I love cooking curries – especially for Mrs Romance. Over the next few Wednesdays I’ll be telling you how I cook my favourite Indian dishes in our curry series. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
When you think of Indian food, the first thought probably isn’t going to be cheese. I know it wasn’t for me… until I discovered paneer.
Paneer is a soft yet firm cheese and very light in flavour. It’s more like a curd and is somewhere between fetta or haloumi and tofu in texture. On menus, you’ll often see it described as Indian cottage cheese, which sounds gross.
But it’s got a lovely delicate flavour and is really easy to cook with. You can either cut it into cubes or crumble it, the same way you do with fetta, I suppose.
This dish is pretty easy, but it can take a while to seal the edges of all the cubes of paneer but this can be done ahead of time.
Paneer and mushroom tandoori
Serves 6 – takes about 30mins
- 3tbs Monika tandoori curry paste
- 400g mushrooms – sliced
- 400g paneer Indian cheese – cut into large cubes
- 1 brown onion – chopped
- 1 clove of garlic – finely chopped
- 1tsp coriander seeds
- 1tsp cumin seeds
- 1tsp curry powder – I used Keen’s
- 1tbs oil/ghee – I used coconut oil
Here’s what you do:
- Toast the coriander seeds and half the cumin seeds in a pan then grind them in a pestle and mortar.
- Heat the oil then add the cumin and coriander powder and remaining cumin seeds in the oil and add a little of the tandoori paste too.
- Put the paneer in the pan curry paste and seal the outside the same way you’d seal meat. Remove the cheese and drain.
- Cook the mushrooms in the pan – they’ll release quite a bit of water. Remove them and drain the pan.
- Add more oil, the onions, garlic, curry powder and tandoori paste and cook until the onions are a little soft.
- Add the mushrooms and paneer and stir thoroughly. The longer you can leave this one the better – even in the fridge overnight.
- The paneer will absorb a lot more of the flavours.
- Add a tablespoon of tomato puree if you like, and add a bit of water too if the sauce is too thick.
If cooking the cubes of paneer is too labour intensive, try crushing the cheese and crumbling it into the curry paste in step 3.
You could also make this dish with spinach – saag paneer is a classic Indian dish you see quite often in restaurants.
Paneer and mushroom tandoori freezes well thanks to the firmness of the paneer. The longer you leave this one, the better it gets. The paneer soaks up flavour indefinitely and the mushrooms give a lovely savoury edge to the dish.
This curry – like all the curries in our series – is gluten free!
Have you tried paneer before? Do you prefer to cube or crumble it into dishes?