Matar paneer is a restaurant style creamy, delicious and rich peas paneer curry. Matar paneer is one of India’s most popular paneer dishes. In most Indian homes, it is made during winters when fresh peas are in season. However it can also be made with frozen peas anytime around the year.
This matar paneer is the best when you plan for a special meal. Some roti, phulka, naan or plain basmati rice, jeera rice or ghee rice will be great to pair up with this.
I usually make matar paneer with raw onions, tomatoes and cashews blended together. It is a super quick recipe and is great to make when you are in a hurry. I have shared that method at the end of the post as method 2 (upon readers request).
Today’s recipe takes some time since the onions and tomatoes are sauteed first and pureed. This is what makes the dish simply superb and unique.
This recipe is roughly adapted from my Paneer butter masala which is a popular recipe on the blog.
Easy matar paneer
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
To fry & puree
- 1 tbsp oil or puree
- 2 cardamoms or elaichi
- 3 cloves garlic or lahsun chopped
- 1 inch ginger or adrak chopped
- 1 cup onions chopped (1 large)
- 1½ cup tomatoes (2 large) chopped
- 10 cashewnuts
- ½ tsp Salt
For matar paneer gravy
- 2 tbsp oil or butter
- 1 inch cinnamon or dalchini (optional)
- 1 small bay leaf (optional)
- ¾ to 1 tsp red chili powder (less spicy variety)
- 1/8 tsp turmeric or haldi
- ¾ to 1 tsp garam masala
- ½ to ¾ tsp coriander powder
- ½ to ¾ cup green peas or matar (boiled or frozen)
- 1 to 1 ¼ cup water (use more if needed)
- 1 green chili deseeded & slit
- 250 grams paneer or indian cottage cheese
- 1 tsp Kasuri methi or dried fenugreek leaves
- ¼ tsp Salt as needed (about ¼ to ½ tsp)
- 2 tbsp coriander leaves or cilantro
- 3 to 4 tbsp cream
How to make the recipe
- If using store bought paneer, soak it in a bowl of hot water for 20 to 30 mins. Drain the water and use. This step helps to keep the paneer soft.
- Pour 1 tbsp oil to a hot pan. When the oil turns hot add 2 green cardamoms, chopped ginger & garlic for a minute. Next add 1 cup chopped onions & fry until they turn light golden.
- Put in 1½ cup tomatoes, 1/8 tsp turmeric and ¼ tsp salt. Saute for 2 to 3 mins. Cook covered until soft & mushy. Add 10 cashews. Cool this completely. Make a fine puree of this in a blender.
How to make matar paneer
- Heat 2 tbsps oil in the same pan. Saute 1 inch cinnamon & 1 bay leaf for a minute. Pour the pureed onion tomato mixture.
- Add ¾ to 1 tsp chili powder, ¾ to 1 tsp masala and ½ to ¾ tsp coriander powder. Saute until the masala leaves the sides of the pan. Keep stirring to prevent burning.
- Next add ½ to ¾ cup green peas. Pour 1 to 1 ¼ cups water. If using fresh peas, boil them until tender in a pot, drain and use. If using frozen peas then you can rinse and use. Mix well to make a thick gravy. Add more water if needed.
- Mix and cook covered on a medium heat until the gravy thickens and traces of oil appear over the gravy.
- Check salt and add more if needed. Add 1 slit green chilli & 250 grams cubed paneer. Crush 1 tsp kasuri methi in your palm & sprinkle all over. Mix well.
- Cover and cook just for 2 mins. Sprinkle coriander leaves and cream. Stir well. Serve matar paneer with rice, naan or paratha.
Video of matar paneer recipe
1. Heat a pan and add 1 tbsp oil. When the oil turns hot, add 2 green cardamoms, ginger and garlic. Saute just for a minute. I did forget to add the cardamoms here so added in the tempering later.
2. Add chopped onions. Saute them until they turn pink to light golden. The raw smell of the onions has to go away.
3. Then add chopped tomatoes, salt and turmeric.
4. Saute for 2 to 3 mins.
5. Cover the pan. Cook on a medium flame until the onions and tomatoes turn mushy.
6. Add cashews and turn off the stove.
7. Cool this mixture completely. Transfer to a blender jar.
8. Make a smooth puree without adding water.
How to make matar paneer recipe
9. Heat a pan with 2 tbsps oil. Add cinnamon and a small bay leaf. You can also skip them and just add 1/2 tsp cumin. Fry them for a min.
10. Pour the onion tomato puree. Add chili powder, garam masala and coriander powder. You can also add the spice powders first to hot oil. If the pan is too hot , it will burn the powders so i added later.
11. Fry this until the mixture comes together. Keep stirring often.
12. Add boiled green peas or frozen peas. If using fresh peas, then you may need to boil them. Drain and use here. I used frozen peas, so just rinsed well and added. Pour 1 to 1 1/4 cup water.
13. Mix well. Cover and cook until the gravy thickens. Taste the gravy and add more salt if needed.
14. Add chilli, paneer and kasuri methi. Mix gently and cover. Cook just for 2 to 3 mins.
15. Add chopped coriander leaves and cream. Mix well. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Serve matar paneer with basmati rice, roti, phulka or ghee rice.
Matar paneer – method 2
Ingredients to follow from recipe card except for 1½ tsp ginger garlic paste to use below. Here are the instructions:
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil & add the cubed onions. Boil for 2 to 3 mins. Drain the blanched onions. Make a fine paste of blanched onions, tomatoes, chili, and cashews.
- Optional step. Saute paneer in little oil and immerse them in hot water until used.
- Saute cumin, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon & bay leaf in oil for 1 to 2 minutes. Fry ginger garlic paste until the raw smell goes off.
- Add the ground paste & fry until it leaves the sides of the pan.
- Also the raw smell must disappear. Add chili powder, garam masala, coriander powder and salt. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add peas and 1.5 cups water. Cook until the gravy thickens. When the gravy turns thick, you will also see some oil on top of the gravy. There is not much oil used in the recipe so you can see very little oil on top.
- To the thick gravy, add paneer and kasuri methi. Cook for just 2 to 3 minutes. Using cream is optional. Pour cream to a bowl, add little gravy and mix well. Stir this in to the pan. Switch off the stove and add finely coriander leaves. Serve matar paneer with roti or rice.