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Paneer with Cashew, Pomegranate and Sumac



Paneer with Pomegranate and Sumac

This was featured in Gourmet Live – Image of the Day!


Today I will share a simple recipe with some holiday colors and spirits.

The tree is up, sparkling and decked, the excitement has begun and the little ones have started dreaming and hoping. I have one child talking, walking and sleeping Santa Claus. The sheer shimmer in their eyes and their energy uplifts my mood and gives me reason to life.  It is indeed a special time.

Christmas

The undulating road in life continues, but the overall spirit during this time of the year makes it so much easier to see the light, to learn from the children in their undoubted faith in the magic. And the magic really starts when you start to believe! Oh! to be like a child again to have that trust and faith in ourselves and our  life without doubts.

While I write this, I am watching the movie “Polar Express”. It has become a tradition in our family to see this movie during the Christmas time a numerous times, and I cannot help but share the lyrics of  “Believe” . When I heard the song, I realized it was just so appropriate to what I have been trying to convey in this post.

Here it is in the spirit of the season, the time of giving, of love and friendship, and of dreams and hopes. Believe!


Christmas

We were dreamers,
Not so long ago.
But one by one, we
All had to grow up.

When it seems the magic slipped away…
We find it all again on Christmas Day.

Believe in what your heart is saying,
Hear the melody that’s playing.
There’s no time to waste,
There so much to celebrate.
Believe in what you feel inside,
Give your dreams the wings to fly.
You have everything you need, if you just believe.

When it seems that we have lost our way…
We find ourselves again on Christmas Day.

Believe in what your heart is saying,
Hear the melody that’s playing
There’s no time to waste,
There so much to celebrate.
Believe in what you feel inside,
And give your dreams the wings to fly.
You have everything you need, if you just Believe.

If you just believe.
If you just believe.
If you just believe…just believe…just believe.”



Remember  you can hear the bell ring only if you believe!

Sending the above photo to NCR: Festive Photos, hosted by Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes.


Believe


Now to the very simple recipe…

Paneer is fresh home-made cheese consumed in India. While the cuisines in the northern and also western states of India features paneer in curry or appetizer dishes, the use of paneer in the eastern regions is more to make desserts/sweets. ( ref. to my Sandesh post). Unlike most cheeses in the world, the making of paneer does not involve rennet as the coagulation agent, thus making it completely  vegetarian. Some kind of acid, like lemon juice or vinegar or even yogurt is used to coagulate milk to make paneer.

In northern regions of India, Paneer Chaat is a very popularly done. Fresh homemade cheese is drizzled with spices, salt, pepper and served with fresh veggies like bell peppers and carrots, onions and sometimes chutney.

Paneer with Pomegranate and Sumac

Most of the times this is eaten as a snack or an appetizer. I made this salad for lunch with the chaat in mind, but did a few things on my own with all that I love - pomegranates, sumac, chili pepper and rosemary flavored oil. You cannot go wrong with these, can you?

Notes:

  1. If you do not have Paneer, use Feta or Mozzarella. This salad is like a marinated cheese with some fancy frills; pretty with a fresh, sweet and spicy taste.
  2. Paneer is bland by itself, so I would recommend that you allow it to infuse with the flavored oil or dressing for sometime.
  3. If you are using store bought paneer, cube them and plunge them in boiling salted water for a just a couple of minutes. This softens them and makes them more absorbent. I find store bought paneer too stiff  and firm to enjoy them fresh.
  4. Feel free to add salad greens to this to make complete but light meal.
  5. Adapt, add, innovate and make it your own.
  6. How to make Paneer at home?

Paneer with Pomegranate and Sumac



Paneer with Cashew, Pomegranate and Sumac


Ingredients:

  1. 1/2 cup cubed paneer – Indian homemade cheese (may be substituted with mozzarella or feta)
  2. 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  3. spring onions/scallions, only the green parts – thinly sliced
  4. 1/4 cup cashews, lightly roasted
  5. sumac
  6. salt
  7. red chili powder/paprika
  8. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  9. green chili pepper, very finely chopped (optional)
  10. extra virgin olive oil/flavored oil



Preparation:

If you are not using flavored oil, combine olive oil, salt, pepper and any kind of herb you want to use and whisk them together.

Cube the paneer. If you are using store bought paneer, sprinkle the cubes with water and herbs if you wish and pour some boiling hot water over the cubes, just enough to cover the paneer. This softens the paneer, as well as salts and flavors them. After about 10 minutes drain the cubes. Drizzle the flavored oil/dressing on the paneer and let it sit for at least half an hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator. You can make the salad instantly, but it tastes better if the cheese is infused with the oil.

Place the paneer in the dish. Add the toasted cashews, pomegranates, thinly sliced chili peppers (if you are using them) and scallion. Drizzle some more flavored oil and gently toss. Sprinkle sumac and red chili powder/or paprika. Add the finely chopped fresh cilantro and serve at room temperature.



Paneer with Pomegranate and Sumac


Simple, light and bright – a quick, easy, healthy and a scrumptious treat.


Paneer with Cashew, Pomegranate and Sumac




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Barley and Spinach Fall Salad with Maple Syrup Vinaigrette



Around the Food World:

Saffron Marinated Paneer Cheese with Fresh Basil, Cashews and Pomegranate Seeds


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