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Mattar paneer, muttar paneer, mutter paneer, matar paneer…however you spell it, it is wonderful! Paneer is a fresh, ‘homemade’ cheese typically used in Indian cuisine. Cook it up with some tomatoes, spices and green peas and you have heaven.

Last month we took a trip to the international market and I bought a pound of frozen paneer. Then the search was on for just the right recipe in which to use it. When I came to the Matar Paneer recipe in one of our favorite cookbooks, Indian Vegetarian Cooking From An American Kitchen, I knew I had to make it. It was really quite a simple recipe. With absolutely delicious results!! My husband said this meal was ‘restaurant quality’ and that the flavor was right on. And then he asked where I found the recipe and when I told him, he asked “Why did we wait so long to make this?” We have had this cookbook for years but I had just never searched out the paneer. But now we know.

I also had a box of Dosa mix that I had picked up at a local Indian restaurant and so we served it with these. Dosas are essentially crepes made from rice and dal (lentils and beans). I like the flavor of dosas but this particular mix was heavy on the spice (I think it was fenugreek) and it was overpowering in contrast to the flavors of the paneer. Next time I would try a more neutral flavored bread like naan (if it was gluten free) or some idlis. Or if I made my own dosas (haha!) I could spice them however I desire. But I won’t. Fermenting the rice and dal seems like more work than I want to engage in. So the box mixes work for me.

Do you have a favorite vegetarian Indian meal? Please share!

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