I've had a friend staying and we've spent the last four or so days mainly watching films and cooking. Every morning we said 'let's make curry with the Paneer in the fridge tonight' but when it came round to the evening we ended up making something different. I'm so full of anticipation for Spring that I think I'm just craving simple, subtle, fresh flavours. Today the sun was streaming through the windows, so abandoning the idea of cuddling up with the cat and tea to watch Grease and aware that the paneer needed using I sat on the stool in the middle of the kitchen and sized up what I had in to make this cheese work for me as I've only ever cooked curry with Paneer.
I originally sat with a pile of squash, onions and garlic and then realised I was just complicating things and I needed to just strip back and go with my gut instinct. I'm really glad I did because the flavours work so well as they are, just simple and delicate.
I didn't plan on blogging or photographing anything today but I'm really quite proud of this recipe. The spices and fragrance are subtle and buttery paneer melt in the mouth with the unmistakable overtones of saffron, followed by a tiny kick of lime.
This recipe is really simple but it will need some time between steps therefore makes a perfect Saturday recipe.
On a side note, I'm finally able to put my right foot down so I'm able to shoot a bit easier around the house now which I'm loving!
Recipe // Saffron Paneer rice with pomegranate and peas
3 hours 15 mins
- 1 block of Paneer (225g), cubed
- 150g basmati rice (I added a handful of wild rice)
- 1 lime
- 1 heaped tbsp soft or caster sugar
- 200ml water
- 1 pinch of saffron (a little goes a long way!)
- 1 mild red chilli, sliced thinly
- 15g butter
- Seeds from one small pomegranate
- 100g garden peas
- 100g unsalted cashew nuts
- 1tsp cumin seeds
- 1tsp cinnamon
- 1tsp coriander seeds
- 1tsp nigella seeds
- 2-3 bay leaves
- Put the water and sugar into a small saucepan, stir and bring to the boil. Boil through for about 10 mins until the water starts thicken then pour into a bowl to cool.
- Once cool, add the saffron, chilli and juice of half the lime then pour in the paneer. Give it a good stir round so the paneer is nicely coated. Chill for around 2 hours.
- Nearer the end of this two hours, turn on oven so it's preheated to 200c for the final step. Now boil the rice until it's 'aldente' (still very slightly uncooked through) and drain well. Add this to a deep oven dish and stir in the spices - cinnamon, cumin, coriander and nigella seeds (I toast all my spices first and grind to release more flavour and avoid chewing on them!). Now bury in the bay leaves.
- Heat the butter in a pan until melted and now fry your paneer in it until browned on most sides.
- Along with the bay leaves, peas and cashews add the paneer including the sugar syrup it's been marinating in.
- Give it a stir round and cook covered in the oven for 30-40 mins (until the rice has absorbed all the syrup).
- Bring out of the oven, remove the bay leaves and add the pomegranate. Serve with a green salad and a wedge of lime. So delicate and tasty!
Formally Emma Gutteridge