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
Tomato - 2
onion - 1 (big)
cashew - 5
cinnamon - 2 inch
fennel - 1 tsp
cardamom - 2
cloves - 4
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
garam masal - 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1/8 tsp
salt - to taste
cilantro + mint leaf - a handful
oil - 2 tbsp
Heat oil in a wok. Chop the paneer into 1 inch size cubes. Fry the chopped paneer till golden brown and keep aside.
Then fry the cashews, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves. Add onion and fry till it beomes golden brown. 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. Put the ginger garlic paste and fry till we get a nice flavor.
Then add the ground paste, 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 paneer and mix well.
Keep it in low flame for 5 minutes and switch off.
Garnish with finely chopped cilantro and mint leaf.
Paneer mattar masala is ready!
Serve hot with chapati or paratha or malaysian parotta.