Mattar Paneer (Peas with Farmer Cheese)

This Punjabi dish, with some variation in the spices, is eaten all over North India. Indian restaurants, whether in India or outside it, almost always serve it on their thali, or vegetarian platter. As an interesting variation, you could substitute a diced 6 oz. cake of regular bean curd for the paneer. Serves 6


1 medium sized onion, peeled and chopped
1 inch cube of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
6 tbl veg. oil
paneer (plus 2 cups of the whey)
1 whole dried red pepper
1 tbsp. ground coriander seeds
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
3 medium sized tomatoes, peeled and minced
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 cups shelled fresh or 2 packages defrosted frozen peas


Put the chopped onion and ginger into a blender or food processor along with 1/3 cup water and blend until you have a smooth paste. Leave paste in the blender container. Heat oil in a heavy 10 inch wide pot over a medium flame. When hot put in the pieces of paneer in a single layer and fry until golden brown on all sides. This happens pretty fast. Remove to a plate. Put the dried red pepper into the same oil. Within 2 seconds, turn the pepper over so that it browns on both sides. Now put in the contents of the blender (keep your face averted as the paste might splatter). Fry, stirring constantly, for about 10-12 minutes, or until paste turns a light brown color. Add the coriander and turmeric and fry, stirring, for another minute. Put in the minced tomatoes. Stir and fry for another 3 to 4 minutes or until the tomatoes turn a dark, reddish brown shade. Now pour in 2 cups of the whey. Add the salt and the black pepper. Mix well and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat, and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Lift cover and put in the paneer pieces and the peas. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the peas are cooked.
from Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East Vegetarian Cooking

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