Matar Paneer

I have been accused very often by vegetarian friends that my blog hardly caters to the non-meat eating community. Such a "fleshetarian" I am that I add ham to my otherwise perfectly vegetarian Farfalle with Pesto, and more recently sprinkle fried bacon on my Hummus. Even none of my cakes are eggless! So I decided to be kinder to my vegetarian readers and post for them a version of Matar Paneer. Also, this is my 50th post. So should I raise my bat? I think I'll just about raise it by a 45º angle, but not yet take off my helmet or punch my fist in the air, cool?

Now we all have our own Matar Paneer recipe. It is made in every household. I have tried and tested various recipes of the same over the last few years but have finally stuck to one. It is by my senior in school Dhrubaa. She is a phenomenal cook (though I've never had her food, I have seen her facebook album and I think that's enough to reach this deduction). Dhrubaa runs her own food blog at Not a Curry (check out her awesome-ness for yourself) but this recipe she had posted long back in her old blog Recipe Rendezvous.
You know you don't need any fancy ingredient for Matar Paneer. Cook it up in a jiffy when you have friends over for an informal gathering. Team it up with parathas and gobble it up while watching your favourite film. But yeah, first let the heat subside a bit. Oh crap, Summer is back in the discussion. Stop. Now. Over to the recipe.

Recipe adapted from Dhrubaa Mukherjee with slight modifications. Oh no, did I say "Modi-fications"? :O

Serves: 4


Green peas, boiled: 1/2 cup (if you are using frozen, skip the boiling)
Paneer, cubed: 200 grams
Oil: 2 tbsp
Cinnamon: 1 inch stick
Cloves: 2-3
Cardamoms: 2-3
Cumin seeds: 1 teaspoon
Bay leaves: 1
Onion paste: 2 medium
Green chillies, slit: 2
Ginger paste: 1 tsp
Garlic paste: 2tsp
Red chilli powder: 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder: 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder: 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder: 1½ teaspoon
Tomatoes, chopped: 2 medium
Ghee: 2 tsp
Garam masala powder: 1 teaspoon
Salt: to taste
Sugar: 1 1/2 tsp


1. Heat oil in a griddle and fry the paneer cubes tossing lightly. Remove from heat as soon as they turn a very light golden and drop in turmeric water. To keep paneer soft, dissolve half teaspoon of turmeric powder in one cup of water and soak the fried paneer pieces in the liquid for ten minutes.

2. In the same oil add cumin seeds, cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves and bay leaf. After thirty seconds, add the chopped onions and sauté till golden brown. Add the chopped tomatoes and sauté till the tomatoes melt.

3. Now add the green chillies, ginger and garlic and sauté for a minute. Add red chilli powder, cumin owder, coriander powder, turmeric, salt and sugar and give it a stir.

4. Strain the water and pour the paneer into the sauce. I like it thick but if you want a little gravy you can add some or all of the water to it (that's what the original recipe calls for). Add boiled peas and let it simmer till the gravy thickens and releases oil. Add ghee and garam masala powder. Serve with roti/paratha/pulao or any other Indian bread.


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