Mattar Paneer Curry

Muttar Paneer2

Mattar Paneer Curry is a North Indian dish made with paneer and peas. The sauce is spicy, creamy and slightly sweet. Mattar Paneer is a dish I make frequently when I entertain, especially when my guests are vegetarian.

To keep the paneer soft and moist, fry the pieces until they turn light brown, remove with a slotted spoon, and put them directly into warm water. Just before they go into the curry, gently dab them with paper towels, to remove as much water as possible.

I think this recipe comes pretty close the popular Indian restaurant versions. I hope you will try it and give me your feedback. You can buy paneer and kasoori methi at Indian grocery stores.

Mattar Paneer
To be ground in a blender
1 cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
½ cup chopped cilantro

To fry the paneer
14 oz paneer (400 grams)
3 tablespoons oil
5 cups warm water

To make the mattar paneer curry
3 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ cup chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons coriander powder
2 teaspoons Kashmiri chilli powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon cumin powder
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
2 cups water
2 teaspoons kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
2 tablespoons cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice

To be ground in a blender
Grind chopped onion, ginger, garlic, and cilantro in a blender. Set aside.

To fry the paneer
Cut the paneer into small pieces. I cut my paneer into small rectangular pieces. In a non-stick frying pan, over medium heat, add one tablespoon of oil and then add a few pieces of paneer at a time and fry until light brown. Remove and put them directly into warm water. Repeat with the rest of the oil and paneer. Set aside.

To make the mattar paneer curry
Heat three tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers add cumin seeds. When they splutter add the ground onion, ginger, garlic, and cilantro. Sauté until it turns light brown and begins to stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, scrape the bottom of the pan well, and fry until the oil separates. Add the coriander, chilli, turmeric and cumin powder. Sauté for one minute and then add the peas. Add water, cover and cook until the peas are done.

In the mean time, drain the paneer pieces and with paper towels gently remove excess water. Add the paneer to the curry. Crush kasoori methi in the palm of your hand and add it to the curry. Add cream and lemon juice. Stir gently and cook for five minutes. Serve mattar paneer with rice, chapatis or naan.


Palak Paneer (Spinach with Indian Cheese)

Palak paneer is a popular North Indian vegetarian dish. When my friends and I go to an Indian restaurant, one of them always orders palak paneer. This recipe, my dear friend, is for you!

I have made palak paneer several times in many different ways, but this recipe is my favorite. Paneer can be bought at an Indian grocery store. I will share a recipe on how you can make paneer at home sometime soon.

A word of caution, make sure that you adjust the number of green chillies depending on the amount of heat you can tolerate. Also, gently crush the dry fenugreek leaves with your fingers, before adding them. This makes a big difference in bringing out the essence of these leaves. Using ghee, dry fenugreek leaves (which is called kasoori methi in Hindi), yoghurt, nutmeg, and lemon juice elevated this dish and gave it a unique flavor.

Palak Paneer

1 pound spinach leaves
3 tablespoons ghee
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 cup finely chopped onion
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons dry fenugreek leaves, (kasoori methi)
2 teaspoons fined chopped green chillies
1 tablespoon coriander powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup plain yoghurt
12 ounces (340 grams) paneer cut into cubes, and lightly shallow fried
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Wash the fresh spinach leaves, and put them in a large pot with three tablespoons of water. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for five minutes. Drain the spinach in a colander and then place it in a large bowl with ice water. This stops the spinach from cooking and helps retain its color. When completely cool, drain the water, and purée the spinach in a blender.

Melt three tablespoons ghee in a medium sauce-pan over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds and when they sputter add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add onions and salt; cook stirring frequently, until softened. Lower the heat to medium. Gently crush the fenugreek leaves, before adding them to the onion mixture. Add green chillies, coriander powder, turmeric powder and grated nutmeg. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about one minute. Add the yoghurt, and spinach purée. Stir, and bring to simmer, allowing the flavors to blend, about five minutes. Gently fold in the paneer cubes. Turn off the heat and stir in lemon juice. Your delicious palak paneer is ready to be served!