Paneer is Indian Cottage Cheese. At the restaurants it’s almost as firm as tofu. But I’ve learned from friends and experience that its normal for your home-made paneer to come out softer. One tip is to cube the paneer once pressed and lightly fry it to help it maintain it’s form.
This recipe comes from indiansimmer.com, with beautiful photos I might add.
2 cups of cubed paneer (ahh! how do I make paneer!??!!?)*easily replaceable with tofu or just skip it altogether and throw in chick peas for protein.
1/2 pound of sweet green peas (frozen or fresh)
1 cup onion paste
1 tbsp ginger paste
1tbsp garlic paste
1 1/2 cups tomato puree (you can even used canned tomatoes or fresh diced tomatoes. They just need to be cooked a little longer to melt with the masala)
1 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp green chili paste (optional)
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1/3 cup cream or half n half
2 1/2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Sour cream n chooped cilantro for garnish (optional)
Take hot water, add 2 tsp salt to it and dip your paneer cubes in it. Set aside.
Heat oil in a thick bottom pan. Add ginger garlic paste. Cook for about 15 secs and then add onion paste.
Turn heat to medium low and cook the onion, ginger, garlic paste until all the water has evaporated and the paste turns light brown.
Add coriander, chili paste (if you are using it) and turmeric powder, mix it all together and then add salt. Adding salt at this time will help loosen the paste a little and oil will start separating. That’s when you know that the paste is cooked.
Now add tomato puree or if you are using diced tomatoes, add them and let it cook for about 3-4 minutes. When all the excess water evaporates from the tomato, add garam masala (my dad always says don’t let the pan stay open without a lid after adding garam masala for long because all the aroma sneaks out!)
So right at this time add cream, mix it with the paste and then add the peas, mix well and cover with the lid.
I use frozen peas all the time and they cook fast. If you are using the same then let them cook just until the peas are tender and that will take just a couple minutes. In case of fresh peas it might take longer. So according to your peas adjust the time.
Now again I like my curry to be thick and free flowing but if you like yours thinner add a little water at this time.
Once the peas are close to being done, take the paneer, drain out all the water and add it to the matar curry.
Mix it all well together but go a little light handed while mixing since the paneer is soft and might break.
Cover the lid again and cook for about 3-4 minutes.
After the peas are all cooked through and paneer has absorbed all the tasty juices, I turn off the heat and let it sit for another 10-15 minutes before serving.