Learn how to make Paneer Kalimicrch ~ Indian cottage cheese cooked in a creamy white sauce spiced with black peppercorns
Last week, the entire Britain celebrated the 16th National Curry Week, a week dedicated to the country’s most favourite and popular cuisine from India. This country loves its curries! There is no doubt about it as every street in every corner of the country is dotted with curry houses selling the nation’s favourite hot curries.
Paneer Kalimich ~ Simple and Quick Paneer Curry
Curry is an integral part of the British food landscape and with chicken tikka masala often quoted as the nation’s favourite dish. Apparently we eat over 3.5 million curries a week in Britain and not surprisingly, 1 in 7 of those curries are tikka masalas. The Chicken Tikka Masala is so popular that in 2001 then the Foreign Secretary Robin Cook declared it as a true British national food to set an example for Britain’s true multiculturalism.
Paneer and Back Peppercorns for Paneer Kali Mirch
And what more, according to the survey carried by a popular news magazine, on an average the Brit will blow £34,000 on curry in their lifetime. That is a lot of curry! :) The takeaways and restaurants sell their version of Indian curries from most popular Tikka Masala to Do Pyaaz to sizzling hot Vindaloo to Rogan Josh to Korma to Balti!!! The choice is unlimited... But I can’t say the same about the taste as sadly most of them taste the same!
Paneer Kalimirch Curry
For a country that loves the Indian curries, the ‘Indian’ food sold here is world apart from the food that I grew up eating in India. Initially when I heard my colleagues complaining about bad stomachs after a curry dinner nights, I was really surprised to know that the food that we cook and eat every day at the centre of it. But the bright coloured, mass produced, red and orange gravies with ladle full of oil floating on top is a sad tale of Indian curries here and they taste much different to the food that we cook at home. With many people trying their hands at cooking Indian meals at home, I am hopeful that slowly people will discover the true taste of India which is far from orange-red gravies sold in the bottles at supermarket shelves or at the takeaways. Indian cooking is not really a rocket science as you don’t really need to religiously follow the recipes to T. When cooking Indian food, just listen to your taste buds and follow your instinct and soon you will master the art of cooking some mean curry. :)
Paneer Kalimich Curry
Today’s recipe is a good example for how different the homemade curries look and taste to the restaurant version. It is very simple recipe for Paneer Kalimirch where paneer or Indian cottage cheese is cooked in a creamy onion and cashew nut gravy and spiced with freshly ground black peppercorns. The recipe is inspired from Deepti’s beautiful blog Vegetable Platter. The ingredinet list is quite small for the paneer recipe, and is one of the simple recipes to make in less than 30 minutes. I have tweaked few ingredients from the original recipe to suit my family’s taste preference by replacing milk with fresh cream and changing the quantities of ingredients used. So please feel free to use the ingredients to suit your taste buds. Keep experimenting with ingredients, a hint of this and a dash of that, which creates perfect harmony between flavour, aroma and your taste buds. Do give this recipe of Paneer Kalimirch Curry a try when you are bored of same onion-tomato based gravies and let me know how you like it. :)
Fresh homemade paneer for Paneer Kalimirch
Ingredients for Paneer Kalimirch
Paneer Kalimirch (Indian cottage cheese cooked in a creamy white sauce spiced with black peppercorns)
Prep Time: 5-10 mins
Cooking Time: 15-20 mins
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Spice Level: Low to Medium
Serves: 4-6 people
Recipe Source: Vegetable Platter
Shelf Life: Best served fresh but can be refrigerated for 2-3 days
Serving Suggestion: With any Indian flat breads (Whole Wheat Naan or Butter Naan or with any stuffed parathas) or plain/flavoured Basmati rice
200 gms or 2 cups Paneer, cut into ¾ inch squares or triangles
½ cup Green Peas, fresh or frozen (Optional)
¼ cup Fresh Cream or ¾ cup Full Fat Milk
1 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste
For Onion-Cashew Nut Paste:
2 large or 1 ½ cups Onions, roughly chopped
¼ cup Cashew Nuts, soaked in hot water for 15 mins
4 small or 2 large cloves of Garlic
½ inch Ginger, peeled
1½ - 2 tsp Kalimirch/Black Peppercorns, crushed to powder (Adjust as per taste)
¼ tsp Haldi/Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
¼ - ½ tsp Garam Masala
Paneer Kalimirch Curry
- Grind onions, garlic, ginger and cashews to smooth paste without adding any water. Keep it aside until needed.
- Heat oil in a pan on medium flame and add cumin seeds to it. Fry it until it sizzles and changes colour to brown, about 30 seconds.
- Mix in ground onion paste and fry it on medium flame, stirring continuously, until it changes colour to golden brown. It is a very important to make sure that you fry the paste not just to remove the raw smell of ingredients used in paste, but also to make sure the gravy does not taste bitter when not fried well. It takes around 5-6 minutes but it is worth all the effort!
- Once the onion paste is fried well, add turmeric powder and black peppercorn powder and fry for 30 seconds. Add 2 – 2½ cups of water and salt to taste and bring it to boil.
- Once the gravy comes to boil, stir in paneer pieces and green peas and let it cook for 5-8 minutes on medium flame. Mix in cream and garam masala powder. Adjust the seasoning and add little more water if you find the gravy too thick for your liking and let it simmer for another 5-6 minutes.
- Turn off the flame and set the creamy Paneer Kalimirch Curry aside for 10 minutes for all the flavours to blend well. Crush some black peppercorns for garnishing and serve this delicious Paneer Kalimirch hot with any Indian flat breads (Whole Wheat Naan or Butter Naan or with any stuffed parathas) or plain/flavoured Basmati rice
Paneer Kalimirch Curry ~ Indian cottage cheese cooked in a creamy white sauce spiced with black peppercorns
- When frying the onion paste, please make sure that you fry it on medium flame, stirring continuously, until it changes colour to golden brown. It is a very important to make sure that you fry the paste not just to remove the raw smell of ingredients used in paste, but also to make sure the gravy does not taste bitter when not fried well. It takes around 5-6 minutes but it is worth all the effort!
- Vegans can substitute paneer with firm tofu and cream with coconut cream to suit your diet.
- You can entirely skip using cream or milk the recipe for low fat option as the onion and cashew paste in the gravy helps in getting pretty creamy gravy.
- The gravy will thicken as it cools down due to cashews, cream and onion paste. So adjust the water as per your need to get the required consistency.