***Supper diem Soundtrack: Dangermouse/Sparklehorse***
So we still had half of that paneer left over from last week’s dinner…it was lying there in the fridge looking sorry for itself so I thought I would do the decent thing and cut it into small pieces before heating it up in a pan and then eating it. It was its destiny.
1 Medium Aubergine, diced (£1.30)
75g paneer, cuboided (£0.70)
Half a red onion, finely chopped (£0.15)
3 cloves of garlic, crushed (£0.10)
1 red chill, finely chopped and deseeded (£0.20)
Half a cup of lentils (£0.25)
2 tsp cinammon (£0.10)
2 tsp cumin seeds (£0.10)
1 tsp fennel (£0.05)
1 tsp turmeric (£0.05)
1 tsp garam masala (£0.05)
1 tsp Bouillon powder (£0.05)
1 tbsp veg oil (£0.05)
half a cup long grain rice (£0.20)
mango chutney on the side (£0.20)
Approx cost: £3.55
Now some people think you should give the aubergine some serious preparation before using it in your dish, salting it to remove excess moisture and its underlying bitterness. Well in this case I was in a rush so didn’t have time to do that, and thought that in a curry it would be okay, taking on the flavours of the spices.
After prepping the veg I started off with the garlic, then onions, and finally the chilli going into a some oil brought to a medium heat in a wok. After a while they had softened and started to brown, so I added the cumin and fennel seeds. In went the aubergine, and I admit it did look quite bitter, but that was to do with an unfortunate and embarassing incident that occured between us last week that I can’t go into. After a few minutes I then stirred in the lentils, making sure they were well coated, before adding the teaspoon of bouillon. I then added some water a little at a time, letting the lentils absorb the moisture before inundating them again. I didn’t add all the water at once as sometimes this leads to the lentils losing their texture and the whole curry becoming quite stodgy. When they had softened somewhat and were on their way to being cooked I added the diced paneer. It won’t melt, it just softens a little and gives the dish another texture.
After it had cooked through for a while I added the rest of the spices and a little more water as it had started to dry out a little. Like I said, better to hold back with the moisture until things have cooked and you know where you stand.
While the curry was finishing cooking I made the rice using the normal recipe, though I didn’t add any spices or flavourings like I sometimes do.
It turned out really well, the aubergine wasn’t bitter at all, although it had absorbed a little of the moisture. It can handle a long cooking time it seems, as can the paneer, both holding their shape but giving a little in terms of tenderness.
Very tasty and all polished off without and leftovers, although there were slight seconds…
Washing up count: wok, two wooden spoons, chopping board, knife, teaspoon, tablespoon = 7.