Paneer and Tomato Curry

by Sala @ Veggie Belly on October 26, 2010

What an amazing weekend it was! Three childhood friends visited me, and we spent the weekend chatting, catching up and having a great time (N, I am still thinking of your amazing  lychee martinis!).

When my dear friend Santha wrote to me requesting this paneer tomato curry recipe, I was flooded with memories of school lunch times and all the wonderful food we used to share from our little tiffin carriers. I was somewhat famous for this curry back in school. I’d take this dish and rotis for lunch every Friday. And I always had to take extra because it was so popular with my classmates. So I decided to make this curry for my friends for our ‘reuinion’ weekend. 

Santha, this is for you ♥

Make sure you use ripe, juicy tomatoes. Canned tomatoes are ok, but you will get the best results if you use high quality canned tomatoes like Muir Glen or San Marzano.

Paneer is an Indian cottage cheese, easily available at Indian stores. For this recipe, you can buy raw paneer and shallow fry it yourself, or you can buy pre-fried packaged paneer (which what I use). Nanak brand paneer is quite good.  Store bought paneer can be quite compacted and hard, so you need to soak it in hot water to soften it a bit.

Daily meals has a tomato paneer curry recipe using garam masala. Mahanandi blog has a paneer tomato recipe as well. Be sure to checkout Local eater blog’s delicious tomato paneer curry recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s world vegetarian cookbook.

Paneer Tomato Curry Recipe

Serves about 10

For the tomato gravy
6 large, ripe, juicy tomatoes
1 tablespoon oil
¼ teaspoon black mustard seeds, optional
1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 medium onion, chopped fine
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon or to taste, chili powder
Salt
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup. Use less if you want a less sweet gravy.

For the fried paneer
2 cups cubed paneer*
A large bowl filled with very hot, salted water

Make the gravy
Remove the core of the tomatoes. Quarter the cored tomatoes and place in a blender, along with 2 cups of water. Puree until the tomatoes have become a very smooth sauce. You should have about 8 cups of puree. Set this aside.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add mustard and cumin seeds. When the mustard starts to splutter, add the chopped onion. Cook on medium-low heat till the onion is soft. Add turmeric, cumin and chili powders. Stir for a few seconds.

Then carefully pour in the pureed tomatoes. Bring the gravy to a boil. Then reduce heat and let the curry simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes or till the curry has reduced a little and you can no longer smell raw tomatoes. Add more water if needed.

Fry the paneer
While the tomato gravy is simmering, work on the paneer.

Fill a large bowl with very hot water. Add salt to the water, and set the bowl near you.

Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the paneer cubes in batches.Flip the the paneer around so that all sides are lightly golden. Remove paneer cubes from the oil using a slotted spoon and place the fried paneer in the hot salted water. Be careful when doing this, the oil in the paneer will splutter when it hits the water.  Repeat this with all the paneer cubes. Let the fried paneer sit in the hot water for about 15 minutes.

*Use the above method if you are frying your own paneer. Alternatively, you could use store bought, pre-fried paneer. Simply open up the package and dunk it in the bowl with hot salted water. Let it sit for 20 minutes; then proceed with the recipe.

If you are using homemade paneer, soak it in the hot water after frying for only 10 minutes. (Store-bought paneer is harder and needs to soak longer).

When the tomato gravy is ready, drain the paneer cubes from the water, and add to the gravy.  Add salt to taste. Increase heat to medium, and let it cook for about 5 minutes.

Then stir in ketchup and turn off heat. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serve paneer and tomato curry with rotis or chapatis.

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Comments

comments

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Olga @ MangoTomato October 26, 2010 at 1:57 pm

wow. this is like an Indian version of tomato soup and grilled cheese. love it!

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

I would have never thought of it that way! But yes, it is!

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2 Aloo paratha!! October 26, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Hey hot lunch lady, I have such delicious memories of this paneer and the petite round rotis!
Now I am truly sad I wasn’t there this past weekend.

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3 Rosa October 26, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Soooo delicious!

Cheers,

Rosa

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4 Sonia{7spice} October 26, 2010 at 6:10 pm

I know this is delicious one. I tried this couple of times from Mahanandi and Sunita’s blog. Yours looks so mouth watering. Pics are very bright and clear.

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5 Sharmilee October 26, 2010 at 7:10 pm

Paneer and tomato is always a hit combination…sounds and looks so delicious

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6 Anu Menon October 26, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Such a fantastic way to treat the ‘i want some spice’ screaming taste buds!
Jus yesterday after a whole week of roasted veggies my (R)oomie asked for some spice… He said he was ready to do anything for some spice and though I didnt have an answer for him yesterday, I do now! :D See i always have to tell you a story while commenting…
And last but not least – lovely clicks

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

i LOVE reading your stories!

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7 Priya October 27, 2010 at 7:57 am

Wat an irresistible curry, just drooling here..

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8 notyet100 October 27, 2010 at 8:25 am

curry looks good..

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9 FoodZone October 27, 2010 at 11:03 am

Paneer tomato curry…such a comfort food and that tiffin carrier reminds me of my childhood days. Thanks for the lovely post.

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10 Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets October 29, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Mmm I love tomato-based curries and the paneer must add a wonderful richness. Another great dish, Sala!

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11 Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls October 31, 2010 at 4:50 am

Ohhh, this sounds and looks so delicious~ bookmarked!!!

GREAT site; so happy I found you!

Mary

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12 Summer October 31, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Totally absolutely delicious!

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13 nandini.p November 18, 2010 at 7:04 am

Hi sala… Visiting after a long time. This paneer gravy sounds very simple and looks lovely. So much better and lighter than what one gets in the restaurant. It sure has got a home feel to it.

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14 Pearl Lee November 19, 2010 at 3:17 pm

oh that curry looks delicious! i love tomatoes!

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15 Ula December 2, 2010 at 8:38 am

I can’t wait to make this & others. Cooking curry is high on my list seeing as my boyfriend loves Indian.

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16 veggietestkitchen December 18, 2010 at 1:56 am

Looks wonderful. I’m glad I found your blog. Looking forward to seeing your new posts. I hope you haven’t abandoned the site. Cheers.

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

no i havent, im just taking a break and traveling, will be back in Jan :)

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17 Teri August 19, 2011 at 3:52 pm

I made this for my dinner this evening, and commented to my flatmate that this was the nicest thing I’ve cooked in a LONG time. The tomato is delicious and zingy and the paneer, as it always has, had a beautiful texture. Thank you so much for sharing – I can’t wait to make more and share with friends.

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

So glad you liked it, thanks for letting me know! I love paneer!

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18 Naresh October 1, 2011 at 6:47 pm

i just found your blog today and i fell in love with Paneer recipe! Guess what, i just made it and it turn out to be so Yum!

Thank you.

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19 Mythili January 8, 2012 at 1:14 am

Hey Sala,
I made a lot of curries from your blog and this paneer curry is the “kohinoor” of them all. I make this with eveything – paneer, soy chunks, tofu, green peppers and it has become somewhat of a staple now. I am from Seattle and it’s so awesome that you moved to Portland, OR! I love that place. Did the voodoo of voodoo donuts take over you yet?

-Mythili

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

totally in love with voodoo donuts!

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20 Neha January 30, 2012 at 9:14 am

Very yummy easy quick recipe

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21 Aanchal February 17, 2012 at 5:50 am

it was yummmmmmmmm but i forgot to add the tomato ketchup :( . Does it make a lot of difference?

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

glad you liked it! the ketchup just adds a bit of sweetness.

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22 Deepa March 22, 2012 at 5:14 pm

VeggieBelly!

This is exactly the way My mom makes it! Thanks for sharing this! And yes, you are doing an awesome work here! Keep going!

Deepa

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23 BHUNA1 June 10, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Dreadful. the most watery slop i’ve ever tasted. 2 cups of water makes 8 cups of puree? to feed 10? makes no sense and just tasted like watered down tomatoes with an afterhint of cumin. don’t bother with this one.

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