Quick and Easy Matar Paneer in the Instant Pot: A Flavorful Indian Delight

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Written By Haryana’s Restaurant

Authentic Indian Food – Classic Indian Cuisine in Terrace BC

Craving a delicious and comforting Indian dish that you can whip up in no time? Matar Paneer, a classic North Indian curry featuring tender green peas and soft paneer cubes simmered in a rich tomato-based sauce, is just what you need. Using an Instant Pot makes this beloved recipe incredibly easy to prepare without compromising on flavor.

Ingredients

To make a delicious Matar Paneer in your Instant Pot, you’ll need the following ingredients. Ensure you have everything prepped and ready to go for a seamless cooking experience.

  • 2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil: For sautéing.
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds: Adds earthy flavor.
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped: Provides a base for the curry.
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste: Enhances aromatic depth.
  • 2 large tomatoes, pureed: Forms the tomato-based sauce.
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder: Adds color and subtle flavor.
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander: Boosts herbal notes.
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin: Complements the cumin seeds for consistency of flavor.
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala: Adds warmth and complexity to the dish.
  • Salt, to taste: Balances flavors; start with 3/4 teaspoons and adjust as needed.
  • 1 cup green peas (fresh or frozen): The star ingredient alongside paneer; provides natural sweetness and texture.
  • 250 grams paneer, cubed: Main protein source; holds up well in curry without falling apart easily.
  • 1/2 cup water or as needed for desired consistency
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Required Equipment

To make Matar Paneer in an Instant Pot, you need a few essential pieces of equipment. Here’s what you’ll require:

  • Instant Pot: The star of the show, ensuring quick and even cooking.
  • Cutting Board: For chopping onions, tomatoes, and cilantro with ease.
  • Chef’s Knife: A sharp knife to dice vegetables precisely.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accurate measurement for ingredients is crucial for flavor balance.
  • Spatula or Wooden Spoon: For stirring the ingredients without scratching your Instant Pot’s inner liner.
  • Blender or Immersion Blender: To puree the tomato mixture smoothly.

These tools will ensure that you can prepare Matar Paneer efficiently and effectively while achieving the authentic taste and texture of this classic Indian dish.

Preparation Steps

Follow these steps to prepare your delicious Matar Paneer using the Instant Pot. Ensure that all ingredients and equipment are ready for a seamless cooking experience.

Preparing Paneer

  1. Cutting the Paneer: Cut 250 grams of paneer into 1-inch cubes. Set aside.
  2. Sautéing the Paneer: Select the ‘Sauté’ mode on your Instant Pot. Add 2 tablespoons of ghee or oil and let it heat up for about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Cooking the Paneer: Once hot, add the paneer cubes in batches to avoid crowding. Sauté until they turn light golden brown, around 3-4 minutes per batch.
  4. Draining Excess Oil: Remove the sautéed paneer with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.

Sautéing Aromatics and Building the Masala Base

  1. Initial Sautéing: In the same pot, add 1 tablespoon of ghee or oil if needed. Add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and let them crackle for about 30 seconds.
  2. Onions and Garlic: Add finely chopped onions (about 2 medium-sized) and sauté until golden brown, approximately 5-7 minutes.
  3. Ginger-Garlic Paste: Mix in 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  4. Tomato Puree Mixture: Add pureed tomatoes made from blending two large tomatoes along with spices—1 teaspoon turmeric powder, 2 teaspoons coriander powder, 1 teaspoon red chili powder—and salt to taste. Stir well.
  5. Simmering Masala Base: Cook this mixture until it thickens and oil starts separating from the masala paste, which should take around 6-8 minutes.
  6. Blending Spices Smoothly: Optionally use an immersion blender directly in the pot to achieve a smoother consistency if desired.

Cooking Instructions

Follow these steps to cook Matar Paneer in your Instant Pot for a delicious and hassle-free meal.

Sautéing Onions and Spices

  1. Set the Instant Pot to Sauté Mode: Turn on your Instant Pot and select the ‘Sauté’ mode. Allow it to heat up for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add Oil and Onions: Pour 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil into the pot, then add 1 finely chopped onion. Stir frequently until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Introduce Garlic and Ginger: Add 1 tablespoon of minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of minced ginger or ginger-garlic paste. Cook for another minute until fragrant.
  4. Mix In Spices: Add 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon of coriander powder, 1 teaspoon of garam masala, and a pinch of turmeric powder. Stir well to combine with the onions.

Adding Vegetables and Pressure Cooking

  1. Deglaze with Tomato Puree: Pour in 1 cup of tomato puree into the pot, stirring constantly to deglaze any browned bits sticking to the bottom.
  2. Add Water or Broth: Add ½ cup of water or vegetable broth, ensuring everything is mixed thoroughly.
  3. Combine Paneer Cubes: Gently fold in 200 grams (about half a pound) of cubed paneer into the sauce mixture.
  4. Include Green Peas: Add 1 cup of green peas (fresh or frozen) into the pot and stir gently to combine all ingredients evenly.
  5. Pressure Cook: Securely close the lid on your Instant Pot, set it to ‘Manual’ mode at high pressure for 4 minutes.
  6. Natural Release Pressure: Once cooking is complete let it naturally release pressure for about 10 minutes before carefully venting any remaining steam manually.

Serving Suggestions

Matar Paneer pairs wonderfully with a variety of Indian breads and rice dishes. Here are some delightful ways to serve your freshly-made Matar Paneer:

Bread Pairings

  1. Naan: Warm, pillowy naan bread is perfect for scooping up the rich, flavorful sauce.
  2. Roti or Chapati: These whole wheat flatbreads provide a wholesome, slightly chewy texture that complements the creamy paneer.
  3. Paratha: For an indulgent option, try serving with parathas—layered flatbreads that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Rice Options

  1. Basmati Rice: The aromatic nature of basmati rice makes it an ideal partner for Matar Paneer, allowing you to enjoy every bit of the savory gravy.
  2. Jeera Rice: Infused with cumin seeds, this fragrant rice dish adds an extra layer of flavor to your meal.
  3. Pea Pulao: A simple pea pulao can enhance the green pea theme and add more texture and color to your plate.

Accompaniments

  1. Raita: A cooling yogurt-based side dish like cucumber raita or boondi raita helps balance the spices in Matar Paneer.
  2. Salad: Fresh vegetable salads with cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro add crunch and freshness to your meal.
  3. Pickles & Chutneys: Indian pickles (achar) or chutneys like mint-coriander chutney can offer tangy contrasts that elevate each bite.

Considering these serving suggestions, you ensure your Matar Paneer experience is as authentic and enjoyable as possible while delighting everyone at the table with a well-rounded meal.

Storage and Reheating

Storing Matar Paneer

To store your Matar Paneer, allow it to cool completely to room temperature. Transfer the cooled dish into an airtight container. You can refrigerate it for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 1 month.

Reheating in the Microwave

For quick reheating, use a microwave:

  1. Place a portion of Matar Paneer in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Cover with a microwave-safe lid or plate.
  3. Heat on medium power for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Stir halfway through heating to ensure even warmth.

Reheating on the Stovetop

For stovetop reheating:

  1. Transfer Matar Paneer from the storage container into a pan.
  2. Add a splash of water if needed to loosen the sauce.
  3. Warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through (about 5-7 minutes).
  • If frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • Avoid overheating as paneer may become rubbery.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning after reheating since flavors can mellow over time.

Conclusion

Making Matar Paneer in your Instant Pot transforms this beloved Indian dish into a quick and effortless recipe. The streamlined process allows you to enjoy a rich, flavorful meal without spending hours in the kitchen. Pairing it with various sides like naan or basmati rice provides versatility for any occasion. Plus, the convenience of storing and reheating leftovers means you can relish this dish anytime without compromising on taste or texture. So go ahead and try this Instant Pot adaptation—your taste buds will thank you!

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