Chilli matar paneer / spicy cottage cheese and peas



Back home in Bangalore paneer isn’t as popular as it is up here in the north. And with the stuff you get there, you might as well avoid it. At restaurants you’d find all kinds of paneer dishes but the paneer itself was rubbery and lacked any taste of dairy. When I moved to Gurgaon, I began eating paneer regularly since it was made at least once a week in office. Even the store bought paneer is so much better than what we’d get in Bangalore. I’ve slowly warmed up to paneer with dishes like pan roasted paneer and beet salad with paneer and will be including it in my meals at home regularly (hopefully).

Matar paneer is very common and popular here and I thought I’d give my south Indian twist by grinding together dried chillies with the cooked onions. And then I simmered this with tomato puree and pickling spice mix. The best part of this dish is the paneer. Particularly the toasty bits of it. This dish goes great with hot roti. It’s a little thick for rice, but if you’re anything like my husband, you’ll eat anything with rice.


4 portions

Prep time:

30 mins (approximately)

Cooking time:

20 mins


Onions – 3 chopped

Tomato – 3 chopped

Paneer – 200 gm cut into cubes

Frozen peas – 1 cup

Garlic – 3 cloves chopped

Ginger – 1 inch piece chopped

Kashmiri chillies – 3 (2 deseeded)

Pickling spice mix (achari masala) OR garam masala – 2 tsp

Chilli powder – 1 tsp

Jeera/cumin powder – 1 tsp

Oil/ghee/butter to cook

Salt to taste


Grease a nonstick pan and toss the paneer cubes in.

When they turn golden on each side, take them off and keep aside.

Puree the tomato and keep aside.

Heat 1 tbsp oil/ghee/butter and saute onions till they’re translucent and lightly browned with a little salt. Salt will help the onions sweat sooner and cook faster.

Add the ginger and garlic, and saute for another minute or so.

Take it off the heat and let it cool before you blitz in your blender along with the dried chillies.

Get the pan back on the heat with a tsp of oil and tip the onion paste into it. Add the cumin powder, chilli powder and pickling spice mix/garam masala.

Now add the pureed tomato and a touch of salt. Cook for 10 mins on low heat.

Toss the paneer and green peas in and mix well. Check for salt and add if needed.

Sprinkle coriander leaves if you like before serving hot.

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