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Spiced Vegetables & Paneer with Cashew & Quinoa Crumble

Updated: Apr 15

by Cyrus Todiwala from Simple Spice: 120 easy Indian recipes with just 10 spices (Mitchell Beazley)


In this simple baked dish, you can use any seasonal vegetables such as broccoli, squash, aubergine – whatever you fancy or have to hand.  No flour is used in the sauce to thicken it, but you can do so if you wish.  Serve with pasta or rice.


Serves 4 as a main or 6-8 as a side

Prep Time: 30 mins

Cooking Time: 45 mins


Cauliflower 1 small, cut into small florets, stalks chopped separately into small pieces

Carrots 2, diced

Potato 1, peeled & diced

Onion 1, coarsely chopped

Fresh Green Chillies 2 finger-type, coarsely chopped

Garlic 2 Cloves, roughly chopped

Fresh Root Ginger 5cm (2in) piece, peeled & roughly chopped, peelings reserved

Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil 2 tbsp

Paneer 150-200g (5½ - 7oz), diced

Green Pepper 1 small, cored deseeded & diced

Fresh Red Chilli 1 small, diced

Chickpeas 1 x 400g (14oz) can, drained & rinsed

Chopped Fresh Coriander 2 tbsp

Tomato Sauce (see below) to serve

Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper

For the Spice Paste

Ground Cumin 1 tsp

Ground Coriander 2 tsp

Ground Turmeric ½ tsp

Red Chilli Powder 1 tsp


For the Crumble Topping

Raw Cashew Nuts 100g (3½ oz)

Cumin Seeds 1 tsp, toasted (in a heavy based frying pan over a low heat until brown & aromatic)

Coriander Seeds 1tsp

Quinoa 3-4 tbsp, uncooked

Fresh Green Chilli 1, deseeded

Olive Oil, 1 tsp

Butter 15g (½ oz), at room temp



1.   First make the spice paste by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl with a few tbsps of water.  Cover & set aside until needed.


2.   Cook the cauliflower florets for about 5 mins in a pan of boiling salted water.  They should be slightly firm; certainly not soft.  Strain, reserving the cooking water, & immediately refresh in cold water.


3.   Return the cooking water to the pan & cook the carrots for 3-4 mins, again until just done.  Strain, reserving the cooking water, & immediately refresh in cold water.


4.   Return the cooking water to the pan & cook the potato for about 6-8 mins, until tender.  Strain, reserving the cooking water, & immediately refresh in cold water.


5.   Return the cooking water to the pan & cook the cauliflower stalks with the ginger peelings for 15-20 mins, until soft.  Set the pan aside to cool.


6.   Preheat the oven to 190C/ 375F/ Gas Mark 5.


7.   Put the onion, green chillies, garlic & ginger into a blender, add the vegetable water & its contents & purée to a smooth liquid.


8.   Heat the oil in a deep non-stick pan or flameproof casserole dish.  When hot, add the paneer & cook for 1-2 mins, turning so that it browns nicely on all sides.  Add the green pepper & the fresh red chilli & sauté for 1 min, then add the spice paste.  Cook for anther 1-2 mins until the oil starts to be released.  Pour in the puréed mixture & cook for 4-5 mins, until gently bubbling but not spluttering.


9.   Stir in the cooked cauliflower, carrots & potato plus the chickpeas & mix well, adding some water if the mixture seems too thick.  Cover & simmer for 5-6 mins, then taste & season.  Stir in the fresh coriander & transfer to a baking dish.


10. To make the crumble, put the cashews, seeds, quinoa & fresh chilli into a blender & whiz to the texture of coarse breadcrumbs.  Add the olive oil & softened butter & whiz again.


11. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the vegetables & bake in the oven for 12-15 mins, until the top is golden & crispy.


12. Serve with homemade Tomato Sauce on the side (see recipe below).

For the Tomato Sauce



Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil 1 tbsp

Cinnamon Stick 2 x 10cm (4in) pieces

Dried Red Chillies 4, each broken into 3 pieces & deseeded

Fresh Green Chillies 3-4, slit lengthways into 4 pieces

Onions 2, finely chopped

Malt Vinegar, 1 tbsp

Raw Cane or Muscovado Sugar 2 tsp

Fresh or Canned Tomatoes 400g (14oz), chopped



1.   Heat the oil in a saucepan or flameproof casserole dish.  When hot, add the cinnamon stick & sauté for a few seconds, before adding the dried red chillies.  As soon as the chillies darken, add the fresh green chillies & onions.  Sauté until the onions are soft.


2.   Add the vinegar & sugar & simmer for a few mins, then add the tomatoes.  Cook gently until the mixture thickens slightly.   Season with salt & pepper & set aside.

Buttermilk Chaas

Come summertime when the heat rises, Indians love to cool down by drinking buttermilk.  The basic recipe below is very simple, but you can enliven it with fresh mint leaves and crushed fresh root ginger, or even add a little garlic and green chilli along with fresh coriander and mint.


Serves 3-4



Thick Greek Yoghurt 200ml (7fl oz)

Water 500ml (18fl oz)

Cumin seeds ¼ tsp toasted and ground

Salt a pinch

Ice Cubes (optional)

Put the yoghurt and measured water into a bowl and beat thoroughly until completely smooth. Add the cumin and salt, mix well and pour into glasses, adding ice cubes if you wish.

Drinks tasted on air, alongside the dish.

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