Paneer Mutter is one of the famous Indian dishes served with flat breads in India. It forms an essential part of the North Indian lunch and dinner. The traditional recipe calls for fried pieces of cheese cooked in tomato onion curry. However, to make it low on calories and vegan, I have made a very simple substitution, paneer with tofu. Also, instead on frying the pieces, I stir-fried them in oil.
The gravy for this dish is similar to the Makhani gravy, but low on calories. To do so, I have eliminated the cashewnuts from it. Besides, to give the vegetable some crunch, I have used diced onions instead of including onions in the puree. This gives the dish a slight crunch. Simple recipe, few ingredients and a dish that is low on calories than most Indian vegetable dishes. All this, but no compromise on the taste!! Make this dish for a weeknight dinner and enjoy it with Roti, Naan, Paratha or Jeera Rice.
Extra Firm Tofu 1 block
Green Peas 1 cup
Garlic 2 cloves, minced
Ginger, ½ inch piece
Onion 1 medium, diced
Tomatoes 3 medium, diced
Spices (Bay leaves, Cloves, Cinnamon, Black Pepper, Dried Red Chili)
Condiments (Mustard seeds, Cumin seeds, Asafoetida, Red chili powder, Turmeric powder, Dhania powder, salt, sugar)
Kasuri Methi 1 tsp
Cilantro, Lime juice
Remove the tofu from water and press it to remove the water. Press it between a couple of kitchen towels to remove all the water and cut it into equal size dice. Meanwhile, heat two cups of water in the microwave or on the gas stove and add a pinch of salt. Drop the green peas in the water and boil them for a minute. Turn down the flame and drain the peas. Add the peas in cold water to stop the cooking process and retain the green color.
In a flat saucepan, add oil and heat. Once hot, place the tofu pieces in it and let them brown on medium to high heat. Once the bottom is brown, turn the pieces over and brown the other side. Take a medium pan and fill it with warm water and add a pinch of salt. Remove each piece of tofu from the pan and dip it in the warm salty water that has been reserved from the peas. This helps to flavor the tofu and keep it soft till cooking.
In the same pan, heat some butter and oil. Add the cinnamon, cloves and pepper. Next put in the dried red chili and and sauté them for a minute. Throw in the garlic and ginger and cook till it is soft. Next, add tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are mushy. Turn down the flame and purée the mixture. Pass through a sieve to remove the tomato seeds and peels.
In a pan, heat some butter and add mustard seeds. Once they pop, add cumin seeds. Add diced onions, and salt and cook till they are transparent. Once cooked, add the red chili powder. Now, add in the purée and mix well. Let the mixture come to a boil and you will see the oil separating from the gravy, and the gravy also turns red. This indicates that the gravy is cooked well. At this stage add the haldi, dhania jeera and sugar. Drain the tofu pieces and green peas from water and add to the gravy. Let the mixture simmer on medium flame for 4-5 minutes.
After the tofu and peas have simmered, it will become thick. Adjust the water to get the required consistency and add salt if required. At this stage, crush the kasuri methi between the palms and add it. Depending on how sour the tomatoes are, add little lime juice and turn down the flame.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with Indian breads, rice, onion rings, pickle and raita. This tastes good with Naan, Garlic Kulcha as well as paratha. To make it a complete meal, you can serve Tofu Mutter with Dal Makhani, breads and steamed or Jeera Rice.
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