Matar paneer (peas with paneer)

Yield: 1 recipe

Measure Ingredient
1 medium Onion; peeled and chopped
1 \N 1-inch cube fresh ginger peeled and chopped
6 tablespoons Vegetable oil
\N \N Paneer (see recipe); plus...
2 cups Whey (from paneer) OR- Tofu, and water
1 \N Whole dried hot red pepper
1 tablespoon Ground coriander seeds
¼ teaspoon Ground turmeric
3 mediums Tomatoes; peeled & minced
1 teaspoon Salt
⅛ teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
1½ cup Shelled fresh peas; -OR- defrosted frozen peas

This Punjabi dish, with some variation in spices, is eaten over all of northern India. Paneer is a fresh milk cheese with an interesting, slightly chewy consistency. It's easy to make, but requires planning ahead. You can substitute a diced 6- or 8-ounce cake of pressed tofu for it in this recipe.

DIRECTIONS: =========== Put the chopped onion and ginger into the container of an electric blender or food processor along with ⅓ cup water and blend until you have a smooth paste. Leave paste in the blender container.

Heat the oil in a heavy, 10-inch-wide pot (preferably teflon-lined) over a medium flame. When hot, put in the pieces of paneer (or tofu) in a single layer and fry them until they are golden brown on all sides. This happens pretty fast. With a slotted spoon, remove fried paneer to a plate. Put the dried red pepper into the same oil.

Within 2 seconds, turn the pepper over so that it browns on both sides. Now put in the contents of the blender (keep your face averted as the paste might splatter). Fry, stirring constantly, for 10-12 minutes, or until paste turns light brown. Add the coriander and turmeric and fry, stirring, for another minute. Put in the minced tomatoes. Stir and fry for another 3 to 4 minutes or until tomatoes turn a dark reddish brown. Now pour in 2 cups of the whey (or water if you're using tofu). Add the salt and the black pepper.

Mix well and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat, and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Lift cover and put in the paneer pieces and the peas.

Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until peas are cooked.

* Source: World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking - by Madhur Jaffrey * Published in: The Herb Companion - February/March 1993 * Typed for you by Karen Mintzias

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