It's unbelievable what you can get on Ebay - honestly! I was trawling through Ebay for kicks, decided to see what was online in the way of cookbooks (answer: LOADS! but not many I wanted). Then I tried to narrow it down to country and cuisine and vegetarian... and guess what turned up? Vasantha Moorthy's The Complete Vegetable Cookbook with over 300 ways of cooking vegetables! I have been looking for this cookbook for a while, and I consider myself absolutely lucky to have got it on Ebay for £3 + postage. What a find!
The nice thing is, ALL of the recipes are homely and simple, redolent of everyday home cooking. Nothing fancy, nothing flashy, nothing glossy. There are a few photographs, but I wouldnt call them particularly professional - they didnt make me want to lick the page, for instance. But the recipes DID make me want to try them out, and that's really what makes a cookbook successful, right? (The photos, in fact, looked a bit like mine... well ok, a little better than mine, but not by much. Heheh.)
Anyway, this recipe is from her book, minus the deep frying and heavy cream which was called for - I shallow-fried the paneer and used milk instead of cream, and I dont think it affected the taste even a bit (I mean for the worse... heh). The addition of the methi, however, was absolutely inspired, and hats off to Vasantha Moorthy for that!
Recipe for: Methi-palak paneer
2 cups chopped spinach (palak)
1 cup chopped methi leaves
1 cup paneer cubes
2 tbsp oil + 1 tsp ghee
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp plain flour
3/4 cup milk (or cream, if you wish)
Salt to taste
1/2 cup hot milk
1 small onion - pureed
2 small tomatoes - pureed
1 tbsp ginger-garlic-green chilli paste (use 3-4 green chillies)
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chilli powder (or to taste)
1/2 tsp garam masala
1. Cook palak and methi with a little salt (and 2 tbsp water) till wilted, on low flame. Cool, puree and reserve.
2. Toss the paneer cubes with the flour, shallow-fry in 1 tbsp oil + 1 tbsp ghee till golden. Soak the paneer in the 1/2 cup hot milk to which 1/2 tsp turmeric has been added. Reserve.
3. Heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil, add the pureed onion. Fry on high flame, stirring briskly, till some of the moisture evaporates and the puree starts turning colour.
4. Add the pureed tomatoes and ginger-garlic-chilli paste, fry on high till the sauce becomes thick (about 5 minutes).
5. Now add the powdered masalas and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
6. Add the pureed spinach-methi mixture and 3/4 cup milk, and let it simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
7. Add the paneer cubes along with the milk it was soaked in, plus salt to taste.
8. Simmer on low heat till the sauce thickens to your liking. You can add 1 tbsp cornflour to the sauce (stir very well) if it doesnt thicken enough.
Serve hot with chapaties or over rice.