Easy paneer curry or matar paneer, is a delicious vegetarian curry with lots of aromatic spicing, but not too much heat. This is a curry the whole family will enjoy.
Our easy paneer curry (also known as matar paneer) is a simple vegetarian curry made with paneer cheese and peas in a spicy tomato curry. This curry is a family favourite and a regular feature on our dinner table.
I love vegetarian curries, I always have and frequently order them when I’m out. This is my go to recipe when I want spice but want to keep things light.
Thankfully my family share my love of this spiced dish. I’ve served this paneer and pea curry in a warm flat bread with crisp salad for added crunch to work with the soft cheese.
Matar paneer is a North Indian Punjabi dish and this dish is what I have based this recipe on. I first tasted this curry in Leeds years ago with friends. I noted down the ingredients I could see and taste and recreated it at home.
Easy Paneer Curry – recipe steps:
- Heat the ghee or vegetable oil in a large non-stick frying pan.
- Cut the paneer cheese into cubes and add to the hot pan. Saute gently over a medium heat, until golden. Then remove from the pan and set aside on some kitchen paper.
- Take care not to overcook the paneer you want it just golden brown, any further and it will become rubbery!
- In a food processor, blitz the onion, garlic and ginger with 2 tablespoons of water to form a paste.
- Add the remaining ghee or vegetable oil to the pan and over a medium heat gently cook the paste for around 5 minutes.
- Add the dry spices to the pan and stir for a minute until the spices start to release their aroma.
- Add the tomatoes to the pan and cook for a further minute.
- Now add paneer back into the pan, along with the peas, lemon juice, salt, fresh coriander and water. Bring to the boil stirring to combine.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce becomes thick. Serve with the salad and some soft flatbreads or steamed rice.
Mattar paneer is a great tasting vegetarian curry. I like to serve this in a chapati, wrap or one of our Yogurt Flatbreads. Pile it high with salad for added crunch.
Now if you really want to elevate this dish, try drizzling over our fresh and vibrant Green Chutney and our rich and spicy Date & Tamarind Chutney. This is a real taste explosion and one you are guaranteed to enjoy.
Chutneys really do take curries to the next level and if you’ve no time to make your own then add some store bought mango chutney and some thick Greek yogurt instead.
If you don’t want a curry wrap, serve with some steamed basmati rice instead.
This meat free curry is great served alongside other Indian dishes if feeding a crowd for dinner. Ideal for a curry night in with friends.
Recipe substitutions and variations:
- Paneer cheese is the perfect soft cheese to use in this curry and available in most large supermarkets. You could substitute with Halloumi cheese, but this cheese is more rubbery.
- Ghee can be substituted with vegetable or sunflower oil.
- Onion, garlic and ginger paste forms the base of this easy paneer curry. If you want to add a little extra heat then add 2-3 fresh chillies to the blend. You can either de-seed the chillies or leave them whole depending on how spicy you like your food.
- Spices that are used in this recipe are aromatic but don’t add too much heat, making this a great curry to feed to kids.
- Fresh tomatoes are added to the sauce, use any variety of fresh tomato.
- Lemon juice is added for sourness to balance out the spices. You can add a teaspoon of tamarind paste if you prefer.
- Fresh coriander adds a herby freshness to the curry. If you don’t like coriander leaf substitute it with flat leaf parsley or leave it out.
- Salad vegetables add the crunch element to this dish to balance out the rich curry sauce. Use any combination of salad vegetables that you enjoy eating. Thinly sliced red peppers or radish would also work in this dish.
Can I made Matar Paneer ahead of time?
This is a great make ahead curry and in fact, like all curries, tastes even better the next day. This allows the curry flavours to really develop in the dish.
- Fridge: make this paneer and pea curry 2-3 days ahead of time. Cook the curry and allow it to cool before popping into an airtight container in the fridge.
- Freezer: once cooked and cooled pop into an airtight container and place in the freezer. This curry will keep for up to 3 months and when ready to enjoy defrost before cooking.
- When ready to serve: warm the paneer and pea curry up gently over a medium heat until piping hot. If the sauce looks a little thick, add some water to loosen the curry.
Useful hints and tips:
- When cooking paneer take care not to cook it too long or it will become rubbery. Instead cook till just golden and set aside till later.
- Short of time, then don’t cook the paneer ! You can omit this step entirely and simply add the paneer to the curry along with the tomatoes so that it warms through and soaks up all the flavour.
- This is a great gluten free curry and ideal for Coeliacs or anyone following a gluten free diet. Swap the bread out and serve with some steamed basmati rice instead.
- To make this curry suitable for a dairy free or vegan diet you can swap out the paneer cheese and replace it with some extra firm tofu instead.
Additional recipe suggestions:
If you enjoy a curry then why not try another of our curry recipes:
- Vegetable & Coconut Curry
- Easy Chickpea & Spinach Curry
- Spicy Bean Chilli
- Butter Chicken Curry
- Lamb & Spinach Curry
- Indian Cottage Pie
- Chicken & Squash Curry
Looking for inspiration for feeding the family mid week, then take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Family Dinners. Full of useful hints, tips and recipes.
Easy Paneer Curry (Matar Paneer)
Matar Paneer Curry
- 400 g paneer cheese (sliced)
- 3 tbsp ghee (or substitute vegetable oil)
- 1 onion (diced)
- 5 cm root ginger (grated)
- 4-6 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- ½ tsp ground cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ lemon juiced
- 4 large tomatoes (diced)
- 200 ml water
- 1 cup frozen peas
- bunch fresh coriander (finely chop leaves and stalks)
- ½ iceberg lettuce (shredded)
- 1 carrot (grated)
- ½ red onion (finely sliced)
- ½ cucumber (remove core and slice finely)
- bunch fresh coriander (leaves only and roughly chopped)
Matar Paneer Curry
- Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a non-stick frying pan, add the sliced paneer and saute gently on both sides, over a medium heat, until the cheese is lightly golden in colour. Do not walk away from the pan as the cheese tends to stick. Once golden remove from the pan and drain on some kitchen paper, set aside till later.
- In a food processor blitz together the onion, garlic and ginger with 2 tbsp water into a paste. Heat the remaining 1 tbsp ghee in the frying pan, add the paste and cook gently for approximately 5 minutes. The paste should be cooked through but not colour.
- Add all the dry spices to the pan, stirring constantly over a medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the pan and cook for a further minute.
- Add the paneer back into the pan, along with the lemon juice, salt, peas, fresh coriander and water, bring to the boil stirring constantly.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce becomes thick.
- Assemble all the salad ingredients together and serve alongside the curry.
• Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only •Share on Facebook
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