This is one of the nicest mattar paneer dishes I’ve come across and although it requires stove-top attention for about 45 minutes, it’s simple to make.
I’ve adapted this recipe by Naved Nasir (Executive Chef at Dishoom “…a hip Bombay-style cafe” in Shoredich, London) – I say adapted because living three and a half hours away from my nearest city, paneer isn’t easy to come by so I used halloumi, that firm and rather rubbery Greek cheese that comes vacuum packed and is excellent for grilling as it hold’s it’s shape.
It worked brilliantly but I highly recommend leaving out the salt entirely if you make it with halloumi as it contains plenty of it’s own, enough to season the finished dish. Just check the saltiness at the end, adding more if you need it. Like most Indian dishes, this tastes fabulous the next day.
*Note, if you can’t find it locally you can try making your own paneer but after this, I say why bother?
Serve mattar paneer over rice or with warm naan bread.
0.75 oz (20g) of fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
10 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil (I use avocado oil for its hi-temp cooking qualities)
2 large red onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon of chili powder (I use Urfa biber because I love it so much)
3 medium sized tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 heaped tablespoons of tomato paste
1 teaspoon of garam masala (I make my own but you don’t need to as it’s widely available these days)
1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin
8 oz (226g) of paneer or halloumi cheese, patted dry and cut into 1 inch (2cm) chunks
2 tablespoons of single cream (I used crème fraîche as I prefer it)
4 oz (120g) of frozen peas
1 teaspoon of clear honey
A small handful of cilantro / coriander leaf to garnish
In a processor, pulse the ginger and garlic until you have a paste. Heat the oil in a wide saute pan and cook the chopped red onion over a medium heat until softened and golden, then add the ginger-garlic paste, chili powder and – only if using paneer, a large pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of the tomato paste and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes, then add 4 fl oz (120ml) of water and bring it to a simmer for a few more minutes.
Add the garam masala, cumin and remaining tablespoon of tomato paste and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the paneer or halloumi and 1 tablespoon of cream and simmer for another 4 minutes.
Add the peas – and a little more water if you think it needs it – bring it to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes more, then add the remaining cream and a teaspoon of honey. Stir well to combine, simmer for two more minutes and it’s done.
Scatter with chopped cilantro / coriander and serve in warmed bowls over basmati rice or with naan bread.