Sunday, November 18, 2007


For a few years now, I have been wanting to try a curry recipe that a friend gave us. I've held off though, because I didn't have a recipe for paneer, nor did I know where to buy it. Now I do! I'll have to make it this week. Dh will be so happy!

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

1/2 gallon whole milk
2 TBSP lemon juice

1. In a heavy saucepan, bring milk to a boil. (When it has reached full boil, it will look very foamy and quickly - QUICKLY, I say - rise in the pot. To avoid the ensuing mess, remove it from the heat right away.) Add lemon juice and stir until small curds separate from the whey, about 2-3 minutes.
2. Let sit 10 minutes so curds can develop, then drain into a collander lined with 2 layers of cheesecloth. When cool enough to handle, tie up opposite ends of the cheese cloth and squeeze out remaining liquid.
3. Place paneer, still in cheese cloth, on a plate. Flatten to 1/2" thick and top with another plate. Rest something heavy on top (such as several cans or the Joy of Cooking) and let sit 20 minutes.
4. Pour off any liquid that remains and refrigerate overnight, or use immediately by cutting paneer into 1/2" cubes and frying gently in oil, turning to brown each side.

I found this recipe at food musings, and chose it after checking out several other sites. There were a lot of helpful comments on this site, which hopefully will make my own efforts more effective!

Here is the recipe that I will be using the paneer in. It's one of my favourites, but I've never made it myself. There are lots of other types of mattar paneer out there, some are tomato based, some use tofu to replace the paneer. It just depends on what you like! I found this recipehere. I was too eager to wait for our friend's recipe, which someone (not me) deleted from the computer....

Mattar Paneer

Green peas – 1 cup
Sugar – a pinch
Paneer – 1 cup, cubed
Oil – 1+1 teaspoon
Ghee – 1+1 teaspoon
Cinnamon – 1 inch stick, broken into halves
Cloves – 3
Cardamom – 2
Cummin seeds – 1-1/2 teaspoon, whole
Black peppecorns – 8-10, whole
Onions – 2, medium size, finely sliced
Red chilli powder – ½ teaspoon or to taste
Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
Ginger – ½-inch piece, finely chopped and crushed
Garlic – 3 cloves, finely chopped and crushed
Green chillies– 3, medicum size, medium hot, sliced into halves
Tomatoes – 2, medium size, finely chopped
Yogurt/Curd – 1/2 cup
Garam masala powder – 1 teaspoon
Cilantro leaves – chopped for garnishing
Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon
Salt – 1 teaspoon or adjusted to taste

Method: Boil the green peas with a cupful of water and a pinch of sugar. Cook till tender and keep aside. We love home-made paneer and prepared it very closely as described by Jenn at Atabela, i.e., heat milk till reduced by 1/4th part, add the lemon juice or yogurt (we use lemon juice and found it is more tastier that way), to seperate the curd and whey, tie the curd in a muslin cloth, after the curd is out of moisture, flatten it and cut into paneer cubes. Thanks Jenn for the inspiration. Please see the picture above to see our results.

Heat a pan and pour in the first part of ghee and oil. When smoking hot, deep fry the paneer pieces in oil until light golden color, remove from heat and keep aside. In the same oil when very hot, add cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, black pepper, cummin seeds, and finally onions. Saute until the onions are golden brown here and there. Add the coriander powder, red chilli powder, and turmeric powder. Saute for a minute taking care not to burn the dry masala powders. Remove from fire, allow it cool, and then grind the onion mixuture to a smooth and thick paste. Heat the remaining ghee and oil. Add ginger, garlic, and green chillies. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the ground onion paste and saute for a minute. Add the tomatoes and saute until the oil separates from it. Add the yogurt, cooked peas, paneer pieces and salt. Allow it to simmer for 10 minutes. Add the garam masala mixture a minute before removing mattar paneer masala from the heat. Garnish with coriander leaves, lemon juice, and a dollop of salted butter on top. Serve hot with chappathis, pooris, bread, or plain white rice. Enjoy mattar paneer masala.

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