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Mattar Paneer Recipes?


Schielke
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The other night I tried out Mattar Paneer on the recommendation of an indian friend of mine. I loved it, I had forgotten how much I loved well cooked peas.

Does anybody have a recipe for this? Is it difficult to make (little to no indian cooking experience)?

Also, is it difficult to make paneer or are there places to buy it?

Thanks a bunch

Ben

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

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The other night I tried out Mattar Paneer on the recommendation of an indian friend of mine.  I loved it, I had forgotten how much I loved well cooked peas.

Does anybody have a recipe for this?  Is it difficult to make (little to no indian cooking experience)?

Also, is it difficult to make paneer or are there places to buy it?

Thanks a bunch

Ben

Ben,

Matar Paneer (peas and cheese) is made very differently at homes than what one finds in restaurants. In restaurants they tend to make it very rich and creamy. At home we like the sauce to be very light and very runny.

I would love to share the recipe with you. Maybe if you look at the chicken curry thread, you can check the recipe for Butter Chicken and you can always use that sauce for matar paneer.

My recipe is very light, and similar to what most people would eat at homes. It is addictive and delicious. The sauce is light and spicy and goes well with breads and also excellent with rice.

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Paneer ( Indian Cheese )

* 10 cups whole milk

* 1/2 cup buttermilk / yogurt (more maybe needed, so keep some extra)

In a large heavy bottomed pan, bring the milk to a boil over medium heat. Stir often to ensure that the milk is not sticking to the bottom of the pan.

When milk starts to boil, lower heat and add the buttermilk and stir until the milk starts to separate into curds.

Remove from heat as soon as this happens. You can even add a few ice cubes to the curd-whey mix. The heat will make the protein tougher. Hence the need to expose the cheese to as little heat as possible.

If the curds are not forming, add a little more buttermilk and cook for a couple of minutes more. And do the above as soon as the curds form.

Pour the curds-whey mix into a collander lined with several layers of cheese cloth or even a layer of muslin, draining onto a dish that will collect the whey.

Collect the sides of the cheesecloth or muslin and tie them up together and twist gently to help drain the whey from the curds.

Place the bundled curds on a tray and press this bundle with a heavy pan/container or obejct. Make sure this heavy weight covers the bundle fully.

To make cheese for dessert recipes or for koftas or even a bhujia, weight it down for no more than a half hour.

For recipes where cheese cubes are used, weight the bundle down for an hour or more. This will make the cheese form a firm mass that can be cut into neat cubes.

Note: I use buttermilk as it makes for cheese that has very little sour flavor. People use lemon or vinegar, these curdle the milk quickly but leave a strong aftertaste. This aftertaste is not nice when making desserts with cheese.

Try and use the cheese the same day as you make it. The more time it is kept the dryer it becomes and the harder it will be. When making soft cheese for desserts. Weight it down for a shorter time as I write above. You can leave more moisture in, if you know you will not use it till the next day. The cheese will get dryer in refrigeration.

For the firm cheese, you can make the firm cube and store it overnight in chilled water. But you cannot put the cheese in water until a firm cake, with all the whey drained is formed. So, first make your cheese cube, and if you are not using it the same day, immerse it in a container of water, seal with a cover and cut only when ready to use into smaller cubes.

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Matar Paneer ( Indian Cheese with Peas in a Light Tomato Sauce )

The sauce for this dish is quite thin in comparison to those we're used to eating at Indian restaurants, and certainly in comparison to the rather gloppy restaurant-style Saag Paneer that also features this lovely soft, delicate fresh cheese Indians call paneer. This sauce is almost thin enough to be a soup. Yet because of the way the spices are cooked into the dish and the use of extra oil to enhance their flavor, it has an elegant and complex flavor and a light, silky texture. Serve this with piping hot basmati rice and gobhi aloo (cauliflower and potatoes).

1 recipe Paneer

4 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Whole Garam Masala

One 1 1/2-inch cinnamon stick

6 green or 3 brown cardamom pods

5 cloves

1/8 teaspoon black peppercorns

4 dried red chilies

1 1/8 teaspoons whole cumin seed

1/2 teaspoon whole coriander seed

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 medium red onions, chopped

2 teaspoons salt

3 small cloves garlic

2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 pound tomatoes (about 3 medium), stemmed and roughly chopped

2 tablespoons plain whole milk yogurt

1 pound frozen petite peas

1/8 teaspoon ground garam masala

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh coriander

1. Make paneer from recipe above. Then cut it into 1- to 1 1/2-inch squares. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add as many squares of cheese as will fit comfortably in the pan and brown the squares on all sides. Drain the cheese on paper towels while you brown the remaining squares. Set the cheese aside while you make the sauce. You may use more oil as needed.

2. Pour the remaining 4 tablespoons of the oil into a large, deep pot and warm over medium-high heat while you collect the whole garam masala. Add the garam masala and heat, stirring, until the cinnamon stick unfurls. Then add the chilies, 1 teaspoon whole cumin seed, the coriander seed and bay leaf and continue heating, stirring, until the seeds turn a light golden color, about 1 minute.

3. Add the onion and the salt and cook until the onions are golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir every now and then at the beginning of cooking and then, as the onions begin to stick to the bottom of the pan, scrape them up. Towards the end of cooking, when the onions begin to stick badly, add a teaspoon of water every now and then to unstick the caramelized onions

from the pan.

4. Add the ginger and cook 3 to 4 minutes, adding water as needed.

5. Meanwhile, put the garlic and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon whole cumin seed in a mortar and pestle and mash well. Stir in about 1 teaspoon water to make a paste. When the ginger has cooked, add the garlic paste to the pot and cook until the water has evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Then add the ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne and about 1 tablespoon water and cook until the contents of the pan seem to be getting dry and begin to stick to the bottom of the pan, adding water as needed, about 1 minute. Finally, add the tomatoes and cook them until they begin to dissolve, 3 to 4 minutes. Then turn down the heat and cook until the tomatoes have completely melted into the sauce and the oil is starting to pool around the onions, another 2 to 3 minutes.

6. Stir a spoonful of the hot sauce into the yogurt in a small bowl and add that to the pot. Add 2 cups water and the peas, cover and bring to a simmer. Cook until the peas are thawed. Then fold in the cheese and sprinkle the ground garam masala and 1 tablespoon chopped coriander over the top. Cover and simmer very gently until the peas are softened and the cheese is warmed through, 3 to 5 more minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon chopped coriander and serve hot.

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Suvir,

Thanks so much for all the info! I plan on trying this out on my visiting friend. I probably will have to do it next week, but I may make the paneer later this week for fun.

Now I need to go find a spice store to get all the ingredients...something I have needed to do for a long time.

Thanks again!

Ben

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

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but I may make the paneer later this week for fun.

Ben,

Do make the paneer this week. You may need to make it more than once to perfect it. It freezed very well. So you should have no problem with trying a few times. If it does not set too firmly, you can even make scrambed paneer.

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Now I need to go find a spice store to get all the ingredients...something I have needed to do for a long time.

My encouragement comes your way. Spices can do so much to enliven any pantry. They will open a new world to you, many far different from just Indian. If you need any help finding any, please feel free to post here, I am sure with our collective thoughts we will find answers you may need. :smile:

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Suvir,

I was looking at your recipes and I had a few questions.

1) you mention yogurt/buttermilk in the paneer recipe. Is one preferred over the other?

2) Is the "Whole Garam Masala" defined by the ingredients listed directly below it. I was confused because step 2 says to add the Garam Masala and then add the chile, cumin, coriander, and bay leaf. Are they not part of the Garam masala?

3) How spicy is this dish if the recipe is followed? I might want to tone it down for my girlfriend. hehehe.

Again thanks for everything!

Ben

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

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Is the "Whole Garam Masala" defined by the ingredients listed directly below it.  I was confused because step 2 says to add the Garam Masala and then add the chile, cumin, coriander, and bay leaf.  Are they not part of the Garam masala?

The Whole Garam Masala is the list of ingredients from cinnamon stick to bay leaves below it. Sorry about the confusion.

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How spicy is this dish if the recipe is followed?  I might want to tone it down for my girlfriend. hehehe.

The dish is not very spicy. Maybe you want to get rid of t he 4 whole red chiles and the cayenne powder. Your Girl Friend will enjoy this home version.

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So I made my paneer last night! What is the usual yield of that recipe you gave me suvir?

I ended up with a piece about 4 in X 3 in and 1/2 in thick, which seemed pretty small for 10 cups of milk. I did mess up however and buy 2% milk instead of whole so I am guessing this was the problem. :blink:

The little bit I tasted was quite nice and I was very happy with the result.

I am going to try again tonight with whole milk if you think that will make a difference.

Thanks again Suvir!!!

Ben

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

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So I made my paneer last night!  What is the usual yield of that recipe you gave me suvir? 

I ended up with a piece about 4 in X 3 in and 1/2 in thick, which seemed pretty small for 10 cups of milk.  I did mess up however and buy 2% milk instead of whole so I am guessing this was the problem.  :blink:

The little bit I tasted was quite nice and I was very happy with the result.

I am going to try again tonight with whole milk if you think that will make a difference.

Thanks again Suvir!!!

Ben

Use whole milk. It will make all the difference.

Let us know.

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I made some more paneer the other day, this time with whole milk. The yield was better than the first time. I am thinking of buying some paneer and comparing my homemade version with it.

Tomorrow, I will be making the Mattar Paneer for my buddy. I will report back with how it goes! Cross your fingers for me.

Ben

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

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I made some more paneer the other day, this time with whole milk.  The yield was better than the first time.  I am thinking of buying some paneer and comparing my homemade version with it. 

Tomorrow, I will be making the Mattar Paneer for my buddy.  I will report back with how it goes!  Cross your fingers for me.

Ben

Fingers and toes crossed. Warn your friend that this is light but flavorful and fresh home cooking. The gloppy heavy sauces we are served at restaurants this is not. If you preface it as such, your mate would be more than happy to eat it... in fact, might be converted for life. Serve it with nice steamed basmati rice and a kachumbar salad. A raita would be a great addition. I will find these recipes (threads and links to them) for you.. and post them. :biggrin:

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Salad recipe from Simon Majumdar.

This salad would work very well with the Matar Paneer or with most Indian meals.

SALAD

4 tomatoes

1/2 Cucumber ( diced )

1 piece Ginger ( in thin strips about 1 inch long )

3 Red Onions ( pre-soaked in Ice water with lemon to take out the bitterness )

1 red chillie - with seeds still in ( chopped )

1 Bunch of Corriander(Cilantro) chopped

1 spring Mint ( chopped )

Mix all of these in a bowl

DRESSING

4 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

juice of two lemons ( or better, Limes )

1 chopped red chillie

I clove garlic ( chopped )

1 small piece ginger ( chopped )

Heat the oil and add the chilli, garlic and spices and cook until they begin to pop and let their flavour out

Pour the flavoured oil into a bowl and allow to cool a little

Add the lime juice and some salt and pepper and whisk until it combines.

pour this over the salad and cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge. The dressing makes the onions nice and soft.

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Mixed Raita

A delicious yogurt sauce that can accompany most all Indian meals. It works well for the novice when first indulging spicy Indian curries.

2-1/2 cups plain yogurt

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp red pepper powder

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 fresh hot green chilies, finely minced

1 tsp mint, chopped

1 small cucumber, finely chopped

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 small tomato, chopped

salt (to taste)

Dry roast cumin, coriander seeds and pepper till dark and aromatic. Pound and keep aside.

Whisk yogurt with salt and add all the chopped items.

Now add all the masalas and stir well.

Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Chill before serving.

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Khare Masale Ke Chaawal (Rice With Whole Garam Masala)

In India, each area or home could have their own name for this rice.  In my family we call it Khare Masale Ke Chaawal (Rice with whole spices).  Some call it Patiala Waale Chaawal.  The Punjabis more than anyone else use whole spices more generously and leave them in the prepared dish.  In Lucknow, similar rice Pilafs are made but the whole spices are removed after they have been infused into the oil, or simply tied into a muslin bag that is fried longer than the spices would be open.  The bag is later removed.

This rice dish is very versatile and easy to make.  It goes well with most Indian meals.  In fact meats and veggies both go well with it.  It makes a dinner of simple daal (lentils) and a sabzi (vegetable) become a "fancy" meal.

2 medium red onions

2 garlic cloves, ground into a paste with 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/4 cup canola oil plus about 1 cup for deep frying the onion

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

8 green cardamom pods

2 1/2 to 3 inches cinnamon stick, broken in half

1/4 teaspoon whole cloves

1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, more if you like spicy

1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds

3 bay leaves

3 whole dried red chilies

11/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

2 cups basmati rice, soaked in 4 cups water for 20 minutes, drained and water reserved

1. Slice one onion into very thin slices and set aside.

2. Mince the other onion finely and set aside.

3. Heat the 1 cup oil (about 1/2 inch deep) in a small (about 6 inches in diameter), heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat to 350? F.  Add the sliced onions and deep-fry them, stirring often, until they turn dark brown, 15 to 20 minutes.  Drain them on paper towels and then stand until cool and crisp.  Set aside to use later as garnish. Discard the oil.

4. Preheat the oven to 300?F.

5. Combine the oil, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, coriander, bay leaves and chilies in a large casserole over medium-high heat.  Cook, stirring, until the cinnamon unfurls, about 1 minute.

6. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 5 minutes.  If the onions begin to stick, add water, about a tablespoon at a time, and stir.

7. Add the garlic paste and cook, stirring, to remove the raw flavor, about 30-45 seconds.

8. Then add the rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute.  Add the reserved water and salt and bring to a boil. Stir once or twice during this time to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Then turn the heat down too medium, cover and simmer until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, 10 minutes.  Turn off the flame.

9. Put the pan in the oven and bake 10 minutes.  Let rest 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the fried onions and serve hot.

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So I finally made the Mattar Paneer last night! I am happy to say that it was a success! It tasted so good, and now that I have cooked it once, I believe I have soaked in a large part of the technique.

A few things I noted/learned

1. Paneer- we tasted it with three kinds of paneer. 2% milk paneer, Whole milk paneer, and store bought paneer. The 2% was not very good, it had a decent texture but the flavor was slightly off. The whole milk paneer was by far the best. It had a lovely creamy texture and the best flavor of the three. The store bought paneer was fairly good, it was very firm and almost bland. The only advantage of the store bought paneer was the convienence and consisitency of it.

2. Tomatoes-I need to chop the tomatoes smaller next time. my resulting dish still had recognizable pieces of tomato in it. I think that smaller chunks will result in a much more consistent texture.

3. Spicing- Be sure to have all the spices ready to go at the start. We had most of them ready, but one we forgot about and had to madly grind them up! :laugh:

4. Guests- Invite more people over to try out this dish since it is so good!!!!

Suvir, thank you so much for the help! I cant wait to start experimenting with the other recipes you have posted.

Ben

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

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So I finally made the Mattar Paneer last night!  I am happy to say that it was a success!  It tasted so good, and now that I have cooked it once, I believe I have soaked in a large part of the technique.

A few things I noted/learned

1. Paneer- we tasted it with three kinds of paneer. 2% milk paneer, Whole milk paneer, and store bought paneer.  The 2% was not very good, it had a decent texture but the flavor was slightly off.  The whole milk paneer was by far the best.  It had a lovely creamy texture and the best flavor of the three.  The store bought paneer was fairly good, it was very firm and almost bland.  The only advantage of the store bought paneer was the convienence and consisitency of it.

I love home made paneer. It is creamier, moister, softer and more flavorful. If you want to make paneer salty, you can fry the paneer and then just before serving, simmer it in salted boiling water for 5 minutes. That makes the paneer salty.

What do you mean by consistency of the store bought paneer... how was it different? I find it leathery and chewy while certainly the chunks are perfect squares. I find home made to be much better, you just have to make sure you take great care to slice the paneer chunk more carefully.

Did you try any paneer by itself? What did you think of the flavor?

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2. Tomatoes-I need to chop the tomatoes smaller next time.  my resulting dish still had recognizable pieces of tomato in it.  I think that smaller chunks will result in a much more consistent texture.

Thanks for pointing this out. That was an error. I am sorry. The tomatoes should be finely diced or even pureed.

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