A Classic: Mutter Paneer

Now that I have graduated from beginning Indian Cuisine student to intermediate student, Shiva is beginning to have me make some classic dishes that are seen in Indian restaurants everywhere. Mutter Paneer is either a side or a main.This dish had a really interesting savory flavor with a slightly sweet undertone which made me keep wanting to eat it. The dish comes out sweeter if you grind the whole masala into the paste to cook the paneer in, if you don’t want it sweet then pull the whole garam masala out before you grind the paste.

If you are making your own paneer, you are going to want to press it so that you can easily cut the cheese into cubes.

Mutter Paneer

1 lb pressed paneer, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 medium red onion, sliced

1/2 cup crushed almonds

2 tomatoes, pureed

1 TBSP minced garlic (or paste)

1 TBSP minced ginger (or paste)

Whole garam masala (5 cloves, 3 cardamom pods cracked, 2 bay leaves, one stick cinnamon broken into pieces)

1-1 1/2 cups peas

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

1 teaspoon ground garam masala

1/2 tablespoon coriander

1 tablespoon cumin

1/2 tablespoon salt

One hand full of chopped cilantro to stir through at the end

Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan and fry the onions with the whole garam masala until just starting to brown, but not cooked all the way down, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the crushed almonds and 1 tablespoon of both ginger and garlic. Remove the whole garam masala (or don’t, your call) and put into a food processor. Don’t clean the pan that you fried the onions in, we are going to add the cheese to it, picking up all that flavor that was left behind.

Add 2-4 tablespoons water until you get a paste much like the coconut curry paste.

Set aside and purée two tomatoes in the food processor. Add 1 tablespoon oil into the onion pan, heat and add the cubes paneer browning evenly on all sides.

Once the paneer is browned, add the onion paste in and stir through. Then add in the pureed tomatoes.

Now add the turmeric, chili, ground garam masala, coriander and cumin, stir,. Add peas, salt and 1 cup water, you might need 1 1/2 cups but you want it to look like this:

Cover and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, but not all about 10-15 minutes. Stir through handful of cilantro and that’s it! How easy, delicious and better than you will get in most restaurants.

We ate it with rotis and Baigan Bharta, that recipe tomorrow.

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