Paneer Mattar – Indian Cheese with Peas

October 20, 2006




paneer-mattar.jpgPaneer, or Indian cheese, is one of those wonderful ingredients that once you discover you wonder how you ever lived without. Making it from scratch is comparable to opening a massive box of shoes only to find flip flops inside it. Sorry boys – think big garage little skoda.

If you want to have a go, try the recipe by Kate in the Kitchen. I’d rather focus my limited energy on making the dish. Besides paneer is readily available in Indian food shops and larger supermarkets.

This recipe is tradional Punjabi fare. It’s so simple and effective. Serious QIC staple and great choice for a Diwali meal.

This recipe serves 4-5 hungry souls:

2 medium white onions
1.5 long stick of ginger
3 fat garlic cloves
3 chopped tomatoes, chopped into little bits
1 cup frozen peas
3 tbsp plain Greek yoghurt
3 tsp coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp extra hot chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala

250gms paneer or Indian cheese, chopped into 2cmx1cm cubes

3 tbsp sunflower oil

The magic ingredient is 1 tsp kasoori methi, soaked in 1 tsp of hot water, but don’t worry if you don’t have this.

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan and when hot, fry the paneer until golden in colour on two opposite sides. Remove from the oil and set aside.

Puree the onions, ginger and garlic in a food processor. Add the third tablespoon of oil to the pan the paneer was fried in. Heat the oil and when hot, fry the onion mixture, stirring regularly. The paste needs to fry until it turns a pale green and then starts going brown in parts.

Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric and chilli powder. Keep frying the mixture, until the masalas lose their pungent smell. If the mixture starts sticking to the bottom of the pan, add a little water.

Then add the chopped tomatoes and keep frying. When the tomatoes disintegrate, lower the flame and let the mixture simmer.

In the meantime, give the yoghurt a little whiz in the food processor. This will introduce some air in it and prevent it from splitting when you add it to the mixture.

When the mixture in the pan starts oozing oil from the sides and through little holes, turn the flame up and add the yoghurt. Fry this for a while, mixing vigorously.

Taste the mixture to make sure the onions are cooked. The colour of the mixture should have darkened. When the onions lose their raw taste, add one cup of shelled peas and half a cup of water. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.

When the oil from the masala and peas mixture floats to the top, add salt and the kasoori methi and water. Mix in the paneer cubes and simmer for five minutes. Serve immediately.



11 Responses to “Paneer Mattar – Indian Cheese with Peas”

  1. Meena Says:

    October 20th, 2006 at 9:58 am

    Hey Mallika!!

    You have a lovely blog here, found myself browsing through all your archives. Read your ‘About Me’ section as well and found myself smiling – reminded me of ME!!

  2. Asha Says:

    October 20th, 2006 at 11:13 am

    Happy Diwali, Mallika!!Great recipes!!

  3. Dolly Pishi Says:

    October 21st, 2006 at 6:06 am

    Dear Payeli,

    The world now knows your nickname. I am so happy to see this great interest awakening in you-a family trait.

    Great recepies and I will definately get back to this and contribute our Bengali recipie of Chanar Dalna or Paneer bengali Style.

    Dolly Pishi

  4. Mangs Says:

    October 22nd, 2006 at 4:58 am

    oooo chanar dalna!!
    lets pray it doesnt need a blender :(

  5. Mallika Says:

    October 23rd, 2006 at 3:55 am

    Mangs, don’t let a blender in a recipe put you off. When I blend onion, garlic and ginger I do it because I’m a lazy cow that can’t be bothered to chop.

    I have used a blender for this Punjabi style chanar dalna, but just chop up the said ingredients and the results will be very similar.

    So happy to hear the dhal and begun came out okay.


  6. Mangs Says:

    October 28th, 2006 at 2:43 am

    also, stalker again, you add water at the peas stage and then again really soon after??

  7. Mallika Says:

    October 28th, 2006 at 4:59 am

    Hi mangs

    The water only goes in with the peas, no more water needed. This dish should have a thick gravy.

    Good luck! let me know how it goes, okay?


  8. Mangs Says:

    October 28th, 2006 at 6:05 am

    it was yummmmy. fed me for two and a half days plus one curious american, one skeptical slovenian and one satisfied syrian christian. thanks!! the “here’s what to look out for” bits are esp helpful (masalas bubble to top etc).

  9. Sylvia Says:

    February 10th, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Hi, when I read the ingredients, it says “½ tsp turmeric powder
    ½ tsp extra hot chilli powder”

    What is ½ supposed to be? Or is it just half a teaspoon?

  10. Mallika Basu Says:

    February 11th, 2014 at 3:25 am

    Hi Sylvia, there seems to be some weird symbol insert. It’s just half a teaspoon. Sorry about that! X

  11. Sylvia Says:

    February 11th, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    Hi Mallika,

    Thank you for clarifying!

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