Channa aur simla mirch and Matar Paneer – One New Recipe A Week

Or Fried Chick Peas and Peppers and Peas and Cheese in Tomato Sauce…

Have to be honest – this is i suppose another guest post by my OH who made these dishes for dinner a couple of weeks after we moved into our new house (5 weeks ago now!) and have either been unpacking/knackered/watching the Olympics in recent weeks (Team GB has 22 Golds at time of writing this – Amazing!) so haven’t got round to adding it. Which is remiss of me because both dishes were absolutely gorgeous and were again from rediscovered favourite The Hare Krishna Book of Vegetarian Cooking. It took only half an hour or so to make both dishes and were served with plain white basmati rice.

So both recipes just taken from the book and any comments in italics:

Channa aur simla mirch (Fried Chick peas and peppers)
1 1/2 cups (250g) chick-peas (we used a tin of chick peas)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs ghee or vegetable oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 or 2 fresh chillies, minced (these were just chopped up)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger (dried is fine)
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp asafetida
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch (1.5cm) pieces
1 medium-sized tomato, washed and chopped (optional)
2 medium-sized tomatoes, washed and cut into 8 wedges each

Soak the chick-peas overnight in water to double their volume (or just use tinned chick peas). Drain them and put them into a pot. Add enough water to cover them by about 3 inches (7.5cm) and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove any froth that has collected on top, cover and gently simmer over medium-low het for 40 minutes to 1 hour, until chick peas are tender. Then drain off the water (save 1/2 cup – 125ml – if you plan to make a sauce) (IGNORE all this if you’re using tinned chick peas instead).
Over medium heat, heath the ghee or vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry the cumin seeds. Then add the minced chilli and ginger. Add the turmeric and asafetida and then follow immediately with the cut pepper. Turn the pieces of pepper with a spoon. When they appear soft and browned, add the drained chick-peas and stir for 3 minutes. Then add the remaining salt. If you would like a sauce, add the water you saved or 1 chopped tomato and cook 5 minutes more. (The 2 medium-szed tomatoes are to be served as garnish)

Matar Paneer (Peas and cheese in tomato sauce)

(You can adjust the thickness of the sauce to your taste by varying the amount of water. Thin, it goes well with rice, thick with chapatis).

8oz (225g) Paneer (Indian cheese now widely available in supermarkets- though you could use any decent hard cheese like cheddar)
ghee or vegetable oil for deep frying (sort-of optional)
4 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tbs ghee
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 or 2 fresh chillies, seeded and minced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp asafetida
1lb (450g) fresh peas shelled (we used frozen peas)
2/3 cup (150ml) water
6 tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp garam masala

Knead the paneer well until it is smooth and soft. Then, form it into grape sized balls and deep fry them in ghee or vegetable oil until they are crisp and golden-brown. (NB – if using supermarket bought paneer, you don’t need to do this – OH just cuts the block of paneer – see pic – and just frys in a little ghee rather than deep fry). Remove them from the ghee with a slotted spoon and drop them into a solution of 3 teaspoons of salt, 2 teaspoons of turmeric and 2 cups of warm water or whey. Let them soak while you go on to the next step (NB – you don’t really need to do this either…)
In a medium sized saucepan, heath the 2 tablespoons of ghee over medium heat. Then add the cumin seeds, followed by the minced chillies and grated giner. When the cumin seeds are browned (in about 30 to 45 seconds) toss in the asafetida, the remaining turmeric and a few seconds later the peas. Now add the water, cover the pan, and cook the peas until they are tender. Add the tomatoes and cheese balls (paneer chunks). Cook over the same medium heat for 5 more minutes. Just before serving, add a generous squeeze of lemon, and season with the remaining teaspoon of salt and the garam masala.

Fried chick-peas and peppers and Peas and cheese in tomato sauce

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