Paneer and Veggies in tomato gravy.

The first food blog that I came across when I was searching for paneer kurma was Nupur's. so when the lovely zlamushka announced the tried and tasted event I wanted to say a thank u properly for inspiring me to start a food blog of my own. Being a south indian, to me kurma will always be associated to a coconut based curry and though I have modified the original recipe by Nupur a bit I could not bring myself to call this dish a kurma and hence this new name.  

If you're like me, the very word paneer (Indian cheese) makes your mouth water, bringing to your mind visions of soft and luscious white chunks. It is also referred as cottage cheese; this versatile ingredient is as easy to make fresh at home as to find in the market. However, when the paneer is store bought always ensure you settle on the lump that appears milky white and soft (press lightly to check). Also take a sniff to verify its freshness. Even though it is better to make your own paneer at home I simply just can't resist stacking this multipurpose ingredient in the refrigerator but before using it making sure that you thaw the paneer at room temperature and put in warm water to soften it. 

I would say that my ventures in making paneer at home so far have not been successful. It would either be too hard and chewy or the paneer would just crumple after putting it in the dish. But I came across this wonderful blog by Indira who explains the making of paneer in a very simple way.

What you need:
Paneer, cut into cubes – 200 gm
Carrots, large – 1
French beans – 6-7
Peas – ½ cup
Onion, big - 1
Tomatoes – 4
Green chilly – 1
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
Cashew nuts – 10
Khus-khus (poppy seeds) – 1 tbsp
Chilli powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Garam masala powder – 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil – 4 tbsp.
Kasuri methi – 1 tsp (optional)
Cream – 2 tbsp (optional)
Shallow fry the paneer cubes with little oil till they turn golden brown and put them in warm water. This is to keep the paneer soft and not to become chewy. Cut the carrots and french beans into finger length size. Pressure cook the cut carrots, French beans and the peas for one whistle duration.

In a little warm water soak the khus-khus for 10 minutes and along with cashew nuts grind it to a fine paste. Cut onion and 1 tomato into large cubes. Make the remaining 3 tomatoes into puree in a mixie jar.

What to do:
In a kadai heat the remaining oil and add the cubed onions and sauté them till the become translucent. Now add the ginger garlic paste and toss them around with the onions till the raw smell disappears.

Add the tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes become a little mushy. At this stage add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, garam masala powder and sauté for 5 minutes.

Add the tomato puree, cooked vegetables and the khus-khus cashew paste and add enough water (around 2 cups) and get it to a boil. Add the salt and fried paneer cubes and cook covered for 10 minutes. Before taking this off the fire add the crushed kasuri methi to the gravy. Add the cream as it lends extra richness to the recipe. Serve hot with Rotis.

The next time when I made this recipe I didn't have enough tomatoes to make the puree and so I used 1/4 cup tomato sauce diluted it with 3/4 cup water and used instead of the tomato puree. It tasted even better. Thank you once again Nupur for sharing this lovely recipe with all of us.

A big hug and thank U to Zlamushka for hosting this event and giving me an oppurtunity to say thank U to Nupur though I have never commented on any of her posts. But her photos are all awesome and her knitting just rocks for a beginner.

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