The very first time I ate this dish was in one of the local restaurants in Udupi, my hometown when I was in school. Paneer, until then was not widely available in restaurants, let alone making at home.
I remember my family and I loved it so much that my mom tried to make paneer at home. Her first few attempts were unsuccessful resulting in paneer scramble than cubes. Nevertheless the dish still tasted good.
Fast forward after I moved to LA, my father-in-law invited about 40-45 people for lunch. Paneer was not easily available in Indian markets then.
I painstakingly made a big batch of Paneer to make matar paneer at home getting help from a website called Bawarchi.com.
The result was amazing. Perfect cubes of paneer with matar or peas in tomato sauce was finger licking good. I always make paneer at home as it is convenient can be made organic and fresh as well.
Now this dish is a staple in my house and I’ve made it innumerable times since then. Paneer is also a substitute for many meat dishes as well in restaurants. About 100 grams of paneer has 23 grams of protein which is why it is loved and revered to a certain extent by vegetarians.
Matar paneer is one of the simplest dishes that can be made when you have unexpected guests and as a party dish.
- 1 block paneer, cubed
- 1 ½ cups frozen peas
- ½ onion, roughly chopped
- 4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 green chilies chopped
- ½ inch ginger, chopped
- 10 cashew nuts, soaked in water for about ½ hour
- 2 bay leaves ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 ½ tsp kasoori methi
- 2 cloves
- ⅛ tsp cinnamon powder
- ½ turmeric
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin and coriander powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp sugar, optional
- 3-4 tsp oil
Make a smooth puree with onion, tomato, green chili, ginger and cashew nut.
Heat oil in a pan, add bay leaves, kasoori methi and cloves. Once heated through add turmeric, cinnamon powder, red chili powder and cumin coriander powder. Stir.
Now add the puree and mix well. Cook for about 10-15 minutes until the onion and tomato is cooked well and the puree thickens.
Add the cubed paneer and mix. Cook for 5 minutes.
Lastly add the frozen washed peas and mix well. Cook for another 5 minutes.
Matar paneer is now ready to serve with roti or paratha.
Notes: If you are using store bought paneer soak the cubes in hot water for 10-15 minutes which results in soft melt in the mouth paneer.
The famous proverb "you are what you eat” as quoted by the French author Anthelme Brillat-Savarin is very true. Food nourishes you from the inside out. Good health is of utmost importance to me. Vegetarianism and Veganism are gaining immense popularity these days. Natural, organic, healthy and homemade is my mantra.
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