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Paneer Perfection: Get Hooked on Mutter Paneer

Matar Paneer or Mutter Paneer Masala is a vegetarian-based Indian dish that features peas and paneer in a masala or gravy sauce. It is a popular dish in Indian cooking and has been my favourite Indian dish next to Instant Pot Butter Chicken.

There are two parts to making this most delicious recipe for Mutter Paneer. You will first prepare the Masala gravy or the base and then you will make the Mutter Paneer dish using the masala as one of the ingredients.

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I have always been fascinated with Indian cooking because of its focus on mostly vegetarian dishes. I also am intrigued by the techniques or ways of how the recipes build flavour.

I used to live with my aunt years ago and during that time, she would prepare Indian cuisine on a regular basis. From masala tea to Matar paneer and Tandoori Chicken, she served a variety of dishes that left a lasting impression on me. Since then, I’ve been hooked on Indian food for its incredible taste and diversity.

What is Paneer?

Paneer, also known as ponir or Indian cottage cheese, is a fresh acid-set cheese common in the Indian subcontinent made from cow or buffalo milk. It is a non-aged, non-melting soft cheese made by curdling milk with a fruit- or vegetable-derived acid, such as lemon juice. – Wikipedia

Is paneer vegan-friendly? No, traditionally paneer is not suitable for vegans as it’s made from dairy-based milk – usually buffalo or cows. Paneer is however considered vegetarian and packed with protein.

Preparing Matar Paneer is quite simple as long as you are organized. It’s recommended to measure out all of your spices before starting the cooking process.

Where to get the spices? I was able to find all of the spices and paneer ingredients at Walmart in the International aisle and online. If you have an Indian grocery store in your area you will also be able to find the spices there.

Step 1: Making the Masala:

Most Indian recipes will begin with a Masala or “Gravy”. The masala will usually consist of frying onions in oil and then adding a garlic & ginger paste followed by tomatoes.

The real trick here is to cook it down long enough until it turns into a dark tomato paste colour. A trick or tip to know when the masala is ready; watch for the tomatoes to leave the side of the pan.

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Ingredients for the Masala "Gravy":

    • 2 tbsp. Olive oil or Ghee.  Your onions will need to cook longer so you will need enough oil so they will not burn
    • 1 tbsp. cumin seeds

    • 1 Vidalia Onions  chopped

    • 1 tbsp. Cashews – which adds a nuttiness and help with thickening the gravy

    • 1 tsp. Salt

    • 3-4 Roma Tomatoes, diced

    • Puree the cooled mix and there you have it the: gravy or masala

instructions for making the masala:

  1. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter for 30 seconds.

  2. Add soaked and drained cashews and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add chopped onions, garlic, and ginger. Sauté until onions turn translucent.

  4. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes pull away from the sides of the pan and turn a richer red colour

  5. Let the mixture cool down and then blend it in a food processor into a smooth paste.

Step 2: Making the Mutter Paneer

Now that your masala is ready, you can prepare the mutter paneer. I like to have all of my spices measured out for preparing the mutter paneer part of the recipe prior to starting. A little note or tip: I was able to purchase all of the spices at Walmart down the International aisle. They also sell a Paneer Blend spice pack that you could use if you didn’t have all of the individual spices. 

I keep all of my Indian spices together in a Stainless Steel Spice Container that I purchased on Amazon. It’s so much easier to have all of your spices together in one place and most Indian dishes use a lot of the same spices. 

Ingredients for the Mutter Paneer

  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Cumin Seeds  (sizzle them in the oil before adding onion)
  • 1 small Onion finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp. Red Chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp. Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Kasoori Methi / Methi powder 
  • 1/2 tsp. Cumin Powder 
  • 1/2 tsp. Fennel Powder 
  • 1/2 Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt 
  • 3 tbsp. Cilantro chopped  fine
  • Masala or Gravy blend
  • 1 tbsp. Ketchup 
  • 2 tbsp. Heavy Cream 
  • 1 1/2 cups Water 
  • 1 1/2 cups Peas (I used frozen)
  • 1 pkg. Paneer – cut into chunks
  • Garam Masala – 1/4 tsp. (added at the end and not with the other spices)

Instructions:

1. Add in the oil and after it gets hot, add in the cumin seeds. The cumin seeds will sizzle maybe after a minute or so, add the onions and cook for a couple of minutes.

6. Lower the heat, and add the spices – red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, methi powder, ground fennel, ground turmeric and salt. Roast the spices for 2-3 minutes on low.

7. Add in the finely chopped cilantro and continue to cook for a minute. Add the masala or gravy blend, ketchup, cream and stir.

8. Add in the Peas, Ginger, along with 1-1/2 cups water to adjust the consistency. Cook out the water for a couple minutes, then add in the cubes of paneer.

9. Finally, sprinkle in a touch of garam masala and then turn off the heat.

10. Enjoy your Mutter Paneer with some basmati rice, and a dollop of plain yoghurt and a grilled garlic naan!

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Ingredients for the Mutter Paneer

simplywanderfull
A delicious Vegetarian Indian Dish is full of aromotic flavours. Made with paneer, and peas in a masala tomato gravy is sure delightful!
Course dinner
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

Ingredients for the Masala Tomato Gravy:

  • 2 tbsp. Olive oil or Ghee. Your onions will need to cook longer so you will need enough oil so they will not burn
  • 1 tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 Vidalia Onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Cashews - which add a nuttiness and help with thickening the gravy
  • 1-2 tbsp. of Ginger paste and garlic paste - This is a real secret ingredient that is also a time saver!
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 3-4 Roma Tomatoes diced

Ingredients for the Mutter Paneer

  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Cumin Seeds sizzle them in the oil before adding onion
  • 1 small Onion finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp. Red Chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp. Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Kasoori Methi / Methi powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Cumin Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Fennel Powder
  • 1/2 Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 3 tbsp. Cilantro chopped fine
  • Masala or Gravy blend
  • 1 tbsp. Ketchup
  • 2 tbsp. Heavy Cream
  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • 1 1/2 cups Peas I used frozen
  • 1 pkg. Paneer - cut into chunks
  • Garam Masala - 1/4 tsp. added at the end and not with the other spices

Instructions
 

Instructions for Making the Tomato Masala Gravy

  • Instructions for Making the Tomato Masala Gravy:
    Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter for 30 seconds. Add cashews and cook for 2-3 minutes.
    Add chopped onions, garlic, and ginger. Sauté until onions turn translucent.
    Add chopped tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes pull away from the sides of the pan and turn a richer red colour
    Let the mixture cool down and then blend it in a food processor into a smooth paste.

Instructions for Making the Mutter Paneer

  • 1. Add in the oil and after it gets hot, add in the cumin seeds. The cumin seeds will sizzle maybe after a minute or so, add the onions and cook for a couple of minutes.
    6. Lower the heat, and add the spices - red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, methi powder, ground fennel, ground turmeric and salt. Roast the spices for 2-3 minutes on low.
    7. Add in the finely chopped cilantro and continue to cook for a minute. Add the masala or gravy blend, ketchup, cream and stir.
    8. Add in the Peas, Ginger, along with 1-1/2 cups water to adjust the consistency. Cook out the water for a couple minutes, then add in the cubes of paneer.
    9. Finally, sprinkle in a touch of garam masala and then turn off the heat.
    10. Enjoy your Mutter Paneer with some basmati rice, and a dollop of plain yoghurt and a grilled garlic naan!
Keyword indian, masala, mutter paneer, paneer