The recipe for Matar paneer – a popular Indian curry dish comes from the versatile North Indian cuisine made with green peas and Indian cottage cheese, which has many different (and delicious) variations. I’m sharing our family recipe for a simple and tasty whisper board at home.

About this recipe

This simple homemade matar paneer is a family recipe spiced to perfection and cooked with green peas (matar or mumble in Hindi) and paneer which is Indian cottage cheese.

It’s a tasty Indian dish that I cook often, because matar paneer – also known as mattar or whisper paneer – is one of the most popular dishes in North India.

I’ve been making this recipe for YEARS. I initially learned how to make it from my in-laws – a classic Punjabi recipe that was simple, easy, and absolutely hassle-free!

That being said, this family recipe isn’t a restaurant-style matar paneer. It tastes absolutely delicious, but it is much simpler and gives a more warm and comforting feeling.

I’m sharing three ways to prepare this dish: the pressure cooker (with step-by-step photo guide), in the Instant Pot, and in a pot or pan on the stovetop.

Ingredients you need

  • Paneer (Cottage Cheese): Paneer is a super mild, fresh, unaged Indian cottage cheese, typically made from cow’s milk. You can use ricotta cheese if needed instead of the paneer, but it’s important to note that ricotta cheese can be salty and paneer isn’t. Squeeze and drain the extra whey from the ricotta before using.
  • Vegetables: You will need fresh or frozen green peas (matar), a few medium-sized ripe red tomatoes, a medium or large onion, and a few green chillies.
  • Cashews: For masala paste, cashews act as a creamy thickener. However, if you don’t have cashews on hand, you can substitute the almonds.
  • Seasonings: You will need several seasonings and spices for this breading tile recipe, including cumin seeds, turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder, salt, ginger, garlic, coriander leaves and seeds, black peppercorns, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon.

Also Read: Paneer Bhurji

How to make Matar Paneer

Gather the ingredients for the masala paste

1. First, you will take all the ingredients for the masala paste and add them to a grinder or blender. Make sure to include:

  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • ¾ to 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped ginger {sub with ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger (dry ginger powder)}
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic
  • 10 to 12 cashews
  • 2 tablespoons of coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped green peppers or serrano peppers
  • 4 to 5 black peppercorns
  • 1 inch cinnamon (use real cinnamon. For cassia cinnamon, use ½ inch)
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
  • 1 green cardamom – optional
  • 2 cloves

Make Masala Paste

2. After that, grind the ingredients into a smooth paste. If necessary, add 2-3 tablespoons of water while grinding the masala paste. When the dough is creamy and mixed to a fine consistency, set aside until later.

NOTE: There should not be any small pieces or chunks of cashews in the dough.

Fry cumin

3. Then add 3 tablespoons of oil to a 2 liter pressure cooker. Let the oil get hot. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add ½ teaspoon of cumin seeds and fry until they splash.

Add masala paste

4. Then add your ground masala paste and mix well.

TIP: It is important to be careful when cooking because masala paste tends to splash when added to the pressure cooker. If there is too much crackling, partially cover the range with a lid until the splashing stops.

Sauté

5. Now you are going to sauté the dough mixture for about 10 to 12 minutes over medium-low heat.

You want to be sure you are sautéing long enough for the oil to separate from the dough. The masala paste will also thicken and appear shiny.

Add ground spices

6. After sautéing the masala paste, add all the dry spice powders, stir to combine well and sauté for one minute. Make sure to include:

  • ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon of red Kashmir or sweet paprika powder (sub with ¼ to ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper or red pepper powder)
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon of garam masala powder (replace with ¼ teaspoon of curry powder)

NOTE: If you add heavy or light cream or malai, you can add it now. Add 1 tablespoon of heavy or light cream or malai (the cream that floats on the heated and cooled milk). Instead of cream, replace with ¼ cup whole milk.

Add green peas

7. Then add 1 cup of rinsed green peas or matar.

8. Mix again.

9. Then add 1 to 1.25 cups of water, salt and mix well.

Pressure cook

10. It is now time to cook the green peas under pressure until they are completely cooked. Make sure you cover the stove well, then cook for about 9-10 minutes or 2-3 whistles over medium to medium-high heat.

NOTE: When the pressure drops on its own, open the pressure cooker lid. If the sauce seems thin, simmer until it reaches the desired consistency.

The consistency should be medium and not thick or thin. If the sauce seems thick, add a little water and let it simmer.

For a slightly sweet taste, you can also add up to ½ teaspoon of sugar at this point.

Make Matar Paneer

11. Finally, add the paneer cubes and mix well or simmer for a few seconds, over low heat or until the paneer cubes are completely cooked. Do not overcook as the paneer will become dense and hard.

You can add more flavor, including ½ teaspoon crushed kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) at this step.

NOTE: Avoid overcooking, else the paneer will become dense and rubbery. You can even fry the paneer pieces separately or in a pan, then add them to the curry.

Garnish and serve

12. Now as your matar paneer is ready to eat, garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and serve hot.

Serving suggestions

Matar paneer goes well with Indian flatbreads like Naan, Paratha and Roti. It also goes well with cumin rice and steamed basmati rice.

At home, I usually make paratha or roti to accompany it, but a side vegetable salad or raita goes very well with the combination of whisper paneer and paratha.

You can also go for a curry mop with Poori (Indian fried bread) and even your usual daily bread or rolls.

Storage and leftovers

If you have any leftover Matar Paneer, refrigerate in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days. The curry will thicken after cooling and so, while reheating it, add a little water to soften the consistency.

Instant pot method

Matar paneer can also be made easily in an Instant Pot. I make a lot of Indian recipes in the Instant Pot and even this paneer whispers. Read the instructions below to prepare the Matar Paneer recipe in your Instant Pot.

  1. Preparation: Prepare the masala paste with tomatoes, spices, herbs and cashews as shown in the step by step guide above. Put aside.
  2. Stir-Fry: Press the Instant Pot’s Stir-Fry button and let the display show “hot”. Add oil to the inner steel pot. First crack the cumin seeds. Add the ground masala paste and sauté, stirring often, until it thickens and looks shiny. You can press the Sauté button twice to reduce the setting, if the pan gets too hot.
  3. Adding Ground Spices: Add turmeric powder, red chili powder and garam masala powder. Mix and sauté for a minute.
  4. Including green peas: Add green peas, 1 cup water, salt and mix well, deglazing the inner pot. Press the cancel button.
  5. Pressure cooking: seal the lid and position the valve on the seal. Press the pressure / manual cook button and set the time to 3 minutes. Cook under pressure at high pressure. After hearing the beep when cooking is complete, wait 5 minutes, then quickly release the pressure.
  6. Final touches: press the cancel button. Add the paneer cubes and mix well. Finally add a few coriander leaves and mix again.