Are you craving the delectable flavors of Matar Paneer, the classic North Indian dish? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through a sumptuous Matar Paneer recipe that will satisfy your taste buds and become a family favorite. Prepare for a culinary journey filled with rich and creamy goodness!
Ingredients Needed for the Matar Paneer Recipe:
Before we dive into the cooking process, let’s gather all the essential ingredients for our matar paneer recipe:
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1-inch cinnamon (dalchini) (optional)
- 1 small bay leaf (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder (adjust to taste)
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon garam masala (adjust to taste)
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup green peas (matar) (boiled or frozen)
- 1 to 1 ¼ cup water (use more if needed)
- 1 green chili, deseeded and slit (optional)
- 250 grams paneer (Indian cottage cheese)
- 1 teaspoon kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
- ¼ teaspoon salt as needed (about ¼ to ½ tsp)
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves (cilantro)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons cream (optional)
Prepare cashew paste:
- Soak the cashew nuts in warm water for about 15 minutes.
- Grind them into a smooth paste with a little water. Set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Add the paneer cubes and sauté until they turn a light golden brown.
- Remove the paneer from the pan and set it aside.
Make Tomato-Onion Paste:
- In the same pan, add the remaining oil.
- Add cumin seeds and let them splutter.
- Add finely chopped onions and sauté until they become translucent.
- Stir in grated ginger and minced garlic. Sauté for a couple of minutes until the raw smell disappears.
- Add chopped tomatoes and green chilies. Cook until the tomatoes become soft and the oil starts to separate.
Blend the mixture:
- Allow the tomato-onion mixture to cool slightly.
- Transfer it to a blender and blend into a smooth paste. You can add a little water if needed.
Cook the tomato-onion paste:
- Return the blended paste to the pan and cook for a few minutes until it thickens.
- Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, and salt. Mix well and cook for another 2–3 minutes.
Add cashew paste.
- Pour in the prepared cashew paste and mix it into the tomato-onion mixture. Cook for a couple of minutes.
Add peas and paneer.
- Add frozen green peas and sautéed paneer cubes to the sauce. Stir gently to coat them with the sauce.
Simmer and add cream.
- Reduce the heat to low and let the curry simmer for 5-7 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
- Pour in fresh cream and gently stir. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Garnish and serve:
- Garnish the matar paneer with fresh coriander leaves.
- Remove from heat and serve hot with steamed rice, naan, or roti.
Soaking Paneer: If you’re using store-bought paneer, it’s a good practice to soak it in hot water for a few minutes before adding it to the curry. This helps make the paneer soft and tender.
Blending: If you don’t have a powerful blender, after blending the tomato-onion mixture, you can strain it through a sieve to remove any coarse bits and get a smoother gravy.
Cream: The addition of cream is optional. If you prefer a lighter version, you can skip it or use a dairy-free alternative.
Adjust Consistency: If the curry is too thick, you can add a little more water to achieve your desired consistency. If it’s too thin, you can simmer it for a few more minutes to thicken it.
Garnish: Fresh coriander leaves add a burst of freshness to the dish. Don’t skip this step, as it enhances the flavor.
Taste Testing: Always taste the gravy before serving and adjust the seasoning (salt and spices) to your liking. Everyone’s preference for spice levels can vary.
Serving Suggestions: Matar Paneer pairs wonderfully with steamed rice, naan, roti, paratha, or even bread. Serve it with your choice of Indian bread or rice.
Enjoy making and savoring your homemade Matar Paneer!
1. Popular North Indian Dish:
Matar Paneer is a beloved North Indian vegetarian dish that combines the creaminess of paneer (Indian cottage cheese) with the sweetness of green peas, all in a rich and flavorful tomato-based gravy.
2. Variations in Preparation:
There are numerous ways to prepare matar paneer, with variations in the spices, creaminess, and additional ingredients. Some recipes include cashews for extra richness, while others use yogurt or cream for a creamy texture.
3. The Aroma of Kasuri Methi:
Kasuri methi, or dried fenugreek leaves, is a key ingredient in many Matar Paneer recipes. It adds a unique aroma and a slightly bitter, earthy flavor to the dish. Crushing it between your palms before adding it releases its fragrance.
4. Creamy Tomato Gravy:
Achieving the right consistency and flavor of tomato-based gravy is crucial. Sautéing the onions and tomatoes until they are well-cooked and turn slightly brown adds depth and sweetness to the gravy.
5. Spice Blend:
Garam masala, turmeric, and Kashmiri red chili powder are commonly used spices in Matar Paneer. Adjust the quantities to suit your spice preferences.
Paneer is the star ingredient, and you can either buy it or make it at home. Homemade paneer tends to be softer and creamier.
Can I use tofu instead of paneer for a vegan version?
Yes, you can substitute extra-firm tofu for paneer to make a vegan Matar Paneer.
What is the role of kasuri methi in this recipe?
Kasuri methi, or dried fenugreek leaves, adds a unique aroma and flavor to the dish. It’s an essential ingredient in traditional Matar Paneer.
Can I skip cream in this recipe?
Yes, you can skip cream or use a dairy-free alternative for a lighter version of Matar Paneer.