Mattar Paneer is a very popular Indian vegetarian recipe around the world. Ever since I learnt to make homemade paneer, I’ve been on a craze of paneer recipes!
Mattar means peas and paneer means cheese, so roughly translated, it means Indian Cheese with green peas. I was really lucky to find some fresh peas in the market. Personally, I don’t really like using frozen or canned foods. I try to avoid them as much as possible (chemicals and all that), but if you can’t find any fresh peas, then just get the frozen ones. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take any nice pictures for a step-by-step guide on how to make this paneer recipe. The dorm kitchen lights are really dim at night . I still hope you will enjoy my recipe for this exotic Indian Mattar Paneer recipe!
1. You can buy paneer at your local grocery shop or you can make your own fresh paneer! Check out my recipe for paneer!
2. I boil my peas first and add them last. I noticed that when I put them to cook in the curry, they taste bitter. I am not quite sure why (if anyone could enlighten me on that, thanks!), but now I always boil my peas with a little bit of salt.
3. Some people like to pan-fry their paneer cubes before adding to the curry. I just add them directly, unfried. Up to you.
4. I always like to lightly fry the tomato ketchup on low heat to remove the acidic smell. That’s a little advice from my sister.
5. Adding some water to your spices and making a paste prevents the spices from burning fast. Also, remember to add your spices on low heat to avoid burning of spices, otherwise your food will become bitter. That’s from personal experience
6. Chop your onions finely and cook until they get very soft such that you can mash them up a bit. This helps to get a thick gravy.
Mattar Paneer (Indian cheese with peas) recipe
15 paneer cubes
1 cup of fresh peas or frozen peas
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
2 tbsp tomato sauce (or ketchup)
1 piece of cinnamon stick
3 cardamom pods
2 red chillies, slit (optional)
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tbsp sugar
1. Bring water to a boil in a pot. Add your fresh peas/frozen peas and cook until soft. It should take about 5 mins. Just eat one pea and see if it’s cooked. Fresh peas take a little bit more time to cook than frozen peas. Remove using slotted spoon and keep aside.
2. Combine tomato sauce/ketchup, chilli powder, turmeric powder, sugar and 3-4 tbsps water in a small bowl. Mix to make a paste.
3. Heat 2-3 tbsp oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add cinnamon stick, cardamom and cloves. When fragrant, add the chopped onions and fry until very soft and you can mash them up a bit.
4. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry until raw smell goes away. Lower heat and add paste from step 2. Mix and fry on medium-low heat until the acidic smell of the ketchup fades.
5. Raise heat to medium and add the chopped tomatoes. Mix and cover. Cook for 10-15 minutes until tomatoes mash up and a thick gravy is obtained.
6. Add 1/4 cup of water. Add paneer cubes and cover. Let cook for about 5 minutes.
7. Add the peas and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.