Thursday, 12 January 2012




     1)    Paneer (fresh Indian cottage cheese) – 400 gm.
     2)    Fresh or frozen green peas – 250 gm.
     3)    Cashew nuts – 50 gm.
     4)    Thick creamy milk – 100 ml.
     5)    Tomato – 300 gm.
     6)    Onion – 200 gm.
     7)    Ginger – a 1 inch piece
     8)    Garlic cloves – 6 Nos.
     9)    Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
     10)     Black pepper corns – 1 teaspoon
     11)     Hot red chili powder – 1½ teaspoons
     12)     Salt – 1½ teaspoons
     13)     Sugar – 2½ teaspoons
     14)     Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
     15)     Ghee (clarified butter) – 3 tablespoons
     16)     Star anise – 1
     17)     Cinnamon stick – a 2 inch piece
     18)     Cloves – 3 Nos.
     19)     Saffron – a generous pinch
     20)     Water – 500 ml.

To Prepare:

          Set a pan on low heat. Pour in a tablespoon of ghee. Chuck in the paneer (see note) pieces and stir gently till they turn golden yellow. Switch off the heat and set aside (do not fry the paneer for too long since it becomes rubbery when brown). Put the cashews into a food processor and grind to fine powder. Now add the saffron and the creamy milk and blend nicely. Set aside.

          Peel the onions, the ginger and the garlic. Chop them to rough pieces and grind to fine paste. Set aside separately. Now chop the tomatoes. Put the chopped tomatoes together with the cumin seeds and the black pepper corns into the food processor and grind to fine paste. Set aside separately.

To Cook:

          Set a wide pan or a thick vessel or a wok on high heat. Pour in the remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee. Tip in the onion-ginger-garlic paste. As soon as it starts to fry, lower the heat and stir till the paste loses most of its water. As soon as it stops sizzling and starts to stick to the base, it is time to tip in the tomato-cumin-pepper paste. Stir for a minute and tip in the green peas.

          Pour in 500 ml. of water and turn up the heat. Once it comes to a boil, put in the star anise, the cinnamon stick and the cloves. Turn down the heat and cover with a lid. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally till the green peas are cooked (they will shrivel when cooked).

          Now sprinkle the chili powder, the salt, the sugar and the turmeric powder. Stir nicely. Pour in the cashew-saffron-milk paste. Stir well and taste. If your taste buds demand more of sugar, salt or chili powder, add more to suit your taste. Now gently slip in the paneer cubes. Stir till the curry comes to a boil and switch off the heat.

          Your supra-delicious paneer peas curry is ready to enjoy. Serve with lots of hot chappatis or porottas or freshly baked bread. And of course, take care not to swallow your fingers!

Bon appétit!!!
Paneer Peas Curry with chappatis

          I have used frozen Amul malai paneer cubes in this recipe. If you wish to make your own paneer at home, see my date & paneer peas masala recipe.

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