Monday, June 02, 2008 2:11 PM
Recipe for Malai Mutter Paneer
I'm a bit busy today, but I thought it might be fun to share in my blog a recipe that I've prepared. I created this recipe after constantly ordering it at my favorite Indian restaurant. It is no longer on the menu and I've modified it over time, but here is it's current incarnation.
This dish is a slightly sweet, slightly spiced, and highly aromatic dish. AWESOME! It is simple to prepare, especially if you have a good curry and Panner on hand. I've included links to both recipes. This is NOT a healthy dish, as obvious by the loads of butter and half and half. I'm working on a lower-fat version, but for now I simply say enjoy it but not too much of it.
This dish is Punjabi in origin (Northern India/Eastern Pakistan.) I don't know how authentic it is here, simply because I've created it from my palate, not from a recipe.
3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 Cups of Cashew Halves (unsaltted)
2 Cups of Fresh English Peas, shelled
4 cups sliced mushrooms (button mushrooms are fine, shitake mushrooms great)
4 Tbsp curry paste (See my Curry Paste recipe)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
4 Cups Half-and-Half
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
Fresh Paneer, from ½ gallon milk (See my Paneer recipe)
Salt to taste
Cut Paneer into 1-inch cubes. Set aside.
Clean leeks well to remove grit and thinly slice the white “bulbs”, discarding green tops. Clean and slice mushrooms. Remove stems and threads from peas.
In a sauté pan, heat oil over high heat. Add cashews, mushrooms, and fresh peas. Sauté quickly for 2-3 minutes until mushrooms are slightly browned. Reduce heat to medium. Add curry paste, tomato paste, and half of the butter. Stir as butter melts, incorporating both pastes thoroughly.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add Half-and-half and remaining butter. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the cashews are no longer crunchy and the peas are beginning to burst, add the Paneer cubes. Simmer on low heat for another 10 minutes as the liquid reduces and thickens.
Salt to taste before serving. Serve hot with exotic rice.
Tips from my experience: (1) To make a Vegan version, use firm tofu instead of Paneer and use replace Half-and-half with coconut milk. A thickening agent may be needed. (2) Add dried currants, dried mangoes, golden raisins, or dried pineapple for a new flavor. (3) Because the liquid reduces significantly and flavors become concentrated, add salt AT THE END of the simmering. Expect to add less salt if you use salted butter and/or salted cashews. 4) I replaced the cashews once with macadamia nuts...beautiful! But add the nuts when you add the cheese. They are naturally softer than cashews and require less cooking. 5) Use fresh peas when possible. I use peas that are bitter when raw, but become sweet when cooked. Frozen peas can be used, but add the peas when you add the Paneer. Under no circumstances use canned peas. Please! You palate will thank you. Canned mushrooms are fine, but be aware of the added salt and adjust salt accordingly.