mattar panir- peas and fresh cheese

One of India’s favourite vegetarian curries, I have found from experience that the best substitute for home-made fresh cheese is baked ricotta. One needs a firm cheese that will not melt when cooked, but holds its shape. If baked ricotta is not sold in your local delicatessen, bake it yourself. Buy firm, fresh ricotta- sold by weight in most supermarkets, but allow half as much again, say 750g, as it loses weight when the moisture evaporates in baking. Cut in 2cm slices and place them on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Bake in a moderate oven, 180c for 30 minutes. Turn slices over and bake a further 20 minutes or until firm and tinged with gold.

500g baked ricotta, cut into 2cm cubes

2 tablespoons ghee or oil

3 tablespoons Charmaine Solomon’s Butter Chicken Marinade

250ml tomato puree

1 tablespoon sugar

250g frozen peas

1/2 cup cream

fresh coriander or mint to garnish

steamed rice to serve

Heat oil or ghee in a pan and add the Butter Chicken Marinade, cook for 1 minute. Add tomato puree, sugar and bring to the boil. Add peas and simmer 5 minutes, then add the cubed ricotta and cream. Bring to a simmer then serve with rice, garnished with mint or coriander.