Monday, February 11, 2013

Mutter Paneer (Peas and Cottage Cheese)

Mutter paneer is a popular North Indian dish consisting of paneer (cottage cheese) and peas (mutter) cooked in a spiced tomato-based gravy, and it tastes fantastic especially when eaten with boiled basmati rice. I enjoy the paneer for its "bitey" texture that can be described as almost "meaty", and all of this combined together makes a delicious meal that can be quite addictive. I must admit I wasn't really a fan of paneer nor vegetarian food right up till middle of last year when I had some friends visiting from India and we frequented a few Indian restaurants. What an eye-opener it was for me. Indian vegetarian cuisine wasn't just all about peas and lentils, but very much about spices, colours, textures and exotic flavours.
I first tried mutter paneer at Curry at the Rocks, and became an instant fan. I put it on my to-cook list immediately, and was thrilled at how my recipe for this turned out. It tasted really authentic (which Mr G concurred with), as it had the perfect balance of flavours and just the right amount of spices. This is a versatile dish in that you can adjust the quantities of spices used according to personal preference. And if peas or paneer aren't your thing, you can omit them or substitute with fresh button mushrooms if you like.

Mutter Paneer (Peas and Cottage Cheese)


200g paneer cheese, cubed
1 tbsp ghee

3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp grated ginger
3 cloves
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tbsp chilli powder
400g canned diced tomatoes
1 cup water
1 cup peas
Pinch of asafoetida (optional)
1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
Salt, to taste
3 tbsp cream

  1. Heat ghee in a small non-stick pan and fry the paneer cubes until lightly browned. Remove and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a medium pot and add onions, garlic, ginger, cloves, cumin, turmeric, garam masala and chilli powder. Fry for 3-5 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add diced tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Add asafoetida and fenugreek leaves.
  4. Add the fried paneer and peas and bring to a boil again. Simmer for 10 minutes until peas are tender and gravy is slightly reduced. Add salt to taste. Stir in the cream and it's ready! Serve with boiled basmati rice.


Debs @ The Spanish Wok said...

When I lived in UK I would frequently order this. Not seen it here in Spain in the indian restaurants.

Your dish looks fantastic, thanks for sharing, have pinned it.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar said...

This sounds so delicious!!

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

I have never tried paneer yet although I've been thinking of trying it since I've seen it so many times on food blogs. Looks flavorful and delicious!

Zoe said...

Very nice colours and flavours in your mutter paneer. You are right with personal preferences of spices and the combination of spices in your recipe seems perfect for my liking :D

Chef and Sommelier said...

Hi Fern! I love Indian food too! Thanks for sharing this... BTW, what's asafoetida?

Unknown said...

I love paneer and this is one of my favorite recipes to cook it. It's definitely a comfort recipe! Your photos are delightful.

Fern @ To Food With Love said...

@ChefandSommalier: Asafoetida is an Indian spice, a white coloured powder that smells quite strong, so only a pinch is required. It's optional, I just happened to have a bottle of it in the pantry :)

Lynds said...

Your dish looks delicious but what is the other dish beside it (apart from the rice)? I have your site as a favourite and constantly look during the week to see if you've posted anything else.

Your recipes and photos are inspiring. Keep up the good work. Lynds

Quay Po Cooks said...

I love love love paneer. Yours looks so mouth watering delicious.

ChichaJo said...

I'm not a vegetarian but Indian vegetarian food is one of my favorites...I think their cuisine, more than any other, really takes vegetarian food to all sorts of wonderfully delicious levels :)

I love paneer!! My favorite dish for it is paneer korma but will definitely try this one soon!