Maverick Life


Recipe: Warm yourself up with comforting Paneer Curry

Recipe: Warm yourself up with comforting Paneer Curry
Pan Macmillan/Composite: The Reading List

Brrr – it’s cold! Fortunately, we’ve got Prue and Peta Leith’s new cookbook, The Vegetarian Kitchen, to hand. We all need easy comfort food, and this book includes 100 delicious, heart and stomach-warming family dishes.

Recipes include Black Bean Chilli with Lime Salsa, Blackberry and Lemon Pavlova … and this savoury crowd-pleaser. Enjoy!

Paneer Curry

For years I had been reluctant to try paneer, as descriptions often liken it to cottage cheese, which immediately puts me off. However, that description is so wildly inaccurate – it’s far more like a halloumi, and since discovering it, I cook with it all the time. The curry below is one of my favourite ways to use it. – Peta

Serves 4


  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 mild red chilli, finely chopped (with seeds)
  • 2.5cm (1in) piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp hot curry powder
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 100ml double cream
  • salt and black pepper to season
  • 100g baby leaf spinach
  • 250g paneer, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 100g frozen petits pois
  • a pinch of caster sugar
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • rice and/or naan bread to serve


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, then add the onion, garlic, chilli and ginger and sauté for 3–4 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent, then add the tomato purée, cumin, garam masala and curry powder. Cook for 30 seconds, then add the tinned tomatoes and the double cream.
  2. Season well with salt and black pepper, bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Rinse the spinach leaves.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining vegetable oil in a frying pan over a medium–high heat. Add the paneer and fry it, turning it frequently, until golden brown and crisp all over. Add the paneer to the curry.
  4. Return the curry to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a further 10–15 minutes. Add the frozen petits pois and spinach, return to the boil, and simmer for just a few minutes until the peas are cooked and the spinach has wilted.
  5. Add the sugar and a small squeeze of lemon juice, check the seasoning, and serve with rice or naan bread. DM/ML

The Vegetarian Kitchen is published by Pan Macmillan SA (R550). Visit The Reading List for South African book news – including recipes! – daily. 


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