Mattar Tofu Paneer (Indian Tofu Recipe)

Mattar Tofu Paneer (Indian Tofu Recipe) Recipe

Mattar paneer is a dish made with peas and Indian cheese. This time, I decided to make the same flavorful dish, but with fewer calories. To accomplish this, I substituted firm tofu in place of traditional paneer cheese.

I fried cubes of tofu the same way as I would paneer, then simmered them in a delectable, creamy onion and tomato curry sauce with green peas. If you’re looking to make a foray into veganism, this is the perfect way to start (see tips).

Of course, if - like my father-in-law - you feel cheated by the absence of golden chunks of fried cheese, you can always try the traditional mattar paneer recipe. I won’t tell!


Yields: 8 servings

2 (12-ounce) packages firm tofu
5 tablespoons canola oil (or any neutral oil)
2 (16-ounce) packages frozen peas
1 yellow onion, chopped
1-½ tablespoons ginger garlic paste (click on the link for the recipe)
3 dried red chiles
3 green Thai bird chiles
3/4 cup chopped fire-roasted tomatoes , canned
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon garam masala (click on the link for the recipe)
1-½ teaspoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon red chili powder
1 tablespoon sour cream (or 3 tablespoons heavy cream), optional
½ cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper


Prepping the tofu: Cut the tofu into ½-inch cubes. In a wok, heat 4 tablespoons of canola oil. Pan-fry the pieces of tofu on all sides until golden brown. The tofu should have a nice fried outer crust and still be moist inside. Transfer the tofu onto paper towels. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt.

For the onion tomato masala sauce: In the same wok, re-heat the canola oil. Fry the onion in the oil, stirring frequently to prevent the onion from burning, until the color is evenly golden brown. Add the fresh green chiles, dried red chiles, garam masala and turmeric powder. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, then add the tomatoes and yogurt. Cook for about 5 minutes. Remove and reserve both red and green chiles. Transfer to the tomato mixture a mini-blender (or regular blender if you don't have one) and blend until the sauce is smooth. You could add a little water for a smoother flow. Set aside.

Assembly time: In a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon of oil. When it's hot, add the ginger garlic paste. Cook until fragrant. Add the masala sauce, sugar and red chile powder. Stir frequently for about 2 minutes. Add about ½ cup of water (up to a cup), the reserved chiles and the green peas. Check the texture of the sauce; it should be thickened and the liquid should have evaporated. If you find the sauce to be too thick, add 2 to 4 tablespoons of water. Add the fried pieces of tofu at the end, along with the sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well. Simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Cover and let stand until ready to serve.

Serve with steamed basmati rice, naan or roti (flat Indian wheat bread). You can decorate with a few sprigs of cilantro if you like.

Bon appétit!


I used Golden Gate brand tofu but you could use any other kind of tofu, just make sure to look for the firm type.

For texture, you could also add roasted cashew nuts ground into a fine mill if you don't use cream.

For a vegan version, replace the cream and regular plain yogurt with soy yogurt.

You can find Thai chiles in any Indian or Asian markets.

Check out more tofu recipes.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on October 24, 2010.


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