Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mutter Paneer... My Favorite Indian Dish

Mutter Paneer is my favorite Indian Dish. It is from North India and its also vegetarian.  B. and I had it for the first time a few years ago at this great Indian restaurant in Panama City.  It's the best Indian food we've had to date. Paneer is an Indian farmer's cheese, and in this dish, it is cooked in a beautifully spiced sauce with peas.  Simmered to perfection and great for dunking Naan into.   I've seen this dish also made with cottage cheese, but I prefer it with the solid cheese.  It was my first attempt at making this dish and it was really really good.  All I needed was the Mango Lassi to complete the meal.

2 cups cubed paneer (or solid frying cheese)
1 tbsp. light olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tbsp.  yellow curry powder
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1 small red chili (minced, for a milder version, remove the seeds before chopping)
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup plain yogurt
3 tbsp. cream (light)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt to taste

First begin by cubing the paneer.  In a non-stick skillet, place a little canola oil into the pan and turn the heat up to medium.  Next add in the paneer and begin browning. Turning over once the bottom side is golden brown.  Once all of the cheese is browned, transfer to a holding plate.  Next begin making the paste by adding the grated garlic, ginger, curry powder, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, and  cayenne pepper  into the skillet with a little canola oil.  Let the paste simmer on low heat, while you chop up the onion.  Add in the onion to the skillet and pour in the can of crushed tomatoes to the pan.  Next, add the yogurt, cream,chopped chili and salt and whisk everything to remove any lumps from the yogurt.  Let the sauce simmer for about 15 minutes on low heat.  Add in the lemon juice, frozen peas and the paneer and stir well. Let everything simmer for another 5 minutes and serve.  Garnish with some freshly chopped cilantro.

Side note: In case you're wondering what is in the bowl next to the paneer, it's coleslaw.  I know you may think it is weird, but the sweetness and crunchiness of the coleslaw is so refreshing against the spiciness and creaminess of the curry that they really compliment each other.   All I'm sayin' is don't knock it till you try it.


Jenna said...

Huh! Coleslaw and curry--who would have thought! Now that I'm contemplating it, it sounds like a great combination.

pae said...

Let me just say....this dish was "off the chain!!!" I am a big curry and cheese lover and the combination of the two was a perfect match!! I have to definitely try this myself but was wondering exactly what other cheeses would be perfect for this dish since I may not be able to find paneer? Thanks again for the wonderful sampler! ;)

Bren said...

que foto mas linda... i love Indian food, too but don't cook it at all at home. Well, except for some masala (the chick pea dish).

Rox said...

Thanks Bren! I wish I could have taken the picture in natural light, it makes such a difference, but I made this dish at night ;(

Pae- you could use a firm cooking cheese instead of Paneer if you can't find it. Like this one">one

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