Matter Paneer is one of favorite North Indian dishes. My friend Rachael and I always used to go out for Indian food and split this dish, among others of course.
She would tell me stories about working at an Indian Restaurant when she lived in Australia and how if a customer asked for their dinner spicy she would have to write on the ticket whether or not they were a white person, which is fair.
I did not make this dish too spicy. The Green Chilis do provide a bit of a kick especially the second day, but I still considered it to be very mild. I suppose it depends on the chilis you select and if you decide to remove the seeds and piths to control the heat.
Many Indian families will make their own secret family blend of spices for their cooking. So when you add the Garam Masala at the very end, feel free to invent your own blend until it tastes just right to you.
This recipe does have a lot of steps. I used my Vitamix to get a very smooth paste for the base of the gravy, but a food mill would work as well.
Pro Tip for the paneer: soak it in warm water for a few minutes before cooking. This will take the rubbery texture away. After soaking the paneer, pat dry. I decided to shallow fry the cheese for this recipe, but it tastes great without cooking as well. It just depends on your preference and what you have time for at the end.
I served this dish with vegetable samosas, garlic naan, and jasmine rice all frozen from Trader Joe's. I'll work on mastering those recipes soon!
For Gravy :
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1/4 cup Cashews
2 Red Onions (roughly chopped)
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
3 large or 5 medium Tomatoes (roughly chopped)
To Finish Sabzi:
2 Tbsp Oil/Ghee
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 small Red Onion (finely chopped)
3/4 tsp Red Chili Powder
1 tsp Coriander Powder
1/2 tsp Kasoori Methi (Fenugreek)
1/2 tsp Cumin Powder
1/2 tsp Fennel Powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3 Tbsp Coriander Leaves (finely chopped) I used Parsley
1 Tbsp Ketchup
2 Tbsp Cream
1 Inch Ginger Stem (julienned)
2 Green Chilis (julienned)
1-2 cups Peas (parboiled)
14 ounces Paneer (cubed)
1/4 tsp Garam Masala (can mix with cardamom, cinnamon, and clove as well)
Veggie broth or water
1. To start the gravy heat oil in a hot pan. Once the oil is heated, add the cashews and roast them for about 2 minutes.
2. Add the onions and a little salt. Cook the onions until they are golden.
3. Add in the ginger garlic paste and stir for a minute.
4. Add chopped tomatoes, cook until they are soft and the onions and tomatoes begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Blend to a smooth paste.
5. For Sabzi, heat more oil in pan and then add cumin seeds. After they sizzle add the onion and cook for tow minutes.
6. Lower the heat and add chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, and kasoori methi, fennel powder, tumeric powder, and more salt. Roast the spices for 2 -3 minutes on low heat.
7. Add in the chopped coriandor leaves (or fresh parsley if that is what you are using) and cook for a minute. then add in the gravy, ketchup, and gream. Stir.
8. Add in the peas, ginger, chilis. Then add in either vegetable broth or water to adjust the consistency to your preference. Cook them out for a couple of minutes and then add in the cubes of paneer.
9. Sprinkle in a touch of garam masala (or your own special secret mix, I used cardamom, cinnamom, and clove as well) and remove from heat.