The other weekend Kevin had something special planned for Saturday night. He had sent me a calendar invitation for a mystery dinner (we’re oh-so relationship-2.0 with our online calendar syncing). The only thing I really knew about the dinner was that he had planned it with our friend Jim and that his wife, Sara, was also invited. Together we attempted—unsuccessfully—to solve the mystery.
It turns out that there is a local girl that will make traditional Indian dishes and deliver them to your home (Sipid Bites). Kevin and Jim had found out about her and knew that this was a date that needed to happen; it was a complete success! The closest Indian restaurant is a 50-minute drive away, so this was a wonderful surprise.
It also set me off on a weeklong Indian food extravaganza. I have this great little cookbook, Everyday Indian by Bal Arnesan, that has been my primer to all foods Indian. I also made Naan from my favorite recipe* that’s from ecurry.com.
*I accidently used Vanilla yogurt! No harm done though; it was still delicious.
This salad can quickly fulfill my need for some Indian flavors without being a heavy meal. It is also an excellent accompaniment to a full-blown Indian meal. If Paneer is available locally and you grab a bag of pre-shredded carrots it is a really quick side salad. I am including a recipe for paneer in case you also live far away from any Paneer purveyers.
One slight tweak for taste, from, Everyday Indian
- 8 cups of milk or ½ gallon (make sure you buy full-fat or 2%; don’t buy homogenized milk)
- ¼ cup plain white vinegar
- a pinch of salt
Prepare a sieve by placing it in the sink and line it with either a cheese cloth or a thin flour sack towel.
Heat the milk in a large saucepan until it boils, then add the salt and vinegar. Stir and watch for the liquid to start separating. You’ll start seeing big cheese curds floating in the liquid. The liquid turns a clear-ish yellow-green color and that is how you know it is time to drain. Remove the pot from the heat and pour the mixture into the prepared sieve. Wrap up the cheese, leave it in the sieve and place a heavy weight on top of it to allow it to fully drain. Leave for about 20 minutes. Remove the weight and unwrap from the towel. You can store the cheese in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days or use right away.
Carrot and Paneer Salad with Tamarind Dressing
Adapted from Everyday Indian
- ¼ tsp citrus salt
- ½ tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp natural cane sugar
- 1 Tbsp Tamarind paste
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1 tsp cumin seed
- 1 tsp caraway seed ]
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- zest of 1 lemon
- juice of ½ lemon
- 4 cups grated carrots (from about 6 large carrots)
- 1 Tbsp mint leaves, chopped
- 1 batch Paneer (using above recipe)
Mix all of the dressing ingredients together and whisk.
Cut the Paneer into ½ inch pieces. In a frying pan add the coconut oil, the cumin seed, the caraway seed and the Paneer. Fry everything together, flipping the Paneer pieces so they get browned on at least two sides each.
Mix the Paneer, the carrots, the mint, the lemon zest and the lemon juice together. Serve in a big bowl with the dressing on the side.