Paneer mattar masala is a curry with Indian cottage cheese and green peas. Paneer means Indian cheese and mattar stands for green peas. This is a lesser spicy curry of Indian vegetarian cuisine. Most common among North Indians and admired by all.
Long back I tasted it in 'DATA udipi hotel' in Nesapakkam, chennai along with parotta for the first time. After that, that restaurant became a regular for us while in that location. Eating out was not a common thing in my birthplace and so after marriage , Xav took me to many restaurants of Chennai. Even though not a big restaurant, it was the first that comforted me with chole poori and relieved my home sick feeling after marriage. They used to sell a kind of sweetened betel leaf named 'paan' and it was a lot of fun for me to take a piece of paan while going home. I have heard that those paan may spoil the teeth . So ask the pan maker to carefully prepare it without any lime (sunnambu) , otherwise we may end up with red mouth:)
Recently one day I prepared this curry for Xav's lunch along with chapathi and some curd rice. We absolutely love this dish with 'Indian store bought' frozen parotta too and remembered those great days.
Paneer -100 gm (chopped 2 handful)
green peas (fresh / frozen) - 1 cup
For masala to grind:
oil - 1 tbsp
Tomato - 2
onion - 1 (big)
ginger - 2 inch
garlic - 5 cloves
cashew - 5
cinnamon - 2 inch
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
garam masala powder - 1 tbsp
coriander powder - 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1/8 tsp
salt - to taste
cilantro - a handful
dried methi leaves - 1 tbsp
butter - 1 tbsp
cumin - 1 tsp
Heat oil in a wok. Chop the paneer into 1 inch size cubes. (Fry the chopped paneer till golden brown and keep aside - Optional).
Then fry the cashews, cinnamon, onion and fry till it becomes golden brown. Also add ginger garlic and fry for 1 minute. Let everything cool.
Cook tomato with 1 cup water till mushy. (I microwaved it for 3 minutes). Let it cool.
Grind the onion, cashew, spices, tomato together into a fine paste along with the water from cooked tomato.
Heat the wok and fry a bay leaf, cumin .
Add the ground paste, coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, garam masal powder, salt and bring it to a boil. Then add the green peas and cook completely. Reduce flame and cook covered for 10 minutes.
As the raw smell vanishes and oil starts showing up add the fried / chopped paneer and mix well.
Keep it in low flame for 5 minutes and switch off.
Garnish with finely chopped cilantro and kasuri methi.
Paneer mattar masala is ready!
Serve hot with chapati or paratha.
No need to fry the paneer. It is optional only.
If needed add a tbsp of brown sugar to increase the taste.
I add one cooked potato to this dish to give more thickness to the curry.