Mattar Paneer
Indian Recipe

Like many Indian dishes this only improves with age, so feel free to make it a day or two ahead. Serve over basmati rice with cilantro chutney. Perfection!


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1 14-ounce package paneer*
~ oil for frying
1 small onion, minced
1 1-inch piece ginger, minced
4 teaspoons crushed garlic
1/2 green chili, minced
1 black cardamon pod, slightly crushed
7 whole cloves, slightly crushed
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
4 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup canned chopped tomatoes, drained
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1+ cup water
  * Purchase paneer at Indian grocery stores or substitute firm tofu in its place.**Use canned tomatoes from Modena, Italy or Pomi brand tomatoes found in fine grocery stores—Their flavor is superb!

Line a cookie sheet with paper towels and set aside.

  1. Cut the paneer into ½-inch slices and then into thirds.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat until it sizzles.
  3. Fry the cheese until light golden on both sides, adjusting the heat as needed to prevent burning. Be careful not to overcook. Remove the paneer and place it on the prepared cookie sheet. Blot off excess grease. Set aside.
  4. Reheat the skillet and with some additional oil. Fry the onions until golden brown.
  5. Add the ginger, mix well, and cook for two minutes.
  6. Stir in the garlic and chilies and cook for one minute.
  7. Add the black cardamom pod, cloves, bay leaf, turmeric, chili powder, coriander, and cumin and cook for 30 seconds.
  8. Add half of the tomatoes to the mixture, mix well, and cook for one minute.
  9. Add the remaining tomatoes, salt, and peas and mix well.
  10. Pour in the water and mix well.
  11. Add the paneer and stir gently to coat each piece.
  12. Bring to a lively simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 15 minutes, stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Adjust the seasonings and serve.


Preparation Time: 
35-40 minutes.
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