Matar paneer is an easy vegetarian curry made with marinated paneer served in a silky tomato-based spicy gravy and delicious with sweet peas.
It’s a pretty quick curry to make that takes a shade over half an hour to prepare and cook and it tastes fantastic.
At its heart, matar paneer or mutter paneer is a cheese and pea curry. Now admittedly, that sounds “dodgy”… but it really is a gem!
They offer little bursts of fresh sweet pea flavour that is simply delicious.
This recipe is originally from the north of India and also goes by the name as mutter paneer.
My version of matar paneer is coloured by the British Indian food that I adore. In fact, it shares a great deal in common with a chicken tikka masala.
Like that recipe, I add some flavour to the paneer with a simple marinade that is similar to my paneer tikka recipe which also stars in my paneer tikka salad. However, here I quickly sear the paneer in a pan rather than cooking it under a grill.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is paneer?
Paneer is an unaged cheese made from milk or cream, that has a fairly neutral flavour.
It is commonly available in supermarkets, but you can make it at home and it takes minutes. Although homemade paneer does need to be pressed before using in this matar paneer recipe.
I have a method for making homemade paneer in my aloo paneer recipe.
Do I have to fry the paneer before adding to the curry?
No, you can just add it to the sauce and allow it to simmer in the gravy, but doing so does ramp up the flavour!
Can I make this in advance?
Yes, and as with many generously spiced dishes it improves after spending a day or two in the fridge.
Gently reheat in a covered saucepan over a low-medium heat.
Can I freeze matar paneer?
Yes, but personally speaking I am not a huge fan of freezing this. I find that it has a negative impact on the texture of the paneer.
If you do freeze this let it defrost before gently reheating in a covered saucepan.
As far as I am concerned a curry without bread is like Sunday lunch without gravy! Sure you can do it, but why?
For me, that means a naan bread sat alongside matar paneer, although being a Brummie it is pretty much naan bread with everything!
Being objective, the bulk of a naan is a little better with this very saucy matar panner than a roti.
Don’t forget the rice! Matar paneer is great sat alongside plainly boiled or steamed rice as well as a good pilau rice.
I only mention specific brands of equipment if I think they make a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.
- 30cm or 12″ frying pan.
- Blender (optional) but I prefer a smooth sauce for this recipe.
- Chopping board.
- Kitchen knife.
- Mixing bowl.
- Sieve to defrost the peas.
- Weighing scales and or measuring cups and or spoons.
- Stirring and serving spoons.
When it comes to meat free food India is a hotbed of options, this matar paneer is my take on a real classic. Featuring an Indian unmatured cheese and sweet peas it is a stunning simple curry that tastes superb.
- 275g (10oz) Paneer
- 100g (1 Cup) Peas
For the Paneer Marinade:
- 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 Tsp Coriander Powder
- 1 Tsp Dried Fenugreek
- ½ Tsp Turmeric Powder
- ½ Tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
- ½ Tsp Salt
For the Sauce:
- 1 Tbsp Ghee
- 12 Black Pepper Corns
- 4 Cardamom Pods
- ½ Tsp Fennel Seeds
- ½ Tsp Cumin Seeds
- 150g (1 Cup) Onion
- 15g (Half Thumb Sized Piece) Ginger
- 2 Green Chilli Peppers
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 8 Curry Leaves
- 1 Tsp Tomato Puree
- 1 Tsp Garam Masala
- 200g (Half of a 14oz tin) Tinned Plum Tomatoes
- 250ml (1 Cup) Water
- 1 Tsp Sugar
- ½ Tsp Salt
- 50ml (3 Tbsp + 1 Tsp) Double or Heavy Cream
- Cut the Paneer into evenly-shaped 25mm or 1" cubes.
- Mix together the ingredients for the marinade and add it to the paneer, stir to coat and allow it to sit whilst we prepare our sauce.
- Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves and ginger.
- Cut the onion in half lengthways, peel it, then slice it into thin half-moon shapes.
- Cut the green chillies in half lengthways.
- Heat the ghee over a medium-high heat in a 30cm or 12" frying pan.
- When the ghee is hot add the green chillies, curry leaves and whole spices for the sauce and cook until they start to spit.
- Add in the sliced onion and cook stirring occasionally and cook for 5-6 minutes.
- Throw in the chopped garlic and ginger and cook for a further 1 minute, stirring continuously.
- Add the tomato puree and garam masala to the sauce and cook for 30 seconds stirring constantly.
- Pour in the tinned tomatoes, water and add the sugar and salt.
- Mash the tomatoes with a fork, then reduce to low-medium and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Now is a good time to defrost the peas if you are using frozen peas by running them under cold water for 5 minutes.
- Blend the sauce and wipe out the pan you cooked the sauce in with some kitchen paper and return it to a medium-high heat.
- Remove the paneer from the marinade and add it to the pan and fry until nicely coloured on all sides. This should take 4-5 minutes.
- Pour over the sauce and add any remaining marinade, then stir to combine.
- Finally, add the peas and cook for a minute or 2 before serving.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 856Total Fat: 58gSaturated Fat: 29gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 140mgSodium: 2252mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 12gSugar: 21gProtein: 36g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.