Something I never thought I’d say: I think I might be starting to like peas! They’re still probably my least favourite vegetable, but I actually almost enjoy them these days. Almost. It definitely helps when they’re smothered in a luscious sauce like in this muttar paneer masala. For those of you who aren’t hugely familiar with Indian-inspired food, muttar means peas, and paneer is a dense, creamy cheese that’s really common in curries. And I pretty much love anything that’s served with cheese, so I’m happy.
A cheese curry might sound a little odd, but we’re not talking about lumps of cheddar here (although…?!). Paneer doesn’t have a huge amount of flavour itself, just a lovely creaminess, so it’s great for soaking up tasty curry sauces. It’s my favourite – I always order some kind of paneer dish when we get Indian food. I usually get saag paneer every single time, but I’ve been trying to branch out a bit lately, and paneer masala is a new favourite. It’s super rich and creamy – not particularly spicy, just ever so slightly sweet, and really luxurious tasting.
Of course, this is my own entirely non-authentic version of muttar paneer masala. If you want a real Indian recipe, look elsewhere (unless I’m an accidental culinary genius and have come up with an authentic recipe entirely on my own… but let’s face it, that’s pretty unlikely). This version is quick and easy to make though, and tastes great, so I’m not particularly bothered about authenticity.
Don’t worry if your spice cupboard isn’t stacked to the ceiling – this muttar paneer masala only uses a few everyday spices. I’m not keen on buying tons of new ingredients for recipes that I’ll only use once, and will then clutter up my cupboards forever more, so I try to keep things simple. I basically use the same 10-ish spices in everything I cook (only 4 in this curry!), and it seems to work for me!
- 1 tbsp oil
- 225 g paneer cheese, cut into 2cm dice (~ 2 cups when diced)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 400 g tinned tomatoes (~ 1 1/3 cups)
- 2 tbsp single cream
- 70 g (~ 1/2 cup) frozen peas
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- Black pepper
- Few sprigs fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped, to serve
Heat a dash of oil in a large frying pan, and add the diced paneer in a single layer. Cook over a medium-high heat for 5 minutes, turning the pieces of cheese regularly, until golden brown.
In a separate frying pan, heat another dash of oil. Add the diced onion and minced garlic, and cook over a medium heat for a few minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the spices, and cook for 1 more minute, stirring regularly. Next add the tinned tomatoes, and bring to a gentle simmer.
Using an immersion blender, carefully blend the tomato curry sauce to your desired smoothness.
Add the cream, frozen peas and sugar, along with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer again, and cook for a few minutes until the peas are defrosted. Add the fried paneer, and serve topped with some chopped coriander (cilantro).
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/2 the recipe.