Friday, June 11, 2010

Paneer Chatpata (Cottage Cheese in tangy tomato base)

By now you must have all guessed how much of a Paneer freak I am. I can have Paneer for every day of the week and still not get tired of it. Paneer is easy to make at home, thus reducing the dependancy on departmental stores. Most of the cottage cheese in packets that we buy from outside are sour by the time you cook them. Amul Frozen Paneer is good though, and I have kept it for 2 weeks and it still was soft when cooked. Obviously that also means that a good amount of preservatives have been added. I tried Hatsun Paneer very recently and that was soft and not sour too.

The best way to make paneer is at home. Boil milk and as it rises, add lemon juice, curd or vinegar to curdle it. Strain the water and collect the paneer. You could use the scrambled form to make Paneer Burji or hang it in a muslin cloth to drain and then roll it tightly into a shape that you could cut later.

Paneer Chatpata is christened by me. I learnt this recipe from my friend J's mom. She just called it Paneer Subji. But then I thought it was boring to post a recipe for Paneer Subji. I also have made some variations to her recipe (a.k.a - add peas and tomato puree, cook in refined oil instead of vanaspati). I'll tell you how to make it.

  1.  Paneer - 300 gms
  2. Onions - 5-6
  3. Tomatoes - 7-8
  4. Ginger Garlic Paste - 2 tsp
  5. Jeera - 1 tsp
  6. Chilly Powder - 1 tsp
  7. Dhania Powder - 1 tsp
  8. Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
  9. Garam Masala - 1 tsp
  10. Salt to taste
  11. Oil/Vanaspati - 3-4 tblsp
  12. Green Peas (Optional) - 1 cup
  13. Channa Masala (Optional) - 1 cup
  14. Cashew paste (optional) - 3 tblsp
  15. Cream/Milk (optional) - 1 cup

  1. Grind the onions and tomatoes to a fine paste without adding water.
  2. Fry the Paneer pieces in oil/ghee (optional)
  3. Heat Vanaspati/Oil in a pan and splutter jeera.
  4. Add the ground onion-tomato paste & ginger garlic paste and let it cook till the water evaporates. You could keep it covered so that it does not splutter all over your kitchen walls.
  5. Add turmeric, chilly and corriander powders and channa masala (if you are using it ) and cook till it becomes completely dry.
  6. Add salt, paneer, peas (if you are using it), cashew paste (if you are using it) and mix well.
  7. Leave on low flame for the spices to mix with Paneer.
  8. This is ready to be served as it is. In case you want a little more gravy consistency, you could add i cup of cream or milk.
  9. If you are adding cream or milk, wait till the above dish is completely cooled and then mix it.
  10. Place it back on the stove after mixing and cook on low till it is about to boil and take off from the gas stove.

  Note: This dish is best had when it is completely dry. You could roll it inside roti's and pack as a roll for lunch. Easy when you are travelling, you wouldn't have to worry about spilling gravy or having a messy lunch.

Try making this, you could try variations like adding methi, potatoes etc instead of paneer. The whole essence of this dish is that it is prepared without a drop of water.

Tastes yummy. Thank you J aunty for this wonderful recipe.

Try it and have fun.

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