Dhaba style Matar Paneer

Let’s start the week right with some yum grub! Wishing everyone a lovely week ahead <3

This recipe is typically how I make a dhaba style masala, and it works great for any veggie or protein you have on hand. I made the classic combo of paneer and peas. It’s tangy, creamy, spicy, and the definition of warming comfort!

The masala (gravy) part of this dish can be made ahead, and stored in the freezer for up to 2 weeks! When you need it, you’d simply thaw the masala to room temperature, transfer to a saute pan, and add in any protein and/or veggie of your choice and cook it in the masala. More details below as you read through the recipe.


serves 4-6

1/4 cup ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
2 dried bay leaves
1 large red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 tsp amchur powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp dried methi (fenugreek) leaves
1 cup green peas (if using frozen, thaw to room temperature)
2 tsp coarse kosher salt
Paneer ~3 cups cubed; I used frozen (fresh) paneer this time, thawed to room temperature. They are sold in fresh slabs/blocks, which I cube into bite size pieces.
Note: You could also buy the pre-cubed, or even the fried version. Use any kind!

To make into a sauce:
4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 large handful cilantro ~1/2 cup chopped
5 cloves garlic
1″ piece ginger
4 dried red chillies

For topping:
1 tbsp salted butter
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro


Make the sauce:
In a blender, add the measured sauce ingredients; tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, ginger, and red chillies. Grind to a smooth sauce and set aside.

My tomatoes were so juicy, I didn’t add any additional water. Add little if you need to, but try not to exceed 2 tbsps.


Putting the dish together:


In a deep saute pan, heat ghee over medium heat for 10 seconds. Add cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves. Fry for 10 seconds and add in the sliced onions.

Saute for 5 minutes until the onions soften. Add in the measured spice powders: Cumin, coriander, red chilli, turmeric, amchur, and garam masala.

Saute and let cook together for 8-10 minutes until the onions are golden brown and slightly crispy in the edges.

Pour in the tomato gravy that’s been made, along with a 1/4 cup water.



Lower the heat to medium-low, and let this tomato onion masala simmer for 15 minutes. This step is critical in making a well developed and intensely flavorful gravy.

Note: At this stage, you could store away this masala in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. It makes an incredible flavorful base for any curry/saute of veggies or protein. When you need it, you’d simply thaw the masala to room temperature, transfer to a saute pan, and add in any protein and/or veggie of your choice and cook in the masala.

To the tomato masala, add peas, salt, 1/4 cup water, and cover with a lid. Let it continue to cook for another 8-10 minutes. At this stage, you should have a masala that’s thick and saucy, keep adjusting your water quantity depending on how it looks for you.

Add the cubed paneer and methi. Toss gently to mix thoroughly. Cover with a lid and let this cook another 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, uncover, sprinkle more cilantro for garnish and serve hot with your favorite bread and/or basmati pulao. It is quintessentially dhaba style to serve it with a healthy dab of salted butter on top that adds to the creaminess of the masala. Don’t miss out!


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