Thursday, 8 December 2011



1)    Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) – 200 gm.
2)    Fresh unsalted butter – 150 gm.
3)    Fresh green peas or frozen green peas – 200 gm.
4)    Sultanas or raisins – 100 gm.
5)    Cashew nuts – 100 gm.
6)    Fresh curd – 100 ml.
7)    Onion – 100 gm.
8)    Ginger – ½ inch piece
9)    Garlic – 4 cloves
10)                      Tomato – 300 gm.
11)                      Dates – 100 gm.
12)                      Cumin seeds – ½ teaspoon
13)                      Black pepper corns – ½ teaspoon
14)                      Star anise – 1
15)                      Cinnamon stick – 1 inch piece
16)                      Cloves – 2 Nos.
17)                      Hot red chili powder – 1 teaspoon
18)                      Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
19)                      Salt – 2 teaspoons

To make the paneer:
You can either use good quality, commercially available paneer (in this case, I have used frozen Amul malai paneer cubes) or you can make your own fresh paneer at home.
Boil 3 litres of fresh creamy milk. Pour in 3 cups of curd and stir well (if curd is not available, you can use either Citric acid or Vinegar or Lemon juice or lime juice. Pour in little by little till the milk splits). If you use curd or lime juice or lemon juice, the advantage is that you can use the whey as a healthy, delicious soft drink by adding sugar and rose essence and chilling it before use. Once the curd is added and the milk starts boiling again, the milk will split into solids and whey. Tie a clean fine muslin or cotton cloth over the mouth of a five litre vessel. Press the center of the cloth with your hand to make a small depression. Switch off the heat and pour the split milk gently over the cloth. As soon as the whey has dripped fully to the bottom, lift up the cloth containing the milk solids. Twist the top tight to take out as much of the liquid as possible. Tie the twisted end and put it in a perforated vessel with a heavy weight on top. Let rest for a few hours for all the excess liquid to leech out. Now open the cloth and keep your paneer in the refrigerator. When cool, cut into cubes.

To Prepare:
Soak the cashew nuts in the curd for an hour. Grind to superfine paste and set aside. Peel the onions and dice roughly. Peel the ginger and chop roughly. Peel the garlic cloves. Put all three into a food processor and grind to fine paste. Set aside. Chop the tomatoes. Remove the seeds and the caps from the dates. Put the tomatoes and the dates into the food processor and grind to superfine paste.
Set a small pan on low heat. Roast the cumin seeds and the black pepper corns for a minute. Switch off the heat. Use a mortar and pestle to crush to fine powder. Set aside.

To Cook:
Set a flat pan or wok on medium heat. Put in 100 gm. of butter. As soon as the butter has melted, chuck in the paneer cubes. Stir frequently till the paneer cubes start to turn slightly golden in colour. Scoop out the cubes with a perforated ladle and set aside.

Do not fry the paneer cubes too much for they may lose their softness and become rubbery if they are allowed to turn brown.
To the same melted butter in the pan, add the onion-ginger-garlic paste and stir well for 3 minutes. Tip in the black pepper-cumin seed powder, the star anise, the cinnamon stick and the cloves. Stir for a minute. Now put in the tomato date paste. Stir for 3 minutes and then pour in 200 ml. of water. Add the salt and the green peas. Turn up the heat. When it comes to a boil, turn down the heat to a simmer. Stir occasionally.
After 10 minutes, taste and see whether the green peas are cooked. The skin of the peas will wrinkle when cooked. Now add the sultanas or raisins. Stir for a minute.
Sprinkle the chili powder and the turmeric powder. Stir and add the curd and cashew paste. Stir again and put in the paneer cubes. Stir well and taste. If you want in spicier, add more chili powder. Garnish with the remaining 50 gm. of butter. Serve hot with hot chappatis or porottas or with freshly baked bread. Enjoy!!!

Date and paneer peas masala with chappatis
You must cook this curry. No restaurant, till date is serving this curry. So do not hesitate to cook this beautiful curry and to enjoy it with your loved ones. They will love you all the more!!!

1)    If unsalted butter is not available, you can also use salted butter but remember not to put in any salt before tasting the curry.
2)    Do not use any other herbs for garnish or the taste and flavor may be spoiled

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