Cottage cheese or paneer as it is commonly known in Indian households – is one ingredient which can be utilized in so many dishes – right from pies to gravies to vegetable to a barbeque. The soft and smooth texture of a paneer cube lends a completely different touch to it.
One thing I failed to understand as a kid is what exactly is the difference between various paneer dishes listed under the vegetables section whenever I went out to have Punjabi cuisine in restaurants – There would be just so many! Right from the regular Paneer tikka masala to Paneer Butter Masala to Paneer Makhanwala and what not! But gradually I realized that they do have some differences – in the ingredients, their proportions and the taste as well!
What I am about to write about is my very own version of Paneer Matar Masala – a simple gravy dish filled with cottage cheese/ paneer and green peas. But the gravy is an absolute delight to taste! The first time you try it, it might feel a little long – but trust me, its not difficult – it might just look long! 😀
Prep Time: 1 hour
- 8-10 onions
- 5-7 tomatoes
- 1 bowl paneer/cottage cheese cubes
- 3/4th bowl boiled green peas
- 9-10 tspns ghee
- 2 tspns cumin seeds
- Handful of cashew nuts and almonds
- 1-2 tspns fresh cream
- 6-7 garlic pods
- 1 tspn green chillies, ginger & garlic paste
- 5 tspn red chilli powder
- 2 tspn turmeric powder
- 3 tspn coriander powder
- 2 Tbspn garam masala powder
- Salt to taste
- Chop the onions and tomatoes into large cubes. Take 2 pans and heat 2 tspns ghee in each. Add cumin seeds in each and as they start spluttering, add the onions & 1 tspn salt in one pan and tomatoes & 1 tspn salt in the other.
- Add half of the garlic pods in one pan and the other half in the second pan. Roast the onions till they start changing color and tomatoes for about 4-5 mins on low flame. Once roasted, take them out in separate pans and let them cool.
- Once cooled, grind the onions and tomatoes separately in a grinder to a fine paste.
- Heat the remaining ghee in a large pan. Add the ginger garlic and chillies paste. Once they are lightly fried, add the prepared onion puree. Allow the puree to cook properly. Add all the dry spices powders’ and mix thoroughly.
- Once the onion puree is cooked, add the prepared tomato puree and adjust for salt & rest of the spices if required.
- Grind the cashew nuts, almond and cream together into a fine paste
- Once the tomato puree is cooked and gets mixed well in the gravy, add the cashew and cream paste in it
- Finally add the fresh paneer pieces and green peas into the prepared gravy.
- Garnish with fresh coriander leaves. And lo! Paneer matar masala is ready!