This is an update of an aging rock star of Indian dishes—matar paneer, or paneer and pea curry. I’ve kept the vegetables crisp and tender so they don’t surrender to mushiness: the result is a younger, edgier new kid on the block with a bit more attitude.
Serves 4 as a main course
1¼ pounds hard paneer, cut into ½-inch cubes
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 pound ripe plum tomatoes, chopped
1¼ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground red chile
1/3 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ pound green beans, trimmed
½ pound snow peas
1½ cups peas (fresh or defrosted)
optional: 1 red chile, finely sliced
Put a couple of tablespoons of oil into a frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the paneer and fry for around 4 minutes, until golden and crisp, turning every minute or so. Transfer the paneer to a plate using a slotted spoon.
To make the sauce, put another tablespoon of oil into the pan and, when warm, add the garlic. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes, then add the tomatoes. Cook for around 6 minutes, until the tomatoes are just starting to become jammy, then add the salt, black pepper, cumin, ground red chile, and turmeric. Stir to mix, cook for another minute, then take off the heat.
Bring a pan of water to a boil. When boiling, add the beans, cook for 2 minutes, then add the snow peas. Cook for another 2 minutes, pop the peas in for a final minute, then quickly drain, allowing the veg to dry off properly in their own steam.
Heat up the sauce and add the paneer to the pan. When both are hot, add the vegetables and stir to mix. Sprinkle over the sliced red chile.
Serve with fresh hot chapatis or rice, and some plain yogurt.