Paneer Paella, Patatas Bravas with Pimentos Khakhra and Olive Raita

This is a fusion dish I created for a virtual cooking competition. The theme for the competition was Indo Fusion and this is an Indo Spanish dish. This was a fun challenge and I planned every element of this fusion dish to the core. I knew exactly how the dish would look when plated and it turned out as I envisioned.

From planning, creating, plating, photographing every aspect of the dish tasted like a perfect fusion of flavors rather than just mixing things up from different cuisines.

Paella is a very popular Spanish dish which is made with seafood and meat but I added paneer (Indian cheese) and a lot of vegetables to make this dish. There are some key components to make a paella first: a flat pan called paella pan, then the right kind of rice followed by some good vegetable stock.

There is a vegan paella recipe on my blog, give it a try.

Patatas bravas or Spanish crisp potatoes are served as an appetizer with tomato sauce. I plated the crispy potatoes on top of the paella and the sauce made a nice stack.as well for visual impact. 

Pimentos known for its bright red color  is another chili used extensively in Spanish cooking. I used bottled pimentos to make an Indian version of khakhra to lend a crunch and also to make up for bread. I cut the dough into triangles and baked in an oven and stood the triangles on one side of the paella for visual impact.

To round off the plate I made olives and parsley raita which is a very simple dish to make but its flavor quotient was phenomenal.

All in all the dish was simply stunning and to savor it was indeed a treat!!

Servings

6-8 servings

Prep Time

About 1 hour

Cook Time

About 2 hours

Total Time

2 hours 30 minutes – 3 hours

INGREDIENTS

Paneer Paella:

  • 1 ½ cups short grain rice
  • ½ cup paneer, cubed + 2 tsp oil
  • 1 white onion chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bell pepper, red or green cubed
  • 12 asparagus, cut into thirds
  • 1 zucchini, cubed
  • ½ cup artichokes, chopped- see notes 
  • 2 tomatoes, grated
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 12-14 strands of saffron
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • Salt to taste

Patatas Bravas: 

  • 4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tomato grated
  • 1 tsp chaat masala- see notes
  • Salt to taste

Pimentos Khakhra:

  • ½ cup wheat flour
  • 6-8 ounces pimentos, drained and chopped
  • 2 tbsp green olives, chopped
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive Raita:
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 4 tbsp kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Salt to taste
PREPARATION

Step 1 To make paneer paella:
Heat oil in a paella pan or a flat pan add oil. Once it’s hot add onion, garlic and saute. Meanwhile in another pan add paneer cubes and oil, saute until it is golden brown.

Step 2
Add in all the veggies and saute for 2-3 minutes. Now add the vegetable stock. Once it starts boiling add the rice, grated tomato, saffron, turmeric, salt and chili powder. Let it cook on low flame until the rice is just cooked which takes about 12-14 minutes. Fluff with a fork and keep aside. 

Step 3 To make patatas bravas:
Preheat the oven to 400 degree F. Place the potato cubes in an oven safe dish add oil and season with salt and cook for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are crispy and brown.

Step 4
In a small pan add oil and once it heats add onion and garlic. Once it turns golden brown add tomato pasta and grated tomatoes. Add chaat masala, salt (if adding) and red chili powder. Cook until all the flavors come together and the sauce turns thick.

Step 5 Pimentos Khakhra:
Make a firm dough out of the ingredients for khakhra. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes. Roll out thin discs and cut into 8 triangles (as you would slice a cake or pizza).

Preheat the oven to 400 degree F. Cook for 12-14 minutes until it turns brown and crispy. The khakhra will crisp further upon cooling. Keep aside.

Step 6 Olive Raita:
Mix all the ingredients for the raita. Make sure the yogurt is thick and not runny.

Step 7 To Plate:
Plate the paella at the bottom of the plate. Top with crisp potatoes and the sauce. Stick the khakhra on one side and add dollops of raita around the plate to create a visual effect.

Notes:
You can use fresh artichokes or the ones available in brine.
Since we are adding chaat masala check to see if the potatoes need more salt or not since chaat masala has salt in it.

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The famous proverb "you are what you eat” as quoted by the French author Anthelme Brillat-Savarin is very true. Food nourishes you from the inside out. Good health is of utmost importance to me. Vegetarianism and Veganism are gaining immense popularity these days. Natural, organic, healthy and homemade is my mantra.

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