Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Matar Paneer ( Indian curry with Peas and Cottage Cheese)
Anyway moving on, here is a classic dish from nothern India called matar paneer which is a curry made out of green peas and Indian cottage cheese. This very popular curry is served in most Indian restaurants around the world. This curry is always a sure winner when included in party menus and is reasonably simple and quick to make too. Usually the paneer (cottage cheese) is deep fried before being added to the curry but I shallow fry these to reduce the oil content and find that it does not impact the taste in any manner.
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Ingredients and method to make Matar Paneer
3 medium tomatoes blanched and cut fine (see notes)
2 medium onions cut fine
1 12 oz (340gms) pkt paneer cut into cubes
3 cups green peas (either fresh or frozen) ( I used frozen thawed to room temperature)
6 tsp broken cashew pieces
3/4 cup plain yogurt (curds/dahi)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 tsp chilli powder (or according to taste)
3/4 tsp cumin powder (jeera powder)
3/4 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
4 pinches of kasuri methi (optional but recommended)
2 tbsp oil + a little extra for shallow frying the paneer
water as required to cook and achieve required consistency
Powder cashew pieces in a spice grinder or blender until it turns to fine powder. Add the yogurt to the powdered cashews and give it another spin in the blender so that the yogurt and cashews blend together. Keep this mixture aside
Heat a flat pan/ tawa/ griddle, add a few tsp of oil to it and place the cubed pieces of paneer on it and heat on a medium heat turning frequently until the paneer is light brown on all sides. Continue this process until all the paneer cubes are evenly browned and keep aside.
Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pan, add onions and saute until onions turn transparent.
Add tomatoes to it and continue to stir until the tomatoes turn soft and mushy.
Add all the spices and stir for about a minute.
Add green peas, salt to taste and a little water and let it cook until the green peas turn soft but not mushy.
Add paneer cubes, a little water and let it simmer together for a few minutes.
Add the yogurt + cashew mixture and let simmer for a few minutes.
Serve hot with naan, roti or rice.
Serves approximately 3
The process of blanching is to place tomatoes in a large bowl and fill it with hot water. Let soak for a few minutes usually about 5 minutes or so, remove the tomatoes from the hot water and place in cold water for a few minutes until the tomatoes are cool enough to touch. You would be able to see cracks on the skin of the tomato and you just need to peel the skin of the tomato.