Jerk spiced paneer, soya chunks and button mushrooms
I know that it isn’t hot yet, but we have been eating outdoors a fair bit lately, and I’m not just talking sandwiches, obviously.
Yesterday we sat and ate vegetable dosa in what my 2 year old calls, ‘the tree house’. It is in fact the playhouse that sits above his slide and adjacent to the swings. I had my phone with me and as it pinged away, he raised his voice, ‘No, talk to me mumma, put it away!’ so I did.
I asked him what he wanted to talk about. ‘Hold my hand mumma, let me think about it’. So we looked up at the sky and we talked about how Venus was hiding behind the birds and that there is a man in the aeroplane that is going to Australia to get a kangaroo, but we weren’t sure whether he needed a rocket.
I felt enchanted, very blessed and actually I reflected on how much I am un-doing in my life. Most of my life I have concerned myself with the ‘doing’ part and sometimes it feels as though it is going against the grain. I was eating messily outdoors, somewhere where I shouldn’t really be eating. But it gave my boy joy. I am not the mother I thought I would be and I am not the mothers around me. Am I un-learning? Work-wise I am leaning towards what my instincts told me maybe 15 years ago. Sometimes un-doing is as, if not more forward-driving than doing.
So, in the spirit of eating outdoors and warmth of some kind…its jerk time. I am sharing this recipe with you because it is one of my better jerk mixes and I am excited by it. I am a fan of the sweet heat and deep aromas and colour of jerk. The key ingredient is the all spice berries and although I have seen versions using honey and syrup, probably to give it stickiness, I wouldn’t because brown sugar helps to bring out the depth in this one.
I know that jerk chicken is often barbequed or roasted but I don’t think it works so well with soya or vegetarian jerk chicken. I have cooked it in the pan and it tastes mighty fine this way.
150g paneer chunks
150g soya chunks
200g button mushrooms
2 tbsp. cooking oil
One medium onion, thickly sliced
For the jerk seasoning
2 tbsp. fresh thyme
The juice of one lime
2 tbsp. soft brown sugar
1 tbsp. ground all spice
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. ground black pepper
3-4 scotch bonnets, finely chopped
2 tbsp. agave nectar
Salt to taste
3 spring onions, chopped
2 tbsp. soy sauce
- To make the jerk seasoning paste blitz all of the ingredients together in the food processor, getting it as close to puree as possible.
- Shallow fry the paneer and soya chunks in a non-stick pan and allow it to crisp up before letting it cool down
- Take a bowl and pour the seasoning over the paneer and soya chunks and let them chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.
- When you are ready to cook the paneer and soya chunks, remove them from the fridge and then heat the remaining oil and sauté the onion and mushrooms for 2-3 minutes before adding the paneer and soya chunks.
- Cook for 7-8 minutes before serving hot and steaming. I served this dish with orzo pasta but you could use rice instead.