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! Anything with paneer is a definite win in our home, especially if it’s home-made paneer. I love experimenting with different paneer recipes but tend to default to tried and tested recipes – like this paneerbutter masala, kadai paneer, or Cashew chilli paneer – when it comes to cooking for guests. Since I am a vegetarian, and a person who loves dairy in every form, I do cook Paneer a lot anyway. At least once a week is a must..
This dish if full of texture and flavour and the piece of Paneer doesn’t get lost in thick, creamy gravy. It’s surprisingly simple and quick to make dish, there is no forward planning involved and its perfect for a party or get together. And if you keep the spices mild, and use low fat paneer.. its indeed healthy too.. What more do you want !? J
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 2-3 other recipes as well, but this one 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 practise to use it correctly, else it might curdle and ruin the whole curry. I have given very detailed instruction on how to add it, once you follow them correctly , you will be an expert in it J
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 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 chili, chopped roughly
- ½ inch piece of ginger, chopped (adrak)
- 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped (lahsun)
- 2 tbsp of Yoghurt
- 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 it turns all pink and nicely caramelised. Turn off the flame, and let the onions get cool down a bit. Then blend them with ginger, garlic and green chilies to a paste. Heat the remaining oil in the same pan, and pour in this paste and sauté 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 double the amount of oil as paste and will take longer as well.
- While this paste is getting cooked, blend the tomatoes coarsely ( and not like a thin puree, just a pulse or two should do ) and keep them aside. When the paste in the pan gets cooked, it will start leaving the oil aside. ( yes, it does really happen if you remain patient for like 4-5 minutes and keep stirring the paste frequently on low-medium flame )
- 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 8-10 minutes. The paste at the end will be slightly darker in colour ( not red ) 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. Once its all mixed well, cover the pan again and cook for further 5-6 minutes on low flame. 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, paneer cubes and water, mix well. Turn the flame to medium and cover the pan. Cook for next 7-8 minutes until it comes to a boil, turn the flame to low, add milk gradually and simmer it ( uncovered ) for 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 2 more minutes.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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 it, cook with peas and cream.. and its ready
- 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 ease off, and continue with the milk / cream addition and the remaining procedure
- People also tend to add cashew paste to Matar Paneer. I somehow feel that its reserved for Shahi Paneer and not Matar Paneer. Matar paneer is supposed to be a homely and less calorific, less rich and light curry. Hence the reason I don’t add it.. but I will post the recipe with the cashew paste very shortly on this blog