Aloo paneer (curried potatoes and paneer)

Generally speaking, when people ask me which foods I could live on for the rest of my life (this is a standard conservation starter, yes?) I say potatoes or cheese. Potatoes have always been a favourite, but particularly so through the last year, when some vague illness took away my desire to eat anything except for plain, bland, non irritating foods.

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Enter the potato. You can jazz it up, a la spicy Mexican wedges (the jazz factor is debatable here but I digress) or jazz them down, a la steamed potatoes. And cheese; I needn't really say anything about it, because errybody knows. Cheese = heaven. 

Imagine my delight, then, when I realised I could combine the two foods of the God's into one meal. One that involves a legitimate recipe, and some form of skill beyond turning on an oven and grating cheese onto a potato. A meal that is exotic, exciting, delicious, and (in case you missed the 200 word long memo) contains cheese and potatoes. Very win. Much excitement. 

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INGREDIENTS

4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite sized squares
200g paneer, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 medium sized knob of ginger, crushed
1 small bunch of coriander, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 small handful of cashews, soaked in boiling water
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons freshly ground garam masala
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
generous salt and pepper

METHOD

1. In a medium pot, steam your potatoes until they are firm but cooked through.
2. In a medium saucepan, sautΓ© your onions in a generous amount of olive oil, or a bland flavoured oil if you happen to have one. When they are completely translucent and starting to brown, add your crushed garlic and ginger, and cook for another five or so minutes.
3. Next up, add your chopped tomato and cook until it has melded with your onions. 
4. Pop the onion mix, your soaked (and drained) cashews, a splash of milk and salt and pepper into a blender and blend until a smooth gravy (I somehow feel uncomfortable about this word but I feel it may be the the right one)
5. Back in the pan and on a medium heat, add a glug of oil and then the freshly ground garam masala and cumin seeds. Cook until they start to fizzle (be careful not to burn them) and then return the gravy to the pan. Add the turmeric, sugar, cumin powder, coriander powder and some chilli if you so desire. Cook for around 5 minutes, and then add a cup of water.
6. OPTIONAL: in a separate pan, dry fry the paneer cubes to seal the edges. You can also fry the potato cubes in a bit of oil, if you are feeling fancy. It will still be nice if you can't be bothered, I promise.
7. The sauce should be thickening up a bit again, so add between 1/2 to a cup of water, depending on your feels. Add the potato and paneer to the pan, and cook through until the cubes are warmed. Stir in your coriander, and serve. Greek or plain yoghurt tastes spot on as a topping.

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