Home-made fresh paneer in fresh tomato sauce
Paneer is a type of fresh cheese, and the most common type of cheese used in Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, alternatively called chhana, a versatile vegetarian, protein rich ingredient that can be used both savoury (cooked in butter masala, made with spinach called Palak paneer, made with peas called Mattar paneer, placed on skewers and roasted) and sweet (rasgulla, rasmalai). Panner with tomato is another great combination, enriched with herbs and spices, makes a wonderful meal.
You will need (feeds 2 to 3):
fresh home-made paneer (made of 2 l unhomogenized milk)
2 fat cloves of garlic
1 cm fresh ginger
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp whole coriander seeds
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
4 to 6 dried methi (fenugreek leaves)
1 + 1 tbsp ghee
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
500 g ripe tomatoes
For the paneer you will need:
2 l whole milk unhomogenized (raw milk is best)
1 bigger lemon's juice, filtered
1. Put the milk into a pot and gently bring to boil on medium heat, stirring occasionally.
2. When the milk has reached boiling point and bubbles nicely, add the lemon juice in a thin stream. The whey separates and the milk protein comes together.
3. Take the pot off the heat. Line a big enough sieve with cheese cloth and drain the paneer. Let it drip and cool down a bit so you can handle.
4. Close the cheese cloth and squeeze out the excess whey. Form into a ball. Put paneer into a steamer (or something with wholes so the whey can continue to drain), and put some weight on top (a bowl with water for example), and let it rest for 2 to 3 hours.
5. Unwrap and dice.
To prepare the paneer in tomato sauce:
1. Drop tomatoes into boiling water and boil for 2 to 3 mins. Take them out, let them cool down. Peel off the skin and mash with fork, discard the tomato cores. If you do not want seeds in your tomato sauce push mashed tomato through a sieve.
2. Heat a large enough pan to medium, add cumin and coriander seeds. When the firsts start to pop pour seeds out and set aside. When the seeds are cooled down crush them in a mortar.
3. Add ghee to the pan, then the diced paneer and lightly brown. Use a wooden spatula so the paneer don't stick to the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
4. Finely chop the garlic and ginger, add them to the pan with a bit of ghee. Let them soften for a minute or two.
5. Add toasted cumin and coriander powder, black mustard seeds and mashed tomato. Brig to boil. Add turmeric and methi. Reduce to simmer, cover with a lid and gently cook for 2 to 3 mins.
6. Add diced panner and gently cook for 10 to 12 more mins.
7. Serve hot with basmati rice. Enjoy!
Allergy: Dairy, Mustard. No gluten. No egg. No nut.
More Indian recipes:
Green pea biryani (GF, V+)
Chickpea and potato curry (GF, V+)
Cauliflower curry (GF, V+)