Paneer is by far one of my most loved ingredient. Its just the way Paneer dishes turn out... its like they can never go wrong. I always land making a dish using this fail-safe ingredient for my parties. Also I feel its a good substitute to chicken for vegetarians.
Now to the recipe...
1 cup of green peas (boiled, drained & soaked in cold water)
400 gms of paneer cut in cubes
2 bay leaves
1 tsp of cumin seeds (zeera)
2 green chillies finely chopped (or to taste)
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1/4 tsp of cardamom powder
2 heaped tbsp of tomato paste (or 1 cup of tomato puree)
1 tbsp of tomato ketchup
1 tbsp of dry Fenugreek leaves(Kasoori methi)
1/4 cup of cream
some finely chopped coriander
1-2 tbsp of oil for cooking
Masala: (these ingredients are easily available at Indian/Asian Grocery stores)
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tsp of red chili powder (or to taste)
1 tbsp of coriander powder
1/2 tsp of cumin seeds powder
1/4 tsp of garam masala (or to taste)
1/2 tsp of dry mango powder (optional)
In a vessel, heat oil on medium flame & once hot add the cumin seeds & bay leaves. Once cumin seeds start spluttering add the onions & saute. When the onions turn translucent, add the asafoetida, green chilies, ginger & garlic paste. Saute till raw garlic smell disappears.
Now add the tomato paste & mix. Cook for 2 mins stirring intermittently. Then add all the ingredients listed under "Masala" along with salt & cardamom powder & cook till this mixture thickens & starts oozing oil from the side (approximately 2 mins). Then add ketchup & mix.
Adjust the consistency by adding a cup or two of water. Mix & simmer till it comes to a boil. Now crush the dry Fenugreek leaves between your palms & add it to this gravy.
Add the boiled green peas, cream & mix well. Final step is to add the paneer & mix with light hands to prevent the paneer from crumbling. Top it with some coriander for garnishing.
- I would recommend using good quality (store bought) tomato puree/paste. It gives a great color to the gravy. Alternately you can use fresh tomato puree made at home & add 1 tbsp of store bought tomato puree for enhancing the color.
- I have boiled the green peas with some salt till cooked, drained & then soaked them in cold water to retain their fresh green color. Its only at the end that I added them to the gravy but you could cook these along too. Add them when you add water & boil till green peas are cooked.
- If you don't have fresh cream you can add milk too & boil the gravy till you get the gravy of desired thickness.
- If your tomato gravy still tastes sour even after adding cream add a pinch of sugar to cut the sourness down.
That's it our Mutter Paneer is ready, serve it hot with Roti/Chapati/Naan or any Indian bread of your choice.