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Old 03-21-2006, 09:17 AM   #1
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Mattar Paneer help

I found an ethnic grocery that has packaged indian paneer. The packaging says in English "Indian curd cheese". I love mattar paneer and would like to make it at home, but the idea of making the cheese has always been daunting. (Yakuta... are you out there????) Is this by any chance the same cheese used in mattar paneer? Also, any recipes for the entire dish would be wonderful.

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Old 03-21-2006, 10:21 AM   #2
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Hi velochic, yes that is most likely paneer (or Indian cheese). It is actually pretty simple to make mattar paneer granted you have some basic spices or curry powder at your disposal.

You will need paneer (I make mine at home and if you are interested I can post a simple recipe)
2 cups of fresh or frozen peas (depending on your preference)
1 large onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely minced
1/2 stick of ginger finely grated
1 tsp of jeera (cumin seeds)
1 tbsp of curry powder (seems like a lot but you need it for flavor)
1 green chilli chopped (if you like it hot)
1/2 cup of sour cream or cream
2 large tomatoes finely diced
salt to taste
cilantro for garnish
3 tbsp of oil and then another 2-3 tbsp to lightly fry the paneer

In a saute pan add the 5 tbsp of oil and heat it on moderate heat. Meanwhile cut the paneer into small cubes carefully without breaking them. Lightly pan fry the paneer in the oil until it's lightly browned on one side. Then carefully flip it and lightly brown it on the other side. Remove and blot on a paper towel.

In another saute pan use 2tbsp of oil or you can use the oil left over from frying the paneer. Once the oil is hot add the cumin seeds and toast them a bit. Next add the chilli and onions and saute until the onions are translucent and lightly brown. Next add the garlic, ginger and curry powder and saute it for a few more minutes. Now add the tomatoes and a cup of water and cover and let it cook until the gravy releases oil. You sometimes have to use elbow grease. Now you will be left with a lumpy gravy. Add another cup of water to it, followed by the cream, peas and paneer. Cover and let it simmer for another 30 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve with bread or rice of your choice.
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Old 03-21-2006, 10:30 AM   #3
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sounds wonderful! I love Indian cuisine.
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Old 03-21-2006, 11:52 AM   #4
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I knew you'd be along to help me, Yakuta!! :)

Couple of questions... do I seed the tomatoes? Can I puree the mixture before adding the peas, etc. to get a smoother consistency? Is there anything else that makes it hot other than the chiles? I like it hot. :)

Thanks!!!
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Old 03-21-2006, 12:56 PM   #5
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You can puree the tomatoes or dice them superfine. You don't need to seed them. I normally like to use elbow grease to fry them with the onions in the oil so that it is reduced to pulp. That is traditionally the way we make Indian gravies. Sauteeing is the way gravies get a deep rich color. We normally don't blend anything to make it smooth but just saute it and amazingly the tomatoes and onions will almost disintegrate and become smooth on their own.

To make it hot you can add chilli powder along with a few green chillies. To make it look pretty you can wash the chillies and slit them in the middle and just drop them in the gravy. They look pretty and add the perfect amount of spice. If you are like my husband who loves spicy food, you can eat those chillies along with the peas and paneer.
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Old 03-25-2006, 09:15 PM   #6
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Am I being naive here? I have been making what I thought was paneer to use in curries for some years now. It is simply yogurt put into a clean pop-sock and allowed to drain for several hours.

If you want to make paneer dishes then add all the necessary bits and pieces, but the curd cheese is made as I have suggested.
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Old 03-28-2006, 06:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by advoca
Am I being naive here? I have been making what I thought was paneer to use in curries for some years now. It is simply yogurt put into a clean pop-sock and allowed to drain for several hours.

If you want to make paneer dishes then add all the necessary bits and pieces, but the curd cheese is made as I have suggested.
Yakuta can confirm this, but my Indian friends tell me that authenic indian paneer is whole milk and and acid (lemons usually, or limes can be used), not yogurt.
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Old 03-30-2006, 09:46 AM   #8
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Yes Paneer is made by taking whole milk and bringing it to a boil. Then curdling it with an acid. I prefer to use vinegar. Then let it stand until the milk curds are thoroughly formed and then seiving it in a cheese cloth. Then squeeze out the water from the cheesecloth and place it in a tray with a weight on it ( I like to use my cast iron gratin dish). Leave it overnight and then cut it into strips and then into small peices and you are all set.
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Old 03-30-2006, 07:55 PM   #9
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My son has just pointed out that when he makes curry he uses whole milk and the method mentioned by Yakuta. (He learned how to do this in Bradford, England, a city heavily populated with Indians and Pakistanis, while a student at University there) He has chided me for cheating by using yogurt and told me firmly this is why my curries do not taste a nice as his.

I hide my head im shame.
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Old 04-01-2006, 06:50 PM   #10
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I use Yakuta's method as well, but have only tried it with lemon juice. What is the difference between using lemon juice or vinegar? Is it just a taste preference or is there a texture difference as well?

The only problem I've run into with my homemade paneer has been when I've tried to fry/saute it - it tends to stick to the pan & doesn't hold it's shape.
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