I don’t want you to get intimidated by the long ingredient list. This dish is easy to make- just needs a bit of planning and some preparation. It is worth taking the time out and isn’t it great to know how to make one of the very popular dishes served in an Indian restaurant? If you make it at home, you will save money and it will taste a lot better and it will be a lot healthier. You can control the amount of oil, etc you add to the dish. There is usually a lot of butter and cream added to most Indian dishes with gravy.
The secret ingredient in the dish is the baked onions. It gives this dish a slow and long cooked flavor. The onions are baked with a bit of flour which thickens the gravy- perfect!
All the other spices add delicious savory flavor to the dish. Kasuri methi or dry fenugreek is really the key to finish the dish off. For my readers in the Maplewood/South Orange area- there is a new Indian/Sri Lankan grocery store on Irvington Ave in Maplewood- they will have kasuri methi. It is a great ingredient to have in your pantry and lasts a very long time.
Mattar paneer can be served with rice or roti- either way it tastes really good. It’s my husband’s favorite so he is extremely happy whenever I make it for him…
- 2 cups paneer– cut into 1 inch squares- soak in warm salted water for at least an hour
- 2 tablespoons extra light olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 5-6 shallots, roughly chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 3 inch piece ginger, roughly chopped
- ½ cup baked onions
- ½ cup crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¼ cup kasuri methi (dried fenugreek)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth or water
In a processor, add the shallots, garlic cloves and ginger pieces. Process till chopped fine. Keep aside. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the cumin seeds and sauté for a minute or till the seeds begin to sizzle. Add the shallot mixture and sauté on medium high heat for 4-5 minutes. Add the baked onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and cook stirring consistently for 5-6 minutes. Add the turmeric, coriander powder, cayenne pepper and salt. Mix well. Add the chicken broth and the paneer. Cook for 10-15 minutes on medium low heat. Add the kasuri methi and the frozen peas. Cook on high heat till reached the desired consistency (it should be between a soup and a stew). Check for seasonings.