Matar Paneer is a authentic North Indian curry made with green peas and paneer, cooked in a mild onion-tomato sauce. This is one of my go to recipe to make when I have guests at home or even on days when I crave something indulgent.
This restaurant-style Matar Paneer Masala is easy to make in less than 30 minutes in the instant pot or stovetop.
This is a classic north India dish which is so easy to make. I love that you can make this flavorful dish in less than 30 minutes, which makes it perfect t enjoy on weekdays too.
I always keep frozen green peas and paneer at home. Once you have these, along with the basic ingredients of onion, tomato, ginger and garlic, this curry is a breeze to make.
My daughters love this Matar Paneer, just like my Aloo Matar recipe. I like to add a little cream at the end, as they love a creamy curry. But it is totally optional.
I have adjusted my mom's stovetop recipe to make in an instant pot, but it can easily be made in a sauce pan or a regular pressure cooker too.
What is Matar Paneer?
Matar translates to green peas, and paneer is firm Indian cottage cheese. Matar Paneer, also written as Mutter Paneer, is a peas and paneer curry. This is a vegetarian and gluten-free curry.
The green peas and paneer are cooked in a mildly spices onion-tomato gravy, along with aromatics such as ginger, garlic and spices, then finished with a touch of cream or yogurt.
I also like to add a little cashew paste when making the curry to get a thicker creamy sauce.
Garnish with cilantro, and enjoy with rice or your favorite bread (roti or naan for me) for a satisfying meal!
This curry is not only a favorite at restaurants, but also common to make at home. I grew up eating this Punjabi curry weekly, and now my kids love it too!
Green Peas: I use frozen green peas in this recipe. If using fresh peas, you might want to cook them for a little longer.
Paneer: Paneer is Indian style firm cheese. It is a fresh cheese that has a soft texture and does not melt. You can either make paneer at home or purchase it. The store-bought brands I like are Sach foods and Haldirams.
Onions: I typically use yellow onions when making Indian curries.
Tomato & Cashew paste: I used fresh Roma tomatoes and pureed them. You can use a store bought canned tomato puree if you like. I like to add a few cashews when grinding the tomatoes, as that gives the curry a wonderful creamy texture.
Green Chili Pepper: This adds a little spice kick and lots of flavor to the curry. However if you like a mild curry, feel free to skip it. I use thai, birdeye or Serrano peppers when making Indian curries.
Ginger & Garlic: Grate the ginger and mince the garlic. You can also use ginger garlic paste if you prefer.
Spices: This curry uses basic indian spices such as turmeric, coriander powder, red chili powder and Garam Masala. I also add some cumin seeds at the start.
Cream: Add cream at the end to balance the flavors and make the curry luscious. You can also use coconut milk in place of cream, and it works wonderfully. You can also skip cream if you want to keep the curry light without the extra calories.
Kasoori Methi: This is optional. For a restaurant style Matar Paneer, crush the kasoori methi between your palms and at the end after the curry is cooked.
How to make?
This mutter paneer is so easy to make either instant pot or stovetop, in less than 30 minutes.
Instant Pot Method
- Heat the Instant Pot in sauté mode, and add oil and cumin seeds.
- Once the cumin seeds start to splutter, add diced green chili, onion, ginger and garlic. Let this cook until the onions soften and turn light brown.
- On the side, grind tomatoes with the cashews at the same time.
- Once the onion is cooked, add the tomatoes cashew paste and spices to the instant pot and cook for a few minutes.
- Add the cubed paneer and green peas to the instant pot.
- Now add water and give it a good. stir. If anything is stuck to the bottom, deglaze the pot. Close lid with vent in sealing position and pressure cook the curry.
- Once the instant pot beeps, quick release the pressure manually. Add the garam masala and cream. Roll the kasuri methi between your palms to make it a fine powder and add to the curry.
Stir it all gently, as you don't want the paneer to crumble.
Garnish with cilantro. Mutter paneer is ready to serve.
The initial steps to make matar paneer remain the same as for the instant pot.
When cooking on the stovetop, use a heavy bottom pan or dutch oven. Make sure to saute the onions well for 4-5 minutes until they are golden brown in color.
When sautéing the tomatoes, make sure all the liquid is dried and the tomatoes are completely softened.
Then add the green peas, paneer and water. Stir gently, and let it simmer for about 6-8 minutes, until the paneer and peas soften. Stir at regular intervals.
Thicken the sauce: Sauté the onions and tomatoes well. This adds a lot more flavor to the curry.
Paneer: If using store-bought paneer, you might want to soak in warm water for 10 minutes. If using haldirams or Sach Foods paneer, I skip this. However for other brands, this helps to soften the paneer.
Fried Paneer: If you prefer, you can also sauté or air fry the paneer before adding to this curry. If sautéing, you can add paneer after pressure cooking.
Onion Tomato Masala: My onion tomato bhuna masala can be used to make this curry. Use about ¾ cup of the masala in place of onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic.
Sweetness: If the curry is acidic due to the use of canned tomatoes, add a teaspoon of honey to balance the flavors.
Low-fat Mutter Paneer: When making mutter paneer at home for everyday meals, I mostly skip the cream completely to make it lighter.
Vegan Matar Paneer
Skip the paneer and use firm tofu in this curry. Replace the cream with full-fat coconut milk or additional cashew cream.
How to Serve?
How to store?
Let the curry cool down completely, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
If you want to make it ahead or freeze it, I suggest to make the onion tomato masala and freeze it. Then this curry is super easy to put together in less than 15 minutes. I do this whenever I am making this curry for a party.
More delicious Paneer Recipes:
Matar Paneer (Instant Pot & Stovetop)
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds (Jeera)
- 1 Green Chili Pepper finely diced
- 1 ¼ cup Onion diced
- 1 teaspoon Ginger grated
- 1 teaspoon Garlic minced
- 2 Tomato large, pureed, about 1 ¼ cup
- 10 Cashews
- 10 ounces Paneer or Cottage cheese cubed
- 1 cup Green peas I used frozen
- ¾ cup Water
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala adjust to taste
- 3 tablespoon Cream
- 2 tablespoon Dried Fenugreek leaves (Kasoori Methi) (Optional)
- Cilantro to garnish
- Start the Instant Pot in sauté mode. Add oil and cumin seeds.
- Once the cumin seeds start to splutter, add diced green chili, onion, ginger and garlic. Let this cook for 4 mins until the onions turn light brown.
- On the side, grind tomatoes with the cashews at the same time.
- Once the onion is cooked, add the tomatoes paste and spices to the instant pot and cook for another 3-4 mins.
- Add the cubed paneer, green peas and water to the instant pot. If anything is stuck to the bottom, deglaze the pot. Press cancel and close lid with vent in sealing position.
- Change the instant pot setting to manual or pressure cook mode for 2 minutes.
- Once the instant pot beeps, quick release the pressure manually. Add the garam masala and cream. Roll the kasuri methi with your hand to make it a fine powder and add to the curry. Stir it all gently.
- Garnish with cilantro. Mutter paneer is ready to serve.
- When cooking on the stovetop, use a heavy bottom pan or dutch oven. The initial steps to make matar paneer are same as above. Make sure to saute the onions well for 4-5 minutes until they are golden brown in color. When sautéing the tomatoes, make sure all the liquid is dried and the tomatoes are completely softened.
- Then add the green peas, paneer and water. Stir gently, and let it simmer for about 6-8 minutes, until the paneer and peas soften. Stir at regular intervals.
- Add the garam masala and cream. Roll the kasuri methi with your hand to make it a fine powder and add to the curry. Stir it all gently. Garnish with cilantro. Mutter paneer is ready to serve.
Note: Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.