When I became a vegetarian, several things happened all at once. First, I had to seriously re-think my diet. Second, I had to tell everyone that I wasn’t eating meat any more. Third, I had to seek out new recipes.
And somehow, that led me to Indian cuisine.
Indian cuisine introduced me to something wonderful: matar paneer.
Roughly translated, matar paneer means "peas and cheese." The dish is essentially extremely spicy tomato gravy with peas in it.
Obviously, living in Alabama, I have difficulty obtaining all the necessary traditional Indian ingredients. Thus, I must make the matar paneer in the best way I know how.
Thus dubbed: Southern Style Peas ‘n’ Cheese.
At my friend Chad’s house, I made matar paneer, and then tonight, with my cousin, Susanne, I also made matar paneer. There was little variation in the recipes.
Basically, I used rotel tomatoes, minced garlic, curry powder, cumin, tomato sauce, two cans of early peas/English peas, and a pack of cheese. The result was the incredibly delicious matar paneer!
The recipe can vary according to the available ingredients. Tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, or both can be used. Onions may also be used.
Susanne suggested we use Pepper Jack cheese; I’ve used Hoop cheese, various kinds of cheddar cheese, and now Pepper Jack, which was an excellent suggestion. She also suggested the use of yellow rice as a side dish, and I must say that it complemented the meal perfectly.
The Southern variation is definitely as good as the "real deal," in a way. I had the matar paneer of a frozen brand of organic food called Amy’s once, and it made no comparison to my home-made variety.
I’ll put up an actual recipe at some point in time.
Also, as always, forgive the poor photo quality.
Happy eating, and if you want, talk to me about recipes you’ve altered to fit local tastes or your dietary restrictions, if you’d like!
Tags: peas, cheese, Pepper Jack, Southern cuisine, tomato, gravy, matar paneer, foreign cuisine, Indian food, curry, cumin, peppers, rice
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