Matar Paneer is a delicious vegetarian Indian curry. I am sharing a Punjabi-style matar paneer recipe that gets ready in an instant pot in less than 30 minutes. Be sure to watch the video!
For the nation obsessed with cottage cheese, matar paneer is one of the most loved curries.
It is a delicious, one-pot, gluten-free, vegetarian curry perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. As the name suggests, matar paneer has cubes of soft Indian cottage cheese (paneer), green peas (matar) cooked in an onion and tomato masala sauce.
Every family has its take on Matar Paneer Recipe. This Punjabi-style matar paneer is way different from my Dhaba-style matar paneer recipe. Similarly, each family has its signature style to make this special paneer curry.
Instant Pot Method
You can cook matar paneer in an instant pot, electric pressure cooker, multi-pot, or a stovetop pressure cooker.
I have always seen my mother cook a curry-like matar paneer in a traditional stovetop pressure cooker.
One reason to use the instant pot for cooking this paneer curry is that it is quick and even cooking. Second, the gravy, peas, and paneer all get synced beautifully within a few minutes of pressure cooking.
Between the traditional stovetop pressure cooker and instant pot, I always prefer using the instant pot for cooking matar paneer because the entire cooking process takes 20 minutes only.
The sauteeing takes 15 minutes, and the pressure cook time is 5 minutes. You can do a QR or NR of the steam once the cooking time is over.
Paneer: For a vegan matar paneer use firm tofu.
Green Peas: Either fresh or frozen green peas are perfect for making matar paneer. If using frozen peas, thaw them before adding them to the curry.
Curry Paste A: Onion, Ginger, Garlic
Curry Paste B: Tomato, Kashmiri Red Chilies
Whole Spices: Cumin, Bay Leaf, Kasuri Methi
Spice Powder: Red Chili Powder, Turmeric, Coriander Powder, Garam Masala
Oil: Use either mustard oil, ghee, or flavorless vegetable oil.
My Tried & True Tips
Use red, ripe, and fleshy tomatoes for making the gravy masala. Or you can also use canned crushed tomatoes or puree.
Soak paneer in the lukewarm water for 5 minutes before adding the gravy. This step helps in softening the texture of the paneer.
Instead of regular red chili powder, use Kashmiri red chili powder to achieve the restaurant-style gorgeous color of the gravy.
Mustard oil or ghee is ideal for making a rich curry. For example, I have used mustard oil in this matar paneer recipe.
Frying paneer for the gravy is optional. Many people like fried cottage cheese cubes in their sauce, but I prefer just the opposite. And I think fried paneer does not contribute to the taste or texture of the curry.
To make vegan matar paneer curry, use tofu instead of paneer. Adding tofu does not alter the taste or texture of the curry.
For me, the crowning glory of matar paneer is the spicy, finger-licking good gravy. I could happily enjoy it for lunch and dinner, along with:
Naan or chapati
Whole Wheat Paratha
Jeera Rice or plain basmati rice
More Indian Paneer Recipes
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Instant Pot Matar Paneer Recipe
- Instant Pot
- 200 gram paneer (cottage cheese), cut into cubes
- 1 ¼ Cup green peas (fresh or frozen) (see how to freeze peas)
- ⅛ Cup mustard oil or ghee
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
- 1 whole bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 tablespoon kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala (see recipe)
- 1 Cup water
Ingredients For Curry Paste A
- 1 Cup red onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon ginger, chopped
Ingredients For Curry Paste B
- 1 ¼ Cup tomato, diced
- 2 Kashmiri red chilies
- 1 tablespoon fresh coriander leaves, chopped
- Make Curry Paste A – Blend onion, garlic, and ginger to a smooth consistency. Transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
- Make Curry Paste B – Blend tomato and dried red chili to a smooth consistency. Transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
- Set the SAUTE mode of the instant pot for 15 minutes. Add oil to the inner pot.
- Once the oil is smoking hot, it takes less than 1 minute, add cumin seeds and bay leaf followed by Curry Paste A prepared earlier.
- Saute the paste for 2 minutes or till it turns light brown. Keep stirring while sauteeing the masala.
- Next, add Curry Paste B, turmeric, coriander powder, red chilli powder, and salt. Stir to combine. Saute for 5 minutes or until oil starts to separate from the masala paste.
- Add the peas, paneer, and water. Stir to combine. Seal the instant pot with a lid.
- Select the pressure cook mode. Set timer for 5 minutes. Set the steam valve to the SEALING position.
- After 5 minutes you can either release the pressure manually or wait for natural release.
- Once the steam is released open the lid of the pot. Add Kasuri methi, garam masala, and fresh coriander leaves. Stir to mix.
- Serve Matar Paneer warm with naan, paratha, or jeera rice.
- Use red, ripe, and fleshy tomatoes for making the gravy masala. You can also use canned crushed tomatoes.
- Soak paneer in the lukewarm water for 5 – 10 minutes before adding to the gravy. This step helps in softening the texture of the paneer.
- Frying paneer for the gravy is totally optional. May people like fried cubes of cottage cheese in their gravy but I prefer just the opposite.
- To make vegan mutter paneer, use tofu instead of paneer. And you have a delicious vegan curry ready in a few minutes.