Thursday, 18 June 2015

Mutter Paneer

Mutter (or mattar) paneer is the classic north indian punjabi dish of paneer (“cottage” cheese) and peas (mutter) cooked in a spiced tomato-based gravy. This has now been added to my rotation of vegetarian dishes to pull out on a weekly basis, it is that good. That said, the sauce is so delicious that I’m going to cook a meat curry with it as the base: chicken or lamb I think. It really is seriously good so if you want to try something different for a veggie main give this a whirl.

Mutter Paneer
serves 2

225g paneer cheese, cubed
1 tbsp clarified butter (or ghee)
2 tbsp groundnut oil
1 onion, chopped & puréed in a spice grinder
1½ tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp ginger paste
3 cloves
1 tsp cumin
¼ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
½ tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
1tsp coriander powder
400g canned diced tomatoes
1 red chilli finely chopped
250ml water
125g frozen peas
pinch of asafoetida (optional)
1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
salt, to taste
2 tbsp cream
coriander leaves, finely chopped to serve

Heat the clarified butter in a heavy bottom frying or sauté pan and fry the paneer cubes until they are lightly browned. Remove and set aside.

Heat the oil in the pan, add the onion purée and fry until it turns a pale brown.

Add the tomato paste, ginger and garlic pastes and fry for another couple of minutes before adding the coriander, cloves, cumin, turmeric, garam masala & chilli powder and red chilli.

Fry, stirring continuously till you have a glossy thick paste that has darkened a bit.

This would be the "oil separating phase" often seen in Indian recipes if the usual quantity of oil had been used but I'd reduced the oil substantially so this is what you can look out for.

Add water, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Add the asafoetida and fenugreek leaves plus the fried paneer and peas and bring to a boil again.

Simmer for 10 minutes until peas are tender and the sauce is slightly reduced. Add salt to taste then remove from the heat & stir in the cream.

Serve with plain boiled basmati rice and garnish with the chopped coriander leaves.

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