I have this love-hate relationship with Paneer as I love the way it blends with any other ingredients and hate its effect on my waistline. But then there is nothing more exciting than a block of fresh home-made Paneer to indulge in! I love experimenting with different Paneer recipes but always tend to fall back to the tried and tested ones like this Paneer Bhurji, Paneer Tikka Masala or this absolutely finger licking Shahi Paneer.
This dish is full of flavours and the texture of Paneer doesn’t get lost in a thick gravy. It’s a surprisingly simple and quickly made dish, where there is no forward planning involved and is perfect for a party or get together.
Check out more Paneer recipes from my kitchen –Here
Like potato recipes, Paneer recipes also vary from household to household. Everyone has a different recipe, which suits their own families’ taste and preferences. This one is totally MY recipe, which I have prepared infinite number of times. Unlike many other recipes that say so, I don’t fry Paneer in this recipe, neither shallow or deep when I prepare it for myself or family. But when there are guests coming over and I need some time ahead preparations to do, I do sometimes shallow fry or just pan roast the Paneer cubes and keep them aside . This helps me in tossing everything together quickly just before serving.
** Check notes to see how I prepare Matar Paneer for guests by splitting up the cooking process.
I do make Matar Paneer using different methods, but this recipe always gives the best results. It is a bit different than the rest since I add yoghurt and Milk to it, and it requires a bit of patience and practice to use it correctly, else it might curdle and ruin the whole curry. I have given detailed instructions on how to do that.
You can also make this curry in a pressure cooker, following the same directions. ( ** check notes for more detailed instruction on cooking with a pressure cooker )
Lets move on to the recipe now :-
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 30-40 mins
Serves: 3-4 people
Cuisine:- North Indian
Spice Level: Mild to Medium
Recipe Level: Intermediate / moderate
Shelf Life: 3 days when refrigerated
Serving Suggestion: With flavoured or plain rice or any Indian flat bread
What you need?
- 2 cups Paneer cubes (about 250 gms)
- 1 ½ cups green peas or matar – fresh or frozen (thawed if frozen)
- 3 medium sized ripe red tomatoes, chopped roughly
- 1 large onion, chopped roughly
- 2-3 green chilies, chopped roughly
- ½ inch piece of ginger, chopped (adrak)
- 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped (lahsun)
- 2 tbsp of Yogurt
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 2 ½ cups water
- ½ tsp turmeric powder, red chili powder each
- 1 tsp Coriander powder
- ½ tsp Garam Masala powder
- 2 tbsp Kasuri Methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
- 2 tbsp oil
- A handful of Coriander leaves for garnishing (dhania patta/cilantro)
- Salt as required
- ½ tsp Sugar ( Optional )
How to make?
- First of all, heat 1 tbsp oil in a deep and heavy bottomed pan and fry onion till they turn all pink and nicely caramelised. Turn off the flame, and let the onions cool down a bit. Then blend them with ginger, garlic and green chilies to a paste.
- Heat the remaining oil in the same pan pour in this paste and saute on low flame. Like I have mentioned a few times before, I always prefer frying onions first and then blending them. Since if you blend the onions first, they will absorb more oil as paste and will take longer to cook.
- While this paste is getting cooked, blend the tomatoes coarsely in the same jar (do not puree, just a pulse or two should do) and keep them aside. When the paste in the pan gets cooked, it should start leaving the oil aside. (This takes roughly 7-8 minutes to happen and depends greatly on the amount of oil used. More the oil, quicker it separates)
- Now add the tomato puree, and throw in spices – salt, red chili powder, coriander powder and turmeric. Mix everything well together and cover it, cook for next 5-7 minutes. The paste at the end will be slightly darker in colour and almost half in quantity. Turn the flame to THE LOWEST (this is important!!)
- Now the critical part – whisk the yoghurt lightly and add a pinch of sugar in it, mix well. Add it gradually to the paste in the pan, in 2-3 batches, stirring and mixing it well to the paste. Then cover the pan again and cook for further 5-6 minutes on low flame stirring every few seconds. At the end, you will see that the yoghurt is almost disappeared and the paste’s colour has turned dark again.
- Then add green peas, and about a cup of water, mix well. Turn the flame to medium and cover the pan. Cook for next 7-8 minutes until it comes to a boil.
- Then turn the flame to low, add paneer cubes and milk and simmer it (uncovered) for the next 8-10 minutes. Milk would be evaporated soon, and you will get a thick gravy towards the end of these 10 minutes, if not, cook further for a few more minutes to achieve your preferred consistency.
- At the end, add Kasuri Methi and garam masala, mix gently (taking care not to break the fragile and soft paneer cubes) and check seasoning.
- Turn off the flame, let it sit covered for 10-15 minutes before serving so it absorbs all the flavours well. It will get thicker with time.
- Garnish with fresh coriander leaves, just before serving.
Tips, variations and notes:
- Always use milk at room temperature, a bit warmer will be even better. This will help prevent not only the gravy to curdle but also enhance the flavours.
- You may substitute the milk with cream. It will make the curry richer and thicker. Check seasoning accordingly since cream will make the spice level milder.
- To save time while cooking, boil the peas for 10 minutes. You can do that while the paste is getting cooked in a separate pan. This way you can add peas and paneer together and save time there.
- When I prepare Matar Paneer for guests, I make the gravy in advance the previous day (till the step where the yoghurt is all cooked) I usually pan fry the paneer cubes if I am making this for Guests so it stays fresh for longer and also makes it easier to add to the gravy. Just drop paneer along with pre-boiled peas into the paste, cook for a couple minutes, add cream, and its ready in a few minutes time.
- If you are making this in a pressure cooker – follow the instructions till adding yoghurt. Once its done, add paneer, peas and water and cook it till one whistle. Open when pressure eases off, and continue with the milk/cream addition and the remaining procedure. Make sure the steam is all out before adding dairy though.
- People also tend to add cashew paste to Matar Paneer. I somehow feel that its reserved for Shahi Paneer and not Matar Paneer.