When I saw this Matar Paneer with Methi at Red Chillies, it occurred to me that I usually make this recipe with fresh mint that I have adapted from Yamuna Devi's Lord Krishnas Cuisine. That version is probably my favorite, as I have perfected it over the years, but considering how much I enjoy trying variants on a theme, I got to wondering why I always stick to the same recipe. Red Chillies provided the necessary inspiration to come up with something different.
Much like soup, matar paneer tastes better a few hours after it's prepared, or even the next day, as a short sit allows the ingredients and spices to meld together. I always yield to temptation and help myself to a portion immediately. It's good right away too. Serve over a bed of rice, along with an Indian flatbread, for a very satisfying and filling meal.
Mattar PaneerThis is my entry to Weekend Herb Blogging hosted this week by Laurie of Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska.
a few tablespoons of oil or butter, or a mixture of both
1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 hot green chillies or jalapenos, finely minced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 inch piece of ginger, grated or finely minced
1 generous teaspoon of ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
1/2 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of turmeric
2 teaspoons of water
2 cups of tomatoes, finely chopped
1 - 2 teaspoons of sea salt
250 grams of paneer cheese, cubed
1 1/2 cups of frozen peas, defrosted
1/2 - 1 cup of yogurt
2 teaspoons of garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons of kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
3 tablespoons of fresh parsley or coriander, chopped
In a mortar and pestle, make a paste of the garlic, ginger, cayenne, coriander, paprika, turmeric and water. Set aside.
In a large pot, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. When hot, add the cumin and black mustard seeds and stir and fry until the mustard seeds turn gray and begin to pop. Now add the onion and cook until it is translucent, stirring frequently. Add the chillies, stir and then add the ginger, garlic spice paste. Stir and fry for a minute.
Add the tomatoes and salt to the pot, increase the heat slightly and cook for about 5 - 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened. Reduce the heat, and add the peas, paneer, yogurt, garam masala, kasoori methi and parsley. Stir to combine and gently cook for another 5 minutes.