Paneer Balti with Prawns

Although paneer is not widely eaten in Pakistan, it makes an excellent substitute for red meat. Here it is combined with king prawns to make a memorable stir-fry dish.


serves 4
12 cooked king prawns
175 g (6 oz) paneer
30 ml (2 tbsp) tomato puree
60 ml (4 tbsp) Greek-style yogurt
7.5 ml (1 1/2 tsp) garam masala
5 ml (1 tsp) chilli powder
5 ml (1 tsp) garlic pulp
5 ml (1 tsp) salt
10 ml (2 tsp) mango powder
5 ml (1 tsp) ground coriander
115 g (4 oz) butter
15 ml (1 tbsp) corn oil
3 fresh green chillies, chopped
45 ml (3 tbsp) chopped fresh coriander
150 ml (1/4 pint) 2/3 cup single cream


1. Peel the king prawns and cube the paneer.

2. Blend together the tomato puree, yogurt, garam masala, chilli powder, garlic, salt, mango powder and ground coriander in a mixing bowl and set aside.

3. Melt the butter with the oil in a wok. Lower the heat slightly and stir-fry the paneer and prawns for about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Set aside.

4. Pour the spice mixture into the butter and oil left in the pan and stir-fry for about 1 minute.

5. Add the paneer and prawns, and cook for 7 - 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the prawns are heated through.

6. Add the fresh chillies and most of the coriander, and pour in the cream. Heat through for about 2 minutes, garnish "with the remaining fresh coriander and serve.

To make paneer at home, bring 1 litre (1 3/4 pints) 4 cups milk to the boil over a low heat. Add 30 ml (2 tbsp) lemon juice, stirring continuously and gently until the milk thickens and begins to curdle. Strain the curdled milk through a sieve lined with muslin. Set aside under a heavy weight for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours to press to a flat shape about 1 cm (1/2 in) thick.

Make the paneer a day before you plan to use it in a recipe; it will then be firmer and easier to handle. Cut and use as required; it will keep for about one week in the refrigerator.

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