Mattar Paneer / Paneer and Peas in a creamy sauce

Mattar Paneer ~ Paneer and Peas cooked in a creamy Punjabi – Indian sauce

A very popular main course dish and one of D’s favorite, which makes it a frequent choice for dinners at home. Here’s a recipe I’ve tried and perfected over time after having cooked my way through a number of pro-chef versions of the dish.

Oh, and did I mention about my 15 mo old – A – well, he seems to be following in on dad’s footsteps already. At least as far as being the picky eater goes 😛

So count on reading more paneer and Punjabi dishes in the coming weeks!

Source: My own variation of the recipe

Cooking Time: 10 minutes prep + 30 minutes cooking

Ingredients:

Set 1 – for the base masala:

  1. Ghee / Oil – 2 tbsp
  2. Onion – 1 large, chopped
  3. Tomatoes – 2 large, chopped
  4. Ginger  – 1 tbsp, minced or paste
  5. Green chilies – 3-4 or to taste, split
  6. Cashew nuts – a handful, broken
  7. Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  8. Coriander powder – 2 tbsp
  9. Cumin powder – 1/2 tbsp
  10. Garam masala – 1/2 tbsp
  11. Salt – to taste

Set 2:

  1. Paneer – 12 oz or approx. 350g
  2. Peas (fresh or frozen) – 1 cup
  3. Cream (heavy / light or half & half) – 1/2 cup
  4. Cinnamon – 2 1″ pieces
  5. Cloves – 2 or 3
  6. Bay leaf – 1
  7. Cumin or Jeera seeds – 1 tsp
  8. Kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) – 1 tbsp, powdered (optional)
  9. Coriander leaves – a few stems, chopped for garnishing

Method:

Preparing the base masala:

  1. Heat oil in a pan. Add the onions and some salt to help the onions cook faster.
  2. When the onions start browning, add the cashew nuts and saute for a few seconds until they start turning golden.
  3. Add the tomatoes, ginger, turmeric and chilies and saute for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the coriander, cumin and garam masala powder and cook with lid on until the mixture is fully cooked and soft.
  5. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for sometime. Grind together to a fine paste, adding some water if needed.

Preparing the Paneer & Peas:

Paneer: While the masala is getting cooked, you can prepare the paneer – in a shallow pan or tava, sprinkle some oil and just place the paneer on each side for a minute or so until it starts turning golden brown and shows a toasted texture. Remove from heat and when it cools down, cut it into cubes.

This step is optional, you could just chop up the paneer fresh and drop in the curry too.

Peas: If you are using frozen peas, wash in running water to thaw and microwave for a couple of minutes. For fresh peas, you could either pre-cook the peas until 3/4th done in a separate pan with some water and a pinch of salt or cook it in the masala directly afterwards.

Bringing it all together:

  1. Heat oil in a pan and add the bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves and jeera seeds. Saute for a few seconds to let these cook.
  2. Powder some kasuri methi and add to the tadka and saute for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the ground masala and about 2 cups water (be careful as there can be a lot of sputtering when the masala comes in contact with the hot oil).
  4. Cook with lid-on for about 10 minutes on med-high until you start seeing the oil separate from the gravy. Check for salt and add more if needed.
  5. Add the peas (which can be added a bit sooner if using fresh peas and it is not pre-cooked) and continue to cook and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium, add the cream and cook for 2-3 minutes more.
  7. Add the paneer and cook for another 3-5 minutes on med heat with lid on.
  8. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and turn off the heat.

Mattar Paneer Masala is ready to serve with your favorite rice or roti dish!

Notes:

The primary source of spice for this dish comes from the green chilies – and the dish by nature is not supposed to be very spicy, just mildly hot. This way your curry retains the light orange color instead of the usual feisty red color of Indian sauces. But you could add red chilli powder for the spice if desired too.

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  1. […] Credit: Featured image courtesy of aishcooks.com Emily Dangler | December 19, […]

  2. […] (plus a little extra time in the oven!) and perfectly baked Bharwan Bhindi was served with creamy Matar Paneer and jeera rice. […]



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