Mattar paneer

Paneer is very easy to make, but you need to allow it to chill in the fridge and firm up before using Ė about a couple of hours. Donít be put off by the length of this recipe, I promise you, itís very easy to make and youíll find the paneer is wonderfully soft and fluffy when cooked. You can, of course, make the paneer the day before it is needed if wished.

Serves 4 people if served with other dishes

For the paneer

1 litre milk gold top milk (not homogenised)

3 slightly heaped tablespoons natural yoghurt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Corn oil for a deep fat fryer

For the mattar paneer

3 tablespoons sunflower oil

1 small onion

Ĺ teaspoon finely diced ginger

1 small bunch coriander, finely sliced

scant ľ teaspoon (or to taste) chilli powder

1 heaped teaspoon ground turmeric

1 heaped teaspoon garam masala

340g tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped

500g peas in their pods, shelled

300ml whey (from making the paneer)

salt to taste


1  To make the paneer place the milk in a saucepan and set over a medium heat.  Bring to a full boil, stirring occasionally.


2  Remove from the heat and stir in the yoghurt and lemon juice.  Keep stirring until it has fully separated into lumpy curds.


3  Set a sieve over a jug and pour in the mixture.  Leave for an hour until cool and firmed up.  Remove from sieve Ė place on plate, cover and chill.  Cover and chill the whey. Itís delicious added to vegetable and chicken curries in place of water.  It gives them a creamy, slightly sour taste.


4  To make the pea curry, set a wide pan over a medium-low heat. Once hot, add the oil, followed by the onion and ginger.  Fry until golden.


5  Wash and pat dry the coriander.  Finely slice, stems and all, then mix all but a couple of spoonfuls (which can be added shortly before serving) into the onions.  Continue to fry for another minute or two, then stir in the dried spices.  Fry for 2 minutes or until it looks cooked, then stir in the tomatoes. 


6  Increase the heat to high and cook the tomatoes until they form a thick puree that releases oil if a spoon is run through it. 


7  Shell the peas and stir them into the tomato mixture with about 300ml whey.  Bring up to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook gently for 10 minutes or until the peas are soft.  Season to taste.


8  Shortly before serving, preheat a deep fat fryer to 170˚C.  Cut the paneer into small chunks and add in batches to the deep fryer.  Cook for 2 minutes or until they float to the surface and turn golden.  Drain on kitchen paper then mix into the hot pea curry. Simmer gently for 5 minutes then leave to sit for 5 minutes.  As they sit they will swell as they absorb the juices. Salt to taste and mix in the remaining coriander.




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