Mattar Pannir (Homemade Cheese With Peas)
To serve 4 to 6
- 2 quarts milk
- ½ cup unflavored yoghurt
- 2 tablespoons fresh strained lemon juice
- 5 tablespoons ghee
- 2 tablespoons scraped, finely chopped fresh ginger root
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 1 cup finely chopped onions
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon ground hot red pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 2 cups finely chopped fresh tomatoes
- 1 ½ cups fresh green peas (about 1 ½ pounds unshelled) or 1 ten ounce package frozen peas, thoroughly defrosted
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
Prepare the cheese in the following fashion : In a heavy 3- to 4-quart saucepan, bring the milk to a boil over high heat. As soon as the foam begins to rise, remove the pan from the heat and gently but thoroughly stir in the yoghurt and lemon juice. The curds will begin to solidify immediately and separate from the liquid whey.
Pour the entire contents of the pan into a large sieve set over a bowl and lined with a double thickness of cheesecloth. Let the curds drain undisturbed until the cloth is cool enough to handle. Then wrap the cloth tightly around the curds and wring it vigorously to squeeze out all the excess liquid. Reserve 1 cup of the whey in the bowl and discard the rest.
Place the cheese, still wrapped in cheesecloth, on a cutting board and set another board or large flat-bottomed skillet on top of it. Weight the top with canned foods, flatirons, heavy pots or the like, weighing in all about 15 pounds, and let it rest in this fashion at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours, or until the cheese is firm and compact. Unwrap the cheese, cut it into ½ -inch cubes, cover with wax paper or plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use. (There should be about 1 to 1 ½ cups of cheese cubes).
To prepare the cheese and peas, heat the ghee in a heavy 10- to 12-inch skillet until aa drop of water flicked into it splutters instantly. Add the cheese cubes and fry them for 4 or 5 minutes, turning the cubes about gently but constantly with a slotted spoon until they are golden brown on all sides. As they brown, transfer the cubes of cheese to a plate.
Add the ginger and garlic to the ghee remaining in the skillet and, stirring constantly, fry for 30 seconds. Add the onions and salt and, stirring occasionally, continue to fry for 7 or 8 minutes, or until the onions are soft and golden brown. Watch carefully for any signs of burning and regulate the heat accordingly.
Stir in ¼ cup of the reserved whey, then add the turmeric, red pepper, ground coriander and garam masala. When they are well blended, stir in the remaining ¾ cup of whey and the tomatoes, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer partially covered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the peas and taste for seasoning. Is the gravy has too acid a flavor add up to 1 teaspoon sugar.
Remove the cover and, stirring occasionally, cook for 3 minutes. Then add the cheese cubes and 1 tablespoon of the fresh coriander, cover the skillet tightly, and simmer over low heat for 10 to 20 minutes, or longer if you are using fresh peas and they are not yet tender.
To serve, transfer the entire contents of the pan to a heated bowl or deep platter and garnish the top with the remaining 2 tablespoon of chopped fresh coriander.
by : inforesep