Paneer is fresh Indian curd cheese, similar to cottage cheese. We love it ultra-fresh, soft and still a little warm. If you prefer a firmer paneer, drain it for longer. You’ll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.
- 8 golden shallots
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1½ long green chillies
- 40 gm ginger, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup (loosely packed) each mint and coriander
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for shallow-frying
- 1½ tsp each brown mustard seeds and cumin seeds
- 1.2 litres chicken or vegetable stock
- 100 gm dried split green peas, soaked overnight in cold water, drained
- 700 gm podded peas (about 1.4kg unpodded)
- Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 litre Jersey milk (see note) (4 cups)
- 250 ml buttermilk (1 cup)
- 1Coarsely chop three-quarters of the shallots. Process in a food processor with garlic and chilli until coarsely chopped, add ginger and one-third of the herbs and process to a fine paste. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add shallot mixture and stir occasionally until fragrant (4-5 minutes). Add spices, stir until seeds pop (1 minute), then add stock and split peas and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid, reduce heat to medium and simmer until split peas are tender (35-40 minutes). Add peas, simmer until tender (5-6 minutes), remove from heat. Remove about ¾ cup peas with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add half remaining herbs to pan, process with a hand-held blender until smooth, add lemon juice to taste, season to taste and keep warm.
- 2For paneer, dry-roast cumin seeds until fragrant (30 seconds) and set aside. Bring Jersey milk to the boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, quickly stir in buttermilk and 2 tsp sea salt and stir until curds form. Tip into a muslin-lined sieve placed over a bowl and stand to drain (15 minutes; discard liquid), then stir in cumin.
- 3Heat 1cm oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add remaining herbs, shallow-fry until crisp (30 seconds), remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper. Thinly slice remaining shallot, add to pan, shallow-fry, until crisp (1 minute), remove with a slotted spoon and drain.
- 4Serve soup hot scattered with reserved peas, paneer, crisp shallot and crisp herbs.
Jersey milk has a high fat content. It’s available from select farmers’ markets and delicatessens.
This recipe is from the October 2012 issue of
Drink Suggestion: Ripe, spicy pinot gris. Drink suggestion by Max Allen