Paneer cheese or tofu and vegetable tikka massala

Paneer cheese and vegetable tikka massala Marinate the paneer cheese overnight in the tandoori marinade and it will soak up all of the spices and flavours.

Make the curry sauce in advance and bring the vegetables, paneer and sauce together when you want to serve the curry.

Tikka marinade
1 block of paneer cheese or firm tofu
300g (10floz) yoghurt
100ml (½ cup)mustard oil
Juice of two lemons
4 cloves of garlic
1 large thumb of fresh ginger
6 red or green chilies
3 dessertspoons of bottled tandoori paste
3 dessertspoons of bottled curry paste
Handful of fresh mint
Handful of fresh coriander
2 teaspoons of salt

Mix all of the tikka marinade indredients in a bowl. There may seem like an excessive amount of spices but you want a strong flavour. Chop the paneer cheese into cubes and deep fry or shallow fry the cheese at about 160°C until it is golden brown in colour then add it to the marinade. Marinate preferably overnight or for at least a few hours.

The curry sauce
1 large onion
vegetable oil
6 cloves of garlic
A large thumb of fresh ginger
3 dessertspoons curry paste (bottled any type)
3 dessertspoons tomato puree
water 1 block of creamed coconut
2 dessertspoons brown sugar or jaggery (Palm sugar)
2 dessertspoons of brinjal (aubergine, eggplant) pickle
2 teaspoons salt

To make the dressing whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl.

First of all place the onion, ginger and garlic with some vegetable oil into a food processor and whizz them up together. What you are looking for is a very fine puree so I then place the chopped up vegetables into a jug blender and whizz them up again with a little more oil at it's highest speed.

In a large pan or wok heat a good glug of vegetable oil. When the oil is nice and hot add the vegetable puree and simmer and splutter it for a few minutes stirring all the time as it cooks. You might have to control the heat a little bit and dodge the sauce as it spits at you! After a few minutes add the curry paste, stir it in and cook for a few more minutes.

At the moment i like to use bottled curry paste as it is quicker and easier to use. The spices in the bottled paste have already bean cooked through and just preserved in a little vinegar.

Add the tomato puree and cook it through for a few minutes. Add some water to thin the curry sauce down a little and then add the creamed coconut, brinjal, sugar and salt. The coconut is optional but I often add it as it provides a little depth of flavour but doesn't take over completely.

And there you have it a curry sauce. To use this sauce one can simply pan fry a few of your favourite vegetables until starting to brown, add some of the curry sauce, simmer it up and then finish it with a handful of freshly chopped coriander. There are two recipes in this level if you haven't tried them already.

Making the curry
About 2kg (4lb) of vegetables of your choice
The paneer tikka

The beauty of this curry is that you can make as much curry as you want and to order just by simply pan or wok frying the vegetables until softened and adding the curry sauce. I prefer crispy vegetables but if you want you can make up the whole curry and just reheat to serve. Add as much paneer cheese as you want and some of the marinade. Serve on basmati rice with poppadoms.

Serves 12, gluten free, vegan with tofu

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