Chickpeas with paneer

A tasty and scrumptious vegetarian dish which uses a basic cheese, paneer, now easily found in many Indian or ethnic shops.

What you need
About 120-150 grams of paneer cheese, diced into pieces not much larger than the chickpeas
Three tablespoons of olive oil
Half a teaspoon of salt
Two medium-sized onions, finely chopped
5 or six fresh curry leaves
One 400gm can of chick peas, rinsed in cold water in a sieve
One teaspoon jeera
Two teaspoons of garlic/ginger crush
One teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder (Also known as deggimirch, Kashmiri chilli is not hot. It adds colour and some flavour)
One teaspoon of haldi (turmeric)
3 teaspoons tomato paste diluted in two tablespoons of water
Half a teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
One teaspoon of channa masala
A teaspoon of dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methhi) if you have some

Heat about half teaspoon of oil in the wok or pot you’ll cook your dish in
Add the diced paneer and brown them, stirring and turning them over.
Drain and set aside in a dish

Second stage
Heat the rest of the oil (don’t let it start smoking)
In quick succession add the curry leaves and then the jeera
As the jeera begins to sputter, add the onions and stir so they all get coated with the oil.
Add the half teaspoon of salt and stir
Add the garlic/ginger
When the onions start to become translucent, add the chilli powder and the turmeric
Stir the mixture (add a tablespoon or two of water if needed)
After a few minutes add the diluted tomato paste.
Continue cooking the mixture – you might need to lower the heat – for about 10 minutes, till the oil starts coming to the surface. The smell of the turmeric also should have dissipated. Keep a close but patient watch on the mixture so that it does not burn. You can’t rush this stage. Add warm water as you go along to keep it from burning.
Add the chickpeas, raise the heat till it warms back up and comes to a simmer again, then lower the heat, cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Add water if you think it’s starting to get dry.

The final stage
Add the ground pepper
After a couple of minutes, add the channa masala, stir, and then the paneer

Lower the heat, add the fenugreek leaves and let it cook gently for about five minutes

Serve with boiled rice or roti


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