Monday, February 7, 2011

Matar Paneer

Buttered roti with curry

Yay, I'm finally here with a paneer recipe! I know a lot of you made it last week and I was starting to get emails that went "what the heck do I do with the paneer that I just made? Is a recipe coming anytime soon?" So folks here's the recipe for Matar Paneer. Sorry it took me so long and as usual I can give you the same old lame excuse that things kept me busy and I did'nt get time and la la la... but in reality I was trying to make good use of the paneer that I had worked so hard for and so I was waiting for the right day. Then came Super Bowl Sunday and I grabbed it!

Super Bowl feast in my house!

So tell me how was the game for you last night? Are you one of those crazy fans who live and breathe football and wait for the Super Bowl Sunday for the whole year? Or perhaps more like me who also look forward to the day for the whole year but mostly because of the feast and buzz part of it? Our evening was perfect. I didn't care much about the game personally although a few people in the family did, BIG TIME!! But yes, there was a feast and I loved it! There were a lot of things on the menu and a lot of leftovers still in the fridge which I can't wait to finish up before the husband comes back from work but let's just stick with the Matar Paneer here!

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Matar is a hindi name for peas and paneer as you know is Indian cottage cheese and when they are cooked together in a creamy and rich curry sauce its called Matar Paneer. There were a few very good and important questions that you had for me about paneer when I posted the homemade recipe for it, so I first want to address those.

Cook Snap Repeat asked: How much cheese does this recipe end up making? And, just out of curiosity, can you do anything with the liquid that is left?
The posted recipe makes about 180-200 grams of paneer. When cubed I got about 2 cups. I use the left out liquid to make dough for roti, naan, and even pizza dough. You'll be amazed how soft the bread comes out to be.


Rella asked:  Do you happen to know if using lactose-free milk will still work with this method of making paneer?
As far as I know, yes you can. But I have never tried it, so do let me know how it works out for you.

Gaia asked: Is it something like the middle eastern Labna? 
I am not really sure about Labna. But I'd love to know more about it and if any of the readers know Middle Eastern food well, then please share and I will update this space.

Squirrel Bread asked: Can I assume you started with whole milk? I have 2% right now -- do you think that'd work?
Yes, for this particular recipe I started with whole milk but I have made paneer with 2% and even skimmed milk in the past. It works absolutely fine and paneer is soft.

This is not exactly a question but a tip from someone who didn't mention their name but I thought I would share:
I have been making Paneer for about a year now! This is a very typical recipe for making it. For some variety, try adding some chopped chives or some Indian spice to the milk just as it starts to curdle. 

Matar Paneer

Alright let's get to the recipe, shall we?
Ingredients: Serves 8

2 cups of cubed paneer
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) I don't use it since I have a toddler at home. You can make it spicy according to your liking.
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)

Method:

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.

46 comments:

  1. Oh how I love the beautifully arranged food. Calling my name :-)

    I do not think Paneer is Labna/labneh. Labneh is something like a yogurt cheese/hung curd, as far as i am aware of.

    Love the fresh peas. reminds me of the time when ma and me would sit in the kitchen together and shell the peas.

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  2. Oh, you make me so hungry! That meal looks wonderful. I really like everything about it and your clicky are stunning! Very spring-like too...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  3. Mama Mia this is stop of world stunning Prerna, wish i was there to dig into it right away ...and fresh pic love love ...:)

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  4. Very nice Prerna. Beautiful pics and job as always. Delicious looking:).

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  5. Wow What a awesome meal.. Looks absolutely stunning.. I am totally love with all ur pictures.

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  6. YAh prerna i too some time add the spices like cummin, coriander leaves etc after the milk is curdled. Some time I add black sesame seeds too.. gives wonderful flavor to Paneer...

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  7. The matar paneer looks so delectable. So beautifully presented :)

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  8. Hearty meals in front of me and making me HUNGRY on breakfast time! Delicious pics and presentation.

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  9. Thanks for your advice, Prerna. Inspired by your post last week, and the nagging fact that I've never eaten paneer before, I have sag paneer on the menu for tomorrow night, to be served with dum aloo and naan. Fingers crossed it'll come out!

    Cheers,

    *Heather*

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  10. Another post packed with beautiful photos (do I say that everytime?) I just discovered that my local cheese shop carries paneer, though it sounds as though I may need to try making it myself. These recipe is going in the "must-try" file.

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  11. Looks beautiful, as always, Prerna! You are opening a new door of wonderful cooking and ingredients for me. THANK YOU!

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  12. delicious combination looks wonderful

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  13. This is beautiful, Prerna! Now that my dad went back to Serbia, I can concentrate more on meatless dishes (yes, there is the Husband, but he claims that he loves vegetarian dishes:) We'll see:)
    I love the colors of your matar paneer and the photos are amazing, as always:)

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  14. Beautiful dish and I really love the pea pod photos!

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  15. Fantastic spread. Looks classic and would love to dine at your place :P Yummy clicks :)

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  16. Mmm, matar paneer, one of my fav Indian dishes! Just thought I'd confirm it, lactose-free milk works fine for paneer. I've used it many times. If you're trying to avoid dairy, tofu makes a pretty decent substitute too (just cube it like the paneer).

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  17. lovely! the pic of the peas is gorgeous!

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  18. Thanks so much for liking what I brought here today everyone! You guys are always so kind!!

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  19. I don't like paneer but I could probably eat a plate of the above right now! Beautiful photos as usual! And loving all the props! You seem to have quite a collection now!

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  20. Prerna ..... Another dose of gorgeous clicks and a fantabulous recipe. Luved the table layout ...it feels so natural and homely.

    Cheers,
    Satrupa

    http://satrupa-foodforthought.blogspot.com

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  21. Peruuuu! This beautiful and scrumptious!

    Labneh/Labna is actually yogurt which is completely strained and then salted giving it a cheese like consistency. Its tangy and creamy but definitely not paneer. Labneh when mixed and heated will dissolve unlike paneer which retains its shape. Paneer I guess is more like solid milk with very subtle taste whereas labneh is like solid salty yogurt with a stronger taste.

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  22. i could actually have some of that right now considering i am too lazy to cook but incredibly hungry:)

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  23. Awesome matar paneer with beautiful presentation. Loved ur samosas too and did virtual feast... !

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  24. Great post. Really helpful. I love this blog.

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  25. Just beautiful Prerna. Your dish is delicious and your snaps, stunning as always. Thanks for sharing!

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  26. I am simply amazed at ur clicks, looks terrific. Awesome spread.

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  27. Great array of dishes captured at its BEST.

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  28. Beautiful classic pics...luv the spread

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  29. If I need to choose btw the rice and roti to pair with the matar paneer, I will pick the rice :)

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  30. beautiful presentation .. amazing dish .. absolutely mouthwatering ..

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  31. Thank you for this blog. I love the setups with the fabric and wood texture. I like Indian food but have never seen them in such elegant frames. You give me inspiration in food photography.

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  32. Awesome photos!! We'd love for you to share your recipe at dishfolio.com!

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  33. Definitely one of my favorites, love that last picture the colors and composition are wonderful.

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  34. WOW - this looks so incredibly delicious. I have never seen peas look this good before. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe with us.

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  35. I have so much to learn about Indian cooking. I can't even make a proper curry at home. I love it, though. Your matar paneer is something I would really enjoy. I can't stop looking at your beautiful pictures either. :-)

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  36. Prerna, I'd like to respond to Gaia's question about paneer being like Middle Eastern Labneh.

    Labneh is yogurt that has been strained to remove the extra water, so it becomes a tangy, thickened spread. It's eaten cold with olive oil and khobz (Arabic bread).

    Paneer is, in my experience, a firmer cheese that is more commonly eaten cubed, not spread.

    I guess a texture comparison would be creme fraiche vs. tofu.

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  37. I think you're the only person on the planet able to make matar paneer look so good in a photograph!

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  38. Prerna, I love each and every one of your photos, everything is simply stunning! Matar paneer is by far my favourite dish with paneer, though sometimes I just like having freshly made paneer with a little bit of sugar.

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  39. In my ex-husbands village in punjab they used fresh onions, tomatoes, garlic and ginger. Maatar Paneer is my favorite Indian dish!!! your photo's look beautiful!!!

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  40. i made this and it turned out really bitter. it definitely had something off.

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  41. Gorgeous! I'm going vegetarian for Lent this year, so I've been searching out yummy veggie mains - this looks absolutely delicious!

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  42. Is it ok to use whole milk yogurt and/or milk in place of cream or half and half? thanks! and btw i absolutely looooove your website.

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    Replies
    1. Hello there! If you have thick Greek yogurt then that would better. Anything with more fat content that should help it make more rich and creamy. If not then just go ahead and use whole milk.

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  43. amazing post with stunning clicks....

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