Sep 14, 2022

Matar Paneer (Green Peas and Indian Cottage Cheese)

Matar, sometimes also spelled as mutter, means green pea in Indian, so matar paneer simply means green peas and paneer cheese. It's one of the most popular dishes on the menu in Indian restaurants overseas. 

Matar paneer is packed with spices, so does other Indian dishes, but the flavor is slightly rounded off by the use of cheese and tomatoes. If you can't take as much heat, tone down the amount of chili powder used in this recipe.

Matar paneer (green peas and Indian cottage cheese) -

Matar paneer


Purée - 

  • 2 tablespoons preferred cooking oil
  • 1 1/2 red onions
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 green chili (longer variety)
  • 2 teaspoons peeled, chopped ginger
  • 3 ripe tomatoes

Others - 

  • 2 tablespoons preferred cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2/3 cup green peas
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1 pack/200 grams paneer
  • 1 small bundle cilantro


For the ingredients listed under the "purée" section - peel and chop the onions, peel and chop the ginger, peel and roughly chop the garlic cloves. Destem and section the green chili, destem and chop the tomatoes. 

For other ingredients not under the purée section, Peel and finely chop 1/2 of the red onion. Cube the paneer. Finely chop the cilantro. 

Let's work on the purée first, so the ingredients mentioned below are the ones listed under the "purée" section. 

Drizzle two tablespoons of oil to a big pan and turn to medium heat. Add in chopped onion and stir-fry for couple minutes.

Stir-frying red onion

Add in garlic, green chili, and ginger. Stir-fry for couple minutes or so. Be careful not to burn the garlic bits.

Stir-frying green chili, garlic, and red onion

Add in tomatoes and cook till softened. Turn off the heat and wait till the entire mixture cools down.

Adding chopped tomatoes to aromatics

Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and blend till it forms a smooth paste/purée. Set aside for later use.

Tomato and aromatic puree

Switching gear now, the following ingredients are the ones listed under the "others" section. 

Drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil to a big pan and turn to medium heat. Add in 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds and let them sear for 30 seconds.

Searing cumin seeds

Add in finely chopped onion and cook till slightly browned on edges.

Searing cumin seeds and red onion

Add in 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder along with 1 teaspoon of chili powder. Stir and cook for one minute.

Pour in the earlier prepared purée and keep mixing it. Wait till the purée turns slightly dry and darkened, this will take longer time here.

Adding potato puree for matar paneer

Once ready, add in 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of coriander powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin powder, and 1 teaspoon of garam masala. Mix till blended and continue to cook for about 4 minutes or so. The color will get darker again and resemble the instant curry paste sold in grocery store.

Mixing spices and continue to cook the tomato puree

Transfer green peas over and cook away the raw taste, about one minute.

Pour in hot water, about 1 1/2 cups, just enough to slightly cover all the ingredients. Put the lid on and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Keep the whole mixture under light bubbling stage. The lid is fairly important here because the sauce might start splashing here and there.

Adding peas and water for matar paneer

Towards the end, add in paneer cubes and give it a gentle mix. Cook for 5 more minutes.

Adding paneer for matar paneer

Lastly, add in chopped cilantro and mix till blended. Matar paneer is now ready to serve. 

Matar paneer

The whole process is actually not hard at all, just involves many spices and have to make the purée beforehand. That might also mean more cleaning to do and I'm not sure how you feel, but I'm definitely not a fan of washing blender and food processor. 

Good thing that the result is satisfying enough to overcome the hassles putting together matar paneer. 

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