Paneer Bhurjee with English Peas

By Floyd Cardoz
August 28, 2018
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Author Notes: Every time a guest enters one of my restaurants, I want them to feel as though they are coming into an Indian home. I want them to enjoy the vibrant flavors, spices, and fresh ingredients, my friends and I grew up eating. This stir fry of soft paneer and peas, with a masala (which basically just means "mix") of tomatoes, onion, ginger, garlic, and spices, incorporates all of those elements. The trick for me is to get the paneer (I make it home made using organic milk) soft and creamy, so that it folds in with the other elements—fresh-cut chilies, blanched English peas, and herbs—of the dish. I like to serve it with a slice of bread or piece of a baguette, but you can also eat it with a roti, naan, or pita bread. Floyd Cardoz

Serves: 6

For the onion masala with English peas:

  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 3 cups freshly diced onions
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons freshly minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon cumin, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups blanched English peas
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chilies, sliced
  • Homemade paneer (recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chiffonade
  • 1/4 cup mint chiffonade
  1. Place a large sauté pan over moderate heat and add the canola oil.
  2. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they pop like popcorn.
  3. Add the onions and continue to cook over moderate heat until they cook down and start to caramelize.
  4. Add the ginger and garlic to the pan, cooking for about 4 minutes.
  5. Ad the cumin, cayenne, and turmeric and cook for 2 minutes. Then, add the tomatoes and cook until the entire mixture thickens. Season with salt, to taste. (This mixture can be pre-made and kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)
  6. Stir in the English peas and fresh chilies, combining until they heat up in the mixture.
  7. Finally, stir in the homemade paneer, mint, and cilantro. Mix well and season with salt, to taste. Serve with crusty bread.

For the homemade paneer:

  • 1 gallon organic whole fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/2 cup lime or lemon juice
  • 3 cups ice
  1. In a large pan, slow bring the milk to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once the milk is boiling, stir in the salt.
  2. Add the lime juice gradually, gently stirring to curdle the milk. Once the curd separates, let cook for 1 minute.
  3. Shock the mixture with ice, then drain into a single layer of cheese cloth. The paneer should be soft, moist, and creamy. (For firmer paneer: Drain it for longer. For solid paneer: Place it into a muslin cloth and into a paneer mold; press it with a lid and put a water-filled jar or bowl on top to apply pressure; remove the paneer from the mold after 1-2 hours.)
  4. If you don't plan on using the paneer right away, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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