This recipe truly came to me on the fly. I had been thinking of using up some left over paneer for a few days. In the meantime, my husband who was on a hard cardiology rotation said he was coming home a few hours earlier than expected. I realized he was probably super hungry and I wanted to make something delicious but quickly made. Somehow in the randomness of mind, I was thinking of Bechamel sauce. I know that really does not go with an Indian cheese such as paneer but with a fusion of flavors it worked perfectly. This sauce was delicate and with layers of flavor and became my instant favorite recipes. Usually homemade or restaurant Indian food has "in-the-face"spice so I would say this is definitely something different from the usual Indian delicacies. Its subtlety of flavor reminds me more of the French than the Indians but I surely did not mind creating a fusion for sure. If you have read this blog before you would know how obsessed I am with paneer and I will come up with as many ways as I can to consume it.
I think the thick sauce of course is amazing but the star of the show is the cardamom. The flavor of the cardamom comes in about a second after you take the bite but is truly heavenly. I would recommend having this dish with toasted bread, naan or chappati. It really was hard to resist this dish for too long and we finished a large serving in just one sitting. I can tell you it was worth it. Usually I do not make a certain dish more than a few times but this will be a recurrence for sure. I made it in about 15 minutes and it was not any less than any restaurant delicacy. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did. For the non-vegetarians reading this I am sure instead of paneer chicken can also be used and would create the same effect.
2 Tablespoons of Salted Butter
2 Tablespoons of All-purpose Flour
2 Cups of Milk
1 Cup of Thawed Peas
1 Cup of Kale
14 Ounces of Paneer (Cubed 1 inch x 1 inch)
1 Tablespoon of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon of Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon of Nutmeg
10-15 Basil Leaves (Chopped)
6 Whole Cardamom Seeds (Opened and chopped)
Salt & Pepper
1)In a saucepan on medium heat start by melting the butter.
2)When the butter is melted, sprinkle in the all purpose flour.
3)Whisk together the roux and do not let it get brown.
4)When roux is mixed well (within 1-2 minutes), pour in the milk.
5)Whisk for 3-5 minutes until a thick sauce appears. Set aside.
6) In a separate skillet on medium heat, pour in the extra-virgin olive oil.
7)Add in the peas & kale and stir.
8)Sprinkle in cardamom, nutmeg and cumin. Add salt & pepper to taste.
9)Finally, toss in the chopped basil leaves and mix well for 1-2 minutes.
10)Pour in the above made bechamel sauce into the skillet. Toss in the paneer cubes.
11)Simmer the sauce for approximately 10-15 minutes for all the flavors to come together.
12)Serve with bread or naan.