Foodies Blog

Make Atul Kochhar’s Swahili Paneer Curry

Atul says: “Paneer isn’t an indigenous African ingredient, but there is a large Gujarati community in Kenya, which is why I’ve included this simple recipe here. Typically, Gujarati cooking is flavoured with ginger and chilli powder and you get both in the East African Curry Powder.”

Serves 4 as a sharing dish

2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
½ each green, red and yellow peppers, cored, deseeded and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tbsp East African Curry Powder (below)
3 tomatoes, chopped
200g paneer, cut into bite-sized pieces (see Atul’s tip, below)
4 tbsp passata
125ml coconut milk
125ml water
sea salt

For the East African curry powder (makes about 60g)

2 tbsp red chilli powder
1 tbsp cardamom seeds
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger

To finish

5 tbsp coconut milk, optional
1 long, thin green chilli, finely chopped or halved
Chopped coriander leaves
½ lemon

First make the East African curry powder. Mix all the ingredients together, then store in an airtight container in a dark place and use within 6 months.

Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion with a pinch of salt and fry, stirring often, until softened. Add the garlic and ginger and stir for 1 minute to cook out the rawness. Add the mixed peppers and continue stirring until they begin to soften.

Add 2 tablespoons of the curry powder and stir for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and give them a good stir, then stir in the paneer and passata. Stir in the coconut milk and water, turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes to concentrate the flavours and reduce. Taste and adjust the salt, if necessary.

When ready to serve, spoon the 5 tablespoons coconut milk over, if using. Garnish with the green chilli and coriander leaves and squeeze in lemon juice to taste to cut through the richness.

Atul’s tip

For a vegan option, replace the paneer with chopped firm tofu.

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