Mattar Paneer or Paneer and Peas in a popular indian curry that graces the menus of many an indian restaurant. This is a healthy and easy recipe that is flavourful, vibrant and spicy.Â
Indian vegetarian food (as you may have gathered) is a firm favourite of mine and I just love paneer. Indian veg food reminds me of our trip to India many many years ago. Although it was a short trip, it is one that we enjoyed thoroughly. I have so many fond memories of our trip abroad and at the moment that is a little heightened because my dads sister is here for a holiday. We only have one aunt from my dads side. When I see her, I see memories of India but I am also reminded of my grandparents love for her (both of my grandparents have sadly passed away now – Ikhlas).
I remember seeing freshly made paneer on the streets on India and wondering what it was. At the time, I had never tried paneer and didn’t even know what it was. That soon changed. My first encounter with Paneer was at a restaurant and I haven’t stopped making it since.
Mattar Paneer is a quick recipe to make. The kind of recipe that is perfect for a mid week meal. It starts with an onion base as most indian meal do and once the tomato is added, that is simmered with spices. The paneer is cooked separately so the edges are crips but the middle is moist. It is then re added back to the curry towards the end of cooking. I know that many restaurants add fresh cream to the curry at the end of cooking, but I don’t. You can if you wish or for a vegan option, you can blend pre soaked cashews and add them for a touch of creaminess.
Why I love Paneer:
- It doesn’t fall apart when you cook it. It is similar to Halloumi in that respect.
- It is mild but soaks up flavour really well.
- It cooks super quickly so is perfect for when you are in a rush.
- You can make your own Paneer at home with just a couple of ingredients.
Mattar Paneer is a favourite vegetarian meal in our home. It is perfect served with roti or rice.
- 1 tbsp Oil
- 400 g Paneer Cut into cubes
- 2 tbsp Oil
- 2 Onions diced
- 4 Garlic Cloves crushed
- 1 - 1.5 inch Ginger crushed
- 2 Green Chillies sliced finely
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 tsp Coriander Powder
- 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 300 g Plum Tomatoes blended
- 150 g Peas
- 400 ml Water
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp Garam Masala
Heat oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the paneer cubes and fry for 3 minutes making sure that you turn them midway. Drain on kitchen paper and add to a bowl of warm water.
Heat oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and fry for 13 - 15 minutes until a dark golden brown.
Stir in the ginger, garlic and green chillies. Then fry for 2 - 3 minutes.
Add the cumin, coriander powder and turmeric. Fry for a minute with a splash of water.
Pour in the tomatoes, cover pan and simmer for 8 - 10 minutes. Uncover pan & cook on high for a further 3-4 minutes.
Add the peas and paneer to the pan. Add water, garam masala and salt and simmer for 10 minutes.
Cooking the paneer separately first keeps the edges crisp but the middle soft. You can skip this step and add with the peas. It still tastes amazing but has a different feel/texture. Soaking the Paneer in water stops it from cooking further and stops the paneer from going hard.
Soaking the paneer after cooking it, stops it from cooking immediately but also stops it from going hard.