Creamy paneer, tangy tomatoes and a gorgeously easy dinner – The Denver Post


By Melissa Clark, The New York Times

“If you’re going to eat dairy, you should go all in,” said Anita Jaisinghani, the chef and owner of Pondicheri in Houston.

She was talking about a recipe for paneer korma from her new cookbook, “Masala: Recipes From India, the Land of Spices.” To make the dish, thick slices of the cheese are roasted in yogurt and ghee until thoroughly bronzed, then added to a sauce of heavy cream and ground almonds that is scented with rose water and cardamom. It’s a combination that walks the line between abundance and overkill, but — thanks to the sharpness of the yogurt and ginger paste — never crosses it.

Jaisinghani has long been obsessed with paneer. A microbiologist turned chef who was born and raised in Gujarat, a state in western India, she makes eight-gallon wheels of the mild fresh cheese every few days at the restaurant. Then she uses it everywhere — simmered into curries, nestled into salads like soft croutons, crumbled over vegetables as a creamy finish.

Replacing the usual meat or vegetables in a traditional korma was her way of celebrating the cheese’s milkiness.

“It’s dairy with dairy with dairy with dairy,” she said. “I love it, but it’s not necessarily for everyone.”

Simmering those same yogurt-roasted paneer slices in a spicy tomato curry, however, is a dish any cheese lover can get behind.

The key to making this dish, which she makes at home, Jaisinghani said, is to bring out the tanginess of the tomatoes, which balances the richness of the cheese.


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