Wow the weather in Toronto right now is downright tropical! It’s 40 degrees Celsius with the humidity today. While everyone around me is moaning and groaning about how they are going to melt, I am loving every second! My AC isn’t even on. Bring on the sun, heat, and patios I say! Winter will be here before we know it, and our world will be covered in snow and ice. As they say in Game of Thrones, “winter is coming”.
The tropical temperatures have me thinking of my vacations in the South. Pineapple, coconut and mango are all on the menu right now. I might have to go to work every day, but in the evenings I can have a tropical inspired meal al fresco and enjoy every second that I can of our short lived summer.
This recipe was inspired by one I found on budgetbytes.com. If you haven’t checked it out I recommend that you take a peek. It’s a budget based food blog that is similar to this one. This recipe is my take on her Mango Coconut Tofu Bowls. I like tofu, but once and a while I need a change. From the moment I first read this recipe I thought that paneer would be a perfect fit and a nice departure from tofu.
For those of you who don’t know, paneer is type of cheese that is common in Indian food. If you have gone to Indian buffets you might have had it in spinach curry. Paneer has a mild taste and it squeaks when you bite into it. The neat thing about it is that it has a high melting point unlike most cheese, which means that you can use it for cooking! It fries up so well, you’ll crave its crispy golden squeak once you tried it. You can find paneer at most South East Asian grocery stores or small markets. Some better stocked large grocery stores will carry it as well. You can usually find it either with the other cheeses or by the butter and eggs.
As always you can feel free to make modifications as needed. I use arugula in this because I really enjoy the peppery flavour that it adds. If you don’t have it on hand, or don’t like the flavour then baby spinach is a good substitute (I used it for the picture). Feel free to use the whole jalapeno if you want a spicy kick, with half this dish is quite mild. You can use agave syrup instead of honey if you prefer and skip the avocado if they are too expensive (I skipped it in the photo because I couldn't find a ripe one). Don’t skip the cilantro though, it adds so much flavour! I would say that the cilantro is just as important as the mango in the flavour balance of the dish.
As always let me know how this turns out for you. Please post your pictures on the Nickels and Noodles Facebook and Instagram pages. I love seeing your creations and hearing from you.
Makes 4 Large Servings
4 Cups Cooked Long Grain White Rice
1 Lime, Juiced and Zested
0.25 Cup Honey
0.5 TBSP Soy Sauce
1 TSP Corn Starch
1 Block Paneer (about 14 OZ)
Salt To Taste
2 TBSP Corn Starch
4 TBSP Oil
2 Large Mangos, Peeled and Cubed
1-2 Avocados, Sliced
4-6 Fresh Chives, Chopped
0.5 Jalapeno, Diced Finely
0.5 Bunch Cilantro, Chopped
2 Cups Fresh Baby Arugula, Washed
Mix the lime juice and zest, honey, soy sauce and corn starch in a small bowl. Set aside.
Dry the paneer well using a clean, lint-free dish towel.
Chop the paneer into 1 inch cubes. Set aside.
Toss salt and corn starch together in a large bowl.
Add in the paneer and toss until well coated. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a pan. You’ll know that it is hot enough to use if it sizzles when you add a drop of water to it.
Fry the paneer in the hot oil until it is golden brown on all sides.
Drain the paneer on paper towel and empty any remaining oil from the pan.
Add the paneer back to the pan along with your mango, jalapeno, chives and lime glaze.
Stir until everything is well coated.
To assemble the bowls divide the rice among four dishes, and top with your paneer mixture. Garnish with avocado, arugula and cilantro.