Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Jain Paneer Mutter Masala

One of my friend's parents are visiting for India, and I had invited them to our house on Saturday. I hat thought of either making Palak paneer and/or kadai paneer for them. On Friday evening, I just casually asked my friend if the parents had any dietary restrictions, and she told me that they don't eat onion and garlic.

Palak paneer in general doesn't need too many spices. Its basic taste comes from garlic, ginger and garam masala. If you omit garlic from it, then it might not taste as good.

Kadai Paneer is a dry dish. I cut onion, bell peppers and paneer in thin long strips and cook it in a combination of spices. So again, if I have to omit the onions, then the dish might not taste as good.

So, I decided to change my  mind and make Paneer Mutter Masala. I make a gravy from cashews, poppy seeds and tomatoes. Since cashew and poppy seeds give this dish rich taste, you don't miss onion or garlic in this dish. (Though regularly, I do add onions to this dish).

Here is the recipe for making Paneer Mutter Masala without using onion or garlic.

2 Tablespoon Oil,
1/2 Teaspoon Asafoetida,
1 Tablespoon Cumin Seeds,
2 Teaspoons Grated Ginger,
1/2 Cup Cashews, Soaked in 1 cup water for 20 minutes minimum,
1/4 Cups Poppy Seeds (Khas-Khas),
3 Tomatoes,
2 Teaspoon Tomato Paste,
1 Cup Water,
2 Cups Paneer, Cut in 1 inch Cubes,
2 Cups Frozen Green Peas,
2 Tablespoon Cilantro, Chopped
1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds Powder,
1/2 Teaspoon Garam Masala,
Salt to Taste,
2 Teaspoons Chili Powder,
1 Teaspoon Sugar (Optional),

Drain the cashews and save the water. With the help of a grinder, grind the cashew along with the poppy seeds. Add the saved water a little at a time to make thick and smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl.

In the same grinder jar/cup, puree the tomatoes. Set aside.

Heat oil in a thick bottom pan.When hot, add the chopped paneer in stir fry the paneer for 2-3 minutes, or until the outside gets golden brown. With a slotted spoon, take out the paneer and place on a paper towel to drain.

In the same oil, add the cumin seeds. When the seeds start to crackle, add the asafoetida. Stir and cook for 30 seconds. Now add the tomato paste, ginger paste and the cashew puree. Stir and mix well. Add some water if needed. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn the stove to low if the mixture starts sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Now add the tomato puree, water, and the dry spices including sugar(if using). Stir to mix well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Now add the peas, paneer cubes and half of the chopped cilantro. Stir to mix well. Add more water if needed. Cook covered on medium flame for about 10 more minutes  Taste test it and adjust the spices/seasonings per your preference, and cook for another 2 minutes if you add spices.

Garnish with the remaining cilantro, and serve hot with paratha.

Sorry. No pictures this time. I forgot to take pictures.

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Anonymous said...

when u put ginger then it is not jain mutter paneer.

Nehal said...

Thanks for the correction. To make it 100% Jain, you can omit the fresh ginger and add 1/2 Teaspoon dried ginger powder instead.

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