Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Aloo Matar Paneer

The first winter dish, people! Vegetables, colour, protein and warmth -- just what the doctor ordered. (In my case, literally).

Aloo matar paneer, or cottage cheese with pea and potatoes, in a tomato-flavoured gravy. Deeee-licious! And this is how you do it:
Cottage cheese -- home-made, for preference (tutorial soon)
Two small plum tomatoes.
A potato, peeled and diced.
Fresh green peas, popped from the pod.
Whole cumin. Dry-ground cumin and coriander, also preferably at home. Half an inch of ginger, peeled and minced. Salt, sugar. Chopped green chilies and dry-ground red chilies, if you can stand it.

Wash the peas, chilies and tomatoes. Cut the slab of cottage cheese into pieces roughly an inch thick and close to two inches in length. Smaller pieces than that will crumble while cooking. Not that this is a bad thing; it gives the gravy texture, as people pretentiously say these days. But if you're making cottage cheese-in-gravy, it helps to have some actual discernible cottage cheese in the serving bowl.

Chopped cheese.

Now grate tomatoes and mix it with the minced ginger. Let the juices flow into each other while you do other things.

Our ancient grater.

Grated tomatoes and minced ginger.

Like sauté diced potatoes and cottage cheese, for instance. Be sure to do them separately, for the potatoes can be carelessly done for five to ten minutes on a medium flame, with only an occasional toss, but the paneer needs low heat, one minute tops, and gentle handling.

Now, in a wok, heat two teaspoons of mustard (or sunflower, or rape seed/canola) oil. Never go above a medium flame, or the oil will smoke and char the wok. When the oil loses its rich yellow colour, add whole cumin, and after five seconds the grated tomatoes plus minced ginger. Stir like mad, but gently.

When you can smell the tomatoes frying, add half a teaspoon of ground cumin and coriander each. Toss the mixture for a minute. The oil might begin to separate at this point, but its fine if it doesn't, too. Now, add the peas, then after a couple of minutes, the sautéed potatoes and paneer cubes. Encourage free mixing with a few gentle stirs. Pour two and a half cups of water. Add chopped green chilies, salt and sugar, and let simmer till the potatoes are done.

Adding the spices.

Spicing peas.

Making new friends.

Splashing about.

Cottage cheese with potatoes and peas, in a light tomato gravy :-)

Eat this over steamed rice, or, preferable, with hot rooti or any kind of fried bread. I've even left it soupy and had it with unbuttered toast -- absolutely lip-smacking. Happy winter eating, folks!


Dea-chan said...

I love your photo texts: Making New Friends, Splashing About, etc.

Also, this looks quite tasty as is to be expected from a potato dish. I will have to try it soon!

Again with the chaptcha: "crilly". That sounds like a combination between the cliche Australian "crickey!" and "chilly" which I currently am. (I am turning blankets into a fashion statement. No lie. A square blanket is folded into a triangle, the ends have been tossed over my shoulders, crossed, and belted. I feel tres chic. And warm.)

eve's lungs said...

LOL making new friends only to be eaten up

Rimi said...

Gobble gobble, Ruma mashi :-)

D -- take pictures! Put 'em up! You haven't grasped the basics of living your life online, have you? ;-)