Archive for February 2010

Mutter Paneer

February 9, 2010

I was recently listening to WNPR about the “Blizzard of 1978” and while that was over 30 years ago, I still remember the Blizzard of 1978 as if it happened yesterday. Basically, we were expecting some relatives but due to the storm, they were unable to make it. In addition, my husband worked for Pricewaterhouse in Hartford and I was on maternity leave from Arrow Hart at that time with our three month old son. The storm was so bad that then Governor Ella Grasso declared a state of emergency and the state of CT was essentially shut down and we couldn’t go anywhere for at least four or five days if my memory serves me right.

However, despite the storm and inability to travel much, our pantry was well-stocked for the next two months since I did not prefer to do extensive grocery shopping with the baby except for perishable items. That night of the blizzard, I made the paneer (homemade Indian cheese) from scratch. It wasn’t like today where we can simply buy ready-made cubed paneer and a variety of spice blends and sauces. Mutter paneer is a very easy and quick way to make spur-of-the moment meals today with the availability of commercially prepared cubed paneer by simply adding to a variety of sauces (curries).

Here is a simple recipe using the store bought cubed paneer that can be prepared with any combination of prepared choice of sauces (cream-based, coconut or tomato-based) and spices in an Indian kitchen. I often serve mutter paneer with naan or chapati (of course at least a couple of side dishes) and various condiments.

Mutter Paneer
1/2 cup tomato-onion paste or as needed
1 6-ounce paneer, cubed and pan-fried
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bay leaf or cinnamon leaf
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 1/2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1) To prepare this dish simply follow the same steps (#1 and #3) as given for AP Spice Paste posted on August 12, 2007 on Nani’s Indian Cooking Blog.
2) Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup water and bring to a full boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. Add pan-fried paneer and garam masala and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Adjust the seasonings and garnish as needed. This dish is one of the best tasting dishes prepared in advance.

Yield: 4-6 servings.