The Secret is in the Sauce

Well, another busy week is behind us and we’re about to start another one; however, and I hesitate to say this, I think I’m finding a new rhythm. We’re no less busy than we have been for the past six months, but I’ve found a bit of a flow. I mean when is the last time I posted twice in one week!

It’s hard to believe the Chopped Challenge is already several weeks ago now, especially when we’re still enjoying the fruits of our labor. (We still have two pot pies remaining in the freezer!) So speaking of those pot pies, most of you will recall, our main ingredient basket for the big day was brought to us by Vanyadhanya from Skinny Chef de Cuisine and included Garam Masala, Cashews, Pumpkin Seeds and Potatoes. Main Course Basket 2014

It was definitely a close contest between the two dishes – Garam Masala Dumplings and the Vegan Pot Pie with Garam Masala. In fact, if it wasn’t for the secret ingredient Mike had been hiding since we shopped for the event, it would have been a dead heat. Little did I realize he had that little surprise up his sleeve! So what was the thing that put Team Number One over the edge for this round? Well, let’s recap how it all got started first. Miss A and Mike began their dish by boiling the potatoes and creating a sauce using whole garam masala. boiled potatoes

They sauted some shallots and garlic in a skillet before adding two cups of water. Next they placed the garam masala inside a cheesecloth, tied it closed and placed it in the same pot to simmer for almost an hour. garam masala

Next it was time for the cashew cream – a blend of cashews (soaked in water for 12 hours) and almond milk. Cashews

Once the garam masala had simmered long enough, the cheesecloth was removed and tossed. Mike and Miss A then combined the cashew cream with the stock to make a creamy sauce. But they didn’t stop there. They also added a bit of ground garam masala and the secret ingredient – paneer (a fresh Indian cheese). This is when I knew Mr. N and I were in trouble. I LOVE paneer – and Mike certainly knew that!

As the sauce was set aside to keep warm, Team Number Won then combined their boiled potatoes, all-purpose flour and some cilantro in the food processor. making dumplings

From there they scooped out golf ball sized pieces and formed little round dumplings. The dumplings were dropped in boiling water and cooked until they floated to the top. Rolling dumplings

Next Miss A and Mike rolled the dumplings (still wet and somewhat sticky) in chickpea flour and then placed them into hot oil to deep fry. The dumplings were fried to a golden brown and then drained. Once drained, the dumplings were served immediately with the garam masala-paneer sauce. garam masala dumplings

The dish was fantastic! The flavors were so warm and comforting. It was easily a 4 spoon dish for Mike, Miss A and I. Mr. N, however, preferred the pot pie. In all honesty, Mike and I likely would have given both main course dishes 4 spoons had we enjoyed them on separate occasions, but that secret ingredient was just too good to look past, and it was a competition after all!deep fried dumpling

Print this recipe: Garam Masala Dumplings

So since the pot pie met with rave reviews from each of us as well, we thought we’d share this recipe with you all too. It’s vegan, filled with bold flavors and very comforting! Not to mention, you can make plenty to have for a meal another day.

Print this recipe: Vegan Pot Pie

Next week we’ll be back with our final entry from this year’s Chopped Challenge – the dessert round. After that we’re setting off around the world on another cooking adventure (from our own kitchen that is). Have a great week everyone!

22 thoughts on “The Secret is in the Sauce

  1. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    This dish does sound wonderful and I love what’s in the sauce after cooking for a long time. I don’t know how you do everything Kristy. I’ve never mentioned before (I think) but your writing is really good in each post. You must spend good amount of time for each post too! I enjoy reading step by step instructions too. It’s been very fun!


  2. Bam's Kitchen says:

    Another fabulous challenge! You guys are really competitive and that is why these dishes are so delicious. I really need to make more Indian dishes at home as we all love the spice and flavors. I love watching your kids helping in the kitchen. I bet they can that each could make a souffle independent before they are five. Have a super weekend. BAM


  3. Three Well Beings says:

    I think both recipes are just amazing. You were so creative with the ingredients, and they really impress me with the use of such varied ingredients. I have never tried paneer. I have eaten in several Indian restaurants, so it’s possible it’s been served in a dish, but let’s say I’m “unfamiliar.” I would really enjoy experimenting more. Thank you for making the recipes printable. That is a big help! ox


  4. ChgoJohn says:

    As busy as things are, Kristy, it seems that you’ve gotten a handle on things. Not that I’ve any personal experience but, from what I’ve heard, things will calm down for you. When does Miss A start college?
    What a great sauce and dish! There are no losers in a Chopped Challenge that produces something as good as this.


  5. Charles says:

    I’m spoiled off paneer… when I went to France I’d never had it and the Indian restaurants there used “Laughing Cow” cheese triangles in curry and called it paneer. When I finally tried it I thought it was just… tasteless. Not bad by any manner of means, but just pointless. One of these things which doesn’t really have a purpose, like hard tofu (haha). Perhaps I didn’t have good paneer…is it really that good?


    • Kristy says:

      Well, I can’t say that I’ve had laughing cow in its place, but I do think paneer is wonderful. I can always tell when it’s in a dish and I just gobble it right up. There’s a fabulous Indian lunch buffet near us on the weekends and I swear I could just keep going back for this one dish over and over again. It’s hard to stop!


  6. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says:

    Paneer is one of my favourite ingredients in Indian cuisine — combine it with Garam Masala and you’re dancing among the stars :). This dish feels warm, comforting and full of aroma. Love the effort that went into this round and the great teamwork!


  7. hotlyspiced says:

    I’m pleased to hear things are settling into some kind of a routine for you. I know how things can get really busy! I love the sound of this dish and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s for dessert xx


  8. Norma Chang says:

    Glad to learn you found a new rhythm, like Dawn says it is also because you are getting used to the busy schedule. You are such a creative family always fun to read about and to see your results.


  9. Eva Taylor says:

    I simply cannot imagine how flavourful and rich that sauce was, it looks so incredibly creamy and gorgeous! I’ve never had garam Marsala whole, I use a recipe from a trusted Indian cookbook but its always been ground. I’m totally intrigued by the infusion, Chef Mike! Paneer is also one of my favourites too. I can see why this dish came out on top!
    I love it when you can find a groove! ❀️


  10. Dawn says:

    Hang in there Kristy – maybe this is the new normal, and you are finally getting used to it? The dumplings really do look delicious, I am so impressed with the creativity! I hope you have a great week!


  11. vanyadhanya says:

    thanks for choosing my basket dears….and what a lovely twist to classic Indian ingredients. loved it and am surely gonna try your dish


  12. sallybr says:

    Busy, busy, busy… I hear you!

    Well, I am for sure glad that you can post twice in a week, but you know what? If you post once a year, it doesn’t matter, I will be here anxious to see what is going on in your kitchen and with your beautiful family!

    I cannot believe February is more than half way through, but…. such is life

    now, to the recipe – cashews with almond milk for 12 hours…. that equals a dream. A culinary dream like no other… awesome!


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