January 20, 2007
Mutter Paneer/ Cottage Cheese with Green Peas.
A relatively easy dish to make and a veritable family pleaser. This with a hot phulka (roti)and a salad sends me right back to my school days when I came home in winter to a hot meal. Now at dinner, my son and I play with the green soldiers(peas) stuck in a glacier(paneer). So much for not playing with food! Hi hi! At least he ends up cleaning the plate this way.
The mutter paneer has endless versions, with butter, with cream, with fried paneer, without fried paneer....
Paneer is a very high fat and high cholesterol food and all the added cream and oil just overpowers the nutrition in this dish at restaurants.While at home, I make a light curry without too much cream, to eat without counting calories.
Hence if you making this for a crowd, make sure you have made it at least once before to familiarize with the balance of flavors so that you can change the richness and spice as suited. Serve with roti or naan.
You Will Need: Serves 4
Paneer- 100 gm
Green Peas- 200 gm (Fresh or Thawed)
Onions – 1 1/2 cups chopped finely.
Green chilies-4 sliced lengthwise
Ginger Paste-1 tsp
Garlic Paste-1 tsp
Tomatoes-3 medium ones
Plain Yoghurt-2 tbsp
Red Chili Powder-1 tsp or less as per taste
Turmeric- ¼ tsp
Cumin powder- 1/4 tsp
Coriander Powder-3/4 tsp
Cashew nuts- 1 tbsp soaked in water
Cream -3 tbsp or milk
Cilantro Leaves- ½ cup washed and chopped.
Garam Masala- ¼ tsp
Salt to taste
Oil- 1 or 2tbsp
1. Blanch the tomatoes in hot boiling water for a minute. Peel them and chop or puree them. Alternately, use one small fresh tomato and 1 1/2 cup of canned tomato puree.
2. Cut the paneer into small cubes and sauté in just 1 tsp oil or less just until all four sides are slightly seared and starts turning golden. Do not deep fry and do not let it get crisp. Keep a close watch and keep stirring to avoid the pieces from sticking to the pan. Drain onto paper towels and keep aside.
3. Grind the cashewnuts to a fine paste along with the ginger and garlic. In the same pan, heat the remaining oil and fry the onions on very low heat for about 5-8 minutes till it turns golden. If the heat is very low and you have patience, you don't need a lot of oil to fry the onions. Also if you microwave it for 5 minutes before frying, it cuts down the time a lot. Add the ginger garlic paste, turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder and sauté till the raw smell disappears. Add 1 tbsp of water if it is sticking to the pan. This should take about 2 minutes.
4. Now add the yoghurt and let it sizzle away the water. Add the tomato puree and let it cook for about 6-7 minutes on low heat. Cover the pan as the tomatoes will splatter everywhere. Open and adjust seasoning and then add the green peas and salt. Add 1 cup water if it is too dry. Cover and cook until the oil separates in the pan.
5. Add the paneer pieces, green chilies to the gravy, fresh cream and cook for another 5 minutes. Sprinkle garam masala powder and fresh chopped coriander.
P.S. The cashews are optional and add a healthy creaminess to the dish. You could replace the cream with whole milk to cut back on the richness. Substitute with ½ cup milk and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
This curry has the onions as small pieces so if you prefer an absolutely smooth gravy, you could sauté (or microwave) the onions for 2-3 minutes without burning and then grind the onions to a paste and then continue frying till golden. I prefer simplifying so unless necessary, I just chop it real fine and sauté.