I’ve made a decision that I wanted to share. There’s been a lot of talk about charity and how we can be more generous. While I want to be generous, I wasn’t sure how effective the little we can donate would be. Please don’t take this as a statement against charities or my saying I don’t support charities – this was just my thought process.
Back when we owned our little store, we figured that if everyone who came in to our store spent $5 on average, we would have been successful. Not just make ends meet successful but we would have thrived. It dawned on me that the same may be true for all the little stores we love. You see, because we are on a tight budget, we often skip shopping at all the little stores regardless of prices. The fewer stores we visit, the better we are at keeping our budget.
It is this kind of thinking that kills our small businesses. We have decided that our three favorite food stores (one being a small candy store) deserved our small purchases. Five dollars may not seem like a lot of money but it could be the difference between having that store and not.
To be honest, the two grocery stores have better prices than any other store (including the big chains) for the few items we buy there. And we love the people.
So we went to the Halal Market which specializes in Middle Eastern foods. I picked up a brick of paneer. I’ve never made paneer but I’ve eaten it in restaurants. So I did a recipe search for something I could make with the paneer that wouldn’t be too complicated nor to “exotic” and scare my family.
I found this recipe. It was really hard to read on my phone and I struggled with it but it was so worth it. The recipe wasn’t actually all that hard.
Since I’ve talked so much, I’m not going to share all the pictures I took as I made it. As I said this was a rather simple recipe to make. I’m going to reprint it here with my minor changes.
Dum Paneer Kali Mirch
1 onion, sliced
4 green cardamom pods
1 inch cinnamon stick
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp ginger
1 sm can of diced chilies
3 TB yogurt
1 tsp coriander
3/4 tsp cumin
1/4 – 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp garam masala
250 gm paneer
3 TB cream
Saute onion until caramelized. While the onion is cooking, put garlic, ginger and chilies in blender and blend smooth. When onion is browned, dump into blender (not with chili mix) and blend into paste.
In the skillet you fried the onion, add about 1 tsp of oil (I used olive oil) and the cloves, cardamom pods and the cinnamon stick*. Once that becomes fragrant (but don’t burn the oil), add the onion paste. Saute about 1 – 2 minutes and then add the garlic/ginger/chili paste.
Once that is nice and fragrant (about another minute or two), add the yogurt and blend well. The yogurt may want to clump so stir and heat until the sauce is smooth. Then add all the spices. Mix well.
Cut the paneer into bite sized cubes. Add the paneer to the skillet with the cream** and 1/2 cup of water. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
Serve over rice.
*My cardamom came as seeds instead of pods so I used about 16 seeds. I, also, used a 2 inch cinnamon stick.
** I only had heavy whipping cream so I did 2 TB cream and 1 TB milk.
There was never any mention of removing the large hard spices so we left them in. The cloves and cinnamon were easy to remove as we ate but the cardamom seeds were a bit smaller. They were not unpleasant to eat but quite pungent to hit.
We served this with Garlic Naan from the market, green beans, sliced tomatoes, and slices of avocado. It was so good.