Vegan Pea and Paneer Curry

“I recently attended my friend Lotje’s wedding and sampled some of your super delicious food. I was bowled over by your amazing red vegetable curry and I wondered if there was any way you might share your recipe? Your curry was the talk of the wedding!

Kathleen Fournier, Barcelona”

A cornerstone of Fairfoods is that we like to share stuff – recipes, resources, knowledge – so here it is. The combination of creamy (vegan) cheese, tangy tomato and lots of fresh spices and herbs packs a real flavour punch. It is adapted from a recipe in Prashad: Indian Vegetarian Cooking. The vegan cheese does tend to melt so it’s not exactly the same as paneer which stays firm, but it still works really well.

vegan pea and paneer curry

1 medium potato (4 oz/115g)
3 tablespoons (45 ml) vegetable oil e.g. sunflower or rapeseed
2 fresh green chillis, seeds left in, cut into fine rings
4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped or blended to a smooth paste
1 x 400g tin tomatoes, finely chopped or blended
6cm root ginger, peeled and grated
1¼ teaspoons salt
1½ teaspoons turmeric
2-4 teaspoons ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 handfuls fresh coriander, finely chopped
8 oz (227g) vegan cheese, cubed – we use sheese strong cheddar or smoky
5 1/3oz (150g) frozen peas
1 oz (28g) vegan margarine – optional
½ teaspoon garam masala

1. Boil the potato until cooked, then peel, cut into 2cm cubes and leave to cool.

2. Heat vegetable oil in a large pan for a minute over a medium heat, and then add the chillis and garlic and fry for 20 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the onion and fry until it is golden brown, stirring every couple of minutes.

3. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the tomatoes. Stir in the grated ginger, salt, turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin and half the fresh coriander. Return the heat to high and simmer uncovered for a minute, then stir in the potato, cheese, peas and vegan margarine. Bring the mixture to the boil. Cover and simmer over a low heat for five minutes.

4. Stir in the garam masala and remaining coriander, then remove from the heat and leave to rest to allow the flavours to infuse. If you can, leave the curry to stand for at least an hour, or even better, overnight in the fridge. Then re-heat and serve. It really improves the flavour.

5. Reheat over a medium heat until hot, then serve.

Serves four.

Notes.
We are big fans of using Sheese in cooking, so that is what we’ve always used in this curry.. any fairly strong vegan cheese should do though.

The original recipe says to pour in 100ml boiling water when you add the cheese. We have tweaked the recipe and found this makes it too liquidy so don’t add it in. But, if at any point after the cheese is added you find the mixture is too dry, by all means add a little water.

The heat of this curry depends on the chillis, which do vary. 2 green chillis with seeds in usually make a medium-hot curry.

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About Fairfoods

Vegan catering in the south west, UK. Main web: fairfoods.org.uk
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