… Peas with Indian Cottage Cheese.
This is a rich, lip-smacking sauce.
If you use a combination of veggies in this dish, it would go by the restaurant name of Veg Makhanwala or Veg Makhani (Vegetables in a Butter Sauce).
These peas are from our veggie garden, and the paneer is homemade.
You can leave the paneer as it is, broil it, or lightly fry it. Ours is broiled.
If using fresh peas, we like to cook them for no more than five minutes. Frozen peas are already pre-cooked. If using frozen, we like to thaw them for a minute in the microwave, and add them at the end.
The kashmiri chilli powder (paprika is a good substitute) lends a bright colour to the dish.
TIP #1: Replace the peas with baby corn or green peppers, proceed with the recipe. Put one cup of this gravy (make sure it is very thick) on a 12-inch round of pizza dough. Bake at 475 F for 12 minutes or so. It makes a very tasty pizza.
TIP #2: For the authentic “restaurant taste” and texture, get paneer from the freezer shelf of a store, preferably past the expiry date, then deep fry it, cook the peas until they are grey, and garnish with grease.
2 cups cubed cottage cheese (we broiled them, but it’s not necessary)
1 cup green peas
1.5 cups chopped onions
1 tsp chopped ginger
3 cloves chopped garlic
2 tbsps. chopped cashew pieces
one 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes or 3-4 fresh tomatoes
1 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (or paprika)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp regular chilli (cayenne) powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp tandoori masala powder (optional)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 cup low-fat evaporated milk
**or Half and Half, or a combo of milk and cream
1 tsp honey or sugar
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp oil
cilantro, paneer cubes and cooked peas to garnish
1. Boil 1 cup of the onions. We do this in the microwave by adding 1 tsp water and covering the onions. Cook on high for four minutes. Add the 1/2 cup raw onions, ginger, garlic and cashews and grind to a smooth paste without adding water.
2. If using diced tomatoes from a can, puree it. If using fresh tomatoes, dunk them for a minute in boiling water, skin, chop and blend. We need about 1.75 cups.
3. Heat the oil and butter in a deep pan. Add the onion puree, a pinch of salt and kasuri methi. Fry it on a medium flame until the paste turns light brown and starts drying out a bit (7 minutes or so).
4. Add the Kashmiri and regular chilli powders, turmeric and tomato puree. Cook for five minutes on medium.
5. Add the peas. (If using frozen peas, microwave on HIGH for a minute, just to thaw and add them at the very end)
6. Add the cumin, garam masala and tandoori masala powders. Add salt to taste and cook until the mixture becomes a little thicker than the consistency you desire in the final dish.
7. Add the evaporated milk and honey. Stir, taste for salt and seasonings, then add the paneer cubes (save a few for garnish).
8. Heat it through, turn off the flame.
9. Keep it covered for 15 minutes for the flavours to blend together.
We had it with Pudina (Mint) Naans.