Matar paneer ( green peas cooked with cottage cheese in a creamy gravy )


 Matar paneer , a very tasty creamy gravy dish using fresh or frozen green peas and cubed cottage cheese makes an excellent side dish for rotis, naan or phulkas .

This also makes a great dish to have with jeera pulav too .
There are few North Indian side dishes that  we order frequently in restaurants and this is one of them. Predominantly of North Indian origin , Matar  paneer is a popular side dish prepared all over the country with different twists.

Definitely a gem of a recipe and a hard to resist dish we make this as often as possible when green peas are flooding the markets and I also  freeze  as much as possible.

Matar paneer is not really difficult and you  can whip this up swiftly without compromising on the quality in under 30 minutes.

Many times I attempt such supposedly thought to be difficult dishes even while am flying around my kitchen in the morning while fixing school and office lunches.



























Recipe



Matar paneer

200 grams paneer cubed 
1 cup green peas 

To grind to paste

1. 2 medium tomatoes chopped fine 
2. 2 green chillis
3. 1 small,piece of ginger
4. 1 tsp coriander powder
5. 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
6. Pinch of turmeric powder

7. 1 tsp Punjabi garam masala

Other ingredients

2 tbsp oil
Chopped  coriander leaves for garnishing 
Salt to taste
Water as required while cooking gravy.

1 tsp cumin seeds
2 small bay leaves 
2 tbsp fresh cream  for that creamy rich texture :-)


Method

Cook the green peas with little water till softened . 
Grind to paste ingredients given under heading 1 to 7 . 

In a pan add some oil sauté the cumin seeds, bay leaves and  add the ground paste.
Sauté till the raw smell disappears and oil begins to leave the sides. Add the cooked green peas and add little water at this stage. Meanwhile lightly shallow fry with little oil the cubed paneer and let them turn  a golden hue . Add it to the cooking green peas and gravy mixture so that  everything blends well in the cooking masala mixture.

When the gravy appears to thicken lightly , remove and you  may add fresh cream to give a creamy texture to the gravy. 

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. 

The recipe is a no onion , no garlic one. You can add the same to the tomatoes while grinding them to a paste. 

Notes

Chopped onions , tomatoes, garlic, green chillis may be sautéed in oil first till onions  turn translucent and tomatoes look half cooked . Then grind to a paste with other ingredients mentioned under the heading. I do it both ways and works well. To save time I grind everything first and then sauté well . Choose your method:-).

Adding some cashew nuts while grinding gives a richer taste. I have not used cashew nuts in my recipe, I find adding 2 tbsp of fresh cream works well.

Sometimes when I do not have fresh cream I just add a paste of skim milk powder !