Recipe: Matar paneer

MATAR PANEER (Cottage cheese in tomato gravy)

300g paneer, cut into cubes
500g frozen peas, thawed
½ cup vegetable oil for frying (olive oil can be used but isn’t the greatest for frying)
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp finely grated ginger
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp chilli powder, optional
1 cup tomato paste
Salt to taste
1 tsp garam masala
2 tbs finely chopped coriander leaves


1. Heat oil in a pan and fry paneer cubes in batches. Turn cubes gently to lightly brown on all sides taking care not to break cubes (careful, these can burn pretty quickly). Use a perforated spoon to take out the browned cubes and drain on paper towels.
2. Once all the paneer cubes are fried, remove excess oil keeping only 1 TBS in the pan.
3. Fry onions, ginger and garlic over moderate heat till onions are soft; stir frequently to avoid onions sticking to the pan.
4. Add ground spices – except garam masala – and stir for 2 minutes till spices are aromatic.
5. Add tomatoes salt and half garam masala and cook, stirring intermittently, till tomatoes are pulpy. (Reduce cooking time if using canned tomatoes) (Tip: if mixture looks too dry, add a couple teaspoons water)
6. Add peas and cook till they are half done add the fried paneer and half chopped coriander and simmer, covered, for 8-10 minutes or until peas soften (soft NOT mushy!)
7. Turn off gas/stove, sprinkle with remaining garam masala, garnish with coriander and serve with rice or Indian breads.

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