Paneer aka Indian cottage cheese has become quite popular all over the world. It is not dairy-free but rennet free, so certainly a good option for vegetarians. This cheese doesnt melt at high temperatures, therefore it can be safely used in curries. If you have dined at an Indian restaurant, you would have seen a whole page dedicated to paneer curries. Hidden among tikka andbutter masala, you might have seen this humble mattar paneer masala. Mattar in Hindi means green peas and this in my opinion is a healthier version compared to paneer butter masala or tikka masala unless you decide to make this vegan paneer tikka masala. Every family in India, especially North India may have their own authentic recipe for making this dish. This is my way of cooking this dish and it is quite flavorful without being greasy. You can use organic extra firm tofu and leave out the cream for a vegan version of this recipe. Serve this curry hot with rotis or rice and pair this with baked golden beets fritters along with masala coke for a simple and complete Indian meal.
1 cup cubed paneer
1/2 cup green peas ( i used frozen)
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 large tomatoes, chopped
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 one inch piece cinnamon
1 teaspoon red chili powder (reduce the quantity if you want it less spicy)
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon garam masala (available in Indian grocery stores and Whole foods)
1 tablespoon cream
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves/kasoori methi (optional)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan. When oil is hot, add cinnamon and cloves, cook for 30 seconds.
2. Add chopped onions, cook until they turn golden brown.
3. Add minced garlic and ginger, cook for a minute.
4. Add chopped tomatoes and a pinch of salt, cook till they turn soft.
5. Remove the pan from heat and let it cool. Grind to a smooth paste when completely cooled and set aside.
6. Add remaining oil to the pan and when its hot, add cubed paneer and pan fry till they turn golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.
7. Add cumin seeds to the pan and let it cook for 30 seconds.
8. Add ground onion-tomato paste along with garam masala, turmeric, salt, coriander powder
and red chili powder.
9. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water based on your desired consistency and bring it to a boil.
10. Add green peas and give it a quick stir.
11. Add paneer cubes and mix well to coat in the spices.
12. Add cream, dried fenugreek leaves and cilantro, mix well.
13. Serve hot with rice or rotis.