Paneer & fresh pigeon peas Curry

This is a tangy and flavourful coconut-based curry. It is very simple to prepare and can be served with plain boiled rice. If fresh pigeon peas are not available, you can use fresh or frozen green peas instead.


Serves 4 to 6

½ cup/90g fresh pigeon peas
12-15 dried Kashmiri red chillies
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
4-6 black peppercorns
1 tablespoon peeled and coarsely grated fresh ginger
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 small garlic cloves, peeled and slightly crushed
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup/100g grated fresh coconut
½ teaspoon de-seeded tamarind chunk
2 medium onions, finely chopped
Salt to taste
250g paneer (Indian cottage cheese), cut into 1-inch/2.5-cm cubes

1. Place the pigeon peas with 2 cups/500ml water in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until tender, about 40 minutes.

2. Separately roast the red chillies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, black peppercorns and ginger until fragrant, adding a few drops of oil as needed. Transfer to a bowl. Finally, roast the garlic cloves, adding a few drops of oil , until golden. Transfer to the bowl. Let cool to room temperature.

3. Place all the roasted ingredients, turmeric, coconut and tamarind in an electric blender. Add 1 cup/250 ml water and blend until smooth.

4. Place the remaining oil and onions in a pan, and cook, stirring frequently, over medium-low heat until the onions are well browned. Add the ground coconut with additional 1½ cups/375ml water and salt and bring to a boil.

5. Add the paneer and cooked pigeon peas, along with the cooking liquid. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or so, until the paneer is cooked, stirring frequently. Taste and add extra salt if necessary. Remove from the heat.

6. Serve hot.

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