Usually if we're going to have paneer, we have palak paneer. It's one of the two dishes that get ordered every time we go to an Indian restaurant. (The other one is baigan bhartha.) I am perfectly willing to wash, destem, dry, chop, and squeeze an entire bunch of spinach in order to make it. Sometimes we even make naan to go with it.
This time we had paneer, but no spinach. We did have tomatoes and peas. I went and looked in Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East Vegetarian Cooking to see what I should do with them. With slight variation, I should do this:
batch of paneer
defrosted frozen peas
an inch knob of ginger
a hot red pepper
turmeric, coriander, salt, pepper
water or whey
rice or naan
First, peel the ginger. Use the spoon trick: take a spoon and scrape the ginger with it. The skin will all come off, and you won't lose too much of your precious precious ginger. Chop it up. Peel and chop a yellow onion as well. Destem and chop a small hot pepper.
Now throw it all in the blender. Add a half cup or so of water. Hit blend. Ha ha! Onion shake!
If you don't have a blender, it will clearly be fine to just chop everything pretty finely. Leave it all on the side for a few minutes.
Warm a big nonstick frying pan, chop paneer into small cubes, and fry in a tiny bit of olive oil. Make sure the bits of paneer are all in one layer, and move them around a lot. You want to make sure none of them get stuck together; since you are frying cheese, this is pretty likely. Get them a good golden brown on all sides, then take them out of the pan and put them aside.
Pour the onion business into the pan and start cooking. If you didn't blend, you can add some water along with your onion mix. Cook, stirring, until the business starts to goldenize. Then add some coriander, a little turmeric, and maybe a cup or a cup and a half of crushed tomato. I used half a big can, since it's winter; in summer you should clearly use real skinned diced tomatoes.
Stir it all together and cook for maybe five more minutes, until the tomatoes and onion etc have had a chance to blend a little. Then add maybe a cup of water (or paneer whey, if you made the paneer yourself and have whey lying around), some salt, and a little pepper, and bring the business to a boil.
Simmer for ten minutes, then add paneer and peas. You want a roughly equal proportion of peas to paneer in a thick tomato sauce to coat. Simmer again until everything is done and tasty.
Eat with rice and naan and nice big cups of tea.