Mutter Tofu Paneer is the vegan Mutter Paneer – a peas and homemade cheese-cube curry, one of the most famous and popular North Indian vegetarian recipes and dishes. It’s on almost every menu of every Indian restaurant everywhere. But every cook makes it their own special way.
I experimented with this dish several times a month for the year that I lived in India. Even if you aren’t a numbers whiz, you probably have the idea: Yes sir, Yes ma’am, I’ve cooked this dish a lot. I’ve also sampled dozens of different variations across the subcontinent and at Indian buffets throughout North America and Europe.
The best Mutter Paneer ever? No question, no doubts: at homes eating with the family as an honored guest. Indians know how to make you feel like the most welcome guest in the world. Amazing food makes it easy.
See the variations below for more tips and tricks, including my favorite: an all-vegan ultra-creamy, rich Mutter Tofu-Paneer – with soy milk or almond milk and a ground cashew boost! It’s like North Indian and North American pure vegetarian kitchen smarts working together.
Mutter Tofu Paneer – North Indian peas & tofu curry
serves 2 / time 50 min
- 7 oz / 200 g tofu pressed (see below)
- 2 Tbs lemon juice
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbs nutritional yeast or chickpea flour
- 2 Tbs corn starch
- 2 Tbs coconut oil or vegetable oil for frying
- Press the block of tofu wrapped in dish cloth with plate or book on top to remove excess water.
After 20 min, unwrap, cut into medium cubes.
- Combine lemon juice, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, corn starch in bowl.
Add tofu cubes, mix well, coat all pieces.
- Heat oil in saucepan on medium high. Fry battered cubes evenly until golden brown, about 5 min.
Remove, drain, set aside.
Mutter (Peas) curry:
- 2 cups / 220 g peas fresh or frozen (thawed)
- 1 1/2 cups / 150 g / 2 medium tomatoes chopped
- 3/4 cup / 180 ml water (or non-dairy milk, see variations)
- 1 Tbs oil
- 1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 1 small onion or shallot finely chopped
- 1/2 in / 1 cm fresh ginger peeled, finely chopped
- 1 tsp coriander seed ground
- 1/2 tsp cumin ground
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 4 curry leaves chopped / crumbled
- 1 small green chili or 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- pinch asafoetida (hing)
- 1 Tbs lemon or lime juice
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- fresh coriander leaves or dried fenugreek (methi) leaves for garnish
- Blend tomatoes with 3/4 cup water in food processor or blender until smooth.
- Heat 2 Tbs oil in large pot on medium heat. Add mustard seeds. After they start to pop (about 30 sec), add garlic, onion, ginger, ground coriander, cumin, garam masala, turmeric, paprika, curry leaves, asafoetida. Fry, stirring constantly until onions and garlic begin to brown, about 2-3 min.
- Add lemon juice and sugar. Pour in tomato pureé. Stir well, return to low simmer. Reduce to medium low heat. Simmer until sauce reduces and goes from pink to dark red, 10-15 min.
- Mix in peas. Stir reguarly, cook 3 min.
- Add fried tofu paneer, salt. Simmer, reduce sauce to desired consistency, stirring regularly, 5-7 min
- Garnish with dried fenugreek leaves or fresh, chopped coriander leaves. Serve with basmati rice, naan or chapati.
Smoked Tofu: Skip the marinade and tofu-paneer frying; Use an equal amount of smoked tofu. No Tofu: Replace paneer cubes with fried potatoes or mushrooms. Vedic: Substitute a pinch asafoetida for garlic and onions. Rich & Creamy: Use coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk, or soy cream instead of water. Add 1 Tbs tomato paste, and 1/4 cup ground cashews along with peas.