Mutter Paneer or Green Peas with Cottage Cheese in thick red gravy

I frequent restaurants a lot and the challenge often has been to make what i cook at home appear as appetising in looks as they manage to do. I know i manage the taste part well but have often failed in the looks department. This recipe is after a lot of trials and a lot of various combinations. I admit i could have checked a cookery website but the idea of doing this on my own did have its own charm.

Ingredients

Green Peas fresh or frozen – 200 gms

Cottage Cheese or Paneer – 200 gms cut into cubes

Onions 3 nos cut roughly

Tomatoes – 2 nos cut roughly

Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 heaped tbsp

Degghi Mirch or Kashmir Chilli Powder – 3 tsp

Turmeric powder – 1 tsp

Coriander powder – 1 tsp

Cumin Seeds or Jeera – 1 tsp

Cumin Powder or Jeera Powder – 1 tsp

Any Oil – 3 tbsp

Salt to taste

Method

Heat 1 tbsp oil in the pan. Put the cumin seeds and as they sputter add onions and fry them until they turn pink and transluscent. Then add the tomatoes and add 1/2 tsp salt and mix well. Cover and cook for about 2 minutes or until the tomatoes are well cooked. Remove from the flame , add 1 tsp of the Kashmiri Chilli powder and mix well. Allow this mixture to cool and then blend it to form a fine paste.

Next…in the same pan …heat 1 tbsp oil, add the turmeric powder and the kasmiri chilli powder once the oil heats and mix it well. Take care that you do it on a low flame so that the spice doesnt burn. Alternatively…remove from flame and mix the spices. Then add the blended onion tomato mix to this . Keep on a medium flame and cook this mixture till the water completely evaporates and the mix has a bright red texture after it is almost dry. Now add half a cup of water and the jeera powder and coriander powder and the green peas. Once again mox well and cover and cook for 3-4 minutes on a medium flame until the green peas are soft and mushy. Now add the paneer and another spoon of kashmiri red chilli powder and cover and cook for abput 5-6 minutes.

Add 1 tbsp of oil in a tempering pan and when the oil is hot add a tsp of garam masala into it , mix well with the oil , add immediately to the gravy and stir well. Do not burn the masala. Cover and cook for 2 minutes so that the flavour and the aroma of the garam masala permeates into the curry. Remove from the flame

Sprinkle with coriander leaves or cilantro and serve hot with chapatis , phulkas , or any bread.

You will notice that i have used Kashmiri Chilli Powder here instead of regular chilli powder. This is because this gives a much brighter red colour to the dish without being as hot as a regular chilli ppwder. I would still put the heat quotient of this dish between low to medium but you are free to adjust the spice levels to your taste. The trick is how well you cooke the onions and tomatoes at the start and the chilli powder to get the reataurant like colour.

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