Tomato-Paneer Curry (Without Onion and Garlic)

paneer.main pic.1

Tomato-paneer curry without onion and garlic

A very happy new year to all my readers! Hope the year brings you good luck, good health and good taste. I am sorry for keeping you waiting for this post. Let me tell you all that we have shifted our base from Hong Kong to my own motherland: India. We are living in Mumbai now, which is not only the financial capital of India, but also an amalgam of different cultures across India. I am lucky that now I will have a chance to bring to your palate some of the tastiest Maharashtrian, Gujrati and Goanese dishes with detailed recipes, so that anyone, anywhere across the world can try these. I will also continue to put up other Asian and Continental dishes from time to time.

mumbai sandwich.purabi

Mumbai sandwich: A popular street food in Mumbai

Hong Kong was truly memorable for me as my blog Cosmopolitan Currymania was born there and I truly enjoyed experimenting with different Asian food ingredients there. And now, my tastebuds are relishing authentic desi food here, with fresh ingredients. Street food is amazing here. I can’t stop myself eating these Mumbai sandwiches at a stall in Ville Parle.


Mumbai vada pav: another street food to die for.

Mumbai vada pav is worth a try for all the foodies visiting here. This stall is one of the vada pav stalls in Ville Parle and they make mouth-watering vada pavs, with just the right blend of sweet, sour and hot flavours for that “kick” to your tastebuds. Highly recommended!

So what did I cook in the new year? Well, it was on a Tuesday: the day when my family, due to some religious reasons, eats strict vegetarian food. Tuesday cooking at my home excludes the use of onion and garlic. But it is new year after all. So I made some parathas, potato-cauliflower curry, green mango chutney and my special paneer (Indian cottage cheese) curry: all made without using onion and garlic.


Paneer cubes (fresh)

Tomato-paneer curry (without onion and garlic)

[Homemade paneer-curry powder is made by roasting cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, dry ginger, dry chillies and cinnamon sticks in equal quantities and grinding them together to a fine powder.]

  • Ripe tomatoes (medium-sized): 3
  • Fresh or frozen paneer (cut into cubes): 600 g
  • Potatoes (medium-sized, cubed): 2
  • Ginger paste (unsalted, homemade): 1.5 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder: ½ tsp
  • Star anise: 1
  • Cumin seeds: ½ tsp
  • Cinnamon sticks (one-inch): 2
  • Green cardamoms: 4
  • Cloves: 5
  • Green chillies (slit): 5
  • Homemade paneer-curry powder: 1 tbsp
  • Coconut milk: ½ cup
  • Salt: according to taste
  • Sugar: ¼ tsp
  • Light oil: ½ cup
  • Coriander leaves (chopped) 1.5 tbsp
  • Water: 1.5 cups


Spices used: clockwise from right are cinnamon sticks, cloves, homemade paneer-curry powder, turmeric powder, star anise and green cardamoms. Centre: cumin seeds.


Make a smooth paste of the tomatoes and ginger in the food processor. Shallow-fry the potato cubes with a little salt until these are breakable with the back of a kitchen spoon and the colour turns light brown as well. Take the cubes out and keep aside.

Shallow-fry the paneer cubes, sprinkling a little salt, till these just turn light brown. Plunge them in a bowl of water. This is done so that the paneer becomes very soft and juicy. Also, by doing so, the paneer cubes will not absorb the water in the gravy totally and turn the gravy absolutely dry.


Paneer cubes are plunged into water after frying to keep these juicy.

Heat oil and let it smoke. Add the star anise, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon sticks and green cardamoms. As these just start sputtering, add the tomato-ginger paste and sauté for 5 min. Add the turmeric powder and the homemade paneer-curry powder dissolved in a little water. Sauté continuously till oil separates. Add salt and sugar. Sauté for 1 min.


Add the fried paneer cubes, chillies and the fried potatoes. Simmer the gas and cook this for 7 min, ensuring that the paste is smeared all over the paneer cubes and potatoes.


Add the sugar and coconut milk as well. Cook for 5 min. Pour in the water and cook for 10 min, lid on.


Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.


  • Kitchen Riffs

    Welcome back! I’ve missed you while you’ve been away from posting. Congrats on the move — and the more great Indian recipes the better, I say. I’m familiar with many Indian recipes that leave out garlic and onion for religious reasons, but I’m always glad to learn of more. The paneer looks great — very tasty. Thanks for this, and Happy New Year!

  • Rosita Vargas

    Se ve irresistible muy rico..¡¡Feliz Año Nuevo lleno de paz y amor!!…abrazos y abrazos.

  • Belinda

    So great to hear from you again and that all is well in your new home. This is one of my favorite dishes!

  • Hester Casey

    Welcome back! Great to having you blogging again. Hope you are settling in well to your new/old home. Wishing you and your family a Happy New Year and thanks for a lovely dish – I have some friends who are allergic to garlic and onion so they’ll be delighted with this one.

  • Cucina49

    Mmm, I’ve always wanted to try paneer. Best wishes for a good new year and looking forward to seeing Mumbai-centered posts!

  • Haddock

    These Vada pavs are really great when had hot.
    Come to think of it these street food and good and easy on the pocket. I had observed some of them in the noon out side the GPO. They give a full plate of rice plate at a really affordable rate. And they have their regular clientele.

  • Ali @ WHOLEistically Fit

    This recipe looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it because I love Indian food. Thank you for the detailed recipe and the breakdown of the various spices. That was really helpful! Wishing you a very happy and tasty New Year! :D

  • mjskit

    This just looks so very good! Love paneer and curry! Thanks for sharing the paneer curry spice mix. I definitely will be making that! Now to find some paneer! Looking forward to spending time with you here during 2013! Happy New Year!

  • cookingvarieties

    hi purabi naha, Happy 2013 to you and family and all the best- so how are you, must be very happy to be at home sweet home again, surrounded with the appetizing aroma of spices from the east. never tried paneer before, yours look delicious. we dont have paneer over here or may be they are all nome made. have a great weekend

  • Shirley Tay

    I haven’t tried paneer before, it looks interesting! Thks so much for visiting & it’s really having u again! It’s nice being here seeing your HK & Indian dishes. Happy 2013 & this year be a good one for u. xoxo

  • Lorraine

    Oh, how exciting to see the photos of Mumbai and the delicious food. Looking forward to the tasty dishes you will share :)

  • Amanda@ChewTown

    Wow! Big move. Sounds like an exciting new adventure for you which will be great for us as we’ll get to try lots of your wonderful dishes.

  • Kimby

    Purabi, your New Year’s meal was full of flavor (even without the garlic and onion!) and the parathas you featured in your previous post sounded like the perfect accompaniment. Congratulations on your move and welcome back to “blog world!”

  • Niru

    Paneer is looking awesome…sounds delicious with coconut milk…

  • Ann Mah

    Those paneer cubes are gleaming with freshness! I can just imagine their toothsome chew. Thank you for a lovely recipe!

  • Denise Browning@From Brazil To You

    I love paneer and this one looks amazing! In general, I have them with spinach (Saag Paneer)so I’ll have to try this one. Thanks for the visit to my blog. You put a smile on my face. I’m gonna start follow you now. Have a wonderful day!!!

  • Mummsies the Word

    I came across your post by chance and I’m so glad I did. I LOVE curry and all Asian foods but I am allegic to garlic. This means that I can’t eat out at these ethnic restaurants and it’s very difficult for me to find commercial curry powder/paste without garlic. In fact impossible. So I thank you greatly for this curry recipe. I will be cooking it as soon as I can get the ingredients together.