Indian cheese curry in milk


This recipe, Sana Thongba, comes from the state of Manipur and makes a satisfying meal when served with rice. It contains garden peas and potatoes along with cubes of cheese and the entire dish is cooked in milk, making it protein-rich, creamy and nutritious as well as delicious.


  • 30 ml/2 tbsp sunflower oil or light olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 ml/2 tsp ginger purée
  • 10 ml/2 tsp garlic purée
  • 1 fresh green chilli, finely chopped
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 5 ml/1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp ground cumin
  • 2.5 ml-5 ml/½-1 tsp chilli powder
  • 200 g/7 oz paneer (Indian cheese)
  • 150 g/5 oz frozen peas or fresh peas
  • 250 g/9 oz potatoes
  • 2.5 cm/1 in piece of cinnamon stick
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp salt, or to taste
  • 600 ml/1 pint/ cups full-fat (whole) milk
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp garam masala
  • a mixture of wild and basmati rice, to serve


  1. Heat the oil in a large, non-stick pan over a low heat and add the bay leaves, ginger, garlic and chilli. Fry gently for 3-4 minutes, until the garlic softens but does not brown.

  2. Add the turmeric, coriander, cumin and chilli powder. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, cut the paneer into 2.5cm/1in cubes. Set aside.

  4. Put the peas in a bowl, cover with boiling water and leave until tender. Drain.

  5. Peel the potatoes, then cut them into 2.5cm/1in chunks.

  6. Reduce the heat to medium and pour the remaining 15 ml/1 tbsp oil into the pan. Add the cinnamon and sizzle for 20 seconds.

  7. Add the potatoes, salt and milk and stir to combine. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring often.

  8. Add the paneer and peas and simmer for 6-7 minutes. Stir in the garam masala and remove from the heat. Serve with a mixture of wild and basmati rice.


For a richer version, substitute half the milk with double (heavy) cream.

Per portion Energy 378kcal/1566kJ; Protein 10g; Carbohydrate 22g, of which sugars 8g; Fat 29g, of which saturates 14g; Cholesterol 50mg; Calcium 235mg; Fibre 3.6g; Sodium 413mg.