan

The cookfest was rounded off on Sunday with Spinach and Paneer Curry.  This is one of my favourite recipes, running a close second to blue lentils.  It is full of protein and iron.  Paneer is a type of cheese.

Spinach & Paneer Curry

  • 1 ¼ c oil
  • 7 oz paneer, cubed
  • 3 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp ground chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 14 oz fresh spinach (you can use well squeezed frozen spinach)
  • 3 fresh green chilies
before adding paneer and chilies

before adding paneer and chilies

Heat oil in large skillet; add paneer and fry, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.  Remove the paneer with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on paper towel.  Add the tomatoes to the remaining oil and stir fry for 5 minutes.  Add the ground cumin, chili powder and salt and mix well.  Add the spinach to the skillet and stir fry over low heat for 7 – 10 minutes.  Add the fresh green chilies and the paneer; cook, stirring or 2 minutes.  Serve hot with pooris or plain boiled rice.

cooked paneer

cooked paneer

We purchase our paneer at an Indian Grocer, but you can make your own:

4 1/2c milk slowly boil over a low heat.  Add 2 tbsp lemon juice, stirring continuously and gently until the milk thickens and begins to curdle.  Strain the curdled milk through a fine strainer.  Set aside under a heavy weight for about 1 ½ – 2 hours to press to a flat shape about ½ inch thick.  Once set, the panir can be cut, like cheese, into whatever shape is required.

Best yet — loads of leftovers for lunches all week.  Yum!