Indian food may seem complicated to make, but it's quite easy if you have the right spices in your cabinet. I cook Indian food about once a week on average, so we are completely stocked with everything that we need in order to make Indian dishes on the fly. Patrick and I love the spices, aromas, and flavors. It's like comfort food for the soul. My love for Indian food dates back to 2008 while I was working in Silicon Valley with a bunch of Indian folks. I was introduced to many different cuisines of various Indian regions and fell in love with the diversity of flavors.
Matar paneer is a popular North Indian dish that consists of cheese and peas. I used to hate peas, but this dish made me completely change my mind. Most of the time when I order this dish at an Indian restaurant, the peas they use are previously frozen. We wanted to cook this recipe using fresh peas and ingredients. We found that it really does make a huge difference! Get ready to fall in love with peas on a whole different level.
This dish is so flippin' delicious: creamy, cheesy, explosive flavors and spices. When comparing this to what we've had at a number of Indian restaurants we've ate at, this homemade version wins (plus, I add in way more cheese; seems like restaurants really skimp out on the cheese)! We couldn't be happier with how it turned out. I have a feeling that this is going to be a frequent dinner dish for us.
Creamy Fresh Peas Mattar Paneer (Matar/Mutter Paneer) Recipe
Serves 3-4 people
Recipe adapted from Padhus Kitchen
- 3/4 lb (12 oz) of paneer Indian cheese, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 cup fresh peas
- 1 yellow onion, very finely chopped in food processor
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
- 3 medium ripe tomatoes
- 1/4 cup toasted cashew nuts
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoons coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1 tablespoon of heavy cream
- salt to taste
- olive oil or butter
- Soak cashew nuts in hot water for 15 minutes then grind it into a paste, using a bit of water to get a paste developed.
- In a medium to large pot, fill with water and boil tomatoes for 3-4 minutes. Remove tomatoes and allow it to cool. Remove the skin and puree it.
- Using the same water above (only if water is still clean), boil the peas for 3-4 minutes until peas are a little soft. Drain and cool. Set aside.
- Over medium heat, heat oil or butter in large pan or kadai, add in cumin seeds and bay leaf. When cumin seeds crack, add the finely chopped onions and a little salt and saute until light brown. Stir continuously so you don't burn the bottom of the pan.
- Add ginger-garlic paste and cook for 3 minutes. Add tomato puree and all of the spice powders, along with some salt. Continue to stir and cook until tomatoes are soft and oil starts to separate, about 5 minutes.
- Add in cashew nut paste. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Add peas and paneer. Mix well with the base (also called "masala").
- Add 1 cup of water and cook until everything is well blended and to preference of flavor. Lastly, add in 1 tablespoon of heavy cream. (Note: I like this dish with little gravy, so I simmered on low-med until it reduced down a bit, about 5-7 mins. But it's up to you!)
- You're done! Serve with some warm naan and enjoy :)