Cooking up Memories

Food is often tied up in so many memories. A bite of something can transport us to a place or person, evoking powerful connections to that memory. One of my food recipes always reminds me of my good friend and her father, who taught me how to cook Mattar Paneer (Peas and Indian cheese). Arti is an ex-Indian navy officer, who learned to fend for himself and make delicious meals however far from home he was.

So when staying with us a couple of years ago, I asked him to teach me how to make his speciality dish, and with military precision, he proceeded to impart his delicious recipe to me. As we are vegan, I transpose tofu for the milk-made paneer. It tastes much the same and is a great substitute.

The recipe is really simple and easy to follow, for an authentic Indian-flavoured meal, and the addition of chilli can be altered for taste. I prefer just a hint of chilli, but by simply adding more, you can make it a much spicier dish. Your choice.

I prefer to use firm, organic tofu (available at most supermarkets). Tofu on it’s own is tasteless, it is however a wonderful chewy protein that takes on the flavour of whatever the sauce it is cooked in.

Arti’s Mattar Paneer Recipe

* Chop and cook 1 onion in coconut oil or ghee, until golden in colour.

* Add 2 tspn turmeric powder and stir till the onion is well coated.

* Add 1 cup of chopped tomatoes (in winter, I cheat and add a can of chopped tomatoes)

* Add 1 tspn Garam Masala and 1/4 tspn chilli powder. Stir well.

* Add salt to taste.

* Add 1 cup of frozen peas (not minted!).

* Add 2 cups paneer or tofu, cubed. (Can also add cubed potatoes if you don’t have tofu available).

* Add enough water to cover all ingredients, bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 10-15minutes.

Serve hot with a good helping of rice.

This is truly a gem of a recipe, thank you Arti for taking time to share it with me. I make it once every week or two, and it always reminds me of you and your beautiful daughter! Now maybe others will be making it too!


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