Creamy Matar Paneer

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When I first cooked this dish, I followed a recipe my sister-in-law gave me.  Sometimes, I would search the internet and compare.  But last week, I finally had the courage to make my own recipe and it turned out great.  When a friend asked me for the recipe, I realized that I did not even write it down.  So today, I made it again just so I can write down the recipe.  This is my own recipe and I am really, really proud of it.  If you like it, please leave a message.  If you have a suggestion on how to make this dish better, leave a message.  Let’s help each other make a perfect Matar Paneer dish.

I never tasted Indian food until I was already in my 30s and I think that was too late for me to discover the richest, tastiest food in the planet.  A lot of Filipinos are turned off by the smell and by the number of spices in Indian dishes so Indian restaurants never really became popular in the small city I grew up in.

Now, I will try to cook Indian dishes with subtle flavor that I know Filipinos will love.  This way, I will be able to slowly introduce Indian dishes to my Filipino friends.

As for me introducing Filipino food to the world, don’t worry, I will get there.  Just wait for the world domination of Filipino food.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups                Paneer

2 Tablespoons        Ghee (Canola or Vegetable oil).

1/3 cup                     Cashew

1 cup                         Red onion (coarsely chopped)

1 teaspoon               Ginger paste

1 teaspoon               Garlic paste

2 teaspoons             Coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon            Red Chili powder (lessen or add according to taste)

1/4 teaspoon            Turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon            Garam masala

1 teaspoon                Salt

1/2 cup                      Tomato Puree (Note 3)

1 cup                          Water, warm

1 1/2 cup                    Green peas

                                    Coriander, chopped

PANEER PREPARATION:

    1. Cut paneer into 1/2 by 1/2 inch squares.
    2. Place paneer in a deep bowl.
    3. Add 1 1/2 cup hot water.  (See note 1)

CURRY PREPARATION:

    1. Heat non-stick pan over medium high heat.  Add ghee.
    2. Once ghee is heated, add cashew.  Once cashew turns golden brown in color, take it off from the pan and place it in a plate.
    3. Add onion and cook it until it turns into a caramel color about 5 to 7 minutes.  (See Note 2)
    4. Add ginger paste, garlic paste, coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric, garam masala, and salt.  Cook for 1 minute.
    5. Add tomato puree.  Cook for 1 minute.
    6. Transfer curry mix to a deep bowl, add the cashew,  and using an immersion blender, blend the mixture into a fine paste.  The finer the paste, the better and creamier your sauce will be.  Alternatively, you can use a blender to blend and puree the ingredients.
    7. Return the paste into the pan and add 1 cup of water.
    8. Add the green peas and the paneer (make sure to strain it).
    9. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 5-8 minutes stirring every once in a while to make sure the sauce does not stick to the pan.
    10. Add more water to change sauce consistency.  Add more salt to taste.
    11. Serve with fresh chopped coriander.

NOTES:

    1. In my experience, adding hot water to the paneer makes it softer.
    2. Make sure that the onion is well cooked because curry made of still raw onion does not taste good.  I wait for the onion to “caramelize” before I proceed to the next steps.  Make sure to constantly stir it so that it will not stick to the pan.
    3. Some people use fresh tomatoes but I like using tomato puree because I am sure that the tomatoes they used for the puree is ripe.  Sometimes fresh tomatoes are not that ripe yet and adding them into a curry dish makes it lean towards the sour side than the sweet side the puree gives.  You can use fresh tomatoes if you want, too.  Just puree it and use the same measurement.