Matar Paneer Recipe | Mutter Paneer Recipe
Tasty peas and squeaky cheese. Whether you say matar or mutter – it really doesn’t matter – that’s what this pea and paneer recipe is all about.
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There really isn’t a great deal I haven’t already said about paneer cheese. At least of those things worthy of saying.
For fear of repeating myself, I will only briefly extoll the virtues of the fine and squeaky cheese we will be using in this matar paneer recipe.
Just as I stated in my saag paneer recipe, paneer cheese is a wonderful meat substitute. It’s dense, chewy and satisfying, and while it lacks flavour, rather like tofu, it proves a wonderful vehicle for flavour. So, kind of like chicken, it can provide a neutral texture to a dish that is otherwise booming with flavour.
Matar paneer tends to be served with vegetables like peas, as in this recipe, or greens, as in the saag paneer recipe I mentioned above. Although there’s no reason it couldn’t form the main ingredient in any dish you might like.
Paneer cheese is, in fact, a wonderful vegetarian option for anyone either avoiding meat or simply fancying a change. There are many dishes in which I even deem it the better option.
About the dish
This matar / mutter paneer recipe is really straightforward. The actual dish can either be served as simple pieces of paneer cheese fried in spices with peas or with a simple, dairy based sauce.
The spices are light and easy going, intended to highlight and to compliment, rather than to star. And the sauce is light, creamy and sweet, a fairly wonderful addition in keeping with the sweetness of the peas.
I should point out that we will be making the paneer from scratch. I have no idea how easy or difficult it is to purchase pre-made paneer, because it’s incredibly easy to make it. At least for a cheese!
I will say that if you’re not sure about it or would prefer to simply buy it, you can do so. Or you could even replace it with tofu, halloumi or otherwise.
Normally, the dish is served as a side, and while the portions I have recommended are suitable for two main meal sized portions, there would be no harm in serving it alongside another, more savoury dish.
With that said, it is perfectly suitable as a main course, even served as is. Although if you preferred you could decrease the amount of sugar, increase the acidity or simply serve it with an especially savoury side. This jeera rice recipe might go some way to balancing things out, for example!
A quick guide – Making the Paneer
For any of us not working with a premade paneer cheese or any of the available alternatives, the first thing we’ll need to do is naturally to make that paneer.
To do that, we’ll need to bring 4 litres of milk to the boil – I strongly recommend doing this in batches and in non-stick cookware – and to add acid to the milk as soon as it starts to boil.
That acid, whether lemon, vinegar or otherwise, will split the milk, leaving you with a clear(ish) liquid and a mass of solids that you’ll need to press together to form the cheese.
Quickly remove the pans from the heat and drain the liquid away, ideally through a sieve, lined with some form of cloth.
You’ll then want to wrap that cloth up so that the milk solids form a ball, which you’ll then rinse under a heavy stream of cold water whilst (very carefully) squeezing the water out whilst pressing the paneer.
To further flatten and press the cheese, once you’ve squeezed out a good amount of the water, press it between two plates and weight the top one down, ideally in the fridge if you’re able. After a couple of hours, cut it into suitably sized pieces.
A quick guide – Mater Paneer Recipe | Mutter Paneer Recipe
While that cools, we’ll prep the ingredients for our sauce, starting by peeling and dicing up our onion and setting it aside. We’ll do the the same thing with our ginger and garlic, which can be set aside together.
We’ll also set aside our spices. Firstly, get ready 1/2 tsp mustard seeds and add them to the onions. Then set aside 1 tsp cinnamon powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp asafoetida and 1/4 tsp fenugreek.
Once the paneer is cooled and set, we’ll fry it with ghee or oil as in the picture above. A little seasoning wouldn’t go a miss at this stage either.
When coloured all over, we can then set it aside and begin to caramelise the onions, cooking them at medium heat in a good amount of fat with some salt for roughly 10 minutes.
At that point, we can add the dry spices, followed by the wet paste a minute later. And after a further minute, we can add the paneer and the peas and stir everything together as seen below.
Finally, we can add the dairy, whether that be yogurt or cream. I recommend using full fat versions of either, lest you run a much higher risk of them splitting.
Especially in the case of yogurt, you’ll now want to add a generous helping of caster sugar, enough to both sweeten the dish and to potentially balance the acidity of the yogurt.
Season well and serve, garnished with a good heap of fresh coriander. Matar paneer!
A few final things to remember
- I’ve used yogurt in these pictures. It actually works perfectly, but I would recommend cream if you can spare the calories. It’s a little easier to cook with, a little more luxurious and imparts less flavour of its own.
- I recommended serving it with jeera rice earlier, but another option might well be naan. This creamy, chewy dish is basically just begging for a warm, savoury delivery method. If you’d like to try out some naan, I have an Indian flatbread right here that should fit the bill.
- Like I mentioned above, you could serve this dish as a simple stir fry, more like a saag aloo than a standard curry.
Similar Recipes & Useful Sides
Chicken Saag Recipe – Another saag. Not a spinach and paneer curry this time, but a chicken and paneer one. Equally tasty. Extra meaty.
Passanda Sauce Recipe – An Authentic Leftover Chicken Curry – The sexiest, creamiest, butteriest, chickeniest curry I’ve ever made and an absolute personal favourite.
Goan Lamb Curry – Another of Goa’s beautiful curries. This time a delicious vindaloo style lamb dish!
The Best Indian Flatbread Recipe – The best Indian flatbreads you’ve ever seen. Seriously.
Matar Paneer Recipe | Mutter Paneer Recipe
- 4 litres Milk whole if possible, but any work
- 1/2 cup Peas
- 1 lrg Onion
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 2 inches Ginger
- 1/2 cup Yogurt or Cream
- 1-2 tbsp Caster Sugar
- Fresh Coriander
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
- 1 tsp Coriander Powder
- 1 tsp Cumin Powder
- 1/4 tsp Asafoetida
- 1/4 tsp Fenugreek Powder
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
- Bring the milk to a boil, in separate pans if necessary. Once it's simmering, immediately add a splash of vinegar and stir. If you've used enough vinegar, the milk will split into solids. If not, add another splash of vinegar and try again.
- Strain the liquid away through a cloth, retaining the solids. Season them with some salt and tighten the cloth all around them, squeezing the water out very carefully under a running cold tap, to stop it from burning your hands. Once most of the water has been removed, press the cloth nice and flat and press it beneath a plate and something heavy in the fridge, then leave for an hour or two to set.
- If you have any whole spices that need to be turned into powder, heat them in a dry pan and grind them down in a pestle and mortar. Once that's done, combine all the dry spices and set them aside.
- Peel and finely dice the garlic and ginger. You can grind them into a fine paste as well if you like, but keep them separate from the dry spices.
- Peel and finely dice a large onion.
- Once cool, remove the paneer from the fridge and unwrap, then slice it into large, bitesize pieces.
- In an oiled saucepan, colour the paneer all over, adding additional seasoning if required.
- Remove the paneer from the pan and reduce to medium heat, then add the onions and caramelise them for about 10 minutes.
- Add the dry spice mix and cook through for a further minute or so before adding the ginger and garlic paste and cooking for a minute more.
- Add the paneer back in and add the peas, then quickly stir fry everything together and cook the peas through if frozen.
- Add enough yogurt or cream to make enough sauce for two people, depending on how thick you like it, then season with salt and caster sugar.
- Serve, garnished with coriander.
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe or have any comments or queries, please do let us know in the comments section below! And don’t forget to like and share!