Matar Paneer (green pea and cottage cheese curry)
Matar paneer is a very common North Indian vegetarian dish. It is a combination of green pea and cottage cheese in a tomato based gravy. As green pea is a winter vegetable, it is mostly cooked during winter in the households in India. But thanks to those frozen green peas you can have them any time of the year. The gravy can be made several different ways, I kept mine simple this time. I also add a little potato in my matar-paneer, that makes the gravy tastier. It goes well with anything roti or paratha or rice.
Things you need:
Green pea: 1 cup
Potato (small cubes): 1/2cup
Tomato (chopped): 1/2 cup
Shah jeera/Black cumin: 1/2tsp
Cinnamon:1 inch stick
Dry red chili:2-3
Dried fenugreek leaves/kasuri methi:1/2tsp
Salt to taste
Garam masala powder:1/4tsp
Red chili powder:1/4tsp
How to make:
1. Peel and cut the potatoes into small cubes.
2. Wash the frozen peas and keep them in a colander.
3. Cut paneer into cubes. I used store bought paneer (Himalaya brand), but you can make the paneer at home.
4. In a non stick kadai or pan add 1tbsp of oil (any vegetable oil). When the oil is hot, add the paneer cubes and fry them for 2-3min in high heat. The surface would take a nice red-brown color. Take out the paneer, and keep aside.
5. Add more oil if needed, when the oil is hot reduce the heat to medium and add bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, shah jeera. If you do not have shah jeera at home you can use plain regular jeera, but the shah jeera gives more flavor to the dish.
6. Add the potato cubes, sprinkle a little salt. Cover and cook in high-medium heat for 2-3min. Add grated ginger, cook for 2min in medium heat. Add the chopped tomatoes. Cover and cook for 4-5 min in medium flame.
7. Add cumin powder, corriander powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder, salt, sugar and mix well. Cook till oil separates from the masala.
8.Add the green peas. If you are using fresh green peas, either you add the peas along with potato at the beginning or boil the peas separately and add at this stage. As I used frozen green peas, I just thawed and washed the green peas and added them.
9. Add hot water, (I added 1/2cup) and let it boil. As the gravy boils add fried paneer. Cover and cook for 3-4min. Add ghee and garam masala powder. Add kasuri methi. Mix well. Switch off the heat. Add handful of chopped corriander leaves.
Serve with roti or paratha or pulao.