Some other North Indian preparations on my blog: Chana Masala| Baingan Bhartha| Rajma Masala| Dal Makhani| Masala Khichdi| Dal Moradabadi| Paneer Butter Masala| Tandoori Mushroom & Paneer Tikka| Jeera Rice| Methi Matar Malai| Methi Raita| Punjabi Aloo Matar| Aloo Rassedar| Aloo Chutney Pulav| Palak Dal Khichdi| Besan Cheela| Gol Gappa
What is Matar Paneer?
Matar Paneer or Mutter Paneer is a popular North Indian curry made using green peas and cottage cheese. Green peas and cubes of cottage cheese aka paneer are cooked in a delicious, slightly sweet, delicately spiced gravy.
My version of Matar Paneer
I make the Matar Paneer in a rather simple way, paring down the ingredients to a bare minimum. I also make a few other substitutions and changes to make the sabzi as healthy as I can.
There’s no oil used in my recipe, for starters, and no cream. I use a mix of almonds, cashewnuts and milk to thicken the sabzi and make it flavourful.
I use good-quality, preferably organic, paneer which is not fried before it goes into the gravy. It is not laden with spices or sugar, either. I also use fresh green peas whenever possible, or use ones frozen at home.Let’s say this is a lighter, but equally delectable, version of restaurant-style Matar Paneer. It is quite easy to put together too, not an elaborate proceedure at all.
Matar Paneer recipe
Here’s how I go about making my version of Matar Paneer or Mutter Paneer.
Ingredients (serves 3-4):
- 4 medium-sized tomatoes
- 1 small onion
- 5-6 cloves of garlic
- A 1-inch piece of ginger
- 5-6 almonds
- 5-6 cashewnuts
- 1-1/2 cups green peas
- 200 grams paneer
- 1 cup milk, boiled and cooled
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder or to taste
- 1/2 tablespoon jaggery powder
- 1/2 tablespoon chana masala or to taste
- 1 teaspoon kasoori methi
- 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
1. We will first grind the required ingredients. Peel the onion, ginger and garlic, and chop roughly. Chop the tomatoes roughly. Transfer the chopped tomatoes, onion, ginger and garlic to a mixer jar. Add in the almonds and cashewnuts. Grind everything together to a fine paste, without adding any water. Keep aside.
2. Take the green peas in a pan, and add in about 1/2 cup water. Cook on high flame for 3-4 minutes or till the peas are cooked through. Don’t let them get overly mushy. Drain out the water the peas were cooked in – don’t discard it. Allow the cooked peas to cool down.
3. Cut the paneer into cubes, as small or big as you prefer. Keep aside.
4. Take the paste we ground earlier in a heavy-bottomed pan. Once the pan heats up, turn the flame down to medium. Cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes or till the raw smell of the ingredients has gone completely and the paste has thickened up. Stir intermittently to prevent clumping together.
5. Still keeping the flame on medium, add in salt to taste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and jaggery powder. Add in the milk. Mix well. Stirring intermittently, cook on medium flame for about 2 minutes or till the mixture comes together nicely.
6. Now, add in the cooked green peas, along with the water they were cooked in. Add in about 1/2 cup more water, to adjust the consistency of the gravy. Also add in the paneer cubes and chana masala. Mix well. Cook for about 2-3 more minutes, stirring intermittently, but gently. Switch off gas when the raw smell of the masala has completely gone and the mixture is not watery.
7. Crush the kasoori methi between your palms and add to the pan. Add in the chopped coriander too. Mix gently. Your Matar Paneer is ready to serve, with rotis, naan, parathas or rice.
Tips & Tricks
1. Make sure you grind the ingredients in the ‘To Grind’ list smoothly. There should be no coarse bits and pieces in there.
2. Make sure you cook the ground paste well, until there’s no raw smell to it. A well-cooked paste is key to a great-tasting Matar Paneer.
3. You can use fresh or frozen green peas to make this dish. I had frozen some green peas a couple of months ago, and that is what I have used here. Ensure that you don’t overcook the peas to a mush. They should be cooked just enough for them to not be raw, and that’s about it.
4. I like using a bit of jaggery in my Matar Paneer. You may skip it if you do not prefer it.
5. I have used chana masala here, which you may substitute with garam masala. I’m partial to the Goldiee brand of chana masala.
6. Use soft, good-quality paneer for best results. Here, I have used organic paneer from Akshayakalpa, which was absolutely wonderful.
7. I have used a mix of almonds and cashewnuts to thicken the gravy. You can use only almonds or cashewnuts for the same, too.
8. I do not fry the paneer before adding it to the gravy. You may do that, if you desire.
9. I have used country (Nati) tomatoes here, because I like the tang they impart to the gravy.
10. Fresh cream can be added to the gravy to make it thicker and richer. I don’t really see the need to do so. The cashewnuts and almonds used in it make the gravy thick and flavourful enough as it is.
11. Some people use whole spices like bay leaves, cardamom and cinnamon in Matar Paneer. I don’t, because I like keeping it really simple.
12. Do not cook the gravy too much after adding the paneer – just about 2 minutes on medium flame is enough. Otherwise, there are chances of the paneer turning hard and rubbery.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!