I’ve talked a lot about paneer in the past, there are already five recipes for paneer on this blog and there are many more I will share with you – that’s a promise! There aren’t many Indian people who won’t start waxing lyrical if mention paneer, and even fewer who will turn their nose up at it.
Paneer was always a treat for us, and it was quite hard to get hold of in the bleak late 90s when supermarkets weren’t nearly as well stocked as they are now. We’d usually have it when we went to Leicester, with the bright red chilli paneer from Indigos being our favourite – or the ones packed into tubs sold at Falcon Cash and Carry which we eagerly gobbled up as soon as we got home. I’ve eaten it a lot more in the last few years enjoying things like paneer stuffed dosa in Mumbai or creamy Thai green curries with paneer instead of chicken.
There are so many things you can do with paneer, and the original and best is muttar paneer. I am not sure if it is Gujarati in origin but the rich tomato based sauce and the addition of peas certainly makes it taste that way. Scooped up with freshly cooked rotli, its vegetarian food at its best.
- 1 300g block of paneer
- sunflower or vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
- ½ green chilli, choppd
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 200g tinned plum tomatoes, blended (half a tin)
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 100g frozen peas
- squeeze of lemon juice
- fresh coriander - a sprinkle!
- Cut the paneer into 2cm cubes and fry in a large, wide saucepan until crispy on most sides, drain on kitchen paper and set aside
- Fry the onion in the same pan, add more oil if required, for around 5 minutes until it is soft and translucent.
- Add the ginger and garlic and fry for 30 seconds before adding in the spices and salt
- Put the paneer back in alongside the tinned tomato and tomato puree
- Turn down to a low-medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes with the lid off, and then 10 minutes with the lid on. It is ready when the sauce is reduced slightly and the spices have all melded together.
- Put the frozen peas and lemon juice, simmer gently for 5 minutes until the peas are cooked
- Sprinkle over the coriander, serve with fresh rotli