I've been trying to pack in as much cooking with tomatoes as I can before the official end of summer.
Yesterday I was browsing through my friend Chitra's blog The ABCD's of Cooking for inspiration and came across her wonderful-sounding post for paneer with sun-dried tomato curry, which used both fresh and dried tomatoes. I had eaten a ton of curries in my life but never tried one using sun-dried tomatoes (to my knowledge), an ingredient I buy twice a week in bulk and can't get enough of. Needless to say, I was quickly sold.
You may remember Chitra from some of my earlier blog posts. She was my co-conspirator for Tangra Summer, an Indian-Chinese pop-up dinner we put on in August in Brooklyn. She was also the wiz behind the naan breakfast pizza I made back in June, and just an all-around great resource for ideas for vegetarian meals with tons of flavor. So it goes without saying that I was immediately excited to try out this curry.
I love that this recipe can be made with either paneer or tofu. Since I was headed to the Indian grocery store for shopping anyway, and because I'm a cheese addict, I decided to pick up a block of paneer cheese. Though I may also try this with tofu soon on a day I feel like a lighter dish.
Almost all the ingredients in the original recipe are ones you can find in any big supermarket. The only exception (other than the paneer) was fenugreek leaves, which I couldn't find, so I ended up just leaving it out. I made a few other minor adjustments, including using Greek yogurt instead of cream. The dish still ended up being extremely flavorful, full of tangy and salty goodness. And pretty substantial when paired with basmati rice. A big win if you're partial to one-dish meals like I am.
The making of the dish was pretty easy too. I have a pretty good blender (one that you can screw a Mason jar into!), so I ground the cashews and made the tomato puree pretty easily with minimal clean-up.
This was the texture of my tomato purée:
After pan-frying the paneer and simmering the sauce, all of which took under 15 minutes, this was my sun-dried tomato curry. Not that I ever doubted it, but it turned out to be such a great recipe to have on hand, especially since there are absolutely no good Indian restaurants in my neighborhood!
Have you ever made a curry with sun-dried tomatoes?
(Check out more of Chitra's great vegetarian recipes on her blog!)
Sun-Dried Tomato Curry
- 10 sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil)
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 large tomato or 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 14 oz paneer or tofu, cubed
- 2 tablespoons ghee or preferred cooking oil
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-inch piece ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder or to taste
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt (preferably full-fat)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Salt to taste
- Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in the 1 cup of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes to soften. Combine the softened sun-dried tomatoes and chopped fresh tomatoes in a blender and add 1/4 cup of water, reserving the remaining 3/4 cup of water. Blend until smooth and set aside.
- Grind the cashews in a spice grinder, food-processor, or high-powered blender. Set aside.
- Heat the ghee or oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Pan-fry the paneer or tofu until lightly golden on the outside, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- In the same pan, sauté the shallots, ginger, and garlic for about 1 minute. Add the tomato puree, then add the garam masala, coriander, cumin, and red chili powder. Add the ground cashews and the 3/4 cup of water that the sun-dried tomatoes soaked in. Add the yogurt and sugar and salt to taste. Bring the curry to a simmer.
- Return the paneer or tofu back to the pan. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and garnish with slivered sun-dried tomatoes, chopped cashews, or cilantro if you'd like.
Adapted from The ABCD's of Cooking