Punjabi Paneer Mattar

Paneer mattar is a classic Punjabi party dish. For those who aren’t familiar with paneer, it’s a type of Indian cheese. Mild in taste but creamy in texture , paneer works well with really flavourful masalas as it absorbs all the aromas and seasonings of the spices. Paneer comes in two forms. If you make it at home it’s in a crumbles cottage cheese type consistecy (recipe here). If you get it from the store, it comes in block form. Today’s recipe uses the latter form. This dish is delicious and always goes down well at the The Spice Club. This recipe is dedicated to Matt Hall @codebeef who was our 600t follower on Twitter!

Serves 4

What we need:
5 tbsp olive oil
1 block of paneer (approx 250g), cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1-2 tsp salt (or according to taste)
1 tbsp ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 green chilli, finely chopped
handful of fresh coriander, chopped
1/2 tin plum tomatoes
1/2 cup peas (if frozen, thaw in water and strain)

How we do:

  • In a non stick frying pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the cumin seeds. Once they begin sizzle, add the paneer cubes. Now add the salt and half of them amount of turmeric powder.
  • Lightly fry until paneer turns golden on both sides. Remove from heat.
  • In a food processer, add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. Now add the salt, paprika,  turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala and half the amount of coriander. Blitz until a coarse paste has been formed
  • In a pan, heat the remaining olive oil.  Add some cumin seeds and allow them to start sizzling. Now add the ground masala paste. Cook on medium heat until golden brown stirring continuously.
  • When you see the masala paste is nice and golden, add the plum tomatoes and mash well so it blends with the masala. Keep stirring and cook for 4-5 minutes. Once the oil begins to separate from the masala, add the peas. Mix well and toss in the fried paneer.
  • Add water so it is just covering the vegetables and paneer and continue and bring to boil. Let it reduce to about half the amount. Check for salt and adjust accordingly.
  • Sprinkle in the fresh coriander and you’re done! Best served with hot, fresh chapatis.

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