This has to be one of my favourite things to eat after a long working day. If I know I’ll be home late, I prepare some of the ingredients in the morning before I leave so that, at the end of the day, there’s very little to do before we can eat. In India, Indo-Chinese style cooking like this is second in popularity to Indian food.
250g paneer, cubed
200g basmati rice, washed and drained
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
4 tsp dark soy sauce
4 fresh green chillies, finely diced (seeds and all)
2 onions, cut into large pieces
3 spring onions, both white and green parts chopped
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (see below, or good quality variety from a jar)
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/ 180C fan/gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with foil.
2. Season the paneer with salt in a bowl and mix well. Drizzle in 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil and mix again. Spread the paneer out on the lined baking tray in a single layer, then bake for 15 minutes, turning over halfway through the cooking time.
3. Meanwhile, put the rice into a deep saucepan, add three times the volume of boiling water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until cooked, then drain through a colander. Set aside and keep hot.
4. Mix the ketchup and soy sauce in a bowl and set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil in a frying pan, add the ginger-garlic paste and the chillies and cook over a high heat for 30 seconds or until an aroma develops. Add the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes or until they start to soften. Season with salt, then stir in the ketchup mixture. Cook for a minute or so over a high heat until the mixture comes to the boil. The onions should still have a bit of crunch.
5. Fold in the paneer, then sprinkle in the spring onions and heat through until hot. Fold in the drained rice and serve hot.
TIP You can add more vegetables (try diced carrots and green beans) – they’ll go into the pan with the onions and take 7-8 minutes to cook.
MY STANDBY GINGER-GARLIC PASTE
Combine 1 part peeled and chopped fresh ginger (scrape the thin skin off with a teaspoon) and 2 parts (by volume) peeled and chopped garlic. If making a small amount, you can grate both or crush them using a mortar and pestle. For larger amounts, blitz the peeled and chopped ginger and garlic in a blender, along with a little cold water to turn the blades and make a smooth paste. You can store the paste in the fridge. Put it into a clean jam jar and cover the surface with oil (any cooking oil); it will keep for up to 3 weeks (top up the oil as necessary).
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