Sunday, 25 October 2015

Muttar Paneer - Pea and Indian Cheese Curry

A classic vegetarian Indian curry that's not too hot and can be served as a main dish, or a side.

Muttar Paneer is one of my favourite vegetarian Indian dishes. I think it's maybe because it has cheese in it which makes it one of those vegetarian dishes where you really don't miss meat.

You can even make the paneer cheese yourself the night before, if you fancy (see the separate paneer cheese blog here - paneer is a very mild Indian cheese, which is easy to make yourself at home and no special equipment is needed). I think this dish is lovely as part of a variety of Indian dishes to share with friends.

Serves six (or more if served as a side dish), easily halved. Freezes well.

Calories per serving: 248 calories for a full portion (a sixth) of the 'skinny' version where you either grill the cheese, or just add it as it is without frying. If shallow frying the paneer first, you will need to add around 70-100 extra calories a portion.

[Calories in square brackets]


  • 1 quantity home-made paneer, or 2 x 225g packs paneer cut into 2cm cubes [765 calories – BUT check the nutritional info on the pack - this is based on 170 calories per 100g, but it can vary a lot between different brands]
  • 1 tbsp ghee, or coconut/sunflower/vegetable oil, plus extra if shallow frying the paneer [124+]
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped [82]
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed [12]
  • 2 inches ginger root, peeled and grated [7]
  • 1 tsp garam masala [7]
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric [8]
  • 1 tsp chilli powder [6]
  • 545g frozen peas (I prefer using petit pois, as they are more tender and sweet) [371]
  • 400g (one tin) chopped tomatoes [100]
  • 100ml vegetable stock [5]
  • Salt to taste (around 1-2 tsp)
  • Large handful chopped fresh coriander, to garnish [3]


Note: If you want to make the paneer cheese yourself, then you need to make this the day before, as it needs pressing/weighting down overnight. You will require 2.5 litres of milk and 5 tbsp lemon juice – guidelines for making paneer cheese are in a separate document. Home-made paneer cheese is more delicate than pre-bought, so you will need to turn it in the pan with care to avoid breaking it up, and make sure it doesn’t stick.

1. If making the 'skinny' version, cube the cheese and either set aside, or arrange on greaseproof paper on a metal tray and grill until just getting some colour, or simply add to the curry as it is at stage 4. Set aside once prepared then add 1 tbsp of oil to a large pan, heat up and continue to stage 3.. Go to stage 2 if frying the paneer cheese for the full fat version. 

2. If frying the paneer cheese: Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a good non-stick pan until hot, and add the cubed paneer cheese in one layer (you may need to do this in more than one batch, depending on the size of your pan). Carefully turn the paneer a few times, until golden. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen towel on a plate, to absorb any excess oil. Pour off excess oil from the pan, leaving about one tablespoon.

3. Add the onion, garlic and ginger to the pan, frying gently for about five minutes until the onion is softened and beginning to turn golden. Add the ground spices and cook out for a minute or two until fragrant. Add peas, chopped tomatoes, stock and salt (one teaspoon, initially), and then cover and simmer for about ten mintues, stirring occasionally.

4. Add the paneer cubes, and cook gently for another five minutes, being careful not to break them up if you stir it. Taste and add more salt if necessary and serve scattered with the chopped coriander.

N.B. You could deep-fry the paneer cheese, if you prefer.

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