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FODMAP friendly paneer curry

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This FODMAP friendly paneer curry is a product of two things. Firstly, I wanted to use the lactose free paneer recipe that I posted on TikTok recently in something practical and delicious. Secondly, I decided to play around with the vegetables in my FODMAP friendly curry base recipe. I figured I could simplify the vegetables used and make it even more FODMAP friendly.

This FODMAP friendly paneer curry is made without onion or garlic, obviously. It is nut free and easily made vegan (with tofu instead of the paneer, among other things). It is incredibly delicious – potentially one of the nicest things I think I have ever made.

A macro close up photo of the top of a FODMAP friendly paneer curry. The curry is a deep orange and has been swirled with cream, creating a marbled effect

FODMAP NOTES

  • I have switched up the vegetables for this curry to ensure that the only moderate FODMAP veg are the capsicums and tinned tomatoes. Red capsicum is FODMAP friendly in 43g or 1/3 cup servings. Green capsicum is FODMAP friendly in 75g serves, but a moderate serve is 250g, which suggests there’s plenty of wiggle room there.
  • Tinned tomatoes are friendly in 100g serves and moderate for fructose in 138g serves.
  • In terms of dairy, I have used homemade lactose free paneer and lactose free full cream to keep this lactose friendly.
An aerial view of a skillet filled with FODMAP friendly curry that has been topped with a swirl of cream. The skillet sits atop a white marble table which is surrounded by plates of curry, water glasses and a white linen tablecloth.

The FODMAP friendly curry sauce base

This sauce base is made up of spring onion greens, leek greens, ginger, capsicum and carrot. These vegetables are cooked down with a few spices before tinned tomatoes are added and the whole thing gets blended. I chose to use tinned tomatoes because they are easy and their FODMAP content stayed the same in the recent Monash tomato update debacle. They are inexpensive to buy year round and most houses have a tin lurking somewhere.

An aerial image of a skillet filled with FODMAP friendly paneer curry. The curry is a deep orange and is swirled with cream. It sits atop a medium blue steel mottled backdrop, surrounded by water glasses and extra plates

The curry paste

The curry paste is made up of generous quantities of spices. I think there are a lot of recipes online that are way too conservative with the spices. A good amount of spice is critical for that delicious, full bodied flavour without onion or garlic.

Fresh cardamom seeds (and by this I mean, not powder) garam masala, cumin and turmeric are the critical spices here. Paprika is added for the beautiful rich colour. Fenugreek and coriander can be omitted. If you’re topping the FODMAP friendly paneer curry with coriander, though, wash, chop and add the roots and stems to the curry sauce base.

The curry paste is finished with the juice of a lemon and tomato paste. You can thin it out with water or some of the curry sauce base until it is a paste like consistency. Once we’ve cooked the cardamom pods, the curry paste is ready to cook down. Too easy.

An aerial close up photo of a white speckled ceramic bowl filled with FODMAP friendly paneer curry. The curry is topped with a swirl of cream and chopped coriander, and some cubes of paneer peek out of the gravy. The bowl sits atop a white benchtop and a gluten free naan sits to the top right of the image. The image was been shot in bright sunlight, so the glass of water in the top left of the images casts light down onto the benchtop

The paneer

I have chosen to use homemade paneer made with lactose free milk in this recipe. I recently realised that paneer is incredibly easy to make, better than store bought and nearly half the price, too.

Swaps and substitutions

  • To make this FODMAP friendly paneer curry vegan, use tofu in place of paneer and a plant based milk/cream/yoghurt in place of the cream. This also applies if you are dairy free.
  • Some of the spices are less critical than others. The fenugreek, paprika and coriander powder can be omitted.
  • If you’d prefer, you can use regular chilli powder or fresh chilli to taste. Add it according to your chilli preferences, keeping in mind that regular chilli powder is spicier than Kashmiri chilli powder.
  • If you have fresh tomatoes to use up, use 2-3 and add a bit of water.
  • Red capsicum can be a source of fructose, while green capsicum can be a source of fructan. You could try choosing one or the other to cater to your specific requirements. I would suggest maybe adding a little sugar if you use all green capsicum. The red capsicum adds a bit of balanced sweetness to the curry sauce base.
A close up aerial image of a white ceramic bowl filled with FODMAP friendly paneer curry. The curry is swirled with cream and topped with herbs. Paneer cubes poke up from the gravy, and a piece of flatbread sits to the top right of the bowl, dipped in the gravy. The bowl sits atop a blue steel background with a glass of water to the top left of the image.

To serve with your FODMAP friendly paneer curry

  • Some gluten free flatbreads or cheesy garlic naan. Actual heaven.
  • Garlic infused ghee, for topping the naan. No naan is complete without garlic butter, and infusing ghee brings the garlic without the FODMAPs.
  • Some rice. It’s always a good idea to pad things out with some rice to ensure you remain under the threshold for FODMAP. I like to make this curry serve 6 people.
  • The hottest of hot tips: if you make the cheesy naan to serve with the FODMAP friendly paneer curry, add a spoonful of curry gravy to each flatbread when you add the cheese. Topped with some garlic infused ghee? Life changing stuff.
A gluten free cheesy naan that has been filled with melty cheese and a spoonful of FODMAP friendly curry. The flatbread sits atop a white speckled ceramic plate and is torn in half, exposing the melty cheese and curry innards. The flatbread has been topped with garlic infused ghee and chopped coriander.
An aerial view of a bowl of FODMAP friendly paneer curry topped with a swirl of cream and chopped herbs. Paneer peeks out from the curry gravy and a cheesy naan dips into the top right corner of the curry. The bowl sits atop a grey steel backdrop and a glass of water sits to the top left of the image

FODMAP friendly paneer curry

Gluten free, nut free, vegan option
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Ingredients
  

For the curry sauce base:

  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil or ghee
  • 1 bunch spring onion greens chopped
  • 1-2 leek greens thoroughly washed and chopped
  • 1 small red capsicum chopped
  • 1 small green capsicum chopped
  • 2-3 large carrots reasonably finely chopped
  • 50 g ginger chopped
  • 1 x 400g tin of plain tomatoes any sort are fine as long as they are unflavoured
  • 2 teaspoons ground garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon Asfoetida hing powder, optional (see notes)
  • 1-2 cups water 250-500ml

For the curry paste:

  • 1 tablespoon paprika any sort – smoked or sweet – is fine
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli see notes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Juice of 1 smaller lemon

To finish the curry:

  • Seeds of 10-20 cardamom pods discard the pods and keep the small black seeds
  • 1 quantity of homemade lactose free paneer see notes
  • 125-250 ml lactose free full cream (you could also use yoghurt milk or a plant based substitute see notes
  • Seasoning to taste
  • Pinch of sugar, if necessary

Instructions
 

To make the curry sauce base:

  • Place the ghee in a very large cast iron skillet, pan or wok over a low-medium heat. Add the spring onion and leek greens, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until verdant green and fragrant. Add the ginger, capsicums and carrot and cook until soft – an additional 10 or so minutes. Add water whenever the vegetables are sticking and you sense they need it.
  • Add the tinned tomatoes and spices and stir to combine. Top with the 1-2 cups of water, stir and place a lid on. Allow to cook for 15-20 minutes until you can pierce the carrot easily with a knife.
  • Once the vegetables are completely soft and the mixture is fragrant, set aside to cool. Once sufficiently cool, place the mixture in a high-speed food processor and blend until you have a smooth curry gravy.

To make the curry paste:

  • Combine all the spices (except for the cardamom seeds) for the curry paste in a bowl. Add the lemon juice and tomato paste and stir to form a paste. Add some water or some of the curry sauce base if it’s feeling thick or dry.

To finish the curry:

  • While you’re waiting for the curry base to cool, wash and reheat the large skillet or wok and return it to the heat. Preheat really well, then add a scant amount of oil and fry your cubes of paneer until golden on all sides. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons more oil or ghee to the skillet and place over a medium heat. Add the cardamom seeds to the hot oil and cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the spice paste and fry off for a minute or two until fragrant.
  • Once the mixture is fragrant, add all the curry base and stir thoroughly to combine.
  • Add the cream or milk as you see fit, then finish with the paneer cubes. Taste the curry for seasoning, then cook for a few minutes longer until the paneer is warmed through before serving.
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