In the eighties when I first arrived in North America, every Indian restaurant had Matar paneer, an old-world dryish peas and paneer curry along with saag paneer as an essential part of the menu. Invented during the royal Mughal era of India, yet not a part of home-cooking repertoire, this went on to become standard restaurant fare. I seldom made it, very rarely ordered it at a restaurant and certainly never served it at my places. Fast forward to this spring when I was walking through the newly renovated farmer’s market on Airline drive, I spotted a woman sitting in the back of the store shelling fresh pea pods. I purchased a few packages of fresh peas from her, came home and started cooking peas the way I remember them from back home, always fresh, never frozen. In rice, as a stuffing for potato cakes or samosas and with eggs for breakfast. And I finally made Matar paneer and realized why it was such a popular dish ~ because it was so tasty and satisfying. So, here is a decadent rendition of it, with cashews and raisins. Enjoy it with a warm roti or paratha or over plain rice.
Photo: Ajna Jai / Contributor