Mattar Paneer (Peas and Paneer in Spiced Tomato Gravy)
Traditionally, roasted and crushed cashews are puréed with cooked onions and tomatoes to make the base for this comforting vegetarian dish. This version skips the hassle of puréeing and instead uses a hefty amount of cashew butter for the same nutty flavor and creamy texture. Red chile powder, ginger and garlic provide the perfect backbone for the sauce. Substitute tofu for paneer if you like; the mildness of either lends itself well to this unexpectedly luxurious dish that is so much more than the sum of its parts.
- Serves: 2 persons
- ¼cup ghee or neutral oil
- ½pound paneer or extra firm tofu cut into 1-inch cubes and patted very dry
- 1medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- ½teaspoon ginger paste or freshly grated ginger
- ½teaspoon garlic paste or freshly grated garlic
- ¾teaspoon kashmiri or other red chile powder
- 1teaspoon cumin seeds
- ¼teaspoon turmeric powder
- 3medium plum tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2tablespoons cashew butter
- 8ounces frozen (no need to thaw) or fresh green peas (about 1¾ cups)
- 3tablespoons heavy cream or cashew cream (optional)
- ½teaspoon garam masala
- Rice or roti, for serving
Step 1Heat ghee in a large frying pan or medium wok on high for 30 seconds, or until it is melted. Lower heat to medium and lightly fry paneer or tofu cubes, turning frequently, until they are golden on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside on a plate lined with a paper towel.
Step 2In the same frying pan or wok add onion, ginger and garlic, and cook on medium, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until onions are translucent.
Step 3Add chile powder, cumin seeds and turmeric, and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute. Stir in tomatoes and salt. Add 3/4 cup water. Simmer on medium until the mixture thickens slightly, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Step 4Lower the heat to medium-low, and stir in cashew butter. Add peas and paneer. Stir to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes or until it reaches your desired thickness. Top with heavy cream in a swirl, if you like. Sprinkle with garam masala. Serve with rice or roti.