The Price of Happiness

A lifetime of happiness cost me £2, in a town – ironically – named Grimsby.

As you’d expect for someone as obsessed with food as me, my £2-happiness came in the form of a cookbook: ‘Curry’, by Mridula Baljekar.

The best cookbook EVER

We’ve made over three-quarters of the recipes and have enjoyed almost every one, as evidenced by the abundance of 😀 ratings marked by the recipes.

I have a very complex rating system. A recipe we’ve tried but not enjoyed gets a simple tick. A recipe we’ve tried and enjoyed gets a tick and an ordinary smiley face 🙂 . But a recipe we’ve tried and really, really, really enjoyed gets a tick and an open-mouthed, shouting for joy, choir of angels smiley face 😀 .

There are recipes for all the takeaway favourites: chicken tikka masala, chicken saag, lamb madras, pad thai, Mussaman, red and green curries, biryanis and pulaos, naan bread and rotis, chutneys and kachumbar. I could go on, but I’m scared all my drool will cause the laptop to explode.

So instead I’ll share one of my favourite quick and easy vegetarian recipes which even my meat-loving, farm-raised husband, and my vegetable-avoiding son, enjoy.

Stir-Fried Paneer with Mushrooms and Peas – serves 4

6T ghee or vegetable oil
225g paneer, cubed*
1 onion, finely chopped
a few fresh mint leaves (plus extra sprigs to garnish)
50g fresh coriander, chopped
3 fresh green chillies, chopped (and de-seeded, if you like a milder curry)
3 cloves garlic
2.5cm piece fresh ginger, sliced
1t ground turmeric
1t chilli powder (optional)
1t garam masala
225g button mushrooms, wiped clean and chopped in half
225g frozen peas, thawed
175ml natural yoghurt mixed with 1t cornflour

Heat the ghee or oil in a large pan or wok and fry the paneer cubes until golden brown on all sides. Remove, drain on kitchen paper and set aside.

Grind the onion, mint, coriander, chillies, garlic and ginger in a pestle and mortar or food processor to a fairly smooth paste.**

Remove this mixture to a bowl and mix in the dried spices; season with salt.

Remove excess ghee or oil from the pan, leaving about 1T. Heat and fry the paste over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes, or until the raw onion smell disappears.

Add the mushrooms, thawed peas and paneer; mix well. Cool the mixture slightly, the gradually fold in the yoghurt mixture.

Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the flavours well-mixed.

Serve immediately, garnished with the extra mint sprigs.

* I bought frozen paneer from an Indian market here in Dunedin, and thawed it slightly before frying. It held its shape quite well, but the flavour and texture of fresh paneer would be so much nicer.

** My pestle and mortar was too small, and my food processor doesn’t like small amounts to process, so I used my stick blender which worked really well.


3 thoughts on “The Price of Happiness

  1. Pingback: Things I’m Loving | Tall, Short & Tiny

  2. Pingback: Fun with Food: Chicken in Green Masala Sauce | Tall, Short & Tiny

  3. Pingback: Meal Planning | Tall, Short, Tiny & a Pickle

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