the appetizer:

Sautéed Arugula and Spinach with Paneer and Roasted Cashews is a sample recipe from Vij's restaurant in Vancouver.



Sautéed Arugula and Spinach
with Paneer and Roasted Cashews

Serves 6

  • 2 ounces whole raw unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 pound arugula + 1-1/2 pounds spinach
  •       or 1 pound rapini + 1 pound spinach
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 3 cups puréed tomatoes (9 medium)
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ground black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon crushed cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups water
  • 1-2/3 cups coconut milk, stirred
  • 9 ounces paneer in 12 equal slices
Sautéed Arugula and Spinach

Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 375 degrees F. Spread cashews on a baking tray and bake for 3 minutes. Gently stir cashews to roast them evenly. Return to the oven for another 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Watch carefully because cashews can burn quickly. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 30 minutes.

Cut the tougher, bottom stems (about 1-1/2 inches) off the spinach. If you don't like to eat the stems, cut off all of them but add more spinach leaves to compensate. If the rapini leaves are flowering on top, cut off the flowers. Cut off the bottom stems of the rapini. If you don't eat any of the rapini stems, cut off as much as you want, but again compensate with extra rapini leaves. Combine spinach and arugula (or rapini) in a large bowl.

Heat oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add cumin seeds, stir and allow to sizzle for 30 to 45 seconds. Add tomatoes, mustard seeds, turmeric, salt and cayenne. Stir and reduce the heat to low, then cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and stir. The top of the masala should glisten with oil. If not, cook uncovered for another 1 to 2 minutes to make sure the spices are cooked through.

Stir in water and increase the heat to medium. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook at a low boil for 5 to 8 minutes. Add coconut milk, increase the heat to medium and continue cooking until the curry starts to boil. Add greens and cook them for 2 minutes, stirring regularly.

To Serve
Place 2 slices of paneer in each of six large bowls. Pour the curry and green leaves over the paneer. Top the greens with 6 to 7 roasted cashews per bowl.

Pair with a refreshing Grüner Veltliner.

Buy the Book  

Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine

by Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala
Douglas & McIntyre
$29.95/trade paperback with flaps
Full-color photographs throughout
ISBN: 1-55365-184-7
Recipe reprinted by permission.




This page created January 2007

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