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Punjabi Matar Paneer Curry

This matar paneer or mutter paneer is an ode to the fantastic vegetarian cooking of India and is loaded with bold flavours and plenty of heat.

Portrait image of a matar paneer curry in a masala sauce served in a white bowl

What is a Matar Paneer Curry?

At its heart, matar paneer is a cheese and pea curry, now admittedly that sounds “dodgy”… But it really is a gem!

I love the sweetness of peas in a curry, I use them in my simple beef curry also in my classic keema matar!

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 is coloured by the British Indian food that I adore. In fact, it shares a great deal in common with a chicken tikka masala.

The paneer is grilled separately after a quick marinade.

Then I create a tomato-based masala gravy.

I have always taken my paneer for this recipe and cooked it ‘tikka’ style. In many ways, you could call this matar paneer tikka masala!

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 sense, it is similar to the tofu that I use in this fried Tofu recipe.

You could just heat the paneer in the sauce as I do with my palak paneer! This is a much more common way to cook this recipe.

Portrait overhead image of a matar paneer curry in a masala sauce served in a white bowl

What is Paneer?

Paneer is an unaged cheese made from milk or cream.

I have only started to cook with it again after a long break 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.

Which makes making this matar paneer recipe a little easier!

Portrait close up image of a matar paneer curry in a masala sauce served in a white bowl

Serving Suggestions.

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 with this curry, 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.

I usually keep my chapati recipe for dry curries like my aloo gobi.

If you are serving this as part of a multi course meal then it goes wonderfully with Bombay potatoes.

Square image of a matar paneer curry in a masala sauce served in a white bowl
Yield: 2 Servings

Matar Paneer Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

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.

Ingredients

  • 250 g (9 oz) Paneer
  • 75 g (2.5 oz) 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 (7 oz) Onions
  • 30 g (1 oz) Ginger
  • 30 g (1 oz) Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp Garam Masala
  • 1 Tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder
  • 175 ml (6 fl oz)Tomato Passata
  • 100 ml (3.5 fl oz) Water
  • 1/4 Tsp Sugar
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut the Paneer into even-sized pieces, I like triangles but paneer cubes are more typical.
  2. Mix together the ingredients for the paneer marinade.
  3. Add the paneer and coat whilst we prepare our sauce.
  4. Blend the garlic and ginger to a paste with as much water as needed.
  5. Slice the onion into thin half-moon shapes.
  6. Heat the oil for the sauce over a medium-high heat.
  7. When the oil is hot add the whole spices for the sauce and cook until they start to spit.
  8. Add in the sliced onion and cook stirring occasionally.
  9. Cook until the onion starts to colour this should take around 10 minutes.
  10. Whilst this is happening heat your grill or broiler as hot as it will go!
  11. When cooked add the garlic and ginger paste and the powdered spices for the sauce.
  12. Cook for 30 seconds stirring constantly.
  13. Add the tomato passata and water with the sugar and season to taste with salt.
  14. Reduce to low-medium and simmer for 10 minutes.
  15. I like to blend my sauce and pass it through a fine mesh sieve, this step is optional.
  16. When blended return to the pan and keep warm on a low heat.
  17. Place the paneer under the grill and cook until nicely coloured.
  18. Cook the peas in boiling salted water for one-two minutes.
  19. We are now ready to serve, start with the sauce in the bottom of a warmed bowl.
  20. Add the grilled paneer and the peas!

Notes

You can cook the peas for this matar paneer recipe in the sauce if you wish, I like to cook them separately for aesthetic purposes.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 754Total Fat: 48gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 1904mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 14gSugar: 16gProtein: 33g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

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Chris

Sunday 6th of October 2019

Hi, looks great, did you blend the sauce withe the whole spices or remove them before blending? Cheers Chris

Brian Jones

Monday 7th of October 2019

I always leave the whole spices in, if you feel that they have not broken down enough when blending just pass the sauce through a fine mesh sieve :)

Michelle

Saturday 3rd of August 2019

This curry sauce is insanely delicious. Love the paneer.

Brian Jones

Sunday 4th of August 2019

Thank you Michelle

Beth Neels

Friday 2nd of August 2019

I recently stumbled on paneer at a restaurant supply store and stumbled on your recipe, when I was researching ways to use it! This curry did not disappoint! It was easy and so flavorful! I love all the spices you incorporate! Will be making it again soon!

Brian Jones

Saturday 3rd of August 2019

Glad you enjoyed it, thanks for taking the time to let me know.

Julie

Friday 2nd of August 2019

This is such a great recipe! Love all the flavors in it.

Brian Jones

Saturday 3rd of August 2019

Thanks Julie