Paneer is what I would refer to as a show stopper. For those that aren’t familiar with Paneer, it is more commonly known as Indian cheese. It is a bit different from your usual Cheddar or Gouda in the method in which it is made.
Milk is heated and deliberately split using some kind of an acidic agent predominantly yoghurt or buttermilk. Upon curdling, it is passed through a thin muslin cloth and then tied tightly in the same cloth while it solidifies and then cut into squares or rectangles.
Its texture is gooey and chewy and its taste is one that is appealing to both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.
The reason it is a show stopper is because of how amazingly appetising it looks – it is common knowledge that people eat with their eyes first and their mouths second! And the taste of paneer masala only reaffirms how much of a show stopper it is!
There are various methods of making a paneer dish, the recipe below is easy, simple and doesn’t require a lot of skill to get delicious food on the table in a reasonable time.
So, what’ll you need:
2 cups paneer (cubed)
2 onions (roughly chopped)
4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
400g chopped tomatoes
½ cup peas (fresh or frozen)
1 cup mixed peppers (chopped)
1 tbsp ghee (or oil)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
1 inch cinnamon stick
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp sugar
Salt to taste
Water as required
Coriander leaves to garnish
Heat half of the ghee (or oil) in a heavy bottomed pan. Once hot, add the onions and garlic and fry for 3-4 minutes until the onions are translucent and the raw smell is gone. Then add the chopped tomatoes and fry on medium flame for a couple of more minutes.
Turn off the flame and use a hand blender to form a paste of the above mixture. Please be careful to let it cool if using a traditional blender with a lid.
In the same pan, add the rest of the ghee (or oil), once hot, add the bay leaf and cinnamon stick followed by the cumin seeds.
Add the peppers and fry lightly for one minute.
Now add the blended paste for a couple of minutes.
Add all the powdered spices and mix well. Add salt, sugar and water if required (this varies according to preference, I usually add a tablespoon of water).
Add the paneer cubes and peas, turn the flame to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Garnish with coriander leaves, serve with jeera rice, chapattis, puris or naan.