Paneer masala or (spicy cottage cheese)

Paneer masala or (spicy cottage cheese)

Ingredients: Serves 2

    • 50 gm. Hard Cottage cheese or Paneer (you can get this at any Indian store. Do not use the one that is available in the refrigerated section of super market, it will just melt in the heat.) 
    • 1 400 gm. can of tomatoes or puree of 4 medium sized ones
    • Tbsp. cooking oil
    • 1½ tsp. Crushed ginger or ginger paste
    • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
    • Spices
    • 1 tsp. chilli powder
    • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
    • 1 tsp. coriander powder
    • ½ tsp. cumin powder
    • 1½ tsp. Garam masala powder
    • Salt to taste
    • Water for cooking

    1. Take a small or medium sized pan and add oil till about 1 cm in depth. Make sure the oil is piping hot before adding the paneer pieces. Shallow fry them until they are golden brown.
    1. Remove in a dish lined with kitchen paper.
    1. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a another large saucepan. Add the ginger paste or grated ginger. Cook for a minute and add cumin seeds. Once the seeds crackle add some asafoetida (optional)
    1. Now add the 400gm can of tomatoes, mash them a bit in the pan to get a smooth paste and cover with a lid. Let everything cook together till the tomatoes reduce to half their size and release some oil from the sides.
    1. Add all the spices except garam masala. Add some mustard powder or mustard paste. Add 2-3 bay leaves. Mix well.
    1. Now add some plain yogurt, if the yogurt is too thick dilute with few tbsp. of water. Mix well and cook while stirring it on low heat. Do not cover. Now add the salt and garam masala powder. Cook for a minute and add the fried paneer pieces.
    1. Check seasoning and add some water to allow everything to cook well and for some gravy. If you are planning on bringing it to lunch, do not thin the gravy too much.
    1. Remove from heat and let it stand for at least 15 minutes covered with the lid before you serve it with rice or roti or bread. 

I make this the night before and put it in the fridge once it’s cooled. Transfer in plastic containers and you can bring it to work with some rice or bread.