Understated, warm paneer curry with flavours of ginger, ghee and garam masala. Rich and comforting without being flashy.
Paneer is a late entrant to the Bengali food scene; Bengal is more fond of its chhana (chhena). Paneer’er dalna (Bengali paneer curry with potatoes and peas) is infused with the flavours of ginger, cumin, garam masala and ghee. This recipe also uses capsicum, which imparts a lovely peppery aroma to the dish. Here, fresh cubes of homemade paneer are shallow-fried and then added to the curry and cooked until they are soft and juicy. This is a very quick paneer recipe, that is prepared using no onion or garlic and is served with rice and dal, or with a light vegetable polao or luchi.
COOKING TIME 45 minutes
YIELDS 6 servings
CALORIES 307 kcal per portion
|400 g||Paneer (3-cm cubes)|
|25 g||Vegetable oil (for frying paneer)|
|15 g||Mustard oil (for cooking)|
|3 pcs||Bay leaves|
|2 pcs||Dried red chillies|
|½ tsp||Cumin seeds|
|150 g||Potatoes (3-cm cubes)|
|30 g||Peas (blanched)|
|40 g||Capsicum (2-cm squares)|
|40 g||Ginger paste|
|4 g||Turmeric powder|
|2 g||Kashmiri red chilli powder|
|4 g||Cumin powder|
|4 pcs||Green chillies (slit)|
|¼ tsp||Garam masala|
- Boiling pot
- Jhuri | colander
- Kadai | frying pan
- Khunti | long spatula
- Divide the paneer into 3-cm cubes and smear it with ¼ tsp each of salt and turmeric. Heat a flat frying pan on medium heat. Once the pan is completely hot, add a millimetre of oil. Wait until the oil heats up fully and then place the paneer cubes in it in a single layer. Ensuring that the pan and oil are both hot will prevent the paneer from sticking to the pan. After about 45 seconds, flip the cubes and fry their opposite surfaces until they are golden. Fry just two of the surfaces, as frying all round will make the paneer rubbery and won’t allow absorption of curry later on. Remove from the oil and set aside.
- Peel and chop potatoes in 3-cm cubes. Cut the capsicum in 2-cm squares.
- Heat 15 g mustard oil in a kadai until it starts smoking and changes colour to a pale yellow. Temper the oil with dried red chillies, bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and cumin seeds.
- Once the whole spices start crackling, add the potatoes. Cover and fry them on medium heat until the turn slightly golden (about 4 minutes).
- Meanwhile, make a paste with ginger, cumin powder, kashmiri red chilli powder, turmeric powder, and 100 g water. Add it to the pan and cook it along with the potatoes until the smell of raw spices is gone. This should take about 6 minutes. If you find that the spices have dried out, add a splash of hot water and continue frying.
- Add capsicum and 3 slit green chillies. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes until the capsicum softens.
- Whip the yoghurt until it is lump-free. Lower the heat and add it to the pan. Stir quickly prevent the yoghurt from splitting. Cook uncovered for 2 minutes.
- Add the blanched peas (if you’re using raw peas, add them along with the potatoes earlier on) and sugar, and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Now add 250 g hot water to the pan. This will form the curry. Once it comes to a boil, drop the chunks of fried paneer in it. Bubble on medium heat for about 6 minutes until the curry thickens.
- Garnish with garam masala, ghee, and a slit green chilli. Cover the pan and rest it for 2 minutes before serving.