Mattar Paneer with Dried Fenugreek Leaves

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Mattar Paneer with Dried Fenugreek Leaves

One of my very favorite Indian creations is the classic Punjabi dish, mattar paneer. Though I enjoy trying new dishes, I can never resist ordering the combination of melt-in-your-mouth paneer and peas smothered in a spicy tomato sauce when visiting an Indian restaurant. I'm always curious to try different versions, but I also tend to order it from restaurants I have visited before. This is why I like dining with three or four friends, because that way I get to sample other offerings from the menu. Indian cuisine is ideal for sharing.

I frequently make a matar paneer with fresh mint that I have adapted from Yamuna Devi's Lord Krishnas Cuisine. That version is probably my favorite, as I have perfected it over the years, but considering how much I enjoy trying variants on a theme, I got to wondering why I always stick to the same recipe … which is why I came up with a version using dried fenugreek leaves instead of fresh mint.

Much like soup, mattar paneer tastes better a few hours after it's prepared, or even the next day, as a short sit allows the ingredients and spices to meld together. I always yield to temptation and help myself to a portion immediately. It's good right away too. Serve over a bed of rice, along with an Indian flatbread, for a very satisfying and filling meal.

Mattar Paneer with Fenugreek LeavesMattar Paneer with Dried Fenugreek Leaves
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on May 6, 2008

Classic, fragrant and creamy paneer cheese and peas in a spicy tomato and yogurt sauce with dried fenugreek leaves

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 to 20 minutes

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  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1 generous teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons water
Other ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons ghee, butter or oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 green chilies or jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 8 oz (225 g) paneer cheese, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley or coriander, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • In a mortar and pestle, make a paste of the ginger, garlic, ground coriander, turmeric, cayenne, paprika and water. Set aside.

  • In a large saucepan, heat the ghee, butter or oil over medium heat. When hot, toss in the cumin and mustard seeds and stir for 30 seconds or until the mustard seeds turn gray and begin to splutter and pop. Now add the onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until translucent, stirring frequently. Add the chilies or jalapeños, stir once, then add the ginger and garlic spice paste. Stir for 1 minute.

  • Stir in the tomatoes, increase the heat slightly, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened. Reduce the heat, and add the paneer, peas, yogurt, garam masala, kasoori methi and parsley or coriander. Stir to combine and gently cook for another 5 minutes.

  • Season with salt and serve hot.

Makes 4 servings

Mattar Paneer with Dried Fenugreek Leaves


Astra Libris said...

Thank you SO much for this incredible recipe! I've wanted to try fixing this dish for ages... Your recipe looks like the most scrumptious version I've seen so far, and your beautifully written directions make the process sound delightfully tempting! I know I shall be fixing this soon!

Lisa Turner said...


I highly recommend my usual favorite that I mention here too.

Meeta K. Wolff said...

lisa, i love mattar paneer too. your recipe sounds delish and very much similar to how my mum makes it!

Johanna GGG said...

this is a dish I usually pass over in Indian restaurants but your version is tempting me to pay a visit to my local Indian minimart for paneer and fenugreek leaves to try it (and I guess the paprika is a hot one which would mean I might need to reduce the chillis)

Laurie Constantino said...

This is wonderful Lisa. I'm with you - spicy veggies and melt-in-your mouth paneer are just perfect together. Thanks for your Weekend Herb Blogging entry!

Kalai said...

Wow, Lisa! That looks really authentic. It's one of my all time favorite dishes. :)

test it comm said...

That looks really good and sounds really tasty!

Nupur said...

You are such a pro at Indian cooking, Lisa! Your results always impress and inspire me :)

Anonymous said...

I've had this in restaurants, too, but never tried it myself. Now I've got options! :)

Laura Paterson said...

Hi Lisa :)

I've passed on the Arte y Pico award to you and Holler - check out my blog for the details :)

Thistlemoon said...

This is my favorite too! I am going to have to copy this recipe to try later! Beautiful pictures too Lisa!

Lisa Turner said...

Johanna, you simply must try this dish. You don't know what you are missing!

Nupur, that's quite a compliment coming for you! Thank you.

Ricki, like I said to Johanna, you must try this.

Kittie, that's very sweet. Thank you.

Jenn, you will love it. I highly recommend you try the version I mention here made with mint too

Anonymous said...

Mattar Paneer is my favorite Indian dish. I've never made it before, mostly because I shy away from making any paneer dish because I'm afraid to make my own paneer.

Any tips on what pre-made kinds are available? And what I should look forward?

LisaRene said...

Very appetizing! I would love a big bowl with some flatbread to dip in the sauce, yum! Your favorite version looks like it would be even creamier and richer due to the larger amount of paneer and yogurt.

Red Chillies said...

Your Matar Paneer looks yummy and delicious. Thank you very much for looking at my version and I am glad that it gave you a different idea to think.

Now I must admit I have never tried Matar Panner with Mint and I know that one is on my to-do list. Thanks again Lisa.

Ivy said...

This looks so delicious.

Lisa Turner said...

Cookin panda;

Look for a firm paneer, available at Indian grocery stores or at a market that has an extensive selection of cheese. You can also sometimes find pre-fried cubes, though I usually just buy a firm block of paneer. You can then fry it yourself or just use as is. I've yet to make my own paneer, but I hear it's not too difficult and the instructions I've come across do sound pretty straight forward.

Lisa Rene;

Yes, the other version is richer, but very good :)

Red Chillies;

Thanks again for the inspiration. I highly recommend the recipe with the mint.

zlamushka said...

Lisa, your blog is so great. When are you signing up for my T&T event to be cooked from?
Love matar paneer, your version is so rich...

TBC said...

I am simply amazed at the wide variety of Indian dishes you cook and post! Most of your Indian recipes are ones that I've never made before! :-(

Kalyn Denny said...

So many interesting flavors, it really sounds delicious. I haven't ever tasted paneer, must remedy that soon!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe. I had mater paneer for the first time the other day and loved it, now I'll have to try making it myself.

Rach said...

Thank you for this recipe Lisa, it is one of our favourite variations of Mattar Paneer and I've just posted about it on my new blog

I love your blog!