Paneer and pea curry

Paneer and pea curry

Anjum's Indian Vegetarian Feast
Emma Lee

This is a North Indian classic. Normally the cubes of paneer are lightly fried before being added to the sauce – which changes their texture and flavour and crisps their sides – but adding ‘raw’ paneer, as I do here, makes it lighter and creamier. If you are making this dish earlier in the day for supper, or even a day before, then fry the paneer, as it keeps its shape better. Serve with naan or roti.


Quantity Ingredient
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 dried bay leaves
4 black cardamom pods
10 black peppercorns
2 small onions, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
4 large tomatoes, quartered
20g root ginger, (peeled weight)
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
salt, to taste
200g frozen peas
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato puree
300g Paneer, in 2 cm cubes
good handful coriander leaves, chopped
3-4 tablespoons double cream
pinch caster sugar, (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan, add the whole spices and cook for 20 seconds. Add the onions and sauté gently until they are a deep golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for one or two minutes, or until the garlic smells cooked.
  2. Meanwhile, blend together the tomatoes and ginger with a good splash of water until smooth. Add to the pot with the ground spices and salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook down until it is a thick paste, stirring every so often in the beginning and then more as the paste thickens. Taste; it should seem harmonious with no raw elements to it.
  3. Add the peas and tomato purée and cook for a minute or two, then pour in 500 ml of water and bring to a boil. Add the paneer, return to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for five to six minutes. Stir in the coriander leaves and cream. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding the sugar if it seems acidic, as well as a little extra boiling water if the curry looks too thick, then serve.
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