Indian food is consumed in my house more often than I’d like to admit. If it was cooked from fresh it would be no problem, but it’s almost always of the take-away variety (last time the delivery guy asked how I was in a way that I’m pretty sure meant he recognised me. How embarrassing). And because I am pretty much the least adventurous person on the planet, I always, always order the exact same thing – saag paneer (spinach with paneer cheese), with a garlic naan bread for dipping. It’s so. flipping. good.
This time I figured I’d be a bit kinder to both my bank account (which I’d quite like to get a bit bigger before my wedding) and my belly (which I’d quite like to get a bit smaller before my wedding), and make my own Indian-inspired dish at home. It contains all of my favourite Indian ingredients, but in a slightly new form. Naan bread makes a perfect pizza base, topped with curry sauce, red onion, spinach, paneer cheese and fresh coriander.
If you’ve not had paneer before, you must. It’s not got a huge amount of flavour, but it’s just so creamy and milky that I can’t resist it – the perfect contrast to the rich, spicy curry sauce. It’s an odd cheese that doesn’t melt when it’s heated (definitely some kind of witchcraft), so you can bake it or grill it and it’ll keep its shape, a bit like you can with halloumi.
By the way, I am aware of the irony that in order to make an Indian ‘healthier’ (still by no means totally healthy, but definitely lighter than a big bowl of curry) I’ve combined it with pizza – another take away food. Oh well. If it means I can eat a healthyish meal while simultaneously eating curry and pizza, I’m all for it – and it took about as long to make this as it would have done to browse a take-away menu (which I strangely do every time, even though I know I’ll still go for the same two things), and then to pick up the phone and order a meal. Plus you don’t have to feel ashamed when the guy on the phone recognises your voice (just kidding, this has never actually happened. Yet).
- 2 pre-cooked naan breads (shop-bought or homemade)
- 6-8tbsp curry sauce (shop-bought or homemade) – I used a balti sauce
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- Small handful fresh spinach, chopped
- 100g paneer cheese, cut into chunks
- 2tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
- Heat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).
- Place the naan breads on a baking sheet, and spread each with a few tablespoons of the curry sauce, leaving a narrow crust around the edge.
- Add the sliced onion and chopped spinach, and then the chunks of paneer. I also topped mine with a tiny bit more sauce, but you don’t have to.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the naan is golden and slightly crispy, and the paneer is just beginning to brown.
- Serve immediately, topped with the fresh coriander.