Matar Paneer is a lovely combo of veggies and cottage cheese. A North Indian curry, now popular all over and tastes great with naan, roti or rice. Vegans can substitute paneer with tofu or potatoes.
This creamy Paneer curry is perfect for those special weekend lunches and for entertaining guests.
Ingredients:Paneer/Indian Cottage Cheese Cubes - 250 gms
Green Peas/Matar - 1 1/ 2 cups
Chat Masala or Aamchur - 1/4 tsp
Turmeric/Haldi - 1/4 tsp
Cayenne Pepper/Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
Kasoori Methi/Dried Fenugreek Leaves - 1 tbsp
Dry Red Chilies (Byadagi variety) - 5
Red Onion - 1 big
Canned Tomato Paste - 2 tbsp
Ginger - an inch piece
Garlic - 4 big cloves
Almonds/Badam - 5
Fennel Seeds/Badishep/Saunf - 1 tsp
Cloves/Lavang/Long - 4
Cinnamon/Dalchini - 1/2 inch piece
Green Cardamom/Elaichi - 1 pod (seeds only)
Cumin/Jeera Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Bay Leaf/Tamalpatra/Tejpatta - 1
Oil - about 1 tbsp
How to cook Indian Matar Paneer:
- Sprinkle cayenne pepper, turmeric, chat masala, little salt on the paneer cubes. Toss them and keep it covered for 15 - 20 minutes.
- Julienne slice onions. Roughly chop ginger and garlic.
- Heat about 1 tsp oil in a pan. Add fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom seeds. Sauté at low flame, until the spices turn aromatic, about a minute or so. Save them for later.
- In the same pan, heat about 1/2 tbsp oil. Add onions, ginger and garlic. Saute until onions turn soft. Do not let them turn brown.
- Grind roasted spices, onions, ginger, garlic, red chilies, almonds, tomato paste to a smooth paste. Add about 1/2 cup water or more if required.
- Instead of almonds, you can use cashews/kaju or pistachios/pista as well. Nuts will thicken the gravy. In case, canned tomato paste is not available, use 2 medium size fresh tomatoes. I have used dry Byadagi chilies for color. You can use Spanish paprika or Kashmiri Lal Mirch powder as well.
- In the same pan, heat 1 tsp oil. Add cumin seeds and bay leaf. After few seconds, add green peas. Saute for about a minute. Now add the ground paste. Cook it covered until it starts boiling. At this point, you can add water if you like the gravy/sauce thinner in consistency.
- Lastly, add paneer to the pan. Crush the kasuri methi leaves between your palms and add that to the pan. Add salt to taste, stir and cook it covered at low heat for about 5 minutes or until paneer is cooked.
- You can add about 1/2 cup yogurt/curds/dahi or 1/2 cup milk, for the gravy to turn more rich and creamy.