Cozy season is officially upon us here in Minnesota. I’m a little nervous to see the little snowflake on the weather forecast for this weekend (!!!), but it’s been so fun to break out my fall wardrobe, bake all the pumpkin goodies, and crunch through the piles of leaves around the lakes. I’ve already made my fair of share of apple treats and am in the midst of planning a Halloween extravaganza for my office team. Yeah, you could say I really like fall. Growing up in Texas where, let’s face it, autumn lasts maybe a week, autumn looked a bit different than it does for me now.
When the air started to get crisp and the sun shone just a little extra golden at dusk, we’d cozy up to watch the evening news (aka my dad’s favorite) with a steaming bowl of mattar paneer.
When speaking of their autumn favorites, some of my friends recall big mugs of chili, others think of roast chicken and potatoes, and of course everyone thinks of soups galore. My cold weather memories are all filled with steaming bowls of mattar paneer. There’s nothing that is specifically “fall” about it, and my mom makes it all year round, but for some reason I swear mattar paneer tastes better when there’s a little chill in the air and you’re wrapped up in a blanket with fuzzy socks on. It’s the ultimate cozy recipe in my mind. You’ve got the cubes of paneer that soak up the broth and become little pillows of chewy goodness, soft peas that add a tiny bite of sweetness, and the incredibly savory and warming broth. And you know what the best part is? It’s a one pot recipe!
All the flavors are just added and built upon the other in the pot and it all comes together in just about thirty minutes. It all starts with a simple tomato-ey sauce that is spiced with warming and flavorful spices along with aromatics like onion, garlic, and ginger. Let that sauté and concentrate in flavor and then add your paneer, then the peas. Toss it all together, add some water, and then let it simmer. Voila! Unlike the restaurant counterparts that most Indian food has that is filled with heavy cream and butter, this is pretty light and easy. I like to serve mattar paneer over rice, and it’s just as good with a chewy naan or roti.
A few recipe notes ::
My version compared to my mom’s leans a bit more tomato-y and thicker on the sauce than hers which is more broth-like. I also add the tiniest clove of garlic and smallest bit of onion because I like the extra savoriness that it gives to the recipe. It’s a pretty forgiving recipe, so you can add more or less water, more or less peas and paneer, and experiment with the spiciness!
I hope you enjoy and add mattar paneer to your autumn recipe rotation!
- 1 tbsp of ghee
- 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
- 1/8 cup of yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 a jalapeno, seeded and chopped
- 1 inch of ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 small clove of garlic, chopped
- 2 tbsp of shahi paneer masala
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp of red chili powder (depending on heat preferences)
- 1/2 tsp of turmeric
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
- 4oz block of paneer, cut into 2 inch cubes
- 1 1/2 cups of frozen peas
- 3/4 cups of water
- In a stove top pot, add the ghee and bring to a medium heat.
- Finely chop the onion, jalapeño, ginger, and garlic. for extra fine, add all to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. You can chop everything very fine by hand if preferred.
- When the ghee has warmed, add the cumin seeds and cook for about a minute until the seeds take on a light brown color.
- Add the onion mixture to the warming ghee and cumin seeds and sauté for about 2 - 3 minutes.
- Add the shahi paneer masala, red chili powder, turmeric, and salt to the onion mixture. stir to combine and sauté for another few minutes until the spices start to become fragrant.
- Add the tomato sauce to the spiced onion mixture, stirring to combine. Stir occasionally and continue to cook for about 5 - 8 minutes until the tomato sauce has started to thicken and take on a darker color.
- Add the paneer and stir in the sauce until everything gets coated. Cook for about 3 - 4 minutes.
- Add the peas to the pot and stir. Add the water and stir, bring up to a simmer.
- Cover and cook for about 15 minutes until the peas have softened. Remove from heat.
- Serve warm over rice. Enjoy!