Paneer Curry with Peas

I have a bit of a Palak Paneer addiction. The spinach-cheese-curry mixture represents all that is good in this world. My frequent cravings often result in a drive to Mother India for their palak paneer roti. But you see, Simon is working in California for 3 weeks. Simon who knows how to drive the car and is therefore the bringer of rotis. So, instead of starring longingly at the unusable car outside the window I decided to do something about it. (Before anyone comments: I know, I need to get a driver's license. I am grossly aware of this fact).

I made Paneer Curry with Peas from Can I just say how impressed I am with my local natural food store for carrying fresh paneer. So, anyway, I buy the thousand different ingredients needed for any Indian cooking.

And I decided to add some chicken thighs. I did the chicken by mixing some garam masala with yogurt, marinating the chicken in it, then baking them. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly and I have to say, it was kind of gross. It was overly tomato-y and didn't have the rich gravy that I associate so much with delicious Indian curries.

It was really not good. The paneer tasted funny, and  sort of tinny. I had enough leftovers to last the three weeks Simon is away (why do I feel the need to cook for ten times the number of people I will be serving?) so I had to do something to revive it.

The next night, I fried up some more onion and added three tablespoons of garam masala. Once that was cooked, I added half a cup of yogurt and the left over sauce. I have to say - it was a lot better.

This is the curry after altering it the second night. Less pretty, but definitely more tasty.

It was richer and much less tomato-y. I don't think I would make this recipe again, though. As much as I love a cooking challenge, some things are better left to the pros and the fine people at Mother India make better, cheaper food than I could ever hope to. I do feel that I have to add, though, that Simon's mum has mastered Rogan Josh. So, once I get my hands on her recipe, I'll be up for trying another curry.

Paneer Curry with Peas

2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 pound paneer or firm or extra-firm tofu, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes

5 tablespoons usli ghee, divided

1 large onion, cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 serrano chile, minced with seeds

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas (from about 1 1/2 pounds peas in pods) or 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Steamed basmati rice

Place flour in medium bowl. Add paneer to bowl; toss to coat with flour. Heat 2 tablespoons ghee in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Shake excess flour from paneer; add to skillet and cook until browned in spots, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes. Transfer paneer to plate; set aside. Reserve skillet.

Place onion pieces in processor. Using on/off turns, process until finely chopped but not watery. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons ghee in reserved skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and stir until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add chopped onion and cook until beginning to brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add minced ginger, minced garlic, ground coriander, and minced serrano chile with seeds; stir 1 minute. Add crushed tomatoes with puree, 1/2 cup water, and turmeric; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium low; cover and simmer until mixture thickens slightly and flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

Add shelled fresh peas and cooked paneer; gently fold to incorporate evenly. Cook mixture over medium-low heat until peas are tender and paneer is heated through, folding occasionally, about 5 minutes. 

Fold in garam masala and cilantro. Season curry to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with steamed basmati rice.


David Toms said...

Must admit it even looks better the second time around.

Sara said...

OMG, this looks amazing! I will have to make this...yum!

Bitter Endive said...