(Indian Cheese and Peas Curry)
After Independence in the North India, middle class families started to party and invite friends and family at the smallest excuse. At that time Indian Hindus were still predominantly Vegetarians with only a few eating meat. So for parties many families started to cook a meat curry, a sign of affluence and modernisation, but for the majority vegetarians one still needed to prepare something equivalent elegant. I believe Matter Paneer filled that void and started appearing regularly for parties, at least in our family. I very rarely saw it make an appearance in homes where no non vegetarian dish was being served as was the case at my mother’s family.
Paneer is referred in the Vedas dating back 6000 BC. The use of paneer in Indian dishes is due to the abundance of milk used in Indian cooking and India being a predominantly a Vegetarian culture. It is a very versatile ingredient as not only can it be cooked as a curry, but it is also used for making various starters and sweet dishes.
- 200 gms of frozen Peas (soaked in warm water)
- 200 gms of Paneer(see below)
- 1 medium Onion finely chopped
- 2 pods of Garlic finely chopped
- 1 inch Ginger finely chopped
- 1 tsf Coriander powder
- 1/3 tsf Turmeric powder
- ¼ tsf Chilli powder
- 1 tsf garam Masala
- 3 tbsf Yogurt
- 3 tbsf Oil for curry
- Oil for deep frying
- 4 tbsf Vinegar for making paneer
- 4 pints of Milk
- If you want to make your own paneer, boil 4 pints of full cream milk and just as it is boiling add a 4 spoonful of vinegar. The milk will curdle and the water will separate. Strain the water off in a muslin cloth. Dip it in cold water for 2-3 hours. Keeping it in the muslin cloth put a flat board and a heavy weight for the paneer to flatten (½ inch thick) and leave it overnight for all the water to drain.
- Cut the flattened paneer into ½ inch cubes.
- Deep fry the paneer very slightly, take them out and keep aside.
- Heat the oil in a heavy pan.
- Put the chopped onions and fry till lightly brown.
- Add chopped tomatoes, garlic and ginger fry till browned and water separates.
- Add coriander, turmeric, salt, chilli powder and garam masala and fry for 3-4 mins.
- Add yogurt spoonful at a time and mix well.
- Now add the paneer and peas. Mix well with masala then add 2 cups of water.
- Bring to a boil cover the pan and lower the heat for it to cook for 20-30 mins.