Oh how I love winters!? Yeah, those regular here must be raising an eyebrow at my statement since my previous ‘winter posts’, claim otherwise. They excite me for reasons best known to foodies…the produce. I am heavily biased towards the winter veggies rather than the fruits – the mustard greens, spinach, peas, turnips, radish, fenugreek greens, carrots…oh I could write an ode to the nature’s winter bounty and sing paeans about it. Yeah, I got somewhat carried away. Don’t get me wrong, I love summers too but mostly for its luscious juicy fruits; veggies I am not too fond of. Today I bring to you a humble yet classic Punjabi dish, Matar Paneer (Green Peas and Cottage Cheese Curry) but in a bhurjee style i.e. scrambled way. It was, is and always will be amongst my top ten favourite dishes. This dish used to be a regular feature in my lunch pack to school and it reminds me of those simpler times when everything about life looked promising and rosy. This dish too seems to belong to those simpler times…completely unpretentious. The dish does not rely on ‘heavy’ curry or whole garam masala and neither does it get weighed down by addition of any cream or butter which is typical of Punjabi cuisine. Don’t be fooled by its humble appearance; it is packed with flavours. It also happens to be versatile in the sense that it can be served as a curry with chapatti or served with toasted bread for breakfast and even used as filling for making jaffles (after all the liquid has been absorbed by the paneer).
You would need
1½ C Crumbled Paneer
1½ tbsp Oil
¼ tsp Cumin Seeds
1/3 C finely chopped Onion
¾ tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
1 Green Chili, finely chopped
Red chili powder to taste
Salt to taste
½ tsp Garam Masala
3 – 4 tbsp Milk (or as required)
1 tbsp chopped, fresh Cilantro
Dash of lemon (if required)
Take a pan and put it on medium heat. Add oil to the pan and when it becomes hot (not smoking) add cumin seeds. When they begin to crackle, tip in the onions. Sauté till the onions become translucent. Add the chopped green chilies and ginger garlic paste and add two tablespoons of water to prevent it from sticking or burning. Sauté till the paste becomes aromatic. Reduce the heat and add salt, red chili powder and garam masala. Mix well and add crumbled paneer. Add milk to soften the paneer and cook for half a minute more. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve. Add a dash of lime if you wish to. Easy peasy quick n healthy!
Note: If you intend to serve the bhurjee with chapatti, add a little whey (from paneer) or water and a few table spoons more of milk to loosen/ soften the paneer. And if serving as a topping/ spread with bread, this much amount of milk would suffice. Adjust the consistency to how you would prefer to serve it. The first and last pic will give you an idea what I am talking about.
Note: Some people prefer to use a little turmeric to the curry along with other spices when they wish serve it with chapatti. I guess it has more to do with the color than taste.
You may also like to check out these spreads/ toppings for your toasted bread,
Cilantro Egg Mayo Sandwich (Egg Salad)
Methi Makai Matar Malai (Creamy Peas & Corn w/ Fenugreek)
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