This post is also available in: Hindi
Matar Paneer is a very popular vegetarian recipe. It goes well with rice, Naan, Roti, Phulkas. It is generally made in the winter months when fresh green peas are easily available.
Also commonly known as Paneer Matar masala, the dish is one of the most commonly ordered dishes in restaurants. It is a classic north Indian dish that is also made at home as a common meal time curry. The dish can be converted into a rich gravy by adding cashew paste and touched up with cream.
Matar paneer goes well with both rice and Indian breads. The dish’s taste hinges on 2 important factors – the softness of the green peas and the taste of the gravy. If you are using fresh green peas, you can boil water and add the green peas in it with a little salt and let it boil for a couple of minutes and then strain and use it. This keeps the green peas soft and the colour lush green and appetizing. The flavours in the gravy comes out best if you use freshly ground spices. You can roast coriander seeds and ground them for fresh use. You can also use actual garam masalas to replace the ground powder. If you want to tone down the spice and make it yummy for children then avoid the green chillies. Instead just use kashmiri chillies for colour.
- Peas ½ cup
- Paneer 200 grams
- Cream 2 teaspoons
- Cumin seeds 1 teaspoon
- Cashewnuts 6
- Salt to taste
- Onions 2
- Tomatoes 2
- Red chilli powder 1 teaspoon
- Garam masala powder 1 teaspoon
- Turmeric powder ¼ teaspoon
- Chopped Green chilli 1
- Ginger garlic paste 2 teaspoons
- Coriander powder 1 teaspoon
- Green coriander leaves 2 tablespoons
- Cinnamon ½ inch
- Cloves 2
- Water as needed
- Oil 2 teaspoons
- Butter 1 teaspoon
Chop the onions and tomatoes into big pieces.
Grind together the onions, tomatoes, Cinnamon, cloves, Cashewnuts to a coarse paste.
Cut the paneer in small cubes. Shallow fry on a non stick pan using very little oil.
In a pressure cooker, take the oil and the butter and heat it on low flame.
Put the cumin seeds and let them splutter.
Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute. Now add the onion paste.
Fry till the paste looks cooked and starts leaving the oil.
Add in the red chilli powder, green chilli, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and the salt.
Mix well and keep on stir frying
At this point,add 1 to 2 cups of water as per the gravy consistency preferred.
Add in the fresh green peas. Put on the lid and put the flame to high
Cook for 2 whistles. After the pressure releases on its own, open the cooker lid.
Add in the cream and the paneer cubes.
Bring to a boil. Garnish with fresh green coriander leaves.
Serve hot with steamed rice, rotis or Naans.
As a variation, you can grind 4-5 kashmiri chilles with onions and make this the base of your curry. This gives the exact restaurant style colour without any added food colouring. Don’t forget to use a mix of grated fresh paneer and fresh cream for garnishing.
Another variation is the paneer matar bhurji. This is a ‘rescue’ dish. The dish and preparation remains the same but is made when the paneer is too soft and breaks. This generally happens in the case of home made paneer. So, in case, your paneer cubes break, you can convert the dish into a bhurji style masala dish and it’ll taste equally great. To avoid this, you can shallow fry the paneer cubes in advance with a little oil which will keep it smooth on the inside and golden brown on the outside. If you feel a little indulgent, you can also deep fry the panner cubes.
You can prepare the base for the gravy just before you add water. You can take some out and store it in the freezer to shorten your cooking time during weekdays. Serve topped with fresh coriander leaves and you are ready to go.
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