One thing I have found, living on a small Island is that there are loads of groups around and one I really like is Island Apron. As the name suggests, it is concerning cooking and the other day someone made Paneer – a recipe I have been meaning to try for ages. It was the kick I needed and I popped to the local shop for some organic milk to try it out.
A fresh cheese commonly used in Indian cuisine, Paneer is a great cheese to fry and use in various dishes. I found it extremely easy to make and decided to use my first batch making a tasty dish called Matar Paneer which is delicious served with rice or naan bread. This recipe serves 2 or can be used as a side dish for another meal.
INGREDIENTS for the Paneer
2L Organic Whole Milk
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt (optional)
Piece of fine muslin
The milk should start to curdle immediately. If it doesn’t add a little more lemon juice.
Leave to stand for 10 minutes. Line a colander with fine muslin and carefully pour the curds into the muslin. There are many uses for left-over whey from adding to homemade stock to using it as a supplement for the garden!
Pull the muslin up (I used clean kitchen gloves as it is quite hot at this point) and squeeze as much moisture out of the cheese as possible.
Shape into either a round, or a slab and wrap the cheese in the muslin. Pop it on a plate, or in a bowl and place a weight on top. Refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight.
INGREDIENTS for Matar Paneer
1 tablespoon oil
1 quantity of paneer, cut into cubes
1 to 2” of fresh ginger root, peeled and finely grated
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¼ to ½ teaspoon chilli flakes (or use fresh chopped chilli)
Approximately 200g chopped tomatoes from a carton, or fresh
150g frozen peas
1 teaspoon garam masala
Fresh coriander, chopped
Cube the Paneer. Heat the oil in a large fry pan until really hot. Add the paneer and fry until it starts to turn brown. This happens really quickly so don’t take your eyes off it. Turn it over to brown all sides then put on to kitchen paper on a plate and set aside.
Add the ginger, cumin, turmeric, ground coriander and a few chilli flakes to the pan and fry for about 1 minute. Add in the tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes until everything is mixed together well and fragrant. You may need to add a little water if the mix is too thick. Season to taste with sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add the peas and continue simmering for two minutes before stirring in the paneer and garam masala. Gently stir until the cheese is warmed through.
Pile into a bowl and sprinkle with chopped fresh coriander. Serve with rice or naan bread.
All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.