I first had this dish on holiday in India. We were staying at a beach hotel in Kerala. The food was wonderful but, they did not have a big choice of vegetarian dishes on the menu, which is unusual. I asked one of the waiters why not, and he offered to get the chef to make me his favourite vegetarian meal, which turned out to be Matar Paneer. I think it stayed on the menu as everyone was asking for it the next day. It was wonderful and has been one of my favourite dishes ever since. If you cannot get Paneer you can replace it with Halloumi as this also fries well.
Serves 4 as a main, 6-8 as a side dish
- 2tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 Onion (chopped)
- 2 tsp Garam Masala
- 1 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 tsp Ground Coriander
- 1 Star Anise
- 3 Garlic Cloves
- 5 cm Fresh Ginger (grated)
- 1 Red Chilli (finely chopped)
- 1 tbsp Tomato Puree
- 400g Tin Tomatoes
- 400ml Vegetable Stock
- 150g Frozen Petits Pois Peas
- Pinch of Caster Sugar
- 2 x 226g Paneer Cheese cut into cubes
- First of all heat the oil in a large frying pan.
- Cook the chopped onion for about 10 minutes until soft and just beginning to go brown at the edges.
- Add the dried spices and stir to release their flavours for about a minute before adding the crushed garlic, chopped red chilli (I include the seeds, but you can leave them out if you want a milder curry) and grated ginger.
- Stir to incorporate, then add the tomato purée.
- Pour over the chopped tinned tomatoes and the stock and bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and continue to simmer for 20 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.
- Once the sauce has thickened, add the peas and season with salt and pepper.
- Taste the sauce and add a pinch of sugar if it tastes a little tart. (Sometimes tomatoes just need a little sugar to enhance their flavour).
- In a separate frying pan heat the oil and fry the cubed paneer cheese on each side until golden and crispy. Once they are golden add to the sauce.
- Sprinkle with some fresh coriander and serve.
I usually serve with plain basmati rice and naan bread. Hope you enjoy it x