Pea Curry with Indian Paneer

Paneer is a low-fat Indian cheese, similar to ricotta but drier. It's often combined with peas in a curry.

Number of servings : 4

Prep time: 15 minutes + 45 minutes draining + 3 hours pressing

Cooking time: About 20 minutes

Type of meal : | Main Courses | Main Courses

Special diet : | Low fat | Vegetarian


2 1/2 cups whole milk
6 tablespoons lemon juice

Pea and Tomato Curry
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 inch piece fresh ginger, minced
1 fresh green chile, seeded, deveined and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, crushed
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon garam masala or curry powder
2 large, firm tomatoes, quartered
2 cups frozen peas
300 g spinach leaves
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro


  1. First make the paneer. Put the milk into a large saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low and add the lemon juice. Stir until the milk separates into curds and whey, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  2. Line a large sieve or colander with cheesecloth, and set over a large bowl. Pour the milk mixture into the lined sieve or colander. Leave to drain until cool, about 15 minutes.
  3. Bring together the corners of the cheesecloth to make a bundle around the drained curds. Squeeze them, then leave to drain until all the whey has dripped though the sieve into the bowl, about 30 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the whey.
  4. Keep the curds wrapped in the cheesecloth and place on a board. Set another board on top and press down to flatten the ball shape into an oblong block. Place cans or weights on top and leave in a cool place until firm, about 3 hours.
  5. Carefully peel off the cheesecloth. Cut the cheese into 1/4 inch squares. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Fry the paneer until golden, 1 to 2 minutes on each side. As the pieces brown, remove from the pan with a draining spoon; set aside.
  6. To make the curry, heat the remaining oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger and continue sautéing 1 minute. Stir in the chile, coriander and cumin seeds, turmeric and garam masala. Cook 1 minute longer, stirring constantly.
  7. Stir in the tomatoes, the reserved whey and a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and simmer 5 minutes.
  8. Add the peas and return the curry to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover again, and simmer 5 minutes longer. Add the spinach, stirring it in gently so you do not breakup the tomatoes too much. Simmer until the spinach wilts and the peas are hot and tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
  9. Stir in most of the cilantro. Transfer the curry to a serving dish and scatter the paneer on top. Spoon the curry over the paneer to warm it, then sprinkle with the rest of the cilantro.

Nutritional information: