Vegetables in a Rich Creamy Sauce

(serves 4)
This is one of my husband’s all-time favourites, and a definite crowd pleaser. It’s really quite easy, although the frying everything in stages makes it seem labour intensive.
I usually omit the chillies, or serve them separately, so the dish is creamy and flavourful, but very mild, so my kids are perfectly happy to eat it! For an Indian dinner party, I double this recipe, make loads of rice, and do a quick Chana Masala as an accompaniment. Throw in some fresh Naan and you got yourself a party!
Wine: this is great with a smooth Chardonnay, or for red fans, we liked this with a new discovery, the Spanish Bierzo Petalos 2006, an organic Mencia-based wine; grenache would be good, too.

from Vegetarian Indian Cookery by Shehzad Husain (The Book People, 1995)
5 ounces Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp ginger pulp
1 tsp garlic pulp
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp ground almonds
5 ounces water
3 ounces unsalted butter
4 tbsp corn oil
½ tsp onion and/or mustard seeds
6 small green chilies, deseeded (optional)
2 cups cauliflower florets
4 baby potatoes, or 2 diced potatoes
1 carrot, sliced
5 baby onions, peeled, or 2 large onion, in large chunks
1 cup paneer cubes (see note)
10 ounces water
6 ounces cream
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Have ready a large cookie sheet, preferably with a lip, lined with a few paper towels, and a slotted spoon or skimming ladle (my preference).
Note: I use “doremi” cheese, readily available at our local grocery store, instead of real paneer. You can also substitute feta, but don’t fry either the doremi or the feta by itself, as it will melt – add it at the very last minute to the carrot and onions (step 3).
1.Blend the sauce ingredients, by hand or in the food processor, and set aside.
2.Heat the oil and butter together in large, deep pan, and fry the onion/mustard seeds for about 2-3 minutes.
3.Starting with the chilies, fry the vegetables one sort at a time. Once one sort is cooked, remove it from the pan with the skimming ladle and allow it to drain on the paper towels while you fry the next batch. Pile the next batch on top of the first while you fry the next, and so on. By the time you get to the carrots, there may not be much oil left, but this is fine – I usually do the carrots and onions together.
4.Once all the vegetables and the cheese are removed from the pan, pour the sauce into the pan, add the extra water, and bring to the boil. Return all the vegetables to the pan with the sauce, stirring to cover everything.
5.Add the cream and coriander and allow to simmer for a few more minutes.
6.Garnish, if you want to be fancy, with a few chopped chilies and flaked almonds, and serve over rice.

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