Matar Paneer Recipe: A Delectable North Indian Delight
Matar Paneer is a classic vegetarian dish hailing from the North Indian culinary repertoire. The name itself gives away the key ingredients - "Matar" (green peas) and "Paneer" (Indian cottage cheese). This flavorful and aromatic curry combines the sweetness of green peas with the richness of paneer, all simmered in a luscious tomato-based gravy. The fusion of spices and creaminess makes Matar Paneer a favorite in households and restaurants alike. In this comprehensive recipe guide, we will delve into the art of creating an authentic and delicious Matar Paneer that will impress even the most discerning of taste buds.
For the Paneer:
For the Matar Paneer Gravy:
- 1 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
- 3 large ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1-inch piece of ginger, minced
- 2-3 green chilies, finely chopped (adjust to taste)
- 1/2 cup fresh cream (or substitute with cashew cream for a vegan version)
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt (optional, for added creaminess)
- 1/2 cup water (adjust to achieve desired consistency)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to spice preference)
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
- Salt to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons ghee or oil for cooking
- Fresh coriander leaves, chopped
- Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) for added flavor (optional)
II. Preparing the Paneer:
- Cut the paneer into bite-sized cubes and set aside.
- Heat one tablespoon of oil in a non-stick pan or skillet over medium heat.
- Carefully add the paneer cubes to the hot oil and fry until they turn golden brown on all sides.
- Once done, remove the paneer cubes from the pan and drain them on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Set the fried paneer aside.
III. Making the Matar Paneer Gravy:
- Heat 1-2 tablespoons of ghee or oil in a large pan or kadhai over medium heat.
- Add the cumin seeds and allow them to splutter.
- Add the finely chopped onions and sauté until they turn translucent.
- Stir in the minced ginger, garlic, and green chilies, and continue sautéing for a couple of minutes until the raw aroma disappears.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they become soft and mushy. You can cover the pan with a lid to speed up the process.
IV. Creating the Flavorful Base:
- Once the tomatoes are cooked, turn off the heat and let the mixture cool slightly.
- Transfer the cooled mixture to a blender and blend it into a smooth paste. Be cautious while blending hot ingredients; allow some steam to escape to avoid accidents.
- Return the blended mixture to the pan and reheat it over medium heat
V. Spicing it Up:
- Add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, and garam masala to the tomato-onion mixture. Stir well to combine the spices with the base.
- Cook the spice mix for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the oil begins to separate from the mixture. This indicates that the spices have cooked thoroughly, enhancing the flavor of the gravy.
VI. Bringing it All Together:
- Stir in the green peas and season with salt according to taste. You can also add a pinch of sugar to balance the flavors.
- Add the fresh cream and yogurt (if using) to the pan. Stir well to combine the creamy goodness with the tomato-spice base.
- Let the gravy simmer for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
- Adjust the consistency of the gravy by adding water as needed. Some prefer a thicker gravy, while others prefer a thinner one. The choice is yours!
VII. Adding the Paneer:
- Carefully add the fried paneer cubes to the simmering gravy, ensuring they are well-coated with the flavors.
- Allow the Matar Paneer to cook for an additional 5-7 minutes on low heat to let the paneer absorb the flavors of the gravy.
VIII. Final Touch:
- Crush some kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) between your palms and sprinkle it over the Matar Paneer for an extra layer of aroma and taste (optional).
- Garnish the dish with fresh coriander leaves to add a pop of color and freshness.
Matar Paneer is best served hot with Indian bread, such as naan, roti, or paratha, and can also be enjoyed with fragrant basmati rice. The creamy and aromatic Matar Paneer will leave your taste buds delighted with its delightful combination of textures and flavors.
Matar Paneer is undoubtedly one of the most loved vegetarian dishes in North Indian cuisine. This timeless recipe showcases the versatility of Indian spices and the richness of paneer combined with the sweetness of green peas. With this detailed recipe guide, you can now create a delicious and authentic Matar Paneer that will be the highlight of your culinary repertoire. So, gather your ingredients and get ready to indulge in the heartwarming flavors of this classic Indian delicacy!