Matar Paneer (5-minute recipe)

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Guests coming over without prior intimation? Husband bringing home a friend at a 30-minute notice? Or simply in a hurry to cook and eat? Fret not. You can rustle up some yummy dishes even if you are racing against time. For such situations, I keep Bhuna Masala handy. While I make the masala at home, you can buy and store the packets available in the markets. I also keep a ready stock of paneer and shelled peas in my refrigerator in case some guest arrives unexpectedly. Using these, I make Matar Paneer in 5 minutes, without compromising on the taste. Try it out when you are short on time. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

200 grams paneer (cut into cubes)
1 bowl green peas (shelled)
1 packet bhuna masala (onion, tomato, ginger, garlic)
1 bay leaf
2 whole black cardamoms
2 green cardamoms
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon kasoori methi powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri laal mirch
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt (to taste)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon refined oil
2 tablespoons fresh cream
1 cup water

Recipe:

Heat oil in a pan and add butter to it. When the butter starts melting, add the bay leaf, black and green cardamoms and cumin seeds and fry for 30 seconds. Add asafoetida and mix well. Add bhuna masala and 1/4 cup water. Mix well. Add turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder, Kashmiri laal mirch and kasoori methi powder. Mix well. Add the remaining water and bring to a boil. Mix in the salt and sugar. Discard the bay leaf and the cardamoms. Add peas and cover the pan with a lid. Cook on high flame for 2 minutes. Remove the lid and add the paneer cubes. Mix well, cover and cook for another 2 minutes on high flame. Just before turning off the heat, mix in one tablespoon of fresh cream. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with the remaining cream and serve hot.

Eat, drink and be merry! 🙂

PS: To make bhuna masala at home, simply grind together 4 tomatoes, 4 small onions, 6 garlic cloves and a 2-inch piece of ginger. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and fry till the oil separates. Add a teaspoon of salt and mix well. Let cool and store in an airtight container. Keep refrigerated. This bhuna masala can be used for up to a month.

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