Mattar Paneer (Peas and Paneer in Spiced Tomato Gravy) Recipe (2024)

By Zainab Shah

Mattar Paneer (Peas and Paneer in Spiced Tomato Gravy) Recipe (1)

Total Time
25 minutes
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Traditionally, roasted and crushed cashews are puréed with cooked onions and tomatoes to make the base for this comforting vegetarian dish. This version skips the hassle of puréeing and instead uses a hefty amount of cashew butter for the same nutty flavor and creamy texture. Red chile powder, ginger and garlic provide the perfect backbone for the sauce. Substitute tofu for paneer if you like; the mildness of either lends itself well to this unexpectedly luxurious dish that is so much more than the sum of its parts.

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Yield:2 to 4 servings

  • ¼cup ghee or neutral oil
  • ½pound paneer or extra-firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes and patted very dry
  • 1medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • ½teaspoon ginger paste or freshly grated ginger
  • ½teaspoon garlic paste or freshly grated garlic
  • 1teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¾teaspoon kashmiri or other red chile powder
  • ¼teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3medium plum tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2tablespoons cashew butter
  • 8ounces frozen (no need to thaw) or fresh green peas (about 1¾ cups)
  • 3tablespoons heavy cream or cashew cream (optional)
  • ½teaspoon garam masala
  • Rice or roti, for serving

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)

278 calories; 24 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 13 grams monounsaturated fat; 6 grams polyunsaturated fat; 10 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 3 grams sugars; 8 grams protein; 422 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Mattar Paneer (Peas and Paneer in Spiced Tomato Gravy) Recipe (2)


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  1. Step


    Heat ghee in a large frying pan or medium wok on high for 30 seconds, or until it is melted. Lower heat to medium and lightly fry paneer or tofu cubes, turning frequently, until they are golden on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside on a plate lined with a paper towel.

  2. Step


    In the same frying pan or wok, add onion, ginger and garlic, and cook on medium, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until onions are translucent.

  3. Step


    Add cumin seeds, chile powder and turmeric, and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and salt. Add ¾ cup water. Simmer on medium until the mixture thickens slightly, about 3 to 5 minutes.

  4. Step


    Lower the heat to medium-low, and stir in cashew butter. Add peas and paneer. Stir to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes or until it reaches your desired thickness. Top with heavy cream in a swirl, if you like. Sprinkle with garam masala. Serve with rice or roti.



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Cooking Notes


Much less work and mess: toss the paneer cubes in melted ghee or butter and salt then roast them on parchment paper lined cookie sheet in a 425 degree oven. Check them every 5-7 minutes and take them out when they’re as firmed and browned as you like

Allaudin Khilji

Cashews? Cashew butter? Traditional? Not in several decades of eating this dish at home and at numerous friends was this an ingredient. Some celebrity chef decided to add this, and decided it was "traditional." It is excessively decadent. Even the heavy cream is unnecessary -- no need to load on extra fat and calories.


The word Mattar means peas. So if you left out the peas and substituted with greens or potatoes then you would not be making mattar paneer but a different dish.That's perfectly okay, but if you do that, just don't call it mattar paneer when there is no actual mattar in the dish. Call it aloo (potatoes) paneer or saag (greens) paneer, or (ingredient) paneer as the case may be.

Sabena Singh

I sauté curry leaves first and then green chilies. Then I add diced onions, garlic and ginger pastes. Sauté till golden. Add cumin, coriander, red chili powder, haldi (turmeric) and salt. Then I add paneer which may or may not be fried first. Sauté and then add either 1/2 cup water or milk, cover and cook gently. Then I add baby peas. I often add a sprinkling of fenugreek for added flavor. Add coriander leaves and the dish is ready.


Store-bought paneer can be rubbery. Soak the paneer cubes in hot tap water for 20 minutes, drain and pat dry before pan frying.


Modification:Heat cumin seeds a bit before you add the chili powder. Only heat the chili powder for a few seconds or it burns and can make you cough. Turmeric has health benefits that are destroyed by heat so try adding that toward the end of the dish. How you treat the spices so they maintain their health benefits is an important aspect of Indian cuisine!

Martin Basher

This is really bonkers good. I did tofu, probably doubled the spices, grated in a 1” cube of ginger, swapped cashew for half peanut and half almond, and sloshed the cream at it generously. As good as a restaurant.

MC Bmore

I am so happy I waited to make this until all the insightful New York Times cooking home cooks added their thoughts and suggestions.Per suggestions - soaked paneer,added curry leaves and coriander. Added potato & zucchini (because I had it in the fridge) cut into paneer size add both after adding the spices. Increased the water content to 1 cup simmered for a half hour then added cashew butter simmered on med/low for 20 - added peas and paneer served over basmati rice. Absolutely delicious.


I followed Erin’s suggestion and roasted the tofu in the oven first. Makes the outside of the pieces nice and crispy. The Ghee adds a nice flavour as well. Took about 30 minutes at 425. Highly recommend this approach even if it adds an extra dish to clean up. Cut up the tofu, lined a baking sheet with parchment paper, tossed the tofu in some salt and melted Ghee and roasted for about 30 minutes. I tossed it during cooking to make sure it is consistently toasty. Delicious!


very good but a little bland - double the spices next time. Made with tofu, wish could find paneer


Peas may be meh if you add them too soon...put them in at the very end, just enough to thaw and warm if they are frozen.


Instead of trying to brown individual cubes of tofu, I cut the brick into three equal planks (horizontal cut), heat up oil on a baking sheet, then put planks on hot sheet and roast until both sides are brown and crispy.


This was even better on day 2. I added fenugreek and coriander as per others’ suggestions and recommend those additions. I also needed to add more water. Great dish.


I used canned tomatoes (12oz whole plum tomatoes, I chopped) which worked out well. I found the end result to need more liquid. Added 1/2 cup more water but could have used even more.


Truly excellent, with tofu and safflower oil. I did use more garlic and ginger though.

Anna S.

Wonderful recipe with a lot of room to improvise without risking a disaster. My husband's family is Indian and I've learned some of their family recipes. After I made this one, he said that it was the best dish I've made. I took it as a compliment to the nytimes chefs for knowing their stuff (and yes, I did use the cashew butter). Homemade paneer is easy if you have a cheese mold. Our family insists on non-organic whole milk. Bring to simmer, add an acid, put into mold, press. Worth the effort!

Karen Herz

Double the spices


Made a few substitutions (canned whole tomatoes for fresh, almond butter instead of cashew, and fenugreek leaves at the end). Agree with upping the spices a bit but otherwise super yummy.


I followed Erin’s recommendation re tofu, so simplified the prep. It is an amazing flavor for such little time (I’ve made Indian dishes over 2 days; this is easy!); my 12 yo had seconds and so did I.

Fran D.

Preparing to make this in the next day or two. I see others have mentioned adding curry leaves—dry or fresh?


Use more turmeric, less garam masala, and curry powder instead of cumin


This is an incredible (vegan!) dish. Double the garlic, ginger, and spices. Be generous with the cashew butter and you can happily skip the cream. (To get from raw cashews to cashew butter, just toast them until golden in the oven and whiz them in the food processor with a little oil.) Take an immersion blender to the sauce between Steps 3 and 4. This makes 2 generous servings in my opinion, so double it if you want it to serve 4.


I found that this really needed tomato paste to bring the tomato flavor through. That and some msg and it was really good. I used canned plum tomatoes though so maybe that was the reason.


As written would have been very bland. More then doubled the spices. Followed other cooks and roasted the paneer in the oven - super easy. Really delicious and will be in rotation !


I used an immersion blender to puree the sauce before adding the peas and tofu, just a preference for consistency. Served over rice, very yummy winter lunch.


Very good. Will make this again.

Don't Use Tofu

The fried tofu was basically hot pencil erasers. I doubled the spices and it still didn't have much flavor. 2 of 5


My husband never goes for Indian food, but he went back for seconds of this! I doubled the spices and used a can of diced tomatoes. Subbed with almond butter because it was all I had. I crisped up tofu in the air fryer before and stirred it in at the last minute. It was great and we’ll make it again!


Really flavourful dish. I did double the spices and subbed peanut butter.

Zan Romeder

Delicious. But double the recipe!

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Mattar Paneer (Peas and Paneer in Spiced Tomato Gravy) Recipe (2024)


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