Matar paneer or Mutter paneer is a simple and commonly prepared North Indian dish. Deliciously flavored peas and paneer(Indian cottage cheese) are cooked in a mild tomato-onion gravy. Traditionally paneer is fried to add extra flavor to the recipe but to cut down on the calorie count I prefer to toast them on tawa or griddle. They are equally good and crispy as the fried ones.
Blend onion-tomato and garlic in food processor to make a smooth gravy and cook till all the liquid has evaporated and the gravy is rich red in color. I have adjusted my tomato content in the recipe below by adding 1 small tomato and 1 tablespoon homemade tomato puree but if no tomato puree on hand you can add 2 tomatoes to the gravy. If you have onion-tomato masala ready in your refrigerator then it will cut down the cooking time. All you have to do is add spices,curd and saute till its well blended, add water and continue with rest of the recipe.
Dry toasting the whole spices releases their essential oils and makes it more aromatic and flavorful. Simply dry toast the whole spices in a pan till they are light brown in color, allow them to cool and using a motor and pestle or grinder grind them to dust. Later add this to any cooked gravy and it adds a toasty and smoky flavor to that dish. Cinnamon powder is added to flavor matar paneer but if you have cinnamon stick on hand dry toast it along with other spices and grind.
Once paneer is added to the recipe, give it a boil and serve it hot, refrain from mixing it at this point as after a boil paneer pieces will become soft and disintegrate in the hot gravy. Paneer can always be substituted with Tofu for a for a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet.