Paneer is one thing which I dislike the most and no matter how much I try, I cannot get to like it. It might be due to the fact that it has a very different texture, has no taste of its own, it is not a vegetable and important of all it is loaded with calories. Everybody else in my family loves it and cannot get enough of it. So whenever we order panner dishes or make it at home, I end up eating the vegetables and gravy while skipping the paneer. Dear Husband who loves paneer is happy and has no complaints about this arrangement
I have even tried the low fat panner and did not like it either. If you are like me, then you can substitute potatoes for paneer and still enjoy this curry. As far as vegetables are concerned it is a totally different story; I hardly dislike any vegetables and I am willing to try any new combination as long as it is vegetarian.
Anyway, coming back to this recipe of Mutter Panner: what I have learnt over the years is that even though it is simple, it requires good amount of practice to create the right taste. Here are some of the tips that I have learnt to create this yummy, versatile dish.
- Prepare this dish about 4-5 hours in advance before serving. This way everything has a chance to blend together and the peas does not have that raw un-cooked taste to it.
- Add some chopped methi leaves (or dried kasoori methi if fresh is not available) after the onions are cooked a bit. This enhances the flavor of the curry.
- Do not add too much peas or tomatoes.
- Add the yogurt (curd) only at the end else it curdles up and leaves an unpleasant taste.
- 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
- 1 medium onion
- 2 ripe tomatoes
- ¾ Paneer diced into cubes (substitute boiled potato if panner is not available)
- ¾ cup Methi leaves (fresh) (substitute kasoori methi 1 tsp if fresh is not available)
- 2 tsp garam masala
- chilli powder
- Grated ginger + grated garlic 1 Tbsp
- 4-5 cloves
- 1 inch piece cinnamon
- ½ cup milk (2%)
- 2 Tbsp yogurt (curd)
- If using fresh peas, then boil it separately in hot water until it turns tender. If using frozen, then keep it outside and allow it to thaw for a while.
- Chop the onions into small pieces and keep aside. Chop the methi leaves finely as well.
- Chop the tomatoes and puree the tomatoes in a blender and keep aside. Do not add any water to this.
- Grate the ginger and garlic and keep aside.
- Take a heavy bottom pan, add the oil. Add the cloves and cinnamon and mix well.
- Next add the ginger and garlic and sauté until the garlic turns light brown.
- Now add the onions and stir until it turns transparent. Add the chopped methi leaves and mix until it is cooked.
- Add the tomato puree, salt and cook until the water of the tomato is gone. Add few more teaspoon of oil at this time.
- Stir and cook until the raw smell of the tomato is gone.
- Add chilli powder, garam masala, turmeric and mix well.
- Add water and mix in the peas and continue to cook.
- Add paneer cubes now and let it simmer.
- Add the milk and let it simmer for a while. Check the taste and add seasonings if required.
- When finally done, add the yogurt, kasoori methi (if using) stir and then close the pan with lid.
This tastes good with Rotis, Phulkas, Puri and also serves as an accompaniment with plain rice/ jeera rice.