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Manipuri Paneer Curry – Sana Thongba – This Vegetarian curry from one of India’s northeastern 7 sister states makes a great dinner option for Meatless Monday.
Today I am taking you to one of the northeastern Indian states, one of the seven states affectionately known as the Seven Sisters.
Manipur, like the other northeastern Indian states, has a large tribal population representing 33% of the state. The Meetei are the largest tribe. Most people either follow the tribal Meetei religion, Hinduism, Christianity or Islam or a combination with the Meetei religion. Although 29 different dialects are spoken among the Manipur tribes, Meeteilon is the state language.
Like the other states of this region, meat features prominantly in their diet and there are few Vegetarians. Smoking meat and drying vegetables are common as is pitha, momos and thupka, similar to Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland and Sikkim. However, this is one of the most popular Vegetarian dishes – often served during religious festivals.
There are different versions of this curry, based on personal preference. Green peas or peanuts…to use ginger or not…these can vary. However, what makes this curry distinctive from other paneer curries is the milk based gravy. This is definitely not for the lactose intolerant!
Here’s my version of Paneer Curry…Manipur style. Sana is the word for paneer in Meeteilon, the Manipuri language.
Not a very spicy curry, but very flavorful.
You won’t be able to resist it!
Manipuri Paneer Curry – Sana Thongba
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons mustard oil
- 8 oz. paneer diced
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 1/4 cup frozen green peas defrosted
- 5 chiles finely chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 large potato peeled and chopped
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 cup milk
- salt to taste
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add paneer and fry until golden brown on all sides. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
- Add cumin seed. Add ginger paste and garlic paste. After 1 minute, add chiles and onion. Saute until onions turn golden.
- Add remaining oil and fry potato for 1-2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 5-8 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through.
- Add milk, green peas, turmeric and salt. Bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add paneer and simmer for another 2 minutes. Add remaining water and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Add cilantro and cook for 1 more minute.
- Serve with Basmati rice.