My take on a Matar Paneer recipe is very much influenced by the idea behind a chicken tikka masala. Cooking the paneer separately allows us to supercharge the flavours in this classic vegetarian curry that features green peas and paneer in a tomato gravy.
Indian Matar Paneer Curry.
Indian food always provides me with my favourite vegetarian meals. It is an ancient cuisine that does veggie and vegan food effortlessly. This simple idea is just one of the many shining examples.
This is a recipe originally north Indian in origin and is also known as mutter paneer, although my version is definitely coloured by the British Indian food that I adore.
In fact, this recipe shares a great deal in common with a chicken tikka masala.
I grill or broil the paneer separately after a quick marinade. You can increase the marinade time if you wish, to really amp up the flavour.
Then I create a tomato-based masala gravy separately. I use ground spices in this recipe to keep the gravy smooth, but you could toast and use cumin seeds and coriander seeds if you like.
I have always taken my paneer for this recipe and cooked it ‘tikka’ style.
It is a habit I picked up from a friends wife who did it because “paneer has no flavour”.
Which is true, but it does carry flavour beautifully! In that sesne, it is similar to the tofu that I use in this fried Tofu recipe.
What is Paneer?
Paneer is an unaged cheese made from milk or cream. I have not included any recipes for it here on my site before as it is impossible to find here in Hungary.
In fact, I have only started to cook with it again after a long hiatus after finding a way to make it at home.
Yes, you can make this simple cheese at home. I stumbled upon this Instant Pot Paneer recipe and it has blown my wee mind.
It is insanely simple, 2 ingredients, 20 odd minutes ‘cooking’ with no faff, then 30 odd minutes to press.
I’ll not say how many times I have made this paneer recipe recently but let’s just call it a ‘few’!
The paneer will keep for a few days in the fridge after you have made it. So you can make the cheese in advance if you cannot buy it.
Peas in Indian Food.
Heading to a British Indian restaurant you may well be forgiven for thinking that Indians do not use green peas.
Nothing could be further from the truth, in fact, Matar Paneer literally translates to Peas Paneer. Not so exotic now hey?
I add them to a few of my curries, they add wonderful explosions of sweetness in generously spiced recipes.
My version of keema matar is a traditional minced lamb or mutton recipe that leans heavily on peas.
I even have a beef curry with peas that again relies on those sweet notes to raise the dish.
Don’t worry about using fresh green peas, as frozen peas are just as good in this recipe.
But there are dozens if not hundreds of well-established matar recipes out there that you should definitely explore.
I usually serve this recipe with some Chapati, although any paratha would work well as would simply cooked rice.
- 250 g Paneer
- 75 g Peas
For the Paneer Marinade:
- 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 Tsp Coriander Powder
- 1 Tsp Dried Fenugreek
- 1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
For the Sauce:
- 1 Tbsp Oil
- 5 Black Pepper Corns
- 2 Cloves
- 8 Cardamom Pods
- 1/2 Tsp Fennel Seeds
- 200 g Onions
- 25 g Ginger
- 25 g Garlic
- 1 Tbsp Ground Coriander
- 1 Tbsp Ground Cumin
- 1 Tbsp Ground Turmeric
- 1 Tbsp Garam Masala
- 1 Tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder
- 200 ml Tomato Passata
- 100 ml Water
- 1/4 Tsp Sugar
- Salt to taste
- Cut the Paneer into even-sized pieces, I like triangles but paneer cubes are more typical.
- Mix together the ingredients for the paneer marinade.
- Add the paneer and coat whilst we prepare our sauce.
- Blend the garlic and ginger to a paste with as much water as needed.
- Slice the onion into thin half-moon shapes.
- Heat the oil for the sauce over a medium-high heat.
- When the oil is hot add the whole spices for the sauce and cook until they start to spit.
- Add in the sliced onion and cook stirring occasionally.
- Cook until the onion starts to colour this should take around 10 minutes.
- Whilst this is happening heat your grill or broiler as hot as it will go!
- When cooked add the garlic and ginger paste and the powdered spices for the sauce.
- Cook for 30 seconds stirring constantly.
- Add the tomato passata and water with the sugar and season to taste with salt.
- Reduce to low-medium and simmer for 10 minutes.
- I like to blend my sauce and pass it through a fine mesh sieve, this step is optional.
- When blended return to the pan and keep warm on a low heat.
- Place the paneer under the grill and cook until nicely coloured.
- Cook the peas in boiling salted water for one-two minutes.
- We are now ready to serve, start with the sauce in the bottom of a warmed bowl.
- Add the grilled paneer and the peas!
You can use canned tomatoes or even blended fresh tomatoes as a substitute for the passata.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 754 Total Fat: 48g Saturated Fat: 18g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 24g Cholesterol: 86mg Sodium: 1904mg Carbohydrates: 58g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 14g Sugar: 16g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 33g