Sarah's Kitchen Creations: Heat & Eat Paneer Tikka Masala

This quick recipe is for the hangry, exhausted folks that should have eaten hours ago.


1 jar Maya Kaimal Tikka Masala simmer sauce

1 pouch Maya Kaimal Organic Everyday Dal black lentil, tomato, cumin 

1 pouch Maya Kaimal Organic Everyday Dal kidney bean, carrot, tamarind

1/2 block Gopi paneer cheese

1 T. canola oil or high heat oil

1 package Mother Earth organic baby bella mushrooms

1 local & organic yellow onion from Blue Moon Farm

1 local & organic green bell pepper from PrairiErth Farm

1 local & organic hot pepper from Blue Moon Farm (I used a Cherry Bomb pepper!)

1/2 cup local & organic cilantro from Blue Moon Farm

1.5 cup Hard Bargain brown rice

(optional) toasted cumin seeds

(optional) 1/2 cup organic whole milk yogurt from Seven Stars Farm

salt to taste


1) Rinse brown rice with cold water until water runs clear. Combine 1 1/2 cups brown rice with 2 1/4 cups cold water with a pinch of salt and cook on the stove top, in a rice cooker, or pressure cooker. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed the water. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. TIP: I love toasting whole cumin seeds in a saute pan and adding them in with the water when I make rice. It adds such a delicious favor. You can also add butter, coconut oil, or any other spices like saffron or turmeric powder.

2) Thinly slice mushrooms, bell pepper, hot pepper, and onion. Dice up half a block of paneer into small chunks.

3) Using small sauce pans, heat up the dal pouches until hot. TIP: I use only one sauce pan to save dishes and heat the pouches up one at a time. When they are hot, pour into a bowl and then heat the other pouch.

4) Heat a medium sized skillet or cast iron pan. Add canola oil and sauteé mushrooms, bell peppers, hot peppers, and onions until fully cooked. Add Tikka Masala simmer sauce. Once simmer sauce is simmering, add the diced paneer and stir to heat. 

5) Stir in cilantro and serve with rice.

6) Optional: If you love raita, the cooling yogurt sauce, you can make it by mixing together yogurt, 1-2 T. water or whey from the yogurt, a pinch of salt, chopped cilantro, or finely chopped onion and serve that with your curry and rice. It's super delicous, easy to make, and adds that soothing flavor that can balance the spicy heat.


When you are hangry, tired, and should have eaten hours ago...

I stock my pantry with Maya Kaimal simmer sauces and dal pouches for those days I get home from work and am super hungry and getting crabby. It's a quick dinner that doesn't take much time at all; all you have to do is heat up a couple veggies from the fridge with the simmer sauce and you are all set. Of course, if you want to make your own dals and curries from scratch, I absolutely encourage you to do so! This recipe is more for the hangry (hungry-angry) folks that should have eaten hours ago... For those of you that want to make traditional Indian dishes, I will be sharing my friend Sirisha's delicious from scratch recipes she's offered to share with you all later this week. 

Hard Bargain Brown Rice

After listening to an epic podcast about healthy gut flora and how 95% of Americans don't eat enough fiber, I've been on a brown rice kick. If you talked to me months ago, preCOVID, I would have been like, "I just love short grain white rice, it's so tasty, I'm not in the mood for brown rice right now..." Well things have changed and now I am working on trying to eat more fiber and improve my own immune system and balancing my sugar intake, so brown rice is a little step towards that goal, and it's actually super delicious and I love this short grain brown rice. Hard Bargain Brown Rice and the brown rice in our bulk section are my go-to rices. If you buy a lot of rice at one time, you can keep the brown rice in the fridge and it will last a bit longer, but if it's a small bag, don't worry about it.

Everyone makes rice differently, whether it is measuring water using your knuckle, measuring with measuring cups, arguing about your water to rice ratio, stove top versus rice cooker versus pressure cooker - all I want to impart is that you should WASH YOUR RICE! Wash it. Rinse it in the sink with cold water, using the pan you will be cooking it in. Strain the water with a sieve and repeat rinsing until the water runs clear. With white rice particuarly, you will be rinsing off all that dried starch and it really makes the rice taste better. It won't have as much of the gluey consistency and grains of rice will be tastier. I've talked with so many people about this; just try it, I think you will see a difference. I usually have rice at least once a week and when I make it, I try to make an extra large batch so that my future hungry-self can just heat up some rice in a skillet and eat a meal quickly without waiting too long. I usually like to make all of my dishes from scratch, so this meal helps me out when I need something quick and easy; otherwise I'm in the kitchen all night! My boyfriend Natan is super precise about his water to rice ratio and recommends 1 cup rice to 1.5 cups water. If you are doubling or tripling the rice recipe, you can use less water, sometimes take out a few tablespoons-1/4 cup. It really depends on your preference and with the type of rice you are using. Some people like drier or wetter rice, so cook your rice however you prefer! It's a life skill learning to cook rice, so go for it!

Paneer will change your life

Yes, I'm serious. Try it. Paneer will change your life. It is such a delicious addition to curries. I love Himalayan Chimney and Sitara's paneer dishes particularly Saag Panner. Try it. It's super tasty in curries. I don't eat it by itself, I only put it in curry gravies. We have this Gopi brand in our specialty cheese section and it has been flying off the shelves.You only need to use a half a block for this recipe. I like to chop mine in small chunks, but you can chose how big you want to cut it.