Kali mirch (black pepper) paneer is a dish that embodies the spirit of Pijja Palace, the Indian sports activities bar I personal in Los Angeles’ Silver Lake neighborhood. It’s fairly unusual, it’s vegetarian, it’s Indian, and it may also be changed into a reasonably bitching pasta sauce!
This dish has lots of the warming spices you see in every single place this time of 12 months — cinnamon, clove, and cardamom are all right here, together with coriander, turmeric, saffron, and a wholesome hit of black pepper. Though kali mirch paneer is often served with naan, paratha, or rice, its sauce is a pure match for pasta: the creamy texture simply coats any form you throw at it. Completed off with somewhat pasta water (it can’t be mentioned sufficient that you must at all times reserve some pasta water), seasoned with salt, combined with crumbled paneer, and garnished with recent cilantro and crush peppercorns, it’s not solely an important pasta dish but in addition an ideal vegetarian Thanksgiving entree.
That mentioned, if pasta isn’t your factor, you may as well use the sauce with grilled rooster — serve it as a facet for Thanksgiving. It doesn’t matter what you do with it, this can be a dope sauce that may do no mistaken. I dig it.
Kali Mirch (Pepper) Paneer
2 tablespoons safflower oil
4-5 entire cloves
½ cinnamon stick (1 inch)
5-6 inexperienced cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
4 giant shallots, thinly sliced
2 medium garlic cloves, sliced
1½ teaspoons recent ginger, roughly chopped
1 small serrano chile, sliced
3 roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
1½ tablespoons coriander powder
½ teaspoon Kashmiri pink chile powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water, divided
1½ tablespoons fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
1 tablespoon ghee
1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns, plus extra for garnish
8-10 uncooked cashews
1 cup (4 ounces) paneer, finely crumbled
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch saffron (6-8 strands)
¼ teaspoon garam masala
1 pound fusilli or rigatoni pasta
¼ cup recent cilantro, finely chopped, for garnish (elective)
Step 1: Warmth the oil in a big pan or wok over medium warmth. Add the cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and bay leaves and saute till aromatic, 1 minute or so. Add the shallots to the pan and saute till translucent, 4 minutes.
Step 2: Whereas the shallots are cooking, mound the garlic, ginger, and serrano chile on a chopping board and mince them collectively right into a effective paste. Alternatively, mix the substances in a mini processor or mortar and pestle and course of to a paste. Add the ginger-garlic paste to the onions and prepare dinner till aromatic, 1 minute.
Step 3: Add the tomatoes and 1 cup of water to the shallots and produce to a simmer, stirring steadily, till the tomatoes are pulpy, 6-8 minutes. Add the coriander, pink chile powder, turmeric, and salt and saute for one more 3-4 minutes. Take away from warmth, select the cinnamon and bay leaves and discard. Scrape the shallot combination right into a blender and mix till easy. Put aside.
Step 4: Wipe out the pan and place over medium warmth. Add the fenugreek leaves and prepare dinner, stirring continuously, till aromatic, 30 seconds. Put the leaves right into a spice grinder and allow them to cool for five minutes. Grind to a effective powder and put aside.
Step 5: Return the pan to medium warmth and add the ghee, peppercorns, and cashews. Cook dinner, stirring steadily, till the nuts are evenly browned, 3-5 minutes. Flip off the warmth. Maintain a mesh strainer over the pan and pour the blender combination via the sieve into the saucepan, discard solids left in sieve.
Step 6: Add 1 cup of water to the pan and produce to a simmer over medium excessive warmth. Cook dinner, stirring steadily, till the flavors have melded, 5 to six minutes. Add the fenugreek and cream to the pan and produce to a simmer. Stir within the lemon juice and saffron and simmer for 1 minute. Stir within the garam masala, cowl, and preserve heat over low warmth.
Step 7: Carry a big pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and prepare dinner till 1 minute earlier than the really helpful package deal cooking time. Drain, reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the saucepan and stir to coat with the sauce, including the reserved cooking liquid if wanted to loosen the sauce. Stir via the crumbled paneer and garnish with crushed peppercorns and recent cilantro, if desired.
Avish Naran is the proprietor of Pijja Palace, a sports activities bar in Los Angeles.
Dina Ávila is a photographer in Portland, Oregon.
Recipe examined by Ivy Manning