Matar Paneer (Green Peas + Cottage Cheese)
200 gms paneer (Cottage Cheese)
(If made at home, keep the whey to use for gravy)
1½ – 2 onions (med sized) Onions thinly sliced
1 Large tomato chopped
Green peas (according to proportion)
1 black cardamom
4-5 pepper corns
2 bay leaves
Crush them a little in a pestle except the bay leaf
Ground Spices: Turmeric powder (½ tsp), Kashmiri chiili powder (¼ tsp), Coriander powder (1 tsp), Cumin powder (1 tsp), salt (to taste) & a little sugar. Take all the spices in a bowl, add a tbsp of cudr (yoghurt) and beat to make a nice consistent paste. In case you do not have curd (yoghurt), use the powders as it is.
2 cups water (Use the whey if you have)
2 Green Chillies (cut into half in the transverse direction) & fresh coriander leaves (garnish)
Oil about 4 – 5 tbsp
Cut the Paneer into 1” cubes and saute them to light brown and keep it aside.
Heat oil in the pan. Add the whole spices alongwith bay leaves. Slight sauté and add the tomatoes.
Once the tomatoes are 80% fried, add onions. After a minute add the Ginger paste. Cover the pan and keep turning it after about every 4-5 mins.
When the onion is about 90% done (be careful not to get it browned and dry), add the ground spices mix.
Mix it well and let it cook. After 2 mins add a little water and mix it and cover it. Add the green chillies at this stage. After about 3 - 4 mins when you see it drying up, add a little more water, turn it and cover it. (In Bengali cooking, we call it “koshano”; it is something akin to maturing the mix)
When you see oil on the sides, add water (about ¾ cup more than the required gravy) and the peas.
Once it starts boiling, add the paneer. Take note not to allow the paneer to boil too much as it makes them rubbery.
Once you get to the level of the required gravy, add the chopped coriander leaves and serve.
Suggested accompaniments: Any Indian bread / rice