Matar Paneer (Curried Peas and Indian Cheese)

This is, without a doubt, my favourite Indian dish.  For those who haven’t tried it, Paneer is a non-melting cheese similar to Halloumi.  It’s soft in texture and does a great job of absorbing the flavours around it.  It is also very high in protein, making it a great meat substitute.

This dish combines it with a rich tomato-based curry and peas to make both a great main or side dish.  As usual, quick disclaimer – I can’t claim that this is the most ‘authentic’ version of this recipe you’ll find online, but quite frankly Indian food is about using bold flavours to your advantage – there’s always a little room for adaptation!

I’m going to give rough measurements for some of the ingredients based on a 250g block of paneer here, but as always, adapt and alter to your tastes.

Ingredients

  • Paneer (yes, your supermarket has it – just ask)
  • Peas
  • 1 Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger (equal in size to garlic)
  • 2-3 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • Handful fresh Coriander
  • 3 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tspTurmeric
  • Oil

Method

  1. Cut your paneer into cubes.
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  2. In a chopper/blender/wet grinder chop the onion into a paste, adding a little oil to help it.
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  3. Add the tomato paste, garlic, ginger and spices/herbs and continue blending to a paste.
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  4. Add some more water and continue blending until you have a smooth mixture slightly thinner than you like your curry.
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  5. Lightly fry the paneer in oil so that the sides are brown (some people prefer not to but I like the crisp)
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  6. Pour in the sauce and begin to simmer gently.  As it warms tastes and adjust the seasoning – salt, pepper, more spices it’s all down to your taste.
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  7. Add the peas, cover with a lid and continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thicker and the peas are just cooked (you don’t want them to go mushy.)
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Serving and Storage

These go excellently with a naan or chapati bread, but some also serve with rice.  Alternatively, it can be an accompaniment to a larger meal.  I like to top with a little ground pepper or fresh coriander.

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This will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for a couple of days, and is suitable for reheating in the microwave (but a saucepan is always better).

 

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