250 to 300 gms paneer/cottage cheese
1 cup peas or matar – fresh or frozen
½ tsp cumin seeds/jeera
1 cup to 1.25 cups water, 250 to 275 ml water or add as required
¼ tsp turmeric powder/haldi
¼ to ½ tsp punjabi garam masala powder or regular garam masala powder
¼ to ½ tsp red chili powder/lal mirch powder
1 tbsp malai or cream (optional)
2 to 2.5 tbsp oil or ghee
½ tsp sugar or add as required and optional (check notes)
Salt as required
A few coriander/dhania leaves for garnishing
Ingredients for the masala paste:
3 medium sized ripe red tomatoes, roughly chopped, ¾ cup roughly chopped tomatoes
1 medium to large onion, roughly chopped, ½ cup roughly chopped onions
1 to 2 green chilies, chopped
½ inch ginger/adrak, chopped
2-3 garlic/lahsun, chopped
2 tbsp roughly chopped coriander, chopped
10 to 12 whole cashews/kaju, chopped
½ inch cinnamon/dal chini
4 to 5 black peppercorns/sabut kali mirch
2 to 3 cloves/lavang
1 tsp coriander seeds/sabut dhania
1 blend all the ingredients mentioned under “masala paste” in a grinder or blender to a smooth paste. no need to add water while grinding. keep aside.
2.heat oil or ghee. add ½ tsp cumin seeds. saute the cumin till they splutter.
3.then add the ground masala paste. stir. take care while sauteing as the paste splutters. if there is too much spluttering, then cover partly with a lid till the spluttering stops.
4.saute for 10-12 minutes or more on a low to medium flame till the oil separates from the paste.
5.add all the dry spice powders – turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder. stir well.
6.if adding cream or malai, you can add now. stir and saute for a minute.
7.then add the peas or matar. stir again.
8.add water and season with salt.
9.cover the cooker tightly and pressure cook till the matar/peas are cooked. (check notes below on how to cook in a pan.)
10.when the pressure drops on its own, open the lid of the pressure cooker.
11.if the curry appears thin, then simmer till it reaches the desired consistency. the consistency is medium and neither thick nor thin.
12.if the gravy appears thick, then add some water and simmer.
13.add the paneer cubes. simmer for 1 to 2 minutes on a low flame or till the paneer cubes get cooked. for a slight sweet taste, you can also add sugar just before you add the paneer cubes.
14.don’t overcook as the paneer becomes dense and hard then.
15.garnish matar paneer with coriander leaves.
16.serve matar paneer with rotis, parathas, naan or rice.