Simple yet so full of flavors, Matar Paneer is one of the most popular paneer dishes from North India. Matar/Peas and Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese) cooked in onion tomato gravy with or without cream. This version of Matar Paneer is with rich onion tomato gravy where I use chickpea flour for adding richness to the gravy. I have another way of making Matar Paneer, in less gravy the drier version, where I use cream to make it. With gravy or rich masala anyway, it tastes divine and pairs well any kind of Indian flatbread like Chappatis, Paranthas, Naan or Kulchas. And there’s another recipe using Khoya, ‘Khoya Matar Paneer‘ for really special times when you are in a festive mood.. will update the other two versions soon whenever I make them.
In Matar Paneer, paneer is pan-fried lightly and then added with peas to gravy, I usually skip frying it and add non-fried Paneer when I make for weekday lunch/dinner. Occasionally I add fried Paneer when I make for guests in my both versions of Matar Paneer. This is my mom’s recipe that I follow till date the only change I did from my side is adding of roasted besan(chickpea flour). Besan gives a different flavor to the side apart from adding richness to the gravy, and the dish tastes just like the one that we get used to in parties made by the halwais (traditional sweet makers in India who cooked food during parties and marriage functions). Those of you are from North India will know what I am talking about. Food cooked by halwais has altogether unique flavor that we crave many times.
Let’s get back to this simple and yummy recipe.
For making the gravy we need 1 onion, 3 tomatoes, 1-inch ginger stick, 3-4 garlic cloves. Fresh or frozen peas and fresh Paneer(Indian Cottage Cheese). Paneer used can be store bought or homemade. Here I have used store bought paneer and frozen peas for the dish.
Cut Paneer in cubes and pressure cook/boil peas before adding to the gravy as fresh peas can take time to cook. A pressure cook matar/peas with little salt till one-two whistle. Many people make this dish in pressure cooker. Make gravy masala, add peas and paneer and cook till 2-3 whistles. I feel the texture of Paneer doesn’t remain the same when cooked in pressure cooker. So I use make it in kadhai/pan. You can make either way whatever is convenient for you.
Take 2 Tbsp of Besan(Chickpea Flour), dry roast it in a pan till it gives its aroma. Keep aside for later use. Spices used in dish are.. Coriander powder(Dhania powder), Red Chilli powder(Lal Mirch powder), Garam Masala, 1 Bay leaf(Tej patta) and a small Cinnamon stick(Dal Chini), 1 Black Cardamon(Moti Eliachi), 1/4 tsp of Dried Fenugreek leaves(Kasuri Methi). All the spices use for the dish are available at Indian grocery stores in US, Europe and other countries.
I use mustard oil(Sarson ka tel) for making the masala for gravies or sookhi subzis(dry veggies), you can use any of oil of your choice. Mustard oil is one of the healthiest oil for cooking food. Many people avoid it because of it’s strong pungent smell, but that can be avoided by heating the oil till it’s smoking point, cooling it a bit then add the ingredients to it.
Roughly chop onions, tomatoes and crush ginger, garlic and green chilli in a motor pestle.
In a kadhai/heavy bottomed pan, take 2 tbsp of mustard oil, heat oil till it’s smoking point. Take off from the flame. Let it cool a bit then again take one tsp of oil from it and keep aside in a small bowl for later use.
Put kadhai/pan back put on medium flame, add bay leaf and cinnamon stick, ginger-garlic-chili paste. Cook for a minute, add onions and fry onions till these are translucent.
Add tomatoes mix well, cover the lid and cook tomatoes till these are soft and mushy and start leaving oil. Keep stirring in between so that the masala doesn’t burn.
Once tomatoes are done. Take it off the flame. Take out the bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Cool a bit, then grind the masala to a fine paste.
In the same pan that we made onion-tomato masala, add 1 tsp of oil that we kept aside, once it is hot enough add jeera(Cumin) seeds to it.
When the seeds crackle add the grinded onion-tomato paste and mix nicely.Add 1/4 tsp of sugar. Cook it for a minute, mix all the dry spices together in a bowl and add to the onion-tomato paste, mix well. Take care that besan doesn’t form any lumps.
Cook masala really well for 2-3 minutes. Add a half cup of water to adjust the consistency of gravy. Add salt as required and mix.
Add boiled peas and paneer cubes mix well. Cover the pan let the peas cook for 4-5 mins on low flame.
Roast kasuri methi or dried fenugreek leaves in a pan on medium flame, crush it and add to Matar Paneer gravy.
Serve hot with any Indian flatbread. This Matar Paneer gravy also goes well with Steamed Rice/Jeera Rice. My younger one loves to have it with rice. This time I made Chapatis to go with it.
Make my version of Matar Paneer and I am sure you and your loved ones will love it too. This is simple and easy to make and yet rich in texture and so yummy in taste.
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Matar Paneer one of the most popular North Indian dish. Peas and Indian Cottage Cheese cooked in onion-tomato gravy.
- Paneer(Indian Cottage Cheese)- 200g
- Matar/Green Peas(fresh/frozen)- 1 cup
- Onion- 1 medium
- Ginger- 1-inch
- Garlic- 4-5 cloves
- Green Chilli- 1-2
- Besan/Chickpea Flour-2 Tbsp
- Bay Leaf-1
- Cinnamon- 1 small stick
- Black Cardamom-1
- Coriander Powder- 1 Tsp
- Red Chilli Powder- 1/2 Tsp
- Kasuri Methi/Dried Fenugreek Leaves- 1/4 Tsp
- Oil(Mustard/Olive/any flavorless oil)- 2 Tbsp
- Sugar- 1/4 Tsp
- Salt to taste
- Roughly chop onion, tomato, ginger, garlic and green chilli.
- Roast besan/chickpea flour in a pan, till it gives a nice aroma.
- Boil matar/peas in a pan or cook in a pressure cooker.Cut paneer in cubes.
- In a kadhai/thick bottomed pan, heat oil (reserve 1 tsp of oil for later use), add bay leaf, cinnamon stick, black cardamom and fry for a min. Add roughly crushed ginger-garlic and green chilli.
- Cook for 1-2 a min then add onions, when onions turn translucent, add tomatoes.
- Once tomatoes are soft and cooked, take masala off the flame, cool it a bit, grind the masala to a fine paste.
- Keep the kadhai/pan back on medium flame, add tsp of oil to it when oil is hot enough add jeera(cumin seeds), once the seeds crackle, add onion-tomato paste. Add sugar and mix and cook it for 2-3 minutes.
- Add besan and all the spices. Mix well.
- Add paneer and peas and mix nicely.
- Dry roast kasuri methi, crush and add it to the gravy.
- Cover the pan and cook on low flame for 4-5 minutes.
- Serve hot with any flatbread of your choice or rice(jeera/steamed).