This is a fabulous vegetarian dish not done justice by its usual menu description of ‘cream cheese and peas’ – which, frankly, sounds disgusting.
My daughter is the world’s greatest connoisseur of Mattar Paneer (well, we think so!) and has carried out her research constantly and methodically, leading us to try to define what we see as the ultimate characteristics of this dish, and after much experimentation, this is what we came up with – we think this is perfect!
1 packet Paneer
2 tbsp oil (not olive oil)
2 shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped
1” piece fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic
(or 1 tbsp garlic & ginger paste)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
1” piece creamed coconut
1 tbsp ground almonds
Small carton crème fraîche
100g/¼ lb frozen peas
- Cut the paneer in bite-sized pieces
- Place the paneer in a small bowl
- Cover with milk
- Microwave on full power until the paneer is boiling
- Microwave on low power for 5 more minutes
- Discard the milk and reserve the drained paneer.
- Heat a wok or similar pan
- When hot, add the oil
- Immediately add the chopped shallot or onion
- Fry briskly for 2-3 minutes
- Add the other spices and fry for 1 more minute
- Add the creamed coconut with a cup of boiling water to help it dissolve
- Stir in the ground almonds
- Add the crème fraîche and mix thoroughly but not too vigorously so as not to break up the pieces of paneer
- Add the peas
- Add a little water (or more crème fraiche) if necessary.