Matar Paneer

Matar Paneer is an Indian classic, a curry that’s buttery, indulgent and rich. This version is no less tasty, but much healthier—the flavour comes from allowing the onion and tomato base to cook down slowly, and the spices to assimilate in it. It’s the perfect a dish for a Saturday night, and tastes more decadent than the effort that actually goes into it—all you need is an hour max!

Close-up of a healthy Indian vegetarian dish with paneer, peas onions, tomatoes and spices served on a black plate with a white bowl

 

Serve this with a pile of chapatis or naan, or a big bowl of steamed rice, and some freshly sliced cucumber. If you plan to make this ahead of time, cook as instructed below until the point where you need to add the peas. Finish the dish just before serving.

 

Matar Paneer
Serves 4 as part of a dinner

 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons sunflower oil or ghee
400 gm yellow onions
25 gm fresh ginger, peeled
25 gm fresh garlic, peeled
600 gm fresh tomatoes, chopped or good quality canned chopped tomatoes
100 gm frozen peas
200 gm paneer, cut into bite-sized cubes

1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt to taste

100ml cream
Coriander leaves, to garnish

 

Method

Use a food processor to grind the onions, ginger and garlic to a coarse paste (see image below). Heat the oil or ghee in a deep pan and add the mixture to it. Cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are a deep golden brown. This will take about 15—20 minutes, as you’ll see in the image below. Make sure to stir regularly to prevent any burning. If you don’t have a food processor, chop the onions finely, and fry for about 10 minutes until lightly golden. Finely grate the ginger and garlic, and add to the onions. Cook, as above, until the mixture is deep golden.

 

Pureed white onions in a mixer photographed from above in a kitchen

 

Caramelised onions in a deep golden colour in a dark grey frying pan with a wooden cooking spoon

 

Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan, stir well to combine and increase the heat slightly. Cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture breaks down and is nicely caramelised, another 12—15 minutes.

 

 

Blocks of paneer Indian fresh cheese on a wooden cutting board with a knife

 

Add the chilli powder, garam masala, turmeric, sugar and salt, stir well and cook for a further five minutes. Add the peas, 250ml water and gently simmer for 5 minutes. Add the paneer, stirring gently so as not to break the cubes up. Cook for a further 5 minutes, then add the cream and bring to a simmer again. Turn off the heat, add the coriander and stir through.

 

Matar paneer a mild Indian curry dish with peas and paneer, a fresh cheese in a tomato based spiced sauce

 

Serve hot with steamed rice, chapatis or naan.

 

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