Monday, April 03, 2006

Paneer with potatoes and green peas

This is the first recipe I've tried from Neelam Batra's cookbook 1000 Indian Recipes, which I bought recently. Thus far I'd only been reading the recipes and her descriptions and everything, rather like a storybook, and imagining the results in my head.

It seemed a little complicated, this recipe, at first look, but it isnt. Once the ingredients are at hand, it's quite simple. And whatever extra effort is required is oh so very wonderfully worth it! It's the best paneer dish I've made, as far as I'm concerned. If the rest of Ms Batra's recipes turn out as well as this one, I'm sold. I may never buy another Indian cookbook again... (yeah right!)

I think what gave the recipe the extra nudge, taste-wise, was the boiled onion paste. Normally I dont have the patience for fiddly procedures like this, but this time I thought I'd actually follow the recipe properly... and the REAL reason I did it is because this paste can be made and frozen (according to Ms Batra) and used when required.

PS. In her book, Ms Batra forgot to mention when to add the boiled onion paste, but I haven't! :)

Recipe for:
Paneer with potatoes and green peas


2 cups paneer, cubed
1 cup green peas (frozen is fine)
3 medium red potatoes, cubed
2 large tomatoes, chopped
4-5 fresh green chillies, slit (optional)
1/4 cup yogurt at room temperature, whisked
4 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
1/2 cup boiled onion paste (method given below)

Clockwise from top: Kasoori methi, coriander powder, turmeric powder, fenugreek seed powder, red chilli powder, cumin seeds. Centre: Paprika
2 tsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds, dry roasted and powdered
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp red chilli powder (or to taste)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Boiled onion paste:

1/2 cup water
2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
1 black cardamom pod
1 bay leaf
1" piece of cinnamon stick


1. To make the boiled onion paste, boil the onions with the spices in a covered pan until the onions are soft and the water is evaporated. Remove the spices and discard. Grind the onions to a smooth paste (use any water that is left).

2. Fry the paneer cubes in 2 tbsp oil till they begin to take on a golden tinge. Drain on kitchen towels and reserve.

3. In a big pan, heat 2 tbsp oil. Add the cumin seeds and fry for 20 seconds, then add the rest of the spices. Stir for 30 seconds.

4. Add the chopped tomato and cook till it becomes mushy. Now put in the boiled onion paste and stir well. Let this cook for 5 minutes on medium-high.

5. Stir in the yogurt, tablespoon by tablespoon, stirring all the time to stop it from curdling.

6. Now add the cubed potatoes and stir well. Cook them for 5 minutes, then add 3 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat.

7. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan and let the potatoes cook till done (15-20 minutes).

8. Add the paneer and the frozen green peas, stir well. Cover and let the curry simmer for about 10 minutes, till the sauce is thick and the peas are done.

9. Serve hot, garnished with a tbsp of fresh chopped coriander leaves. This is excellent with rice and naan.


Santhi said...

such a lovely looking healthy curry shammi...My to do list is getting very very big now....:):)

shammi said...

Thanks, Santhi :) It's worth making, this curry!

Priya said...

Hi Shammi...the dish looks delicious. When I make gravies I generally boil onions and tomatoes and puree them with some garlic pods too. Adding garlic this was instead of directly in the oil gives a kinda different taste. When I want them rich I add some soaked Cashews and Poppy seeds.
Will try ur recipe soon

Kitchenmate said...

Yummy recipe. Next time when i am making panner, it is going to be your version.
I used to grind oil-fried-onions+ginger+garlic paste for some North Indian recipes, for our South Indian gravies , i used to fry onion, tomato and take half of it and grind,later add them while adding required powders. It not only gives thick consistency to gravies, taste is remarkable too.

Garam Masala said...

Shammi - Reading cookbooks like story books, indeed. I do that a lot too!

I like the boiled onion tip. Will make a delicious variation gravy!

Anonymous said...

Shammi, looks absolutely delicious! Cooking from scratch can be exciting, isn't it? I believe it gives a whole new flavor to food.

Meeta said...

Hi Shammi,

You are you cruel to torture me this way ;-)
1. I love Paneer


2. Find making it a lot of work.


I end up making something else instead! This looks so delish that you will be forcing me to go through the ordeal of making the paneer!

I love cook books too. I actually started learning German that way 13 years ago!!!! I could not cook and I could not speak the language so I decided to learn both by combining them he he he!

By the way I wanted to let you and your readers know that I am playing a little game on my blog. It's Tom's (the hubby) b-day today and I am giving him a special pressie ... thought you all would like to take part in guessing
Where am I taking Tom? game. Whoever guesses right gets a little surprise. Check it out.

Shammi big hug from Germany,

Vaishali said...

Boiled onion that's something I have never tried before. I will give it a try, Shammi. And let you know about it.
Reading cookbooks like story-books. I thought, that's something only I did. And I was convinced that it is a disorder and actually felt guilty about it whenever I grabbed one of my cookbooks for bedtime reading. I won't any longer. Thanks for sharing.

Saffron said...

Hey, that's all I checkout from the library these days - cookbooks! I too love to read them and drool over the pictures. Very rarely do I follow a recipe from them. If I ever do, it is much after I've returned the book and it is often from memory and a vague image of what the picture looked like!!

Paneer subji looks yummy. I would try it with sourcream I think - oh man, I've got to get out of this sour cream phase!!!


shammi said...

Saffron: Hey, heavy cream was on the ingredient list, but I omitted it from mine. I'm sure adding sour cream will make this even smoother! :) Go ahead, be naughty!

Tina Jennifer D'Silva said...

Hi shammi, This dish looks excellent & the recipe is indeed very tempting to try. This is on my try list.
Thanx for sharing.

Anthony said...

I cooked it a little differently, but my paneer with peas and potatoes was quite a hit if you remember lol.

yum said...

Boiled onion paste... that is a good idea!!

I'll have to try your recipe, looks great.

yum said...

Hi Shammi!

I did make the boiled onion paste and it freezes quite nicely.

Thanks for sharing.

yum said...

forgot to say, I used it in palak recipe and I think it does improve the flavor.

Lakshmiammal said...

Wow Shammi, Great step by step instructions. You have done a greater job than Mrs Batra. I do agree when some menus call for intricate procedures we hesitate, but it is worth toiling to get the original taste the author describes.Boiled onion paste is an excellent idea, thanks a bunch for sharing.

Sonia said...

Paneer is really easy to make but for anyone who cant or doesnt want to you can buy it from indian grocery stores and shops like NISA which are in the UK......But it is probably more expensive than it would be to make it yourself but thats ok :-)......... looks really tasty dish Im going to try it soon xxx