Recipe for a low fat restaurant style matar paneer, made healthier, so it is no longer an indulgence, but transformed into a simple everyday curry.
Hello and glad to see you in the new year. Trying to stick to my resolutions (to blog more regularly) – I was ready with the draft 3 days ago, but that’s when respiratory infection and bronchitis caught up with me and kept me down for over 3 days. In Bombay, the temperature difference is well over 15 degrees between day and night, leading to an epidemic of sorts in respiratory infections. The only times in the last three days I’ve managed to drag myself into the kitchen, is to make a huge pot of Molagu Rasam (Clear pepper soup). I keep warming a cup of this rasam in the microwave, sipping the spicy hot liquid through the day. Apart from that, my diet has generally been antibiotics, antihistaminics, expectorants and mucolytics. Sounds like quite a spread right?? ????
Back to the topic of the post – Matar Paneer, a peas and cottage cheese curry is one dish that is an extremely popular Indian curry . The origins as far as I know are Punjabi in nature, the land where paneer has been predominantly used since many years. If one has paneer and frozen peas, this can be made out of the stuff you’d normally have in your pantry, bailing you out if your fridge is woefully unstocked.
For a person who cooks almost 3 meals each day, it’s odd that I rarely make the typical restaurant style Punjabi dishes like Malai Kofta, Makhanwala and the likes, going mostly with the more earthy simple dishes, where veggies are not drowned in rich gravies and recipes which give veggies more respect than that! However on a whim I decided to try out this matar paneer curry, also since I had nothing else in my refrigerator that evening, except for the staple onions-tomatoes-ginger and garlic. And of course frozen green peas.
The title ‘Low fat restaurant style Matar Paneer‘ does sound like an oxymoron, but I promise you that I have done justice to the title. If you go through my recipe and try it out, you’ll happily agree with me.
More tried and tested recipes for a Punjabi Vegetarian Menu:
Baingan Bharta – Punjabi Roasted Eggplant curry
Dhabewali Dal – Mixed lentils
Equipment needed to make this Restaurant Style Matar Paneer:
Low Fat Restaurant style Matar Paneer
- 1 tsp oil
- 1 tbsp cashewnuts broken
- 2 medium onions finely sliced
- 3 medium tomatoes coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 6 cloves garlic sliced
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup green peas frozen or fresh boiled
- 200 g skimmed milk paneer cut into 1 cm cubes
- 1 tsp kasuri methi dried fenugreek leaves
- To prepare low fat restaurant style matar paneer, start by dry roasting cashews in a pan, until very lightly golden. Remove and allow to cool.
- Heat oil in the same pan. Add the grated ginger, sliced garlic and onions, cooking on a low-medium flame with a pinch of salt for 8-10 minutes until onions are soft.
- Stir in the chopped tomatoes with the turmeric powder. Allow to cook for 7-8 minutes until the tomatoes collapse and turn into a mush.
- Transfer the contents of the pan into a small mixer / blender. Combine all the spice powders- turmeric, coriander, cumin and red chilli powder and blend to a fine puree using up to 1/2 cup water to aid the blending process.
- Pour this puree into the same pan. Season with salt and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the frozen / boiled green peas to this gravy, along with the paneer cubes and simmer for 5 minutes, so that the spices infuse into the peas and paneer.
- Sprinkle garam masala and crushed kasuri methi. Give it one last stir and remove into a serving bowl.
[Original post updated on 27 June, 2017 with new photos]