Friday, May 17, 2013

Mattar Paneer

This is one of my all time favorite Indian dishes. So after successfully making homemade paneer (in order to make saag paneer), mattar paneer was next on the list. And it was everything I hoped it would be...creamy, sweet and a little spicy too (although this is a mild version, so if you like things really spicy, increase the heat). And I have to say, I think I'm getting addicted to making paneer. It's so easy and fun. Although I am worried about the fact that making cheese is now my idea of fun and the idea of staying up until 4am at a bar sounds like torture. I'm old. It happened. Probably some time between when I moved to the suburbs and when I started buying antacid in bulk.

Makes 6 servings

4 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee
20 ounces paneer, cubed
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 (1 inch) piece ginger, finely grated
3 -4 garlic cloves
1 (24 oz.) jar tomato puree or finely diced tomatoes (or 2 large tomatoes, finely diced with juices)
2 teaspoons agave nectar (or sugar)
salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
3/4 teaspoon chili powder (or more if you prefer spicier)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 cups fresh or frozen peas
1/2 cup heavy cream or half ‘n half
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional, for garnish)
cooked basmati rice for serving (optional)

1.      Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet and fry paneer cubes until they turn golden brown. Set aside.
2.      In a separate pot, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil; add mustard and cumin seeds. Cook until they darken and sputter.
3.      Add onion, ginger and garlic and cook until onions soften.
4.      Add tomato puree, sweetener and salt, and cook for another 5 minutes (if using fresh tomatoes, cook until tomatoes soften, adding a little water if needed).
5.      Mix in the garam masala, coriander, cumin, chilli powder, and turmeric. Add the peas. Cook just until the peas are tender.
6.      Mix in the cream and add just enough water to thin out to desired consistency. Then add the paneer and let simmer over medium heat so the paneer can absorb the flavors.
7.      Garnish with cilantro if desired. Serve with basmati rice.

adapted from (by eatrealfood)
homemade paneer
(double the recipe to make 20 oz.)
frying paneer cubes
(I may have let get a little darker than intended, but they were good).
onion, ginger and garlic

If you want to make a spicier version, I suggest mincing
a hot pepper and adding it with the onion etc.
I accidentally started cooking the onion/ginger/garlic
before the mustard and cumin seeds, so I moved them
over and let the seeds cook on one side of the pot
until they spluttered and then mixed it all together.
tomato puree added
mixing in the ground spices
adding frozen peas
mixing in the cream
adding the paneer
mattar paneer in the pot
mattar paneer garnished with cilantro

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