Restaurant-Style Matar Paneer

Most people who enjoy Indian cuisine have tried saag or palak paneer and thus have had the pleasure of sampling paneer, the wonderfully mild, delicious Indian cottage cheese that takes the greens in those popular dishes to a new level of yumminess. But unfortunately for so many people who love saag paneer, they haven’t branched out and tried other paneer dishes. Paneer isn’t only an amazing addition to pureed and spiced greens, it makes just about anything it touches much more tasty.

This restaurant-style matar paneer envelops the milky-flavored cheese in a complex sauce made of spices, tomatoes, onions, and garlic; and then adds to the flavor profile by incorporating green peas and fresh, clean cilantro. This dish allows the paneer to shine in a much different way than it does in saag paneer, making it an excellent vegetarian option for those who love gravy-based Indian sauces. Serve this with steamed rice and naan for a super-satisfying and warm meal that is sure to please everyone. 



2 Tbsp. olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 inch knob of ginger, minced

1 medium onion, diced

2-3 tomatoes, diced

¼ c. cashews

¼ c. plain yogurt

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. garam masala

1 tsp. coriander

1 c. water

1 serrano pepper, chopped or red chili flakes (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Matar Paneer:

8 oz. package of paneer, cubed

1 c. frozen peas

¼ c. cilantro, chopped

Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for one minute, stirring. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until soft. Add the tomatoes and cashews and cook for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Remove mixture from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. 

Place the tomato/onion mixture in a food processor and process until smooth. Add yogurt and process again until fully combined. Set aside. 

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add all of the spices and the bay leaf and cook quickly until fragrant, about one minute. Add the pureed tomato/onion sauce to the skillet, along with 1 cup of water, and heat through, stirring frequently. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add serrano peppers (if using) and frozen peas and cook until the peas are cooked through. Add the paneer and heat through quickly. Remove the bay leaf. 

Top with chopped cilantro and serve with rice and naan.

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