Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Pea & Paneer Pakoras (Mutter Paneer Pakoras)

Continuing the pakora recipes, here's the second one I tried this weekend to give the humble classic a twist. With most of us at home being vegetarian, paneer is a popular ingredient in our kitchen and alongside pakoras, mutter paneer - a curry made with peas and bite sized cubes of paneer - is another very familiar dish.
Here, I thought why not combine the two? We hardly ever make paneer pakoras at home which is strange considering how much we all love paneer and pakoras(!) so this was my second effort at introducing something new to my family's collection of favourite party recipes.

Mutter Paneer Pakoras (makes around 20)

400g Potatoes
250g Paneer (home made or store bought)
Salt, to taste
2 teaspoons Chaat Masala
200ml Sunflower Oil
For the filling:
2 tablespoons Sunflower Oil
1 large Onion, finely chopped
200g Peas
3cm stick of Cinnamon
2 Cloves
1 teaspoon Ginger, grated
1 clove Garlic, crushed
1 small Green Chilli, finely chopped
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons Coriander Cumin Powder
1/4 teaspoon Tamarind Paste
For the batter:
150g Gram Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Paprika
1 tablespoon Yoghurt
100ml Water
2 tablespoons chopped Coriander
  • Start by boiling the potatoes, whilst they boil and get cool enough to handle, prepare the pea filling.
  • Heat up the 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy skillet pan over a medium heat.
  • Add the cinnamon and cloves, followed by the onion.
  • Gently cook until the onions begin to look translucent. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli.
  • Cook for about another minute, allowing all of the flavours to infuse into the oil.
  • At this stage, if you wish to do so you can carefully remove the whole spices (cinnamon and cloves) from the pan - I make sure to do this as my family hate to be surprised by biting down on hidden whole spices when eating pakoras.
  • Add the peas, cover the pan and gently cook until the peas are tender.
  • Stir in the tamarind paste and cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and allow this filling to cool while you prepare the potatoes and paneer.
  • Peel and mash the potatoes and make sure they are completely cold so as not to melt the paneer when you add it.
  • Finely grate the paneer and combine with the mashed potatoes.
  • Mix the salt and chaat masala into the potato and paneer.
  • Take a tablespoon of the potato and paneer mixture and flatten into a circle about 5mm thick.
  • Create about 5 of these circles and lay on a flat surface.
  • Place about three quarters of a teaspoon of the pea mixture in the middle of each circle.
  • Top with a second circle of the potato and paneer mixture.
  • Working on one patty at a time, gently press down the outer layer so that the pea mixture is completely concealed within the potato and paneer mixture.
  • Shape into plump, round but slightly flattened patties.
  • Repeat until all the of pea filling is used up.
  • Place the 200ml oil to heat up in a deep frying pan over a medium heat.
  • Make the batter by sifting the gram flour, salt and paprika into a mixing bowl.
  • Whisk in the yoghurt and water until you have a smooth batter the consistency of pancake batter. Add more or less water if required.
  • Fold in the chopped coriander.
  • Test to see if the oil is hot enough by dropping some batter into the frying pan, if it sinks and rises after 2 seconds it is ready.
  • Carefully dip the patties into the batter to coat them and then fry until golden.
  • Drain on kitchen paper and serve warm alongside some tomato and chilli chutney.

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