Ever since I came back from India, I’ve been obsessed with paneer dishes. Paneer is a cow’s milk cheese used in many dishes, and I’ve made a number of paneer dishes over the past months. I’ve mostly been using traditional Indian cookbooks, but I came across this chickpea paneer recipe at mydarlinglemonthyme.com. Basically I used the same ingredients but added my spices earlier to release their aromas. I’m especially pleased that can make my own paneer cheese, which I will explain how to do in this recipe.
Chickpea paneer detail on new wave tableware.
At first I went looking for paneer at an Indian grocery store, where the shopkeeper kindly explained to me that none of the grocery stores sell paneer because it is very simple to make at home with milk, lemons and salt. Some people use vinegar instead of lemon juice to curdle the milk, but I find it much tastier with lemon juice.
2 liters of whole, fresh milk (UHT milk will not work!)
2 lemons, juiced
1 tablespoon salt
Bring the milk to a low boil in a pot and turn off the heat. Add the lemon juice and stir. The milk will curdle and form chunks as it separates into curds and whey. Place a cheesecloth or clean piece of fabric in a strainer and pour the curds and whey into it. Let the liquid drain and squeeze the cheesecloth to remove additional liquid from the cheese. You can discard the liquid whey or save it to use in stews and soups. Sprinkle salt on top of the paneer and put it onto a flat plate. Press the cheese into a flat disc and place another plate on top with a weight to compress the paneer. Refrigerate until ready to use. Cut the paneer into squares before adding it to dishes. (Paneer is also delicious plain as a snack). Make sure not to cook paneer very long or it will break apart.
Freshly drained paneer in cheesecloth.
Flattened disc of paneer on a plate, ready to be compressed.
CHICKPEA PANEER CURRY:
2 tablespoons ghee (substitute butter if you have no ghee)
1 onion, peeled and diced
5 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 can of tomato purée (410 gram can)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 serving of paneer, cut into cubes (recipe above)
1/2 cup yoghurt
1 teaspoon chickpea flour
1/2 cup water or whey, more if necessary
chopped cilantro for garnish
Sauté the ghee with onions, garlic, ginger and spices for several minutes.
Add the tomato purée and simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
Mix the yoghurt with the chickpea flour and add with the chickpeas for another five minutes. Add water or whey to keep the mixture liquid.
At the very end, add the paneer cubes and stir lightly. Don’t over cook the paneer or it will crumble apart.
Serve with basmati rice and garnish with fresh cilantro.
Wave bowl and plate, my new favourite tableware!