It snowed last night in Denver. For those who don't live here, the combination of sunshine and a blanket of powder turns the landscape into a sparkling wonderland. Cascades of natural glitter rain down from overhangs and branches and the sheer brightness of things is otherworldly. Looking out the window my eyes open wide, straining to take it all in.
Days like today call for cookin. Food that'll stand up to the day, put hair on your chest, and take you home. This recipe was an attempt to simultaneously take both Premal and me back. The addition of spicy Indian chili power adds a kick to this traditional Hungarian recipe, and paneer stands up beautifully to the rich gravy. My nokedli--or spätzle--are multi-grain to mimic roti, the whole-wheat flatbread served with most meals in India. Club soda keeps the dumplings light and fluffy, despite the heavier flour.
Parikás Paneer with Multi-grain Spätzle
4 T. (plus more for frying) butter
1 lg. yellow onion (diced)
4 cloves garlic (diced)
4 T. sweet Hungarian paprika
1 T. spicy Indian chili powder or 1 t. red chili flakes (optional)
2 c. vegetable broth
1/2 c. sour cream
12 oz. mushrooms (sliced)
8 oz. paneer (1/2 inch cubes)
Sautee onion and garlic in butter until translucent. Add paprikas, and stir til roux forms. Gradually add the broth, stirring all the while, contents should resemble a thin gravy. Sir in sour cream. Fry mushrooms and paneer in batches, making sure not to crowd the pan, until golden. Add to gravy, season to taste, and serve over spätzle.
3/4 c club soda
1/2 t salt
1 c. white flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
spätzle maker or small cutting board and medium knife
Set large pot to boil. Mix soda, eggs and salt in medium bowl. Gradually add flour. Mix well. Dough should be very soft and sticky (almost a batter). Let rest ten minutes. Stir.
Here's the tricky part. If you don't happen to own a spätzle maker (but really, doesn't EVERYONE have one?) you'll need to make these dumples the old fashioned way. Take the cutting board and the knife and dip them in the boiling water. Place a large clump of dough on the board and thinly spread part of it all the way to one end of the board. Dip this end and the knife in the boiling water again. Then, using the back of the knife, scrape off thin noodles into the boiling water, re submerging knife and board along the way to prevent sticking. Let dumples boil for several minutes. Strain and toss with a little olive oil. (If this doesn't make sense, this video demonstrates the process pretty well--even if it's in German).