Tuesday night, I offered to cook stir fry for dinner.
“Or we could have curry…”Dave said.
“Nope, I’m making curry on Wednesday.”
We’ve been a little curry-obsessed lately, if you can tell.
I made a double batch of brown rice for both dinners and pulled out two bags of frozen stir fry veggies from the freezer.
For the first few years that we lived together, we always used to keep canned or frozen veggies on hand, but lately, we’ve only been buying fresh. I missed having frozen veggies on hand, so I went to the grocery store a few weekends ago and stocked up. The frozen are much better for you than canned veggies since they are flash frozen when they’re fresh and don’t have added sodium or preservatives. Plus, they taste better.
I stir fried the frozen veggies in sesame oil, mixed in some shrimp, and added about half a bottle of teriyaki sauce.
We had some leftover white rice in the fridge, so I mixed it in with the brown rice. I prefer the texture of brown rice to white so when we get takeout Chinese, I hardly eat any of the rice and end up tossing the leftovers. Mixing it with the brown was my way of saving food. “There are starving children in <insert country here>,” as Grandma used to say.
I haven’t made stir fry in a while, so even though it wasn’t made with fresh vegetables, it was great to have something out of the ordinary. I love my veggies.
When I said goodnight to Dave, I kissed him and then suddenly thought, “I’m going to make naan bread to go with our curry tomorrow!” Dave has made naan a few times, so I hoped his bread-making skills had rubbed off on me.
Then I was at work, I started thinking about one of my favorite Indian dishes: saag paneer. Given the fact that my mom and I had made cheese a couple times before, I looked up the recipe for paneer to see if it was something I could handle. No rennet required, just milk and lemon juice. Could it get any easier? (Channeling my Chandler Bing).
I stopped at the store on the way home for a few items and blocked out the rest of the night for making dinner.
I used this recipe to make paneer. When I poured the lemon juice in the boiling milk and the curds started separating, I geeked out a little. The science of food is so cool.
The whole process was pretty simple and fast. Boil milk slowly. Add lemon juice. Pour into a cheesecloth lined colander (I used a flour towel). Tie to kitchen faucet and let drain.
Keep cheese in cheesecloth and place on a plate. Stack another plate on top with something weighted. Put in fridge for 30 minutes.
Voila! Cheese. It wasn’t perfectly round, because I had the towel twisted a bit too tightly, but it was definitely cheese.
Meanwhile, I had the naan dough rising. I followed this recipe, substituting about 1 1/2 cups of wheat flour for the bread flour. I tried to make the dough without Dave’s help, but my dough turned into flubber, so I asked Dave to come save it.
Then I multitasked–fried naan in cast iron pan, made saag paneer, and made curry with potatoes and peas. I used this recipe for the saag paneer but used frozen chopped spinach and substituted yogurt for the cream.
I love the fact that you can turn whatever you have on hand into a delicious curry. This one was red curry paste, onion, coconut milk, potatoes (cubed and cooked slightly ahead of time in the microwave), and frozen peas.
I was pretty proud of how everything turned out. However, we discovered that Dave’s taste buds are much more sensitive then mine, so I need to tone down the spice in my curry.
Something generally goes wrong when I try to multitask. I forgot to add the yogurt right away to the saag paneer, so the spinach got a little too brown, which affected the color more than the taste. I’ll definitely make the saag paneer again. It was really tasty, especially considering I eye-balled all the spices.
And the naan……wonderfully chewy, warm, and delicious. Who knows what it would have tasted like if Dave hadn’t helped me save the dough. And we’ve got a stockpile in the freezer now, which is pretty cool.