This interesting cross between a sauce and a curry has echoes of the Indian subcontinent but is distinctively Burmese. Paneer is a fresh firm cheese that does not melt when heated; it’s available in South Asian groceries. You can also, nontraditionally, substitute pressed tofu for the paneer. The taste is a little different, but the result is very similar.
Made with paneer and soy sauce or miso, this dish is vegetarian; with tofu, it becomes vegan. Serve it over rice, pasta, or rice noodles. To reduce the heat, cut back the amount of chile powder and/or strip the seeds out of the cayenne chile.
Place the tomatoes in a food processor and puree. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a wide pot or a large wok over medium heat. Add the turmeric and shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, chile powder, and shrimp paste, if using, and stir to mix well. Add the tomato puree and fish sauce, soy sauce, or miso, if using, and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice the paneer or tofu into ¼-inch-thick slices about
Turn out into a serving bowl, add the coriander, and stir; serve hot or at room temperature.
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