Friday, 13 July 2012

Muttar Paneer and then some

Muttar Paneer and then some

I’d been contemplating the deliciousness of this vegetarian dish made with green peas, paneer (Indian cheese) and a tomato gravy when I suddenly found myself in the kitchen, starting to whump it up.  I was feeling lazy, and intended to toss in some store bought masala when I had a kitchen epiphany.  As our garden peas are still at their early stages, only one with an actual pod, and it’s so thin you could eat that, I wondered why I was favouring frozen vegetables when I had a refrigerator full of fresh.  So with that in mind, I changed gears, got creative and invented this:

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
½ teaspoon dark mustard seed
½ teaspoon cumin seed
1 inch ginger, roughly chopped
4 chillies (or to taste)  (I’m using my chillies now)
4 fresh garlic cloves, roughly chopped

½ teaspoon more cumin seed
1 teaspoon coriander seed
3 cloves
¼ teaspoon black cumin seed
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder

½ teaspoon whole black pepper
¼ teaspoon fenugreek seed
½ teaspoon salt

My chillies!
1 large sweet red pepper, roughly diced
2 huge ripe tomatoes, roughly diced and juice saved
½ cup water

1 large floret broccoli and tender stem, diced into small pieces
1 cup paneer
½ cup frozen peas

cilantro for garnish

In a deep saucepan, turn heat to medium high and add grapeseed oil.  When it seems hot, add a few mustard seeds, and when they splutter, add them all, then the cumin seeds.  Turn down the heat, stir, and add onion, chillies and ginger.  Cook till the onion is golden and translucent.  Add the garlic, and while it’s cooking, buzz the next group of spices together, up to the cinnamon powder.  Add the whole black pepper, fenugreek and salt to the onions, then the ground spices.  Cook for a few minutes, then add the water, sweet red pepper and tomato, including the juice.  Put a lid on now, turn heat to medium and wander away for twenty minutes or so.  You might consider putting on the rice first, and getting it going first.  

You probably can't see the one skinny pod!
Check to see if the tomato and red pepper are soft.  If they are, tip the saucepan, and use an immersion blender to pure.  Add the broccoli and paneer (I used frozen, but if I’d used fresh, I’d add it later.)  Cook for about five minutes.  Add the green peas (again, I had to use frozen) and cook for about five more minutes.  No need to reduce these beauties to sad little grey balls.  Keep them green with a tender crunch.  

Serve with rice or chappatis, if you have the time to make them.
Garnish with cilantro and enjoy this quick, healthy and easy vegetarian recipe!