Mattar paneer is a rich, creamy, saucy, and slightly spicy tomato-based curry made with green peas and paneer.
My recipe for matar paneer is a breeze to make. One might even say it’s easy peasy. 😏
You can have this dish on your table within minutes, especially if you have my onion masala ready-to-go.
Matar Paneer = Peas and Paneer
The words matar paneer describe the two main ingredients in this dish, peas, and paneer.
I almost always have frozen peas in my freezer – they work perfectly here.
As for paneer, if you’ve never had it before, it’s a firm block of cheese that’s often used in Indian cuisine. It’s also known as farmer’s cheese. You can make paneer yourself at home or find it at your local Indian grocery store. My Costco actually carriers paneer (Gopi brand), and I’ve seen paneer sold at Whole Foods as well, though it’s far more expensive.
Some people refer to paneer as Indian cottage cheese, but to me, the two are nothing alike in flavor or texture. I think of paneer as having the texture of really firm tofu but with a much richer, creamier flavor.
Matar paneer is a simple enough dish to make on a weeknight and it’s also special enough to serve to guests.
I recently had friends over for dinner and decided on a north Indian menu that included this matar paneer along with Punjabi Kadhi Pakora, Corn Kadai, and Jeera Rice. It was a really nice vegetarian meal. Paneer always makes for a festive vegetarian dish.
I hope you love this recipe! Let me know what you think!
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 Serrano minced
- 2 cups frozen green peas
- 1 ½ cup water
- ¾ cup onion masala
- 1 tablespoon fenugreek leaves kasoori methi
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder or paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 14 ounce block paneer, cut into cubes
- ¼ cup heavy cream or unsweetened coconut cream
- Cilantro garnish
No Onion Masala? Use This:
- 1 onion roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic roughly chopped
- 1- inch ginger roughly chopped
- 2 large tomatoes roughly chopped
- Press saute, add ghee and once it melts, add cumin seeds. Once the cumin seeds brown, add the serrano pepper and stir-fry for a minute.
- Add the peas, water, onion masala, spices, paneer and mix well.
- Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 1 minute at high pressure.
- Quick-release pressure.
- Stir the heavy cream into the pot, garnish with cilantro and serve.
- Melt ghee in a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, add cumin seeds and once they start to splutter, add the serrano pepper, and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Then add the water, onion masala, peas, spices and mix well.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, add the paneer and cover with a lid. Cook for 1-2 minutes (if using frozen onion masala, just make sure it has melted into the sauce).
- Remove the lid, stir, add the cream and cook for another minute.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve.
No Onion Masala?
- In step 1, after you brown the cumin seeds, stir-fry the onions for 5-6 minutes, or until they begin to brown. Then add the garlic and ginger along with the serrano and stir-fry for a minute, then add the tomatoes and stir-fry for 5 minutes or until they cook down. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth (or add to blender then pour back into the pot). Proceed with the rest of the recipe.
- *If using coconut cream, place a can of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight. Scoop the cream from the top and use in the recipe.
- If using my recipe for paleo paneer (dairy-free), stir it into a slightly cooled curry just prior to serving. Dairy-free paneer will soften, but should not completely melt unless the curry is too hot.
ARE YOU DAIRY-FREE? FOLLOW A PALEO DIET?
You can always try my aloo matar recipe!
Or, make my paleo-friendly paneer! The two pictures below are of dairy-free matar paneer.
A couple of things to know about my dairy-free paneer recipe: it calls for gelatin and it behaves differently than regular paneer. You’ll want to add it to a slightly cooled curry just prior to serving, otherwise, the dairy-free paneer may melt. If you’re interested in more paleo-friendly Indian recipes, check out my paleo Indian eCookbook, South Asian Persuasion: 100+ Paleo-Friendly Indian Recipes.