Creamy Mattar Paneer Recipe

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Creamy Mattar Paneer

Since mattar paneer is one of my very favorite Punjabi dishes, I have made several different versions over the years. Some included a fair amount of yogurt for a rich and creamy element, while others were more classic in that the cubes of tender milky paneer cheese were simmered in a spiced tomato gravy with a swirl or two of yogurt or cream added into the dish near the end of the cooking time. Sometimes I have included mint, and other times, choose dried fenugreek leaves to compliment and enliven the spices. This version also focuses on a thick rich tomato base which takes precedence as the vehicle for the paneer cheese and peas and, of course, a range of aromatic and hot spices, but because I also wanted to add a creamy element to the dish, I prepared a cashew paste that is included for a pleasant balance of earthy and spicy.

The paneer cubes may be pan-fried in some oil until lightly browned on the sides, before adding them to the dish. This of course makes the paneer firmer in texture and the paneer will assert a more prominent showing in contrast to the other components in the dish. As a good paneer should be firm, I didn't think it really necessary and as it has a high melting point, the cubes still hold their shape and I thoroughly enjoyed the creamier texture achieved by skipping that step. Either way, a good mattar paneer is one you won't soon forget.

Despite the lengthy list of ingredients, this dish is easy to make and comes together in less than 20 minutes once the ingredients are prepared and the cashew paste has been blended.

Mattar Paneer Recipe

Creamy Mattar PaneerCreamy Mattar Paneer (Succulent Cubes of Paneer Cheese Simmered in a Rich and Creamy Tomato Gravy with Green Peas)
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on April 16, 2019

An easy, warm, creamy and comforting classic Indian tomato, pea and paneer cheese dish with a cashew paste and a delicious array of hot and fragrant spices

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

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Cashew-ginger-garlic-chili paste:
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water for 1 hour and drained
  • 1-inch fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 red or green chilies, seeded and chopped
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water, as needed
Other ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 2 black cardamon pods, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 12 oz (350 g) paneer cheese, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen green peas, defrosted
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups water, or as needed
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
  • In a blender or food processor — or using a mortal and pestle — make a paste of the poppy seeds, cashews, ginger, garlic and chilies. Use enough water to achieve a fairly thick consistency.

  • In a large saucepan, heat the ghee or oil over medium heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and cardamon pods, and stir for 60 seconds or until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to splutter and pop. Stir in the cashew-ginger-garlic-chili paste and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the turmeric, paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander, chili powder, asafetida and cayenne, and stir for another minute until fragrant.

  • Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 10 to 12 minutes until the tomatoes are thickened. Stir in the paneer cheese cubes, green peas, 1 1/2 cups water, garam masala and fenugreek leaves, and gently simmer for another 5 minutes until the peas are tender. Add more water if necessary.

  • Remove from heat and stir in the salt. Serve hot, garnished with fresh chopped cilantro if desired.

Makes 6 servings

Creamy Mattar Paneer

Other recipes featuring paneer from Lisa's Kitchen:
Classic Mattar Paneer
Paneer Cheese in an Aromatic Cashew Coconut Gravy (Paneer Korma)
Mattar Paneer with Dried Fenugreek Leaves
Butter Paneer Masala (Cheese Cubes Smothered in a Spicy Tomato Gravy)
Shredded Paneer Cheese with Tomatoes, Chilies, Mushrooms and Chickpeas

On the top of the reading stack: Reflections On A Ravaged Century by Robert Conquest

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1 comment:

The VegHog said...

That looks so tasty! Paneer is great.