Made using fresh paneer and green peas, matar paneer is one of the most popular Indian curries. This creamy and spicy curry is made by simmering peas and paneer in an onion-tomato-based gravy. Make it for special occasions or everyday meals, it's going to be a hit always (gluten-free, can be made vegan)
5tablespoonvegetable oilplus ¼ cup for frying paneer
1cuproughly chopped onion
1cuproughly chopped tomato
3-4whole garlic cloves
2teaspoonchopped green chili
2teaspoonKashmiri red chili powder
½teaspoongaram masala powder
salt to taste
2 tablespoonchopped coriander
Start by preparing the peas. If using frozen peas, wash them with water and drain the water. They are ready to use. If using fresh peas, steam them for 5-6 minutes until they are softened. I like to pressure cook them with little water for 1 whistle on high heat. Then remove the pressure manually and open the lid of the cooker. Drain and use. You can also cook them in a pan or a steamer.
Now make the masala paste. Add 1 cup roughly chopped onion, 1 cup roughly chopped tomato, 1-inch piece chopped ginger, 3-4 whole cloves of garlic, and 2 teaspoon chopped green chili in the small jar of a blender and blend to make a coarse paste. Do not make the paste too smooth. The slightly coarse paste gives a nice texture to the curry.
Keep the ready paste aside.
Wash the paneer slab and wipe it dry using a kitchen tissue. Cut the paneer slab into 1-inch cubes. Add ¼ cup vegetable oil in a grill pan (or normal pan) and shallow fry the paneer cubes on medium heat from all the sides until they turn golden brown in color. Keep flipping the cubes using a tong while frying.
Pour 1 cup water into a medium-size bowl and remove the fried paneer cubes into the bowl. This step will make the cubes soft. Keep aside.
Heat 5 tablespoon vegetable oil in a medium size pan.
Once the oil is hot, add the onion and tomato paste that we made earlier and fry on medium-high heat until the masala turns golden brown. Keep stirring frequently while frying. It will take 8-10 minutes for this masala to fry properly.
Add 2 teaspoon coriander powder, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, 2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder, ½ teaspoon cumin powder, and ½ teaspoon garam masala powder to the pan and fry for another 2-3 minutes. Splash a little water if the masala is getting too dry and is starting to burn.
Now take out the paneer cubes from the water and add them to the pan along with the peas. Add the water in which we soaked the paneer and salt to taste and mix everything well.
Bring the curry to a boil. Cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with roti, paratha or rice.
You can add some cream or milk to the curry to give it a rich taste. If adding cream, also add some lime juice and honey to balance out the flavors.Add some khoya in the curry to make it even richer. I call it Shahi Matar Paneer.You can make this mutter paneer recipe without onion and garlic.Add some cashew nut or almond paste in the masala to give a different taste and richer feel.You can also add some yogurt for a slightly different taste of the gravy.Add boiled cubed potatoes to make aloo muter paneer.Add sautéed mushroom to make mushroom matar paneer.You can also cook it in a buttery makhani gravy just like paneer butter masala and add peas along with it.Puree the cooked masala before adding the paneer and peas to it if you like your gravy creamy and not chunky.To make it vegan, use cashew cream and tofu instead of paneer.Add some roasted chickpea flour to the masala to make this gravy creamier.