On Saturday I was off at my favourite Asian grocer, Saigon, buying bean sprouts and gai lan and such. It's my favourite because they have great fresh veggies and fruit there (deliveries Friday and Tuesday arvos, IIRC). I got some weird looking pink fruits, that I think are Australian water-roseapples. And almost next door, there is a new grocery called Ramz Spice Mart.
Ramz fills a gap in Dickson. We've got plenty of Vietnamese and Chinese grocers, and they tend to stock other south-east Asian goodies, but this new one is an Indian specialist. It's run by a Fijian Indian family, who are new to Canberra, and I wish them success.
They stock every kind of dahl you could want, several of them in flour form, too. And huge bags of rice and a great array of chutneys and pickles and spices galore, of course. And the odd things Fijians seem to want, like tinned corned mutton. There's also a freezer with Fijian reef fish and goat meat, as well as samosas and other snacks, and a good selection of frozen vegetables. There's drumsticks and mehti leaves and karela and other more common things. And paneer in the fridge. (See recipe at end.)
It's not a huge shop, like the supermarket in Belconnen, but they still have room for a few oddities. There's a small rack of shiny sequinned bags and sandals and clothes up the back; and some cosmetics and cookware on the shelves.
Speaking of Dickson, Woollies seems to have finally finished their "upgrades". I'm not thrilled. It's bigger since they've moved the grog shop out, but the aisles are narrower. And they've got those annoying self-checkouts replacing most of the old express queue. I would not mind those so much if I didn't have to get help every damn time I use them. I tend to commit sins like not putting my two mangoes down at exactly the same split second, or trying to use a non-standard bag. I find them very irritating. Also irritating is the change to coin-op trolleys. I've never stolen a trolley before, in fact I never even thought of it. But now I really really want to. I have no idea what I'd do with it, I'm just a contrary type.
Now we've got that out of the way, what do we do with paneer? Mattar paneer is a classic, and the paneer packet had a recipe on the label. But because I had spinach (half from Woollies and half from the garden) I made a mixed Mattar Saag Paneer. So there.
Recipe: Mattar Paneer with extra greens
250g Sharma's Kitchen Paneer (or any paneer)
2 medium onions
5 cloves garlic
large thumb sized knob of ginger
1 tblsp coriander seeds
2 green chillies
1 tin tomatoes, crushed
1 cup plain yoghurt
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp turmeric
2 fresh green chillies, or chilli powder to taste
4 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup ghee or vegetable oil
250g frozen peas
4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
chopped coriander leaves
* Puree one onion, the fresh chillies (if using), garlic and ginger and the coriander seeds, with just a dash of water.
* Soak the paneer in hot water for a couple of minutes, then cube.
* Heat the oil and fry the paneer until golden.
* Remove paneer and drain.
* Add the second onion, chopped, to the pan with the bay leaves, and fry until golden.
* Add the puree and the turmeric and fry until oil starts to separate.
* Add yoghurt, tomato, cornflour, chilli powder (if using) and salt and stir very well.
* Stir constantly until it returns to a simmer.
* Add paneer and the water.
* Simmer gently for 20 minutes.
* Add peas and spinach, and return to a simmer for 5 minutes.
* Sprinkle with plenty of chopped fresh coriander to serve.
Notes: I wanted to link to the website, http://sharmaskitchen.com.au but they seem to be down right now.
Anyway, this isn't very much modified from the original. I added the extra greens, as I mentioned. Also, the cornflour is mine - it helps to stop the yoghurt curdling. And the option of chilli powder instead of fresh chilli. I also reduced the oil from 1/2 cup to 1/4 cup, and I'm not quite sure that was right - the paneer stuck to the pan a bit.
But it was yummy, and also very creamy despite the fact that I used low fat Greek yoghurt. Definitely worth doing again.