Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Indian-style spinach with fresh cheese curd ほうれん草とチーズカードのカレー

This was entirely made by my wife. It is good but the amount of work involved, especially making the cheese curds, require a bit more energy than we would like to expend. I will let my wife blog this.   This recipe comes from American Test kitchen. I was intrigued by the prospect of making my own cheese—it looked so easy in the recipe. For the cheese I used: 2 quarts of 2 percent milk, 2 cups buttermilk and 1/3 Tsp salt. I heated the milk to boiling, took it off the heat and stirred in the buttermilk and salt. I like it stand for about 1 minute (picture above #1). I then poured the contents of the pot into a colander lined with cheese cloth (picture above # 2, 3 & 4). When it cooled down to the point where I could handle it I squeezed the curd as hard as I could to remove more liquid. I then put the still wrapped curd between two plates weighted down with some cans (I used cans of beans). I found that I had to continue draining the curd overnight until it became firm enough to handle and cut into 1 inch size pieces (see picture below).

cheese curdFor the spinach sauce I used: One large bag of spinach (12 oz.), The leaves from one bunch of rapini (or broccoli rabe, actual recipe calls for mustard green), 3 tbs butter, 1 tsp. cumin seeds, 1tsp. ground coriander, 1tsp. paprika, 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 onion finely chopped, 2 garlic cloves, 1 tbs grated fresh ginger, 1 jalapeno pepper (seeded, deveined and chopped), 1 can of whole tomato (14.5oz), drained and chopped coarsely, 1/2 cup roasted chopped cashews (toasted in the toaster oven) and enough buttermilk to thin the sauce if it gets too thick. I wilted the spinach and rapini in a wok and squeezed out the liquid. I then chopped the leaves and set aside about 1/3 cup of the chopped leaves.
Then I put the butter in a skillet over medium heat and added the cumin, coriander, paprika, cardamom and cinnamon and cooked the spices until they were fragrant. Then I added the onion and salt and cooked until wilted. Next came the garlic, ginger and chili which I cooked until lightly browned and most of the moisture had evaporated from the pan (picture above left). Then I added the tomatoes and continued cooking until the moisture was gone (picture above right). I removed about half the onion mixture and set aside. The rest of the onion mixture as well as the 2/3 of the spinach mixture and 1/2 of the toasted cashews went into a blended and were pureed. I then added the pureed mixture back into the skillet and added the onion mixture and spinach mixture I had set aside. We added some additional hot sauce (Sriracha) to bring up the heat a bit. 

To serve: I cut the cheese curd into inch size pieces and gently folded into the sauce added a little buttermilk and gently heated it. I served it with rice and the remaining cashews sprinkled on top.

The sauce for this dish is fabulous. All of the flavors meld together and the addition of the hot sauce made the flavors sing with a pleasant heat. We ate the sauce and curd with rice. Then, we had the sauce for breakfast on toasted bread with a poached egg on top. We served it as an appetizer on crackers with smoked cheese. It is extremely versatile. I would make the sauce again but I would probably use a commercial product for the curd in the future. I would also try other types of cheese such as feta. It would probably work with tofu as well…my husband will probably say I am getting “too creative” again at the last suggestion.

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