Punjabi Style Matar Paneer is a popular paneer recipe that is much loved around the world. Paneer and peas are cooked in a delicious tomato and onion masala to give an authentic Dhaba style flavour.

Overhead shot of matar panner served in a bowl with a spoon next to naan and salad



Matar means peas and paneer is Indian style cheese. It is made throughout India with all regions and indeed households with their own version and flavours. 

Matar Paneer is a quintessential restaurant dish. You will find it virtually on every Indian restaurant menu wherever you are in the world. 

This recipe is restaurant-style due to the ingredients used - especially the addition of whole spices and Kasuri methi.  

The recipe is easy to create and follow - my Dad often gets involved in the kitchen and makes this one!

It is an under 30-minute recipe but still impacts wonderful flavour! The gravy can even be made ahead of time if you are preparing this dish for guests. 

Punjabi Matar Paneer

This is punjabi style matar paneer because of the ingredients used especially onion and garlic. Onion, garlic and tomato gravies reflect north Indian cuisine. 

Some matar paneer recipes can be made without onion and garlic. 

The awesome punjabi flavours are created by sauteing whole spices with crushed onion garlic and tomato. Slow cooking this onion mixture sweetens and gives a wonderful depth of flavour. 


Matar - you can use either fresh or frozen peas. If you buy frozen, it is well worth buying good quality peas as they have a sweetness that makes all the difference in the overall taste of this curry.

Paneer - we use either shop bought or sometimes homemade paneer.

Onion - use white onions that have been finely chopped or pureed in a blender. A red onion will give the wrong colour to the gravy 

Garlic - chop the garlic with the onions.

Ginger - add the ginger with the onion and garlic

Tomatoes - use either tinned or fresh tomatoes that are crushed. Add the tomatoes after the onion mixture has cooked fully. 

Tomato Puree - we have used extra thick or concentrated tomato puree, available in a tin or tube. 

Sugar - just a little to cut through the acidity of the tomatoes

Whole spices - adding whole spices at the beginning adds a special warmth and aroma. The whole spices we have used are bay leaf, green and black cardamom, whole black pepper and cinnamon bark. 

Spices - we have used red chilli powder, turmeric, ground cumin & coriander and garam masala.

Nuts - we have used broken cashew nuts to make rich and nutty Dhaba/Restaurant Style Matar paneer.

Kasoori Methi - kasoori methi or dried fenugreek is added to curries for extra flavour. It is kasoori methi which gives the restaurant flavour to food. There is no alternative to using kasoori methi so do not skip this if you want the true flavour of this recipe. 

Fat - a combination of oil and ghee gives this recipe, amazing flavours. Do not use very strong flavoured oil like mustard, sesame or extra virgin olive oil. 

Dairy - cream or milk adds richness to the dish and lessens the heat from the whole spices making it mild and creamy

Herbs - we have used fresh coriander leaves to serve.

Alternative Method - Instant Pot


1. Saute mode, let it heat for 40-50 seconds

2. Add ghee and oil

3. Add chopped onion, garlic, green chilli and ginger.

4. Also add whole spices such as green cardamom, black cardamom, small bark of cinnamon and a few whole black peppercorns.

5. Saute for 2-3 minutes then add chopped tomatoes, all the spices masala along with broken cashew nuts and cook another minute or so.

6. Add a small amount of water and deglaze the pot.

7. Cance the saute mode and close with the lid.

8. Pressure cook on HIGH for 3 minutes. Make sure the valve is turned on the sealing side.

9. Once done quick release. 

10. Make a fine puree using an immersion blender. 

If using a regular blender wait for the sauce to cool down a little, then blend into a smooth sauce.


Once again select the saute mode. 

Add bay leaf, paneer, frozen peas and salt and let the curry cook until the peas are thoroughly cooked. 

Add a pinch of sugar and simmer for a minute or so.

Add kasoori methi and cream if using (you may add whole milk)

Mix and turn off the saute mode.

Remove the curry in a serving bowl and garnish it with freshly chopped cilantro/coriander.

Matar Panner served in a bowl

Tips for the best Matar Paneer

Make sure you use fresh paneer without any odd smell or discolouration.

Soak the paneer - if you are using shop-bought paneer then it is worth soaking it in warm water for about 10-15 mins before sauteing. Ensure that you pat dry the paneer with a kitchen towel or kitchen cloth otherwise the soaked paneer will stick to the pan. 

We did not saute the paneer in this recipe but you can do if you would like. 

If you don't like to use whole spices or finding it too spicy, you can totally omit it. 

Instead of garam masala, you may use any KITCHEN KING MASALA once the curry is done or on the last stage. 

To make a very silky gravy, after blending the onion-tomato mixture sieve it through a fine sieve

To keep the curry mild in taste, use kashmiri red chilli powder, which will lend beautiful colour but not make it spicy.

Don't have cream on hand? Use whole milk or coconut milk/cream instead. It still lends creaminess to the curry. 

For extra flavour, once the curry is cooked, add another tempering when serving the dish. (just heat some oil and ghee in a small pan, add chilli powder and pour it over the matar paneer)

How to serve matar paneer?

For a vegetarian, it's the main meal if serving. In a non-veg thali it is served as a side dish. Usually served with round and soft rotli, Ajwain paratha or rice

To make a complete meal serve with

Almond Rice

Ghee Rice

Takeaway style Pilau rice 

Spinach Rotli 


Round and soft Gujarati Rotli

Garlic and Coriander Naan 

Roasted Tomato Raita


and for dessert serve this luscious Mango Kheer

Can you freeze Mutter paneer?

Yes, you can freeze matar paneer if you have used fresh peas. If you have used frozen peas, then you cannot refreeze the curry. 

Allow to defrost and heat thoroughly in a pan. You may need to add a little water and a pinch of garam masala to revive the curry. 

Vegan Matar Paneer

For vegan matar paneer, you can use tofu. 

Press the tofu until drained, cut into cubes and grill with oil on a pan until each side has sealed. Then add the tofu to the curry the same way as paneer. 

Skip ghee and cream, instead use vegan ghee and coconut milk

Khoya Matar Paneer

You can take this curry to the extra level by adding 1/4 cup khoya in the curry. Khoya gives an intensely rich and creamy flavour. Paneer and khoya will make this dish very heavy but totally satisfying!

Equipment Needed to Cook Matar Paneer

1. Heavy based pan or Instant Pot (if using)

2. Spatula

3. Blender or immersion blender

4. Knife

5. Chopping board

Matar Paneer Recipe Punjabi Style

Follow this step by step recipe, full measurements and detailed method in the recipe card below. 

1. Heat oil and ghee in a pan, add chopped onion, garlic, ginger, green chillies and whole spices. Cook until onions are translucent. 

making matar paneer step 1 cooking onions, garlic and ginger with whole spices

2. Now add chopped tomatoes and cashew nuts and cook.

Making matar paneer step 2 cooking tomatoes with onion and cashew nuts

3. Cook until tomatoes are cooked perfectly and mushy. Let it cool completely then blend it in a regular blender until smooth puree.

making matar paneer step 3 tomato onion cooked

4.  Heat oil and ghee in the same pan, add bay leaf and cumin seeds and let it crackle.

Making matar paneer step 4 oil, cumin seeds and bay leaf in hot pan

5. Add pureed onion-tomato gravy, cook for a few minutes.

making matar paneer step 5 pureed onion tomato in a pan

6. Now add all the spices and extra-thick tomato puree (optional) mix and cook until oil is visible on the surface. 

Making matar paneer step 6 in a pan puree with spices masala

7. Add green peas (we have used frozen)

Making matar paneer step 7 adding frozen peas

8. Add some water and cook.

Making matar paneer step 8 added water

9. Add kasuri methi, salt and sugar.

making matar paneer step 9 added sugar, kasuri methi to the matar paneer curry

10. Cream if using.
Making matar paneer step 10 cream added to the matar paneer curry

11. After a couple of minutes simmer add paneer and mix.

Making matar paneer step 11 added paneer pieces

12. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes. 

13. Serve hot with naan, paratha or roti.

Close up shot of matar paneer served in a bowl

Other Punjabi Recipes

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Mains, Sides
Yield: 4-6 SERVINGS
Author: Hayley Dhanecha


Punjabi Matar paneer is one of the most popular Indian curries out there. This vegetarian curry made using green peas and paneer, both simmered in a delicious tomato, onion and cashew gravy with aromatic spices.
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 20 MinInactive time: 5 MinTotal time: 30 Min


To make tomato, onion and cashew masala paste/gravy
To make Matar Paneer Gravy


To Make Curry Masala Paste
  1. In a heavy bottom pan heat oil and ghee.
  2. Add onion, garlic, ginger and chillies along with whole spices (cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper).
  3. Cook on medium heat until onions are translucent.
  4. Now add cashew nuts and chopped tomatoes and saute on medium heat until mushy and soft. 
  5. Turn off the heat and let it cool. 
  6. Once the sauteed mixture is totally cooled, add it into the blender or mixer jar and blend it until you get a smooth paste.
  7. If you wish you can strain the paste through a fine-mesh sieve. 
Make Matar Paneer
  1. In the same pan heat oil and ghee.
  2. Add cumin seeds and a bay leaf. 
  3. Once crackles, add tomato-onion puree and cook for a few minutes on medium heat.
  4. Add red chilli powder, turmeric, ground cumin and coriander and garam masala. 
  5. Mix and cook for a couple of minutes. 
  6. Once the oil is visible on the surface, add frozen peas and some water.
  7. Mix and bring it to a boiling point. 
  8. Then add sugar, salt, cream and kasoori methi.
  9. Cook further for 2 minutes.
  10. Now add paneer cubes, mix and cook for a minute.
  11. Add chopped coriander leaves and serve hot. 


You may add whole milk instead of cream.

If curry gets very thick, once cooled down add a couple of tablespoons water. to thin it out.

Adjust spices according to your taste.

You may use canned chopped or plum tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes.



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The nutritional information provided is an approximation calculated by an online calculator. Please consult a professional dietitian for nutritional advice.

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Note - this recipe was posted on our blog on 12th of August 2016 since I have updated the post with new content and pictures.


  1. I love matar paneer and Kishfisher is my first choice when it comes beer with Indian food!

  2. You're making me hungry and thirsty this morning! I'll have to look for KingFisher at the market -- and I definitely want a bowl of that paneer!

  3. I'm a huge fan of muttar paneer! YUM!

  4. I am a huge fan of mattar paneer! It is awesome. Looks great

  5. My husband and I developed a passion for curry AND Kingfisher when we lived in London for a year after college...fabulous post, it brings back memories :)

  6. That is a lovely looking curry! And I agree that a nice bottle beer is great way to wash down a curry. I'll have to look for that beer.

  7. A popular and one of my favourite dish to be paired with any Indian flat bread. It looks so tempting...

  8. Truly this delicious looking dhaba style Paneer and peas sabzi that is cooked in a delicious tomato and onion masala looks delicious and favourite of us all.

    The pictures say it all. Beautiful visuals.

  9. Love everything with it. We do it with tofu and my family enjoys it with naan and roti. Love the color and texture of the curry!

  10. That is such a classic paneer dish. Looks so rich, flavorful and delicious. Thank you for this detailed recipe, I cannot wait to make this for my family.

  11. Matar paneer is all time favorite in our family.This is the perfect dish that can be apt for any celebrations like birthday or any party get gtogetjher. Love your beautiful pics.

  12. Instant Pot version comes in very handy when batch cooking or cooking for a week. Masala has a nice beautiful color looks just like the restaurant matar paneer.

  13. Rafeeda - The Big Sweet Tooth25 June 2021 at 21:42

    I always feel that paneer matar masala and a nice hot butter naan is the best combination for a hearty weekend meal... All pictures look amazing...

  14. Oh my, you've got me all hungry! Punjabi Matar paneer looks so creamy and inviting. I love to have it with hot rotis smeared with ghee.

  15. Who can resist such a lip smacking paneer curry with green peas. I also follow the same method as yours, except that I do not add the extra thick tomato puree. Gorgeous pics as always !

  16. Punjabi Matar paneer looks so delicious ! This is one of our most fav curry in restaurant too. with some butter naan this pairs pretty well

  17. That matar paneer looks to die for. It's lip smacking delicious. I love to have with some hot rotis or naan.


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