South Indian Style Paneer Mattar

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Yesterday was one of those days. Yes one of *those* days. I woke up early, feeling amazing with a big smile on my face, leapt out of bed with a huge bolt of energy and drew back the curtains to see…oh what have we here? Grey skies, rain, a sodden garden and general wetness and dullness…everywhere. I immediately let out a long grunt type noise, that phonetically spelt out, would be something along the lines of UGGHH. My first thought was to jump straight back into bed and stay there. I mean, Wednesday is nearly Friday which is practically the weekend…right?! I spent a few more minutes trying to rationalise the idea but then opened up my reminders app on auto-pilot, and saw my epic “To Do” list staring at me. Grave error – my dreams of returning to a quilty haven shattered in a single click of the Home button. 

Some may call me over dramatic (my other half regularly does) but I’m a huge believer that weather can truly affect your mood. I knew that I needed something to “pick me up”. After a quick visit to the gym, (they say you only start burning fat after 20 minutes of cardio – I thought 21 minutes on the step machine was as a solid time) I decided I would make lunch before I started my day. Cooking generally puts me in a good mood and I figured it would give me something to look forward to!

This brings me to today’s recipe. Have you ever made paneer before? I make it ALL the time. It’s so quick to cook, a good source of protein and super versatile. Paneer Mattar is a dish I cook regularly at home – it’s lovely and comforting. Imagine a creamy and chunky casserole but with a depth of warm spiciness and just a cheeky little kick.  This time round, I decided to “pimp” my usual recipe by giving it a South Indian twist with mustard seeds & curry leaves. Let’s just say my pre-lunch frown was quickly turned upside-down!

If you have never used curry leaves in your cooking before, you must try. They’re beautifully warm and fragrant and bring any dish to life.

Give it a go!

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South Indian Style Paneer Mattar
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 220g paneer, chopped
  2. 5-6 tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 tsp cumin
  4. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  5. handful of curry leaves, washed, dried & roughly chopped
  6. 2" ginger, grated
  7. 2 cloves garlic, peeled & grated
  8. 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  9. 1 1/2 tsp salt or according to taste
  10. 1/2 tsp paprika
  11. 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  12. 1 tsp garam masala
  13. 2 tbsp greek yoghurt
  14. 2 plum tomatoes & 2 tbsp tomato juice
  15. 1 cup peas
Instructions
  1. Heat 1-2tbsp oil in a non-stick pan. Once hot, add the cumin seeds. When they begin to splatter, add the paneer and a pinch of salt. Cook for 2-4 minutes or until golden on one side. Turn over the paneer pieces and cook until golden on the other side. Remove paneer from pan.
  2. Add remaining oil to a non stick pan. Once hot, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. You will see them begin to splatter immediately. At this point, add the ginger, garlic and chilli. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until golden.
  3. Now add the salt, paprika, turmeric powder & garam masala. Add the yoghurt and stir quickly. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the yoghurt blends well with the masala.
  4. Add the tomatoes and juice and mash well into the masala. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Now add the peas and 2 cups of water. Bring to boil. Now add the paneer and cook for further 2 minutes. Check for salt and adjust accordingly. Remove from heat.
  5. Serve with hot chapattis or naan bread!
Notes
  1. You can leave the skin on ginger, before grating - just make sure it's washed and clean. This way you have zero wastage from peeling!
  2. You can sauté the paneer in cumin before hand and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge until you want to use it. This paneer can also be used in salads as a tasty topping!
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

 

Easy Paneer, Peppers & Cabbage Masala

cabbage paneer capsicum

Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before (I definitely have) but I love paneer! The beauty of this traditional Indian cheese is its sheer versatility. It’s mild in flavour and as a result absorbs spices particularly well. This recipe is an extremely quick and easy way of making a delicious and satisfying meal in minutes. It’s colourful, flavourful and filling and the crunchiness of the vegetables perfectly compliments the creaminess of the paneer…in essence this dish works! Give it a try and do share your thoughts with me.

photo 2

Serves 4-6

What we need:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
250g paneer, cut into 1″ cubes
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 green & 1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced cabbage
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 heaped tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp salt or according to taste
1 tsp ground ginger powder
1 tsp chilli powder
Handful fresh coriander

How we do:

  • Heat the oil in a non stick pan. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and when they begin to splatter, add the garlic and cook until slightly golden. Now add the paneer and cook for 2-3 minutes , stirring constantly until it turns golden brown.
  • Now add the capsicum, onion, cabbage and cheese. Mix well for 1-2 minutes. Now add the tomato puree, salt, ground ginger powder, chilli powder. Mix and cook for a further 3-5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle on fresh coriander and serve with chapatis or stuff with salad into a wrap.

Vegetarian Shahi Kofta Masala Recipe

Since The Spice Club’s feature on the Hairy Bikers, we have been inundated with requests for our Shahi Kofta Masala recipe which was shown on the episode. This is a delicious vegetarian dish that is made from fresh lotus root kofta balls cooked in a Punjabi masala and peas. You can also add paneer which adds a lovely texture and takes the dish to the another level! Fresh lotus root is usually available at most Indian and Chinese grocery shops. (If you can’t get fresh you can also get it in a tin). We have made this dish at a few of our supper clubs and we always receive rave reviews. Many guests comment on the “meaty” texture of the koftas and are surprised that it is actually vegetarian! So without further a do, check out the recipe below. Comments are always appreciated and if you make it, tweet a pic to @thespiceclub!

Serves 4

What we need: –

For the koftas:
1 lotus root (they usually come pre-packed and are about 10-12″ long)
2 tbsp gram flour (or enough to bind)
1 tsp salt or according to taste
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp coriander powder
handful fresh coriander
Oil for frying

For the paneer (optional):
1 block of paneer (approx 250g), cut into 1 inch cubes
Olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2-1 tsp salt (or according to taste)

For the masala:
5 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp salt (or according to taste)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 green chilli, finely chopped
handful of fresh coriander, chopped
1/2 tin plum tomatoes
1/2 cup peas (if frozen, thaw in water and strain)
Water
2 tbsp cream (optional)

How we do:

  • To make the koftas, you can follow along the video clip starting at 4.53 onwards. Peel the lotus root and grate. Transfer it onto on a clean tea towel and wrap it up. Squeeze out the excess water and place the grated lotus root into a mixing bowl.
  • Add the spices and coriander (written in the kofta ingredient list above) to the grated lotus root and gradually add the gram flour until it binds into a mixture. If you require more gram flour to bind, sprinkle in some more as you go along. Roll into balls and deep fry until light golden in colour and set aside.
  • If you want to add paneer to the dish, (this is optional), heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a non stick frying pan. Add the cumin seeds. Once they begin sizzle, add the paneer cubes. Now add the salt and turmeric powder. Lightly fry until paneer turns golden on both sides. Remove from heat.
  • To make the masala, In a food processer, add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. Now add the salt, paprika, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala and fresh coriander. Blitz until a coarse paste has been formed. Now heat olive oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and allow them to start sizzling. Now add the ground masala paste. Cook on medium heat until it turn, golden brown, stirring continuously. When you see the masala paste is nice and golden, add the plum tomatoes and mash well so it blends with the masala. Keep stirring and cook for 4-5 minutes. Once the oil begins to separate from the masala, add the koftas and peas to the masala. (If you have made paneer you can add it to the masala now too).
  • Boil some water in a kettle. Add 4 cups of water to the kofta masala. Mix well. Place a lid on the pan and let it simmer for 8-12 minutes, stirring constantly. Check the salt and adjust accordingly. Drizzle the cream in just before serving and you’re done.
  • Here’s the final result. Best served with basmati rice or hot chappatis. Enjoy!